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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.