What is Your Smartphone Worth?

By Stephanie Blanchard, Assistant Editor — May 22, 2013

If you always had an inkling that your new smartphone is not just cool, but an efficient, money saving tool, here comes the concrete number: $12,000. That’s how much a user can save annually, according to a survey by Harris Interactive, on behalf of ClickSoftware.

How is that figure derived? By using apps, smartphone owners can save up to 88 minutes a day. This adds up to 22 days over the course of a year. The Social Security Administration lists the average annual wage at $45,790, ($22 per hour based on a 40-hour work week.) So, multiply that by 535 hours per year and the value is $11,777.

ClickSoftware, a provider of automated mobile workforce management and enterprise mobility solutions, believes this amount can actually be much higher for individuals in certain sectors, especially ones that rely on mobility.

“Those who use mobile devices for work are increasing productivity,” said Mike Karlskind, Vice President of Product Marketing, ClickSoftware, in an interview with Mobile Enterprise. “But even those who are not mobile workers are still getting value.” (However, if an individual decides to keep work and personal completely separate, it will not be as much, he noted.)

In addition to interesting stats, the recent smartphone survey provides a defined value on the part of end-users – $12,000 in annual savings. “We usually see this on the business side,” Karlskind said, adding that personal apps are normally viewed as convenient and fun, but rarely associated with an actual amount. “As the BYOD trend continues and strengthens, if we tie consumer app to business usage, it will result in much greater quantifiable value for both the individual and the enterprise.”

Apps for This and That
How do apps save time, and by extension, money? By automating the process, any process. Take something as simple as directions. Going old school, a person trying to locate an address would perhaps take out a map. After the advent of online, that same person would type in the address into a search engine and print out multi-page directions. With GPS, results are immediate and instructions given turn by turn, in real time.

The survey showed that men (17%) are more likely than women (10%) to use GPS apps but for all those who do, more than half (59%) think they are extremely or very productive as a result. More than just perception, however, 72% said GPS saves them up to 30 minutes per day, in contrast to the old ways of doing things - referring to a paper map.

Survey Says
Participants in the poll use at least one of 16 different apps, with email and text topping the list. Social networking came in third, followed by games and web browsing. Those ages 35 and older are more likely to use weather apps while the 18-34 crowd frequent social networking sites more often.

Email and GPS use is split between work and personal, with about one in five saying they use these for mostly work use, and one third employing them equally for both work and personal use. In addition, one in five email app users believe they are “extremely productive” when using mobile email on their smartphone.

Also of interest: 79% of smartphone owners save up to an hour per day by using weather apps. How can that be? Well, maybe these individuals are prepared for bad traffic due to inclement weather and either leave earlier for work or take alternate routes. Or maybe, they find the umbrella in advance, instead of running back home after getting soaked by rain.

Not There Yet
While smartphone owners reported feeling productive when they use apps, the survey also revealed a majority (82%) feel they are not using all of their phones’ features and apps to the fullest. In any case, enterprises are taking a cue from end-users, with the trend of consumer-style apps for business processes.

“When we talk about the consumerization of it, the complaints come if mobile applications don’t work as good as personal ones,” Karlskind said. The same can be said for usability - it has to be easy, or employees become frustrated. And going further, on top of simplicity, apps should be tied together in a workflow, running interactively.

That is because the expectation of apps is going from automation to anticipation, said Karlskind said. Schedule a sales appointment on the calendar, for example, and directions are generated, along with a reminder to bring product samples. A call is scheduled to confirm the appointment. By the way, while you’re in the metropolitan area, here’s another two or three customers in the same vicinity that you should visit. If you park at this location, it’s conveniently located for all three appointments. And here’s a lunch recommendation for a few highly rated restaurants.

“I want it to anticipate my needs and be intelligent and act on my behalf,” Karlskind concluded. “If that is a restaurant I like, go ahead and make the reservation. It’s where the world is at now. It’s the acceptance of artificial intelligence. It’s in the mainstream, in the pop culture, and it makes it part of the daily expectation.”

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