William Z. Bernstein, Devarajan Ramanujan, Fu Zhao, Karthik Ramani
Profiling Energy Consumption of Smartphone Users for Environmentally Efficient Business Decisions

Abstract: The recent proliferation of electronic products has led to a strong unmet need for understanding environmental implications of new technologies. According to Nielsen, 66% of Americans ages 24-35 own a smartphone, providing strong evidence that this technology can be considered ubiquitous. However, a majority of users and service providers are not sensitive to energy implications of data usage. As parameters affecting data delivery and usage are primarily driven by user behavior, this study is focused on using empirical data to investigate its correspondence to energy footprint. A large cohort of smartphone users (n = 21,853) and the means for which data is accessed, i.e. via 3G/LTE or WiFi, is examined to develop a model for estimating the energy cost of the various modes of data usage. Finally, alternate business scenarios are developed through simulating behavior change in cohorts based on existing data and then assessed with regards to economic and environmental efficiencies.


The above figure shows behavior profiles by plotting the plan usage fraction (where 1 equals full usage of a user’s plan) against the WiFi Fraction (where 1 means that all data accessed is via WiFi. This allows a visualization of all data plan buckets.


William Z Bernstein
About William Z Bernstein

William Z. Bernstein is currently a D-PhD student in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue. Mr. Bernstein received his bachelor’s in biomedical engineering from the University of Cincinnati. His graduate research is focused on front-end product design, i.e. understanding designers’ decision making & cognitive load, predicting and then projecting downstream information to the designer, and developing tools that can help implement environmentally conscious decisions early in the design process. He has contributed to manuscripts in the Journal of Mechanical Design, Cleaner Production, Oncogene, and Cancer Research and published conference proceedings at ASME IDETC & MSEC, Design Society’s ICED and CIRP LCE.

Posted in 2013, Design, Devarajan Ramanujan, Fu Zhao, Karthik Ramani, Publications, William Z Bernstein