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If we’re always connected, who needs ‘wearable’ technology?

guyGRecently I’ve been reading about Apple’s long-awaited Apple watch. This would be Apple’s entry into the market of wearable technology, which is probably the most talked about area in tech. Some of the benefits of wearables being talked up are staying connected all the time, having a computer on you wherever you are, whenever you need it. But if staying connected is your aim, you don’t need to wait for wearables!

According to research by Deloitte, at least 7 in 10 people in the UK now have smart phones. This may not surprise you (you and all your friends have probably have them) but it means a lot more than a statistic. Having a mobile phone used to do what it said on the tin —having phone with you in case you needed to call or text someone. Having a smartphone means that we have a fully functioning computer in our pockets, pretty much all day, every day. And it’s not just a phone you’re in contact with – you may also have a tablet (according to some research a quarter of us consumers do now), and you probably use a laptop or a desktop computer for your job. If so, you are in constant contact with some form of computer all day, seven days a week.

So wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, you’re consuming information or communicating from a certain source. I find this absolutely fascinating if you think about how this influences your consumption of information and the way you interact with the world around you. Let’s take a hypothetical daily routine:

  • Wake up (alarm on your phone)
  • Commute to work (reading/watching something on phone/tablet)
  • On a laptop at the office, in meetings and presentations
  • A quick lunch consuming more content than calories
  • Train home, catching up on the news on your phone or tablet
  • Evening, in front of the TV but also engaging with the tablet

Guy GarsideAs researchers, we must understand the way people interact with the world around them. Lots of people are using multiple devices, at different times, sometimes at the same time. If you’re trying to reach your audience at the appropriate time and place, you have to understand this and be flexible enough to cope with different audiences using different media at different times. So how do you adapt to this constant connectivity to improve online research?

Our approach at RS Consulting group has been to constantly adapt and develop our own online research tool, e-luminate. It’s ‘device agnostic’, which means it’s flexible enough to work on phones, tablets and PCs. What does this mean for research? It means we can reach different audiences, wherever they are, and whatever they’re doing. It works on any device, and on any operating system. They give us feedback, in the moment, giving more authenticity to the insight. Commuters talk to us on their tablets while they’re on the train home. In B2B research, senior business people can take part on their laptop, in between meetings. Supermarket shoppers give us their views via their smartphone while they’re in store.

As researchers, we need to constantly think about the audience we’re trying to reach. This doesn’t mean using technology for technology’s sake, but adding an online element to your insights may be more appropriate than you might think. Having our own platform means we can reach people when it’s needed, drive respondent engagement and get high quality responses in a quick timescale.

If you’d like more information about online research, visit our website or call 02076277774.

Ggarside@mruk.co.uk

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