TORONTO More than one-third of workers would choose their mobile phone over their wallet, keys, laptop or digital music player if they had to leave the house for 24 hours and could take only one item, a new survey has found.
The survey, conducted by market research firm IDC and sponsored by Nortel Networks Corp NT.TO NT.N, found that while more than 38 percent of the 2,367 people polled chose their mobile phones, less than 30 percent chose their wallets first.
Through the survey, Nortel -- North America's biggest maker of telephone gear -- was looking to find out how many workers around the world can be defined as "hyperconnected," or as those who have fully embraced multiple devices like cellphones and laptops, as well as applications like e-mail or social networking sites like Facebook.
The answer: 16 percent, and growing.
The survey classified the hyperconnected worker as someone who uses at least seven devices for work and personal access, in addition to at least nine applications like instant messaging, text messaging or web conferencing.
The country with the highest percentage of hyperconnected respondents in the study was China. Canada and the United Arab Emirates had the fewest number among the 17 countries covered in the survey.
The survey also predicts the number of the hyperconnected will likely rise to 40 percent in five years. That could bode well for Toronto-based Nortel, which has bet heavily on the hope that as bandwidth and network demand soar with more devices connecting to the Internet, so too will demand for the network technologies it makes.
The group of hard-core communications users is followed by a larger subset -- 36 percent of respondents -- designated as "increasingly connected," the study states. These workers use a minimum of four devices and six applications.
However, the hope for a flood of new devices going online have yet to translate into a more robust bottom line for Nortel, which has struggled since the technology bubble burst earlier this decade.
The company predicts revenue growth for the year will be in the low single digits. It also announced 2,100 new job cuts in February, on top of the thousands it has slashed since 2001.
It estimates it could be years before some of the newer technologies it has designed will find big markets. Meantime, competition is fierce as low-cost Asian vendors like Huawei Technologies muscle in for market share.
Nortel shares were down 30 Canadian cents to C$7.90 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. In March, they slumped to C$6.45. Adjusted to take account of a stock consolidation in late 2006, it was a low not seen since 1981.
(Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Rob Wilson)