Air, Water & Internet… in order of importance

One of every three college students and employees surveyed globally for second annual Cisco Connected World Technology Report believes the Internet is a fundamental resource for the human race – as important as air, water, food and shelter.

About half (49 per cent of college students and 47 per cent of employees) involved in the study believe it is “pretty close” to that level of importance while overall, four out of every five college students and young employees believe the internet is “vitally important” as part of their daily life’s sustenance.

More than half of the respondents (55 per cent of college students and 62 per cent employees) said they could not live without the internet and cite it as an “integral part of their lives.”

If forced to make a choice between one or the other, the majority of college students globally – about two of three (64 per cent) – would choose an internet connection instead of a car with two out of five college students surveyed globally (40 per cent) saying that the internet is more important to them than dating, going out with friends, or listening to music.

Whereas previous generations preferred socializing in person, the next generation is indicating a shift toward online interaction, with more than one in four college students globally (27 per cent) saying that staying updated on Facebook was more important than partying, dating, listening to music, or hanging out with friends.

Other interesting findings from report are listed below:

–          Two-thirds of students (66 per cent) and more than half of employees (58 per cent) cite a mobile device (laptop, smartphone, tablet) as “the most important technology in their lives.”

–          Smartphones are poised to surpass desktops as the most prevalent tool from a global perspective, as 19 per cent of college students consider smartphones as their “most important” device used on a daily basis, compared to 20 per cent for desktops – an indication of the growing trend of smartphone prominence and expected rise in usage by the next generation of college graduates upon entering the workforce. This finding fans the debate over the necessity of offices compared to the ability to connect to the Internet and work anywhere, such as at home or in public settings. In the 2010 edition of the study, three of five employees globally (60 per cent) said offices are unnecessary for being productive.

–          Both surveys indicate that the TV’s prominence is decreasing among college students and young employees in favor of mobile devices like laptops and smartphones. Globally, fewer than one in 10 college students (6 per cent) and employees (8 per cent) said the TV is the most important technology device in their daily lives. As TV programming and movies become available on mobile devices, this downward trend is expected to continue.

–          Only one out of 25 college students and employees (4 per cent) surveyed globally said the newspaper is their most important tool for accessing information while one out of five students (21 per cent %) have not bought a physical book (excluding textbooks required for class) in a bookstore in more than two years – or never at all.

–          About nine out of 10 (91 per cent) college students and employees (88 per cent) globally said they have a Facebook account – of those, 81 percent of college students and 73 per cent of employees check their Facebook page at least once a day while one out of those three (33 per cent) said they check at least five times a day.

–          College students reported constant online interruptions while doing projects or homework, such as instant messaging, social media updates and phone calls. In a given hour, more than four out of five (84 per cent) college students said they are interrupted at least once. About one in five students (19 per cent) said they are interrupted six times or more – an average of at least once every 10 minutes. One of 10 (12 per cent) said they lose count how many times they are interrupted while they are trying to focus on a project.

–          In a sign that the boundary between work and personal lives is becoming thinner, seven of 10 employees “friended” their managers and/or co-workers on Facebook, indicating the dissolution of boundaries separating work and private life. Culturally, the United States featured lower percentages of employees friending managers and co-workers – only about one in four (23%) – although two of five friended their co-workers (40%).

–          Of employees who use Twitter, more than two out of every three (68 per cent) follow the Twitter activity of either their manager or colleagues; 42 per cent follow both, while one-third (32 per cent) prefer to keep their personal lives private.

The study, commissioned by Cisco and conducted by InsightExpress, a third-party market research firm based in US, consisted of two surveys – one involving college students, the other on young professionals in their 20s.

Each survey includes 100 respondents from each of 14 countries, resulting in a pool of 2,800 respondents. The 14 countries are US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Russia, India, China, Japan, and Australia.