It’s true! I am. I’m one of the growing number of hopeless addicts who can’t put their phones down!
Ok, so addiction is as old as the hills, but this one is in an entirely different league. The first thing I and many of my friends do on waking is check my phone and post/tweet/txts/email, maybe play a game or two … or three … or ten … until I realise I’m going to be late and I force myself (with extreme difficulty) to ‘step away from the phone’. But my angst is palpable. What will I miss while I’m showering? Will the world manage not to implode long enough for me to get dressed?
And I’m not alone — this modern affliction is now less of a minority thing than a global pandemic sweeping all before it and it’s changing how we think, behave and generally function. Unlike other addictions, they don’t actively harm us (other than the potential for radiation sickness, or if you consider spending your life spot-welded to a handheld device which becomes more like ‘the precious’ by the day to be harmful). No, the benefits of smartphone technology are mind-boggling. And we’ve only had them for a few short years!
All joking apart, people’s habits are changing and smartphone adoption (addiction if you prefer) is moving rapidly along the Rogers’ Bell Cycle of technology adoption. This moves on a continuum from early adopters — the approximately 3% who are prepared to pay a large amount of money for innovative products and to all intents and purposes underwrite their R&D — to the 16% of Laggards who will only buy once the product has become a commodity adopted by the mass market and priced accordingly. The different ‘states’ between these two points are Early Majority and Late Majority representing about 34% each.
So what does all this mean other than the rise of a different type of counselors and another 12-step programme in the offing? For one thing, as events industry commentator Corbin Ball said at ABEE (the Australian Business Events Expo) in Sydney recently, if you don’t have a mobile app by the end of the year, your attendees will be asking why. I guess he should know, having been voted the most influential person in the meetings industry for 2012.
Smartphone penetration in most of the countries we’re selling into is sitting anywhere between 40% and 60% and rising fast. In these markets, the adoption level is already passed the Early Majority and blasting through the Late Majority with the force of a meteor crashing to earth. It won’t be long before smartphones and therefore apps are a commodity and will need to be priced and framed accordingly. The concept of building a different app for each event may not be sustainable in the long term.
So the moral to today’s story dear readers? Even if some of your audiences are still in the antediluvian realm where only the early adopters are in play annoying everyone by not turning their phone buzzers off during conference sessions, it won’t last! Plan for the mass market, commodity moment that is coming … ready or not! Systems like ShowGizmo’s multi-event platform which are instantly available, reusable and sensibly priced are going to be where it’s at.