Will Mobile Apps Drive Everything?

Came across a new Harris poll published in Center for Media Research about how consumers are feeling about technology.  I found some of the key facts interesting, but also it spoke about a larger shift happening and one we’ve talked about before:  Mobile applications.  Not only that, it highlighted that the idea of technology is great at one level, but raises more fears when it comes down to how it will specifically interact with us personally.

Being an iPhone user (first generation), I’ve come to absolutely love the applications that run on it.  But I never thought about how much a mobile application can access in my life. The study mentioned 46% of Americans say they only use about half of the features and functionality of their technology devices. I believe this, especially with the growing number of applications avaialble on my iPhone.  I have a hard time just looking around to see what works, what would be useful.  And I usually eject before downloading something.

Let’s look at what consumers in the Harris Poll are saying:

Consumers are looking to technology to improve their lives and want very practical applications to solve their current problems. Some of the results with regard to advanced technology, include these findings:

73% of  Americans believe that investing in innovation and advanced technology sciences in education is the key to the country’s long term success
71%  of Americans said not only an investment but a leadership role in these technologies could mean survival for our auto industry, as they invest in hybrids and alternative fuels
71% of  adults believe that travel costs for businesses could be cut if technology such as video conferencing were better utilized
67%  support the use of technology to produce “green products and services”
67%     want technology to manage medical records and patient care

That’s all good.  At a macro level, consumers see the value of technology and see it as long term factor in success.  Then this:

Looking at several advanced wireless, mobile device applications that are just entering the marketplace or will be introduced in the near future:

28% of  consumers strongly or very strongly liked the idea of using GPS technology to balance and monitor traffic to determine the most effective routes in real time for an effective transportation system.
31% of consumers indicated they would be highly interested in purchasing mobile, wireless devices to monitor their car in real time, advising them of developing problems and even updating engine software to keep their car running at peak performance
27% of consumers very strongly or strongly like the idea of controlling home systems or appliances from a mobile device
26% of consumers very strongly or strongly like a 4G wireless network that could provide seamless voice, Internet, and entertainment to their homes and mobile devices

Still, at the macro level, there is interest and willingness to use mobile applications for a variety of things.  I had not considered using my iPhone to monitor my vehicle health, or for turning on the central air before I get home on a hot  day.  I like that idea, however and would be a willing user.

But there’s always the closeness factor – how close does technology really affect me:

Many Americans, though,  have reservations about the impact of high technology on our lives:

40% of  Americans say they would not like it at all if their doctor could monitor their vital signs in real time using a mobile device
61% do not believe technology enables people to be more mobile or makes people more productive
65%  agree that society is too dependent on electronics and electronic gadgets
58% of Echo Boomers (those aged 18-32) say mobile technology does not make Americans more productive
72% of  Echo Boomers believe that society is too dependent of electronics and electronic gadgets

It is true that we are becoming more dependent upon our gadgets.  I know I am.  We still need to know how to find our way to a location without a GPS system, common sense is still needed.  But it is interesting to see resistance to technology that really touches us personally.  We could save hours of waiting in doctors offices if we didn’t have to leave home to be “seen”.  I know there are days when I don’t want to have to go in just to get a prescription for a virus.

Reason I bring this all up is that these concerns exist for our buyers too and we need to be sensitive to this and manage our communications so it does not raise obstacles that are unnecessary.  And on another level, we all need to be looking at mobile applications and see how we can make life easier for our customers using mobile applications.  It’s the way things are going, we may as well be ready.

Do you use mobile applications? Which is your favorite?

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