Smartphones – Expect Innovation in Decision Support

A recent study released by Pew Research shows the ownership of smartphones in the US has continued to increase over all other forms of personal electronic device. “Today, 68% of U.S. adults have a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011.” Also, “tablet computer ownership has edged up to 45% among adults”, as compared to 3% five years ago.

At the same time, personal computers have stayed at about the same level of ownership, meaning that relatively speaking, the use of small mobile devices has grown relative to computers.

Indeed, research shows that the use of smartphones and tablets for accessing the internet far exceeds the use of computers for that purpose. At a time when a growing percentage of data available to people now resides in the cloud, this is a significant trend. It means that decisions are increasingly made by people getting their data from the cloud through the use of smartphones.

Smartphones and tablets are very different from computers in important respects. Obviously, they have very small screens compared to computers, which means that websites need to be formatted so they can be read on those smaller screens. The best way to accomplish this is to have the websites prepared using ‘responsive design’, under which the website detects the type of device attempting to access it and presents the data in a format that is suitable for that device. Many organizations are using this technique to present information.

Another major difference between mobile personal devices and laptops is in that the former have less computing power than laptops or other computers. That means that people who must use data for more complex decision making must either use a computer to do the analysis or else, if they are using a smartphone, have access to online tools that will interact with a smartphone. Or else, they need apps that incorporate online analytical capability.

In certain fields, online analytical capability is getting richer. Certainly the power of smartphone apps is growing considerably.

As an example, most companies present their investor relations information in a special section of their website. Some present this information using responsive design. Some others, far fewer at this point, make available IR apps for smartphones. The apps format key information for the smartphones and in some cases make available online analytical capabilities through those apps.

Investment decisions can be complex decisions and is an area where a great deal of innovation is going to happen over the next few years to reflect the growing use of smartphones in making decisions. Watch for a lot more apps and a lot more analytical capability where investors can select the data that is needed for their decisions and analyze it on their smartphones.