A Vision for Happier Cities

Post by at the Huffington Post:“…Governments such as Bhutan and Venezuela are creating departments of happiness, and in both the US and UK, ‘nudge’ teams have been set up to focus on behavioral psychology. This gets more interesting when we bring in urban planning and neuroscience research, which shows that community aesthetics are a key contributor to our happiness at the same time positive emotions can change our thoughts, and lead to changes in our behaviors.
It was only after moving to New York City that I realized all my experiences… painting, advising executive boards, creative workshops, statistics and writing books about organizational change…gave me a unique set of tools to create the Dept. of Well Being and start a global social impact initiative, which is powered by public art installations entitled Happy Street Signs™.
New York City got the first Happy Street Signs last November. I used my paintings containing positive phrases like “Honk Less Love More” and “New York Loves You” to manufacture 200 government-specification street signs. They were then installed by a team of fifty volunteers around Manhattan and Brooklyn in 90 minutes. Whilst it was unofficial, the objective was to generate smiles for New Yorkers and then survey reactions. We got clipboards out and asked over 600 New Yorkers if they liked the Happy Street Signs and if they wanted more: 92.5 percent of those people said yes!…”

#OpenGovNow: Open Government and how it benefits you

#OpenGovNow:  “Open Governments are built on two things: information and participation. A government that is open, actively discloses information about what it does with its money and resources in a way that all citizens can understand. Equally important, an Open Government is one that actively involves all citizens to be participants in government decision-making. This two-way relationship between citizens and governments, in which governments and citizens share information with one another and work together, is the foundation of Open Government….

Why should I care?

The water that you drink, the public schools that children go to, the roads that you use every day: governments make those a reality. Governments and what they do affect each and every one of us. How governments operate and how they spend scarce public resources have a direct impact on our everyday lives and the future of our communities. For instance, it is estimated that $9.5 trillion US dollars are spent by governments all over the world through contracts — therefore you have a role to play in making sure that your share in that public money is not lost, stolen, or misused….
The Global Opening Government Survey was conducted as a response to the growing demand to better understand citizens’ views on the current state and the potential impact of openness. Using the innovative “random domain intercept technology,” the survey was based on a brief questionnaire and collected complete responses from over 65,000 web-enabled individuals in the first 61 member countries of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) plus India. The survey methodology, as any other, has its advantages and its limitations. More details about the methodology can be found in the Additional Resources section of this page..

Mapping the Next Frontier of Open Data: Corporate Data Sharing

Stefaan Verhulst at the GovLab (cross-posted at the UN Global Pulse Blog): “When it comes to data, we are living in the Cambrian Age. About ninety percent of the data that exists today has been generated within the last two years. We create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data on a daily basis—equivalent to a “new Google every four days.”
All of this means that we are certain to witness a rapid intensification in the process of “datafication”– already well underway. Use of data will grow increasingly critical. Data will confer strategic advantages; it will become essential to addressing many of our most important social, economic and political challenges.
This explains–at least in large part–why the Open Data movement has grown so rapidly in recent years. More and more, it has become evident that questions surrounding data access and use are emerging as one of the transformational opportunities of our time.
Today, it is estimated that over one million datasets have been made open or public. The vast majority of this open data is government data—information collected by agencies and departments in countries as varied as India, Uganda and the United States. But what of the terabyte after terabyte of data that is collected and stored by corporations? This data is also quite valuable, but it has been harder to access.
The topic of private sector data sharing was the focus of a recent conference organized by the Responsible Data Forum, Data and Society Research Institute and Global Pulse (see event summary). Participants at the conference, which was hosted by The Rockefeller Foundation in New York City, included representatives from a variety of sectors who converged to discuss ways to improve access to private data; the data held by private entities and corporations. The purpose for that access was rooted in a broad recognition that private data has the potential to foster much public good. At the same time, a variety of constraints—notably privacy and security, but also proprietary interests and data protectionism on the part of some companies—hold back this potential.
The framing for issues surrounding sharing private data has been broadly referred to under the rubric of “corporate data philanthropy.” The term refers to an emerging trend whereby companies have started sharing anonymized and aggregated data with third-party users who can then look for patterns or otherwise analyze the data in ways that lead to policy insights and other public good. The term was coined at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, in 2011, and has gained wider currency through Global Pulse, a United Nations data project that has popularized the notion of a global “data commons.”
Although still far from prevalent, some examples of corporate data sharing exist….

Help us map the field

A more comprehensive mapping of the field of corporate data sharing would draw on a wide range of case studies and examples to identify opportunities and gaps, and to inspire more corporations to allow access to their data (consider, for instance, the GovLab Open Data 500 mapping for open government data) . From a research point of view, the following questions would be important to ask:

  • What types of data sharing have proven most successful, and which ones least?
  • Who are the users of corporate shared data, and for what purposes?
  • What conditions encourage companies to share, and what are the concerns that prevent sharing?
  • What incentives can be created (economic, regulatory, etc.) to encourage corporate data philanthropy?
  • What differences (if any) exist between shared government data and shared private sector data?
  • What steps need to be taken to minimize potential harms (e.g., to privacy and security) when sharing data?
  • What’s the value created from using shared private data?

We (the GovLab; Global Pulse; and Data & Society) welcome your input to add to this list of questions, or to help us answer them by providing case studies and examples of corporate data philanthropy. Please add your examples below, use our Google Form or email them to us at corporatedata@thegovlab.org”

Bridging the Knowledge Gap: In Search of Expertise

New paper by Beth Simone Noveck, The GovLab, for Democracy: “In the early 2000s, the Air Force struggled with a problem: Pilots and civilians were dying because of unusual soil and dirt conditions in Afghanistan. The soil was getting into the rotors of the Sikorsky UH-60 helicopters and obscuring the view of its pilots—what the military calls a “brownout.” According to the Air Force’s senior design scientist, the manager tasked with solving the problem didn’t know where to turn quickly to get help. As it turns out, the man practically sitting across from him had nine years of experience flying these Black Hawk helicopters in the field, but the manager had no way of knowing that. Civil service titles such as director and assistant director reveal little about skills or experience.
In the fall of 2008, the Air Force sought to fill in these kinds of knowledge gaps. The Air Force Research Laboratory unveiled Aristotle, a searchable internal directory that integrated people’s credentials and experience from existing personnel systems, public databases, and users themselves, thus making it easy to discover quickly who knew and had done what. Near-term budgetary constraints killed Aristotle in 2013, but the project underscored a glaring need in the bureaucracy.
Aristotle was an attempt to solve a challenge faced by every agency and organization: quickly locating expertise to solve a problem. Prior to Aristotle, the DOD had no coordinated mechanism for identifying expertise across 200,000 of its employees. Dr. Alok Das, the senior scientist for design innovation tasked with implementing the system, explained, “We don’t know what we know.”
This is a common situation. The government currently has no systematic way of getting help from all those with relevant expertise, experience, and passion. For every success on Challenge.gov—the federal government’s platform where agencies post open calls to solve problems for a prize—there are a dozen open-call projects that never get seen by those who might have the insight or experience to help. This kind of crowdsourcing is still too ad hoc, infrequent, and unpredictable—in short, too unreliable—for the purposes of policy-making.
Which is why technologies like Aristotle are so exciting. Smart, searchable expert networks offer the potential to lower the costs and speed up the process of finding relevant expertise. Aristotle never reached this stage, but an ideal expert network is a directory capable of including not just experts within the government, but also outside citizens with specialized knowledge. This leads to a dual benefit: accelerating the path to innovative and effective solutions to hard problems while at the same time fostering greater citizen engagement.
Could such an expert-network platform revitalize the regulatory-review process? We might find out soon enough, thanks to the Food and Drug Administration…”

How technology is beating corruption

Jim Yong Kim at World Economic Forum: “Good governance is critical for all countries around the world today. When it doesn’t exist, many governments fail to deliver public services effectively, health and education services are often substandard and corruption persists in rich and poor countries alike, choking opportunity and growth. It will be difficult to reduce extreme poverty — let alone end it — without addressing the importance of good governance.
But this is not a hopeless situation. In fact, a new wave of progress on governance suggests we may be on the threshold of a transformational era. Countries are tapping into some of the most powerful forces in the world today to improve services and transparency. These forces include the spread of information technology and its convergence with grassroots movements for transparency, accountability and citizen empowerment. In some places, this convergence is easing the path to better-performing and more accountable governments.
The Philippines is a good example of a country embracing good governance. During a recent visit, I spoke with President Benigno Aquino about his plans to reduce poverty, create jobs, and ensure that economic growth is inclusive. He talked in great detail about how improving governance is a fundamentally important part of their strategy. The government has opened government data and contract information so citizens can see how their tax money is spent. The Foreign Aid Transparency Hub, launched after Typhoon Yolanda, offers a real-time look at pledges made and money delivered for typhoon recovery. Geo-tagging tools monitor assistance for people affected by the typhoon.
Opening budgets to scrutiny
This type of openness is spreading. Now many countries that once withheld information are opening their data and budgets to public scrutiny.
Late last year, my organization, the World Bank Group, established the Open Budgets Portal, a repository for budget data worldwide. So far, 13 countries have posted their entire public spending datasets online — including Togo, the first fragile state to do so.
In 2011, we helped Moldova become the first country in central Europe to launch an open data portal and put its expenditures online. Now the public and media can access more than 700 datasets, and are asking for more.
The original epicenter of the Arab Spring, Tunisia, recently passed a new constitution and is developing the first open budget data portal in the Middle East and North Africa. Tunisia has taken steps towards citizen engagement by developing a citizens’ budget and civil society-led platforms such as Marsoum41, to support freedom of information requests, including via mobile.
Using technology to improve services
Countries also are tapping into technology to improve public and private services. Estonia is famous for building an information technology infrastructure that has permitted widespread use of electronic services — everything from filing taxes online to filling doctors’ drug prescriptions.
In La Paz, Bolivia, a citizen feedback system known as OnTrack allows residents of one of the city’s marginalized neighbourhoods to send a text message on their mobile phones to provide feedback, make suggestions or report a problem related to public services.
In Pakistan, government departments in Punjab are using smart phones to collect real-time data on the activities of government field staff — including photos and geo-tags — to help reduce absenteeism and lax performance….”

Towards Timely Public Health Decisions to Tackle Seasonal Diseases With Open Government Data

Paper by Vandana Srivastava and Biplav Srivastava for the Workshops at the Twenty-Eighth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence : “Improving public health is a major responsibility of any government, and is of major interest to citizens and scientific communities around the world. Here, one sees two extremes. On one hand, tremendous progress has been made in recent years in the understanding of causes, spread and remedies of common and regularly occurring diseases like Dengue, Malaria and Japanese Encephalistis (JE). On the other hand, public agencies treat these diseases in an ad hoc manner without learning from the experiences of previous years. Specifically, they would get alerted once reported cases have already arisen substantially in the known disease season, reactively initiate a few actions and then document the disease impact (cases, deaths) for that period, only to forget this learning in the next season. However, they miss the opportunity to reduce preventable deaths and sickness, and their corresponding economic impact, which scientific progress could have enabled. The gap is universal but very prominent in developing countries like India.
In this paper, we show that if public agencies provide historical disease impact information openly, it can be analyzed with statistical and machine learning techniques, correlated with best emerging practices in disease control, and simulated in a setting to optimize social benefits to provide timely guidance for new disease seasons and regions. We illustrate using open data for mosquito-borne communicable diseases; published results in public health on efficacy of Dengue control methods and apply it on a simulated typical city for maximal benefits with available resources. The exercise helps us further suggest strategies for new regions that may be anywhere in the world, how data could be better recorded by city agencies and what prevention methods should medical community focus on for wider impact.
Full Text: PDF

Sharing Data Is a Form of Corporate Philanthropy

Matt Stempeck in HBR Blog:  “Ever since the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters was signed in 1999, satellite companies like DMC International Imaging have had a clear protocol with which to provide valuable imagery to public actors in times of crisis. In a single week this February, DMCii tasked its fleet of satellites on flooding in the United Kingdom, fires in India, floods in Zimbabwe, and snow in South Korea. Official crisis response departments and relevant UN departments can request on-demand access to the visuals captured by these “eyes in the sky” to better assess damage and coordinate relief efforts.

DMCii is a private company, yet it provides enormous value to the public and social sectors simply by periodically sharing its data.
Back on Earth, companies create, collect, and mine data in their day-to-day business. This data has quickly emerged as one of this century’s most vital assets. Public sector and social good organizations may not have access to the same amount, quality, or frequency of data. This imbalance has inspired a new category of corporate giving foreshadowed by the 1999 Space Charter: data philanthropy.
The satellite imagery example is an area of obvious societal value, but data philanthropy holds even stronger potential closer to home, where a wide range of private companies could give back in meaningful ways by contributing data to public actors. Consider two promising contexts for data philanthropy: responsive cities and academic research.
The centralized institutions of the 20th century allowed for the most sophisticated economic and urban planning to date. But in recent decades, the information revolution has helped the private sector speed ahead in data aggregation, analysis, and applications. It’s well known that there’s enormous value in real-time usage of data in the private sector, but there are similarly huge gains to be won in the application of real-time data to mitigate common challenges.
What if sharing economy companies shared their real-time housing, transit, and economic data with city governments or public interest groups? For example, Uber maintains a “God’s Eye view” of every driver on the road in a city:
Imagine combining this single data feed with an entire portfolio of real-time information. An early leader in this space is the City of Chicago’s urban data dashboard, WindyGrid. The dashboard aggregates an ever-growing variety of public datasets to allow for more intelligent urban management.
Over time, we could design responsive cities that react to this data. A responsive city is one where services, infrastructure, and even policies can flexibly respond to the rhythms of its denizens in real-time. Private sector data contributions could greatly accelerate these nascent efforts.
Data philanthropy could similarly benefit academia. Access to data remains an unfortunate barrier to entry for many researchers. The result is that only researchers with access to certain data, such as full-volume social media streams, can analyze and produce knowledge from this compelling information. Twitter, for example, sells access to a range of real-time APIs to marketing platforms, but the price point often exceeds researchers’ budgets. To accelerate the pursuit of knowledge, Twitter has piloted a program called Data Grants offering access to segments of their real-time global trove to select groups of researchers. With this program, academics and other researchers can apply to receive access to relevant bulk data downloads, such as an period of time before and after an election, or a certain geographic area.
Humanitarian response, urban planning, and academia are just three sectors within which private data can be donated to improve the public condition. There are many more possible applications possible, but few examples to date. For companies looking to expand their corporate social responsibility initiatives, sharing data should be part of the conversation…
Companies considering data philanthropy can take the following steps:

  • Inventory the information your company produces, collects, and analyzes. Consider which data would be easy to share and which data will require long-term effort.
  • Think who could benefit from this information. Who in your community doesn’t have access to this information?
  • Who could be harmed by the release of this data? If the datasets are about people, have they consented to its release? (i.e. don’t pull a Facebook emotional manipulation experiment).
  • Begin conversations with relevant public agencies and nonprofit partners to get a sense of the sort of information they might find valuable and their capacity to work with the formats you might eventually make available.
  • If you expect an onslaught of interest, an application process can help qualify partnership opportunities to maximize positive impact relative to time invested in the program.
  • Consider how you’ll handle distribution of the data to partners. Even if you don’t have the resources to set up an API, regular releases of bulk data could still provide enormous value to organizations used to relying on less-frequently updated government indices.
  • Consider your needs regarding privacy and anonymization. Strip the data of anything remotely resembling personally identifiable information (here are some guidelines).
  • If you’re making data available to researchers, plan to allow researchers to publish their results without obstruction. You might also require them to share the findings with the world under Open Access terms….”

Crowd-Sourced Augmented Realities: Social Media and the Power of Digital Representation

Pre-publication version of a chapter by Matthew Zook, Mark Graham and  Andrew Boulton  in S. Mains, J. Cupples, and C. Lukinbeal. Mediated Geographies/Geographies of Media. Springer Science International Handbooks in Human Geography, (Forthcoming): “A key and distinguishing feature of society today is that its increasingly documented by crowd-sourced social media discourse about public experiences. Much of this social media content is geo-referenced and exists in layers of information draped over the physical world, invisible to the naked eye but accessible to range of digital (and often) mobile devices. When we access these information layers, they mediate the mundane practices of everyday life, (e.g., What or who is nearby? How do I move from point A to B) through the creation of augmented realities, i.e., unstable, context dependent representations of places brought temporary into being by combining the space of material and virtual experience.
These augmented realities, as particular representations of locations, places and events, are vigorously promoted or contested and thus become important spots in which power is exercised, much in the same way that maps have long had power to reinforce or challenge the status quo. However, because many of the processes and practices behind the creation of augmented realities are unseen, its power is often overlooked in the process of representation or place-making. This paper highlights the points at which power acts and demonstrate that all representations of place – including augmented realities derived from social media – are products of and productive of, social relationships and associated power relations.”
Building upon a case study of Abbottabad, Pakistan after the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound we construct a four-part typology of the power relations emerging from social practices that enact augmented realities. These include: Distributed power, the complex and socially/spatially distributed authorship of user-generated geospatial content; Communication power, the ways in which particular representations gain prominence; language is a particularly key variable; Code power, the autonomy of software code to regulate actions, or mediate content, or ordering representations in particular ways; and Timeless power, the ways in which digital representations of place reconfigure temporal relationships, particularly sequence and duration, between people and events.

We Need a Citizen Maker Movement

Lorelei Kelly at the Huffington Post: “It was hard to miss the giant mechanical giraffe grazing on the White House lawn last week. For the first time ever, the President organized a Maker Faire–inviting entrepreneurs and inventors from across the USA to celebrate American ingenuity in the service of economic progress.
The maker movement is a California original. Think R2D2 serving margaritas to a jester with an LED news scroll. The #nationofmakers Twitter feed has dozens of examples of collaborative production, of making, sharing and learning.
But since this was the White House, I still had to ask myself, what would the maker movement be if the economy was not the starting point? What if it was about civics? What if makers decided to create a modern, hands-on democracy?
What is democracy anyway but a never ending remix of new prototypes? Last week’s White House Maker Faire heralded a new economic bonanza. This revolution’s poster child is 3-D printing– decentralized fabrication that is customized to meet local needs. On the government front, new design rules for democracy are already happening in communities, where civics and technology have generated a front line of maker cities.
But the distance between California’s tech capacity and DC does seem 3000 miles wide. The NSA’s over collection/surveillance problem and Healthcare.gov’s doomed rollout are part of the same system-wide capacity deficit. How do we close the gap between California’s revolution and our institutions?

  • In California, disruption is a business plan. In DC, it’s a national security threat.
  • In California, hackers are artists. In DC, they are often viewed as criminals.
  • In California, “cyber” is a dystopian science fiction word. In DC, cyber security is in a dozen oversight plans for Congress.
  • in California, individuals are encouraged to “fail forward.” In DC, risk-aversion is bipartisan.

Scaling big problems with local solutions is a maker specialty. Government policymaking needs this kind of help.
Here’s the issue our nation is facing: The inability of the non-military side of our public institutions to process complex problems. Today, this competence and especially the capacity to solve technical challenges often exist only in the private sector. If something is urgent and can’t be monetized, it becomes a national security problem. Which increasingly means that critical decision making that should be in the civilian remit instead migrates to the military. Look at our foreign policy. Good government is a counter terrorism strategy in Afghanistan. Decades of civilian inaction on climate change means that now Miami is referred to as a battle space in policy conversations.
This rhetoric reflects an understandable but unacceptable disconnect for any democracy.
To make matters more confusing, much of the technology in civics (like list building petitions) is suited for elections, not for governing. It is often antagonistic. The result? policy making looks like campaigning. We need some civic tinkering to generate governing technology that comes with relationships. Specifically, this means technology that includes many voices, but has identifiable channels for expertise that can sort complexity and that is not compromised by financial self-interest.
Today, sorting and filtering information is a huge challenge for participation systems around the world. Information now ranks up there with money and people as a lever of power. On the people front, the loud and often destructive individuals are showing up effectively. On the money front, our public institutions are at risk of becoming purely pay to play (wonks call this “transactional”).
Makers, ask yourselves, how can we turn big data into a political constituency for using real evidence–one that can compete with all the negative noise and money in the system? For starters, technologists out West must stop treating government like it’s a bad signal that can be automated out of existence. We are at a moment where our society requires an engineering mindset to develop modern, tech-savvy rules for democracy. We need civic makers….”

Index: The Networked Public

The Living Library Index – inspired by the Harper’s Index – provides important statistics and highlights global trends in governance innovation. This installment focuses on the networked public and was originally published in 2014.

Global Overview

  • The proportion of global population who use the Internet in 2013: 38.8%, up 3 percentage points from 2012
  • Increase in average global broadband speeds from 2012 to 2013: 17%
  • Percent of internet users surveyed globally that access the internet at least once a day in 2012: 96
  • Hours spent online in 2012 each month across the globe: 35 billion
  • Country with the highest online population, as a percent of total population in 2012: United Kingdom (85%)
  • Country with the lowest online population, as a percent of total population in 2012: India (8%)
  • Trend with the highest growth rate in 2012: Location-based services (27%)
  • Years to reach 50 million users: telephone (75), radio (38), TV (13), internet (4)

Growth Rates in 2014

  • Rate at which the total number of Internet users is growing: less than 10% a year
  • Worldwide annual smartphone growth: 20%
  • Tablet growth: 52%
  • Mobile phone growth: 81%
  • Percentage of all mobile users who are now smartphone users: 30%
  • Amount of all web usage in 2013 accounted for by mobile: 14%
  • Amount of all web usage in 2014 accounted for by mobile: 25%
  • Percentage of money spent on mobile used for app purchases: 68%
  • Growth of BitCoin wallet between 2013 and 2014: 8 times increase
  • Number of listings on AirBnB in 2014: 550k, 83% growth year on year
  • How many buyers are on Alibaba in 2014: 231MM buyers, 44% growth year on year

Social Media

  • Number of Whatsapp messages on average sent per day: 50 billion
  • Number sent per day on Snapchat: 1.2 billion
  • How many restaurants are registered on GrubHub in 2014: 29,000
  • Amount the sale of digital songs fell in 2013: 6%
  • How much song streaming grew in 2013: 32%
  • Number of photos uploaded and shared every day on Flickr, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Whatsapp combined in 2014: 1.8 billion
  • How many online adults in the U.S. use a social networking site of some kind: 73%
  • Those who use multiple social networking sites: 42%
  • Dominant social networking platform: Facebook, with 71% of online adults
  • Number of Facebook users in 2004, its founding year: 1 million
  • Number of monthly active users on Facebook in September 2013: 1.19 billion, an 18% increase year-over-year
  • How many Facebook users log in to the site daily: 63%
  • Instagram users who log into the service daily: 57%
  • Twitter users who are daily visitors: 46%
  • Number of photos uploaded to Facebook every minute: over 243,000, up 16% from 2012
  • How much of the global internet population is actively using Twitter every month: 21%
  • Number of tweets per minute: 350,000, up 250% from 2012
  • Fastest growing demographic on Twitter: 55-64 year age bracket, up 79% from 2012
  • Fastest growing demographic on Facebook: 45-54 year age bracket, up 46% from 2012
  • How many LinkedIn accounts are created every minute: 120, up 20% from 2012
  • The number of Google searches in 2013: 3.5 million, up 75% from 2012
  • Percent of internet users surveyed globally that use social media in 2012: 90
  • Percent of internet users surveyed globally that use social media daily: 60
  • Time spent social networking, the most popular online activity: 22%, followed by searches (21%), reading content (20%), and emails/communication (19%)
  • The average age at which a child acquires an online presence through their parents in 10 mostly Western countries: six months
  • Number of children in those countries who have a digital footprint by age 2: 81%
  • How many new American marriages between 2005-2012 began by meeting online, according to a nationally representative study: more than one-third 
  • How many of the world’s 505 leaders are on Twitter: 3/4
  • Combined Twitter followers: of 505 world leaders: 106 million
  • Combined Twitter followers of Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga: 122 million
  • How many times all Wikipedias are viewed per month: nearly 22 billion times
  • How many hits per second: more than 8,000 
  • English Wikipedia’s share of total page views: 47%
  • Number of articles in the English Wikipedia in December 2013: over 4,395,320 
  • Platform that reaches more U.S. adults between ages 18-34 than any cable network: YouTube
  • Number of unique users who visit YouTube each month: more than 1 billion
  • How many hours of video are watched on YouTube each month: over 6 billion, 50% more than 2012
  • Proportion of YouTube traffic that comes from outside the U.S.: 80%
  • Most common activity online, based on an analysis of over 10 million web users: social media
  • People on Twitter who recommend products in their tweets: 53%
  • People who trust online recommendations from people they know: 90%

Mobile and the Internet of Things

  • Number of global smartphone users in 2013: 1.5 billion
  • Number of global mobile phone users in 2013: over 5 billion
  • Percent of U.S. adults that have a cell phone in 2013: 91
  • Number of which are a smartphone: almost two thirds
  • Mobile Facebook users in March 2013: 751 million, 54% increase since 2012
  • Growth rate of global mobile traffic as a percentage of global internet traffic as of May 2013: 15%, up from .9% in 2009
  • How many smartphone owners ages 18–44 “keep their phone with them for all but two hours of their waking day”: 79%
  • Those who reach for their smartphone immediately upon waking up: 62%
  • Those who couldn’t recall a time their phone wasn’t within reach or in the same room: 1 in 4
  • Facebook users who access the service via a mobile device: 73.44%
  • Those who are “mobile only”: 189 million
  • Amount of YouTube’s global watch time that is on mobile devices: almost 40%
  • Number of objects connected globally in the “internet of things” in 2012: 8.7 billion
  • Number of connected objects so far in 2013: over 10 billion
  • Years from tablet introduction for tables to surpass desktop PC and notebook shipments: less than 3 (over 55 million global units shipped in 2013, vs. 45 million notebooks and 35 million desktop PCs)
  • Number of wearable devices estimated to have been shipped worldwide in 2011: 14 million
  • Projected number of wearable devices in 2016: between 39-171 million
  • How much of the wearable technology market is in the healthcare and medical sector in 2012: 35.1%
  • How many devices in the wearable tech market are fitness or activity trackers: 61%
  • The value of the global wearable technology market in 2012: $750 million
  • The forecasted value of the market in 2018: $5.8 billion
  • How many Americans are aware of wearable tech devices in 2013: 52%
  • Devices that have the highest level of awareness: wearable fitness trackers,
  • Level of awareness for wearable fitness trackers amongst American consumers: 1 in 3 consumers
  • Value of digital fitness category in 2013: $330 million
  • How many American consumers surveyed are aware of smart glasses: 29%
  • Smart watch awareness amongst those surveyed: 36%


  • How much of the developed world has mobile broadband subscriptions in 2013: 3/4
  • How much of the developing world has broadband subscription in 2013: 1/5
  • Percent of U.S. adults that had a laptop in 2012: 57
  • How many American adults did not use the internet at home, at work, or via mobile device in 2013: one in five
  • Amount President Obama initiated spending in 2009 in an effort to expand access: $7 billion
  • Number of Americans potentially shut off from jobs, government services, health care and education, among other opportunities due to digital inequality: 60 million
  • American adults with a high-speed broadband connection at home as of May 2013: 7 out of 10
  • Americans aged 18-29 vs. 65+ with a high-speed broadband connection at home as of May 2013: 80% vs. 43
  • American adults with college education (or more) vs. adults with no high school diploma that have a high-speed broadband connection at home as of May 2013: 89% vs. 37%
  • Percent of U.S. adults with college education (or more) that use the internet in 2011: 94
  • Those with no high school diploma that used the internet in 2011: 43
  • Percent of white American households that used the internet in 2013: 67
  • Black American households that used the internet in 2013: 57
  • States with lowest internet use rates in 2013: Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas
  • How many American households have only wireless telephones as of the second half of 2012: nearly two in five
  • States with the highest prevalence of wireless-only adults according to predictive modeling estimates: Idaho (52.3%), Mississippi (49.4%), Arkansas (49%)
  • Those with the lowest prevalence of wireless-only adults: New Jersey (19.4%), Connecticut (20.6%), Delaware (23.3%) and New York (23.5%)