It seems 82 percent of the UK’s Gen Y workers check their smartphones for updates in e-mail, texts, and social media sites, often before they get out of bed, according to the 2012 Cisco Connected World Technology Report (CCWTR). There are 206 bones in the human body, and the smartphone could plausibly be considered the 207th for Gen Y.

Based on a survey conducted by InsightExpress of college students and young professionals aged 18 to 30 across the UK, the report examines how Generation Y uses the Internet and mobile devices to connect with the world around them. The report reveals their behaviour and attitudes about the creation, access and privacy of the enormous amounts of data being generated daily by smartphones, sensors, video cameras, monitors, and other connected devices.

At the heart of this year’s study is the smartphone – considered by Generation Y to be so indispensable that more than two out of five said they “would feel anxious, like part of me is missing,” if they couldn’t use it. Reliance on mobile connectivity is baked into their DNA. Tablets, laptops, and especially smartphones are the way Millennials stay connected across their networks and across the world.

Mobile devices are just the beginning. As more and more devices, sensors, basketball shoes, crops, animals and other living things connect to the Internet, the volume and potential value of all the data generated by those connections grows exponentially. Cisco believes that in the near future, people and businesses will take more advantage of communication between devices to deliver services and applications and make decisions in real time.

UK specific highlights

  • 66% of respondents in the UK feel smartphone apps are important to daily life
  • 68% in the UK use between 1 to 9 apps regularly each day
  • 77% of those surveyed in the UK ignore IT policies for company-owned devices
  • 79% in the UK believe people have different online and offline identities
  • 76% in the UK compulsively check their smartphones for updates
  • 81% in the UK wish they didn’t feel so compelled to check their smartphones constantly
  • Facebook, the global phonebook – 95% of those surveyed in the UK have a Facebook account

Ian Foddering, CTO & technical director at Cisco UKI, said: “The third annual Cisco Connected World Technology Report highlights the changing nature of human connections through the use of technology and also examines the enormous amounts of data being created, stored, and shared by average young people every day.

“The report provides insight into the present-day challenges that companies face as they strive to balance security needs with the habits of the next generation of workers, who are blending work and social life by being constantly connected. These findings illustrate how important the Internet and networks are to the next generation of workers through their reliance on smartphones, laptops, tablets and other mobile devices. As such, Generation Y workers are stretching and blending the boundaries of work, family, and social life.”