New report from Three shines light on Irish digital transformation

23 Oct 2017

The Gap of Dunloe, Co, Kerry. Digital transformation will affect even the most remote areas. Image: Stefano_Valeri

The Three Connected Ireland report surveyed more than 1,000 smartphone users throughout the Republic of Ireland, revealing what people envision for the country’s digital future.

Digital transformation is gripping the globe, with businesses and individuals alike increasingly embedded in a more connected world.

Today (23 October), Three Ireland published a report shining a light on how Irish people view the future of digital in the country.

The report examined three key areas: The Connected Life, examining how smartphones impact on our personal lives; The Connected Business, looking at e-commerce opportunities; and The Connected Citizen, or the engagement of respondents with public services through mobile technology.

Tech and our personal lives

The Connected Life arm of the report offered up some fascinating findings.

While the majority of people (59pc) still have a landline at home, a broadband connection is now almost ubiquitous, at 89pc. Virtually nobody uses the landline any more if they are already a smartphone user, with only 3pc calling from a landline, compared to 37pc using mobile or 32pc using an instant message to get in touch with someone.

In terms of apps, Facebook is still the most popular on average, but 54pc of 16-24-year-olds are more likely to be found on Snapchat, with just 44pc of this age bracket saying Facebook was their preferred app.

The different digital attitudes are obvious in many aspects, as seen in the fact that 70pc of 16-24-year-olds get upset when someone has seen their message but hasn’t responded, compared to just 22pc of those aged 55 or over. Digital expectations and etiquette are changing with the generations.

It’s a mixture of positive and negative effects. According to 54pc of respondents, their smartphone hinders them going to sleep, but older respondents did say that their smartphone made them feel safer in their day-to-day lives.

Digital transformation and Irish businesses

The information in the Connected Business report will definitely pique the interests of those who want to grow their business in terms of digital footprint but aren’t sure how to go about it.

It seems that e-commerce is where businesses need to be looking in terms of digital readiness and customer expectations. 76pc of respondents use their smartphone to shop online once a month, with 50pc using it two to four times monthly to get their retail therapy fix.

One in five 25-34-year-olds spend between €100 and €500 a month shopping on their mobile devices. The report notes that customer service on mobile is a key business driver for companies going forward, and they will have to rise to the challenge of catering to an increasingly mobilised and fragmented customer base.

Only 42pc of respondents say they buy from Irish websites, showing that there is room for businesses to further take advantage of the ballooning e-commerce space. As well as increased online shopping, more people are interested in the concept of smart home systems for heating, electricity or even domestic security.

Digital citizenship

Respondents in all age brackets say that the Government could be doing more to engage people on mobile channels, and there is also an increasing public awareness of data protection.

“When it comes to data protection, most people want to know what the trade-off is when sharing data with services providers. They will willingly share personal information provided there is a clear benefit.”

There is almost an equal level of concern for the safety of personal data held by public services and private companies alike, with personal safety ranked as a key worry among respondents.

Users are also in favour of voting via smartphone in a general election at 44pc, which makes for an intriguing statistic after Ireland’s e-voting disaster. Connacht and Ulster respondents spoke of a desire for smartphones to monitor rural safety. Many also said they would like to use their smartphone to report suspicious activity to authorities, such as illegal dumping, or answer government surveys.

Ireland is in the throes of digital transformation and, although we have made significant strides, there is still plenty of room for continued innovation and bright ideas. Check out the infographic below for some fascinating stats.

Infographic: Three

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects