Survey highlights need for wireless security to keep pace with today's mobile technology

photo by Slavoljub Pantelic, ShutterstockInhance Technology commissioned iReach Insights to conduct a comparative survey of 2,000 mobile users in the US and UK; the surprise was not so much the differences but similarities in attitudes.

The headline story is that US users (27 percent) are more worried than 12 months ago than their UK counterparts (21 percent) about being mugged for their device. However, from a mobile security perspective, the more interesting data is contained in the body of the research.

The study emphasises that these days users’ lives are very much wrapped up in the content of their device. This reveals not only consumer attitudes to buying wireless security warranties but the age group and gender most interested.

Despite the high cost of today’s sophisticated smartphones and tablets, three quarters of US consumers believe that the content on their mobile device is as valuable as the phone or tablet itself. US females (77 percent) in particular value their content more than males (72 percent). And a significant 80 percent of those aged 18-34 and 35-54 believe that content is as important as the device itself.

There are two implications of this for the industry. 1) With the right product retailers and providers are pushing an open door in terms of the added-value warranty sale and 2) The days of selling a warranty that covers the device only and not content are numbered.

In many cases retailers are still offering outdated warranties, which were relevant to the entry-level function phone -- not to today’s extra-smart devices. Basic warranties have not kept pace with technology advances or indeed consumer needs.

Table A shows that US consumers are almost equally as worried about their content falling into the wrong hands (29 percent) as they are about the replacement cost (30 percent). 70 percent have worries other than replacement cost, which reflects the fact that they are carrying their lives in their pocket from sensitive email to contact information and critical ID data.

Table A:

Inhance Table A

The research finds that over half (52 percent) of US consumers are more likely to buy mobile device insurance if it includes an app to protect content. And almost a quarter (24 percent) are much more likely to buy insurance if it includes this option. It is significant from an industry perspective that 62 percent of young adults (18-34) are most likely to buy mobile device insurance if it includes a security app. See Table B.

Table B:

Inhance Table B

The survey suggests that users are increasingly open to advanced warranty programs. Next generation warranties provide users with the ability to immediately lock the device (including by sending an SMS from a friend’s phone), locate the device in real-time, capture a picture of the potential thief, sound an alarm to deter a potential thief, wipe important data plus incorporate malware protection and back-up of contacts.

There are benefits too for the retailer and carrier in providing advanced warranty programs. For example, next generation warranties have been shown to boost consumer loyalty and reduce churn. They also include back office facilities that help to combat fraud.

The research is good news for those providers that can adapt to the wishes of today’s smart consumer.

Photo Credits: Slavoljub Pantelic/Shutterstock

2. Paul Prendergast, CEO, Inhance TechnologyPaul Prendergast is CEO and co-founder of wireless warranty specialist Inhance Technology (www.inhancetechnology.com).

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