This mobile world that we live in 


Emma Longmate, Programmatic & Data Partnerships Manager at Weve

Picture the scene, it was a painfully hot Thursday, the post lunch lull. Everyone in the office was gazing out the window, complaining about the fact we were stuck inside working when we really should be outside enjoying the glorious British Summer. It seemed almost inhumane that we were not allowed to go and sit in a park and work from our phones. Surely it is possible to get what you need to get done, with just your mobile phone and no other resources at your disposal?? Last year, I had this misfortune of losing my phone to the abyss that is the back of my radiator, and wrote a blog on how I coped as a 28 year old having to suffer London without my beloved mobile (here if you fancy a read). It was a hideous experience, but it got me thinking. If I could survive one hellish day without my phone, was it possible to survive one day with JUST my phone and nothing else, bar the clothes on my back? In the name of “science” (and to satisfy my own stubborn nature) I decided to find out…

Saturday morning at 8.30am (I decided to test this on the weekend rather than actually at work, although if all goes well stay tuned for part 2 – a working day!), my trusty iPhone alarm went off without incident, this experiment was off to a flyer. With 90% of young people using their smartphones as their alarm, and 60% of 16 – 34 year olds using their phone as their primary time piece, once out of bed and dressed, my watch remained firmly in its box.

My first issue was a fundamental one;

leaving the house without the keys I usually have, in the handbag I usually carry, would have been impossible if my husband wasn’t at home that day and therefore able to let me out (and in) Only slightly disheartened by this first hurdle, I took to my trusty smartphone to see if, even though I don’t possess it (yet), there is such a thing as a smart lock. Turns out, there are A LOT of options here, starting at a surprisingly reasonable £99. Not only that, but you can actually get your Amazon Alexa to work in sync with your smart lock and secure your doors for you.

Fast-forward through using contactless to get on the tube and buy myself a coffee whilst listening to music through my Spotify account (using O2 Charge to Mobile, my monthly subscription is charged to my monthly mobile phone bill), I hit the shops to pick up a few essentials. Here, I encountered my second problem…the limit on contactless payments. Whilst I fully appreciate this is there for security reasons, it did mean I was unable to buy that top (which I didn’t need, in hindsight probably a blessing). The contactless market is absolutely huge – there are 108.4 million contactless cards in issue in the UK, with over 416m transactions made in the month of April this year. Whilst this hasn’t yet resonated in the same way across mobile devices (contactless spending in the UK more than trebled last year to £25bn, but TFL reported that mobile payments make up just 8% of all contactless payments), it is surely just a matter of time before mobile payments become more common-place, given the fact that almost everyone has their phone within touching distance at all times.

En route to meet a friend for brunch, I used my mobile’s map functionality to guide me to where I needed to be. Whilst I do this on a regular basis, having just my phone with me made me much more aware of it, and made me take stock of the people around me whilst I was walking. It is worryingly easy to see how the death toll of pedestrians due to “lack of attention” has risen by 13% since 2013, I’d say about 95% of people were, in some way, using their phone. Be it talking on it, texting, reading maps, listening to music…there is no escaping how dependant we are on our devices. A terrifying 72% of drivers have claimed to have seen pedestrians step directly into to the road without looking when distracted by their phone – something which has prompted the city of Honolulu in Hawaiito introduce a new law this October banning pedestrians from crossing the road whilst looking at their mobile phone or texting.

Unfortunately, there are those that see this as an opportunity – “Moped Muggings” are now a hugely real threat. In one week alone, there were 20 mobile phones stolen in this manner in one square mile in Central London, which equates to a 600% increase in just two years. I always try to put my phone away whilst walking, more than anything because of how frustrated I get when people get in my way due to being distracted by their phone, but the above stats really cement just how dangerous it actually is, both to your health and your wallet!

With brunch having passed without incident, I again used contactless to cover my half (if I wasn’t driving later that day, it would have posed an issue as I’m not sure Prosecco would have fallen into the contactless limit!). Back to Balham I went to continue my day…

Problem number 3…unlocking the car in preparation for the afore-mentioned driving. Whilst I love our little Corsa 1.4l (affectionately named Claude), modern, it is not! So, cue husband stepping up to do the driving, whilst I angrily tap away researching mobile activated cars! Probably quite rightly, given the dangerous implications of using phones in cars, there appears to be no widely recognised “mobile car” solution yet. In fact, it seems quite the opposite is happening, to the point that the government are currently considering blocking technology so mobile phones become effectively useless in moving cars as a preventative measure.

That being said, there is huge opportunity for tying in the functions of a phone with your car for customer benefit. A shameless plug but our very own o2 Drive does just that – your car insurance quote is based on how and where you actually drive, as opposed to aggregated statistics which may group you with the dangerous speed-demon of the same age with the same car living next door! For example, it identifies if you drive through black spots regularly by looking at your GPS movements, and can evaluate whether you are a smooth driver, or one who accelerates and decelerates quickly. Both of these factors are key indicators of driver safety, which in turn, impacts your insurance premium.

You can also use your smart phone as a dashcam to ensure any unfortunate incidents are caught on camera, as well as obviously using it to stream your favourite music and turning your map app into a SatNav. There is definitely a vital place for your mobile in your car, as long as you ensure you’re not using it in any way for its core functionalities; calling and texting.

Trip to the supermarket completed, we took to the sofa, where me and my phone came into our own. Not only did I order the Saturday night take-away through my trusty app (I’m far from alone in doing this, nearly 40% of people use a takeaway app to order and pay for their food rather than calling or paying in cash), but I also used my phone to mirror multiple episodes of The Office onto the TV, and stream my Spotify account when we were done watching TV.

And thus, I got to the end of my day with just my phone. It’s safe to say we are definitely in a mobile-first world, and that will only continue to develop. Whilst it was definitely possible to survive with just my phone, I wouldn’t say it was ideal. I missed having my favourite handbag, I was lost without my umbrella when it started raining (turns out an iPhone 7 offers little to no protection from London’s inclement weather), and the lack of debit card (or rather limit on my contactless payments) definitely posed some problems.

With my advertising and sales hat on, it did open my eyes to the huge opportunity there is to follow your customer through all walks of their day, become part of their lives, influence their decisions…at every turn, we rely on our mobiles for so much, something which is a hugely powerful opportunity.

In weighing up the choice of having NO phone or having JUST a phone, I would definitely still pick the latter, but as of today, there is certainly a middle ground that should recognised and appreciated!

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