A smartphone user is not only well connected, s/he is also able both to influence and to act on the information received. And people are increasingly becoming unable to do without it.

A study by Sogeti suggests that smartphone applications now need to be personalised if they are to appeal to customers. Users are increasingly keen to interact with the information they receive and to manage the data on which their personal lives are based through this channel. "While other media – such as television, newspapers, radio – have always had a remote relationship with the user, the arrival of apps marks a turning point: the individual has become the sole focus," says Erik Van Ommeren, Director of the International Research Institute at Sogeti. This change can be explained by the increasing impact of smartphones and tablet devices on users’ daily lives.

An increasing addiction to mobiles

Some 57% of iPad owners take them to bed with them, and 44 % consult them regularly when visiting family or friends, a ratio which jumps to 58% for smartphone users. The Sogeti report also cites another study called "The World Unplugged"*, which challenged 1,000 students on four continents to turn off their mobile devices for 24 hours. Many were unable to go through with the challenge, underlining that this technology had become essential for the construction and management of their daily lives, with apps designed for each context: “Mobile phones function both as this generation’s Swiss Army Knife and its security blanket. At present, such behaviour is considered an exception, a generational idiosyncrasy. In 2020, it will be the norm," reckons Erik Van Ommeren. And this trend is set to become stronger throughout the population over the years.   

Redefining the business universe

The report predicts a real culture clash, for which companies are ill-prepared as neither their way of working nor their products have kept up with changes in behaviour among their employees on the one hand and their customers on the other. "On the technology side it is really important to understand that ‘apps’ are only the beginning", stresses Erik Van Ommeren, adding: "In this post-PC era it will become a standard to buy and use your own software gadgets both in your private life and in the workplace. People will have greater control over the information they send and receive."  Customers are expecting a more open world where companies offer products more suited to the times, which also protect their privacy.

*carried out by the International Center for Media & the Public Affairs (ICMPA) in partnership with the Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change.