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RealTime IT News

SMEs Drive Workplace Surfing

Employees in small to medium enterprises are the major drivers of workplace Web activity in Australia, according to the first report on Internet usage at work released by research group Nielsen//NetRatings.

The report indicates that just over 50 percent of people who access the Internet from work are employed in organisations with fewer than 100 people, while 32 percent work in companies with less than 20 people.

The research also found that 84 percent of Australians with Internet access have access from home, compared to 52 percent who have access from work. Thirty-six percent have both work and home access.

Nielsen//NetRatings has also identified in its research the key areas of Web activity, finding highest Internet penetration in the financial services, communications and educational services sectors and the lowest in construction and agriculture sectors.

This new research, which aims to compare work Internet access with that from home, is an appetizer before Nielsen//NetRaings adds full at-work Web audience measurement to its service in the next few months, in a bid to better compete with Web measurement rivals for clients by showing a more complete slice of the Internet-using public.

"This report shows that more Australians have Internet access from home than they do from work, and that surfing habits of Australians mirror those in the US, where contrary to popular belief sites surfed from work do not differ greatly from those surfed at home," said ACNielsen eRatings.com managing director for Pacific, Brian Milnes.

"From initial data, we are starting to observe trends in the Australian work-based environment that are consistent with workplace information we've collected over the last 12 months in the US and we're seeing the lines between Web usage at home and at work becoming increasingly blurred," he said. "In the US we're seeing that surfers are increasingly blending their work and home online activities wherever they happen to be accessing the Web."

Milnes also observed an Australian and US pattern in which more users have Internet access from home than from work, but when they are at work they tend to spend longer periods of time online. In the case of this Nielsen research, the difference was an average of 13 hours 10minutes per user from work, compared with six hours 12 minutes from home.

Milnes added that Nielsen's own research has found that regular surfers tend to build a 'basket' of their most visited sites, whether they be banking, travel, shopping or news-related. "With some exceptions, these sites are surfed from both locations," he said. "We fully expect this trend will be borne out in Australia over the coming months."