Our mobile journey: We’ve only just begun

6th Mar, 2015

The Trajectory team were delighted to see O2 launch our report on “The rise of mobile in a connected society”  at this week’s Mobile World Congress, and to announce our next collaboration with them on “The Connected Economy” (more of which later in the year).

The rise of mobile in a connected society outlines how, thirty years on from the making of the first mobile call in the UK, society has been transformed by the mobile revolution.

For my (forty-something) generation the way we now connect, interact, work, play, discover and manage our lives would be unrecognisably mind-blowing to our 1985-selves.Phones that usurp Filofaxes? The stuff of science fiction, surely!

But, for all the evidence of revolution and transformation, there is something else in the data that prompts me to invoke my favourite Carpenters song in the title of this blog post (maybe no need to spell out my age after all). We’ve only just begun because, so far, some of the more transformative mobile behaviours have been adopted by only a minority of people. Our new research for the report shows that only a third of us have bought something using a mobile device, only one in six watch TV and only one in twelve have used mobile to interact with a Local Authority (a key element of the e-government agenda). Those numbers will surely grow. It is in this sense that there is more to come.

Further analysis reveals a strong polarisation of the data by age, with the generation over 65 a particular stand out. Whilst one in five 18 to 24 year olds have used mobile to monitor physical activity and health, fewer than one in twenty over 65’s have done so. Yet, arguably, this generation have most to gain from mobile health monitoring. Older age and technology will be one of the themes covered at our next trends breakfast which will explore the realities of ageing in the UK today.

To complete this tour of mobile and the generations, it was interesting this week to come across an excellent report by Dr Jane Vincent of the LSE on the impact of mobile on children. Dr Vincent was one of our expert interviewees for “The rise of the mobile society”. Her work identifies a number of positive roles that mobile devices play in children’s lives and, as such, provides a welcome counter balance to the many doom laden opinion pieces (as opposed to research pieces) on this subject. Of course, when we come to reflect on the social impacts of mobile in another thirty years, this generation will be centre stage. I wonder how their minds will be blown by their mobile journey and which of today’s science fictions will be science facts?