Update on the Mobile Internet in-depth study

Final reports from the in-depth studies will be released soon. In the meantime, here is a quick update from the Mobile Internet study. The Mobile Internet study explored the interplay between mobile phones, particularly mobile Internet, and public access venues in South Africa. Are mobile phones and mobile Internet making public access venues obsolete? Are they competition for public access venues? Or do users use their mobile phones and Internet in conjunction with public access venues?

Through venue operator interviews, user focus groups, and surveys, Principal Investigators, Jonathan Donner and Marion Walton, have found that mobile Internet can be co-present with public access venues. Meaning that users that have mobile Internet use mobiles for some things and public access computers for others. For example, users may be more likely to use their mobile phones for staying in touch with their friends and family over chat and social networking applications, while they tend to use public access venues for multi-tasking, document creation (such as Microsoft Word), and Internet searching.

Jonathan and Marion recently presented their findings at a workshop with library and cybercafe staff in South Africa, as well as the mobile pre-conference at the 2012 International Communications Association conference in Arizona. Materials from the workshop will be made available later this summer.

Stay tuned for the in-depth study final reports, as well as other resources and posts about findings from the in-depth studies.