Earlier this week while on LinkedIn I saw the image to the right, and I started to think about how true this is. In today’s world being connected is a part of the basic human need. We need to be able to check email, surf the internet, connect with friends and family, and most importantly, check into our favorite restaurants. We have become so reliant on these connections that we don’t appreciate the complex device and network technologies required to get connected and stay connected.
Apple launched iPad on April 3, 2010, and within three years it created a completely new category of mobile computing. This category changed user habits on how we consume and create content, from watching movies on Netflix to creating documents with Pages. According to recent findings from The NPD Group, in Q1 2013, the installed base of tablets increased by nearly 18 million, to an estimated 53% of all households with an internet connection (see chart below). That’s only 4% less than estimated smartphone penetration, which rose from 52% to 57% in Q1. Yet smartphones were launched back in 2000 with the first Ericsson Symbian device.
These stats draw a number of questions: Are tablet users largely the same half of the web-connected population as smartphone users? If so, is it just an obsession with the latest gadget, or is there a functional need filled by tablets that can’t be met by smartphones or PCs? What about non-internet households? How many of those people are buying tablets? And where do they connect their tablets to play games online or watch YouTube videos?
Like many professionals, the first thing I do in the morning is access my smartphone, check weather, read new email, review my daily schedule, and grab a cup of coffee. I’m online at the crack of dawn, and I generally don’t have to think about my network connection. But if I don’t have Internet access for some reason, it immediately becomes an annoyance and an inconvenience.
If you are a mobile worker, you understand how frustrating it can be when your network connection drops. You often have to log in to everything again—including multiple networks and apps—possibly losing what you were working on. After all, what good is your smartphone or laptop without network access?
Mobile network operators and end users will see improvements to broadband connectivity in Windows 8, such as automatic device detection and installation. However, many features will still require development and integration in order to create a rich, seamless user experience. For example, billing alerts and diagnostics are common connectivity needs of end users and operators, but are not delivered as turnkey features of Windows 8.
For most of us, dropped calls and flaky data connections are inconveniences. For public safety officers, it can be a matter of life and death. Every conversation, mobile connection, and video transmission counts when lives are at stake. Public safety departments require a reliable, adaptable network connectivity solution that provides secure, persistent access to both cellular and Wi-Fi networks. The challenge is dealing with a wide variety of mobile devices, congested networks, and a lack of standards in broadband connectivity.