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Smartphones are changing cities: Ericsson

In a new Ericsson ConsumerLab report released at the company’s 2013 Business Innovation Forum this month, smartphone users in São Paolo, Beijing, New York, London and Tokyo were asked about their interest in, and the potential...


November 8, 2013  


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In a new Ericsson ConsumerLab report released at the company’s 2013 Business Innovation Forum this month, smartphone users in São Paolo, Beijing, New York, London and Tokyo were asked about their interest in, and the potential development of, 18 new services relating to important aspects of city life.

The study asked smartphone users to evaluate new service concepts related to the areas of city life they are most satisfied with — the availability of shopping, restaurants, and leisure facilities.

Examples of new services include social restaurant guides, a digital real-time trainer, situational shopping recommenders, mobile menus and table reservations, and same-day goods delivery.

Delving into these new concept services, the study asked if a restaurant ingredient checker service was of interest: while 8% of respondents think the service is available today, 61% expect it to be a normal service available within three years.

The study also covers areas that users expressed most dissatisfaction with, namely child/elderly care, communication with authorities, and traffic.

New service concepts here include, social care networks enabling easy communication with family members via any device, a contextual mobile city service that provides location-based information from local authorities, and a minimal day-travel scheduler that optimizes a user’s calendar to minimize need for travel.

Respondents also indicated that they are looking for better services and improved communication from authorities via their smartphones.

“Mass demand for new ICT services can change city life, beyond what we recognize, in just three years,” said Michael Bjorn, head of research at Ericsson ConsumerLab. “Smartphone services related to shopping, eating out and finding entertainment can drastically improve people’s satisfaction with life in cities. Smartphone services can also alleviate dissatisfaction, and expectations are high on the market to make these services available.”

Traffic is the number one source of dissatisfaction in cities, and 47% of smartphone owners in the survey expressed interest in a personal navigator that provides the best travel information for all modes of indoor and outdoor transport, from walking to driving.

Almost half (47%) of smartphone owners predict that mobile operators will be instrumental in bringing this particular service to their pockets, although generally they see the relevant industry taking the lead.

The study was conducted online and gathered responses from 7,500 smartphone users. According to Ericsson, it is representative of 40 million citizens.

Further coverage of the Forum, which took place in Tokyo, will appear in the premier issue of Connections+.