I recently came across a survey that reports 15% of American adults ages 18 and older do not use the Internet or email. Naturally, as a member of the millennial generation, this number surprised me. How can 15% of American adults not be connected at all?

Digging into the results and the reasons, the survey from Princeton Survey Research Associates Intl., shows 32% cite not using the Internet because it is difficult to use. This stat got me thinking.

I know someone that very rarely uses the Internet. She might on occasion use her daughter’s laptop to get directions using MapQuest. Other than that, she doesn’t use the Internet on a laptop because—as the survey points out—it is difficult or frustrating to go online. Or is it?

This same ‘baby boomer’ is more frequently using her daughter’s iPad for entertainment purposes—and many of the apps she uses are connected to the Internet. The ease of use on the tablet makes it so she doesn’t even necessarily know she is connected.

I heard a similar story at the 2013 Constructech Technology Day conference, which took place in Santa Clara, Calif., on October 4. One construction executive pointed to a superintendent who refused to use a laptop on a jobsite. Now, that same superintendent uses an iPad every day because the tablet is more user-friendly.

The point is this: Ease of use is essential to keeping many—not all, but many—of the baby boomers connected. I believe there is an opportunity for industries such as healthcare and others to reach this generation, but the caveat is the apps and solutions need to be very easy to use.

Truth be told, this caveat applies to any generation. When connected devices and associated M2M apps become difficult to use, devices will start collecting dust.

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