How long would it take you to realise you’ve lost your mobile phone?

Mobile-phone

I reckon it would take me about 30 seconds to realise my iPhone was missing from my pocket, but other mobile users can take up to 15 minutes to notice they’ve lost their phone and 61% would within the hour. I guess I’m a little more paranoid because I rely on my phone for almost everything, from work duties to managing the very little social time I have as a result of running a small business and being chauffeur to my 5-year-old son.

Researchers with YouGov – the company that carried out the survey of almost 2,000 people on behalf of SecurEnvoy – found that men would notice their phones had gone much quicker than women (40% male vs 29% female mobile phone owners would notice within 15 minutes) with a marked difference between age groups.

According to the survey, which was carried out in early March, younger mobile phone owners are far more likely to notice their phone had gone missing sooner with 28% of aged 18-24, saying they would notice their mobile going walkabout within 5 minutes of losing it, a time-span that tends to fall through the age groups to 13% in the 55-plus age range.

Those who have never been married think they would be far likelier to notice their phone had gone within 5 minutes (26%) when compared with those who are married (13%).

“What these figures suggest ”, says Steve Watts, Co-founder of SecurEnvoy, “is that mobile phones have become part of the national psyche, with people carrying them around much in the same way as they carry their wallets and purses.”

Watts continues, “the clear trend is that the younger a person is – and the more steeped in the digital culture they are – the more use and awareness they have of their mobile handset, resulting in mental alarm bells ringing if they find their prize possession missing, for whatever reason.

“Our observations here at SecurEnvoy suggest that the volume of data carried on the modern mobile – which may also be a smartphone – in the form of contacts, text plus picture messages, and the `life’ of its owner, is steadily rising,” he added, ‘we focus and care for one device and take more care of it’.

Coupled with the fact that a growing number of people are using their mobile handsets for everything from paying for their car parking (RingGo), authenticating their computers, building up their weekly home grocery shopping list (Tesco) and carrying out mobile internet plus voice-driven electronic banking, it’s clear that people love their mobiles and value them.

Watts continues: “Phones are therefore a great business enabler, reliable enough to be used even as a secure business tool, providing the likes of two factor authentication. Employers can now be assured that their workers can access vital information remotely, sending SMS authentication codes to their phones which if lost can be reported back within minutes. Additionally, since the RSA breach this month, we have seen a huge spike in demand for SMS two factor authentication over the phone as an alternative to the RSA solution which uses outmoded technology such as tokens which often when lost don’t get reported for at least 48 hours.”

Watts went on to say that, “as society continues down the path of the electronic revolution, and today’s young teenagers become tomorrow’s adults, this trend can only accelerate.”

And with lower-cost smartphones from Android vendors already available, and the promise of budget versions of the iPhone coming down the technology turnpike, Watts predicts that mobile phones will increase in importance in our everyday lives.

“Mobile phones are now being used as multi-functional devices. The range of features on today’s smartphones, driven by apps and other non-voice facilities, means that it won’t be long before we start using the mobile phone for an ever-increasing range of services,” he said.

“The time will come when we will open our cars, access our front doors and office premises, all using our mobiles. We are only just beginning to scratch the surface of multiple functions, largely owing to the immense flexibility that the modern cellular handset now offers people of all ages and classes,” he concluded.

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Christian Harris is editor and publisher of BCW. Christian has over 20 years' publishing experience and in that time has contributed to most major IT magazines and Web sites in the UK. He launched BCW in 2009 as he felt there was a need for honest and personal commentary on a wide range of business computing issues. Christian has a BA (Hons) in Publishing from the London College of Communication.