Abstract — The paperexplores the need of development of chat application in Bhutan. Taking a samplesize of 371 population of Bhutan, a traditional survey and interview wereconducted in major towns and city of Bhutan. The results revealed that 74% ofthe Bhutanese people were willing to use chat application if ever developed inour country. Moreover, the survey also revealed the existence of 64% populationusing smart phone and chat application in Bhutan.
Among 64% of users, dominantpercent of users felt comfortable to use chat application rather than textingor calling via phones. The survey analysis supports a feasible and potential chatapplication market in Bhutan. The paper further targets future Bhutanese chatdeveloper in developing relevant chatting applications.Keywords: Chat application, smartphone, Bhutan, survey IntroductionThe online chatsystem is an efficient means of communication as it provides information thatis convenient, easy and cheaper for the users. It helps in boosting onlinesales, ensures higher customer satisfaction and cost reduction 11. Intoday’s world, smart phone is redefining the market place worldwide. Since 2010volume of purchases of wireless device had taken place and many of the users donot visit website from laptop as their daily routine3. In this 21stcentury, mobile technology is the latest technology and in the past decade, thegrowth that it has received is tremendous both in terms of varieties of mobiledevices and number of people using them.
The main features of these mobiledevices are it can be enabled to use a variety of communication technologiessuch as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and third generation (3G) as well as fourth generation(4G). These features further enhance the users to shift from personal laptop toa wireless smartphones.In Bhutan,since there is no chat app developed in our own country, chat apps from outsideare very famous with WeChat leading the list due to its free and abundant services. But in the past few yearsissues about privacy and security have been increasingly raised.
Many WeChatusers’ in our country have had their accounts hacked leading to threat topersonal information2. It is reportedon social media sites that hackers breach into WeChat accounts and shareobscene videos and photographs. It is also freemessaging and calling application with its server based in China (Cheki, 2017).Since the servers for it is based outside the country, the usage of suchapplication leaves the information of the user vulnerable to threats. Pema Dendup, an officer with the Bhutan ComputerIncident Response Team said to BBS that “WeChat is hosted in China and they havetotally different sets of cyber law. So we don’t have much control overit”.12 As many people uses these apps even forofficial purposes, sharing of sensitive information via these apps can alsolead to threat to the National security. According to kuensel it is claimedthat many users have had their accounts hacked12.
Thus leading torise in concern over how private and secure the app is. Thus, the need to have a chat app with itsserver located in our own country and with proper security and privacy hasbecome very essential. MethodologySampling Data for this study came from 371citizens (100% respondent) of Bhutan in year 2017. We received 528 respondentsfrom the survey conducted but only 371 were taken randomly based on thestratified simple random sampling. The stratified data based on age groupstratification was calculated from total of 750,125 population of Bhutanaccording to July 2016 population demographic estimation14. Thewhole population were stratified into age groups; below 14(197,040 people), 15to 24(144,102 people), 25 to 54(317,952 people), 55 to 64(44,525 people) and 65above (46,506 people).
From the stratified total population, strata fraction of0.05% was taken which gave us respondent target of 371 which is 98, 72, 156,22, 23 respondents from age group of below 14, 15 to 24, 25 to 54, 55 to 64respectively. This survey was administered through questionnaires andinterviews using traditional approach and each takes about 5 minutes tocomplete. The results from the survey provide dataof Bhutan about the statics on the number of smart phone users and chattingapplication usage. This survey also helps in analyzing how fast the smart phoneand the technologies users are increasing. This survey used descriptivesampling under quantitative sampling with the use of survey and interview asthe main tools.
TraditionalSurvey The survey was conducted manually basedon traditional approach using paper system. The question set included a mixtureof dichotomous and multiple choice questions.Preliminary survey was conducted in CSTto check and reduce the errors and to re frame the questionnaires for betterresults. Total of 50 students comprising of 25 male and 25 female students weretaken randomly and collected the data from them. This preliminary survey hadhelped us to eliminate inappropriate and repeated questions and finally wasuseful in crafting quality questionnaires before applying into real field.
Questionnaires were done randomly by theteam and gathered as much as possible visiting places like schools, offices,temples and local markets and it had been assumed that the respondents hadanswered honestly and to the best of their abilities. Based on the populationof the country, the sampling of the survey had been stratified based on agegroups and according to the sampling, only 371 of the data had been randomlyselected and used for the analysis. Of the 371(100%) data included in thisstudy, the male and female respondents were almost equal with 49.6% and 50.4%respectively but the people living in urban were hugely higher than peopleliving in rural with 86% and 14% respectively. InterviewsIn order to cover the all types ofBhutanese people, interviews were mainly conducted for the uneducated people sothat we understand their point of views maintain equality and being unbiased.
Interviews were taken randomly around the place like temples, town areas andcrowded places. Based on the questionnaires already set for the survey,interview was conducted face to face with the uneducated people comprisingmostly of old age people.VariablesTo determine the frequency of smartphoneand chatting apps usage by respondents when completing the survey, respondentswere categorized into mutually exclusive groups based on the smart phone usersand non-smart phone users. It was further subdivided into chatting app usersand non- chatting app users. For this study, “smartphone” included the use ofeither an iPhone or Android phone and chatting apps included all of thepossible chatting/messaging apps used by the people in Bhutan. Respondent characteristics includegender, respondent age, education background and their settlement.
From 371respondents, most of them lived in urban area with literacy background up tohigh school.49.6% were males and 50.4% were female from the respondents.Further, in order to make the number of people living in urban and rural equal,86% and 14% of people living in urbanand rural respectively were multiplied with 50% (0.5) which resulted with 68%and 31% of people living in urban and rural respectively. Analysis1. Gainingpopularity of chat application and smartphone users in the countrySmart phoneusers’ as per the respondent are 81% yes and 19% no, but that doesn’tgeneralize the smart phone users in the country.
Therefore, we took the same percentage of smartphoneusers based on settlement (urban and rural respondent). For this we took 50% ofdata from people settled in rural and remaining 50% from those settled in urbanregion. It was done in order to get a clear analysis on the smartphone usersdata from any part of the country. And w.
r.t to the data collected we foundthat 68%of Bhutanese uses smartphones while 32% don’t. Similarly, using sameanalysis strategy we found out 68% of Bhutanese uses chat application while 32%don’t Figure 1. Smartphones users Figure 2.
Chat app usersAs we can seefrom the above graph, the percentage of the population using smart phones andchat application are more than double the percentage that do not use them.These data suggest the advancement of technological and digital development inthe country and how the technology has affected the way people communicate andsocialize with each other. The high percentage also indicates that there is agood market share for any type of mobile chat application and the feasibilityfor the development of a new one in our own country.
2. Meansof communication in BhutanWhen we talk about chat application, communicationis the main key and the major responsibility that any chat application mustprovide. Most of the Bhutanese people use chat application as one of the mainmeans of communication where some users even use the application 24 hours a dayand they said it had helped them a lot in keeping in good contact with theirrelatives. Figure 3. No. ofApplication users within familyFrom abovegraph, it shows that the maximum number of smart phone users usedchat/messaging application and the that many of their family members also ownsa smartphone and uses chat application indicating the usage of chat applicationas a means of communication within a family.
The high percentage signify thatmore and more people in Bhutan are getting used to using the mobile technologyand how it has affected the ways the people in the country communicate andsocialize with each other. Theincreasing popularity of smart phone and mobile based application in thecountry indicates that Bhutan is moving at the same pace as the rest of theworld in keeping up with the ever advancing technology.3. Cost and portability Cost is the major issue which influences use of anapplication and ultimately effects the number of users of a chat application. Chatapplications are more popular these days due to its efficiency and portabilityof smartphones. Since chat application aremuch cheaper than any other mode for communications, the number of chatapplication users are increasing every time. In an effective and efficient way,chat application had proved to be user-friendly to the users. So cost and portabilityalso play vital role in using a chat application.
4. Easeand comfortableness of chat applicationWith the development, the ease and comfortablenessof a chat application is also one of the concerns. Bhutan with half of thepopulation being uneducated, ease and comfortableness is necessary to beconcerned about. Since a sender can use chat application anytime without havingto know the phone number of the receiver, he/she can send the message by justlooking at the profile picture of the receiver.
This reason has also played amajor role in increasing the number of chat application users in Bhutan. Figure 4. Phone Vs ApplicationAccording to theabove result, there is high variation of graph in the age group 25 to 54. 83%of the population feels that chat application is more comfortable and easier touse than calls and messaging via phone.
The vary reason could be they are morefamiliar with chat application and it signify that chat application popularlyused within this age group. While for the age group, 65 and above, we have theleast percentage of people who find chat applications more comfortable thanphone’s feature, indicating the generation gap in the country and difficulty ofold people in keeping up with the current trends.5. Feasibilityfor development Figure 5.Feasibility studyThe data wecollected during this survey showed that there is a high percentage ofpopulation who uses smartphones which support many mobile based on application.Also we saw that there is a high percentage of chat application users in thecountry and many uses these applications as a means of communication in afamily even though some of these applications have security issues. Hence,these data indicate that there is a very good market share for a new chatapplication with good security feature and developed in our own country.
Foradditional support to prove the feasibility of development of mobile chatapplication in the country we have the above graph which indicates a highpercentage of the population would use the chat application developed in our owncountry. Discussion68% of the totalpopulation use smart phone and chatting application in Bhutan. This datasuggest the advancement of the technological has affected the way peoplecommunicate and socialize with each other in higher rate. The high percentagealso indicates a feasible and good market share in Bhutan for mobile chatapplication development.
The surveyanalysis showed 85% and 86% of the family members use smart phone and mobilechat application respectively. This indicates that more chat application usersuse chat application as a means of communication in a family. This furthersupports the higher feasibility of development of mobile chat application inthe country.Majority ofpopulation feel comfortable to use chat application than texting and callingvia phone. So the statement supports that the feasibility of people using chatapplication in our country is high since most of the people feel easy in usingchat application for calling or texting rather than direct calls and texts throughphone. This may be because of the fact that chat application cost much lessercomparatively.74% of thepopulation of Bhutan are willing to use chat application if ever developed inour country.
This analysis supports a positive response and potential chatapplication market in Bhutan which indicates that chat application developed inour country will be useful for all the people. ConclusionChatapplications are becoming a popular means of communication all around theglobe. Thus there is a need to have a chat application developed in our owncountry. But before developing it is necessary to understand the market sharewilling and wanting to use the application that is a feasibility study must becarried out. Hence this paper describes the feasibility for developing a chatapplication in our own country. As per theresults from the survey carried out, it is visible that chat applications aregaining a tremendous popularity among the Bhutanese and is being used as one ofthe basic means of communications. This indicates that there is a good marketshare for chat application if it was developed in the country.
Also as per thedata collected and analyzed it can be found that majority of the population arewilling to use a chat application developed in our own country. AcknowledgementWe would like tothank the College of Science and Technology for providing the financial supportfor presenting the paper in the conference. We would also like to extend ourgratitude to Mr. Karma Wangchuk for helping us to get the necessary papers andproviding the technical support required for writing this paper. References1. AvinashBamane, P.
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