Cox Business consumer survey shows Americans want smart cities

Cox Business recently released its 2019 Cox Consumer Pulse on Community Connection survey, revealing insights into public sentiment about consumer technology in daily life.

“Our goal with this survey was to unearth various ways people are relying on technology, what’s working well and what could be improved,” said Rod Lewis, director of marketing for Cox Business in Arizona.

Cox surveyed more than 1,000 Americans about their thoughts on emerging technologies including telehealth services, educational tools, personalized retail experiences and smart cities, hotels and homes.

“We learned that Arizona [residents] and others across the U.S. want smart cities, and they want them now,” Lewis said. “Our 2019 Cox Consumer Pulse on Community Connection survey found that people want their local governments to invest in technology to make their communities more energy-efficient with less traffic congestion and improved emergency services.”

Regarding smart cities, 58 percent of survey respondents said they would pay more in taxes if their local government deployed technology solutions that improved quality of life.

Experts believe telemedicine is the future of health care, but less than half of respondents said their doctors offered telehealth services, or remote access to virtual care with a physician. On the other hand, 70 percent of respondents who have used the services in the past year said it was easy to do so.

“Regarding doctor’s visits, more than 70 percent of our survey respondents said they would have greater peace of mind if their primary doctor used electronic medical records to chart their health care progress as opposed to paper charts,” Lewis said. “And 45 percent said they would increase the frequency with which they had consultations with their doctors if telehealth services were offered.”

On a similar note, 83 percent of respondents use wearable technologies such as Fitbit and Apple smartwatches to track health goals.

“Most would also give their primary care physician access to this data to monitor their health,” Lewis said. 

Lewis said consumers are becoming more accepting of retailers using personal information to tailor the customer experience.

“More than half are okay with retailers monitoring them and would be willing to provide even more information about themselves if the retailer could better personalize the shopping experience,” he said.

According to the survey, consumers favored Walmart for its frictionless shopping experience, beating out other major retailers such as Best Buy, Target and Home Depot. Walmart has been making a number of technological advances this year to accommodate different shoppers’ needs.

“Moreover, 61 percent said real-time, personalized discounts sent to their phone would improve the in-store shopping experience for them,” Lewis said.

Hospitality and tourism are major industries in Arizona, and hotels are beginning to introduce new technology to enhance their offerings.

“More than one-third of respondents said that an in-room tablet at their hotel with functionality to control lights, temperature, entertainment and room service would be the top technology to improve their stay,” Lewis said.

Consumers would also welcome perks like complimentary Netflix streaming access and digital room keys. But almost 60 percent of respondents said they were not ready for robot bellhops, which they found “more creepy than cool,” according to Cox.

Parents are interested in technology to enhance — and monitor — their children’s education. Of respondents with children, 67 percent said their kids’ schools place a heavy emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM, or STEAM when including the arts) in curriculums.

“Of respondents with children, an overwhelming majority described their kids as extremely familiar with tech and noted it is often used in their classrooms,” the survey said.

The survey revealed that in-person parent-teacher conferences are still quite common; only 26 percent of respondents said their children’s school offers virtual conferencing.

“We also found that 70+ percent of surveyed parents said their children’s school enables them to monitor their child’s performance via a mobile app or another online tool,” Lewis said. “And these parents are checking in on their child’s performance often.”

According to Cox, the Consumer Pulse survey helps the company to discover what consumers want from their technology and what they hope to see offered in the future.

Cox Business is listening and will continue to develop voice, video, data and security solutions that simplify our lives in ways we never could have imagined,” Lewis said.

Graham Bosch

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