Market musings

Left to Their Own Devices: US Workers & Their Smartphones in 2017

by Sasha Viasasha
November 11, 2017

Nearly all internet users in the US – 94% to be precise – have smartphones. In comparison, only 76% have a PC or a laptop. 

Those numbers are the clearest indication that mobile revolution is over and smartphones won. The GlobalWebIndex 3Q 2017 report on device ownership and usage holds many surprises in terms of how life has changed for consumers and the workforce.

The report only surveys internet users, but that’s an interesting story in itself. The internet penetration rate measures how much of a country’s total population regularly uses the internet. In the US, the penetration rate is only 76.2 percent, which is relatively low for industrialized countries.

In comparison, Japan, South Korea and the UK have internet penetration rates over 92 percent. In terms of internet adoption, the US falls right between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. That’s good news for any vendors looking for room to expand their internet delivery or mobile services.

In the US the smartphone is by far the most popular device and that trend grew by 16% over the past year. Meanwhile, the number of people with PCs or laptops fell by 13 percent. On average, people own 3.2 devices. Millennials in the 25-34 age range are just a bit more connected with an average of 3.4 devices each.

No matter how many devices they have, it’s not enough. More than a quarter of internet users plan on buying a new smartphone or upgrading in the next 6 months.

According to Gallup polls, almost half (46%) of smartphone users “can’t imagine living without” their phones. Among younger millennials in the 18-29 age range, 51 percent can’t picture a life with no smartphones, even though the technology is just one decade old.

As you might suspect, Apple lovers of all ages were more attached to their phones, with 52 percent of iPhone users unable to imagine living without one, compared to just 43 percent of Android users. Overall and across device platforms, 70 percent say that smartphones have made their lives better.

Business owners evidently agree, because 87 percent of employers expect employees to use their personal smartphones to access business apps for work, in a report by the Information Solutions Group. About two thirds of these employers said that their employees use their smartphones for work outside the office at least four hours per week. 

The same report found that 43% of employers chose “productivity” as the No. 1 benefit of allowing employees to use their smartphones at work.

Smartphones have made many devices obsolete, both in the business world and society at large. That includes pay phones, cameras, calculators, fax/copy/scanners, music players, ebook readers, GPS displays, flashlights, credit card scanners, voice recorders, televisions, and remote controls.

Now we expand that list to include add desktops, laptops and legacy PBX systems.

Does your business phone line actually help you talk?

Traditional land lines, hosted PBX and VoIP business phone systems are there to make calls possible, but they don't help you talk. They are normally so difficult to use and maintain that people end up just using their own smartphones.

Legacy office phone systems weren't made for the mobile world we live in today. New systems like business VoIP services and SIP phones are still far too complex for the average small business. Meanwhile, the consumer app market has changed what business buyers expect from a turnkey solution. 

Spoke is a next-generation virtual phone system, built to run on top of new technologies like VoLTE, HDVoice and 5G networks.

The Spoke app transforms the phones that your employees already love into a global mobile network, with local numbers in 56 countries.

In researching how employees at small companies actually use their phones, we've found out that less is more. The intuitive Spoke interface contains all the business phone line essentials that small businesses want and none of the bells and whistles that distract employees from doing their work.

Spoke is as easy to install and easy to use, yet powerful enough to replace your office phone system, eliminating up to 88% of your telecom costs.

Contact Spoke for an interactive demo of a next generation virtual PBX deployed on the smartphones that your employees already love.