Almost two in 10 workers in 17 industrialized countries use a minimum of seven devices for work and personal access to communication networks, a study released Tuesday found.
The survey of 2,400 people across North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Latin America also found that the so-called "hyperconnected" worker also use at least nine applications, such as instant messaging, text messaging, Web conferencing, and social networks, said IDC, the market research firm that conducted the study sponsored by network-equipment maker Nortel Networks.
The survey also found that following closely behind the hyperconnected was a larger second group of "increasingly connected." Fully 36% of the respondents fit this category, defined as workers who use a minimum of four devices for work and personal access to broadband or cellular networks. These people used six or more applications.
IDC predicts that in five years, 40% of workers in those regions will be in the hyperconnected category. "This means that the workforce isn't just migrating towards hyperconnectivity -- it is stampeding to it," IDC analyst John Gantz said in a statement. "Businesses that embrace this have an opportunity to increase productivity and improve their ability to compete in the global marketplace."
The countries with the highest percentage of hyperconnected respondents in the study were China and the United States; the lowest percentage in Canada and the United Arab Emirates. The country with the highest percentage of increased hyperconnectivity was Russia.
Other findings were that nearly four in 10 of the respondents said they would chose their mobile phones over wallets, keys, laptops, and MP3 players, if they had to leave the house for 24 hours. Less than 30% chose their wallets first.
More than a third of the respondents use social networks and online communities such as blogs, wikis, and online forums for business communication. Fully 70% connect to the Internet at home with more than one device. That number jumped to 80% for people between the ages of 18 and 34 years old.