Ericsson study: Smartphone users expect wireless tech to relieve traffic headaches

TOKYO--Automobile traffic is a huge problem in most major cities in the world, and smartphone users in those cities think that wireless operators will be instrumental in easing traffic congestion as well as resolving other issues that plague city dwellers.

In a study released today by Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) ConsumerLab and discussed in-depth here at the Ericsson Business Innovation Forum media event, Michael Bjorn, head of research at Ericsson ConsumerLab, said that demand for new communications and information technologies has the potential to dramatically alter city life by 2016.

The study, which surveyed 7,500 iPhone and Android smartphone users between ages 15 and 69 in Sao Paolo, Beijing, New York, London and Tokyo, queried consumers about 18 new services relating to important aspects of city life. The study also asked smartphone users about areas of their life that they were most satisfied with and least satisfied with.

Not surprisingly, the three main areas where city dwellers are most dissatisfied are in traffic, child/elderly care and communications with city authorities. And in most of those cases, those surveyed believe that services to alleviate these problems will be available in a limited amount within a year and to the mass market within three years.

Regarding automobile traffic issues, 47 percent of those surveyed said that they were interested in a personal navigator system for help with driving as well as walking. Approximately 40 percent of those surveyed said they would use such a service every day. Likewise 47 percent of those queried said they would use a self-driving or self-parking car and 40 percent said they would use that service every day.

Although wireless operators may not always be the driver of the solutions, Bjorn said that in most cases wireless and Internet companies were seen as being able to help deliver the services to the consumer. For example, 47 percent of those surveyed said they expect mobile operators to enable a personal navigation concept. In fact, out of all 18 concepts that Ericsson presented to the survey takers, the personal navigation concept was considered the biggest opportunity to wireless carriers.

Not surprisingly, car makers were viewed as being the source of such services as self-parking cars or self-driving cars.

For more:
- see this release

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