Leveraging Mobile Technology To Achieve Teaching Goals

Leveraging Mobile Technology to Achieve Teaching Goals

The sudden move to remote online instruction, coupled with social justice issues plaguing the United States, has forced college and university instructors to grapple with what it means to be a good teacher in socially distanced, unpredictable, and emotionally charged circumstances.

As instructional designers, we have noticed an undercurrent in our interactions with new and experienced university instructors that indicates they are doubting their teaching skills, confronting uncomfortable questions about their roles, making pedagogical decisions on the fly, and trying to use technologies that were once only written into science fiction novels.

While the move to remote teaching has been challenging, it has also provided an opportunity to reenvision pedagogy. As colleges and universities have collectively moved online, teaching and learning professionals can leverage mobile learning (m-learning) to inform and facilitate effective teaching in a virtual environment.

Mobile learning: Using portable computing devices (such as iPads, laptops, tablet PCs, personal digital assistants [PDAs], and smartphones) with wireless networks enables mobility and mobile learning, allowing teaching and learning to extend to spaces beyond the traditional classroom. Within the classroom, mobile learning gives instructors and learners increased flexibility and new opportunities for interaction.Footnote1

Contemporary m-learning definitions and discourse focus on using technologies that support the mobility of learners and teachers and that are based on constructivist and learner-centered pedagogies that promote individualization, flexibility, and communal engagement with content regardless of whether a course is online or face-to-face. To benefit from affordances like these, Yu (Aimee) Zhang, CEO of WEMOSOFT in Wollongong, Australia, recommends using m-learning in formal higher education to supplement face-to-face or online classes.Footnote2 Near-ubiquitous mobile-device ownership and a stable combination of agile technological infrastructure and widespread internet connectivity offer opportunities for the key affordances and strategies of m-learning to take center stage during the coronavirus pandemic.Footnote3 That is not to say that all students (or instructors) have fully equitable opportunities to access tertiary education through mobile devices—as the pandemic has revealed—but it does emphasize the current collective ability among colleges and universities to maintain a somewhat reasonable level of instructional continuity—something that would not have been possible just ten years ago.Footnote4

Amid the challenges of emergency remote teaching and learning, college and university instructors confront a complex set of pedagogical decisions as they try to balance the affordances and constraints of technologies with student access, learning outcomes, and the instructor’s teaching goals.

Our Mobile Learning Special Interest Research Group has been investigating this pedagogical balancing act for a few years, and although our participants were teaching face-to-face classes before the pandemic, our findings about the ability of instructors to achieve their teaching goals via m-learning remain applicable—and possibly more relevant—today.Footnote5

Teaching Goals: Prevalent Themes

As instructional designers, part of our work focuses on supporting instructors as they integrate technologies to improve their teaching. Understanding instructors’ experiences provides invaluable insight into the benefits of m-learning. This article presents findings from interviews with nineteen instructors (at four University of California [UC] campuses) who were using m-learning strategies in their teaching before the pandemic.

We examined the instructors’ perceptions of how m-learning supported or helped them to achieve their teaching goals. During the interviews, instructors told us that integrating m-learning in their courses supported their teaching goals by increasing student engagement, allowing students to learn specific skills, enabling the creation and use of analytics in class, and boosting instructor efficiency.

The Most Prevalent Themes Related to Teaching Goals

  • Student engagement (n=11): Using m-learning helped to increase student participation by stimulating their interest, creating a safe environment, building a class community, and/or providing multiple opportunities for and means of participation.Footnote6
  • Teaching specific skills and concepts (n=14): Using m-learning made it easier to teach complex concepts and skills related to future professional careers.
  • Analytics for and about learning (n=11): Using m-learning helped to inform the teaching that is going on, whether it is students collecting and analyzing data or teachers collecting data as a formative assessment.
  • Efficiency (n=6): Using m-learning helped students to get through content faster and/or allowed students time to think more deeply.

Student Engagement

The instructors noted that the use of m-learning helped to increase student engagement by stimulating their interest, creating a safe environment, building a class community, and providing multiple opportunities for and means of participation.

First, the instructors we interviewed for our study said that they used mobile strategies in ways they felt would stimulate student interest and motivation. For example, Ozcan Gulacar, a member of the chemistry faculty at UC Davis, found that student engagement occurred by heightening students’ ownership of their learning.

Giving students a chance to share their answers via proper technology increases their ownership of the material, and they become more engaged in discussions. They pay more attention to the explanations. Basically, their interest in learning the right answer increases immensely.Footnote7

Similarly, our interviews showed the importance of student ownership when they were collecting and generating data as part of their learning experiences; students’ agency in that process kept them motivated and engaged (see “Analytics for and about Learning” below).

Second, instructors felt that using m-learning increased student engagement by creating a safe environment in the course. Interestingly, this safe environment was created in one of two opposing ways: Some students appreciated that mobile devices lowered communication barriers so they could get to know their peers better, while other students liked that using personal-response systems allowed them to participate anonymously in discussions, thus encouraging their engagement.

As Heather Macias, now an education faculty member at California State University, Long Beach, explained, “The anonymity and low stakes make [students] more willing to [share their ideas] because nobody knows what” any individual student responded.Footnote8

Third, m-learning allowed instructors to create a sense of community because the familiarity bred through the use of m-learning strategies helped to make large classrooms feel smaller. Emma Levine, now a member of the music faculty at California Polytechnic State University, reported that when her class uses Slack for instant messaging, “[students] don’t feel anonymous. They come to [class] because I know who they are, and other people know who they are. Having that sense of belonging, wanting to come, and [having] some type of accountability” encourages them to attend.Footnote9

Finally, students could engage more often during the course, as they had multiple opportunities and means to participate. As Macias said, “[Using mobile technology] gives me more . . . ways to get students hooked into a lesson or participate. I like it because it gives all the students the chance to participate, assuming they all have . . . access to a device, without the pressure of [having] to raise [their] hand.”Footnote10

When their teaching goals centered around increasing student engagement, instructors appeared to feel that mobile technologies helped to stimulate student interest and motivation, create a safe environment and a sense of community, and provide students with multiple opportunities and ways to participate. It is interesting to note that these four benefits of m-learning occurred in overlapping and intersecting ways, not in isolation.

Specific Skills and Concepts

Instructor comments indicated that m-learning facilitated improved student mastery of specific skills and concepts in two important ways. First, instructors felt that m-learning helped them to teach students specific digital skill sets that they needed for their future careers. Nic Barth, a member of the geology faculty at UC Riverside, said that m-learning skills help to provide students with a competitive advantage:

The motivation [for using iPads] was to not use [them] as a replacement for teaching students how to map with pencil and paper but to extend it to the next skill level, where okay now you know how to do that, now we can train you how to do this digitally. And that’s something that is a highly sought-after, marketable skill that they can then take and make themselves more competitive either in grad school or in the job pool.Footnote11

Second, instructors indicated that integrating mobile learning allowed them to more easily create rich learning environments in which to teach complex concepts. For example, Ashish Sood, a business faculty member at UC Riverside, uses a fully online, game-based approach to teach his students about empathy in a business setting. He describes how students learn about risk tolerance by completing a pricing strategy simulation:

In a standard case analysis, you [try to] put yourself in the shoes of a company or a manager and [consider why a manager chose a particular strategy]. But when you are actually playing a simulation game . . . it changes the perspective to, “How should I decide? What is the best way to think about this issue?” and that’s when the learning and the understanding of the concept really sinks in.Footnote12

Whether making use of simulations, visual representations, or demonstrations, instructors who used mobile technologies to illustrate or expand concepts in a more concrete way found that students could more easily understand and apply those concepts, skills, and methods. Often, the application of the technology was taught for future professional careers, and skills or concepts were made relevant by providing opportunities to apply twenty-first-century digital skills to authentic, real-world problems or contexts.

Analytics for and about Learning

Instructors noted that m-learning gave students the opportunity to practice collecting and analyzing data, contribute data to course content, and demonstrate understanding in formative assessments.

Randall Long, who is currently a postdoctoral research associate at the Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, Ohio, wanted to provide more robust opportunities for his students to fully develop sampling methods and data-analysis skills. His teaching goal was to have students create a large dataset from their fieldwork to complete their final group paper.

Long asked students to play Pokémon Go and systematically collect Pokémon data in a Google Sheet over a few weeks. After students used Pokémon Go to practice sampling concepts and methods, Long was impressed by the obvious improvement in the substance and overall quality of the group papers compared to those from previous years.Footnote13

Student-generated data can also help to facilitate meaningful class discussions. Bob Blake, a professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at UC Davis, noted that using mobile technologies in his linguistics class helped to fuel discussions about course content because students themselves were represented in the data. He said that he uses mobile technology to get students to talk and share with each other.

Nobody wants to talk or share very much about their language. It’s a very personal thing. . . . So, we try to use technology to kind of give us a screen to look through. . . . They’ll type in [a word or phrase from their language in response to a scenario], and then suddenly I have all of that data right there. . . . So, we just analyze it, and it provides me the raw data for the types of points I’m trying to make [about language use].Footnote14

These student-generated examples became the data that was used to teach course content. Drawing from real-life examples prompted meaningful discussions.

Finally, data collected from students in formative assessments provided an invaluable opportunity for some instructors to gauge student understanding. Shane Jimerson, a professor in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UC Santa Barbara, described how he uses data collection to gauge student comprehension in real time:

During the class, I tend to use [Kahoot] as a way of seeing what folks are knowledgeable of, and then that informs me in the moment that “we already know about this,” based on the readings and discussions and other resources. But then there seems to be a few [questions] where there is more variation in the responses. So then I can provide further discussion and exploration to try to make that clear.Footnote15

In Jimerson’s case, using Kahoot to formatively assess students’ learning provided an opportunity in which he could immediately address any confusion students were having or move on to more difficult concepts.

These examples highlight how instructors leveraged m-learning strategies—in which students collected or generated data—for teaching and learning. These techniques invited students to be active participants and make important contributions to the exchange of ideas. Additionally, real-time learning analytics for formative assessment immediately informed instructors about students’ knowledge gaps.

Efficiency

Instructors also noted that m-learning allowed them to get through content more quickly or deeply and improve the speed of the feedback cycle.

Barth distributed “geo pads,” iPads equipped with GIS software, to teach skills and concepts needed for field mapping. He said that this integration of mobile technology resulted in “surprise” time-saving affordances, allowing students time to dig into the more meaningful aspects of the content.

[The use of iPads] simplifies and makes a lot of things more efficient, such [as] the more mundane task [of] locating yourself on a map, for example. It could take a minute, but if you have a tablet that has built-in GPS, it’s a second. Or, if you’re taking a measurement with the tablet, that’s like two or three seconds versus like a minute of playing around with the compass to take that same measurement. And so it’s making things a lot more efficient. [Students] can then focus more of that time on actually understanding what’s going on around them using more critical-thinking skills.Footnote16

Jim Burnette, an academic coordinator at UC Riverside, noted that using e-notebooks made the feedback cycle more efficient:

The paper notebooks took a little while to grade, and so the feedback cycle was a little too slow. So [students] didn’t improve very much in their notebook skills. I think having gone to the e-notebook made the feedback cycle much faster; [students] are actually keeping better notebooks.Footnote17

In these cases, mobile technologies made teaching more efficient and provided students the opportunity to spend more time digging into the more meaningful aspects of the course content. In addition, mobile technologies also provided the instructor the opportunity to give students feedback more quickly, resulting in improvements in students’ work.

Takeaways

While the use cases in this study are all unique, span disciplines, and largely represent m-learning within face-to-face courses, m-learning strategies could also help to guide instructors’ pedagogical balancing act during emergency remote teaching and beyond. This study demonstrates the variety of ways that m-learning technologies can help instructors in their ongoing efforts to become better teachers:

  • Build and maintain classroom community by creating safe spaces that allow for peer interaction as well as anonymity.
  • Increase student interest and motivation by providing multiple means and opportunities for participation.
  • Illustrate concepts or topics more clearly.
  • Develop students’ emotional, cognitive, and technology-based skills for their future careers.
  • Increase engagement by having students use their mobile devices to generate, collect, and analyze data.
  • Identify and adapt to gaps in student learning.
  • Facilitate a more efficient feedback cycle for student learning.
  • Get through basic concepts more quickly, allowing students more time to engage deeply with complex concepts.

Although our study focused on faculty members’ experiences, research on student perspectives demonstrates that m-learning benefits students in similar ways (by creating safe spaces for peer interaction, increasing student interest by offering multiple opportunities to participate, and supporting students who increasingly rely on mobile technology).Footnote18

As instructors and instructional designers, it is essential that we understand the innovative ways in which using m-learning helps us to achieve our teaching goals during this time of instructional upheaval. As a majority of students use mobile devices to complete online coursework, and almost all students have more than one mobile device, designing with m-learning in mind is essential to support student learning, provide more equitable access, and improve instructors’ confidence in their ability to grapple with pedagogical issues in new ways.Footnote19

By:

Source: Leveraging Mobile Technology to Achieve Teaching Goals | EDUCAUSE

Notes

  1. “Mobile Learning,” EDUCAUSE (website), n.d., accessed January 19, 2021. Jump back to footnote 1 in the text.
  2. Yu (Aimee) Zhang, “Characteristics of Mobile Teaching and Learning,” in Handbook of Mobile Teaching and Learning, eds. Yu (Aimee) Zhang and Dean Cristol (Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer, 2019), 1–21. Jump back to footnote 2 in the text.
  3. Michael M. Grant, “Difficulties in Defining Mobile Learning: Analysis, Design Characteristics, and Implications,” Educational Technology Research and Development 67 no. 2 (January 2019): 361–388. Jump back to footnote 3 in the text.
  4. Nate Ralph, “Perspectives: COVID-19, and the Future of Higher Education,” Bay View Analytics (website), 2020. Jump back to footnote 4 in the text.
  5. Alex Rockey, et al., “Spotlighting Innovative Use Cases of Mobile Learning,” The Emerging Learning Design Journal 6 no. 1 (2019); Mindy Colin, et al., “M-Learning at UC: Practices, Affordances, and Teaching Styles,” (poster presented at ELI Annual Meeting, Anaheim, CA, February 19, 2019). Jump back to footnote 5 in the text.
  6. N refers to number of participants. Jump back to footnote 6 in the text.
  7. Ozcan Gulacar, interview by authors, audio recording, Davis, November 20, 2017. Jump back to footnote 7 in the text.
  8. Heather Macias, interview by authors, audio recording, Santa Barbara, February 16, 2018. Jump back to footnote 8 in the text.
  9. Emma Levine, interview by authors, audio recording, Santa Barbara, February 2, 2018. Jump back to footnote 9 in the text.
  10. Macias, interview, February 16, 2018. Jump back to footnote 10 in the text.
  11. Nic Barth, interview by authors, video recording, Riverside, December 14, 2017. Jump back to footnote 11 in the text.
  12. Ashish Sood, interview by authors, video recording, Riverside, March 16, 2018. Jump back to footnote 12 in the text.
  13. Randall Long, interviews by authors, Santa Barbara, February 16, 2018; October 26, 2018. Jump back to footnote 13 in the text.
  14. Bob Blake, interview by authors, audio recording, Davis, November 30, 2017. Jump back to footnote 14 in the text.
  15. Shane Jimerson, interview by authors, audio recording, December 1, 2017. Jump back to footnote 15 in the text.
  16. Nic Barth, interview by authors, video recording, Riverside, December 14, 2017. Jump back to footnote 16 in the text.
  17. Jim Burnette, interview by authors, video recording, Riverside, February 13, 2018. Jump back to footnote 17 in the text.
  18. See, for example: Enrique Alvarez Vazquez, Manoel Cortes-Mendez, Ryan Striker, Lauren Singelmann, et al., “Lessons Learned Using Slack in Engineering Education: An Innovation-Based Learning Approach,” (presentation, 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, Virtual Online, June 22, 2020); Jorge Fonseca Cacho, “Using Discord to Improve Student Communication, Engagement, and Performance,” (poster presentation, UNLV Best Teaching Practices Expo, University of Nevada Las Vegas, January 23, 2020). Jump back to footnote 18 in the text.
  19. David L. Clinefelter, Carol B. Aslanian, Andrew J. Magda, Online College Students 2019: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences, research report, (Louisville, KY: Wiley edu, LLC, June 2019); “Mobile Fact Sheet,” PEW Research Center, Internet & Technology, June 12, 2019. Jump back to footnote 19 in the text.

Mindy Colin is an Instructional Consultant at UC Santa Barbara.

Samantha Eastman is an Instructional Design Consultant at UC Riverside.

Margaret Merrill is a Senior Instructional Design Consultant at UC Davis.

Alex Rockey is an Instructional Technologist Instructor at Bakersfield College.

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Verizon Launches Yahoo-Branded Smartphone For $50

Verizon is launching a purple Yahoo smartphone for $50, the first device from the once-ascendant tech company, which comes at a time when Verizon seems to be figuring  out what to do with the former search giant.

With its budget-friendly price point, the Yahoo Mobile ZTE Blade A3Y doesn’t have the latest and greatest specs: The phone will ship with a 5.4-inch 720p display, an Android 10 operating system, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a fingerprint scanner and face unlock.

Yahoo’s apps will come pre-installed, including Yahoo Mail, News, Sports and Weather.

The phone won’t be able to access Verizon’s newly launched 5G network, which isn’t a surprise considering its low price.

Verizon has already pushed Yahoo into a smartphone industry with Yahoo Mobile, a phone plan launched in March that charges customers $40 for unlimited talk, text and data on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. 

Key Background

Yahoo was a major player in the 90s and early aughts, but it never figured out how to compete with Google, and even turned down an opportunity to buy Google for $1 billion in 2002. Yahoo then acquired Flickr and Tumblr in an attempt to grow past its email and search engine, but even those services were eventually eclipsed by other social media companies. Verizon bought Yahoo in 2017 for 4.83 billion, then a shell of its former self, and put it under its media arm. In its heyday, Yahoo’s market cap reached a whopping $125 billion in January 2000.

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Tangent

Verizon also bought HuffPost and TechCrunch through its acquisition of AOL in 2015. Now, Verizon is trying to sell off HuffPost, but is reportedly struggling to find a buyer. Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip.

Rachel Sandler

 Rachel Sandler

I’m a San Francisco-based reporter covering breaking news at Forbes. I’ve previously reported for USA Today, Business Insider, The San Francisco Business Times and San Jose Inside. I studied journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and was an editor at The Daily Orange, the university’s independent student newspaper. Follow me on Twitter @rachsandl or shoot me an email rsandler@forbes.com.

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Boyd Digital: Global Tech News 1.91K subscribers Reported today on The Verge For the full article visit: https://www.theverge.com/2020/3/11/21… Reported today in The Verge. Verizon launches Yahoo Mobile phone service Verizon is launching a Yahoo-branded mobile phone service called Yahoo Mobile in an attempt to use consumers’ total apathy toward familiarity with the Yahoo brand to kickstart a new wireless provider.

Yahoo Mobile works off of Verizon’s network and offers only one plan: unlimited LTE data for $40 per month, plus throttled tethering and a subscription to Yahoo Mail Pro. It’s a good price; Verizon charges $65 per month for a prepaid unlimited plan, and AT&T charges $45 per month. If this all just feels like a lazy attempt to recycle the Yahoo brand, well, it gets worse: Yahoo Mobile is basically just a rebranded version of Visible, which is another spinoff phone service operated by Yahoo.

The singular plan is the same, their websites match up beat for beat, and Yahoo Mobile even offers Visible’s phone insurance plan under Visible’s name. Verizon closed its purchase of Yahoo close to three years ago. The deal included the Yahoo brand and major web services like Flickr and Tumblr. But Verizon was mainly interested in Yahoo’s ad technology, and it’s done little with Yahoo.

Both Flickr and Tumblr have since been sold off, and Yahoo’s biggest announcements have been payouts for data breaches. Spinoff carriers like Yahoo Mobile and Visible let Verizon diversify its business and test out new ways of selling wireless service. Verizon isn’t exactly a beloved brand, but Visible has hip branding and a simple pricing structure – something that might appeal to younger customers. Yahoo Mobile offers another take on that, just with the extremely appealing added perk of… subscription Yahoo Mail.

COVID-19 Contact Tracing Apps Could Be Turned Into Tools For Domestic Abuse

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If governments don’t focus on strong privacy protections in their COVID-19 contact tracking tools, it could exacerbate domestic abuse and endanger survivors, according to a warning from women’s support charities.

They’ve urged the U.K. government to include domestic abuse and violence against women and girls (VAWG) experts in the development of such initiatives.

Though the U.K. doesn’t yet have a widely available track and trace app, the charities – including Women’s Aid and Refuge – are already anxious enough about the current tracing program, where infected people are called up and asked to register themselves online as someone who has contracted COVID-19. They’re then asked to share details on people with whom they’ve been in contact so they too can be informed.

In a joint whitepaper, the nonprofits said they were anxious about contact tracing staff inadvertently leaking contact details of survivors to perpetrators. They also raised fears the program could be turned into a “tool for abuse.”

“For example, perpetrators may make fraudulent claims that they have been in contact with survivors in order for them to be asked to self-isolate unnecessarily, and in these circumstances survivors will have no means to identify the perpetrator as the original source,” they warned. “Perpetrators or associates may also pose as contact tracing staff and make contact with victims [or] survivors requesting they self-isolate or requesting personal information.”

The paper also claims abusers are already using the coronavirus pandemic for “coercive control,” in some cases deliberately breathing, spitting and coughing in survivors’ faces. As Forbes previously reported, the sharing of child abuse material has also spiked during global COVID-19 lockdowns.

As for apps, the report warned they required location services to be switched on. “While the NHS app itself doesn’t collect location data, if a perpetrator has installed spyware onto a survivor’s phone or is able to hack into it, then turning on location services will expose their location.”

Problems with Palantir?

The charities also raised concerns about a number of companies who’d partnered with the U.K. on the contact tracing initiatives. They said Serco, which is handling recruiting for contact tracing staff, “has a significant track record of failings and human rights violations, including running a controversial women’s immigration detention centre where staff have been accused of sexual misconduct and involvement in unlawful evictions of asylum seekers.” Serco also recently had to apologize for leaking email addresses of contact tracer staff.

Serco denies that it has any kind of significant track record of failing and human rights violations and that the evictions to which the charities are referring were in Scotland and were ruled legal. It also said that in seven years there had been no substantiated complaints about any sexual wrongdoing at the Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre, where reports had revealed allegations.

“We are proud to be supporting the government’s test and trace programme with our Tier 3 contact centre team working from pre-approved Public Health England scripts. This is important work and we would like to thank all our teams who have stepped forward. In just four week we mobilised many thousands of people, which is a huge achievement, and we are focussed on ensuring that all our people are able to support the government’s programme going forwards,” a Serco spokesperson said.

Palantir, the $20 billion big data crunching business, also raised an eyebrow. The company, which has secured millions of dollars in contracts to help health agencies manage the outbreak, has come in for criticism for assisting U.S. immigration authorities on finding and rejecting illegal aliens.

Palantir hadn’t responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

UK’s delayed COVID-19 app

The charities’ warning comes as the U.K. announced its contact tracing app would be shifting to the Apple and Google models, which promise stronger privacy protections than the app being tested by the government. The main difference is in where user information goes. In the government’s app, anonymized phone IDs of both the infected person and the people they’ve been near are sent to a centralized server, which determines who to warn about possible COVID-19 infection.

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In the Apple and Google model, only the phone ID of the infected person is sent to a centralized database. The phone then downloads the database and decides where to send alerts. The latter means the government has access to far less data on people’s phones, pleasing some critics but aggravating the government.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said on Thursday that Apple’s restrictions on third-party apps’ use of Bluetooth may’ve been one reason the government’s own app wasn’t as successful as hoped. Bluetooth is being used to determine whether an infected person has been in close proximity with another person’s phone.

Earlier this week, Amnesty International cybersecurity researcher Claudio Guarnieri warned that global rollouts of contact tracing apps were a privacy “trash fire.” After analyzing 11 apps, he found many contained privacy shortcomings. So concerned was Norway that it suspended its tool.

Even with lockdowns easing, those who’re infected are still being advised to isolate. However,  the NHS guidance says that “the household isolation instruction as a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19) does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse.” That message may not have been amplified as much as it should’ve been.

 

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I’m associate editor for Forbes, covering security, surveillance and privacy. I’ve been breaking news and writing features on these topics for major publications since 2010. As a freelancer, I worked for The Guardian, Vice Motherboard, Wired and BBC.com, amongst many others. I was named BT Security Journalist of the year in 2012 and 2013 for a range of exclusive articles, and in 2014 was handed Best News Story for a feature on US government harassment of security professionals. I like to hear from hackers who are breaking things for either fun or profit and researchers who’ve uncovered nasty things on the web. Tip me on Signal at 447837496820. I use WhatsApp and Treema too. Or you can email me at TBrewster@forbes.com, or tbthomasbrewster@gmail.com.

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Can Bluetooth tech really get us back to some resemblance of a normal life? Bridget Carey explains the big challenges around contact tracing apps and what it will take for the apps to make a difference.
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5 Reasons Your Ecommerce Store Needs a Mobile App Today

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Ecommerce websites and mobile commerce, or m-commerce, options aren’t an either/or situation. Both play different roles in the customer journey and cater to different audiences. What is essential is that you don’t overlook mobile experiences while designing the ecommerce strategy for your business.

According to Pew research, 8 out of 10 Americans are online shoppers, and 51 percent of them use mobile devices for shopping. If you aren’t leveraging mobile traffic, your business is likely missing out vital conversions even as you are reading this.

While a responsive website is an excellent starting point in your m-commerce journey, having a mobile app has distinct advantages over mobile websites. Here is a list of compelling reasons why your ecommerce business needs to go for mobile-app development in addition to having a mobile-responsive website.

1. Ease of use and better user experience

Even if you have a responsive website, every time the user logs onto it, the browser would prompt the user to sign into the account to continue with the shopping. In the case of mobile apps, the user details are stored in the app and the users only have to sign in once, when they download the app.

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Since the users don’t need to sign in every time they shop, the ease of use is higher and the resultant user satisfaction is also high. Mobile applications also allow the users to switch between the different tabs, making navigation and overall user experience simpler as compared to that of the website.

2. Access to phone-native features

The phone’s native capabilities can be leveraged using mobile apps, which isn’t a possibility in the case of mobile websites. The integration of built-in smartphone components like GPS and cameras provides the user with enhanced user experience. Interactive shopping using augmented and virtual reality is an app-only feature.

Another advantage is the fact that native apps are available for offline use. While the apps do take up space on the user’s device, they can be used even when the phone is not connected to the internet, resulting in an on-the-go shopping experience for the users.

3. Using mobile apps as a marketing channel

Mobile apps give you a chance to deliver a unified omnichannel experience to the customers. Apps can allow social media integration that combines the different channels of customer engagement. The customer preferences are saved within the app, leading to tailored content being displayed to the relevant customers.

Using geofencing and push notifications sent out to the user’s device when they are in proximity of the physical stores or in case of any special offer can also result in a more engaged customer base.

4. Seamless checkout with multiple payment options

Shopping-cart abandonment is the biggest issue that retail businesses face. Whether in-store or on an ecommerce platform, customers are more likely to give up on completing shopping if the checkout process seems cumbersome.

Mobile apps remove friction from the checkout process by making it interactive. The widespread popularity of mobile wallets exists only because they allow fast processing of transactions. Features such as fingerprint scanning and facial recognition help remove friction from the checkout and payment process by enabling faster authentication.

5. Incorporation of advanced tech for interactive customer experience

Mobile apps and technology go hand-in-hand. Incorporation of augmented reality in smartphone apps is already taking place, with brands such as IKEA and Sephora spearheading the transformation. The incorporation of AR/VR in apps makes them more interactive and results in engaging customer experiences.

Apps also allow for the integration of artificial intelligence in the form of chatbots in order to facilitate the customer in searching for their preferred items and getting them through the checkout. Personalized shopping assistants that are powered by machine-learning algorithms would soon become the norm, making shopping easy and fun — as it should be.

Rahul Varshneya

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  • Become FULLY Mobile Compatible For The First Time Ever.
  • Increase Time On Site Drastically & Get More Rankings, Ad Revenue & Returning Visitors As A Result.
  • Swypio is 100% Cloud App, Create Campaigns & Swipe Cards From ANYWHERE, ANYTIME
  • Bridge The Gap Between YOU And The 3,500,000,000 Mobile Users That Are USED To Swiping EVERYTHING & Ignore Your Content.
  • CASE STUDY: How They Got 3,304% More LEADS With This
  • Dummy Proof, Anyone Can Create AMAZING, Attractive & Attention-Getting Swipe Cards In Minutes

Here are some immediate benefits to your marketing performance:

  • Instant Benefit #1: Higher Conversions On EVERYTHING

Their tests show significant improvements in conversion. It is also a fact that swiping is simply proven to keep people going on and on with whatever they join.

Requesting an action taken by your visitor or order will be a lot easier when your content is appropriate.

  • Instant benefits # 2: Add more leads

Same as above but since they have LEAD GENERATION specific features built into the software, and even the ability to collect and store them in the platform, you can expect a huge increase in leads if that’s what jiggles your wiggle.

  • Benefit #3: More Time Spent On-Site & Ad Revenue

When your content is suitable and especially when NO ONE ELSE’S content is swipable, people tend to spend more time on your site, just like tinder and TikTok where people spend significant amounts of “straight” time

(meaning they stay and don’t move on to other activities, and remain focused on the platforms until they are done, this is a killer of distractions)

When people spend more time on your site, your ad revenue will increase, your retention will increase, people will then remember your brand name or your name better and faster.

  • Benefit #4: Faster & Higher Rankings

As people spend more time on-site, this signals Google that your site is of high quality, has good content, is interesting, engaging and a good experience.

Hence they instantly reward you with higher rankings as google likes quality over quantity.

  • Benefit #5: Grab Attention & Keep It

Swipe Cards aren’t just engaging, they’re also attention grabbers. Did you hear the goldfish story with the 8 seconds goldfish attention span and humans with less? That’s B.S.

Humans have selective attention, they have no problem to really quickly look at things that spark their interest, like beautiful faces, attractive people, shiny things, new products from favorite brands and more.

Their attention span has been declining due to the number of distractions and the disinterest in our products and services. Swipe Cards eliminate that, instantly grab attention, and keep it.

  • Benefit #6: Relevancy & Appealing To The Youth

The big shakers and movers these days are the youth, they want what brands make and brands sell what they want.

Swiping is not an accident, swiping is a consistent factor in their lives, the minute you try to sell them something without swiping, you lost their interest. Not completely, but more than enough to hurt your business.

  • Benefit #7: The Invisible Foundation — Engagement!

When I say engagement, what thought comes to mind? Is it sales, traffic, leads?

No, it’s NOTHING.

That’s because to most people engagement means nothing, and your job as the marketer is to use specific terms like sales, traffic, leads.

WELL, the truth is, engagement is something, and that is the fact that users devote their time, attention and trust with you, and when they do, something amazing happens, they remember you.

The look you up, they continue with you, they may sign up, they may buy, they may visit other pages, but the truth is, engagement is the invisible foundation to your business success and Swypio instantly provides you with MORE.

Source: Swypio Special LIVE

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What can you do with 5G? Everything

With all the buzz around 5G, many companies are wondering: “What will we be able to do with it?”

Businesses of all sizes believe 5G will bring them competitive advantages but aren’t entirely clear about its practical applications. Telecommunications service providers know there’s a multi-trillion-dollar opportunity up for grabs, but aren’t sure how to turn faster speeds and increased network intelligence into a share of that potential market.

Part of the challenge is that traditional network services have been determined by the limits of the technology. With 5G, those technical limitations are no longer a barrier, making it possible to do pretty much anything. Which means it’s up to service providers and their business customers to pick the use cases that will be most important and profitable for them.

The many things you can do with 5G

By partnering with companies who want to embed 5G’s capabilities into their own digital offerings, service providers can turn the network into a shared “fabric” for value creation. That requires smart planning, though–which is why Nokia Bell Labs has identified more than 100 consumer and business 5G use cases, grouped into eight broad categories:

Fixed wireless access (FWA)

FWA within homes and businesses will deliver broadband-like speed and reliability in more places, including those with no existing wired infrastructure or where it would be too costly to deploy.

Video surveillance and analytics

5G’s low latency and high capacity will help create smarter spaces through enhanced video surveillance and analytics. Wireless cameras mounted on drones or in hard-to-reach places will improve safety and security while providing footage that can improve decision-making in nearly any industry.

Immersive experiences

5G will support new, immersive experiences, both real and virtual. 360-degree virtual reality (VR) will let people enjoy events and play interactive games like they’re really there. In the workplace, augmented reality (AR) can train workers to handle hazardous situations without putting them in harm’s way.

Smart stadiums

In stadiums and concert halls, venue operators will use AR and VR to take fans “backstage,” provide real-time overlays of sports stats and replays, and deliver other immersive experiences.

Cloud robotics and automation

Manufacturers are looking to automation and the cloud to simplify processes and eliminate human errors. Wireless human-machine interfaces, powered by high-bandwidth 5G connectivity, will remove the constraints of today’s static assembly lines and speed up the reconfiguration of production environments.

Machine remote control

Cranes, robot arms and other remotely controlled machinery can boost operational efficiency and increase worker safety. From drones making deliveries to robots doing dangerous tasks like bomb disposal, these machines require reliable wireless connectivity, often over long distances, with low latency for accurate, responsive control.

Connected vehicles

5G will help make road travel easier, safer and more enjoyable. In-car entertainment and information–using vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-infrastructure communications to tell drivers about upcoming traffic jams, for instance–may be early applications, followed by assisted driving and autonomous vehicles.

eHealth

Hospitals can use 5G to enhance care delivery, including eHealth services. Guaranteed uplink speeds will allow ambulances to transmit critical data to hospitals so doctors can diagnose problems before patients arrive. 5G’s low latency will also support remote surgeries and other innovative applications.

From here to there

While there are many potential 5G use cases, some will be ready to implement sooner than others. With early standards focused on enhancing mobile broadband, options like FWA will be more feasible in the near-term while others, like autonomous vehicles, are still a few years away. In every case, by looking at 5G in terms of real-world applications and not just as a mechanism for connectivity, service providers and enterprises will give themselves the best chance of building a strong, profitable 5G plan.

By Jai Thattil Head of Marketing, 5G Services, Nokia

Source: What can you do with 5G? Everything.

104K subscribers
Millimeter waves, massive MIMO, full duplex, beamforming, and small cells are just a few of the technologies that could enable ultrafast 5G networks. Read more: http://spectrum.ieee.org/video/teleco… Today’s mobile users want faster data speeds and more reliable service. The next generation of wireless networks—5G—promises to deliver that, and much more. With 5G, users should be able to download a high-definition film in under a second (a task that could take 10 minutes on 4G LTE). And wireless engineers say these networks will boost the development of other new technologies, too, such as autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things. If all goes well, telecommunications companies hope to debut the first commercial 5G networks in the early 2020s. Right now, though, 5G is still in the planning stages, and companies and industry groups are working together to figure out exactly what it will be. But they all agree on one matter: As the number of mobile users and their demand for data rises, 5G must handle far more traffic at much higher speeds than the base stations that make up today’s cellular networks. Read more: http://spectrum.ieee.org/video/teleco…

Is Huawei’s Worst Google Nightmare Coming True?

The soap opera that is Huawei’s loss of Google software and services from its new smartphones has taken twist after turn in recent weeks. We had been warned (by Google) that the new flagship Mate 30 Series would launch without full-fat Android, but we had also been promised (by Huawei’s consumer boss Richard Yu) that workarounds would be found. To cut a long story short, the device did launch without Google, workarounds were then found, but then those workarounds were taken away.

All of which kind of leaves us back where we expected to be—Huawei continues to launch great devices, those great devices don’t carry Google, most analysts expect sales outside China to take a massive hit as a consequence. But, in reality, it’s not that simple. And what has actually happened could be even worse than it seems for Huawei, with the consequences not yet fully understood.

The Mate 30 has become the focal point for this on/off Google apps story. But what happens to the Mate 30 will impact the forthcoming Mate X and anything else after that until the U.S. blacklist changes. Just ahead of the Mate 30’s September launch, Android Authority reported that Yu had told the media Huawei “might have a workaround on-hand” to recover Google functionality, that the process would be “quite easy,” that “the open-source nature of Android enables ‘a lot of possibilities’, and that third-party developers had worked on workarounds for some time, given that “Huawei is unable to provide Google Mobile Services on new products due to the ban.”

Today In: Innovation

I asked Huawei for an official statement at the time, regarding Yu’s comments, to be told that the official word from the Consumer Business Group is “we can’t comment on that.” In private, it seemed there was internal nervousness at being seen to flaunt the ban, enabling workarounds to be publicly applied to the devices.

And, sure enough, despite Huawei confirming on launch the lack of Google Mobile Services, essentially the framework to which Google apps attach, the internet was soon abuzz with videos and tutorials on the use of a Chinese app to sideload all those familiar Google apps back onto the device. Notwithstanding the security concerns in giving a Chinese language app of uncertain origin access to a phone’s core system, the workaround was widely welcomed and we seemed to be back to business as usual.

Meanwhile, reports from China, where the Mate 30 first launched, suggested the devices were flying from the shelves. Helped by a steep price cut and domestic pride in a national champion, a million devices quickly shipped and Huawei’s plan to shore up any hit to international sales with strong demand at home seemed fine.

But then, quite suddenly, everything changed.

The app that was being used to enable the after-market Google load on Mate 30s is LZPlay—available on some app stores and from LZPlay.net. On loading, it seeks permission to access hidden system settings, opening up Google “stubs” deep within Huawei’s version of the Android open-source core to enable apps and services to be installed. With some exceptions—notably Google Pay—everything seemed normal.

                                    

But then came the inevitable deep-dive into that app—what was actually happening under the phone’s covers. Cue John Wu’s Medium post. It transpired, according to Wu, that for LZPlay to work required “undocumented Huawei specific MDM APIs,” implying that the use of such APIs were “signed with a special certificate from Huawei, granted privileges nowhere to be found on standard Android systems.”

In essence, the implication was that Huawei was sanctioning or overlooking the app restoring banned Google apps and services onto Huawei devices. “Wait a minute,” Wu asked in his post, “does that mean either Google is sneaking the stubs to Huawei, or Huawei is blatantly stealing Google’s stub binaries?”

                                     

And Wu’s answer? “It is pretty obvious that Huawei is well aware of this LZPlay app, and explicitly allows its existence. The developer of this app has to somehow be aware of these undocumented APIs, sign the legal agreements, go through several stages of reviews, and eventually have the app signed by Huawei. The sole purpose of the app is to install Google Services on a non licensed device, and it sounds very sketchy to me, but I’m no lawyer so I have absolutely no idea of its legality.”

                                     

All of which has resulted in the workaround being withdrawn from the market. LZPlay is no longer available. Any installs from before it was pulled no longer work. And, more intriguingly, “devices that used LZPlay to install GMS no longer pass ‘SafetyNet Attestation,’ rendering many apps and services unusable.”

And so to the real issue for Huawei that will start to become clear when the dust settles on this on/off story. Whether Huawei was aware or unaware, whether Google was involved or uninvolved, the fact is that the addition of Google Mobile Services will now fail to pass a security and verification test on the device—unsurprising, given the device is unlicensed. And that suggests no other workaround will be forthcoming.

And that will be a major issue for the future of Huawei’s smartphone business outside China. It will also make it impossible for users inside China to deploy the Google workaround that was designed for their market—because if the Mate 30 can’t be after-market updated outside China because of the U.S. blacklist, then it cannot be after-market updated in China either. The restriction on Huawei is not geography-specific. Chinese consumers who would otherwise buy Huawei devices and then add Google, deploying VPNs to use the restricted services, will not be able to do so.

                                    

This story is moving all over the place right now—albeit it’s becoming more difficult to see significant changes without U.S. approval. What we do know is that Google has apparently slammed the backdoor to the Mate 30 shut, enforcing its lack of license, ensuring that even if the GMS stubs remain they cannot be enabled. And it’s a safe bet that those stubs may well be pulled altogether.

Huawei confirmed to me that the “latest Mate 30 series is not pre-installed with GMS, and Huawei has had no involvement with http://www.lzplay.net.” But the implications of this latest twist could be devastating. It’s too soon to get a read on what might happen next, and there are no comments from Shenzhen, but we will know soon enough.

In the meantime, anyone who had planned to buy a dazzling Mate 30 and apply the “easy workaround” is now faced with a very different set of options.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

As the Founder/CEO of Digital Barriers, a developer of disruptive AI surveillance solutions for defense, security and commercial organizations in the US, EMEA and Asia, I work with those responsible for national security, counter-terrorism and critical infrastructure protection. I have been in tech for 25 years, with the last 15 of those years in video surveillance, analytics, cybersecurity and AI. I write about the real-world challenges, opportunities and threats from technology advances that impact the defense and security sectors as well as cybersecurity more broadly. I also focus on the appropriate use of those technologies and the balance of privacy and public safety. Contact me at zakd@me.com.

Source: Is Huawei’s Worst Google Nightmare Coming True?

437K subscribers

OnePlus Cofounder Carl Pei On 5G And His Company’s Next Steps

The cofounder of smartphone maker OnePlus, and 30 Under 30 Asia alumni Carl Pei sat down with Forbes Asia at this year’s Under 30 Summit in Hong Kong.

After cutting his teeth at Chinese phone makers Meizu, and OPPO, Pei decided consumers deserved a better Android product. In December 2013, he set out with founder Pete Lau to do just that — build a feature-packed device that costs a fraction of market peers.

The OnePlus One was an immediate hit among the tech community online. Following a few years of blockbuster sales through e-commerce channels, his team is taking on a new challenge: shifting from direct to consumer models, to distribution through major telecom carriers.

The challenge, Pei says, is to build brand recognition and sell more phones offline through brick and mortar stores in Western markets, though OnePlus has been making headway starting with its 2017 venture into working with carriers in Europe, and just last year launching with T-Mobile across 5,600 stores in the US. The 29-year-old also weighs in on the future of 5G and the impact on the company’s product offerings.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Send me a secure tip.

Pamela covers entrepreneurs, wealth, blockchain and the crypto economy as a senior reporter across digital and print platforms. Prior to Forbes, she served as on-air foreign correspondent for Thomson Reuters’ broadcast team, during which she reported on global markets, central bank policies, and breaking business news. Before Asia, she was a journalist at NBC Comcast, and started her career at CNBC and Bloomberg as a financial news producer in New York. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and holds an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Yahoo, USA Today, Huffington Post, and Nasdaq. Pamela’s previous incarnation was on the buy side in M&A research and asset management, inspired by Michael Lewis’ book “Liar’s Poker”. Follow me on Twitter at @pamambler

Source: OnePlus Cofounder Carl Pei On 5G And His Company’s Next Steps

 

Appportunity – How To Start An App Business With No Programming Knowledge Or Whatsoever

You need to learn this “secret” in today’s new commerce economy – micro-transactions. It simply means this, people are happily spending the $0.99’s and $1.99’s all day long, regardless of whether there’s a recession or not. Obviously, those who can “predict” the future are going to make fortunes for themselves. I mean, you’ve heard stories of marketers who make $100,000 from this opportunity alone. The proof is already in our faces. And the truth is, it’s happening so fast. But the good news is it’s not too late for you to be a part of this “Internet reborn”. It’s like getting to start all over again at the ground floor opportunity – having the “second chance” to make it big. This time, it’s yours to take. Read more

Why are Apple Pay, Starbucks’ app, and Samsung Pay so much more successful than other Mobile Wallet providers? | Technology in Business Today

A new report from BI Intelligence addresses how in-store mobile payments volume will grow through 2021, why that’s below past expectations, and what successful cases can teach other players in the space.

Source: Why are Apple Pay, Starbucks’ app, and Samsung Pay so much more successful than other Mobile Wallet providers? | Technology in Business Today

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