Wireless Networking

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Hyperconnected World

Perhaps you know at least one person who totes around one or more devices to ensure an almost constant connection to the office and friends. They answer their phones during dinner at a restaurant or turn away from a movie to read their latest text. Perhaps you are that person.

Those individuals are part of a growing population, according to IDC and Nortel. They make up what the companies have dubbed the “culture of connectivity.”

A new study conducted by IDC and sponsored by Nortel has concluded that so-called hyperconnected workers accounts for 16 percent of global business users today. That percentage is expected to grow to 40 percent within five years, IDC said.

“The number of people moving toward hyperconnectivity is growing substantially,” said Kelly Kallenakis, strategy and operations leader for the chief technology officer of Nortel. In a few years, he said, over 40 percent of the people will be what Nortel considers “hyperconnected.”

My Way Generation

The study examined the habits of 2,400 people in 17 countries. Respondents said on average they carry seven devices and use nine applications. While more workers in the IT and financial industries are hyperconnected, the trend is evenly spread out among every industry.

The U.S. and China account for the highest average number of hyperconnected individuals. Canada and the United Arab Emirates had the lowest average number.

The trend, according to Kallenakis, is largely the result of the newest wave of employees entering the workplace. These young people, often just out of college, have nontraditional ideas about when they will and when they will not work and want to stay connected to their various communities 24/7.

“Hyperconnectivity is not necessarily wanting to be connected all the time to your job or work; it’s wanting to be connected to your community. And your community can be a number of things. Sitting behind your desk, your community is your work. At home, your community is your family and neighborhood. If you’re skiing, then your community is skiers,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Their desire to stay perpetually connected has led the hyperconnected to Facebook and other smaller segregated communities, Kallenakis said.

“Everyone wants to keep communicating, and as we’ve been given more devices and applications, people use them. The more devices that are invented and come on the market the more people use them,” he stated.

In addition, Kallenakis said, workers entering the workforce have drastically different expectations.

“Their expectations are that they’re going to work the hours they are going to work, and they’ll have personal lives when they want to have personal lives,” he explained.

More people are willing to connect to work in more places, but on the flip side, more people are doing their personal communication at work, Kallenakis pointed out.

“We’re seeing a blending of work,” he said.

Work Habits

A just-completed report from InStat that looked at both the number of devices and their weight found that the more people travel, the more devices they have.

“If you get into an airplane Sunday night and you’re not coming home until Thursday, you’re going to make yourself as comfortable as you can. Some people carry two laptops in addition to business cell phone, personal cell phone, Blackberry and the rest of that stuff,” said David Chamberlain, an Instat analyst.

As technology has improved and allowed workers to connect to their office from anywhere, companies have begun to change their idea of what counts as a traditional workday. Some employees no longer have give their bosses as much face time. Instead, they can head to sites such as Second Life, attend a virtual meeting and then head to the beach.

Afterwards, the hyperconnected check-in once again and then head to a WiFi hotspot to type out and send in a report due the next day.

“In terms of the hours they connect and do their work, again, they are very different. We’re not enforcing on them the hours we need them to be productive” said Kallenakis.

“We are not saying, ‘At 9 a.m. you will start and at 5 p.m. you will stop.’ What we’re saying to them is, ‘Here’s a task you need to get done. At the end of this period you need to have this task completed. When you get it done is up to you.’ So now you can make the personal choice to drop of your kids at 9 and not start work until 9:30,” he continued.

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