Digital Omnivores & How They Are Changing Consumption

Very interesting report from comScore, published this month, entitled Digital Omnivores: How Tablets, Smartphones and Connected Devices are Changing U.S. Digital Media Consumption Habits. If you hadn’t already figured out that mobile / tablet usage was driving the Internet, this report should fully inform of that fact. Digital omnivores is the term comScore uses to distinguish modern consumers of a vast variety of digital content across a number of different devices from traditional users who interact solely with their desktop or laptop computer. Contrary to the impression created by the title, the report discusses device usage in markets other than the U.S. Across the markets queried, web traffic from non-computer devices ranged from 5 to over 7%. Devices include mobile phones, tablets, gaming consoles and media players.

There are many interesting findings, and I encourage you to peruse the report. I found particularly interesting the fact that the iOS platform has the largest share of connected devices and smartphones in use in the U.S. and accounts for the largest share of Internet traffic in the U.S. Main uses include consuming news, communicating and engaging in real-time social networking. Mobile devices are being used to purchase goods and services, play games, listen to music, check the weather, and search the Internet.

I think the big message is for device manufacturers and content providers. The better these devices get, the more responsive and slick applications become, the more consumers will move from the traditional desktop / laptop experience to the mobile experience. Content providers will need to craft their presentation to meet the needs of many different devices and the casual, fairly constant engagement of consumers with those devices. Content will need to be fresh and easily accessible. This applies to content creation tools as well – the more familiar users become with these “unusual” interfaces, the more willing they will be to push the usage boundaries on these devices.

I regularly use desktops, laptops, Android & iOS based smartphones and tablets, and find I am very comfortable across all of these platforms. And I am by no means a digital native. It will be interesting to see how devices change to meet the changing usage patterns and user needs, particularly as the younger generation adapts and innovates. Digital omnivores? There is no question about it.




Silence In The Court! And Leave Your Blackberry At The Door

Fascinating approach to maintaining security in the Southern District of New York: prohibit bringing electronic devices, including laptops and cell phones into the courtroom without prior court approval. reports on the interim rule and resulting outcry here.

Apparently, the interim rule was put in place around the time of Bernie Madoff’s sentencing on June 29, at which a woman attempted to surreptitiously record the proceedings. The Southern District hastily put the rule in place, citing physical security concerns (i.e. bombs in laptops) and concerns about attempts to circumvent rules preventing live broadcasting of court proceedings.

Attorneys in the Southern District are, understandbly, upset. Representatives of interested Bar groups are planning on attendnig a July 29 hearing on the rules intended to address whether the bans should be made permanent or whether such devices may be permitted subject to restrictions.

The interim rule, known as Local Rule 1.8, presently prohibits anyone other than court personnel or federal prosecutors and defenders from bringing in the devices without prior written permission from a judge. Judges, sensitive to the concerns of attorneys practicing in their courts, are signing blanket orders permitting them to bring their phones, laptops, PDA’s and other gadgets through security and into the courtrooms.

Attorneys are sensitive to the court’s concerns, as well, which are somewhat heightened in the Southern District. Nonetheless, members of the Bar are imploring the court to consider that these devices have become integral to the practice of law both within and beyond the courtroom walls. Computers are used for organizing data and presenting evidence. PDAs and smartphones keep attorneys connected with their offices while in court. Heck, you can even look up the IRC on your iPhone in a pinch if need be. There is little doubt that the implications of the court’s rule could be significant on those attorneys practicing under their weight.

The Southern District appears to be the only court in the country  imposing such an outright ban without prior approval. It will be interesting to learn the results of the upcoming hearing and whether this rather Draconian measure will remain intact.

You can read the text of the rule here.