News about mobile media
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CHARTS OF THE WEEK
Time Spent With Social Media Per Day
U.S. Consumers’ Most Frequently Used Mobile App Types
REPORTS AND RESEARCH
Digital America US Consumer Electronic Industry
Global Mobile Consumer Study-US Edition
Losing Patience: Why Healthcare Providers Need To Up Their Mobile Game
The New Customer Journey — Think Local and Act Mobile
Today’s Digital Consumer
US Mobile App Report
Devices and Demographics
Mobile Commerce Roundup
Mobile LUMAscape — Mobile Industry Players
Virtual Reality Gaming Market Brief
State of the App Economy
App Annie Mobile App Forecast
State of the Industry: A Close Look at Retargeting, Programmatic Advertising and Performance Marketing
Culture Vulture Trend Report
Digital Health Trends to Watch
Creating Effective Digital Experiences in Health Care
The 2016 State of Digital Media in Higher Education Report
Principles of Mobile App Design: Engage Users and Drive Conversions
The Future of Mobile: From App Silos to Open Ecosystems
Long-Form Reading Shows Signs of Life in Our Mobile News
Mobile-first news: How people use smartphones to access information
Internet Trends 2016 — Mary Meeker
2016 State of the News Media
Advertising, eCommerce and Marketing
June 14 “The importance of micro-moments: The mobile customer journey” — According to eMarketer, global mobile ad spend is expected to double from $100 billion in 2016 to nearly $200 billion in 2019 — accounting for over 70 percent of digital ad spend worldwide. This explosion in mobile ad spend mirrors the rapid growth of mobile, which has changed the game for advertisers and consumers alike. Mobile is now not just about the device; it’s a lifestyle. People are mobile, not just their devices. Customers are making decisions based on mobile content that serves the right purpose at the right moment. Content, therefore, needs to address user intent and be accessible everywhere — across multiple device types, multiple platforms and multiple channels.
June 13 “Smart Lights In Stores Can Pinpoint Shoppers to Within 8 Inches For Messaging” — Indoor beaconing is going wall to wall. Or more accurately, it’s going from ceiling to floor, as store lighting joins the Internet of Things. The ultimate effect is that the location of in-store shoppers can be very precisely identified and retailers or marketers can then deliver highly targeted, location-based offers, on the spot. GPS has been pretty good at identifying general location and when combined with Wi-Fi and beacons, the combo can paint a pretty good picture of proximity of a person. But now other location technology, along with beacons, is being built into light bulbs. When installed at retailers, these smart lights can locate a shopper at a precision of 8 to 12 inches and then promotions and other messages can be triggered based on the location.
Apps, Social Media and Conversation
June 14 “Facebook is predicting the end of the written word” — Back when humans were first grappling with the impact of a new, global forum for communication, Clay Shirky, a prominent thinker in the digital sphere, made the persuasive argument that the internet made us more creative — even if only in a small way. Indeed, Facebook has arguably made us all writers, since it has become the medium of choice for millions to share their views and life experiences. But in five years that creativity may look very different. Facebook is predicting the end of the written word on its platform. In five years time Facebook will be definitely mobile, it will be probably all video.
June 14 “Smartphones Lead Mobile Bookings for Hotel, Flights” — The vast majority of mobile hotel bookings were booked via smartphone in Q1 2016, according to data from personalized retargeting firm Criteo. Mobile airline bookings also tilted toward smartphones. Criteo analyzed mobile bookings made via online travel retailers (OTAs) in Q1 2016. According to the research, mobile airline bookings were almost split between smartphones (53%) and tablets (47%). However, for hotels, smartphones dominated with 81% of the reservations. And tablets won out for packages with 60% of the mobile booking share.
June 13 “Apple might have made Siri into something really good” — Until now, SIRI’S been little more than a slightly sassy sidekick for iPhone users. It’s gotten better over time, in the sense that it’s more accurate in understanding what you’re asking, but it’s not a whole lot more useful than it was at launch. Today, though, Apple made a big move to make Siri work for more people, by opening it up to third-party developers and bringing Siri to the Mac. Long-term, this means you’ll be able to connect Siri to the apps you actually use, instead of having to use Apple Maps and Apple Music and Apple Mail and all the other apps I stuck into a folder marked by the poop emoji.
Journalism and Media
June 15 “Mobile devices continue to dominate news consumption” — Mobile visitors continue to outpace those from desktops for news sites. A Pew Research Center report found that significantly more traffic for 99 of 110 news organizations surveyed came from mobile, as opposed to desktop, devices. That was up from 71 in the fourth quarter of 2014. The rise was true across categories, including newspapers and news magazines. The number of newspapers to saw their mobile traffic outpace their desktop traffic increased from 28 in 2014 to 44 in 2015. All eight national television outlets studied now receive a majority of their web traffic from mobile devices. Pew found that every digital news outlet they studied was on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Most used Instagram and half were on Snapchat.
June 14 “Cable and telecom companies just lost a huge court battle on net neutrality” — A federal appeals court has voted to uphold a series of strict new rules for Internet providers, handing a major victory to regulators in the fight over net neutrality and ensuring that one of the most sweeping changes to hit the industry in recent years will likely remain on the books. The 2–1 court ruling Tuesday forces Internet providers such as Verizon and Comcast to obey federal regulations that ban the blocking or slowing of Internet traffic to consumers. More broadly, the decision affirms Washington’s ability to regulate Internet providers like legacy telephone companies.
June 14 “Gout Diagnosis app: diagnosing and treating Gout with evidence based medicine” — How do you make the proper diagnosis of gout? The “gold standard” is joint aspiration with evaluation under polarized microscopy. This process is painful for the patient, challenging to complete in a 20-minute appointment and frequently the aspiration is unsuccessful. Many patients are treated empirically which can lead to under/over diagnosis, improper treatment and exposure to dangerous side effects from gout medications such as steroids, NSAIDs and urate lowering therapies. What if there was a better way that could completely rule-out or rule-in the diagnosis in some patients without aspiration leaving only a small proportion who require the painful and tedious aspiration procedure?
June 13 “NSA evaluates hacking biomedical devices such as pacemakers” — The Intercept published an interesting article about how the National Security Agency (NSA) is evaluating exploiting biomedical devices such as pacemakers. This continues a trend of health security issues as digital medicine continues to collect more patient health information and also utilize electronic means to deliver medical care. Since 2013 the FDA has been citing concern of medical device security. Recently the FDA issued new cybersecurity guidelines to protect medical devices. The FDA continues to contend that responsibility for medical device security should not be placed solely on the device makers — but the health institutions utilizing the devices as well.
Mobile and Wireless Devices and Technologies
June 14 “Apple gets patent for wrap-around iPhone screen” — The “back” of an Apple iPhone could become a thing of the past, thanks to a wrap-around display screen. Apple was granted a patent Tuesday for a 360-degree screen, which would put a display on all sides of an iPhone: front, back and slide. Apple’s application says the 360-degree screen would let customers play video games or watch videos that would play on both sides of the phone. It could also display a still photo that would appear in a continuous loop around the iPhone.
June 13 “High Alpha, Butler University Launch ClearScholar to Fuel Student Success through Mobile Engagement” — High Alpha, the nation’s leading enterprise cloud venture studio, announced today the launch of ClearScholar, a new cloud-based technology company aimed at improving student success in higher education through personalized mobile engagement. Led by former Harrison College president and chief executive Jason Konesco and being developed in partnership with Butler University, the technology bridges the gap between the myriad of systems used to support colleges and universities and today’s mobile, ‘always-on’ student.
June 13 “Why Apple wants to be the smart home’s nerve center” — Apple announced that it would make an app called Home available to users soon, allowing them to connect and control all of their HomeKit-enabled smart home devices from their iPads, iPhones or even Watches. The Home app will let users control a Fantasia-like orchestra of smart gadgets from one place, including everything from smart doorbells and locks, to thermostats, light bulbs, humidifiers and entertainment systems. But why is Apple intent on becoming a universal remote, or a nerve center, for the smart home? Frankly, consumers are not yet buying IoT devices and services with the fervor hoped for by consumer electronics and appliance brands.
Advertising, eCommerce and Marketing
June 12 “Why it’s so hard to target consumers accurately across devices and channels” — Audience targeting is no longer simply about reaching the right person with the right message at the right time. As consumers use more devices and operate across more channels, marketers now need to consider device, channel, context and behavior. And they need to reach people with the pinpoint accuracy that ensures they receive messages that are most appropriate to their immediate needs.
June 9 “Mobile technology and the 2016 U.S. presidential election” — From forbidden campaigns during the very first presidential election to billboards, leaflets, doortodoor canvassing and television ads, the world of political marketing campaigns has undergone significant changes in recent years. Now we can see that these political marketing and advertising campaigns are beginning to explore more modern mediums such as social media and mobile.
June 9 “Beacons On Buses Trigger Mobile Advertising To Pedestrians” — Consumers walking on busy streets in major cities are likely being beaconed, though most likely have no idea. Since their inception, beacons have been an insider sort of technology that just makes more accurate the location information of an individual for a brand or marketer. Most of the beaconing implementations involve fixed locations, like in stores, shopping centers and stadiums. And then there are beacons constantly on the move.
June 8 “Twitter Turns 12,000 Users Into Quick-Research Panel for Marketers” — Twitter has begun a new initiative aimed at giving advertisers insights from 12,000 users chosen by the social media platform. Dubbed Twitter Insiders, the program’s goal is to create a one-stop shop for advertisers to recruit, design and collect live research. A brand that wants to push a risky campaign, for example, could run it by Insiders first to gauge whether it’s offensive or effective.
Apps, Social Media and Conversation
June 10 “Study: 82% of mobile sharing is through ‘dark social’ ” — According to research by RadiumOne cited by Digiday, 82% of mobile sharing happens via email, messaging and texting, also known as “dark social,” a ﬁgure up from less than 50% just two years ago. Dark social, or dark traffic, was given the name because the sharing is inherently social although it’s not measurable in terms of social media marketing purposes. The research also found that only 13% of mobile sharing happens on Facebook.
June 9 “Facebook just made sharing 360-degree photos with your phone a reality” — Facebook recently launched “360 photos,” a new supported format for uploading smartphone panoramas and images taken with certain 360-degree cameras and photo apps. Facebook will automatically convert these ﬂat photos into interactive images that you’ll be able to view in fullscreen by tilting your smartphone using the Facebook apps for iOS and Android.
June 8 “The app boom is over” — The mobile app boom kicked off in July 2008, when Apple introduced the App Store. Now it is over. People are still making plenty of apps, of course. And many people are still downloading them. But the go-go growth days are gone. If you are an independent app developer or publisher, you have probably known this for a while, because you have found it very difficult to get people to download your app — the average American smartphone user downloads zero apps per month. Last month, the top 15 app publishers saw downloads drop an average of 20 percent in the U.S.
June 8 “Why future belongs to Snapchat” — While mobile media users are nothing if not unpredictable, Snapchat appears positioned to hog much of their time through at least 2020. This year alone, Snapchat will grow its domestic user base by 27.2%, according to a fresh forecast from eMarketer. That should far exceed the average growth rate of 16% for all mobile messaging services. If accurate, that will bring Snapchat’s domestic user base to 58.6 million by the end of the year — exceeding Twitter’s 56.8 million U.S. users, and Pinterest’s 54.6 million users.
June 8 “The future of social intelligence: image recognition and analysis” — As marketers, we all want to be storytellers. We want to capture our brands’ unique journeys and share them with the world in hopes of resonating with our target consumers. And sure, we could talk about how social insights help us do that. But let’s be real: Social text analysis might not be enough anymore. The reality is that while analyzing social conversation is undoubtedly valuable to marketing and advertising professionals, we may be missing out on half of the story. Enter: image recognition and analysis.
Journalism and Media
June 8 “Nearly two-thirds of U.S. smartphones can’t get FM, according to NAB’s Pilot research” — The National Association of Broadcasters’ (NAB’s) Pilot research division has complete a survey of FM capability in U.S. smartphones sold in 2015. While FM reception continues to advance in the U.S. smartphone footprint, it remains mostly absent, and one unfortunate fact is likely to keep it that way. There are two essential considerations to keep in mind with smartphone FM reception. First is the presence of an FM chip (like a miniature radio) in the phone. Nearly all phones have those chips. The second is whether that chip is “activated” (whether the miniature radio is plugged in). Most are not, and that’s what Pilot investigated. The activation of FM chips, and the use of over-the-air radio on smartphones, is also the mission of Emmis-owned NextRadio.
June 7 “There are now more Americans working for online-only outlets than newspapers” — As of March, there were 197,800 Americans working in the “internet publishing and broadcasting” sector versus 183,200 people working for U.S. newspapers. The BLS data goes back to 1990, and since then employment at newspapers has fallen by nearly 60 percent, having peaked in June 1990 at 457,800 people. The number of newspaper jobs has fallen consistently since then. Digital publishing, meanwhile, has grown considerably. Throughout much of the early 1990s there were around 30,000 online publishing jobs, though that figure grew to 112,000 by 2000. Then the dot-com bubble burst and the number of jobs shrunk by about half.
June 3 “Will the Constitution Protect Your Next Smartphone?” — More than a decade ago, the keynote speaker at a major annual cybersecurity conference strode into the spotlight and predicted the death of the password. “They just don’t meet the challenge for anything you really want to secure,” he told the audience of computer experts in San Francisco. The speaker was Bill Gates, the preeminent cyber-prophet of the day, but his forecast has not yet come true. We’ve certainly gotten closer to the password’s demise. The next frontier — devices that can detect an authorized user based solely on the quirks of how they interact with it — is just around the bend. But each new step away from the traditional password brings with it new legal complications: Will new unlocking methods enjoy the same Fifth Amendment protections that prevent the government from forcing a person to give up their passwords?
June 7 “Text messaging proves successful in monitoring postpartum hypertension” — Preeclampsia is a hypertensive disorder that occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy and can be fatal to both the mother and the fetus. Five to eight percent of all pregnancies are affected by preeclampsia, and an estimated 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths are claimed each year by the disorder. Unfortunately, hypertension can surface even after delivery, and is often ignored by new mothers unaware of the symptoms, or without resources to monitor this critical period post childbirth. Text or SMS messaging might be a viable solution to this postpartum hypertension.
June 7 “Study on Dermatology Telemedicine apps shows serious diagnostic misses” — Although telemedicine services have the potential to extend clinical care to hard-to-reach communities, a recent study published in JAMA Dermatology raises concerns about the quality of that care. When Jack Resneck and colleagues submitted simulated patients with structured dermatologic cases, including photographs, to direct to consumer (DTC) telemedicine web sites and smartphone apps in California, they received 62 responses from 16 services. Among their findings: “Websites made several correct diagnoses in clinical scenarios where photographs alone were adequate, but when basic additional history elements (eg, fever, hypertrichosis, oligomenorrhea) were important, they regularly failed to ask simple relevant questions and diagnostic performance was poor.”
June 6 “Federal Government launches patient radiation exposure management app” — The mFRAT (First responders Radiologic Assessment Triage) app was developed by the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI) and the Uniformed Services University in order to help health providers and first responders triage casualties of radiation exposure. Managing patients with radiation exposure is not something physicians and first responders are used to dealing with. The mFRAT medical app enables first responders and physicians to set up a virtual patient list and keep track of patient’s symptoms via the app and get real time assessments.
Mobile and Wireless Devices and Technologies
June 9 “Lenovo, Google unveil phone that knows its way around a room” — A Lenovo smartphone unveiled Thursday will be clever enough to grasp your physical surroundings and potentially transform how we interact with e-commerce, education and gaming. Smartphones track location through GPS and cell towers, but that does little more than tell apps where you are. The new Phab2 Pro phone will use software and sensors to track motions and map building interiors, including the location of doors and windows. That’s a crucial step in the promising new frontier in “augmented reality,” or the digital projection of lifelike images and data into a real-life environment.
June 9 “Smart toothbrushes the latest Internet of Things battleground” — Teeth are becoming the latest battleground in the technology industry’s push to make ordinary objects smart. The health care arm of Dutch technology company Philips introduced a $200 toothbrush with built-in gadgetry that can tell the users whether they’re brushing enough, not enough, too hard or too softly. But it remains to be seen whether the new devices will really help shine up pearly whites, or simply make people grind their teeth.
June 9 “Mindshare: This Wearable May ‘Shock’ You” — A company called Pavlok has been making headlines for their wristband product, which delivers mild electric shocks to help users break bad habits. It can be anything from smoking, to sleeping too late, to giving up sugar. The idea is that by giving you a small zap when you hit snooze or pick up a cigarette, this wearable will help train your brain to discourage that behavior. It’s classical conditioning with a technological twist.
June 6 “The AR/VR platform wars have begun” — While the hype around virtual reality and, to a lesser extent, augmented reality, has been steadily ramping up, to date there haven’t been all that many actual device shipments. Two recent major AR/VR platform announcements from Microsoft and Google should help change that. Microsoft announced that it would make available to its hardware partners the Windows Holographic platform that powers its own HoloLens product, enabling them to bring to market compatible Windows 10-based hardware. Google announced that it would offer partners a screenless VR viewer hardware reference design and a new platform called Daydream that will enable it to bring to market Android smartphones that offer virtual reality capabilities baked into the operating system.
June 3 “FTC: Too soon for internet of things laws” — Internet-connected devices, sensors and appliances are opening up benefits in health care, energy efficiency, transportation and more. But the data generated by these tools, known under the catchall category of internet of things presents potential security and privacy risks that the Federal Trade Commission believes could open up opportunities for theft or fraud. At the same time, the FTC believes that general authorities used to protect data privacy can cover the internet of things without specific new laws.
Advertising, eCommerce and Marketing
May 27 “Mobile location data is accurate up to 30 meters” — While mobile location data is accurate up to 30 meters on average, a new report from PlaceIQ suggests there are significant variations in accuracy depending upon a number of factors, potentially impacting marketers’ programs. As mobile has grown, savvy marketers have understood the need for locationbased tactics that reach users with contextual relevance. However, there is a complex relationship between factors such as signal source, environment and personal use that affect location data accuracy, according to the report, Location Data Accuracy Revealed.
May 26 “The Washington Post Lights a ‘Fuse’ — Technology Built for High Speed, Mobile Era” — The growth of mobile is changing everything — especially advertising. This week brings news that The Washington Post (its “RED team”) is launching “Fuse,” which the publisher defines as a technology built for a consumer-first ad experience in a high speed, mobile era. The proprietary advertising technology is designed to offer a seamless, immersive, cross-platform experience.
May 25 “Google Looks Into Your Brain And Figures You Out” — Google isn’t just the mother of all platforms. It has also got your mobile buying decisions psyched out. The company knows you better than you know yourself. Google has a concept it calls “micro-moments”: the times when one is using one’s mobile device, multitasking, and vulnerable to marketing messages. It’s up to Google advertisers, the company says, “to reach and in and influence those moments.” Google likes to cite the work of a “behavioral economist,” Dan Ariely of Duke University, to figure all this out.
May 24 “Google Augments AdWords To Meet Mobile Ad Demand” — In a nod to mobile’s growing importance for advertisers and its own bottom line, Google has unveiled AdWords updates and local ad formats to help marketers execute mobile-focused ad campaigns. Advertisers can now connect more widely with Google Maps users and give consumers more information in their text ads. Google also gave manufacturers access to its store visit measurement tool for tracking offline purchases against online activity.
Apps, Social Media and Conversation
May 26 “Whale-Finding Phone App Grows in Use, Steering Mariners Away” — With summer whale watching season fast approaching, conservation advocates and government agencies who want to protect whales say a mobile app designed to help mariners steer clear of the animals is helping keep them alive. The Whale Alert app provides a real-time display of the ocean and the position of the mariner’s ship, along with information about where whales have been seen or heard recently. It also provides information on speed restrictions and restricted areas, and recommends routes shippers can take to avoid endangered species such as the blue whale and the North Atlantic right whale.
May 23 “Could IUPUI Startup Be Next Facebook?” — IUPUI professor and serial entrepreneur Ali Jafari thinks his latest startup could hit it big. Maybe even Facebook big. CourseNetworking, or CN, is the fourth software company created by Jafari in his IUPUI Cyber Lab. It combines traditional education learning software with the power of social media networks. Jafari has high hopes for his latest invention which he says has the potential to “change the way the world learns,” and could scale to the size of Facebook.
Journalism and Media
May 27 “6 in 10 Americans Get News From Social Media” — Nearly two-thirds of Americans (62%) get news from social media at least occasionally, up from 49% in 2012, according to a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Asked about specific social media sites, 66% of Facebook users said they get news from the world’s largest social network, just behind Reddit, which is a news source for 70% of it users. 59% of Twitter users and 31% of Tumblr users gets news from those sites, followed by Instagram at 23% and YouTube at 21%. Further down the totem pole, 19% of LinkedIn users get news from the professional network, along with 17% of Snapchat users and 14% of Vine users.
May 27 “National Institutes of Health study finds link between mobile phones and cancer” — A $25 million study by federal scientists uncovered a link between cellphones and cancer in rats, reigniting a longstanding debate over the health effects of the use of mobile devices. The National Toxicology Program, a division of the National Institutes of Health, found that male rodents exposed to the same type of radiation found in cell phones experienced low incidences of two types of tumors, one in the brain and the other in the heart. The two-year, peer-reviewed study involved more than 2,500 rats exposed to radiation at the same frequencies as mobile phones for nine hours every day.
May 25 “Online Dermatology Comes to D.C.” — D.C. area residents are learning that they can now benefit from the convenience of online visits with a board-certified dermatologist. The doctor in question — Dr. Yolanda C. Holmes — is medical director at Washington DC Dermatology. And she is now available for online visits thanks to the practice’s new partnership with Iagnosis Inc. For cases that can’t wait for an appointment, Dr. Holmes “can now be accessed easily through desktop and mobile apps by patients who are in need of faster diagnosis and treatment for a broad range of skin, hair and nail medical conditions,” an announcement reads. To use the service, patients can go online or download the Washington DC Dermatology mobile app from the App Store or on Google Play.
Mobile and Wireless Devices and Technologies
May 26 “Google’s plan to kill passwords” — Google is moving along quickly with its plans to kill off the traditional password. The company is working with “several very large financial institutions” to test out a new password-replacement technology called “Trust API,” that uses multiple sensors in your smartphone to determine whether it’s you — or someone else — who is trying to log in. Reports say the technology will be constantly operating in the background of your smartphone, combining data from multiple sensors to calculate whether to unlock for the owner or block out intruders.
May 25 “This bendable smartphone comes with a catch” — A small Chinese startup says it’s about to unveil a smartphone that can bend all the way around your wrist. The device, produced by Moxi Group, will feature a flexible touchscreen that still works when looped and worn like a watch or a bracelet, according to the company. It also functions stretched flat, like any other smartphone. The bendy screen uses graphene, the thinnest material in the world that’s also strong, light, transparent and flexible. Moxi says it has already produced a prototype of the phone and plans to put 100,000 units on sale in China by the end of this year.
Advertising, eCommerce and Marketing
May 17 “How to Leverage the Power of Mobile Surveys for More Effective Marketing” — The advent of mobile technology has dramatically impacted the formulation and execution of marketing strategies for practically every enterprise with products and services to promote. Yet mobile remains vastly underutilized and underappreciated by some within the marketing space. That is, mobile is undeniably a primary target today for marketing messages. But it is still poorly leveraged as a vehicle to help first research and determine which messages and strategies should be used to target these devices.
May 17 “Can virtual reality save digital advertising from itself? These companies are betting on it” — With its predicted rise, virtual reality/augmented reality is poised to transform digital advertising. Several companies are aiming to be ahead of the curve. Immersv’s ad platform enables VR app developers to monetize content with ads on Google Cardboard and Samsung’s Gear VR devices. Outlyer Technologies, on the other hand, is approaching VR from within the current landscape of mobile advertising. The Advrtas ad platform from Outlyer enables advertisers to serve interactive content in standard IAB ad formats on smartphones.
Apps, Social Media and Conversation
May 18 “Thanks to geolocation stamps, low-tech snoops can easily figure out where a Twitter poster lives and works” — Geographic location stamps transmitted in tweets can provide enough information for people to deduce where a Twitter user lives and works, say researchers. The deduction occurs through the clustering of the posting locations. The assemblage provides location patterns that provide a good guess as to where the poster spends most of his or her time. When that’s coupled with other data, such as the time of day, non-scientists recruited for the study simply picked out the homes and workplaces of the tweeters, said researchers from MIT and Oxford University in a press release.
May 18 “This Mobile App Pays You for Your Selfies While Giving Custom Data to Brands” — Do you want to pay for a fresh box of golf balls or to get your nails done simply by doing what you are already doing all time time? Well, Pay Your Selfie has just what you need — an app that doles out cash for your moments of mobile narcissism. The Chicago-based company has attracted 100,000 users since launching in September, accruing 500,000 photos from consumers, many of whom pose with brands. Here’s why they selfie up with marketers: They get paid up to $1 when they upload a picture with a brand in it after Pay Your Selfie posts a request for such photos.
May 17 “The Smart, Connected Home: Social Robots, Facial Recognition, In-House Mapping By Vacuum” — The so-called smart home is still a work in progress. Connecting something in a home to the Internet is not so overwhelming a task. For example, with home networks, many consumers have figured out how to get their smart TV connected to that same network. Setting up a smart door lock or a home monitoring video camera, like a Canary, which drives my family totally crazy, is also not that complex. The tough part comes in figuring how to make lots of these connected things work together.
Journalism and Media
May 19 “PRX launches RadioPublic as ‘radio rethought’ for mobile landscape” — Radio distribution experts PRX have launched a new company that aims to reimagine audio for mobile devices. The first goal for RadioPublic will be to create a listening app focused on discovery and engagement with a range of audio types, including spoken-word stories, news, information, journalism, and entertainment. The public benefit corporation’s app is still in development, but will have a private beta on both iOS and Android.
May 17 “Time Inc. Launches Mobile-First, All Video Platform ‘Instant’ ” — Time announced the upcoming launch of Instant, a new mobile-first, all-video digital platform featuring content “about the lives and projects of digital celebrities,” as well as content created by the digital celebrities, the company stated. The Instant user experience will be a “fluid video stream,” so viewers can watch without interruption — no app download required — according to the company.
May 16 “Newspaper Sites Deliver More Younger Millennial Mobile Exclusives than Facebook!” — Between the Upfronts and NewFronts it is abundantly clear that the focus on attracting and engaging Gen Z’ers and Millennials is intensifying for advertisers, media companies and content providers alike. “Cradle to Grave” is beginning catch fire with other content providers. So how do digital newspapers fit into this picture? Easy. One of the key takeaways from the Upfronts is that it doesn’t matter what screen a person uses to view content. The reality is that they are going to use a screen probably in sync with social.
Imagine waking up in a virtual world with a doctor telling you that you suffered a T-6 level injury. You are now confined to a wheelchair because you broke your neck and injured your spinal cord, meaning that you are paralyzed from the mid-waist and down. Virtual life as you knew it won’t be the same, but you will have all kinds of people helping with your rehabilitation process. After all, everyone has the same abnormal head to body ratio like you. The University of Michigan created SCI Hard as a fun and interactive simulation to help players see what it’s like to tackle everyday challenges after waking up from an accident.
Mobile and Wireless Devices and Technologies
May 19 “Google’s plan to bring VR to the masses” — Google may be getting serious about virtual reality, but it’s not straying too far from its DIY roots. That may be the key to getting VR into everyone’s homes. The company is going to make and sell its own headset, a sequel to the paper-based Cardboard. It’s sticking with the smartphone-based approach to virtual reality, with a headset that turns your existing phone into the screen.
May 17 “Someday you’ll have no screens in your life” — By the mid 2020s, your wallet, keys and laptop brick will no longer be needed. Keys will be absorbed into smartphones as early as 2017. And the two main items in our wallets, a driver’s license and credit card, will soon be available on our smartphones. Iowa has piloted a project to offer smartphone driver’s licenses. And Visa, MasterCard, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Wallet are engaged in the battle for digital smartphone payments everywhere.
May 16 “The Latest Mobile Trends That You Need To Know” — The average mobile phone user spends about 90 minutes on their device, which may not seem like a lot but look at that over a year and it’s 23 days, over a lifetime it’s 3.9 years. 3.9 years spent using a mobile phone! Of course, some people are much heavier users. Just take a look at the millennials — the selfie generation. Techinfographics recently reported that over one million selfies are taken every day. On top of this, 36% of those selfies are being retouched before being posted, and 13% of women said that they retouch every selfie that they eventually post.
Advertising, eCommerce and Marketing
May 11 “Amazon takes on YouTube with ‘Video Direct’ ” — Amazon is launching a new video service called “Amazon Video Direct,” letting people earn royalties on uploaded content. The new service entices professional video creators to upload their videos to Amazon, where they will be displayed on the Amazon Video site alongside studio-created TV shows and movies. The videos will be viewable by “all Amazon customers” via an ad-supported model, shown to Amazon Prime Video subscribers (presumably without ads) or available as a one-time rental or purchase.
Apps, Social Media and Conversation
May 11 “Facebook will turn panoramas into “360 Photos” for feed and Gear VR’s 1M users” — Those panoramas trapped on your phone will finally get a better viewing experience, both on News Feed and the Oculus-powered Samsung Gear VR. Facebook is also releasing Gear VR usage stats for the first time, saying Gear VR has 1 million monthly users, and those who use it spend 25 minutes per day on the device. That could encourage developers to build for the platform.
May 11 “Instagram’s New Logo Is a Travesty. Can We Change It Back? Please? ” — Instagram unveiled a new logo, and it may well go down as one of the biggest design fails of the year. The brand’s famous skeuomorphic icon, a virtual representation of a physical camera, was beloved almost universally, and is one of the most instantly recognizable logos in tech. For some reason, Instagram felt it was dated. So, they began an effort to work the rainbow and camera lens into a different mark entirely — hoping to produce “a more modern app icon that strikes a balance between recognition and versatility.”
May 8 “Boise State U Turns to Mobile App for Campus Safety” — Boise State University has adopted a new mobile app in an effort to improve campus security for 25,000 students, faculty and staff. The university selected Rave Guardian, from Rave Mobile Safety, which allows users to create a virtual safety network of friends, family, roommates and campus safety personnel. Users can then initiate safety timer sessions, which allow network members to monitor status updates, location and notiﬁcations from assigned check-ins. During Safety timer sessions, if time expires without a check-in or if the user hits an in-app panic button at any time, campus security representatives are notiﬁed.
Journalism and Media
May 11 “The Washington Post Releases Augmented-Reality Tool To Explain Freddie Gray Case” — The Washington Post has released its first augmented-reality experience to help explain the series of events that led to Freddie Gray’s death and sparked riots in Baltimore. WaPo’s augmented-reality tool triggers when readers download the ARc augmented reality app (available on the Apple App Store or Google Play) and point their smartphone’s camera to a custom Washington Post logo beside the story in both print and digital.
May 11 “We know people read news on their phones. But from what sources?” — People read the news on their smartphones (duh). They will even read longform (to a certain extent). But do these smartphone users prefer getting their news from apps or news sites? What are their news-reading behaviors within different apps? And what else do we know about these news readers? A new report by the Knight Foundation and commissioned from measurement firm Nielsen explores all the nooks and crannies of how people in the U.S. access news on their smartphones.
May 12 “Smart Devices Track Medicine Doses and Wellness” — Millennials are a generation of Health Hackers, carefully considering their wellness in all aspects of their lives. They’re aware of factors that can improve their wellbeing, such as taking pills at the same time every day. New smart devices help them monitor their medications, alert them when it’s time for a dose, and track additional health markers, all reported via companion apps.
May 11 “First Alzheimer’s Disease ResearchKit Study launches for iPhone and iPad” — Apple’s ResearchKit platform launched a little more than a year ago with 5 medical apps by large hospital systems. Since then the list of ResearchKit apps has significantly grown, with more than 20 ResearchKit apps currently available. One of the latest releases is the Mind Share ResearchKit app study. This is the first ResearchKit app study that measures the relationship between lifestyle, health, and Alzheimer’s disease.
May 9 “Study: Smartphone alerts increase inattention — and hyperactivity” — Society’s increasingly pervasive use of digital technology may be causing ADHD-like symptoms even among the general population, according to a new study of college students. The researchers designed a two-week experimental study and showed that when students kept their phones on ring or vibrate, they reported more symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity than when they kept their phones on silent.
May 8 “Smartphones uncover how the world sleeps” — A pioneering study of worldwide sleep patterns combines math modeling, mobile apps and big data to parse the roles society and biology each play in setting sleep schedules. The study, led by University of Michigan mathematicians, used a free smartphone app that reduces jetlag to gather robust sleep data from thousands of people in 100 nations. The researchers examined how age, gender, amount of light and home country affect the amount of shut-eye people around the globe get, when they go to bed, and when they wake up.
Mobile and Wireless Devices and Technologies
May 13 “The sun is setting on the era of the smartphone” — Worldwide growth has slowed to the single digits, and some projections suggest that the field may level, or even decline, by the end of this decade. The decline corresponds to a wave of consumer disinterest in new, cutting-edge handsets. Gadget geeks who once demanded the fastest phablet are now raving about the humble, more affordable iPhone SE. Changes like this are new to smartphones, but we’ve seen them before. The same story played out about a decade ago in the PC world. The decline of the PC from prominence says a lot about the pain, and innovation, smartphones will soon see.
May 12 “Google releases keyboard for the iPhone with built-in search features” — Google has announced a new keyboard for iOS devices that directly integrates search functions. Called Gboard, the keyboard features a button on the upper left that lets you perform web searches, look for images or GIFs, or even search for emoji without ever leaving the keyboard. Results from web searches can be instantly pasted into a text box.
May 9 “The government wants to know why it takes so long for your smartphone to get security updates” — We trust our smartphones with an astounding amount of information, but all too often those devices may not be protected with the latest security fixes. That’s the problem at the heart of a new government project announced today in which the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission are teaming up to examine the sometimes messy way security patches are delivered to consumers’ smartphones. As part of the new push, the FTC and FCC will each study the roles that different parts of the smartphone ecosystem play in delivering security updates.
May 9 “Inventor of the cell phone says this is the next big thing” — Marty Cooper, who built the first handheld cell phone, says his invention has a glaring flaw: You have to keep charging its battery. Ensuring that your phone doesn’t run out of juice is enough of a pain. But Cooper believes that the winning technology will come from Energous, which wants to charge your cell phone using radio frequencies. Energous’ promise is compelling: By converting radio waves into battery-replenishing power, wireless gadgets equipped with special receivers can literally pull energy right out of the air, enabling them to charge while sitting in your purse, pocket, or wherever they are.
May 9 “Personal digital assistants are on the rise (and they want to talk)” — You may already be on a first-name basis with Siri, Cortana, Google or Alexa, the Fab Four of voice-activated digital assistants. Now that relationship is expanding from one device (typically a smartphone) to many. The major tech companies are putting these digital assistants, powered by artificial intelligence algorithms and activated by voice, into multiple products. It’s a strategic thrust to enmesh you further in their ecosystems, deepening and potentially adding sources of revenue.
May 9 “Is artificial intelligence smartphone marketing’s salvation or its undoing?” — While artificial intelligence has the potential to enhance the smartphone’s role as a marketing platform through highly relevant one-to-one services, it could also eliminate the need for a phone to enable engagements as the technology evolves. Interest in artificial intelligence has taken off as the technology comes of age and brands recognize the potential to deliver one-to-one experiences. However, a battle over ownership of mobile user data is shaping up, possibly dampening the potential for brands in the short term, while longer term, next-generation wearables, augmented reality and sensors could lessen the need for a phone to take advantage of AI-driven services.
May 6 “Video visits let you click to see the doctor” — You no longer have to go to the doctor to, well, go to the doctor. Indiana University Health has started piloting video visits for people with a handful of conditions who may be able to have the exam they need without ever stepping into a clinic. All a person need do is click on a tablet or smartphone to initiate a consult with a doctor who interacts through a live conversation on the screen. The doctor can run through a few diagnostic questions with the patient, even examine rashes from afar, and then make recommendations or prescriptions.
May 6 “Companies are betting on a new way to protect your identity: the selfie” — Already ubiquitous at parties and for capturing Instagram-worthy landscapes, the act of raising a phone to your face and finding the perfect photo angle could take on a whole new role in people’s finances. Some banks, tax agencies and tech companies are making the selfie an integral step for people checking their bank accounts, shopping online and filing tax returns.
May 5 “Long-Form Reading Shows Signs of Life in Our Mobile News World” — In recent years, the news media have followed their audience’s lead and gone mobile, working to make their reporting accessible to the roughly seven-in-ten American adults who own a smartphone. With both a smaller screen size and an audience more apt to be dipping in and out of news, many question what kind of news content will prevail. A unique, new study of online reader behavior by Pew Research Center addresses this question from the angle of time spent with long- versus short-form news. It suggests the answer is yes: When it comes to the relative time consumers spend with this content, long-form journalism does have a place in today’s mobile-centric society.
May 5 “MBLM: Study Reveals Apple Watch Falls Short and Polarizes Users” — On Wednesday, MBLM — a Brand Intimacy Agency focused on strategy, design, creative and technology — revealed that Apple Watch is polarizing and users feel conflicted, confounded and critical. The agency released the final set of findings from its year-long ethnography study focused on users of Apple Watch, which also found that most of the panel felt the watch has not come close to achieving its potential, and offers less value than they had hoped for.
May 4 “’Rookie’ Moving Forward With Digital Hall Pass” — A Noblesville High School student has developed a mobile app to drag the old paper hall passes into the digital age. PassWhiz creator Zack Baker says his technology is already being used in schools in Indiana, Pennsylvania and Florida. Development of the all-digital hall pass was Baker’s ticket to the Rookie of the Year honors at the 2016 TechPoint Mira Awards. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Television, Baker says high school is the “perfect breeding ground” for entrepreneurs.
May 4 “Snaps, Periscope Unveil Emoji Keyboard for Special Needs Community” — Snaps and Periscope are rolling out a new emoji keyboard created in partnership with Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, a St. Paul-based hospital serving kids with disabilities and other complex medical conditions. Emojability — as the new keyboard is called — gives those in the special needs community symbols and sayings that are relevant to their lives. Snaps used Periscope’s design work to help develop the keyboard, which includes emojis, animated stickers and, in future versions, GIFs.
May 4 “How J-School Professors, Librarians Teamed Up to Teach Data Skills at Kansas” — When associate journalism professor Doug Ward was redesigning the master’s program at the University of Kansas he knew he needed to find experts who could help him offer journalism students training in data and social media. As it turns out, his search didn’t take him far: He found that the perfect collaborators were the librarians right on campus. So Ward and the library’s information specialists got together and built an online master’s course in digital content strategy that is largely aimed at mid-career journalists looking for the skills of the age and the accompanying credential.
May 4 “Siri’s creators say they’ve made something better that will take care of everything for you” — In an ordinary conference room in San Jose, a group of engineers sat down to order pizza in an entirely new way. “Get me a pizza from Pizz’a Chicago near my office,” one of the engineers said into his smartphone. It was their first real test of Viv, the artificial-intelligence technology that the team had been quietly building for more than a year. Everyone was a little nervous. Then, a text from Viv piped up: “Would you like toppings with that?”
May 3 “Half of teens think they’re addicted to their smartphones” — Are we addicted to the Internet? — I don’t have teenagers yet, but watching my 8- and 10-year-olds spend endless amounts of time on iPads during spring break makes me worried about the day — hopefully years from now — when they have their own devices. A new poll that confirms just how much teens depend on their phones gives me even more to worry about. Fifty percent of teens feel they are addicted to their mobile devices.
May 3 “Invisible Fingerprint Sensors Will Help Save Smartphone Design” — A few years ago, smartphones began sprouting odd, circular growths. Sometimes these growths would appear on the front, other times on the back, but they pretty uniformly conquered high-end handsets with all the speed and subtlety of a virus. These are fingerprint sensors, and as much as they’ve increased smartphone security, they’ve been a pain on smartphone design. Good thing they’re about to go invisible. This week, LG Innotek revealed its new “under glass fingerprint sensor.” Rather than a dedicated surface-level ring, it bakes the components into the display itself.
May 2 “As Digital Fatigue Sets In, Readers are Waking Up to Newspapers” — For years, media analysts have said technology will save print — and maybe it will, just not in the way they predicted. The news industry is going through an overload of information, particularly in the digital sphere. According to marketing expert Andrew Davis, 17 new Web pages are published every second. In a span of five seconds that’s 85 new Web pages getting uploaded to the Internet. Davis suggested that print products shouldn’t contribute to the surplus of information brought on by their digital counterparts. Instead, they should create content consumers want to consume — and that’s where quality over quantity comes in.
May 2 “The biggest change in fast food isn’t about food — and it should terrify chains that can’t keep up” — Whether in Starbucks or Pizza Hut, mobile ordering is taking over the fast-food industry. Orders placed via smartphone will make up more than 10% of all quick-service restaurant sales by 2020, Business Insider Intelligence projects. At that point, mobile ordering is expected to be a $38 billion industry. While mobile-ordering programs at restaurants are still in their early days, fast-food chains are investing big in the future.
May 2 “Facebook Tests Disappearing Messages” — Facebook is said to be taking a page from Snapchat as it tests disappearing messages in its Messenger app, in hopes of building engagement among users worried about privacy. Disappearing messages would build on a number of other new security features introduced by Facebook in recent weeks, including default encryption for WhatsApp. Facebook is also said to be considering introducing “secret conversations” for Messenger, with end-to-end encryption.
May 1 “In the New Wireless Universe, You’re Finally at the Center” — Project Fi just celebrated its first birthday, but it was conceived more than three years ago, on Boxing Day 2012. Project Fi is a new kind of wireless service Google unveiled in April 2015. With it, phones can not only make calls over Wi-Fi networks, but seamlessly and automatically move those calls onto a cellular networks when the Wi-Fi signal fades. Perhaps more importantly, Project Fi also lets phones move between cellular networks, depending on which one offers the best signal. If the signal from Sprint peters out, your phone can instantly and automatically switch to T-Mobile.
April 29 “Google CEO: ‘Devices’ will be things of the past” — Google CEO Sundar Pichai says the next big evolution for technology is artificial intelligence. His vision: Over time, computers, whatever shape they take, a mobile device in your hand or a mini computer on your wrist, will be an intelligent assistant helping you through your day. Google is far from alone. Artificial intelligence in which Google was a pioneer, is an increasingly crowded field. Facebook is staking its future on machine learning and is building a smart assistant called “M.” Microsoft has thrown its hat in the ring. Even Amazon is betting big on AI with its new digital assistant Alexa that turns its Echo into an indispensable digital hub in your home.
April 29 “Cracker Jack replaces beloved plastic toys with QR codes and a ‘mobile experience’ ” — Cracker Jack has replaced its beloved Prize Inside toys with a link to baseball-themed games for mobile devices. This is the new Cracker Jack experience, just in time for another season of America’s favorite pastime. The nearly 125-year-old product has opted to replace its Prize Inside with a surprise more worthy of the 21st century. From now on, Cracker Jack consumers with find a QR code inside the small prize that links to four mobile, baseball-themed games.
April 28 “The Critical Hole at the Heart of Our Cell Phone Networks” — In February 2014, the US ambassador to Ukraine suffered an embarrassing leak. A secret conversation between him and a US Assistant Secretary of State got posted to YouTube, in which he spoke disparagingly about the European Union. The conversation occurred over unencrypted phones, and US officials told reporters they suspected the call was intercepted in Ukraine, but didn’t say how. Some people believe it occurred using vulnerabilities in a mobile data network known as SS7, which is part of the backbone infrastructure that telecoms around the world use to communicate between themselves about how to route calls and text messages.
April 28 “Colleges turn to Snapchat geofilters to lure new students” — Universities are pretty much like any marketer, albeit one peddling a product with a very high price point. Snapchat’s popularity among youngsters is no secret. The app has a nearly 70 percent reach among the 18–24 demographic, according to comScore, and colleges are increasingly beginning to take note. Many universities operate active Snapchat accounts, even enlisting current students to operate them and offer viewers glances at various aspects of campus life. Several have also started tapping into Snapchat features like geofilters, which are special graphic overlays that Snapchat makes available based on location.
April 28 “The FCC just did something that should make businesses very happy” — It wasn’t so long ago that many of us were locked into lengthy cellphone contracts. And if you wanted to leave your carrier, you faced the prospect of stiff early termination fees. The same situation affects many hospitals, schools, universities and banks that all need data connections to run their businesses. These fees end up making it harder to switch providers, just like for regular consumers. Now, federal regulators have voted to ban these and other provisions that telecom providers sometimes impose on their corporate customers.
April 28 “Snapchat User ‘Stories’ Fuel 10 Billion Daily Video Views” — The majority of people using Snapchat’s application are making videos, fueling a boom in watching them, the company is telling its investors. More than a third of Snapchat’s daily users create “Stories,” broadcasting photos and videos from their lives that last 24 hours, according to people familiar with the matter. Now users are watching 10 billion videos a day on the application, up from 8 billion in February.
April 27 “How college students produce, consume content” — In my life on a college campus, I have the chance to interact daily with those very valuable demos: adults 18–25. As hard as it is to generalize to a whole population from a small sample size, I want to share with you how one Mid-Atlantic population uses video, audio and the Internet.
April 27 “Shopping Frequency: Smartphones Up 64%; Physical Stores Down 30%” — The idea that a consumer researches on their mobile device or laptop before heading to the store to make the actual purchase finally may be changing. Studies have consistently shown that no matter which digital device a consumer uses to shop, the overwhelming majority ultimately want to go to the store or mall to get the actual product. But mobile shopping finally may be turning into more of a single-device experience, with some consumers feeling just fine by shopping and buying from where they are.
April 27 “Consumers To Learn Of Risks In Wearables, Connected Objects While At Work” — Consumers not aware of security implications of IoT technology they wear or bring into their homes may start to learn about it at the office. Surveys have shown that many consumers are not concerned about security breaches through their wearable devices, like smartwatches or fitness trackers. The same is true for home smart things, such as connected thermostats. However, business execs see wearables as the top security threat, based on a new study.
April 27 “YouTube debuts unskippable six-second ad format” — YouTube has launched “Bumper Ads”, a lightweight, 6 second, non-skippable in-stream ad unit bought via AdWords and designed to drive awareness and reach. The new format will complement YouTube’s flagship product, TrueView ads, to help brands reinforce the message or share a short ad.
April 26 “The smartphone shift and its threat to radio” — Edison Research estimates that 207-million American teens and adults own a smartphone — that’s 76% percent of the non-child population. As the listening metrics unfold, it’s worth keeping that “reach” in mind, juxtaposed against the much-publicized 93% overall reach of AM/FM reported by Nielsen. In the 12–24 age group, that already high smartphone reach soars to … exactly 93%. The dramatic adoption of smartphone listening by young consumers (which doesn’t include much AM/FM) is exactly opposed to AM/FM’s weekly reach in the population.
April 26 “Facebook is building a standalone camera app: WSJ” — Facebook’s latest move is a standalone camera app so users can create photos and video to share on the parent platform, according to the Wall Street Journal. One planned feature is to allow the app to live stream video taken in-app — an area Facebook has been especially bullish on lately. It’s speculated the new app is a response to falling rates of Facebook users sharing original content on the social network — down 15% earlier year, according to internal Facebook data as reported by The Information.
April 26 “Fluent: Half of Mobile Users Have Never Paid for a Gaming App” — Customer acquisition platform Fluent released the results of a new survey that analyzed the mobile gaming habits of 1,014 American mobile device owners. According to the report, 77 percent of respondents said they play mobile games multiple times per week, while 46 percent said they play mobile games every day. Overall, free games were found to be the most popular, as 50 percent of respondents said they have never paid for a gaming application.
April 26 “In new test for Google text ads, headlines are expanded without sacrificing ad copy” — Hot on the heels of removing text ads from the right rail of the search results on desktop, Google is beginning to test a new format for text ads. Dubbed Expanded Text Ads, the new format features longer headlines. Currently, headlines can extend to include the first line of description copy when that line ends with a punctuation mark. The big difference in this test is that the text ads will feature a double (extended) headline and the full 70-character count of description copy.
April 25 “Your Phone’s Next Superpower? Putting Awesome VR in Your Pocket” — Across the smartphone industry, virtual reality is the driving force behind the next generation of features and technology. For all the attention lavished upon the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Magic Leap, most people will experience the wonder of VR with the same device they use to send a text and summon a car. Throughout the industry, VR is driving the next generation of features and technology. Your next phone will be a kickass virtual- and augmented-reality machine.
April 24 — “The Untold Story of Magic Leap, the World’s Most Secretive Startup” Virtual reality overlaid on the real world is called mixed reality, or MR. It is more difficult to achieve than the classic fully immersive virtual reality, or VR, where all you see are synthetic images, and in many ways MR is the more powerful of the two technologies. Magic Leap is not the only company creating mixed-reality technology, but right now the quality of its virtual visions exceeds all others. Because of this lead, money is pouring in. Google was one of the first to invest. In the past year, executives from most major media and tech companies have made the pilgrimage to Magic Leap’s office park to experience for themselves its futuristic synthetic reality.
April 22 “CVS Health, Curbside Go Mobile” — CVS Health announced a new partnership with Curbside, a company aiming to “perfect the store pickup experience for retailers and consumers.” Together, the companies are launching CVS Express, a digital solution offering consumers a “new level of seamless convenience.” So how does it work? CVS Express is the industry’s first retail solution that integrates Curbside’s market-leading technology right into the CVS Pharmacy app. With CVS Express, customers can make mobile, in-app purchases for pickup at their local CVS Pharmacy in an hour at no additional charge.
April 22 “Most Smartphone Owners Use Location-Based Services” — Nine in 10 US smartphone owners use location services on their phone, according to data from Pew Research Center. Still, there is significant room for growth. eMarketer estimates the number of smartphone users will increase by 8.7% in 2016, and the number of those who use location-based services is expected to rise at a near-equal pace.
April 21 “Medisafe, TimerCap Announce Breakthrough Wireless Pill Organizers” — On Wednesday, Medisafe made waves through its partnership with TimerCap, manufacturer of medication reminder caps. The companies have just unveiled “Medisafe iConnect,” a new portfolio of Bluetooth-enabled, low-cost connected devices paired with Medisafe’s software, as well as the pre-sale of the first two products, iCap and iSort. iCap is a Bluetooth-equipped cap that fits most standard pill bottles dispensed with prescriptions in the U.S., while iSort is a Bluetooth-enabled weekly pill organizer for people taking multiple medications or more complex regimens.
April 20 “Get Ready for the Great Rebundling of Mobile” — Bundling has long been the fuel of technology innovation. iTunes unbundled the music CD into individual tracks rather than albums. Spotify rebundled music into an unlimited plan. Smartphones showed us that single purpose apps could be massively successful. Facebook spotted the opportunity early when it started “unbundling the big blue app”. Mobile unbundling makes sense from a user experience point of view — a bloated web app just doesn’t work on mobile. But it can also make sense from a business perspective. When Facebook unbundled Messenger, they drove distribution to their newer, unbundled app.
April 19 “SCOTUS Makes Exception to No-Cell Phone Policy” — A group brought cell phones into the hallowed U.S. Supreme Court courtroom April 19. But instead of being admonished, the group was warmly welcomed. That’s because it was a group of hearing impaired attorneys who brought the devices into the courtroom to assist with their admission to the Supreme Court bar. Several of the 12 attorneys being admitted used cell phones or tablets to access the Communication Access Realtime Translation, or CART, service, which allows a third party to create a real-time transcript of the proceeding.
April 19 “Peter Jackson: Augmented Reality Will Be Bigger Than Mobile” — Famed “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson believes that the mobile phone has found its match: Jackson recently told Wired Magazine that augmented reality technologies like the ones developed by Florida-based Magic Leap will be used “as much as, if not more ” than smart phones in ten years. Magic Leap is one of a number of companies working on augmented reality technology capable of combining images of the real world with virtual objects. The startup has been highly secretive about its technology, but that hasn’t stopped high-profile investors like Google, Alibaba and Warner Bros. from pouring more than $1.4 billion in financing in the company.
April 18 “Apple is reportedly adding paid search to the App Store” — Bloomberg reported last week that Apple has a team of 100 people working on building a paid search type capability for the App Store. Because the App Store has grown to more than 1.5 million apps, it’s diﬃcult for developers to get their apps in front of potential users. Bringing paid search to the App Store also would allow Apple to grab some of the marketing budget from app developers currently being spent on app install ads generating revenue for Google, Facebook and Twitter.
April 18 “Introducing the LinkedIn Students App: Helping Soon-to-Be College Graduates Conquer Their Job Search” — Graduation is quickly approaching. Your job search is all consuming. What do you search for? What job options are best for you? Today, LinkedIn unveils the first-of-its-kind LinkedIn Students app available for iOS and Android, tailored specifically for soon-to-be college graduates looking to answer these very questions. Using insights from LinkedIn’s database of over 400 million professionals, the brand new app helps you discover jobs that are a best fit for graduates with your major, companies that tend to hire from your school and the careers paths of recent alumni with similar degrees.
April 18 “New data: Americans are abandoning wired home Internet” — Americans as a whole are becoming less likely to have residential broadband: They’re abandoning their wired Internet for a mobile-data-only diet — and if the trend continues, it could reflect a huge shift in the way we experience the Web. A study, which was conducted for the Commerce Department by the U.S. Census Bureau, partly reaffirms what we already knew. Low-income Americans are still one of the biggest demographics to rely solely on their phones to go online. Today, nearly one-third of households earning less than $25,000 a year exclusively use mobile Internet to browse the Web.
April 18 “Your phone number is all hackers need to access EVERY call and message: Shocking 60 Minutes experiment show how easy it is to eavesdrop” — All hackers needs to get access to your phone conversations, whereabouts and emails is your phone number. They can do this by exploiting a flaw in a global telecom network called Signal System 7 (SS7) that helps phone carriers across the world route calls and texts. Now, a 60 minutes investigation has revealed just how easy it is to exploit this vulnerability, and according to experts, all phones are at risk.
April 18 “This Mattress Will Tell You if You’re Being Cheated On” — Now, there are two ways you might market a mattress like that: You could skirt around the idea that this technology just might be used to snoop on the bedroom habits of suspected partners. Or, you can steer right into the paranoia at full speed, blaring dramatic music while warning of a “global infidelity crisis [that] knocks on your door.” Guess which option Durmet chose?
April 18 “New law paves way for Indiana to fully embrace telemedicine” — Forty-six states already permit what Indiana is poised to start this summer: allowing physicians to write prescriptions after talking to patients on their laptops or smartphones, with no office visit required. On July 1, Indiana will fully jump into the age of telemedicine, a booming industry worth $14 billion, driven by pressures to lower costs and increase access to health care. Soon, patients in Indiana will be able to sit at home, in their car, or in the office and ask a doctor about a cough, ear pain, headache or other malady, through a video call. And the doctor can ask the patient to step over in the light, aim the camera at the rash or twisted ankle, and after a few questions, prescribe medicine and send the order to a pharmacy.
April 14 “New Mental Health App Brings Therapy Into the Digital Age” — Psychscope, a new mental heath app combining decades of psychiatric knowledge with a digital landscape, is now live on Kickstarter and raising funds to bring the project to life. Globally, a provided media statement explains, there’s difficulty with access to mental health resources. 1 in 5 people suffer from depression but the industry is massively under resourced. The waiting lists can span for months and months and access can be hard to come by when needed.
April 14 “Google Fiber Working On Connecting Wireless Service To Fiber Lines” — Engineers at the Alphabet subsidiary Google Fiber are working on connecting wireless towers to existing fiber lines that will allow the company to beam Internet access into homes. The move could become an extension of Google Fiber, which has been laying high-speed Internet access in a variety of cities from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Austin, Texas. Wireless access would give parent company Alphabet a stronger proprietary network to support a variety of content and ad serving through Google, which makes the majority of its revenue from selling and serving advertisements. It would allow the company to build a nationwide network to compete with AT&T and Verizon.
April 13 “A proposed ‘textalyzer’ bill might give cops the right to access your cellphone” — A New York bill that would allow police to use a “textalyzer” device to determine whether drivers have been using their phone at the scene of a car accident is causing concern among some civil liberties groups, who say that it could interfere with people’s cellphone privacy. The textalyzer, which gets its name from the breathalyzer that determines a driver’s blood alcohol content, is a roadside device introduced by Cellebrite, an Israeli technology company that specializes in data extraction.
April 13 “Facebook’s killer Social VR demo puts the real world on notice” — Bravo, Facebook. Social VR is now officially something I want in Facebook. Ever since Facebook bought Oculus VR for $2 billion in 2014, Mark Zuckerberg has made clear his intention to merge social networking with virtual reality. While it made intuitive sense, I really thought Zuckerberg was paying lip service to the idea. With its immersive headgear that cuts you off from the outside world and the pricey graphics-laden hardware on the back-end, the Oculus Rift system seemed tailor made for deep-dive gaming, not chatting up your Aunt May on Facebook.
April 13 “Twitter has outsized influence, but it doesn’t drive much traffic for most news orgs, a new report says” — Twitter generates 1.5 percent of traffic for typical news organizations, according to a new report from the social analytics company Parse.ly that examined data from 200 of its client websites over two weeks in January. Parse.ly’s network includes publishers like Upworthy, Slate, The Daily Beast, and Business Insider. The median publisher saw roughly 8 tweets per post, 3 clicks per tweet, and 0.7 retweets for each original tweet, Parse.ly said. The top five percent of publishers performed better on Twitter, averaging 11 percent of their traffic from the network.
April 13 “The chatbots are coming — and they want to help you buy stuff” — The battle for your online shopping dollars has largely been waged on websites and, more recently, smartphone apps. Now, retailers are looking to another digital tool to win your money and your loyalty: An army of chatbots. Chatbots — the name for robots that simulate human conversation — have been thrust into the spotlight in recent weeks amid a flurry of new experiments in how they might be used to shape the future of shopping. And on Tuesday, Facebook announced it has created a platform that allows companies to develop bots that run within its Messenger app, which has some 900 million users worldwide.
April 12 “Why that emoji grin you sent might show up as a grimace” — Emoji, the cute little graphics of smiley faces, airplanes and fruit that are built into your smartphone’s digital keyboard, have long been part of texting and online culture. But they can also be incredibly confusing, and not just because it can be hard to figure out that is supposed to mean a “swift kick in the pants.” New research from the University of Minnesota’ GroupLens Lab suggests that people often have contrasting interpretations of the exact same emoji — and that differences in how an emoji displays on one device versus another can make things even worse.
April 12 “US brewery installs BLE beacons on beer taps” — Drinkers of Schlafly Beer in St Louis can receive information about drink specials, tasting notes, new beer releases and customised campaigns on their smartphone via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons attached to the craft brewery’s beer taps. The company has partnered with beacon marketing platform Juxtad to roll out the service that uses Tap Talker beacons at the pump and the brewery’s Schlafly mobile app. Juxtad has installed more than 50 Tap Talker beacons in locations across St Louis, with plans to “scale up to over 250 bar and restaurant locations by May 2016”.
April 12 “Google’s new Voice Access app lets you control your phone with your voice” — Google is making Android a lot more accessible for people visual and motor impairments. The company is beta-testing an app called Voice Access that enables Android users to navigate their smartphones using only their voice. Voice Access helps people with motor impairments navigate their touch screens. The app allows you to navigate between your home screen and other screens as well and interact with the content you’re seeing by using voice commands. You can also use the app for text editing and dictation.
April 12 “Smart Contact Lens Could Take Photo With Blink Of An Eye” — Contact lenses that contain a built-in camera, sensors and a display that can project images directly into wearer’s eyes have been conceived by Samsung. A patent application for the technology made by the South Korean electronics giant — first spotted by unofficial Samsung blog Sammobile — reveals the concept was inspired by the limitations of smart glasses, like Google Glass. According to the 29-page application, the image quality of smart glasses is limited and they do not provide a natural interface.
April 11 “Ticketmaster Will Sell Tickets Directly On Facebook In Coming Weeks” — Ticketmaster will start selling event tickets directly on Facebook by the end of April, joining the growing number of companies placing core parts of their businesses inside the social giant’s walls. Ticketmaster and companies like it, largely online commerce outfits and web publishers, are willing to go direct-through-Facebook since they see their customers spending less time on websites and more within a handful of mobile apps, with Facebook often the top destination. The amount of time the top mobile apps command from those who use them is staggering. 84% of all time spent in non-native apps on mobile devices is spent within just five apps, according to Forrester. This positions Facebook as a channel for all types of business to reach their customers and audiences.
April 11 “Geofeedia expands its role in pioneering location-based intelligence” — Geofeedia burst onto the Indianapolis tech scene in 2014 with a couple of employees opening a satellite office for the then three-year-old Chicago-headquartered location-based intelligence company. Just 15 months later, 38 of the company’s 63 employees are based in Indianapolis playing pivotal roles in Geofeedia’s rapid growth, the development and launch of new software products, and a strategy to reinvent the way we think about data.
April 9 “Gangs, Drugs, and Guns keep the pressure on Apple” — Apple’s issues with the Department of Justice and U.S. courts haven’t ended. The FBI was able to crack the San Bernadino, CA terrorist’s iPhone 5c with outside help and subsequently withdrew its legal action. U.S. District Courts in Boston and New York have ongoing investigations with gangs, guns, and drugs and the DoJ wants Apple’s help. Court papers were released Friday from a February 1 filing in Boston, during which a judge ordered Apple to unlock a phone seized from an alleged gang member.
April 9 “Mobile Technology May Screen for Afib” — Hand-held devices such as smartphones can be adapted to allow the phone to monitor a person’s heart and detect atrial fibrillation with a high degree of accuracy, researchers reported here. In a comparison of two devices, the Cardiio Rhythm and AliveCor, University of Hong Kong researchers showed that the overall accuracy of the devices in detecting atrial fibrillation among patients over the age of 65 was greater than 97%.
April 8 “The tremendous ambitions behind New York City’s free WiFi” — At this very moment in New York City, you can walk up to one of 65 futuristic kiosks, punch in an email address on your phone and instantly receive a wireless Internet connection that follows you around town. It’s free — and it’s fast. Each kiosk, which is really an old payphone that’s been converted into an Internet terminal, is connected to gigabit fiber optics. Early signs suggest the experiment, known as LinkNYC, is gaining traction: New Yorkers and visitors are signing up for the small-scale WiFi feature at a pace of several thousand people a week, according to Intersection, one of the handful of companies behind the project.
April 8 “FTC Aims to Offer Guidance on mHealth Apps” — The Federal Trade Commission is rolling out a new web-based tool for mHealth app developers to assist in their work and offer guidance. “The guidance tool asks developers a series of high-level questions about the nature of their app, including about its function, the data it collects, and the services it provides to users. Based on the developer’s answers to those questions, the guidance will point the app developer toward detailed information about certain federal laws that might apply to the app.
April 8 “Mobile users spend about 30 minutes a day on Facebook. Nobody else is even close” — When it comes to mobile social network usage, there’s Facebook, then there’s everybody else. That’s the conclusion from this Statista chart, based on data from Morgan Stanley and ComScore. The two numbers considered were the number of monthly average mobile users for each social network in the U.S., and the total mobile minutes spent on each network every day in the U.S. Based on those two numbers, the average mobile Facebook user spends about 30 minutes each day interacting on the social network. Snapchat is a distant second, with 8.5 minutes.
April 7 “Talk to Your Ad: Cidewalk Unveils ‘Chatting Ads’ So Customers Can Text and Chat Directly” — Want to talk to an ad that piques your interest? If you answered yes, you’re in luck. In response to advertisers’ challenge to cut through the noise of an always-engaged but always-distracted growing mobile population, Cidewalk.com unveiled Chatting Ads that let consumers have two-way conversations with advertisers in real time. How does this work? Basically, “Chatting Ads” are texting-enabled mobile ads that allow people to click and send a text message directly to the advertiser. It’s text as the new email in an era of very short attention spans. And, of course, mobile is the instigator and facilitator.
April 6 “See, hear, touch: Brands capitalize on human senses to drive mobile value” — A flurry of interactive features on branded digital experiences show how marketers are broadly ramping up mobile-first utility by appealing to the key human senses of touch, hearing and sight. Marketers are increasingly embracing Tinder-like swiping, image recognition and voice recognition for a variety of mobile-driven experiences that are easier and more convenient than ever.
April 6 “Mobile Native Advertising To Drive $53B In Ad Spend” — Facebook’s Audience Network (FAN) is hitting a home run with native advertising. In terms of volume, native ads represent 83% of the ads on FAN and more than 50% of applications on the network using native exclusively. Those are among the findings of a study Facebook commissioned in conjunction with research firm HIS about the native advertising market. Mobile will be a big driver of growth in native ad spending: Native advertising will account for 63.2% of all global mobile display advertising by 2020, reaching $53.4 billion.
April 5 “New Game-Based App Educates Students on Campus Violence, Harassment” — The Association of Title IX Administrators is offering colleges and universities one year’s free use of a mobile app designed to boost student awareness of campus violence, sexual misconduct and alcohol abuse, as well as increase compliance with Title IX requirements. The new app, U of Nine, offers students and institution employees the ability to engage in social trivia games on topics like sexual violence, harassment, intimate partner violence and stalking. Administrators can track usage via the app and make use of analytics. The platform is smartphone-based, so that students and employees can access it wherever they are and whenever they want.
April 5 “Forget Apple vs. the FBI: WhatsApp Just Switched on Encryption for a Billion People” — For most of the past six weeks, the biggest story out of Silicon Valley was Apple’s battle with the FBI over a federal order to unlock the iPhone of a mass shooter. The company’s refusal touched off a searing debate over privacy and security in the digital age. But this morning, at a small office in Mountain View, California, three guys made the scope of that enormous debate look kinda small. Today, the enigmatic founders of WhatsApp, revealed that the company has added end-to-end encryption to every form of communication on its service.
April 5 “Twitter Wins Thursday Night NFL Package” — In what is a major spike for the sometimes troubled social media company, Twitter has won the highly sought after digital rights to NFL games on Thursday Night. Twitter won the right — against Verizon Communications, Facebook, Amazon, and Yahoo — to stream 10 Thursday Night football games while they are simultaneously being shown on NBC, CBS and the NFL. The NFL has been partners with Twitter since 2013 through its Twitter Amplify program, where real-time in-tweet video clips are accompanied by pre-roll or post-roll advertisements.
April 5 “Burberry first to create a ‘Snapcode’ on their products to nudge shoppers onto Snapchat Discover” — Burberry is the first brand to use Snapchat’s QR-style ‘Snapcode’ feature to give people access to exclusive content when they are in- stores. Burberry has today (4 April) revealed the advertising campaign for its latest men’s fragrance, Mr. Burberry, which encourages visitors to spot the ‘Snapcode’ on products that when scanned will direct consumers onto Snapchat.
April 4 “Facebook is getting better for the blind thanks to clever AI” — Studies have shown that blind people often feel excluded or even isolated on social media when they’re unable to fully join in on discussions around visual media. A new feature from Facebook hopes to fix that. The company is expanding out its accessibility features with automatic alternative text — a description of what’s in an image — being provided via new object recognition technology that the social network has been working on for months.
April 4 “Technology Fuels Renaissance in Out-of-Home Advertising. Brands Link Outdoor and Mobile Marketing” — There’s a billboard west of Chicago just as smart as any online ad, if not smarter. Motorists of a Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata or Ford Fusion might get the feeling that they’re being watched. They’d be right. The sign has “eyes” that belong to General Motors, part of an outdoor campaign using cameras on billboards to identify passing vehicles by their grilles. When Camrys, Altimas, Sonatas and Fusions go by, the system tells a digital billboard 1,000 feet down the road just what to tell drivers about why their cars are inferior to GM’s Chevy Malibu.
March 31 “How 4 news organizations are using Facebook Live to reach broader audiences” — For many news organizations, especially those with tiny staffs, doing online video well is a particularly vexing problem. One possible solution to these hurdles? Just do it live. Since Facebook Live became widely available earlier this year, news organizations have been experimenting with the social network’s livestreaming tool to draw audiences into impromptu broadcasts tied to their Facebook pages.
March 31 “FCC Proposes Broadband Privacy Rules” — A divided FCC voted to move forward with a proposal for tough new broadband privacy rules. The proposed rules would require ISPs to obtain consumers’ consent before drawing on their Web-surfing data for behavioral targeting. The basic framework of the proposed rules requires broadband providers to obtain consumers’ opt-in consent before using data about them for ad purposes — unless the ads are related to other communications services.
March 31 “Amazon will let you order Trojans and Doritos from a plastic button on your fridge” — Amazon is releasing nearly 80 new brands of Dash buttons, the Wi-Fi-connected plastic buttons that Prime members can press to quickly reorder a specific product from Amazon. This release will feature Dash buttons for a wide range of brands including Trojan condoms, Doritos chips, Dasani water and Starbucks Doubleshot Coffee. Amazon now sells Dash buttons for more than 100 brands, each costing $4.99. They come with a reusable adhesive so they can be stuck to hard surfaces like a fridge or a countertop.
March 31 “Snapchat’s Ultimate Goal Isn’t Just Chat — It’s Total Media Domination” — It can be difficult to get a handle on Snapchat sometimes, and not just because of its notoriously user-hostile design. What is abundantly clear is the ultimate goal of all of these changes and additions, however: Namely, total domination of every relevant form of social media, using messaging as a delivery system. The latest iteration came this week with the addition of new features including video calling, audio and video messaging, GIFs, and stickers. Unlike a lot of other messaging apps, all of the new features are blended together — users can seamlessly toggle between video and audio, send short notes, and draw on top of shared photos.
March 30 “eTreatMD, Arthritis Society Launching mHealth App for Hand Arthritis” -eTreatMD, a health-focused app developer, has announced the release of eTreatMD myHand, a mobile health app for managing hand arthritis. myHand enables users to measure, monitor and manage arthritis. What’s different about this app from others like it? While most hand arthritis apps can only record symptoms, eTreatMD myHand can measure physical changes and help patients see exactly how their pain is connected to factors like weather, activity and treatment.
March 30 “Companies Increasingly Trademark Hashtags” — Companies are increasingly trying to “join the conversation” with consumers on social media services including Facebook and Twitter, but they’d rather their competitors didn’t join the conversation too.
In an attempt to protect their intellectual property on social media sites and across the wider Internet, companies are increasingly filing trademark applications for hashtags related to their products and brands. According to research by Thomson Reuters CompuMark, 1,398 applications to trademark specific hashtags were filed globally during 2015.
March 30 “Apple Watch now controls lawnmower in new IoT move” — The Swedish company Husqvarna, which used to make competition off-road motorcycles but which now manufactures outdoor power products such as motor mowers, garden tractors and trimmers, has launched an Apple Watch app that allows remote control of your lawnmower. The new Automower Connect app allows users to control, configure and monitor the Husqvarna robotic lawnmower models Automower 320, 330X and 450X from the wrist.
March 29 “Instagram Videos Will Soon Be Up To One Minute Long” — Hate that Instagram cuts you off after only 15 seconds of video? A fix is on the way. Instagram announced today that 60-second video capability is rolling out. The 60-second time limit has already been in place for some advertisers, as a way for Instagram to compete with television ad buys. This could be Facebook and Instagram’s way to promote Instagram as more of a video-sharing channel, reducing the limits originally placed on the app when it was battling Vine in its infancy.
March 29 “College Students Want Targeted Social Ads” — Many Internet users claim not to like ad targeting, commonly calling it “creepy” or invasive. But college students say they are most likely to click on a social ad if it’s for something they care about or need — meaning, if it’s well targeted to their interests and relevant to their lives. In March 2016, Fluent surveyed 1,310 U.S. students ages 17 to 24 who are enrolled in a 4-year college or university. More than half (53.4%) said that they wanted to click on a Facebook ad because it is for something they need to care about. Some 49% of respondents also said they wanted to click on a YouTube ad because it was for something they cared about.
March 29 “This could spell the beginning of the end for cellphone voice service” — T-Mobile has a reputation for making brash, industry-changing decisions like doing away with service contracts and offering to pay your early termination fees. Now it seems poised to launch another major experiment: Killing off voice service. What’s the point of a phone without phone service? While cellphone service can certainly be a lifeline during emergency situations, most of us spend our time in more mundane environments, such as our homes or offices. In these places, WiFi is king. More than half of all mobile Internet traffic in 2015 actually traveled over WiFi, according to Cisco, not cellular networks.
March 28 “College faculty, students disagree on each other’s digital literacy levels — survey” — Students and faculty at higher education institutions don’t see eye to eye when it comes to digital literacy, according to a recent survey. Among over 300 respondents to the survey, 45 percent of students perceive themselves as “highly digitally literate,” but only 14 percent of faculty would agree with that statement. Meanwhile, 49 percent of faculty thought that they were in the same category, while only 23 percent of students thought so. Lack of access, training and funding were among the “biggest frustrations with digital media in higher education,” according to the survey.
March 28 “Report: Telemedicine Remains a Mystery to a Large Number of Tech Savvy Consumers” — A March survey by Healthmine of 500 insured consumers who use mobile/internet-connected health applications found that 39% still have not heard of telemedicine. What’s more, only one third of respondents say their health plan offers telehealth as an option. However, 93% of those who have used telemedicine say it has lowered their healthcare costs.
March 28 “The Hidden Costs of Ending Device Subsidies” — The economics of mobile device ownership have changed completely in the United States over the past two years. Two year fixed term contracts are being phased out as carriers look to provide greater freedom and flexibility to their customers. These users want to be able to get new devices as soon as they’re available rather than be tied to outdated models while their contracts run their course. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon are all now taking part in private leasing programs or ‘Early Upgrade Programs’.
March 28 “Why Apple and Google are struggling to design simple software” — Right now, millions of consumers are facing a simple problem. Or rather, they’re facing a problem with simplicity, as both the number of smart products and the functions of those products multiply. I was recently reminded of this when I tried to quickly snap a picture at a recent Apple event. I tried to double-click the home button on my locked Galaxy S6 to call up the camera. But I took just a moment too long, triggered the fingerprint reader and unlocked my phone instead — and completely missed the shot.
March 28 “Games Still Dominate Mobile User App Spend” — Last year, U.S. iPhone users on average spent $35 on apps, both for download and in-app purchases. The data comes from app marketing service Sensor Tower and is gleaned from the 110 million active iPhones during 2015. As expected, users spent more on games than any other category of app, but they outspent the next highest category by a huge factor. About $25 of the $35 spent on average was spent on mobile games. Music, which took second-place, only accounted for $3.40, on average.
March 28 “Makeup brands are testing augmented reality to drive conversions” — While shopping for a new lipstick on Sephora’s mobile app, customers contemplating whether to buy Marc Jacobs’ Forbidden Berry shade or Stila’s Magenta Plum can see exactly how the colors will look on their faces. The Sephora Virtual Artist tool in the retailer’s app launched in January to help customers test products using augmented reality technology powered by ModiFace. The visual artist tool lives on the Sephora app’s homepage, and as customers “try on” different lipstick shades using the front-facing camera, they can move around and the color stays put.
March 27 “MIT’s app promises to count calories and help you lose weight” — There are plenty of apps that claim to help you lose weight, but researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are currently developing one such app that claims to lower the barrier of entry in regards to such a task. Recently shown off as a web-based prototype at the International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing, the app keeps track of caloric intake by allowing people to verbally describe the meal they either ate or are thinking of eating. The app then pings an online database managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in order to retrieve relevant nutritional data pertaining to the indicated meal.
March 25 “Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan puts live radio in your hand” — Radio has a habit of defying those who predict its demise, and Jeff Smulyan thinks he is about to disappoint the doomsayers yet again. NextRadio is the way, and the smartphone in your pocket is the means. So, what are we talking about? Radio on your smartphone. No, not Pandora or Spotify or even the iHeartRadio application. We’re talking local, over-the-air radio, the sounds that give you a sense of place — and the key source of information in an emergency.
March 25 “App Spots Objects for the Visually Impaired” — Walking around my office on a recent morning, a female voice on my iPhone narrated the objects I passed. “Brick,” “wall,” “telephone,” she said matter-of-factly. The voice paused when I came upon a bike hung on a wall-mounted rack, then intoned, “bicycle.” The voice is part of a free image-recognition app called Aipoly that’s trying to make it easier for those with vision impairments to recognize their surroundings. To use it, you point the phone’s rear camera at whatever you want it to identify, and Aipoly will speak what it sees (or, at least, what it thinks it sees) and show the object’s name on the phone’s display.
March 25 “A new bill would force prepaid phone buyers to register themselves” — A bill proposed this week would require people to provide identification and officially register themselves when buying a prepaid phone. Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA), who introduced the bill, called the prepaid phone “loophole” an “egregious gap in our legal framework” that allows terrorists and criminals to prosper. The bill, Closing the Pre-Paid Mobile Device Security Gap Act of 2016, was only introduced on Wednesday and has yet to be approved by the House Judiciary Committee.
March 25 “Mobile Helps Parents Make Better Purchasing Decisions” — Facebook IQ continued its study of parents with a look at how mobile technology is enabling them to become smarter consumers. Its findings included: 41 percent of millennial parents say mobile devices help them become better consumers when making purchases for their families; and parents are five times more likely to use Facebook when making family purchasing decisions than parenting websites.
March 24 “Teachers can control students’ iPads with new Classroom app” — Teachers have a new classroom monitor — the iPad. Apple released a new Classroom app for the tablet this week that is supposed to give teachers more control over what kids are doing and watching on their mobile device. Specifically, they can log students in or out of hardware, launch apps, websites or books remotely, and lock multiple devices simultaneously to refocus students’ attention. Teachers can even lock devices to refocus class attention through a feature called Screen View, which prompts a message to students warning that their devices are being monitored.
March 24 “Blendle: Can an ‘iTunes for journalism’ save the industry?” — A Dutch startup called Blendle hopes that millennials who don’t want to pay for subscriptions to newspapers and magazines will be willing to pay a few cents per story instead, thereby helping to prop up an industry that has been on the brink of collapse virtually since the dawn of the Internet. On Wednesday, the 2-year-old company launched a beta version of its service in the United States, available for now to 10,000 users. It comes here flush with content from 20 publishers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Economist, and Fast Company.
March 24 “Study: Young Smartphone Users Stream 6.2 GB of Video Each Month” — Smartphone owners under the age of 25 now use a whopping 6.2 GB of cellular and Wi-Fi data each month for mobile video streaming, according to a new report from The NPD Group. In its “Connected Intelligence Smartphone and Tablet Usage Report,” NPD group found this figure was 1.3 GB more than the 4.9 GB average for older smartphone users. The report found the average smartphone user eats up nearly 3 GB of cellular data per month, with video streaming as the top driver of that consumption.
March 24 “comScore Redefines ‘Households’ As ‘Devices,’ Says There Are 10–12 Per” — The average home has 10–12 devices, not including linear TV — which has made measuring and monitoring what people watch infinitely more difficult compared to a time when people primarily sat in front of live TV. In the new measurement era, the idea of “TV households” is rapidly becoming obsolete. ComScore now calls homes “devices” because of the rising flow of content streams pouring in and out of dwelling units from a plethora of gadgets.
March 24 “Netflix’s stunning admission: It throttles video speeds for some customers” — Netflix has long presented itself as a champion of unfettered access to Internet content. But those claims are ringing a little hollow after the company admitted that it deliberately slows down its streams for customers watching on the cellular networks of AT&T and Verizon. Normally, Netflix subscribers need at least a 500 Kbps connection just to open a streaming TV show or film. But for more than five years, Netflix has capped its video stream to just 600 Kbps for AT&T and Verizon’s wireless customers.
March 23 “Google is building YouTube Connect, a livestreaming app to take on Periscope” — Google has quietly been building a new livestreaming app called YouTube Connect. This service highlights the company’s efforts to double down on live video while also placing it in a position to compete directly against Twitter’s Periscope and Facebook Live. YouTube Connect will be available on both iOS and Android devices.
March 23 “The next big thing in phones may not be a phone” — Nearly a decade after the iPhone broke the mold for mobile phones the question being asked is whether the evolution of the smartphone has finally come to an end, as even Apple now treats older, smaller 4-inch screens as something new. Industry experts believe innovation in smartphones is giving way to phone functions popping up as software or services in all manner of new devices from cars to fridges to watches and jewelry rather than remaining with handheld devices.
March 23 “Surge of millennial-focused news sources shifts publishing industry” — The growing popularity of news sources delivering snackable content geared toward Millennials is forcing traditional publishers onto mobile-first platforms. With mobile news applications, newsletters and platforms such as Now This and BuzzFeed enticing millennial consumers with the short and sweet approach to news reporting, traditional publishers are increasingly partnering with digital distributors to drive readership.
March 22 “Google is making a keyboard for the iPhone” — Google has been developing a third-party keyboard for iOS that would put the company’s search engine in a highly used part of the interface. The keyboard, which incorporates a variety of search options, has been in development for months. It’s unclear whether or when Google plans to release it. The Google keyboard incorporates a number of features meant to distinguish it from the stock iOS keyboard. Like its Android counterpart, the Google keyboard for iOS employs gesture-based typing, so you can slide your finger from one letter to the next and let Google guess your intended word.
March 22 “Do You Like Stickers? Twitter Wants to Know” — Do you like stickers? Do you like putting them on photos you plan to share online? Twitter wants to know! The company is considering a new product it’s calling “Stickers” that would let you add images to photos before tweeting them out. Perhaps more interesting than stickers is that Twitter says the feature will let you “see how other users from around the world have edited the same photo” and will also “suggest photos that you can edit and post to participate in trending conversations and breaking news.”
March 21 “Apple’s CareKit Is the Best Argument Yet for Strong Encryption” — CareKit would let developers introduce health care apps capable of monitoring a wealth of information though Apple devices. The kind of data that you’d want to guard as closely as your own heartbeat. CareKit will include a Care Card, which helps keep tabs on medication or physical therapy. People can measure their symptoms, upload photos that illustrate the healing process, and more. And it includes something called Connect, which enables information-sharing between patients and doctors, or family members.
March 21 “Why College Students Prefer Mobile Payment Methods” — College students use a variety of mobile payment methods, including PayPal and Apple Pay. They use these methods because they are easy to set up and use, their friends and family use them, they’re easy to manage and are accepted at the places they need to use them. When it comes to the types of mobile payment methods used by college student Internet users, PayPal is most popular. More than half (58%) of respondents said they used it.
March 18 “FTC warns app developers against using audio monitoring software” — The Federal Trade Commission has sent warning letters to 12 smartphone app developers for allegedly compromising users’ privacy by packaging audio monitoring software into their products. The software, from an Indian company called SilverPush, allows apps to use the smartphone’s microphone to listen to nearby television audio in an effort to deliver more targeted advertisements. SilverPush allows the apps to surreptitiously monitor the television viewing habits of people who downloaded apps with the software included.
March 18 “Back to School: Cheetah Will Teach Mobile Ad Class at Carnegie Mellon University” — Cheetah Mobile, a developer of mobile utility and security applications, is going to college. But the company will be the teacher. It has announced that its partnership with Carnegie Mellon University will now find it leading a new Mobile Advertising course. The class is designed to teach students about the mobile advertising industry as well as monetization strategies.
March 17 “Apple News Goes Native: Ads That Look Like Stories Soon to Hit News App” — Apple has introduced a new ad format for sponsored posts that will appear in users’ news feeds alongside articles in the Apple News app. The company revealed the new ad format in a developer-specification document for Apple’s in-house mobile-advertising platform updated in March. That means sponsored ads will “display directly in the content feeds, in line with News articles,” and can link to an article in the News app. This format applies for both the iPhone and iPad versions of Apple News.
March 17 “Nintendo’s first smartphone app is a social surprise” — The maker of Mario is asking fans to do something new: share their weekend plans with friends. Nintendo’s first smartphone app — Miitomo — launched Thursday in Japan, and will soon debut in other markets. The app asks questions of users, such as their favorite TV show, or what they hope to be doing in 10 years. The answers are then shared with friends in messages delivered by Miis — the cartoonish avatars featured in Wii Sports.
March 16 “Amazon eyes selfie payments but starring role not guaranteed” — Amazon joins a growing list of companies, including MasterCard and Alibaba, betting on facial recognition to appeal to young consumers and address security concerns for mobile payments, but whether the popularity of selfies can translate into commerce has yet to be proven. Amazon has reportedly filed for a patent that would entail a phone or computer prompting the user to perform certain motions such as smiling or blinking to authenticate identity and complete a payment.
March 16 “Why virtual reality is potentially brands’ next lucrative storytelling medium” — As marketers expand their storytelling initiatives beyond social media platforms, virtual reality will become more influential in advertising, although only certain sectors will make it a priority. Although the technology may not be well-suited to every brand, executives in the food, retail, automotive and hospitality industries could hit a marketing home run by taking advantage of inexpensive cardboard packaging and mobile apps to create a memorable augmented viewing experience.
March 16 “Are Voice-Controlled Personal Assistants the Future of Search? ” — Consumers are regularly turning to their mobile devices to search, and personal assistants like Siri can help them in the process. But according to research, few mobile phone owners actually use a voice-controlled personal assistant regularly. Usage of these personal assistants — which are not offered only by Apple, but by other companies like Google — may be low because some mobile phone owners just don’t have the option. In fact, a third of respondents said so.
March 15 “Asking Google Now & Siri health questions about depression and abuse gives disappointing answers” — A new study has shown that asking virtual assistants like Google Now and Siri health questions, especially related to mental health or domestic violence, gives inconsistent and generally disappointing results. When someone has a health question, their first stop in the search for an answer is often Google. However, those searches may not always lead to the most reliable or accurate answers. March 15 “
March 15 “Mobile apps emerging as essential population health tools” — Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine is conducting clinical trials that use mobile health apps to do much more than just communicate with patients — the software teaches mental health patients cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, techniques designed to improve population health and reduce mental healthcare costs.
March 15 “Uber Launches Standalone UberEATS App in the U.S. ” — Uber has announced the launch of its UberEATS app in the U.S. The standalone app allows users in supported cities to order food for delivery and track their orders on their device. The UberEATS app allows users to browse menus at supported restaurants, or search for food by cuisine. The app gives users estimates for how long items would take to arrive, but if they’re in a hurry, they can order from the Instant Delivery menu for delivery within 10 minutes or less.
March 14 “Buzzy app Nom is latest from YouTube co-founder” — When Steve Chen moved to California more than a decade ago to pursue a quirky startup idea, he ate out so much that his oven manual never moved from inside the appliance. “Food wasn’t something I was focused on,” says Chen, 37, a YouTube co-founder. Fast forward a few years and now a late-blooming passion for cooking and kitchen gadgets has resulted in Nom, a new app that allows anyone to broadcast their own cooking show live.
March 13 “ ‘Artificial pancreas’ is one of new tech devices aimed at diabetes” — Wearables and other connected devices have been available to help treat chronic conditions like asthma and heart disease for a while now. But thus far, the nation’s 30 million diabetics haven’t seen much to help them improve their health or reduce the daily grind of finger pricks and needle pokes. The $2.5 billion connected-care industry may be off to a late start in diabetes, but it’s making up for lost time. A new breed of connected glucometers, insulin pumps and smartphone apps is hitting the market.
March 11 “Wire now encrypts text, video, photo and voice communications in its messaging app” — Wire, the provider of a messaging app, has added video calling and will now encrypt all of its communications services, including text, video, photos and sketches. It already offered end-to-end encryption for voice calls. While Wire isn’t particularly targeting businesses, the added privacy as well as features like group conversations with as many as 128 people should make the app attractive to workers.
March 11 “Two-thirds of smartphone owners stream music daily” — New consumer research found that 68% of smartphone owners listen to streaming music every day. The study from Parks Associates revealed that smartphone owners spend more time with their tunes than any other form of mobile entertainment, clocking in at 45 minutes per day with streaming music. In comparison, 71% of smartphone owners said they watch video every day, but only spend 24 minutes on average doing so.
March 11 “Major Newspapers Dive Into VR” — While the public remains skeptical about virtual reality, newspaper publishers are betting big on the technology as the future of media — or at least a big part of it. This week three of the nation’s biggest newspapers — The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today — unveiled ambitious new VR programs intended to create immersive experiences related to newsworthy subjects.
March 10 “Google Opens Project Fi Mobile Service to Everyone in the US” — Google has done away with the invite system for its Project Fi mobile network. The company has made the nearly year-old wireless service available to everyone in the US to sign up. Project Fi uses Sprint and T-Mobile’s networks, enabling users to automatically switch among them and Wi-Fi, depending on which provides the best service coverage in a given area. A single plan costs US$20 per month for talk, text, Wi-Fi tethering and international coverage in more than 120 countries, plus a flat $10 fee per gigabyte fee for data.
March 10 “Facebook buys Masquerade, whose app lets you ‘face swap’ ” — Videos and selfies on Facebook will never be the same. Facebook is heating up competition with Snapchat with the purchase of Masquerade, which makes imaging software that jazzes up videos and selfies with fun filters, masks and other special effects. Masquerade is part of Facebook’s ongoing push to capture the youth vote by giving users the ability to add filters, text, emojis and stickers to photos and videos.
March 9 “Lectio helps people with dyslexia ‘read to learn’ ” — They say that necessity is the mother of all invention. Kris Parmalee — mother of Sam, who has dyslexia — has certainly taken that saying to heart. Kris was frustrated that there weren’t any easy-to-use tools to help her son read and pronounce that one word on a worksheet or in a passage of text that he couldn’t read himself, and it drove her to find a solution. Out of this necessity came Lectio, latin for “a reading.” Lectio is an assistive technology app designed for individuals with a language-related learning disability. It functions as a spot reader for students who have moved on from learning to read, to reading to learn — and for only a one-time purchase of $4.99.
March 8 “The Rise of Biometrics on Mobile Devices — Is It Safe?” — Eye scanners, facial recognition systems and fingerprint readers on mobile devices have been featured in Hollywood’s action-packed spy thrillers and sci-fi movies for years — portraying these devices as hack-proof and the future of security, identity and true authentication. Now, thanks to companies like Apple, Samsung and NTT DOCOMO, biometric authentication in mobile devices is becoming a reality, and the amount of mobile manufacturers installing biometric authentication in devices as a means of security continues to surge in popularity. But, is the technology installed in these devices actually secure and safe for consumers?
March 8 “Faculty Alert: You Can’t Put the Mobile Genie Back in the Bottle” — Higher ed IT executives and faculty are still struggling with catching up and keeping up with student expectations regarding mobile devices and mobile infrastructure. Faculty is not adopting mobile as fast as students are demanding it,” commented Educause CIO Stephen diFilipo. “We’re dealing with 17- and 18-year-olds that live, breath and literally sleep with their mobile devices. This is a whole ecosystem. The mobile device is their power base. It is, in effect, their ‘car’ — a source of freedom, mobility, and identity in an age when kids are not as free to roam about as they once were.”
March 8 “Human-rating app Peeple finally launches after backlash” — Human-recommendation app Peeple has gone live, six months after vanishing from the app store after a privacy outcry. Dubbed the “Yelp for people,” the app was met with massive criticism and outrage when the concept was introduced in October 2015. Now, a different version of the app is available from Apple’s App store. The app caused uproar when the idea was unveiled last year because people could be added and rated without their consent. Now only members who have signed up will be visible on the site.
March 8 “Volume of new mobile malware tripled in 2015” — The volume of malware targeting users of mobile devices grew more than three times in 2015, compared to 2014, according to the annual Mobile Virusology report prepared by the Kaspersky Lab Antimalware Research group. The most dangerous threats in 2015 were ransomware, malware capable of obtaining unlimited rights on an infected device and data stealers, including financial malware.
March 8 “Digital Ad Spending to Surpass TV Next Year” — Next year will mark a major milestone for ad spending, as total digital surpasses TV for the first time. In 2017, TV ad spending will total $72.01 billion, or 35.8% of total media ad spending in the US. Meanwhile, total digital ad spending in 2017 will equal $77.37 billion, or 38.4% of total ad spending.
March 7 “Consumer Consent at Heart of $1.35M Verizon, FCC “Supercookie” Settlement” — Verizon has agreed to notify consumers about its targeted advertising programs and gain their consent before sharing its tracking data with third parties, the FCC announced Monday. The news comes as part of a settlement resolving the FCC’s investigation into the carrier’s controversial “supercookie” tracking program, in which Verizon attached unique, undeletable identifiers to customers without their knowledge to gather information about their Internet browsing habits.
March 5 “Meerkat succumbs to Facebook and Periscope’s dominance and bows out” — One of the founding fathers of live streaming app craze, Meerkat, has announced that it will cease live broadcast and move to a video social network model. The changes comes as a result of a the company’s failure to compete with Facebook and its Twitter-owned rival Periscope. It’s inability to compete with Periscope is likely a result of its Twitter centric strategy which built much of its social graph on the platform, however Twitter pulled the integration when it launched Periscope.
March 4 “Google tries to crack formula for invisible payments with Hands Free app” — Android Pay is still hoping for takeoff, but Google already has its sights on the next generation of alternative payments with a hands-free solution being piloted by McDonald’s and Papa John’s. The strategy — leveraging a smartphone application, location services and a cashier to authenticate a purchase without the need to pull out a phone or card — has been tried before without much success, although the timing may not have been right. Now that mobile payments are beginning to catch on, Google is angling to be ahead of the curve on what it hopes will be the next phase in payments.
March 4 “Survey Shows Explosion in Usage of Ad Blockers” — Retale, a location-based mobile platform, announced the results of a study examining ad blocker adoption on PC and mobile devices. The results? 57% of those surveyed said that they use an ad blocker to prevent viewing display ads while on a PC; 20% are using ad blockers on mobile. A separate study that 60% of those who’ve clicked on mobile banner ads say they did so accidentally, with nearly 70% saying the clicks were annoying. People want to block mobile banner ads just as they’ve done with desktop ads, but the awareness around mobile ad blocking solutions and the technology itself isn’t quite there yet.”
March 3 “Smartphone Ownership Just Shy Of 80 Percent” — Media measurement firm comScore released its January mobile and app figures for the US market. comScore estimates total smartphone ownership in the US at 79.1 percent of all mobile subscribers. Month over month, there is now almost no movement in operating system market share numbers on comScore’s lists. There should be 85 percent smartphone ownership by Q3 and more smartphone owners than US internet users some time in 2017.
March 2 “Blood pressure app study shows that top health app was highly inaccurate” — A study presented at a recent American Heart Association EPI & Lifestyle meeting has shown the shocking inaccuracy of a popular medical app, Instant Blood Pressure. Back in 2014 concerns were raised about the Instant Blood Pressure medical app which claimed to measure blood pressure just by having users put their finger over the camera on their phone. Despite the fact that this claim seems so obviously dubious, the app was incredibly popular and spent months as a top 5 app. Inexplicably, the app made it through screening by Google and Apple and wasn’t removed for more than a year after the first article.
March 2 “Is A Bendable iPhone Part of Apple’s Future? ” — Apple recently filed patents for “flexible electronic devices” that would be more resistant to damage from drops. The bendable device would come equipped with a variety of flexible components, including a flexible display, flexible housing, flexible batteries, and flexible printed circuits, among other things. Apple said the flexible devices may enable new ways for users to interact with their device. For example, the device could be configured so that a twist could turn the device on or off, make it enter active or standby mode, answer a call, start an application, or complete a number of other functions.
March 2 “How the Feds Could Get Into iPhones Without Apple’s Help” — In court battles brewing across the nation, the FBI is trying to force Apple to help it extract data from iPhones seized in more than a dozen cases. The government is so intent on forcing Apple’s hand that in each case the Justice Department has invoked the 200-year-old law All Writs Act to do it. But application of the Act requires the government to show that it has no other method of extracting data from the phones. But experts say there are ways the government can extract data on phones without Apple’s help, from using outside contractors to asking its friends at the NSA — ways that it has, in fact, already used in the past.
March 2 “The Washington Post is embracing vertical video” — The future of video at The Washington Post is short, mobile and increasingly vertical. The Post recently published a minute-long vertical video about the importance of Super Tuesday, which was told with animated graphics and meant to be watched with the sound off. The format is reminiscent of the vertical videos from many of the publishers on Snapchat Discover, including Vox and The Wall Street Journal, which are similarly heavy on animation.
March 2 “Paying with your face and car is the new paying with your phone” — The finance and mobile industries are planning how we’ll eventually pay with our refrigerators, our cars and even our faces. Last week, a slew of new payment concepts emerged at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Eventually, you won’t need to pull out your card or even your phone to make a purchase. Virtually anything around you can serve as a digital wallet. At MWC, Visa showed off a connected car that lets drivers pay for parking or for gas, thanks to a chip that lets the vehicle talk to the parking meter or gas pump.
March 2 “Tech Forecast: Over 31 Million Us Internet Users Will Only Go Online Via A Mobile Device In 2016” — eMarketer expects that 88.3% of US internet users will go online via desktop/laptop at least monthly in 2016, a significant decrease from 97.3% in 2011. This year, nearly one in 10 US internet users (11.7%) will go online exclusively through a mobile device — what eMarketer defines as mobile-only internet users — and that number will continue to rise through the forecast period. More than eight in 10 people in the US will use a mobile phone in 2016. Annual user gains will not climb substantially, with any growth coming from new mobile phone users in the youngest and oldest age segments.
March 1 “Mobile apps are collecting ‘alarming’ quantities of data, warns HPE” — More than half of iOS and Android mobile apps examined by Hewlett Packard Enterprises are collecting “alarming” quantities of data that could pose risks to enterprises. The report found that mobile apps are collecting geolocation data and calendar data, even when they don’t need it to function.
March 1 “Wowza! Could Live Mobile Broadcasting Be the Next Big Thing?” — “Are you leveraging mobile live video streaming to expand your reach and further engage with your customers/users?” asks Carlos Perez, chief revenue officer at Wowza. “From Periscope to G9MD (both built on Wowza technology), and to aerial reconnaissance via drones, live sporting events, insurance claim damage reporting, crime-fighting citizen-journalism apps, the opportunities and uses of live broadcasting from mobile devices have moved from the new and different to the mainstream and even into legitimate business applications.”
March 1 “Snapchat reports 8 billion video views every day” — Move over, Facebook. There’s a (relatively) new kid really catching up to you on the block. Snapchat’s meteoric growth is now rivaling that of far more established social media sites, racking up an impressive 8 billion video views a day. For reference, that’s the same number of video views that Facebook claims. This figure is made even more impressive given its timeline — in early January, Snapchat was thrilled to announce that it logged seven billion video views every day. And two months later, that number has gone up by a billion.
Feb. 26 “What’s blocking smart beds from helping you get a great night’s rest” — What can your mattress tell you about how to get a better night’s sleep? Apparently, quite a bit. At January’s Consumer Electronics Show, maverick bedding company Sleep Number demonstrated a new product called the It bed that has built-in sensors, sending a constant stream of data and analytics to your smartphone or tablet. Over time, the adaptive technology tells you not only how long and how restfully you slept, but can recommend changes — including room temperature, bed time, and exercise — that can improve your sleep.
Feb. 25 “5 Ways Mobile Is Changing News Consumption” — Media executives from television, online and magazine news organizations are optimistic that a mostly mobile audience will present new opportunities for reporting and engagement, even while revenue challenges remain. Executives said there are still challenges with making money and efficiently streaming data on mobile.
Feb. 24 “Apple is working to make iPhones even tougher to hack into” — Fearing that the government may be able to order it to bypass security features in newer-model phones, Apple has quietly begun working on enhancements that would prevent the company from updating the software of an iPhone without knowing a user’s password. These security improvements would make it impossible for Apple to help the government unlock newer iPhones in the manner authorities want the company to do so now.
Feb. 24 “Google Joins Race to Speed Up Mobile Delivery of News Articles” — When you conduct a Google search on your smartphone for a newsy topic — say, “Donald Trump” — the results will now include a horizontal carousel of news articles, each with a little lightning bolt icon and the letters AMP at the bottom. Click on any one of the articles, and it will come up immediately, with no wait. The fast-loading format, developed by Google with input from a wide range of publishers, is the latest effort by online publications to solve a problem that is the bane of smartphone users everywhere: Most mobile web pages take too long to load.
Feb. 24 “Your phone could soon be your car key” — Volvo is experimenting with letting drivers use nothing more than a smartphone app to start their cars. The app, which is basically a “digital key,” will let a driver open the door, get in, and start the car without touching the phone. Like a remote control key fob, which is widely available on new cars today, the phone can stay in the driver’s purse or pocket. Proximity sensors will detect when the phone is near the car or inside it, allowing the doors to open and engine to start.
Feb. 24 “Wearable Sales: $14 Billion This Year, $34 Billion in 2020; Wrist Worn Devices Rule” — While many Internet-connected wearable devices are hitting the market, where the items will be worn and what types they will be is pretty wide ranging. Even though fitness trackers and smartwatches are the most popular, consumers will be wearing billions of dollars’ worth of connected things on various parts of their bodies. And the number of wearables hitting the market globally already is well into the millions.
Feb. 23 “UW team develops technology that cuts Wi-Fi power demand” — The Internet of Things might as well be called the Internet of Batteries. Internet-connected sensors that go off when the front door opens or the oven heats up may be useful, but they become a hassle when the batteries that power those components start to die. A team of computer scientists and electrical engineers at the University of Washington may have found a way around the problem with a technology that dramatically reduces the amount of power needed to emit a Wi-Fi signal.
Feb. 23 “Secret ‘stingray’ cellphone trackers give us the willies” — About 6,000 times. That’s how often U.S. Marshals used a suitcase-sized device that tracks cellphones to hunt suspects throughout the country. The fact that they use these devices, known as stingrays, is a poorly kept secret. But no other law enforcement agency is known to have used them so often. Like a cellphone tower, stingrays can pinpoint a cellphone’s location within a few yards, but — and here’s where the controversy comes in — they also intercept information about other cellphones that happen to be nearby.
Feb. 23 “The best way to share health records? An app in patients’ hands” — Much has been written recently about information blocking — the inability or unwillingness of hospitals and doctors to share electronic data from our health records with one another. Lack of technical interoperability and regulations protecting security, privacy, and confidentiality are often blamed. But the reality is that technical barriers are falling. The same technology that enables your smartphone to pull sensitive financial data from your bank to pay your taxes or a taxi driver can be applied to your health care records. More importantly, the regulatory path to health records sharing is now open — the rules are already on the books.
Feb. 23 “The State of Connectivity in 2015” — An estimated 3.2 billion people throughout the world were online at the end of 2015, up from 3 billion at the end of 2014, according to the newly released State of Connectivity 2015: A Report on Global Internet Access from Facebook. Even though the number of people with connectivity has increased by some 200 million to 300 million every year for the past 10 years, 4.1 billion people, or 43 percent of the global population, were still without Internet access at the end of 2015.
Feb. 23 “Marketers Can Now Buy Keyword-Based Mobile Ads for 100 Million Worldwide Locations” — xAd unveiled a new ad-buying tool called MarketPlace that’s built off data from 100 million locations the company has collected through its Blueprints and Footprints products in recent years. Similar to a website, each location is tagged with keywords — “fast food lovers,” “car dealerships,” or, more precisely, “KFC stores” and “BMW lots” — that marketers buy to target specific groups of consumers with mobile ads. KFC, OMD and iHeartMedia are among a handful of advertisers that have tested the searchlike buying method, which powers ads in 70,000 apps reaching 300 million global users.
Feb. 22 “The Mobile Gap: The Disconnect Between Mobile Behavior And Ad Spending” — Mobile commerce is expected to reach $245 million by 2017, but we are still living in an era where desktop takes a majority of the ad dollars. People today already spend a majority of their time on mobile devices, with a daily average of three hours and eight minutes compared with two hours and 11 minutes on desktops. comScore has reported that smartphones and tablets account for 62 percent of time spent with digital media. However, there is still a gap between mobile spending and mobile usage.
Feb. 22 “Snapchat will let you buy temporary, on-demand geofilters for your next party” — Snapchat users can now make their own geofilter and define areas in which they’ll show up. Users can choose spaces that are a minimum of 20,000 square feet — about the size of an office — to a maximum of 5,000,000 square feet — roughly a few city blocks. The custom filters can stay live from an hour to thirty days, and Snapchat imagines they’ll be used during weddings and other events. The filters start at $5, which is the approximate price for an eight-hour Friday event in a major city.