Cisco Survey: Net as Important as Air We Breathe

By Chris Talbot  |  Print this article Print

Internet access is as important as the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink, according to a new survey of college students and young adults commissioned by Cisco. Here's what else they said.

Priorities and the way technology has certainly changed, even in the last several years. According to a new study from Cisco Systems, one in three college students and young employees around the world believe the Internet is a fundamental to their survival as the air they breathe, the food they eat, the water in their beer, and the shelter for their parties.

The "2011 Cisco Connected Technology World Report" marks the second annual study from the networking giant, and this year’s study puts a microscope on the relationship between human behavior, the Internet and networking’s pervasiveness. The study’s findings will be released in three parts (parts two and three will follow in November and December, respectively).

One of the key findings of the global study is that 33 percent of college students and young employees said they believe the Internet is as fundamental a resource as air, water, food and shelter. Additionally, 49 percent of college students and 47 percent of young employees said they believe the Internet is "pretty close" to the level of importance of the things that actually keep us alive and comfortable. Combined, four of every five college students and young employees believe the Internet is vitally important, and 55 percent of college students and 62 percent of young employees said they couldn’t live without the Internet.

In fact, 64 percent of students said if they were forced to choose between a car and Internet access, they’d learn to take the bus. The Internet is even more important than dating, going out with friends or listening to music, according to 40 percent of students surveyed.

What this means, according to Cisco, is continued change in the dynamic between people and their employees. The up-and-coming generation of workers expects more Internet connectivity than past generations.

"As we move more into the employment world, the use case behind Internet is certainly changing, and we sometimes use Internet on a generic basis to refer to a lot of generic activities we’re performing over the network," said Scott Gainey, director in wireless mobility group, product marketing.

Although it may appear that social interactions are disappearing, they’re actually shifting to the digital world. There is an incredible shift to online interaction in the next generation. One in four (27 percent) of college students admitted that staying up to date on Facebook was more important than partying, dating, listening to music or hanging out with friends.