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Report: How Millennials Use Mobile Devices at College

Higher ed IT must get ahead of the mobile curve to support more students.

A new study on the mobile device habits of college students shows they’re leaving their desktops behind and venturing out into an increasingly mobile landscape — one in which higher ed infrastructure will have to evolve to accommodate.

The survey from cloud provider Domo polled 2,228 higher ed students to see how they're using their mobile devices on campuses.

Although the survey found that millennials spend more time browsing the Internet on their mobile phone than on their desktop, cellphone web surfing won by only a 2 percent margin (45.7 percent versus 43.4 percent for laptops or desktops).

Mobile device usage has been outstripping dedicated platforms like desktops and notebook computers since at least 2014, according to TechCrunch, which reported the results of a comScore study. 

In its report, Domo says the findings "affirmed how crucial it is for company executives and other business leaders to adjust to a mobile-centric world" to stay relevant.

The report also covers how millennials are using their devices, and it’s no surprise that they’re widely using the integrated, portable functions, such as the ability to quickly send and receive photos, that make mobile devices more specialized than desktops. Meanwhile, productivity applications have more of a home on dedicated platforms.

The average college student brings seven internet-connected devices, including smartphones, notebooks and tablets, to campus, according to re:fuel Agency’s 2014 College Explorer report. Less than five years ago, tablets were still in their nascent stage of adoption. But now, they’re weverywhere. Higher ed IT departments have had to expand their bandwidth capacity to meet demand.

Beyond bandwidth considerations, an infographic from Citrix Systems shows that higher ed institutions must have secure networks that can support the wide range of devices being brought to campuses.

Citrix gathered mobile device statistics from 2013–14 showing that 94 percent of higher education leaders believe students should be able to remotely access “the information, data and software they need, on any device, at any time.”

Gpointstudio/Thinkstock
Aug 26 2015

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