Connectivity is pervasive.
That's a truism that Cisco Networks has long been pushing, given its business as a provider of connectivity and networking infrastructure. A new Cisco Connected World is now out showing just how pervasive that connectivity is among Gen Y.
The study asked 1,800 people between the ages of 18 and 30 about their attitude toward and use of technology. It's the second time Cisco has conducted the Connected World Gen Y study. In 2011, the report found that the majority of Gen Y respondents could not live without the Internet in their lives.
Going deeper for 2012, the study found that Internet usage starts first thing in the AM. Three out of four respondents admitted to checking email while still in bed. Over the course of the day in the U.S., 40 percent of respondents said they checked their phone at least once every 10 minutes.
Eating doesn't seem to slow the use of smartphones either, with 56 percent of U.S. respondent indicating that they use their devices during meals.
"We do have 206 bones in our body," said Neil Wu Becker, Director of Global Research at Cisco. "The 207th could arguably be the smartphone."
Pervasive online connectivity is also directly related to identity and relationships. Over 60 percent of respondents admitted to spending more time online interacting friends than in-person.
What's particularly interesting about the online interactions is that less than 50 percent of the survey respondents indicated that their online and offline identities are the same.
"That means that more than half said there are some differences and they behave differently online than they do in person," Becker said. "That opens up different types of Pandora's Boxes on risk and security for companies."
Lance Perry, VP of IT at Cisco, noted that for enterprises, it's important to be open the attitudes and the Internet usage patterns that Gen Y brings with them. "We have to have ease of use, while also providing security," Perry said. "All IT groups now are struggling to create a much better experience and still be secure and that's what we're going to be focuses on over the next couple of years."