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Comment | How much is technology consuming you?

Mark Hansford

Technology is relentlessly consuming more and more of our time both at work and at home. But how much, and how fast? We want to find out.

Fifteen million UK internet users have undertaken a “digital detox” in a bid to strike a healthier balance between technology and life beyond the screen.

So reveals Ofcom’s Communications Market Report 2016, published this month. It finds that one in three adult internet users (34%), equivalent to 15 million people in the UK, has sought a period of time offline, with one in ten (11%) doing so in the last week alone.

Ofcom’s report shows that faster internet access is more widely available than ever before, with take-up of superfast broadband2 and 4G on the increase.

And with people better connected than ever before, they can spend more time doing what they love online – such as watching the latest on-demand series, or chatting with friends and family via instant messaging services, both of which have seen a recent surge in popularity.

Three in four internet users (75%) consider the web ‘important’ to their daily lives. Nearly eight in 10 (78%) agree it helps keep them up-to-date about current affairs and social issues, while almost two thirds (63%) credit it with inspiring them to try new things such as travel destinations, restaurants, recipes or entertainment.

As a result of the internet’s importance in many people’s daily lives, adult users in the UK currently spend an average of one day per week (25 hours) online; 42% say they go online or check apps more than 10 times a day, while around one in 10 (11%) access the internet more than 50 times daily.

Most internet users (59%) even consider themselves ‘hooked’ on their connected device – while a third (34%) admit they find it difficult to disconnect.

That’s the general population. But what about us engineers?

We know technology is increasingly part of our professional lives. Indeed, New Civil Engineer relaunched in January this year by asking the question how we as an industry can deliver differently by making better use of emerging technology.

Continuing this theme, we’ve now teamed up with Bentley Systems to research our industry’s readiness to exploit and embrace emerging technologies.

So to do that, we need your help. We want to know about you – how you consume technology and how it is impacting on your work and your lifestyle.

To do that we’ve created a survey. It’s 40 questions, and should take no more than five to 10 minutes to complete. We would really appreciate your time in filling it in. Click here for the link.

Our findings will be revealed at Bentley’s Year in Infrastructure 2016 conference in London this November and published in New Civil Engineer in December. It make interesting reading.

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