It Isn't What It Seems

David Byrd : Byrd's Eye View
David Byrd
Chief Marketing Officer for ANPI

It Isn't What It Seems

A couple of years ago as I flew from Atlanta to Dallas, thunderstorms prevented us from landing and we were diverted to Austin to refuel and try again. On board was a large group of teenagers traveling together and I noted their immediate use of smartphones, laptops and such to understand what was going on and communicate with their anxiously awaiting parents. Wednesday, I had the pleasure of being delayed again by thunderstorms and what should have taken less than two hours turned into eight and a half hours. But this time it was different. There was no group of teenagers traveling to or from some summer event. Instead it was a plane full of mostly adults and most flying on business.

The number of BlackBerrys rivaled the number of iPhones. Although, I noted only the iPhone users were nervously looking for power and upon landing in Houston competing for the few power outlets to recharge. So, I guess RIM has a few more seasons to go. However, what did give me pause was a comment I overheard from one of the passengers.

She said, “I know how to respond to texts but I do not know how to create one. Perhaps, I can call and leave him a message or send an email.”

This was interesting in that Samsung, who arguably sells the most wireless phones in the world, depends upon people like her. These are people who use and like technology but not that much. As I walked this plane of adults, I saw magazines, newspapers, books and some just sitting doing nothing. It was very different from the teenage passengers two years ago who were engaged with their mobile or electronic devices constantly. I was reminded of the difference this morning with the news that 50% of teens text while driving. Teens have a very difficult time disconnecting and, of course, this distraction results in accidents or bad driving. Interesting information but back to the plane.

At some point, I realized that I was acting differently with this group than I had with the teenagers. With them, I was watching the weather and reading the news related to Dallas. I was on my Blackberry and using my aircard when on the ground. This time though, I was surrounded by people that were less anxious. I read a newspaper, two books and only when we finally landed in Dallas felt the need to “connect”.

Wednesday’s blog discussed the importance of understanding online and data usage for a business as it transitions from separate voice and data connectivity to converged access. As you bring workers on board that are more “connected”, this analysis of usage becomes even more important. As recent studies have shown, the growth in data consumption is exceeding even the most optimistic projections. It isn’t that everyone has a smartphone or is on Facebook, it’s that the future is the smartphone ro “connected” devices and Facebook like apps.

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