Thursday, 12 July 2018

How Mobile Is Revolutionizing Healthcare

Like pretty much everything else in the world, healthcare is going mobile. Thanks to our love of smartphones and the mobility they give us, and a shift from hospitals to personal care systems, this mobile trend is growing and shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, the global mobile health market, also called mHealth, is expected to reach $58.8 billion by the end of 2020 at a CAGR of 32.3% between 2013 and 2020. And like everything else it touches, mobile is revolutionizing healthcare as avenues for remote monitoring and treatment are opened with the use of handheld mobile computers, smartphones, tablets and a host of wearable devices.

Benefits of Mobile Devices in Healthcare

The use of mobile devices in healthcare is acting as a catalyst to a paradigm shift that is changing the way the whole industry works. By allowing doctors to communicate with patients from anywhere in the world (and vice versa), mHealth is proving to be a great asset that allows for remote diagnoses and health tracking so delays in response are reduced or completely eliminated; if anything happens, action can be taken right then and there.

For example, with IoT and the emerging technology it brings that’s connecting tools like never before, and thanks to the mobile technology that’s streamlining processes and synthesising information with real-time information and updates, we now have remote patient monitoring that allows doctors to treat and diagnose patients who otherwise can’t make an in-person visit. They can review patient records and history while giving nurses and caregivers advice on what to do, and collect medical and health data and revert it back to them with accurate diagnoses. In doing so, they can help the elderly or those who can’t travel, such as expecting mothers, and provide services whenever they’re needed. Additionally, with the use of sensors in mobility devices like walkers and canes, alerts can be sent in case of accidents like a fall.

Along with a similar line, wearable devices like Fitbit, iWatch and a myriad of others are proving to be excellent for monitoring vitals and making sure everything stays in check. They can track health and wellness to ensure optimal health, and in case an emergency comes up (or is about to), (early) warnings and alerts can be sent to medical professionals to prevent disaster. As such, they can be also be used in chronic disease management for early detection of deterioration, such as in the maintenance of diabetes. In such a case, wearable devices can test blood pressure and glucose levels to ensure things are going as they should. Similarly, devices like wireless BP monitors, resynchronization therapy, and pacemakers can be used to reduce the risk of heart failure.

Mobile Apps in the Healthcare Industry

The buzz around mHealth isn’t just about physical devices, it’s also about certain mobile apps that are similarly revolutionizing healthcare. For example, HealthTap,  a technology company that delivers a suite of connected health apps, surveyed more than 65,000 physicians in its network and another 500,000 in its referral network on their recommendations on a wide variety of health and wellness apps. Here are the top 10 apps for iOS and Android they found:

Top Health and Medical Apps for iOS

1. Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker (
2. Weight Watchers Mobile (Weight Watchers International)
3. Lose It! (FitNow)
4. White Noise Lite (TMSoft)
5. First Aid (American Red Cross)
6. Runkeeper (FitnessKeeper)
7. Stroke Riskometer (Autel)
8. Emergency First Aid & Treatment Guide (Phoneflips)
9. Instant Heart Rate (Azumio)
10. Fooducate (Fooducate)

Top 10 Health and Medical Apps for Android

1. Weight Watchers Mobile (Weight Watchers International)
2. White Noise Lite (TMSoft)
3. Lose It! (FitNow)
4. First Aid (American Red Cross)
5. RunKeeper – GPS Track Run Walk (FitnessKeeper)
6. Emergency First Aid/Treatment (Phoneflips)
7. Instant Heart Rate (Azumio)
8. Fooducate – Healthy Food Diet (Fooducate)
9. Glucose Buddy – Diabetes Log (Azumio)
10. Pocket First Aid & CPR (Jive Media)

Final Thoughts

We are in an era marked by the digitization of practically everything, including the healthcare industry. This means quick diagnosis and timely and efficient intervention when it’s needed, and real-time visualization of a patient’s health that saves both time and resources. In translation, mHealth appears to be a clear-cut win-win.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Blockchain Smartphones: Are They Worth the Hype?

The blockchain is something you’ve undoubtedly heard of but probably don’t really know what it is. If you do know what it is, feel free to skip the next section and jump to the one after. For those who do not and would like to expand their knowledge, this one’s for you.

What Is Blockchain?

When you whittle away the exterior, blockchain is a list of records — called blocks — that are linked together and contain a cryptographic hash of the previous block. It’s essentially a peer-to-peer (P2P) network with a distributed time-stamping server that allows data to be stored globally on thousands upon thousands of servers. In other words, it’s a kind of public electronic ledger that’s openly shared among users around the world, and each time a transaction occurs, an unchangeable record of it is created, time-stamped and linked to the previous one.

Despite anyone on the network being able to see everyone else’s entries, blockchain is secure by design and pretty much impossible to be hacked into because it can only be updated by consensus among participants. That is to say that in order for something to be modified, the entire network must first agree on that change. In this way, a blockchain is resistant to data modifications and represents a big change in the way information is shared.

The many advantages of blockchain technology, such as its transparency and accountability, and its success in the banking industry, is spurring other industries to join the game. Case in point, the mobile blockchain, and the smartphone industry.

What Is a Blockchain Smartphone?


The idea of a blockchain phone has many people excited for a variety of reasons. For starters, having a phone that runs on blockchain means that breaches are a thing of the past. As it is, our phones are definitely not as secure as we’d like them to be, and there are usually dozens (or even hundreds) of applications on a typical smartphone that can compromise its privacy and security. Second, these blockchain-enabled smartphones can also lead to cryptocurrency wallets that offer an extra layer of security, and allow users to make and accept cryptocurrency payments to other devices.

Examples of Blockchain Smartphone Technology
Now that you know some of a blockchain phone’s benefits, it’s time to get acquainted with the phones bringing them to us.

Finney Blockchain Phone

First up is the Finney Blockchain Phone, which was announced last year by Sirin Labs as an open-source model that runs on the blockchain. According to its white paper, it’s going to run on Shield OS, Labs’ open source operating system (OS) that are designed “to support inherent blockchain applications, such as cold storage crypto wallet, secure exchange access, encrypted communications and a P2P resource sharing ecosystem for payment.” As such, users will be able to securely store cryptocurrencies on their phone and use it for payment, sort of like an Apple Pay or Google Pay.


Also announced last year is BitVault, which Embedded Downloads is touting as the world’s first crypto communicator and blockchain smartphone. With a third-party Independent Multilayer Security (3IMS) feature that works with fingerprint recognition and iris scans, paired with other features like voice and video calling, messaging and document sharing that are protected with private blockchain, this phone is the epitome of security. A quick note, unlike a public blockchain that allows anyone to participate, a private blockchain required an invitation and validation.

Due to its high security, BitVault is perfect for government entities, financial institutions, police personnel, security companies, and pretty much any business or individual who needs more privacy. Because it runs on a completely different OS than your average smartphone, the apps you currently have won’t work on it and vice versa, and to create apps for it, developers will need to purchase a developer license.

HTC Exodus

Finally, we have the HTC Exodus, another smartphone based on blockchain technology that comes with extra security, encryption and cryptocurrency support. This blockchain phone runs on what HTC calls ‘DApps,’ AKA decentralized applications that are also based on blockchain technology, and information from them is verified by users on the network. Each Exodus will also act as an encrypted node on a blockchain network, which essentially makes it VERY difficult to break into, and offers a native cryptocurrency wallet that lets users make and accept cryptocurrency payments to others.


Final Thoughts

To answer the question posed in the title (are blockchain smartphones worth the hype?), they most definitely are if you value your privacy and security and would prefer not to worry about people with nefarious intentions getting their hands on your data.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

How to Use Mobile Marketing to Get Ahead in Business

Do you own a smartphone? Who am I kidding, of course, you do. Practically everyone we come across on a daily basis has one and uses it at all times of the day. In fact, our mobile affinity is so prevalent that adult internet users spend 59% of their time on mobile. That is to say that whether we’re looking for a place to eat, finding our way around a strange city, or passing the time with some games, mobile is where we’re at.
For you, as someone who’s attached to a business, this presents an opportunity to get ahead with mobile marketing.

How to Get an Edge with Mobile Marketing

So, what is mobile marketing? According to Marketo, mobile marketing is a multi-channel, digital marketing strategy aimed at reaching a target audience on their smartphones, tablets, and/or other mobile devices, via websites, email, SMS and MMS, social media, and apps. That’s all well and good, but the basis is that it’s marketing your business to mobile users — simple as that. With that in mind, here’s how to use mobile marketing to get ahead in business.

1: Be Mobile-Friendly

First of all, you have to be mobile-friendly. After all, what’s the point of marketing to mobile users if you don’t have a website they can go to? Exactly. For this very reason, you should either get a mobile or responsive website that caters specifically to your mobile users. While a mobile site will pass Google’s tests and serve your user better than a desktop site, what you really want is a responsive site that resizes everything for the screen it resides in and delivers optimal UX for that on-the-go.

2: Advertise on Mobile

The average smartphone conversion rates have gone up by 64% compared to the average desktop conversion rates. In other words, you’re missing out if you’re opting out of mobile advertising. For starters, there are many advantages of mobile advertising, such as the fact that most people with mobile devices keep them on their person at all times of the day, meaning that you can reach them at all times as opposed to waiting until they log into a computer. Second, if you have a physical location you can make use of push notifications and location-based services to reach your audience with targeted ads and offers when they’re near your store.

As for the types of mobile advertising you can make use of, here are a few:

Static banner ads: These are the most common mobile ads you’ll come across, and you’ll find them at the top or bottom of the screen. Even though they’re the simplest of the mobile ad family, they’re also the most popular because they’re easy to integrate into any page.
Interstitial ads: These ads are interactive and display across the whole screen, something that may hinge on intrusiveness. In fact, Google penalizes mobile sites that use app install interstitials because they hide a significant amount of content from view, making them mobile-unfriendly.
Expandable ads: Expandables start off as static banner ads and expand to fit the screen like interstitials when tapped. These have high conversion rates and allow for more creative design than other ad types.
Native ads: Native ads don’t look like ads because their format aligns with the app/site they reside in, making them unobtrusive and good for UX.

3: Employ SMS Marketing

Short Message Service (SMS) marketing is marketing with text messages. Not only is it a relatively cheap and high-return way of spreading your messages, but because texts are opened and read much more frequently than other delivery methods like email, it’s the perfect way to entice your users with coupons and deals they can’t find anywhere else.

For example, take a look at what some big brands employing SMS marketing are doing and what they’re getting in return:

Carl’s Jr. offered a 50% discount on a meal combo only if participants had opted to receive SMS messages, which resulted in a full 20% of the database to redeem mobile coupons.
Pizza Hut launched an SMS promotion, which increased sales by 142%.
Similarly, Dunkin’ Donuts launched an SMS promotion, which increased in-store traffic to their Boston locations by 21%.
If this sounds good to you, make sure to keep messages short, impart a sense of urgency that makes your users act sooner rather than later, and of course, use CTAs that encourage action.

4: Get an App

Finally, seeing as how 80% of mobile time is spent engaged with apps, you’ll definitely get a leg up on your competition if you attach an app to your business. The thing is, whereas a couple of years ago mobile apps were restricted to big businesses who could actually afford to develop and roll out apps (and had the time to do so), nowadays there are templates and low-code/no-code development platforms that allow anyone with little or no coding experience to create whatever mobile app suits their need.

This means that if your competition already has an app and you don’t, you can finally catch up to them and beat them with improved features. If they don’t, you’ll have an excellent opportunity to take the lead. In doing so, you’ll be able to mold the app to your specific brand, adding a recognition factor to your business that presents it as more of an authority.

Final Thoughts

We live in a mobile-first world and your marketing efforts should reflect that. This means using mobile marketing to boost your business and get ahead of the competition. And this, in turn, means getting a site that’s mobile friendly, advertising on mobile so that you can reach your audience around the clock, employing SMS marketing to spread your messages, and pairing an app with your brand to secure your hold at the top of the food chain.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

AI in the Smartphone Industry

Everything is smarter today than it was a decade ago. Smartphones? Check. Smartwatches? Of course. Smart cars? Indeed. Smart appliances? That too. With all these smart devices populating our world, the question of their enabler comes to mind. Well, all of this — every single smart device we use day after day — is a reality because of artificial intelligence (AI).

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

True to its name, artificial intelligence is man-made intelligence; intelligence created in a lab that aims to mimic natural intelligence, which is what we and other animals possess.

No longer the stuff of Sci-Fi books and movies, AI is taking over the world. Not literally, of course — at least not yet. If you think of our brain as a network of signals and sensors, then you have a grasp of what AI can do. Like the brain, AI can digest large amounts of data and make predictions about that data.

For example, if you hear someone say “knock-knock,” you instinctively know that “who’s there?” will come right after. In a similar vein, if you’re texting someone and have predictive text enabled, typing “I’m on” will most likely pull up “my” and then “way.” In many cases, you may even get an option for a whole “I’m on my way!” text. In this instance, your phone used all your past texting data and patterns to predict what you were likely to type next.

These predictive capabilities and pattern recognition are all due to deep learning, a branch of AI that excels in pattern recognition. In fact, deep learning is improving many AI-enabled features we have in our very own smartphones, such as image recognition and Face ID, speech recognition, predictive text, translations, and much more. Let’s delve deeper.

Uses of Artificial Intelligence in the Smartphone Industry

Deloitte’s Global Mobile Consumer Survey found that 65% of smartphone owners across 16 developed markets have used an application that features AI and machine learning (talk about intelligent phones). The thing is, when we pair phones with AI, the mobile experience becomes even more personalized and convenient, leading to improved experiences as a whole.

Predictive Text

Seeing as how we touched on it earlier, the first AI feature found in our smartphones we’ll talk about today is predictive text. Let’s start with a fact: we type a lot. Whether it’s texting, emailing or simply searching on Google, we’re typing away every day. And every time we type one word after another, even one letter after another, our phones are analyzing and taking note of our habits. In other words, they’re picking up on our typing and texting patterns.

Think of it as a game of chance in which everything is determined by odds. If you (almost) always type “hey, what are” before typing “doing,” then odds are that next time you type “hey, what are,” “doing” will pop up as a suggestion. In this way, everything is connected and dominated by odds. Going further, you may have a specific text pattern for different people in your life. Your phone recognizes this and will suggest text predictions accordingly, which are tailored further based on your own general texting patterns.

Image Recognition

For most, image recognition in the smartphone realm is analogous to face recognition. For instance, Apple’s iPhone X that makes use of AI algorithms for its Face ID, which can identify faces, even with changes to appearance like glasses vs. no glasses and beard growth. Anyway, as reported by Forbes, “[f]ace ID uses a combination of light projectors and sensors to take several images of your facial features… these technologies work together to build a 'detailed depth map of your face to recognize you in an instant.’”

Apart from Face ID, image recognition is also propelling health apps that can diagnose certain maladies, such as cancerous moles. With these apps, you can take a picture of any dermal anomaly, and the app will use a database that houses troves of data on cancerous versus benign moles, including what signs and symptoms go with each, to accurately diagnose what you have.

Digital Assistants

Finally, we can’t have a discussion of artificial intelligence for smartphones without talking about digital assistants. Whether it’s Siri, Alexa, Bixby or Cortana, digital assistants are improving with AI integration. They’re no longer simply replying to direct questions with pre-programmed answers — they’re also placing online orders, calling our friends and family, sending messages, playing songs, and so much more.

The Future of AI Smartphones

The future of smartphones lies in AI. True, AI has been around for a while, but as it relates to turning smartphones into even more intelligent phones, it’s still in its infancy. That is to say that while we have Siri today, the Siri of tomorrow may actually be able to hold a full conversation with you; the apps of today may be able to diagnose cancerous moles, but the apps of tomorrow may be able to diagnose a whole medical journal’s worth of illnesses; the predictive text of today may be able to know what you’re about to type, but the predictive text of tomorrow… well, the predictive text of tomorrow will probably be quite similar, except much more accurate.

In closing, as cool and advanced as our current AI features are, the future seems like a world of possibilities. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

The Top Trends of Mobile World Congress 2018

The GSMA Mobile World Congress (MWC) is the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry, and this year’s Mobile World Congress 2018 just wrapped up. We’ll get into MWC 2018 highlights soon, but before that let’s talk about what MWC is for those who aren’t familiar. MWC is an annual event where anyone who’s anyone in the mobile world gets together to show off their latest and greatest gadgets. Everything’s on display — next-gen AI solutions, state-of-the-art mobile accessories, everything — and it’s the perfect place to whet your mobile appetite.

This year, Mobile World Congress 2018 trends focused on:
The Fourth Industrial Revolution
Future Service Provider
The Network
The Digital Consumer
Tech in Society
Content & Media
Applied AI

And more than 2,400 companies were able to showcase cutting-edge products and services, a GSMA and Brosmind partnership was concocted to illustrate the unique role mobile is playing in supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), immersive demonstrations of the latest mobile-enabled products and services were featured in the GSMA Innovation City, 25 companies were awarded 38 GLOMOs (Global Mobile Awards) for their advances in technology, and much much more.

Mobile World Congress 2018 Highlights

That being said, let’s take a look at what you missed out on if you weren’t able to attend!

Galaxy S9 and S9+

As we all know, Samsung is a staple of the smartphone market, so it’s not surprising that they showed off their latest handsets. At first glance, you may think that the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are quite similar to their predecessors (S8 & S8+), but they actually have some pretty cool upgrades and improvements. For example, they use Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 845 CPU and a new mechanical variable aperture rear camera sensor that improves performance by letting it (camera) switch between f/2.4 and f/1.5 apertures based on the environment. 

Xperia XZ2

Sony, another tech giant we’re all familiar with, unveiled the Xperia XZ2 as a pleasant departure from its previous squarish design. New and improved, the Xperia has a mixed material chassis with a 2.5D curved glass back and is packed with the latest Sony technologies to deliver an entertainment experience that touches your senses in a whole new way. Like the Galaxy S9 and S9+, the Xperia XZ2 boasts of a Snapdragon 845 CPU for improved use, a larger battery, a revamped camera, much louder speakers, and the world's first 4K HDR movie recording in a smartphone.

Nokia 7 Plus

With 64GB of storage, a Snapdragon 660 CPU, 6-inch 18:9 Full HD + resolution display perfect for our media consumption, and an added bonus of running on Android One, the Nokia 7 Plus is already a fan favorite. Apart from an upgraded screen, more power, and greater functionality, this phone also has excellent battery life and enhanced Dual-Sight rear sensors with ZEISS optics that create a wide-angle camera that excels in low light and extra bright environments.

Nokia 8110 “Banana Phone”

Famously featured in The Matrix, the Nokia 8110, AKA the Banana Phone, is back. Like many upgraded models in MWC 2018, the 4G 8110 is new and improved and brings back the iconic slide design with new features like an app store with where you’ll find favorites like Facebook, Google Search, Google Maps, Twitter and more. As for the slide design, want to answer the phone? Slide. Want to hang up? Slide. What more can you want?

Lenovo Vital

The Lenovo Vital is one of the coolest health trackers you’ll come across. As the latest Moto Mod for Motorola’s Z line of smartphones, this device works as a biometric scanner that can measure blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen, and temperature. It’s also very simple to use — all you have to do is place your finger in the protruding dock, slip it into a rubber seal and click on the onscreen start button you’ll find in the app.

Land Rover Explorer Outdoor Phone

Closing our list today, the Land Rover Explorer Outdoor Phone is the one and the only phone those who love the great outdoors need. For one, it can survive anything — drops water submersion (including salt water), extreme temperatures, rapid temperature changes and more. Second, apart from being an indestructible phone, it also has all the features you want as an explorer like topographic mapping options, AR Skyline navigation, and instant access to a dashboard that has weather information, sensor data, and an SOS light toggle.

Wrap Up

As all the excitement dies down, we have to come to grips with the fact that we have to wait for more than we’d like for the next MWC to come around. It’s not all bad though — in the meantime, we have all the cool gadgets and services that were unveiled this year. Enjoy!