Australia's IT market all grown up: Ericsson

The Australian IT market has been dubbed "technologically mature" by Ericsson's consumer laboratory (ConsumerLab), following the release of the company's survey on the nation's use of and expectations from IT and telecommunications in the future.

The Australian IT market has been dubbed "technologically mature" by Ericsson's consumer laboratory (ConsumerLab), following the release of the company's survey on the nation's use of and expectations from IT and telecommunications in the future.

The research showed that 75 percent of Australian homes have the Internet connected -- marking a 9 percent increase from the 2002 statistics - while over 30 percent of metropolitan respondents expressed a strong desire to have broadband installed in the household within the next year.

According to the survey, the top three reasons for respondents wanting to connect to broadband were: to gain access to higher Internet speeds (84 percent); to avoid blocking incoming fixed line calls (69 percent); and to evade the arduous dial-up process (64 percent).

General manager of Ericsson's mobility solutions marketing, Lisa Tuffs, said the research confirms that Australians "have a keen interest in technology".

"There remains a strong interest in new mobile value-add services and people are also keen to explore new broadband services as they both become more affordable. All in all, it points towards a good uptake of new telecommunications services in our society," said Tuffs.

The study involved interviewing 1,700 end users in Australia during February and March of this year, from an age range of 15 to 69 years.

Tuffs said that, generally, the younger age group of 15 to 25 with disposable income is the target for most new consumer technologies. However, she said the "early adopters" of new products usually those that are educated, interested in exploring new things, and flexible to change.

"The early adopters are absolutely instrumental in diffusing the services to the rest of the society," she said.

Interest levels in mobile phone technology also continue to be very strong, according to Tuffs, with the exception of mobile financial services that experienced a drop in customer interest.

The results of the survey indicated that mobile phone users are interested in new technologies such as emergency locater services (over 60 percent of the total); alerts for safety services (over 50 percent); positioning services (over 40 percent); friend locator services (over 20 percent); video telephony services (over 20 percent) and multi-media/picture messaging services (over 20 percent).

However, director of Ericsson's marketing and business, Tony Malligeorgos said new technology must have a strong instant appeal as consumers can be "unforgiving".

"If you look at some of the attributes and behaviours of pioneers in buying the new technology, one thing is that it has to work for them. They are sophisticated users, if they don't get a good user experience the first time then they'll move on to the next thing," he said.

Senior advisor for ConsumerLab, Susanna Lewis, points to WAP (wireless application protocol) -- a procedure that determines how wireless devices use Internet content -- as an example of a technology that was unsuccessful due to bad user experiences.

"One of the biggest mistakes with it [WAP] was to launch it as mobile Internet. When you try to order a book from Amazon.com using WAP it takes 40 minutes. There was no benefit in it for customers," she said.

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