Author: Gary Thayer, Editor

City launches mobile tech trial to prevent traffic collisions

Can mobile tech prevent collisions between vehicles and pedestrians? South Australia thinks so. Its capital city of Adelaide has launched a test rollout of an early collision warning system powered by mobile apps for drivers and pedestrians. You’ve probably heard of P2P (peer-to-peer) and M2M (machine-to-machine) technologies. Enter V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) and V2P (vehicle-to-pedestrian) technology–each of which leverage 4G mobile networks and apps to warn drivers, cyclists, or even pedestrians of oncoming hazards. How collision warning apps work So far, V2V has been shown to prevent collisions between cars and motorcycles. (See adjacent photos and the video below this story.) With...

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Bluetooth mesh networks will help create smart buildings & cities

Watch out, Wi-Fi—because Bluetooth mesh networks are here. Although they won’t replace our Wi-Fi hotspots, Bluetooth networks will soon be able to connect more than just your smartphones with your headphones or car. They’ll also be able to turn Bluetooth-ready devices into vast wireless networks for creating smart buildings and smart cities. It was 18 years ago that the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) launched the Bluetooth standard for wirelessly connecting our devices. Now, the 32,000-member Bluetooth SIG brings us Bluetooth mesh networking, which allows vast, low-power wireless networks to be created between many Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) devices including...

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Kika Emoji Keyboard app gets GIPHY gifs, company sees big growth

Kika’s popular Emoji Keyboard app has just gotten more fun. The Emoji Keyboard app is adding animated GIF images from GIPHY, the world’s largest GIF search engine. This means that Kika users will get a huge, searchable library of animated images at their fingertips, for sharing with friends by direct message or in any social apps. The Kika Emoji Keyboard app was awarded Google’s Best of 2016 and Top Developer in 2015, and has been ranked a top productivity app in more than 77 countries with 300 million downloads. The app is currently nominated in the 2017 Mobile Star Awards. GIPHY will be the main provider of...

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China smartphone brands go big in China & India; Apple falls

China smartphone giant Huawei has again leaped past Oppo as the top smartphone company in China, while Apple saw its fifth straight quarter of falling sales in the world’s hottest smartphone market. Though Oppo remains popular in China, Huawei reclaimed its previous lead by riding high on its Honor smartphone series. Overall, China smartphone sales slowed to just one percent year-on-year growth in the first quarter (Q1) of 2017, with only 104.1 million smartphones shipped, according to International Data Corp. (IDC). This is in part due to high inventory from the previous quarter, and only a few major smartphone launches: most notably...

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2018 GDPR compliance deadline risks & strategies

With just over a year left to prepare for the European Union’s May 2018 General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), enterprises are skeptical of their ability to meet GDPR compliance requirements in the face major IT security risks. That’s the finding of a new global survey of more than 4,200 IT or security professionals. The GDPR concerns both companies in the EU and any companies processing the personal data of subjects residing in the EU. It requires these companies to define privacy policies, obtain consent for legitimate usage of personal data, and to ensure companies are taking steps to mitigate...

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Holo’s hologram app puts celebrities in your room, or anywhere

Holograms aren’t just the stuff of Star Wars fantasies — they’re here now, and they may soon be everywhere. At the Game Developers Conference this month, attendees were greeted with a hologram of astronaut Buzz Aldrin (7-second video is below). The hologram was created by the startup 8i, which wants celebrities and ordinary folks to create and share hologram experiences. Last month the company announced its “Holo” hologram app, which is now available in beta and set for official release later this year. How Holo’s hologram app works Holo will feature holographic content from media partners who will pay...

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MWC news wrap: The best 2017 new phones, tablets & more

If you missed the news from last week’s big Mobile World Congress show, you’ll find it all right here. Thanks to the extensive coverage of MWC by CNET, Engadget and others, here we’ve rounded up for you all the hot 2017 new phones, tablets, and other announcements in one quick skim. LG, Huawei & Sony flaunt new flagships Thinner bezels, bigger displays, and faster processors. Those are just a few of the bragging points for the 2017 new phones shown off at MWC. Among the higher-end smartphones unveiled are the LG G6 (see previews on CNET and Engadget), Huawei P10 /...

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Hospital apps & in-room tech empowers patients

With just a tap on an iPad from their beds, patients at the new Jacobs Medical Center at University of California San Diego can control their room temperature or lighting, choose their entertainment, connect with family, and even access their medical records and care staff bios. These new mobile hospital apps aim to empower patients and relieve busy medical staff. “We hope that feeling in control will aid in the healing process,” says Thomas J. Savides, MD, Chief Experience Officer at UCSD Health. “Part of this is allowing patients to see portions of their electronic medical record to help them understand their progress...

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Top brands fail on mobile & web customer engagement

Many big e-commerce brands are failing to truly engage with today’s increasingly mobile and global customers, says a new report. Almost none of the UK’s top e-commerce brands deliver personalized customer engagement in their mobile apps, and most are wasting huge opportunities to grow their mobile channel and engage with users–especially mobile savvy millennials. The report, which focuses on three key channels (email, mobile apps and social media), reveals that relatively few of the UK’s top 50 e-commerce companies are taking user preferences, personalization and optimization across devices as seriously as they should. The report is based on a...

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Survey: We want mobile payments, but don’t trust them yet

Most consumers are more excited to adopt mobile payments than retail or service businesses realize, according to a global survey of 2,000 consumers and 300 executives conducted in late 2016 by IT services provider NTT Data. But companies must do more to ease their security concerns if adoption is to become widespread. The new “Future of Money” study examines trends in cash usage and electronic payments worldwide. The results suggest companies aren’t moving quickly enough to offer the secure mobile payment options consumers want. The study was carried out in partnership with Ingenico ePayments, Oxford Economics, and Charney Research, Clashing mobile...

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2016 BF, Cyber Week sales spur mobile shopping records

This year’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Cyber Week sales frenzy spurred record-breaking numbers of online and mobile shoppers, according to new reports. And we’ll likely see strong online sales continue until at least Christmas–thanks to more retailer promotions and more online shoppers. For the holiday season to date, US shoppers have spent $29.7 billion online–a 12-percent increase over the same time last year, reports consumer behavior analyst comScore. Cyber Monday desktop sales topped $2.67 billion–up 17% from last year and the biggest online spending day in history. This year’s Cyber Monday (the Monday after the US Thanksgiving holiday weekend) is only the second day ever to...

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Facebook bots & in-room assistants: Hotel apps at your service

Today, more tech-savvy hotel guests are looking for easy ways to obtain more information without having to bother front desk or concierge staff. And hotels are finding ways to meet this need. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®), for example, is trialing new technology to improve both the guest experience and service efficiency. This year IHG launched trials of a smart Facebook Messenger app or “bot”, as well as in-room Amazon Echo assistant. The services aim to help customers with everything from bookings to discovering nearby things to do. IHG is trialing its Amazon Echo assistant at select Crowne Plaza hotels. The service uses an in-room...

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Mobile apps still off radar for most small businesses

Will cheaper, quick-to-create mobile apps convince more small businesses to make them? Not necessarily. While nearly half of small businesses say they plan to have a mobile app within the next few years, nearly a third (31%) still have no plans to do so, according to a survey on small business apps by tech research firm Clutch. But that wait-and-see attitude will likely change soon. That’s because as small businesses see other local businesses and competitors releasing mobile apps, they’ll be more motivated to create their own. Today’s younger consumers who’ve grown up with mobile devices have come to expect apps...

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Robocalls set US record; robocall blocker reveals worst callers

(Updated Sept. 2016) If you received a robocall or ten recently, you’re in good company. Mobile, web and landline numbers in the U.S. were hit by an estimated 2.64 billion robocalls in August of 2016–that’s 986 robocalls every second and a 9.3 percent increase over July. The number is the highest since popular robocall blocker YouMail launched its monthly U.S. Robocall Index in mid 2015, and beat the previous record of 2.5 billion monthly robocalls in March of this year. Texas residents were hit with the most robocalls with 298.3 million calls received, followed by California, Florida, New York and Georgia. Southern states were...

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2016 Olympics to set mobile data records; networks ready

If you’ll be at the Olympics games in Rio this month to live stream, tweet, post, check email, or just check events schedules while mobile, you should have fairly good wireless coverage at official sites. At least, those are the findings of network engineers who have been testing Rio wireless networks in recent months. International networks consulting and testing company P3 says its device services team has been on the ground in Rio de Janeiro since early this year, testing network coverage in different locations and scenarios. Those hundreds of scenarios included driving, walking and stationary tests of 38 of the world’s most popular smartphones...

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Mobile money transfers to top $25 billion by 2018

Need to send money to someone in another country? Now you can use your mobile phone, just as more and more people are doing. International mobile money transfers — including mobile airtime top ups — will exceed $25 billion by 2018. That’s a whopping 67 percent increase from around $15 billion last year, in 2015. That’s according to Juniper Research, which reports a significant surge in international remittance (payment transfer) activity in the past two years. As more people around the world become accustomed to using mobile devices and mobile payment services, expect even more international mobile money transfers. Airtime top-ups especially, are increasing...

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Tencent eyes global gaming with $8.6B Supercell buyout

Chinese gaming and social apps giant Tencent is paying US $8.6 billion to buy out SoftBank’s share of Supercell, creator of many popular mobile games including Clash of Clans and Hay Day. Tencent’s Supercell buyout adds more fuel to Asia’s now-blazing gaming market. In just six years since it was founded, Finland’s Supercell has created four top Android and iOS games that are now played by over 100 million gamers. Supercell’s Hay Day, Clash of Clans, Boom Beach and Clash Royale have each made it to the top-10 grossing mobile games globally, with Hay Day and Clash of Clans reaching the number one spot....

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Report: Most companies forgetting mobile app SEO

Both well-known companies and new app developers are failing to let content from their apps show up in search results for users of Google, Bing, or other search engines, according to a new report on mobile search engine optimization (SEO). While mobile app SEO is a new area, companies shouldn’t be afraid of getting their feet wet. That’s because those who dive into the mobile app SEO pool now could see increased app traffic, engagement and conversions. In a study of the 100 most visible websites in Google US searches, SEO software company Searchmetrics found that 84% offer an Android App, but only...

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IBM: Use your mobile to build quantum computing apps

By Christine Vu & Gary Thayer . Want to shape the future of computing? Now, your inner Super Geek can access a new quantum computing processor from IBM, right from an app on your smartphone or tablet. The idea is to help IBM and other researchers to greatly accelerate current research projects, and also help discover new applications for this technology. “A universal quantum computer, once built, will represent one of the greatest milestones in the history of information technology,” says IBM Quantum Computing Scientist Jay Gambetta (pictured above). “It has the potential to solve certain problems we will never...

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What Apple’s doing right — and wrong

If you follow Apple, you were probably alarmed last week when Apple announced slower sales and its first overall revenue decline in 13 years. But we had plenty of warning about the slow Apple sales — it was three months ago that Apple predicted that iPhone sales numbers would drop to their slowest growth since the phone debuted back in 2007. Although the 51.2 million iPhones Apple sold last quarter are still the fourth highest it’s ever reported, those sales were offset by declining iPad sales and slow growth overall. China–Apple’s biggest market after the US, especially saw slow Apple sales. There, iPhone and iPad sales fell...

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