By Connie Torres, Market & Consumer Insight, Alcatel-Lucent
I like to get away. Sometimes I really do want to just throw my cell phone away and completely unplug. I had the opportunity to do just that when I left for a camping expedition in Canada with my 9 year old daughter in tow. No cell phone service for a week. It sounded so nice to just disconnect for a while.
As soon as I entered the “No Service” zone, the trepidation kicked in. But I told myself that was only natural since the cell phone now felt like an extension of my right hand. I told myself to relax and go with the flow. The first 48 hours were the toughest. A rumor quickly spread in the camp that there were certain spots on campgrounds with intermittent wireless access. Clusters of people clutching their cell phones could be spotted circling these hotspots with phones held up in the air to catch that elusive bar of service.
As the week progressed I forced myself to tune into nature and tune out my impulse to reach for my phone to check for text, email, news, and all the other “comfort” mobile apps that were part of my daily life. It worked…to a certain extent. The cell phone no longer part of my sensory experience was replaced by a renewed appreciation for the sounds and sights around me. Sounds that no longer included the familiar ringtones of voice and text nor the vivid screen flashing before me.
As I was driving away from camp, my cell phone startled me as service was restored along with the rush of missed texts, calls and emails. As my phone came alive I felt that familiar pull to connect along with the full realization that I was hooked. I am a Wireless Nomad. Along with millions of others, the cell phone created a connection to people, places, and things that are now a part of my world. Not to the exclusion of everything else but as a part of everything else.
Augmented by in-depth interviews and focus groups, the Alcatel-Lucent Market & Consumer Insight study “Wireless Nomad” explored the consumer behavior and attitudes of wireless nomads. While wireless nomads demonstrate a wide range of behavior, what unites them is the complete integration of mobile technology into their lives — along with a nearly insatiable hunger for wireless data, from web content to games to business applications. This generation of Wireless Nomads is a manifestation of the megatrend 168/24×7, which refers to the modern phenomenon of “always on”.