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Brief Published: 7 Jan 2015

Ericsson: Always-On Consumers

Mobile connectivity is driving a change in attitudes

Fuelled by the smartphone revolution, consumers are becoming increasingly keen to engage with the 'Internet of Things' via their mobile devices, according to a new report by Swedish communications giant Ericsson.

The report – predominantly based on a survey of 5,024 smartphone users across 10 major cities worldwide – reveals that consumers are keen to connect with everything from home appliances to city streets via their smartphones.

"The cumulative effect of smartphones becoming part of mainstream society is astonishing," said Michael Björn, head of research at Ericsson's ConsumerLab. "Services and products that quite recently seemed beyond imagination are now easily accepted and believed to rapidly reach the mass market."

Half of those surveyed said they want to be able to monitor and operate home appliances like fridges and coffee machines remotely, while a similar number would like a smart mirror to tell them how they slept and display calendars, alerts and news.

They would like their cities to be smarter, too. More than three-quarters of those surveyed want apps that map vehicle and pedestrian traffic in real time, and a similar amount want to be able to compare their daily energy and water usage against neighbourhood levels. See our coverage of Re.Work Future Cities Summit 2014 for the most recent smart-city developments.

The digital economy is fuelling new enthusiasm for the sharing economy, the report also found. More than half of smartphone owners would be happy to rent other people's leisure equipment, rooms, household appliances and tools, with 20-25% "very interested" in doing so.

The Internet of Things is a hot topic at this year's International Consumer Electronics Show, happening this week in Las Vegas. Look out for further coverage of the event, coming soon.