Consumers Say Practical Technology Will Improve Future

According to The Harris Poll of 2,355 U.S. adults surveyed online in March, a majority of consumers believe advanced technology could be the answer to many of the challenges the U.S. faces today, whether it is a stalled automobile industry, an ailing education system or expensive medical costs.

Consumers are looking to technology to improve their lives and want very practical applications to solve their current problems. Some of the results with regard to advanced technology, include these findings:

  • 73% of Americans believe that investing in innovation and advanced technology sciences in education is the key to the country's long term success
  • 71%  of Americans said not only an investment but a leadership role in these technologies could mean survival for our auto industry, as they invest in hybrids and alternative fuels
  • 71% of adults believe that travel costs for businesses could be cut if technology such as video conferencing were better utilized
  • 67% support the use of technology to produce "green products and services"
  • 67% want technology to manage medical records and patient care

Advanced technology is perceived as particularly valuable when it is practical. Looking at several advanced wireless, mobile device applications that are just entering the marketplace or will be introduced in the near future:

  • 28% of consumers strongly or very strongly liked the idea of using GPS technology to balance and monitor traffic to determine the most effective routes in real time for an effective transportation system.
  • 31% of consumers indicated they would be highly interested in purchasing mobile, wireless devices to monitor their car in real time, advising them of developing problems and even updating engine software to keep their car running at peak performance
  • 27% of consumers very strongly or strongly like the idea of controlling home systems or appliances from a mobile device
  • 26% of consumers very strongly or strongly like a 4G wireless network that could provide seamless voice, Internet, and entertainment to their homes and mobile devices

Many Americans, though,  have reservations about the impact of high technology on our lives:

  • 40% of Americans say they would not like it at all if their doctor could monitor their vital signs in real time using a mobile device
  • 61% do not believe technology enables people to be more mobile or makes people more productive
  • 65% agree that society is too dependent on electronics and electronic gadgets
  • 58% of Echo Boomers (those aged 18-32) say mobile technology does not make Americans more productive
  • 72% of Echo Boomers believe that society is too dependent of electronics and electronic gadgets

While many Americans indicate they do not believe mobile technology enables people to be more productive, 46% of Americans say they only use about half of the features and functionality of their technology devices. It might be that the productivity gains people are seeking are offered by an application or function they have never used or considered.

Usage of Mobile Devices (% of Respondents.. rounded)




Use of mobile devices, computers, GPS, portable media, etc.


Echo Boomers (18-32)

GenX (33-44)

Baby Boomers (45-63)

Matures (64+)

Use about ½ the features and functionality






Just use the basics






Use most of the features and functions






Source: HarrisInteractiveTechnology, April 2009

Joe Porus, Vice president, Harris Interactive Technology group, notes that " decision makers (are) much more bullish on technology, especially wireless technology, than consumers... businesses... are increasing their investments in wireless applications and believe a 15% benefit is going right to their bottom line... "

For more information from HarrisInteractive and the PDF file with charts, please visit here.

1 comment about "Consumers Say Practical Technology Will Improve Future".
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  1. Tilly Pick from Development Practice 360, LLC., April 29, 2009 at 9:56 a.m.

    Very interesting data points. Suggest huge opportunity for making cool things more practical, helpful in our day-to-day. Turn technology towards a real, valued benefit rather than just momentary hipness. Dare I say "create value", not just entertain our fancies?

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