Attached to your cellphone?
Two-thirds of Canadians afraid to be out of contact, poll suggests
“Nurse, give me two milligrams of lorazepam, stat! This man has lost his cellphone!”
Based on a nationwide survey gauging Canadians’ relationship with their phones, tech experts predict the New Year will be fraught with “nomophobia” — the fear of being out of mobile contact.
Responses from 1,040 people revealed that 65 per cent of smartphone and tablet owners feel “naked” when they don’t have their device; 46 sleep with their smartphone next to them while another five per cent keep it in the bed; and 55 per cent check it before they even brush their teeth in the morning.
“The mobile device has become an essential piece of a person’s life,” says Reade Barber, vice-president of mobile and fixed Internet at Rogers Communications.
“That 82 per cent of people are using their smartphone in the bathroom tells you just how important it is to stay connected.”
The findings are showcased in a new report in which Canadians’ forecasts for everything from Internet TV to telecommuting are revealed.
Chief among the trends in the tea leaves is Internet entertainment, with the past year having seen 52 per cent of Canadians increase the amount of TV and movies they watched online.
Men were nearly twice as likely as women to do this — a finding Barber attributes to the over-representation of sports apps on mobile devices.
“Canadians, on average, have 4.5 connected devices in their household,” says Barber.
“And over the next five years, the majority of people we surveyed — about 65 per cent — expect to have seamless connections that allow them to go room to room without missing a second of a TV show, movie or game.”
Linked to that belief is the general trend toward integration, as demonstrated by “technology ecosystems” such as Windows 8.
Fully 82 per cent of those surveyed felt 2013 would see more symbiotic relationships between devices (say, a Mac desktop communicating wirelessly with an iPhone).
Working from home is also expected to increase, with 59 per cent of Canadians believing that cloud services, combined with faster mobile networks, will enable better productivity and ultimately more telecommuting.
Another projected shift is in mobile payments, which in 2012 were only used by roughly one in 10 people.
Within two years, Canadians predict that this type of transaction — paying for a purchase with a smartphone, for instance — will reach critical mass.
E-reading is also top of mind for the future. Rogers finds nearly eight in 10 people think sales of digital books will skyrocket in 2013, while roughly the same proportion expect magazine-reading will continue its migration from paper to screen.
“It could be on a phone, it could be on an e-reader, or it could be on a tablet,” says Barber. “There are so many device choices that (this trend) is exploding.”