Oracle's recent survey of 3,000 mobile phone users worldwide confirmed a number of suppositions that have been made by the industry and the media alike.
Smartphone users have driven up data usage, more than half are willing to download apps, and the smartphone is making a dent in those same users' purchases of digital cameras, music players, and GPS navigation systems. But only 69% of those surveyed are using smartphones.
Apart from the adoption rates of smartphones and the user's willingness to employ functions beyond that of basic telephony, the most significant message of the survey is that 68% don't believe that information stored on or transmitted by their phone is secure.
Respondents were also concerned about making in-store purchases using their phones. Only six percent of those surveyed had made an in-store purchase using their phone, which is likely influenced by the limited number of locations that accept this type of purchase. But 79% of the respondents said they would not be "very comfortable" making in-store purchases using this technique.
This isn't some general concern over privacy; in fact, 45% of those surveyed who had downloaded apps were comfortable allowing their phone to report their location to applications and websites to enable related services. The issue of location sharing often sets privacy advocates' teeth on edge.
The report stated that vendors must build consumer confidence in the security of their phones and data, and make those users comfortable enough to use them in place of cash or credit cards.
In its 2010 mobile survey, Oracle reported that more than half the respondents expected their phone to replace their other digital devices (camera, MP3 player, GPS) by 2015. This year's survey shows that the replacement process has been proceeding apace, although not evenly across devices. Though 43% reported that they had already replaced their camera with their phone, only 34% have replaced their MP3 player and less than 25% had used their phone to replace their GPS. The survey also indicated that more than 40% of users were planning on expanding their mobile device choices with the purchase of a tablet sometime in the next 12 months.
Oracle's conclusion for the vendors targeted by the report is simple: Focus on customer service and education. To grow their business and increase the comfort levels of their customers, vendors need to have a better understanding of customer needs, take steps to make sure that those needs are met, and keep customers well-informed about the capabilities and services available on their devices and how they should be used.
Doesn't seem like it should have taken a third party to make those recommendations to mobile phone service providers, does it?
David has been covering the tech industry in review and news since the 1980’s. You can catch his latest efforts on Twitter by following @DavidChernicoff or by checking his website at http://www.chernicoff.com.