Whether working from home or on the move, working on shared documents stored online, taking part in video conferences, using online encyclopedias or e-learning, it is impossible to imagine the way we work and study today without the Internet or telecommunications. 43 percent of the Germans surveyed believe that digitization and networking are an essential or very important part of this area of our lives, while 79 percent of experts and 64 percent of the consumers surveyed in Germany believe the importance of digitization in this field is set to grow.
Work and study: the importance of the Internet and telecommunications today
The German digital avant-garde in particular is reliant on digitization and networking when it comes to their professional lives: 81 percent of those surveyed stated that they simply could not carry out their work without the support of the Internet and telecommunications, while 63 percent of German Internet users overall said the same thing. This places Germany in the mid to upper range of the cross-country comparison, with only Hungary (69 percent) and South Korea (65 percent) more dependent on this technology in the workplace (see Figure 34).
Access to information on the Internet is particularly important to the German respondents, with 71 percent of them stating that online knowledge bases and encyclopedias have become important information sources. This places Germany ahead of all the other countries in the study in terms of knowledge acquisition through the Internet. In second place is France, where 66 percent of respondents use the Internet to gather knowledge, while this figure in South Korea is 61 percent. 59 percent of Americans use the information sources available on the Internet, as do 57 percent of both the Hungarians and Britons surveyed. Online knowledge bases and encyclopedias are particularly popular among the digital avant-garde, with 85 percent of this group describing them as an important source of information (see Figure 35).
In contrast, South Korea leads the way in terms of mobile working, with around 31 percent of those surveyed frequently working (or studying) on the move, such as in airports, trains, and cafés. Germany’s digital avant-garde are similarly flexible in where they work, with a third of respondents saying that they not only work at their desks but also in public places, too. In the USA, around a quarter of those surveyed did the same, with the figures a little lower for the other countries surveyed: 20 percent for Hungary, 18 percent for Great Britain, 16 percent for France and 13 percent for Germany (see Figure 36).
Work and study: which services interest consumers
62 percent of the German Internet users surveyed would like to work flexibly (i.e. whenever and wherever they wanted) if they were supported, for example, by remote access solutions that ensured the security of computers networked over the Internet. Almost as many, 61 percent, would be interested in web collaboration solutions that allow teams to work together on the same document, even if the members are based in separate locations, and that can host virtual project rooms and meetings. There is also a similar interest in e-learning, characterized by computer-based training courses, distance learning, virtual classrooms, and remote teaching. Around 56 percent of respondents expressed an interest in this type of digital media knowledge transfer. There is also considerable interest in more playful learning activities, known as “edutainment”. Among German Internet users, one in two respondents (52%) said that they were very interested or interested in this type of service. Around 38 percent of those surveyed said they could imagine renting soft ware for a limited time, rather than buying it (see Figure 37).
The cross-country comparison shows that in particular those surveyed in France are the most interested in all of the work and study-related solutions cited. 77 percent of respondents there are very interested or interested in “Working whenever and wherever you like.” Indeed, only the digital avant-garde in Germany shows a greater interest in mobile working, with 85 percent of this group responding favorably (see Figure 38).
Around 43 percent of those surveyed in Germany believe it is important that different services can be used at any time and in any place, for example, from a cell phone with Internet access. In Great Britain, however, this figure is only 37 percent, while it is 48 percent for Hungary and 49 percent for the USA. The French and South Koreans again lead the way in mobile use of work and study solutions, with 66 and 63 percent of respondents respectively stating that mobile access to these services is crucial or very important. Assuming the behaviour of the digital avant-garde will be reflected among the general German population in the future, mobile access there is set to gain in importance considerably. 71 percent of the digital avant-garde group said it was important that they could access work and study services wherever and whenever they liked (see Figure 39).