Wireless Nomads are more than just a curiosity. These creative, connected mobile workers who are constantly connected to the internet via wi-fi, 3G or 4G network and both work and play from their mobile devices, are by many measures at the vanguard of a lifestyle that many of us will be living in the years to come.
In order to discover what wireless nomads can teach vendors and wireless providers about the direction of mobile traffic and wireless technology usage in a world that will be dominated by wireless IP and mobile broadband networks, Alcatel-Lucent’s (News - Alert) Market and Consumer Insight team conducted a study, Wireless Nomad, last winter that looked at actual wireless nomad usage patterns. It took an unusual approach—embedding a usage-tracking application directly into a select group of digital nomads and monitoring actual usage patterns for 30 days.
This log of the nomads’ every move helped Alcatel-Lucent understand this cutting edge group and discover ways that providers can adapt wireless technology to adjust mobile traffic assumptions and discern new ways to generate revenue.
For instance, Alcatel-lucent identified four types of digital nomads: smart workers who use wireless technology such as wi-fi and smartphones to work from home and communicate with clients at all times, serial entrepreneurs who manage multiple business operations from a variety of connects devices, urban multitaskers who cut down on office time by using wireless technology to partially work from home, and connected chaos users whose entire life is defined by mobile technology.
Patricia, a 28-year-old event organizer and part-time student from Madrid, was one of the wireless nomads tracked for the study who tell their stories in video.
“The truth is that it’s my whole life at the moment,” Patricia said, referring to her connected, always-on life. “The iPhone (News - Alert) doesn’t have a lanyard, because if it did I would have it tied to me all day long. And I’m not kidding.”
One thing the study discovered was that the segment has high mobile traffic needs and a low tolerance for connectivity issues since much or all of their business and entertainment needs go through wireless technology. Low-quality connections and dropped calls are unacceptable for this group that reaches out to clients while traveling and talks to friends on Skype (News - Alert) when on the train and back at home.
“I’m very impatient, and I like things to open up instantly,” Patricia said.
She added: “Spontaneity is the keyword for smartphones. You can be anywhere and access Facebook (News - Alert). When you’re out of the country, if you have access to Wi-Fi, you don’t have to wait until you come back to Spain in order to upload pictures or post comments. It is the mobility you get with it.”
Another trend among the segment is that they use whatever device works at the moment, and incorporate new technology swiftly as it becomes available. This segment moves fast, and both speed and flexibility are the name of the game—even when it leads to a chaotic life.
“Everything is always last minute because I always have a meeting, or I have to return earlier,” Patricia explained. “It’s a bit of madness.”
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Edited by Peter Bernstein