8 June 2007

The Economist features work by Swisscom anthropologist Stefana Broadbent

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The Economist on Stefana Broadbent
The Economist published an article today on anthropologists who are investigating the use of communications technology and particularly on the sometimes surprising conclusions coming from Swisscom anthropologist Stefana Broadbent.

“Stefana Broadbent, an anthropologist who leads the User Adoption Lab at Swisscom, Switzerland’s largest telecoms operator, has been looking at usage patterns associated with different communications technologies. She and her team based their research on observation, interviews, surveys of users’ homes and asking people to keep logbooks of their communications usage in several European countries. Some of their findings are quite unexpected.”

The article, which was written by Bruno Giussani, features six of Stefana’s interesting research results:

  • A typical user spends 80% of his or her time communicating with just four other people.
  • People are using different communications technologies (fixed-line calls, mobile calls, texting, IM, VOiP) in distinct and divergent ways.
  • There is a flattening in voice communication and an increase in written channels.
  • Instead of work invading private life, private communications are invading the workplace.
  • People generally do not work while on the move: hotel rooms and airports are not seen as an appropriate environment for substantive work and are mainly used for e-mail.
  • Migrants are the most advanced users of communications technology.

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