Thursday, 15 December 2016

Why Security is so Important in Mobile Application Development

                                                            Image Source: static.pexels.com

Much like the Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Medieval Period, we as a society are beginning to undergo a drastic change. What that change might be you ask? Just look around you. Chances are the vast majority of people you see everywhere are on their phone. The entirety of our planet is entering what should be called: “The Mobile Age”. In an article by PC Magazine, they state;

“By 2020, global smartphone subscriptions will more than double to 6.1 billion, 70 percent of people will use smartphones, and 90 percent will be covered by mobile broadband networks.”
Mobile first is the ideology that is almost fully encompassing our day-to-day activities. As a highly intelligent civilization, ironically we are almost useless without our cellular sidekick. Checking emails on the go, finding local businesses, messaging, and location services are all made convenient and possible by the advancement of smartphone technology. Due to this trend, mobile application development has progressively taken off as being both a lucrative business and operational activity for discussion. Mobile apps are what make smartphones in an enterprise setting immensely advantageous. However, the amount of reliability we put on these applications can actually be considered an Achilles’ heel for companies that don’t put enough time and effort to investing in mobile application security.

Issues with Security
 

Most companies don’t realize just how important mobile application security is and how it can prevent a slew of issues that may arise without proper encryption. According to a report by Now Secure:

      • “24.7 percent of mobile apps include at least one high risk security flaw”
      • “The average device connects to 160 unique IP addresses every day.”
      • “Business apps are three times more likely to leak login credentials than the average app.”

With an increasingly amount of smartphone users, especially in the workplace, this presents an opportunity for cybercriminals to attack. According to We Live Security, “For cybercriminals then, the economics of mobile attacks are obvious. By attacking these devices, they can reach and infect more machines, and earn more money by exploiting individual users or by selling their details via the black market.” The lack of carefulness and education involved with handling these devices by employees, has lead to expanded issues with online safety.

Need of Security

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Mobile application security issues can directly dismantle an entire corporation. Without proper protection, hackers can perform sophisticated cyber attacks enabling them to gain access to business and personal data. This could be anywhere from bank information, passwords, and sensitive data, all the way to client email lists, digital assets, critical financial files, and critical company resources. These problems can especially be detrimental to online ecommerce sellers that possess delicate customer information.

How do you Stop it?

There are quite a few steps for any business to take in order to help prevent malware and security concerns. Essentially, the biggest thing to remember is that smartphone security and online web security isn’t the same beast, you need to treat cellular safety separately. In this blog post from DarkReading, a few remarkably helpful tips are given:

   • Creating source code scanning tools can help make smartphone apps more resilient to an online attack.
   • Giving restrictions to devices that are able to download unauthorized apps, companies can take away functionalities and prevent access to important business resources.
  • Developing a capability that can remotely wipe sensitive data from compromised mobile devices can aid in the fight against data leakage.
  • Tracking context of where certain mobile transactions are coming from can help restrict access to company systems.

The idea is that prevention is the best practice. If circumstances do arise, cyber web attacks and remote device infiltration should both have the necessary steps for avoidance.
Your company’s software developers should have a zero tolerance policy against ignorance. Thinking your smartphone or tablet application is fully secured against any forms of hacking or information theft is your biggest mistake when fighting against web software bandits. Just when you least expect it, someone could potentially permeate through your development systems and take whatever information they want. Make sure to follow safe practices and keep your cellular applications safe from harm!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Extreme Mobile Traffic Drives the Need for E-Commerce Data Centers

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As our technology driven culture rises in intelligence, so does our cellular usage. According to Ericsson, “The growth in mobile data traffic is due to both the rising number of smartphone subscriptions, in particular for LTE smartphones, and increasing data consumption per subscriber. This is forecast to result in a ten-fold increase in total traffic for all devices by the end of 2021.” 
A Pew Research study just last year reported that; “68% of U.S. adults have a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011.” It’s staggering how quick our society is in adjusting to smartphone ownership. From a business point of view, this increase in traffic has lead to ecommerce owners having to manage their own mobile data centers. Companies are beginning to realize that relying on third-party servers to maintain and keep track of order inquiries is ill advised. With the smartphone population growing, investing in a self-owned infrastructure to house telecommunications and storage systems is the smart move.  

Why are Data Centers so Important?

With such a high volume of sales and mobile traffic/visits, cellular ecommerce platforms are having a hard time keeping up. Outsourcing server information isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if your brand is taking a considerable amount of consumers, it should reconsider its strategy. One way to do this would be to invest in a Data Center. A Data Center is basically a large group of networked computers used by companies for remote storage and the processing of large amounts of information. Why would a company need to set one up? Simple. Building mobile data centers can be low cost, allow for full optimization and customization for specific business demands, and can provide a large amount of compute power. In an article about massive Indian online retailer Flipkart, investing in a self-owned information storage, it explains; “E-Commerce manages the scale like nobody else. This means they’ll have to invest heavily in servers and switches in the next decade. It is much cheaper to invest in your own architecture and build it yourself.” This trend can drastically increase a business’s efficiency. 

                                                                      Image Source: huffingtonpost.com

Data Centers Make Media Assets Easily Assessable

The next action to revolve your future business storage plans around is how you’re going to manage all this information. Cellular information is collected in many different ways including customer service records, purchase history, website behavior, etc. As a business it’s imperative to securely maintain this information. Ecommerce site data centers fit this mold. Data centers get the information customers enter in through sale entries or other information sources and store it as you would normally think, except on a much bigger level.
Like a well organized book store, the information filed in searchable format, easily accessible across the company. As far as the cellular traffic itself, an information center is usually load balanced and distributes the work evenly over the network. They often use different internet service providers to allow for a greater amount of load sharing and overabundance. 

What are the Necessary Steps for Tracking Mobile Data?

One of, if not the best, tools on the market to analyze cellular information is Google Analytics. As the popularity of smartphone web searches increases dramatically, understanding the shopping behaviors of consumers is crucial for ecommerce businesses. Google Analytics helps by displaying the number of people viewing your mobile site, what keywords are being searched, how well optimized your website for Mobile, and the average amount of time customers spent on your site. Taking advantage of a tool like this could tremendously help your brand with growth and fully maximize your ecommerce platform’s potential.

Some advanced data centers may even provide analytics of their own, giving you a 360° view of your data journey.
Self-managed mobile data centers are looking more and more like the future of system information storage for businesses. Providing well maintained, secure and organized data, it’s the future of data management to keep your e-commerce information secure and available.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Top 5 Ways Mobile Apps Can Transform Your Business


Mobile technology is a theme that is constantly being discussed in today’s data driven society, and rightfully so. A study performed by Plos One, showed that on average, we use our cell phones close to 85 times a day. It’s chilling to think about how much we really do rely on our mobile devices to function.
With that said, businesses aren’t too worried about this statistic. In fact, companies are beginning to realize that there is a great amount of profitability in having an engaging mobile application. Consumers connect with these applications on a multitude of levels and because of this, company owners know the power a mobile app can have on elevating a business to the next level. This beckons the question:
How can smartphone apps better remodel the way your company performs business?
The answer is 5 simple solutions: 

1. Consumer Interaction

People don’t just use their cellphones for the sake of using them. Companies know that to have a successful and appealing mobile application, you have to get into the mind of a mobile device user. Know what your target consumers want, and incorporate a plan around meeting those needs. If you are major retail brand that specializes in selling women’s shoes, cater your application towards that demographic. Get your consumers involved.  Have end sale questionnaires or email sign-up screens; anything that can get people to be contented using your application while adding value to your business is the preferred end result.

2. It Makes Life Easier

Smartphones provide a range of supporting functions that make daily struggles easier to maintain. For example, take a look at Uber.

Uber is a multinational online transportation company that connects car drivers on demand, with people that need rides in a given location proximity. Their app allows any smart phone user to get car transportation anywhere, with just a few simple screen touches. What makes this so innovative is the map that pinpoints the driver’s live location. This allows people to simply follow the live location of their drivers to find their pickup location. This feature, along with many others that Uber has to offer, gives consumers and even employees a full range of accessibility when it comes to enhancing their total experience.


                                                                                  Image Source:  digitaltrends.com

3. Mobile Ecommerce (M-Commerce)

Mobile ecommerce or just simply m-commerce is a term used to describe the online sales that are acquired through wireless electronic devices. These transactions can be through smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. Businesses who have a clean and easy to use interface for consumers to purchase goods through, always see better results. Customers aren’t going to waste their time scrolling through applications for a company that doesn’t have a developed shopping cart or buying options. Looking at big ecommerce companies like eBay or Amazon, you notice just how integrated their mobile applications are for a seamless buyer, user experience.

They offer full customization and advanced search options for consumers. This provides more company engagement with consumers, while simultaneously making purchase records, sale sheets, and behavior statistics more freely accessible, leading to more sales and boosted growth within the company.

4. Innovation

Developing mobile software around your customer is the best way to ensure prosperity for your business. Being creative or doing something that hasn’t been done before is what’s going to set your business apart from others. People love to see genius concepts come to fruition through applications. This type of thinking keeps them involved and associated with what product you’re selling or service you’re offering, while helping with the construction of brand identity. Users want to be at the forefront of technologic innovation, and if your mobile application is offering something new, innovative and exciting that provides value to your consumers, your business profitability will see a rise.

                      Image Source: static.pexels.com

5. Helps Increase Customer Base

Today, 68% of U.S. adults own a smartphone. People are using smartphones more than ever. Whether it’s shopping, connecting to other people, or finding a restaurant to have dinner at, smartphone users commit to certain cellular applications to get the job done for them. It’s tremendously beneficial that if your company has a smartphone app, that it provides signup options for potential consumers. If you can get someone to use your app, that’s great – getting them to register creating a lifetime customer is even better!

The goal is to get consumers to use your app again and again. If you can accomplish this you will begin to notice a rise in user retention. Having a bigger database of customers is strongly correlated with elevated growth and sales.

Mobile software and cellular applications are the future of business. If you’re able to harness this power through the innovative use of a mobile app, it can generate more sales leads and overall development of your business’ operation.



Thursday, 8 September 2016

How Mobile Devices will Continue to Affect Businesses in the Future

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In today’s digital driven culture, people are becoming smarter and more tech-savvy when it comes to the use of a mobile application. Mobile commerce sites (also known as a M-Commerce website) have become the unambiguous focal point of this trend. People in general love the fact that they can purchase items and shop remotely on their cellular-devices. And due to the rise in consumer demand more and more businesses are investing in this segment… But why? What does this direction towards improved user innovation mean?

M-Commerce Trend


According to Pew Research Center, 72% of adults in the United States own a smartphone. This contributes to around $104.05 billion U.S. mobile commerce sales in 2015, up 38.7% from 2014, but this is just speaking for the Unites States. Global regions are also experiencing a huge growth as well. The combined sales of 14 Asian retailers ranked in the 2016 Mobile 500, grew over 249.3%. This movement towards a smartphone driven approach is not a fluke. More companies are becoming aware of technological innovations that enhance cell and tablet application usage and because of this, are gearing their businesses towards enhancing consumer experiences.

How M-Commerce is Helpful for Businesses


In today’s modern age, people are becoming more comfortable with technology than ever before, thus inevitably increasing the amount of mobile shoppers. This said, the amount of business opportunities has also taken a large increase. According to internetretailer.com, the combined monthly mobile visits of all 378 U.S. Mobile 500 merchants grew 68.3% to 3.03 billion in 2015.  People love shopping with their cell phones, because it’s easy and convenient! There’s no hassle like sitting at a computer or worrying about finding Wi-Fi for your laptop. With a smartphone you can shop anytime and anywhere. They also function as an intermediate tool for businesses and customers. Smartphones allow consumers to look at reviews before purchasing items, find local businesses through map navigation applications, and call businesses by simply clicking a button. According to The Huffington Post, 76% of smartphone users rely on their cellular device to find a store to make a local purchase at. It’s apparent just how big of a role mobile plays and how it provides companies with the opportunity to keep their consumers captivated in purchasing decisions.

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How to Increase Business Sales with Smartphones


Businesses and consumers are beginning to realize that e-commerce is changing and the numbers are there to prove it. In 2016, U.S. mobile device sales are expected to be 33% of total retail e-commerce sales. This number is expected to increase to 37% by the end of 2017. Investing in this movement of increased smartphone sales, is almost necessary for companies that want to remain relevant in today’s business market. Putting money into the development of cell applications can prove to be a beneficial step in the right direction. Internetretailer.com reports 180 U.S. merchants in the 2016 Mobile 500 have one or more mobile application, and the combined sales from those apps increased 44% to $40.58 billion in 2015. These applications act as a medium to connect with consumers on an intimate level and therefore cause sales to boom. M-commerce also offers businesses the opportunity to engage with their consumers through innovation. This innovation can range anywhere from location specific deals, ease of payment through credit cards or PayPal, to the simplicity of navigation through the application. As early as 2012, a study from Google proved that mobile friendly sites are a key influencer in purchasing choices for consumers. They concluded that 67% of mobile users, said they are more likely to buy a product from mobile-friendly site and 50% said that even if they prefer a specific business, they will buy from them less often if the website isn’t mobile-friendly. This only stresses how important customer guidance is with cellular device integration. With a good looking user interface and consumer targeted optimization, M-commerce sales and overall production definitely increase business value.

There’s no way around it, m-commerce has been and will continue to be the future of online shopping. Mobile application development is taking lead as the most important aspect of this movement and can separate a middle of the road retailer, to an industry leader. John D. Rockefeller Jr. said: “The secret of success is to do the common thing uncommonly well.” Businesses should feel the need strive towards innovation. The key to m-commerce is to be as connected with your consumers, as they are with themselves.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Mobile Business Intelligence: How Companies Are Using it and What You Can Learn


                                                        Image Source: pexels.com

With the fastly increasing use of mobile technology, leveraging mobile business intelligence (MBI) grows in importance to reach and benefit consumers while providing business growth. As an integral part of their lifestyle, there is a great deal of useful information which can be gathered from MBI. Here are some companies that have integrated MBI successfully into their business models, what we can learn from them, and how other businesses can leverage this powerful marketing tool to provide value to existing and potential target markets.

What is Mobile Business Intelligence


Business Intelligence defines mobile business intelligence as a term that refers to applications that make business intelligence available on mobile devices, giving users access to key business information whenever and wherever they need it.
Simply put, it is the intelligent information that can be gathered from applications installed on mobile devices and leveraged for key business takeaways.
In an era where cell phones hardly leave their owner’s side, it’s easy to see how this information can provide extremely valuable insights into target market demographics, behaviors, lifestyle and more.

Examples of Companies Successfully Using MBI


To get a better idea of what kind of information can be gathered from MBI, here are some innovative companies maxing out on mobile information and how they wield it to achieve success.

Uber


Perhaps the leader in leveraging mobile information technology, Uber has built their entire business premise on full integration of MBI into their consumer-centric technology. Bringing in a new era of mobility, cabs suddenly seem dated with this application that allows users to request for car service, track driver location and make payment all directly through the Uber mobile app. How is this possible? Uber gathers location tracking MBI through their app for both the individual seeking a ride, and for the driver that will pick them up. Based on an algorithm of distance and available drivers, a driver may choose to accept the rider, meet them at the location they’re in (with mobile location tracking) and take them to their desired location using the integrated GPS function.
Their payment system is also easy and allowing users to save card information within the app, and drawing payment automatically once the trip has been completed. No cash, no physical transaction at the moment the service is provided – just a one-time convenient feature creating an elevated user experience for drivers and riders alike.

                                                                  Image Source: fortune.com


GrubHub

Another great example of MBI being used in business is GrubHub. GrubHub is a food service that (much like Uber) provides consumers with extreme convenience through the use of mobile intelligence. People looking for local delivery can use the app location services to determine restaurants in the area with delivery options, browse menus and place orders directly in the app.


Fitbit


A more advanced use of mobile business intelligence can be seen with fitness trackers such as the Fitbit, which gathers even more complex information from their mobile app including location, activity level, heart rate and more. This smart technology has revolutionized fitness awareness by being able to provide users with smart information about themselves.

How your Business can Leverage MBI


So how can you leverage this technology? Where are your customers now? What are they doing? This kind of information can be easily gathered with MBI, and understanding this knowledge will help you know exactly what can your business can provide to help or benefit your target market. Here are some specific categories of information which can be gleaned from mobile app technology that can be leveraged as a powerful set of tools added to your professional arsenal.

Location Services


Think outside the box on how your business can incorporate MBI on location services. Not only can you use it to provide on-location products and services to your consumer, you can also learn the geographical demographics of your target audience, stores and businesses they frequent and other location habits – helping you to hone in on the “where” of your client base or provide your “where” to your client base.

Streamline Sales Process


Traditional check-out processes are almost a think of the past. With technologies like Apple Pay or other in-app purchasing options, consumers have learned to prefer the convenience of this streamlined sales process. Through this service, you can also request for email, phone or other information from your client base in order to complete the purchase.

Provide On-Demand Services


One of the most used purposes of MBI being leveraged by companies today is to provide on-demand products or services to consumers. Innovation is often derived from a need of increased convenience. This is the ultimate form you can provide your customers by going to them – rather than asking them to come to you.

Track User Information


The sky is the limit as far as the elements MBI can be programmed to track for application users. It’s not just navigation, location or other more obvious benefits one can receive from mobile information. A smart company can tailor an algorithm to gather it’s own set of intelligence from a mobile app development. Be encouraged to think outside of the box.

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"Mobile analytics has grown up and moved out. It's no longer just an interface to legacy BI products. In 2015, products with a fluid, mobile-first experience began to emerge. Working with data out in the world is going from being a chore to becoming a dynamic part of the analytics process." – From Tableau's Top 10 Business Intelligence Trends for 2016
Get creative, and start incorporating these proven industry techniques of leveraging mobile business intelligence to connect with your target audience in a powerful way like never before. Information is a powerful thing, and the resources at your fingertips with MBI is an open door.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Quality-Assessment Items in Technology


Image Source : researchgate.net

The world is constantly striving for standardized tests in order to compare the quality of similar people or businesses. Software designers utilize numerous testing techniques to debug their programs. There are no definitive statistics to measure if software is performing at its maximum capabilities. Instead, an agency has their own set of standards to meet their customer’s needs. 

The good of quality-assessment items

One of the strengths of standardized testing is that all of the information is available to the user end. This allows them to become familiar with all of the material and make their own conclusions. There is also a sense of accountability because both parties know the standards that are used. So, if an application or software does not work, there is a clear-cut way to discover what is not operating appropriately. But what if these standards do not always measure the full quality of something?

Subjective vs. Objective

The problem with using a homogeneous set of standards is they do not always properly measure the quality of software. For instance, when an agency is grading a program, in many occasions there are subjective elements to their guidelines that can disguise how well software’s performs. For example, a programmer could consider their application easy to use, while a normal consumer could think it is impossible to operate. So, the performance grades are only as good as the organization that supplies them. If the clients do not trust the agency’s analysis, the score does not matter. This is true of many industries that utilize quality-assessment items to review their products.

In the tech world

When software designers create a new product, quality assessment checks are vital in fully developing the software. A business can fail without the analysis because their product will not be able to perform correctly. As a consumer’s needs change so do the quality-assessment items. The process is never ending in order to make sure the excellence never falters. There are various types of tests that companies use such as web application testing, mobile app testing, B2B and B2C portal testing, and business process automation. These tests have different techniques that are implemented in order to correctly debug the specific program or application.


Image Source : kse.cis.unisa.edu.au


Different quality-assessment item techniques

In the world of technology, there are various ways to test software and web applications in order to confirm it will work properly. However, there is no one set of guidelines to software evaluation. Based on the customer’s needs, there are different ways to evaluate software such as script and usability testing. An engineer utilizes script testing, when they want to identify if their software is functioning correctly. When a company employs usability testing, they are attempting to see if a person who has never seen an interface before can accomplish a certain task. This allows developers who are intimate with a certain program to hear fresh perspective about their product.

Analysis

Consumers want to make informed decisions and rely on an agency’s standards to help make their choices. Many businesses outsource their software development, meaning they rely on a third-party to create a program or application at a high level. Some industries that utilize these developers include banks, entertainment and media companies, and e-commerce companies. Many technology firms have different sets of standards for their products. However, there are common sets of principles for a high-quality assessment item. The item must have clear targets, be able to function properly, run on its expected operating systems, and meet the client’s goals. If a method can meet the basic requirements of a quality-assessment item and is tested and proven to work, then it can have a positive effect on a business.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

What’s next in the post-app world?

If someone wants to look up the weather or book a flight, they open an app on their phone. Mobile applications are supposed to make people’s lives easier. However, a person only uses five apps 80% of the time. With the decreasing use of apps and the advancement of virtual assistants, many experts claim that we are about to be living in a post-app world.

Messaging Apps



The app store is full of messaging applications. Each one has a slightly different interface and retains a distinctive user group. The problem some experts’ raise about messaging apps is that there are too many, which can make it harder to contact certain people because everyone is on various applications. Although, what some experts ignore when they critique apps is they forget a cellular phone can receive text messages and phone calls. This type of seamless integration has been around before the Apple Store and the simplicity of it is going to fuel the post-app world.

What’s next in the post-app world?



Apple went all in on apps, whether it was with the Apple TV, the IPhone, or IPad apps are extremely prevalent on the company’s assorted platforms. They also have invested seriously in Siri, an intelligent assistant that can help a user throughout their day. Siri will soon be on all of Apple’s devices marking a shift in the tech giant’s app heavy strategy. Even Google has tried to combat the application revolution by creating it’s own artificial intelligence assistant named Google assistant, which is integrated with all of Google’s products.


The virtual assistant



With the invention of smart watches and devices that have AI and machine learning capabilities, apps are going to become less prevalent. An Apple Watch is small, so fumbling on the screen with your fingers is time consuming and frustrating. Comparatively, the ease of asking a virtual assistant to look up the weather instead of accessing an app makes much more sense. Also, as screens become less prevalent, the typical single purpose apps located in the Apple or Android Stores will become less needed because a virtual assistant will have the ability to do everything.

People should come first



Smart devices like Google Home or Amazon’s Echo showcase artificial intelligence’s competency. Both companies want to seamlessly blend their products into a person’s life. For instance, the Amazon Echo (Alexa) is moving business from screens to the virtual assistant. There are studies that show consumers have an emotional connection to when key performance indicators are presented by the friendly voice of Alexa.


Problem Solving



The post-app world will only become a phenomenon once consumers can completely trust their virtual assistant. Google’s search engine is used because it is a trusted central location of information but once there is confidence in virtual assistants, there will be no need for people to visit Google. Instead, Siri, Alexa, or Google assistant will access the information it’s user wants and display it in an easy and convenient fashion.

Conclusion



Countless technological advancements have been made with human convenience in mind. The post-app world is the next step in making everyone lives’ less complicated. However, people also want to enjoy the same features they are used to having. Devices must maintain a high quality if the walls between apps and devices are going to be successfully taken down. People just want results and they do not care how they get them. Buzz words and fancy developer conferences will not drive the average person into wanting to change how they interact with their devices. Instead, the new technology must make the transition into people’s day-to-day activities as seamless as it is supposed to make their lives.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Facebook’s AI Initiative to Make the World a Connected Place


These days, companies are turning towards all technology advancements such as Artificial Intelligence or Virtual Reality to make new inventions and establish a strong hold in the tech world. Facebook is on the top of the list of such companies. Recently, the company announced its decision to connect mankind through the medium of internet.

Facebook has used all the possible means to make the internet accessible to maximum number of people either through the use of drones or satellites. But, now it is all set to take a more substantial step in this direction. Instead of relying on the old data about the density of population in different countries, Facebook is launching the concept of its own detailed maps that will be able to fetch data more precisely than any other medium.

Facebook’s Detailed Maps
Facebook’s connectivity lab has collaborated with the Center for International Earth Sciences Information Network at Columbia University to develop a global map that can tell the exact figures of the human density on different places. It will also help to determine the best ways to make internet accessible to those who are still offline.

Artificially intelligent technologies are able to identify patterns and images, and Facebook is using its own expertise to clearly distinguish between man-made structures and natural properties. The analysis is going to be so accurate that Facebook’s resolution is going to beat all predictions and provide the closest estimate, only of 500 meters. Facebook will be able to closely analyze the situations in which people are living, and also to understand which medium will be the best to make internet accessible to people that still need a connectivity medium such as internet.

Different mediums of making internet accessible include tower connection, drones, traditional wired medium or wireless.

As of now, the company has generated maps for 20 countries including Nigeria, South Africa, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Kenya, India, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Uganda, Turkey, and Tanzania that cover 21.6 million square kilometers across different countries.

Other Advantages of Facebook’s Global Map
The uses of Facebook’s global maps are not only confined to the analysis that needs to be done by the company, instead these global maps will serve many other requirements as well. Some of its other advantages are given below:

1.These detailed global maps will be very helpful in extracting the accurate information about a certain place for accelerating socio-economic research and growth.
2.This data is going to be very helpful for observing the ruction in natural properties such as rivers to notify about any natural disaster in advance.
3.Better satellite imagery will be available with the new improved detailed maps.
4.This map’s preview will help governments to invest in a more qualitative manner than before in the fields such as infrastructure, healthcare, and education.
5.It will help different departments to react in a better way during emergency situations.

In a press release Facebook said that “This data will give us a greater understanding of how populations are dispersed, so governments and others can prioritize investments in infrastructure, from transportation to healthcare and education. It can also help rapid-response times during emergencies and other disasters and inform our understanding of the ecological impact of growth.”

Other Fields in Which Facebook is Utilizing AI
Artificial Intelligence is not a new field for Facebook. Apart from global maps, the company is also involved in doing many other projects as well that are based on AI. An introduction of some of them is given here:
Facebook’s Internet Drones - Facebook internet drones are produced by the company to bring internet access to all the people on earth who don’t have it.
Teaching machines to see and understand – It is a Facebook initiative to make the lives of people easier.

This is not all. There are many other fields as well in which Facebook is keen to show its expertise in Artificial Intelligence such as natural language processing, security and privacy etc.

Conclusion
Artificial Intelligence has grown up to many folds in recent years & is making some breathtaking innovations regularly to help mankind move a step further. What this technology is holding for the future is an interesting thing to see, but the pace with which it is growing seems unstoppable. This recent achievement of Facebook will help in making the lives of people better. Those who are deprived of basic facilities will get their access on the global data and thus help the respective government to serve them better. So, though the company is making detailed global maps for its own good, for spreading Facebook’s access to maximum number of people, but it will benefit mankind in many other ways as well. We all are excited to see the future progress of this project, so you just stay tuned with us and we will bring you all the updates.



Wednesday, 27 April 2016

New Smartphone Apps to Help Fight Natural Disasters & Giving the Right Directions

In our previous blog post we have talked about the endless scope in the smartphone app market which is likely to grow leaps and bounds in future as well. Once again, smartphone apps have got a new addition in their utility pool. This time, it is related to the natural disasters.

Researchers at university of California have created a new android phone app named ‘My Shake’ with an objective to detect the earthquake. 

MyShake


MyShake is an intelligent application that is able to distinguish between earthquake vibrations and normal vibrations. It uses sensors that are already present in a smartphone such as accelerometer. As soon as the app encounters any suspected movement, it immediately sends a small packet of data to Seismological laboratory including GPS details, amplitude and time of the vibrations. The app then keeps on recording another five minutes of data.

The laboratory analyzes the data of 60% nearby devices to confirm that an earthquake actually occurred in an area.

The app is developed with an idea to use the smartphone sensors in a smart way. However, there is some work that still needs to be done to make the app more usable, e.g., the app is capable to identify an earthquake, but there is need to make it proactive in which it will be able to predict the future occurrence of earthquake in advance.

This smartphone app is also not able to identify the earthquake with a magnitude lesser or equal to five.

Google My Map


Google’s My Map got a complete makeover with some surprising new features to increase the utility and accuracy of maps. It is the major update that happened in app from 2014 with addition of new exciting features.

Some of the new addition in Google My Map are as follows:
1.Users can see a street view look of the places.
2.They can view the photos and videos added by other users.
3.Users can search for a particular address and give custom names to places.
4.My map lets users choose from standard, satellite or terrain based maps.
5.It also allows users to create a customized map for the relatives coming to your area to visit. 
6.Description of places can be added to let them have an idea about what to except while making a visit there.

New version of My Maps can be easily downloaded from Google Play Store from where it is available to everyone.

These applications are the two most recent inventions in smartphone app market which are designed by keeping a special focus on users’ benefits. We are committed to keep you updated regarding all the latest happenings of the tech world, so stay tuned with us for more in the future as well.

Friday, 1 April 2016

How a Smart Watch can Change the Way of Using Smartphone?

With the introduction of Apple’s first iPhone, the battle of creating smart devices had started. Today there are plenty of smart devices that allow us to do things in a smarter, quicker and easier way. This battle among different brands has not stopped yet, however the scope of smart devices is increasing constantly from smartphones to smart watches. Nowadays, different electronic device manufacturing companies are competing for creating cutting-edge smart watches.

Smart watches are not just normal time pieces, but they can do a lot more than that. All the leading smartphone manufacturing companies such as Apple, Motorola, Samsung and Sony have introduced their  smart watches. Now, as the time is passing, competition is getting tougher and tougher between these companies, they all are trying to create better smart watches than the rivals. And, users are benefiting a lot due to this competition, because they are getting a better product every time. 

Why you must have a smart watch?
Those days are gone, when people used to check their smartphones for miss calls, notifications and messages. This is an era of smart watches, in which maximum operations of smartphones can be performed by smart watches. Now, there is no more hassle of taking out smartphones from the pocket, instead one can check all the important emails, notifications, and answer calls on his wrist.


Smart watches are developed to increase convenience in people’s lives. Many people have suffered with terrible road accidents just because they were using smartphone while driving. There are also some cases in which people have lost their jobs because of excess usage of phone during work time. These incidents may seem like excuses to buy a smart watch, but the truth is that the increasing usage of smartphones sometimes makes the situation troublesome.

Smart watches provide quick and easy access to all the main functions of smartphones. You can check messages, notifications and also use social networking apps on the watch. Thus, it lets you drive with peace, work with precision and you also won’t miss any notification.

Buying guide for first time buyers:
The electronic market has experienced an incredible boost in the sales of smart watches. From last few years the smart watch market is showing some exciting trends for  the manufacturers and retailers. They have become successful in grabbing the much needed attention of buyers. By looking at the market trends, many new companies are also trying their hands on smart watches with a commitment to provide feature-rich smart watches in affordable prices.

But, before investing your money in any smart watch, you are required to understand a few important things that are listed below:
• The watch should be compatible with your Smartphone and  offer good range of Bluetooth connectivity. 
• Is the manufacturing company giving any guarantee of long-lasting battery life? If yes, then go for it. 
• Get a smart watch that supports health promoting apps. In other words, watch must have a heart rate sensor, and support for other health related apps as well. 
• If the watch is having a good design with a fine collection of apps, it is just perfect for your wrist and requirements. 
• You can also buy standalone smart watches, if you want to wear a cutting-edge device on your wrist that is consist of best technology and made to provide better health and connectivity to the users.

Smartwatches of different brands offer different features, but they all are equipped with some basic standard features. You can choose the best for yourself by comparing the price and features of different smart watches.




Monday, 28 March 2016

Goodbye To Long Addresses, Just Three Words Will Take You To Your Destination

I am sure it might have often happened to you that despite having the precise address you are not able to reach your destination or you know the precise place that you need to reach but unable to explain or express to another person the location or how they could reach there. What fun it would be if you could simply utter three words and that could prove to be adequate and would make you reach your destination. Well it is not in the realms of fantasy anymore! A new app, What3Words (W3W) caters to exactly this service.

What Is What3Words (W3W)?
So first and foremost let’s understand what you understand by What3Words or W3W? Well essentially it is an application that runs equally efficiently on Android, iOS devices as well as the web to streamline your address searching woes and might as well become the most accurate form of looking for addresses worldwide. It uses essentially just three words and is being touted as the ‘new universal address system’. Designed to make finding an address easier, this searching methodology is based on location points and claims to give you the closest possible directions globally.

How Does What3Words Work?
This app is designed by a start-up that is based in UK and aims to provide accurate coordinates by dividing the geographical area around the world into multiple squares. Essentially the entire planet is divided into roughly 57 trillion squares each measuring 3m x 3m. Each of these squares are then allotted a unique 3 word address. And the best thing is this format will work effectively wherever the location is searchable on Google Maps.

Be it buildings, residential locations, parks, monuments or any other location, just about no place is too far away or hard to trace on What3words. Once you feed in the said address, you’ll be informed about the precise words that are allocated for the specific square and will enable you to reach the exact location without too much of a hassle through the App. As every square gets three words assigned to it, conveying it to people becomes simpler and three words are all you need to tell people when you are describing the address to them through messages or phone calls.  The added benefit is that you can share this through multiple channels like Twitter, Facebook or email.

The question that might bother you is can three words really explain your exact location. At the very behest let us then understand the brilliance of this app does not lie in guiding one to a known landmark like the Buckingham palace or the Louvre Museum. It is about looking for places and searching successfully for locales that need you to remember minute details and small landmarks and just about never feature prominently on Google Maps. They are about locating small nooks and corner that are most times is a pain to locate even for many who might be a regular to that place.

Even locations that often might not have name or postal address or bare minimum details or just the postal code to it can become approachable with What3words. Remote rural locations that were hitherto unapproachable can now be spotted. All you need to do is drag and drop a specific point on a map even a hilltop or a hut or a distant field and you will instantly get the three keywords that will enable you to create a traceable address for it and share with others who might need to reach the same locale.

What3words fixes these three word addresses on the basis of GPS coordinates and assigns relevant name or words to them to enable identifying them. This could be even relevant for a distant campsite or an industrial location or remote outreach positions which now become easy to locate with the help of this app.

Do You Need To Pay To Use What3words App?
The major part of the service offered by this app is absolutely free as they have devised a simple way to monetise and make it profitable for the founders. This service to metise it is known as OneWords. All you need to do is take any of the 3 assigned words and assign a single word to it. Pretty simple and novel, this is a simple measure to make it a profitable business for the founders. For example if you have salon in a rural locale you could call it as Harry’s Hair Solution preceded an asterisk. This simple task will cost you a meagre amount of $1.50 per year but can often become the best publicity option for your sagging business in a rural location and can often help people who might be visiting the area and are frantically looking for the service.

Language Options
Suddenly when you are discussing a global solution, one question that might bother you is what if you do not understand English or what if you go to an area where English is not spoken by all and you need to share the address with some people who do not speak the language?

Well What3Words too thought about this problem. As a result after they received $1.5 m funding for their start-up, they began expanding their services to provide this facility in several other languages also. So what happens is for every square, an addition of a language means addition of a name too. Currently this app is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Italian, Portuguese and Turkish. This has meant there are almost 40,000 words of each language in the overall W3W vocabulary as these words are based on the specific popularity of the word in specific language.

Conclusion
It would not be wrong to say What3Word app that is designed for all popular operating systems and the web is set to change the way we look up addresses globally. It would not just revolutionise the process but also usher in a new era of cool address hunting via an app that would be always on your finger tip. Hence, Market is flooding with various smart apps .

Author bio: Priyanka Chowdary is a professional content writer at Coupon Machine. She has done her post graduation in English from The University of Calcutta and has flair to write articles on Tech, fashion, Health, Fitness, Beauty and Diet.




Monday, 22 February 2016

Are Your Apps Stealing Your Data?

Most of us have some kind of smart device, which is why mobileappstuff.blogspot.com is a great resource for learning about the latest in apps. I appreciate the chance to contribute to the conversation of app security, as privacy is a growing concern. If you’re interested in getting ahead of the curve, check out this article on “What to expect of mobile technology trend in year 2016” when you finish.


Apps perform a nearly endless list of functions. They help us be on time, they entertain us, they do our taxes; I’ve got an app that plays Christmas music to a repeating animation of a fireplace. Whatever it is you need your device to do, someone has (or is going to design) an app for it. The best part? Most of them are free.

But “free” may be an exaggeration. If you’ve looked at the app permissions on an update or new install, you may have noticed some apps have access to an extraordinary amount of functions on your phone or tablet. When you look closely, you might find some oddities, such as a flashlight app requesting permission to view your contacts.

The level of invasion depends on the app and on the type of device. iOS, for instance, allows you to set permissions on a per app basis, as does Windows. Android regrettably does not currently have that function; although, you can manually disable very select features such as your Location.
So this leaves us all with a few questions: what data is being harvested, what is it being used for, and what can you do about it? Let’s take a look.

Advertising
The vast majority of apps that invade your privacy do so for one sole reason: to monetize. Yes, it’s all about the Benjamin’s, even when we start talking about stealing your data. App developers who provide free apps typically include some types of ads. In order to make those ads effective, they want certain information about you.

The most common information an app takes is probably your specific location. Local ads are considered more relevant and can increase the chances they’ll find something to sell you (and add to revenue). You can combat this by turning off Location, but you’ll naturally lose some functionality of other apps.

However, a few apps will actually use your microphone to help target ads. Watch out for apps that appear to have no voice or microphone functionality, yet still want access to your microphone. This is a bit harder to circumvent (especially for Android), without just not using the app.

Network Access
Some apps need to use the internet to work—it’s pretty expected if you’re playing a game such as Clash of Clans that you’d need access so you can play with other people. But other apps come up on the short end of the stick explaining exactly what they need access for.

As always, the question you need to ask is “why does this app need that access?” My original example of the flashlight app is actually quite notorious, because recently quite a few flashlight apps have been implicated for invading privacy with unnecessary permissions.

Other apps that shouldn’t be requesting that sort of access might include utility based apps, such as a clock, your desktop background, or other utility tools (I’ve got a leveler installed, for instance).
If you absolutely must have apps with unusual network access, beware that they might use up some of your precious data (unless you’re on an unlimited plan). Using up your plan is a double whammy, because you’re actually paying for the invasion of your privacy.

Modifying Contents of Your Storage
 Apps routinely add new features and communicate with servers in remote locations. Sometimes, in order to fully function, they need to save things locally. But can you trust every app you download?
The sheer number of apps available, particularly on Google Play, means not all are verified for their safety. Changing your storage could be anything from saving files to adding malware or leaving room for later exploits. The goal is still likely the same: monetization. After all, identity theft is ultimately a means to take your money.

Contacts
I’d venture to say your contacts are valuable to you; the same could to be said for certain companies and groups interested in targeting your interests (for profit, of course). This one makes me the least comfortable, because it invades the privacy of more than just you.
Unless the app you’re using is for texting or calling, it earnestly shouldn’t be accessing your contacts. This has been a problem in the past for iOS, which allowed apps to access your contacts in order to make things run more “seamlessly.”

Countermeasures
There are a few things for you to do to fight against apps stealing your data. The most basic is to always get apps from an official source and to check their permissions before installing them.
Last year, an exploit in Android allowed hackers to install malware by interrupting the installation process of apps downloaded outside of Google Play, allowing the theft of account information such as passwords and other login details, and eventually financial information.
While this highlights the importance of using official sources, you may also want to consider encrypting your data and hiding your IP address by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Stolen information is considerably less useful if it’s encrypted, because it’s unreadable (for all intents and purposes; encryption takes far too long to break to be reasonable).

Minimize Your Risk
Always do some research before jumping on the latest apps? There are some websites which help to check the privacy grade of apps, measures their expected permissions vs. their actual permissions to leverage just how much your privacy is being violated.
Be careful what you’re storing on your device and always assume there is no expectation of privacy. It’s not necessary that you be paranoid, but a healthy amount of suspicion will keep you from giving away more than necessary.


Monday, 15 February 2016

Wearable Technology – How It Is Changing the World

Technology is evolving in every possible manner and the one that is grabbing the attention of tech lovers is wearable technology. Its evolution is slowly expanding from one device to another, from rings to wristbands, from head mounted displays to fashion clothing etc. The journey of wearable devices started around 700 years ago and has now reached a point where most of our wearables are equipped with this technology.

The developments that have taken place in the past few years were purely focused on improving lifestyle and making the lives of people easier. It has not been very long since wearable technology became a mainstream attraction for customers either for taking care of their health or correcting eyesight with smart eye-wear.

There are a number of smart wearable devices that are assisting humans in improving health and lifestyle. Wrist wear, clothing, eye wear, and ear wear etc. the benefits of wearable technology can be obtained in a number of ways. But, what are the wearables that are used by people the most? A survey done to understand the behavior of customers of wearable market shown that wristbands are the devices customers love to wear the most.


1. Fitness Wristbands

Fitness wristbands are the most widely used wearable devices by customers. The recent trend of sale of wearable devices shows that customers are very fond of fitness wristbands. It is a device designed to track every movement of human body performed as an exercise. It provides a track of calories consumed or burned by a person throughout the day, sleep tracking etc. Different machines for tracking physical activities, counting calories can be found easily in fitness centers or gyms, but as wearable technology, wristbands are the most common. As evolution is a part of every technology, wristbands have also gone through some serious transformations. There are wristbands that can individually perform different tasks and those as well which are specialized only for performing only one or two activities such as heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, swimming, multi-sports etc. It depends on the personal requirement which suits one the best.
Brands like Fitbit, Jawbone, Misfit, Motorola, Oculus, Apple and Microsoft are doing some breathtaking inventions with each passing day in the world of fitness wristbands.

2. Smart clothes Equipped with Wearable Technology

Smart clothes equipped with wearable technology are the new trend. Though the trend of smart clothing is growing slowly, it is becoming the new favorite of fitness freaks. Clothes equipped with sensors are able to monitor every fitness activity closely, and they are far more accurate than other devices in monitoring heart rate, breathing and number of calories burnt etc. because they are closer to the body parts. Problem of washing these clothes may create a problem, but this is also nothing in front of the amazing functionalities these smart clothes are equipped with such as heart rate tracking bra, t-shirt that changes color with heat and sweat, solar jackets that can keep one dry, energized, and charge gadgets as well. Some big brands are trying their hands on the smart clothes to rule this comparatively new market, such as Athos, project Jacquard of Levi’s and Google etc.

3. Smart Eyewear


Glasses have evolved in a whole new way from simple glasses to smart glasses with embedded wearable computers that can do a range of things from correcting vision to providing information about an object which a wearer sees. These glasses control or retrieve data from external and internal sensors, instruments and computers. It also supports technologies such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS. There is an endless pool of possibilities what a smart glass can do.
Many experiments and inventions are being done around augmented reality these days and glasses equipped with this functionality are able to create this augmented world. Smart headsets allow a user to watch videos, play games, navigate and much more without losing sight of physical world. In fact, some eyewear look simple, but are equipped with features such as speakers, microphones, batteries etc.

4. Head Wear
Wearable technology is covering every part of our body including the head. Head wearable devices can be multi-functional; they can be used for tracking of health activities and can also be used to enjoy the amazing experience of virtual reality with special virtual reality headsets. Fitness head wears are smaller and fit well on to the head with the help of an elastic strap. Smart caps are one of the most innovative example of head wear. Head wearable devices such as thync are also playing an important role in managing stress levels, staying calm and energizing the body.

5. Smart Ear-wear


Fitness tracking not only remains limited to wristband or smart clothing, but has moved a step further with smart earwear. This smart earwear looks just like an ordinary ear piece, but it is something extraordinary. The smart earwear is capable of tracking heart rate, calorie count and activity level by easily connecting to iOS and Android smartphones via Bluetooth.
The tracking capabilities of smart earwear are also highly accurate as it remain close to the skin.
Ear wears are not only limited to keeping track of physical activity, but some of them are also helpful in improving health, e.g. there are sleep headphones in the market that are especially designed to improve sleep quality.

Advantages of Wearable Technology
1. Healthcare
The biggest and most advantageous use of wearable technology is in the field of healthcare. When it comes to calculation of heart rate, calorie count, breathing rate, respiration rate, and sleep quality etc., there are numerous devices which are simple to use and provide very accurate calculation of each and every thing. But, technology is not limited to only these small things, in fact some bigger physical calculations such as heart rate recovery, brain control, etc. can also be nicely done with devices equipped with wearable technology.
This will in turn put many positive effects on our society such as reduced medical expenses, because a disease would be identified at an early stage, and better accuracy of medical diagnosis.

2. Security
Smart glasses equipped with wearable technology has the ability to scan the whole information about an individual. This technique is going to act as a boon for policemen and security personals in future. Because, they will be easily able to find out the suspect and each relevant information about him just with the help of a smart glass.

3. Fitness Trainer
Clothes and wearables equipped with sensors to provide information like calories burnt, sweating, heart rate, and running pace etc. are no less than a fitness trainer for an individual. If a person is aware about small things regarding his health such as number of calories he is required to consume or burn, the kind of food he should eat etc., then a person can easily take good care of his health only with the help of wearable devices, without the need of any physical trainer.

4. Quick
Gadgets equipped with wearable technology produce quick and immediate responses. If you are using a smart watch, it keeps you updated about the latest notifications and important emails that may be difficult for you to track immediately without it. Fitness trackers also simultaneously record the changes that occur in body while exercising. So, these smart devices are really quick as well.

5. Virtual Reality or Gaming
The major advantages of wearable devices that cannot go unnoticed are gaming and virtual reality. The technology of virtual reality is rising constantly, it also becomes the new favorite of the big tech giants to make devices around this technology. Virtual Reality headsets such as HTC Vive, Razer OSVR, Oculus Rift are some of the headsets that will launch in the market in 2016. Seems like VR gaming is the unstoppable trend in the coming times.

6. Enhance Connectivity
Though, the devices like smartphones, computers are designed to keep us connected with the whole world, but wearable devices are those that have the capability to enhance this connectivity by informing about all the latest happenings of the world on an immediate basis. With wearable smart gadgets such as smart watch, a person is very less likely to miss any important email or information.

The advantages of wearable technology do not end here, in fact this is just the beginning. As the New Year has arrived, the big tech giants have prepared in advance for giving some pleasant surprises to customers in 2016 by providing wearables with advanced technologies and better functionalities.
We may also get to see a number of new wearable devices in future, but those that are ready to hit the market in 2016 are mentioned below, take a look:
1. Fitbit Blaze
2. Altra IQ Smart Shoes
3. Hidn Tempo – the stress manager
4. Second Gen HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and many more virtual reality headsets
Technology is growing at such a rapid pace that it is really difficult for us to cover each and every device which is going to make a valuable contribution to the market of wearable tech in 2016. But, we will try to cover the most awaited ones in our next post. So, stay tuned with us because we will keep you updated with all the happenings in the world of wearable technology.