Is The Future Really Always-On?

The term "always on" (AO) has been much touted - it is taken for granted that it will be a necessary part of any service, and a requisite to having a competitive product offering. This chapter takes a look at consumer focus groups, which attempted to indentify the user's understanding and desire for AO services, to determine whether AO is really as necessary as manufacturers seem to assume it will be.

One caveat: the focus groups studied were in Europe: Spain, Finland, UK, France, Sweden, and Italy.

Common findings were:

The primary benefits of AO were expected to be:

There are a number of other findings detailed that are specific to a group or a purpose - quite extensive, but not of immediate interest.

EN: I don't think there can be a general "rule" about AO. You must consider the nature of the particular device and the corresponding behavior of the consumer to come to a decision of whether the device should be "always on" or can be switched on when needed, taking into account whether it is feasible for the device to "boot" quickly enough for the user's liking. If you overestimate the need, you will add cost and complexity to a product. If you underestimate, the user will be frustrated and turn to a different model which provides a faster startup time. It's an important consideration - but again, no conclusion is going to be "right" for all devices and all consumers.