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September 14, 2015updated 17 Oct 2016 11:55am

Getting ahead of yourself

By Guy Clapperton

This morning I was speaking about technology on BBC Radio Leicester – always nice to be invited – and the fact that Facebook has claimed to have one billion users on a single day. What struck me was that seven billion people are in the world – which means that on Monday 24 August, a pretty substantial majority, 85.71%, didn’t.

This led me to thinking about the number of briefings I’ve attended that suggest “everybody has a smartphone” or worse, “everybody runs their business in the cloud”.

It’s what we might call “marketer’s syndrome”, in which the people trying to build the market end up believing that because they’re writing about it, it must be happening universally. The reverse is very often true. In the same way that “everybody is on Facebook” is only true of 14.29% of the world, there are all sorts of assumptions about this “everybody” that has a mobile device. (This is that odd sort of “mobile” in which an extremely portable laptop isn’t mobile at all because it has the wrong operating system – look, I don’t make the rules!)

None of this would matter if the professional journals and websites weren’t making these assumptions. So you want to go through a BYOD process? No problem, “everybody” will have a smartphone. Except, “everybody” might not be all that au fait with how to use every function on a smartphone (techno folk aside, you’d be surprised how many people use a fraction of their phone) and they may not quite trust the cloud.

So when we journalists talk about hybrid delivered solutions, converged equipment and the cloud, never forget that we’re repeating what we’ve heard from the converted. And the converted may not represent the actual users and the business case you’ll need to make to them.

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