Nomophobia – A Big Challenge for Business

Nadine Deery, Channel Marketing Manager, Honeywell

The number of devices we own is multiplying at an uncontrollable rate. A recent study by Strategy Analytics predicts that there will be a staggering 33 billion connected devices by 2030, and the number of connections per person will double to roughly 4.3.  Perhaps more significantly, round-the-clock connectivity is now so deeply stitched into the fabric of our day to day lives that a new ‘phobia’ has been created; Nomophobia – a fear of being without a mobile device.

A recent study into mobile device habits by MK Electric, a wiring accessories manufacturer, firmly demonstrates just how shackled Britons are to their smartphones and tablets. The figures are particularly pronounced amongst Millennials – the workforce of tomorrow. 84 per cent carry chargeable devices while travelling, and over a quarter have ‘lost contact’ with people while on the road due to a loss of battery power. The survey also shows losing battery power can make Millennials feel ‘very frustrated’ (39 per cent) and anxious (26 per cent).

Device proliferation and ‘Nomophobia’ aren’t just consumer problems; they also represent big challenges for business. Whether its hoteliers trying to attract and retain guests, educators trying to deliver a first-class service to high school or university students, airports trying to win the loyalty of regular travellers, or retailers trying to keep customers in-store so they’ll spend more money, if you can’t offer a mobile charging service then how are you going to keep the demanding Millennial generation coming back time and time again? The worrying answer is; you probably won’t.

The answer is USB charging. The vast majority of the mobile devices that Millennials are surgically attached to are USB-powered, and can be charged up using a USB cable. If schools, hotels, shops, airport lounges take the easy, cost-effective step of installing USB charging solutions on-site, they will instantly make their premises, and by extension their services, more attractive to their target audience. If it’s a straight-up decision between an airport coffee shop covered in handy, USB charging modules or one without; there’s no contest, is there?


Over the past eighteen months that has been significant innovation in this sector. Traditionally the most popular form of USB charging has been the standalone module, however, recently manufacturers have added a second option to the mix; USB modules integrated into a standard twin socket. This allows businesses to integrate USB charging functionality into their existing power points, taking advantage of existing wiring and circuitry. In addition, solutions like the MK USB Integrated Socket allow four devices to be charged at once – two plugs, two USBs – for the days that Nomophobic customers are fighting over power outlets; an increasingly common scenario.

Another important innovation is the advent of dynamic device recognition (DDR); a ‘smart’ approach to charging devices via USB. If multiple devices – say two smartphones – are charging in one integrated socket, DDR has the intelligence to decipher, based on the make and manufacturer of a device, the specific charging requirements to power each device accordingly.

To the naked eye there may not appear to be a difference in how your mobile or tablet charges. However, device manufacturers have adopted their own, sometimes different, configurations for charging. This means a device running on an iOS platform may have different charging requirements than one that’s run on an Android or Windows Platform.

So what does this mean for the average consumer? When plugging in an iPhone® that’s only at 20 percent charge and a Windows phone at 80 percent charge, the iPhone® may be “hungrier”, requiring more power from the socket to charge efficiently. The socket is smart enough to recognize this and ensure more charging power is allocated to the iPhone®. In a world where every bar of battery counts, the ability to squeeze every inch of ‘juice’ from a charging outlet between lectures, meetings or flights is critical.

In conclusion, in a world where the number of devices we own is only going in one direction and our attachment to those devices is borderline-excessive, businesses must prioritise investing in USB charging solutions on their premises. Smart companies – retailers, hoteliers, educators – understand that along with Wi-Fi – a utility that is increasingly as important as electricity or running water – the ability to charge a device must be ubiquitous.

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