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Posts in category 'Mobile phone'

25 May 2012

For productivity apps, PCs still rule (for now)

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Gartner research suggests that there is an inverse correlation between portable devices and PC usage, reports the Financial Times.

“Is the PC era really over? The success portable computing devices including smartphones and PC tablets has some speculating that the dominance of the desktop PC, and even the laptop, may be coming to an end.

Gartner research analyst Nick Ingelbrecht and Mikako Kitagawa recently conducted a series of focus groups in the US, UK, China, Taiwan and Japan to explore consumers’ device usage and their research provides an insight into the growing importance of mobile devices and their impact on PC usage.”

Read article

25 May 2012

Mobile: A Serious Contender to the Desktop Computer

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With the introduction of mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and various other smart phones and tablets, the demand for websites to be ‘mobile friendly’ has never been greater.

The purpose of this article by Chris Kinsey, a digital designer for Sixth Story (a UK branding & communications agency), is to highlight the impact mobile devices have had on web design in recent years. The article looks at various aspects such as best practices, challenges and design trends as well as taking a look at what may lie ahead for the future of mobile web design.

Read article

25 May 2012

Obama White House unveils plan to bring US Federal Government into the mobile age

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The White House has unveiled plans to bring US governance into the mobile-centric twenty-first century. Dubbed the “Roadmap for a Digital Government,” the plan has two central principles.

First, it tasks federal agencies with giving citizens easier access to information and services on modern web and mobile apps. Second, it hopes to instil a culture of treating government as an open-source project by inviting external developers to create third-party apps using federal data and APIs.

At its core, the roadmap is an acknowledgment of the growing proliferation of mobile devices and demand for easier access to government information in the United States. A study conducted in March of this year found that almost half of all Americans own a smartphone, up from 35% last year.

Article (The Information Daily)
Official announcement by the Federal Chief Information Officer
Digital Government Strategy (PDF / HTML5)

24 May 2012

Ericsson User Experience Lab blog

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Cristian Norlin, master researcher at the Ericsson Research User Experience Lab, alerted me via Twitter to the Lab’s new blog.

The User Experience Lab at Ericsson Research studies people and make prototypes to better understand the experiential, affective and meaningful aspects of people’s interactions with technology and network infrastructures.

On the blog, which started in April 2012, “we will write about things that we think could inform, influence and inspire the development of future technology, products and services.”

Some of the recent posts:

12 May 2012

Do you really want your bank following you around all day?

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A conversation with senior Wells Fargo execs reveals a bank trying to use the Internet, social media and mobile technology to worm its way deeper and deeper into their customers’ lives.

“Brian Pearce, senior VP in charge of Wells Fargo’s retail mobile channel, said the bank sees mobile as “a way to be with our customers all day long.”

Wells Fargo’s aim to go wherever its customers go involves more than getting them to use mobile apps, mobile websites and text banking. Pearce wants to move beyond purely mobile interactions into so-called “simultaneous uses.” After all, Pearce pointed out, people always have their phones with them, so they can use them at the same time as they’re engaged with ATMs, tellers or wellsfargo.com.

Customers could use their phone instead of a card to log into the ATM or ID themselves to a teller, for example. Or the bank could use geofencing to identify and alert a customer’s personal banker every time they walk into a branch.”

Read article

11 May 2012

Neurologist: Mobile technology is literally changing the way we think

Baroness-Susan-Greenfield

Leading neurologist Susan Greenfield tells Nokia Conversations that we need a new framework to make sense of our ‘mobile world’

Her argument is that mobile technology, and what we do with it, is now at the center of our family and social life, like the piano was for the Victorians and the TV was for baby boomers. But it’s even bigger than that, because it’s mobile, of course; so we not only do it at home, we do it at work – we do it everywhere.

“I don’t want to turn the clock back,” says Greenfield, “My concern is not that we have too much technology – but that we are not making the most of it.”

With huge increases in life expectancy, and demands for a better quality of life, we should be acutely aware of how we are harnessing technology for our own development.

Read article

22 April 2012

The flight from conversation

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Sherry Turkle is a psychologist and professor at M.I.T., says we use technology to keep one another at distances we can control: not too close, not too far, just right: the Goldilocks effect.

“Over the past 15 years, I’ve studied technologies of mobile connection and talked to hundreds of people of all ages and circumstances about their plugged-in lives. I’ve learned that the little devices most of us carry around are so powerful that they change not only what we do, but also who we are.

We’ve become accustomed to a new way of being “alone together.” Technology-enabled, we are able to be with one another, and also elsewhere, connected to wherever we want to be. We want to customize our lives. We want to move in and out of where we are because the thing we value most is control over where we focus our attention. We have gotten used to the idea of being in a tribe of one, loyal to our own party.”

Read article

22 April 2012

Rise of smart mobile services

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Saar Gur, general partner at Charles River Ventures, discusses a new generation of smart mobile services, which provide user information in the background to make accurate predictions around real-time user intention and will offer suggestions, results and different user interfaces/interactions based on their prediction of state.

“As I think about what these new Smart Services will look like, here are some of the characteristics I have been noodling on:

  • The most disruptive ones will change our physical interactions and be additive to our offline experiences.
  • Services will process things in the background, predicting our state with a high degree of accuracy.
  • Many will primarily interact with the user through interruptions — and they only interrupt when they have something of value to add. (e.g., for Uber: Your car is arriving now.) They won’t feel “heavy” and bombard us with information overload – they will earn the right to interrupt with value.
  • The user interface will look very different from existing web interfaces for some of these apps — as they won’t have things to suggest/interrupt a lot of the time, but when they do they will be very helpful. Example: It is “ok” for the user interface to say: ”Close the app, we don’t have anything for you now.”
  • Understanding context will follow simple heuristics for some services and big data processing for others. As an example, many home automation applications may only need to know that I am in my house to automate music, thermostats, etc. But more sophisticated data analysis and processing will be required for more complicated interactions/recommendations/transactions (ala Square payments).

Read article

22 April 2012

Trust and the future of mobile money

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Even within the technology community, 33% agreed with the below statement:

“People will not trust the use of near-field communications devices and there will not be major conversion of money to an all-digital, all-the-time format. By 2020, payments through the use of mobile devices will not have gained a lot of traction as a method for transactions. The security implications raise too many concerns among consumers about the safety of their money. And people are resistant to letting technology companies learn even more about their personal purchasing habits. Cash and credit cards will still be the dominant method of carrying out transactions in advanced countries.”

Read article

18 April 2012

The future of money in a mobile age

 

Within the next decade, smart-device swiping will have gained mainstream acceptance as a method of payment and could largely replace cash and credit cards for most online and in-store purchases by smartphone and tablet owners, according to a new survey of technology experts and stakeholders.

Many of the people surveyed by Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center and the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project said that the security, convenience and other benefits of “mobile wallet” systems will lead to widespread adoption of these technologies for everyday purchases by 2020.

Others—including some who are generally positive about the future of mobile payments—expect this process to unfold relatively slowly due to a combination of privacy fears, a desire for anonymous payments, demographic inertia, a lack of infrastructure to support widespread adoption, and resistance from those with a financial stake in the existing payment structure.

The survey results are based on a non-random, opt-in, online sample of 1,021 Internet experts and other Internet users, recruited via email invitation, Twitter or Facebook from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University. Since the data are based on a non-random sample, a margin of error cannot be computed, and the results are not projectable to any population other than the experts in this sample.

Download report

24 March 2012

mBCC Field Guide for Developing Mobile Behavior Change Communication Programs

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The “mBCC Field Guide: A Resource for Developing Mobile Behavior Change Communication Programs,” is a new tool that helps users guide the design of mobile applications for health and provides insights about what works in mobile behavior change communication is now available. Compiled by Abt Associates, examines what is known about the power of mobile communication tools to influence health behaviors for consumers and health care providers. The guide was developed under the auspices of the mHealth Working Group, a global health forum established in 2009 for members to provide and share guidance on mHealth implementation. It is supported by the United States Agency for International Development’s Knowledge for Health project.

Mobile behavior change communication (mBCC) is defined here as the use of mobile phones to promote behavior change. This definition encompasses health and clinical behaviors for clients and health providers (e.g., reminders to take a pill or quizzes to improve health workers’ counseling skills) rather than operational behaviors (e.g., shifting from a paper-based survey to a mobile survey).

The primary audience for the mBCC Field Guide is practitioners experienced in developing BCC strategies who are considering employing mobile solutions but need guidance on key issues and on questions to consider in the design process. Evidence-based examples and tools are highlighted wherever possible, although we recognize that few programs have published impact or outcome data.

The authors hope that this Field Guide will be a “living document.” We welcome your feedback and suggestions for improving the guide’s usefulness. We plan to issue updated versions as mobile platforms and the evidence base evolves. Contacts and references to relevant organizations and resources are noted wherever possible to facilitate communication and collaboration. Please use the evaluation form at the end of the guide to provide specific comments and recommendations.

17 March 2012

BOOMERANG, death by gadget: the mobile phone

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BOOMERANG, death by gadget : the mobile phone », a new kind of documentary presented by Diego Buñuel, March 21th , 8:55pm on CANAL+

BOOMERANG is a 90-minute French documentary that decodes a globalized world, a world in which our actions as consumers can have unsuspected consequences. This unique program combines in-depth reportage, investigation and human adventure.

By going back to the object’s origin, BOOMERANG takes us on a fascinating journey to the four corners of the planet (DRC, CHINA & INDIA), where specialized journalists are dispatched to shed light on the incredible itinerary of the most sold gadget in the world: mobile phones, as we take a close look at its life cycle, from creation to destruction.

Without detracting from the seriousness of the subject matter, Diego Buñuel and his team present the investigation in a fast-paced and offbeat style, offering a fresh and humorous approach. Diego Buñuel will introduce you to alternative solutions in order to change your consumers habits.

Trailer
Background article (in French)
Watch live (March 21th , 8:55pm CET on CANAL+)

17 March 2012

On the relationship between socio-economic factors and cell phone usage

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The ubiquitous presence of cell phones in emerging economies has brought about a wide range of cell phone-based services for low-income groups. Often times, the success of such technologies highly depends on its adaptation to the needs and habits of each social group.

In an attempt to understand how cell phones are being used by citizens in an emerging economy, the authors, Vanessa Frias-Martinez and Jesus Virseda of Telefonica Research, present a large-scale study to analyze the relationship between specific socio-economic factors and the way people use cell phones in an emerging economy in Latin America. They propose a novel analytical approach that combines large-scale datasets of cell phone records with countrywide census data to reveal findings at a national level.

The main results show correlations between socio-economic levels and social network or mobility patterns among others. The authors also provide analytical models to accurately approximate census variables from cell phone records with R2≈0.82.

Download paper (posted on MobileActive.org)

17 March 2012

Exploring mobile-only Internet use (South Africa)

 

Exploring mobile-only Internet use: results of a training study in urban South Africa

Using an ethnographic action research approach, the study by Jonathan Donner (Microsoft Research India) and Shikoh Gitau and Gary Marsden (University of Cape Town) explores the challenges, practices, and emergent framings of mobile-only Internet use in a resource-constrained setting.

“We trained eight women in a nongovernmental organization’s collective in South Africa, none of whom had used a personal computer, how to access the Internet on mobile handsets they already owned. Six months after training, most continued to use the mobile Internet for a combination of utility, entertainment, and connection, but they had encountered barriers, including affordability and difficulty of use. Participants’ assessments mingled aspirational and actual utility of the channel with and against a background of socioeconomic constraints. Discussion links the digital literacy perspective to the broader theoretical frameworks of domestication, adaptive structuration, and appropriation.”

The study was published in the International Journal of Communication.

Download paper (MobileActive.org)

17 March 2012

“Doing the Internet” – BoP research with youngsters in India

 

Anthropology, Development and ICTs: Slums, Youth and the Mobile Internet in Urban India” is the title of a research paper by Nimmi Rangaswamy and Edward Cutrell of Microsoft Research India.

Abstract

In this paper we present results from an anthropological study of everyday mobile internet adoption among teenagers in a lowincome urban setting. We attempt to use this study to explore how information about everyday ICT use may be relevant for development research even if it is largely dominated by entertainment uses.

To understand how ICT tools are used, we need to study the spaces users inhabit, even if these spaces are dominated by mundane, non-instrumental and entertainment driven needs. The key here is for ICTD discourse to situate insights from anthropological studies (such as this one) within an understanding of what drives a specific user population to adopt technologies in particular ways. Clearly there is a link between context and use, and understanding this may be invaluable for development research. Adopting a narrow development lens of technology use may miss the actual engagements and ingenious strategies marginal populations use to instate technologies into their everyday.

Download paper
Key findings (synthesis by MobileActive)

14 March 2012

UNDP Mobile Technologies and Empowerment report

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A report, recently published by UNDP, on mobile technologies and human development, “Mobile Technologies and Empowerment: Enhancing Human Development through Participation and Innovation”, does a good job of summarizing the many ways in which mobile technologies are being used successfully as tools for stimulating development.

It’s intended to provide information and ideas for development practitioners on how mobile technologies and applications can be used appropriately and effectively in international development projects.

The aim is not to employ technology-based solutions as an end in themselves, but rather as the means to achieving desired development outcomes.

Read review (MobileActive)
Executive summary
Download report

14 March 2012

M-Government – Mobile technologies for responsive governments and connected societies

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This report by Hani Eskandar (ITU), Barbara- Chiara Ubaldi (OECD) and Vyacheslav Cherkasov (UN-DESA) highlights the critical potential of mobile technologies for improved public governance, as well as for economic and social progress in achieving the internationally agreed development goals including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The September 2011 report also provides an in-depth analysis of the prerequisites for m-government, its main benefits and challenges, the value-chain and key stakeholders, and the checklist of concrete actions to sustain policy makers in monitoring and updating their knowledge on m-government.

Chapters:
1. Toward the next generation of public services
2. Benefits and outcomes of m-government
3. Understanding m-government adoption
4. Prerequisites for agility and ubiquity
5. Technology options for mobile solutions
6. M-Vision and a call to action

The report was drafted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

Download report

(via MobileActive)

10 March 2012

Striving and Surviving: exploring the lives of women at the Base of the Pyramid

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On International Women’s Day, the GSMA mWomen Programme released a study called “Striving and Surviving – Exploring the Lives of Women at the Base of the Pyramid,” reports MobileActive.org.

Drawn from 2,500 interviews with women (aged 16-64 in both rural and urban areas) living on less that $2 a day in Egypt, India, Papua New Guinea, and Uganda, the report looks at how mobile technology influences the way women approach health, economic development, and family relationships, and what mobile operators can do to reach more low-income women.

The report is divided into three parts; part one looks at the social, cultural, and economic factors that women at the base of the economic pyramid face in their daily lives, part two looks at the role of mobile technology in their lives, and part three looks at how technology can be used to further reach low-income women.

Some of the statistics pulled from the report show that when asked what the key benefits of mobile would be: [quoted from report]

  • 80% reported being connected to friends and family
  • 58% said it would be useful in an emergency
  • 40% said it would cut down on travel time
  • 15% believed it would help them feel secure
  • 93% reported that mobile phones made them feel safer, while the same proportion particularly valued being connected to friends and family.
  • 41% reported that owning a mobile had helped them increase their income or their professional prospects
  • 85% of mobile owners reported a greater feeling of independence

The study found that despite general positive feelings toward mobile technology, there are many challenges to getting mobile technology into the hands of low-income women. Gender imbalances were a major issue, as although some women had access to mobile phones through friends or family, few owned their own mobile phone. Another major issue was technical ability, as “while 77% of BoP women have made a mobile phone call, only 37% have sent an SMS, regardless of literacy levels.” Among women who were surveyed, 22% who reported not wanting a mobile phone said their reason was because they would not know how to use it.

Other concerns women listed for using mobile phones were a lack of regular access to electricity to keep the phone charged, concerns about theft, and concerns about ownership and usage costs. Furthermore, family pressure was a large influence on women’s view of technology as the report states: “In addition to doubts about the cost/benefit analysis of mobile ownership, 64% of married women who do not wish to own handsets cited the disapproval of their husbands as a principle reason for not wanting to own a phone.”

“Striving and Surviving” also examines how mobile operators can increase their outreach to women at the base of the pyramid by addressing women’s concerns. By developing family plans and reaching out to male and female customers by highlighting security and family connectivity available through mobile technology, mobile operators can broaden their customer base while getting technology into the hands of women who need it.

An interesting aspect of the report is the Portraits series, a fictionalized account of eight women from the base of the pyramid who use mobile technology and explain how that technology fits into their everyday lives. The stories are interspersed throughout the final report, but are also collected in a separate paper called “Portraits: A Glimpse into the Lives of Women at the Base of the Pyramid.”

Although the accounts are fictionalized, they are drawn from the research that went into creating “Striving and Surviving – Exploring the Lives of Women at the Base of the Pyramid.” The reports look at the lives of everyday women and how they use and view mobile technology.

Because the data for the report is drawn from only four countries, the GSMA mWomen Programme has made all of the research tools used to create this report publicly available at www.mwomen.org to inspire further research.

Executive summary
Report download
Portrait series
Research tools

3 March 2012

Do m-health tools really work? Testing the impact of mobile technology on maternal and child healthcare

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MobileActive has posted an in-depth new case study that focuses on evaluating mobile health interventions.

Written by Kate Otto, the case study looks at testing the efficacy of using mobile phones in health care in Ethiopia. A team of researchers from The World Bank and Addis Ababa University developed a mobile tool that enables rural community health workers to improve antenatal care and delivery services, improve vaccination coverage, and facilitate emergency referrals. The team is taking the evaluation process beyond the usual survey method and are instead rigorously testing the mobile phone effects through more rigorous research.

The researchers randomly selected three Ethiopian districts and applied the tool in three ways:

  • Treatment 1: All Health Extension Workers (HEW) received mobile phones equipped to perform the three use cases (improving antenal care/delivery, vaccination coverage, and emergency referrals).
  • Treatment 2: All HEWs and two Volunteer Community Health Workers (VCHW) within each district received mobile phones; HEW phones are software-equipped for the three use cases, while VCHWs received dumbphones intended to make missed calls only.
  • Control: No mobile phones distributed.

The test is on-going, but the results will be applicable to organizations that are considering deploying mobile tools into their work. The research is not looking at developing a scalable mobile tool, but is rather examining how mobile tools are used and how they compare to existing methods

Read case study

3 February 2012

Ethnography of mobile phone use in remote Mexican village

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Tricia Wang of UCSD’s Department of Sociology and Barry Brown of the Mobile Life VINN Excellence Center Stockholm presented the paper “Ethnography of the telephone: Changing uses of communication technology in village life” at MobileHCI 2011.

Abstract

While mobile HCI has encompassed a range of devices and systems, telephone calls on cellphones remain the most prevalent contemporary form of mobile technology use. In this paper we document ethnographic work studying a remote Mexican village’s use of cellphones alongside conventional phones, shared phones and the Internet. While few homes in the village we studied have running water, many children have iPods and the Internet cafe in the closest town is heavily used to access YouTube, Wikipedia, and MSN messenger. Alongside cost, the Internet fits into the communication patterns and daily routines in a way that cellphones do not. We document the variety of communication strategies that balance cost, availability and complexity. Instead of finding that new technologies replace old, we find that different technologies co-exist, with fixed telephones co-existing with instant message, cellphones and shared community phones. The paper concludes by discussing how we can study mobile technology and design for settings defined by cost and infrastructure availability.

Download paper (alternate link)

(via MobileActive)