Archive for October, 2011

Majority of Brits ‘scared’ of Mobile Payments

Fears over phone hacking are dominating British consumers’ security concerns about mobile wallet payments.

According to research by Intersperience, these concerns are likely to hamper UK-wide adoption of new mobile payment systems.

Intersperience questioned over 1000 UK consumers on their attitudes towards using mobile phone payment systems and found that just 17% would like to use their mobile as a wallet in future.

The top concern cited by consumers was a lack of security software, with 44% citing this as their chief worry.

It revealed a mix of emotional and rational views on mobile payment security with 24% of people saying using a mobile for payment “feels less secure but I don’t know why”, while a further 24% believe their mobile is more likely to be stolen than their wallet.

It also showed that many consumers feel vulnerable following high profile phone hacking scandals. Earlier this year the News of the World, one of the UK’s oldest newspapers closed following a string of revelations regarding the paper’s illicit use of phone hacking to listen to celebrities and other public figures’ personal voicemail.

One respondent said: “After the recent phone hacking scandals it’s clear that mobiles can be hacked. I’d be worried criminals would learn to do it.”

(via Gomonews)

October 24th, 2011

OmniTouch puts device control in the palm of your hand

A device created by developers from Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon University could eliminate the need for touch screens and keyboards, and replace them with the user’s own hand. OmniTouch uses a shoulder-mounted, depth-sensing camera to project an image of an interface onto the wearer’s palm, or any other surface, which can then be controlled through traditional hand gestures. “It’s conceivable that anything you can do on today’s mobile devices, you will be able to do on your hand using OmniTouch,” says Chris Harrison of Carnegie Mellon’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute.

This reminds me of another MIT guy some years back presenting in a TedX event that he had created similar technology and if I am not wrong, named it sixth sense and showed a whole video of the same how and where all he uses it. He had said that he is currently in experimentation stage and had been able to achieve this but for commercialization, it would take some time. Can anybody tell me if this has been made by the same guy and he joined Microsoft to work on this product???

(Excerpted from SmartBrief)

October 22nd, 2011

Principal sees Twitter as a useful tool for educators

Eric Sheninger, the principal of New Milford High School, has tapped out more than 12,000 tweets since he joined Twitter — or about 13 a day.

Now he’s got more than 14,500 followers on Twitter from around the country. That’s more than a “Today” show co-host and nearly as many as the U.S. secretary of education.

His goal? To tap into the oceans of educators everywhere using social networking to share tips, ask advice and promote what they’re doing. “I’m opening up what I’m thinking as a principal to the global society,” he says.

While some skeptics may see a stream of 140-character updates as a time-consuming distraction, Sheninger ticks off the benefits for his school of roughly 700 students. One contact he made through his Twitter life spurred a company to donate cameras that scan documents. Another invited him to bring students to a United Nations summit on women in education. And another led to a teacher’s free trip to Israel, with a later visit to the high school by Israeli educators who talked to his teens about the Holocaust.

“It’s not about how many followers you have,” said Sheninger, 36. “It’s about the substance of those you follow.”

Sheninger, who also is a Google Certified Teacher, is an advocate for social media as a tool for sharing tips and best practices among educators and administrators. He also promotes the use of mobile devices for academic purposes and bring-your-own-technology policies for schools.

(via SmartBrief & North Jersey.com News)

October 21st, 2011

Robot is designed to teach social skills to children with autism

Robots aren’t known for their soft side. They build cars and defuse bombs; they don’t, as a rule, make friends or deal with feelings. But a few groups of researchers around the world are working to build robots for an unusual purpose: Making emotional connections with autistic children who often struggle to interact with humans.

A robot that helps children with autism learn to take turns and initiate play with others is the focus of a program at the Robotics Research Lab at the University of Southern California. “Bandit,” a child-sized robot, has been designed to maintain the look of a machine so as not to be too intimidating, and has a human-like face designed to engender empathy among children with autism. “It was a balance that we had to find,” Maja Mataric, co-director of the lab, said.

(Ref: Los Angeles Times)

October 20th, 2011

After TRAI, it’s MMA’s turn now to make mobile marketer’s life difficult

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recently launched the strict policies governing rules for companies using mobile marketing medium to curb SMS and tele-marketing calls in order to save the masses from being disturbed all the time by pesky calls and SMSes. Most businesses have suffered highly as most of their marketing has been effected due to these rules.

However, some time back, one CEO of one of the top e-commerce companies asked me that inspite of being a research company, why we at CellStrat are not saying anything about the new TRAI regulations which is making their and other’s lives difficult. I just said that all of the hoopla is more of a hype  as one of our old vendors for whom we used to resell SMS solutions, had sent me an e-mail saying I can carry out business as usual without any worries. Thus, I was sure that these guys have already found out their way around the TRAI policies.

All companies are frantically looking for ways to either bypass these rules some-how or find a way to connect with consumers via mobile without facing heavy penalties. A few days back, I even heard people are trying to adopt international calling cards facility which will cost tele-markets about 2-5cents per minute of calling but they would be saved as calls would be getting routed through US servers, which are not so easily traceable. But for the time being people are trying legible ways.

News worth noting however, is that some companies have already found a way out of these rules and some consumers have started getting same marketing messages, they used to get earlier. this means TRAI has failed.

Now, it’s Mobile Marketing Association’s (MMA’s) turn to make developer’s lives difficult and in turn companies getting their mobile apps developed or using currently as they have issued App Privacy guidelines. The Wall Street Journal found that 45 of the top 101 iPhone or Android apps analyzed did not provide privacy policies on their sites or in their apps. Smartphone apps have come under increasing scrutiny in the last year, with a growing body of research and reporting showing that companies provide little information about what — or how — user data is collected and shared. These app privacy guidelines outline best practices and provide advice on ways to inform people about how data is collected and used, and on the security and confidentiality of user information.

“These new privacy policy guidelines fill an urgent need for all companies doing business in the mobile marketing industry,” stated MMA Global CEO Greg Stuart. He added that the privacy framework released Monday is the first in a series of privacy policy papers the MMA will create with input of industry members.

One of the first pieces of advice is for developers to consult legal counsel in adapting the guidelines to craft their own policies, since each will have to be customized according to the type of app and jurisdiction where it is available.

The guidelines also address collection of mobile location data, which became a privacy flashpoint earlier this year following much-publicized reports that iPhones, iPads and Android devices collected detailed information about users’ locations.

“At a minimum, application developers should take into account whether the app is advertising-supported and whether data is obtained by an ad network or other third party for the purpose of ad targeting,” states the guidelines.

Among more than 50 mobile-related companies and groups participating in drafting of the app guidelines was 4INFO, AT&T Adworks, Millennial Media, TRUSTe, Unilever and Velti.

According to last estimates, India has close to 400000 mobile and web app developers including students and professionals. It would be worth observing how many actually come to know of these policies and how many of them actually adopt and educate about the same to their customers. Ones who do, will actually succeed in the long term.

October 19th, 2011

Social Media is not for me

I often hear this as part of the following statement:

“I know, social media is good and is making waves, it’s not for me as neither I have time nor patience for managing this.”

Most of the times, this is being said by very small to medium sized companies. Amazing enough as most big companies whether it be Dell or Spicejet or RIM, all are being influenced heavily by social media and thus maintain huge teams to manage their presence on  this new media. There is no company in this world now or very few, if at all, that are safe and can ignore this new media. Big companies ignore this media at their own perill. Example of this is shown in my recent post on how one of the big companies had to face the consequences by ignoring this powerful medium and the lessons learnt from this.

I used to feel that only small town professionals/ businesses did’nt knew how to use social media tools like LinkedIn/ Facebook and Twitter, where as recently I realized that even the people from big cities like Delhi, Mumbai etc. are naive in this area. I recently joined a very powerful business forum and was surprised to see how most members, though quite known in their lines of business are almost ignorant of how they can exploit these powerful social media tools to a great extent.

I recently trained one gentleman (engaged in HR recruitment business) from this forum, on usage of LinkedIn for business benefit. He had his account on LinkedIn for almost an year but with very few details in his profile. I made him to complete them and was amazed to see more than 1100 mails in his mailbox. I asked him as to why he was not going through them. So, I again got the same usual answer –

“I have better things to do all the time and don’t have any time left any day to go through these.”

This way, I believe such people have a feeling that working on LinkedIn kind of tools is like working out of their business instead of working on their business. I bought time from him to be able to go through his mails in the inbox there and within 2-3 hours of time, his contacts rose from mere 168 to more than 800 as many possible hirees and some prospective company HR heads had sent him connection invites which he was unaware of until then. There were inquiries too from good big companies for possible hiring, meaning – he had business opportunities that came and were sitting in his mail box all the time while he was trying to get business from outside world. Amazing huh! However, now I hear from him off and on that he has started using at least LinkedIn and makes sure that he includes his LinkedIn profile link in all his mails. Cos’ u never know where will the business come from.

October 15th, 2011

Real world hospital use cases for the iPad

Rest assured that at least a few of the millions of iPads sold have already found their way into healthcare providers’ facilities. Reports during the past month have demonstrated a wide array of use cases for the iPad in healthcare: Surgery, electronic medical records, CPOE, billing, paging, patient education, speech therapy, and much, much more. Below I have jotted a quick compilation of some of the higher profile mentions of the iPad in clinical or other care settings. This write-up first appeared in Mobile Health News :

Boston, MA: Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital (BIDMC) hospitalist Dr. Henry Feldman has been using his own personal iPad while making his rounds, according to a report in iMedicalApps. Feldman, who is also the Chief Information Architect for the Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians, said he uses his iPad for five applications at the hospital: WebOMR (BIDMC’s EHR), POE (BIDMC’s CPOE), Personalized Team Census (signout), E-Ticket (billing), web-based paging, and the BIDMC emergency department (ED) dashboard. While Feldman reported a few “occasional quirks,” he said the fact that these applications are all web-based means they run almost perfectly on his iPad.

St. Louis, MO: Children’s Hospital currently has two iPads it uses for three primary purposes: Education, distraction and preparation, according to a local news report. Children’s Hospital’s Tyler Robertson, a child life specialist who helps patients manage stress during their stay, uses the iPads to show patients how physicians prepare for surgery; to play games with patients; and to educate them about their procedures or conditions. Children’s plans to up its iPad count to 15: One for each child specialist on staff.

Visali, CA: Kaweah Delta Health Care’s director of technical services, Nick Volosin has been piloting three Apple iPads for X-ray images, EKG results and other patient monitoring programs, according to a report from Network World. Volosin plans to buy 100 more iPads for use by the care group’s home health and hospice care workers, nurses, dietitians and pharmacists.

Kobe, Hyogo, Japan: Kobe University medical center recently posted a video of a team of doctors at the hospital using an iPad as a display during a surgery. A physician or an assistant used the iPad to zoom in and out of images on the device’s screen during the procedure. Of course, the setup was less than ideal. The device was wrapped in plastic and required two people to operate: One to hold it in place and one to navigate the screen for doctors.

Ormond Beach, Florida: Florida Hospital-Oceanside uses an iPad to conduct speech therapy with stroke victims. The care group uses iPad/iPhone app Proloquo2Go to enable patients to speak through the devices to their care team.

October 14th, 2011

RIM fails to monitor social media & teaches important lessons

RIM’s social media team was caught flatfooted by a BlackBerry outage in Europe, and failed to notice that irate Twitter users had turned #Blackberry into a trending topic. That holds important lessons on the need for real-time monitoring and well-managed internal communications. “If you want your social marketing to be part of your corporate outreach program you’d better … make sure that those responsible for it are kept in the loop.”

RIM’s misfortune however serves social marketers well when it comes to learning just what to avoid:

1. Social marketing is real time.
It provides an instant channel of communication for customers which also means that it becomes an easy way for them to vent their frustration when things do not go according to plan. If you do not have a means of tackling this the moment it breaks, hiding behind corporate  announcements which are scheduled to happen at an appointed hour is not going to fix anything.

2. Internal communications are crucial. If you want your social marketing to be part of your corporate outreach program you’d better damn make sure that those responsible for it are kept in the loop and know when things are wrong before anyone else, otherwise they just become just to the slaughter, demoralized, frustrated and suddenly in doubt of the very company they work for.

3. Social media marketing is about communication. You have a social media marketing campaign in place to communicate. Even if you are so corporate mentality bound that you cannot envision the possibility that international customers of your products might not want to stick to your time zone, do have a plan that really communicates with them, addressing issues and concerns that affect your products.

4. Say you’re sorry. It sounds silly but an apology works wonders. The time of the faceless corporation is so last century and today it only serves to annoy those you want to keep as customers against stiff competition. We all know that whenever a corporate façade is presented either things are really wrong and no one is admitting culpability or no one really cares – or both. Stick to outmoded models of communication and you are really missing the whole point of social media marketing and personalization.

5. Give timelines. Is there a problem? Acknowledge it and say when it’s going to be resolved. Even if the timeline is approximate communicating provides evidence that someone cares and is doing something to fix the issue.

6. Understand what you are doing. Social media marketing is about letting go of control and beginning a real dialogue whereby your customers get to know who you really are and how passionate you are about the products you are selling. That is your only hope of actually converting eyeballs, shares, ‘Likes’ and impressions into the kind of brand awareness that leads to sales.

(Ref: This article first appeared in Social Media  Today and written by David Amerland)

October 12th, 2011

Tutoring comes to cloud too

Startup TutorCloud is aiming to provide quality online tutoring by enabling parents and students to search for tutors who have particular subject expertise and interests. The site has a bank of candidates who are primarily students at Ivy League colleges. TutorCloud’s online sessions are held using video chat and interactive whiteboards, and the program is designed to encourage students who may be reluctant to sign up for face-to-face tutoring to seek help and potential mentorship.

October 11th, 2011

A smartphone app on par with monitoring tools used in hospitals

Smartphone users can get a picture of their heart health using their phone’s camera and a new mobile application. A user holds his finger to the camera’s lens to measure blood flow, heart rhythm, respiration rate and blood-oxygen content. According to professor Ki Chon of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, who developed the tool, the app has the potential to be used on almost any phone with a video camera, and produces results on par with monitoring tools used in hospitals.

(Source: TG Daily)

October 10th, 2011

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