Network transparency: How future mobile networks could be built in glass windows

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Ericsson(s eric) engineers have begun experimenting with a new type of cell site – one embedded inside a window. As demand for mobile data grows, networks must get denser. That means building increasingly smaller cells and putting them much closer to mobile users. So why not take advantage of the glass surfaces that cover our homes, businesses and vehicles?

At CTIA Wireless this week, Ericsson Networked Society Evangelist Mats Guldbrand gave me a demo of the technology at the equipment maker’s booth. Basically, a small antenna element is embedded into a pane of shielded glass. That antenna can pick up Wi-Fi or cellular signals from nearby phones, tablets and laptops and then aggregate those connections, sending them as a combined transmission to the nearest LTE cell tower.

Ericsson Antenna GlassGuldbrand gave an example of a bus containing 50 people all surfing the internet on their smartphones. Each device is trying to connect…

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How do retail apps rate? You Decide

ImageXtreme Labs, leaders in mobile application strategy and development, today released a new report that takes a closer look at which retailers have hit the bull’s-eye and which brands are not capitalizing on opportunity with their smartphone applications. The Xtreme Labs Retail Apps Report analyzed public consumer reviews from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store between January 16 and January 24, 2013 for the top 100 retailers in the U.S.
To view the whole report, please visit:
According to the report, many retailers are missing out on an opportunity to engage with their customers via mobile experiences. A whopping 30 percent of retailers have neither an iOS nor Android app, while 56 percent have an app on both platforms. For retailers with apps on these platforms, consumers rated the top 100 brands an average 2.9/5 stars on iOS and 2.2/5 stars on Google Play.
Those retailers who are ignoring Android are doing so at their own peril; only 61 percent of the top 100 U.S. retailers have launched an Android app. These retailers are missing, for the most part, an opportunity to reach the roughly 62 million Americans who own Android devices. The number is slightly better for iOS, as 65 percent have developed an Apple app. However, based on the number of favorable ratings (3+ stars) each app has in the App Store, only 52 percent have received positive feedback from users.
Some other findings:
• Consumers expect apps to supplement their in-store shopping experience, but many iOS and Android applications are lacking this. Shoppers assume that applications like IKEA and Michaels would allow them to not only browse inventory, but also purchase items directly from the app. The lack of such a feature contributes to negative reviews for many brands.
• One of the biggest consumer complaints for apps across platforms is performance, specifically the frequency of application crashes. Thirty-three percent of users listed this as the top issue on an Android app, while 23 percent listed the same issue for iOS devices. 
The highest and lowest rated retailers are:
Highest-rated Android Mobile Applications – based on a combination of  average star rating (out of 5) and percentage of favorable ratings (3+ stars) in Google Play, for apps with more than 50 downloads: 
• CVS – 4.5 stars, 90% favorable ratings
• Amazon – 4.5 stars, 90% favorable ratings
• Nordstrom – 4.4 stars, 85% favorable ratings
• Barnes & Noble – 4.3 stars, 84% favorable ratings
• Best Buy – 4.3 stars, 84% favorable ratings
• Walgreens – 4.3 stars, 84% favorable ratings
Lowest-rated Android Mobile Applications – based on a combination of average star rating (out of 5) and percentage of negative ratings (less than 3 stars) in Google Play, for apps with more than 50 downloads:
• Meijer – 2.7 stars, 57% negative ratings
• Kohl’s – 2.8 stars, 52% negative ratings
• Giant Eagle – 2.8 stars, 48% negative ratings
Top Five Issues Found in Android Mobile Applications:
• Frequency of application crashes – 33%
• App does not work as intended – 26%
• Lack essential features – 25%
• Poor design – 21%
• Not user friendly – 17%
Highest-rated Apple Mobile Applications – based on a combination of average star rating (out of 5) and percentage of favorable ratings (3+ stars) in the App Store, for apps with more than 50 downloads: 
• Walgreens – 4.5 stars, 82% favorable ratings
• CVS – 4.5 stars, 82% favorable ratings
• Chick-fil-A – 4 stars, 76% favorable ratings
• Ikea – 4 stars, 71% favorable ratings
• Subway – 3.5 stars, 73% favorable ratings
Lowest-rated Apple Mobile Applications – based on a combination of average star rating (out of 5) and percentage of negative ratings (less than 3 stars) in the App Store, for apps with more than 50 downloads:
• Kohl’s – 1.5 stars, 83% negative ratings
• Giant Eagle – 1.5 stars, 70% negative ratings
• Michael’s Stores – 2 stars, 74% negative ratings
• Bed Bath & Beyond – 2 stars, 74% negative ratings
• Burger King – 2 stars, 73% negative ratings
• Harris Teeter – 2 stars, 73% negative ratings
Top 5 Issues found in iOS Mobile Applications:
• Lack features – 26%
• Issues with constant force quitting and crashing – 23%
• Poor design – 22%
• Not compatible with different Apple products – 16%
• Lack Passbook compatibly – 13% 
Interestingly enough, the only two retailers that received favorable ratings across both platforms are the drugstores CVS and Walgreens. These are both ‘utility’ apps that fulfill everyday customer needs, and as such are more likely to be in the coveted position of a device’s home screen. This ‘necessity’ positioning is what all retailers should strive to achieve, as it drives frequency of use and therefore sales.
“When it comes to retail apps, first you have to be there, then you have to work,” said Jeremy Black, director of retail at Xtreme Labs. “We were surprised that 30 percent of top retailers don’t even have an app in at least one of the major app stores. Secondly, when a quarter of all complaints involve app crashes, it should serve as a wakeup call that consumers will quickly go somewhere else, like eBay or Zappos to fill their needs.” 
The Xtreme Labs Retail Apps Report was conducted from January 16 to January 24, 2013 and is based on the list of top 100 retailers as defined by industry trade publication STORES Magazine in its list of 2012 retail power players. The report tabulated publicly available ratings in both the Apple App Store and Google Play and listed its results as well as top complaints based on user comments. 
About Xtreme Labs
Xtreme Labs is the leading provider of mobile solutions to the world’s most important companies. We have a proven track record of success in delivering innovative solutions across hundreds of global products. As experts in mobile, the best and most successful companies trust Xtreme Labs with critical components of their mobile strategy and product development.
For more information visit


Today’s classroom benefit from Cisco Systems Educational Products

Cisco Connected Learning

I interviewed two remarkable professionals. We had an in-depth discussion about Educational Tools for Teachers. The Flipped Classroom series: Part One Part two & Part Three:

Connect with Cisco today!

Parents Admit Shortcomings When It Comes to Protecting Their Children on Social Networks

Study shows that parents need to get involved

You can now protect your child on social networks

With about half of young people experiencing some form of cyberbullying or other harassment online, a majority of parents with children under 18 say they are concerned about their children’s social networking activities and want to find ways to protect them. Most parents also admit, however, that they do not have the tools, knowledge or time to properly monitor their children on social networks—and many admit that they take no precautions at all. That’s according to two new studies released today by SocialShield , the leading online monitoring service dedicated to helping parents keep their children safe on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and other social networks.

According to the studies, over 69% of parents with children ages 10 – 17 say they are concerned about their children visiting social networking sites, with their biggest fears being, in order, contact from strangers, information being displayed online that shares their child’s physical location, postings that could tarnish their child’s reputation, and their child getting cyberbullied.

However, the data also shows that most parents do not take the proper precautions to ensure their child’s safety when visiting social networks.For example, even though 68% of parents believe that daily monitoring is a must because news on social networks spreads fast and needs to be resolved quickly, only 32% of parents say they actually monitor their child’s social networking activities every day, and 28% of parents admit they only occasionally, rarely or never monitor their child’s social networking activities.

Meanwhile, 66% of parents believe they should monitor all of their child’s Facebook activity including emails and chats, yet the most common monitoring technique stated—“friending” their child—does not allow the parent to monitor email, chats or many other activities where dangers could lurk. Even if a parent were to “friend” their child, it would be practically impossible and extremely time-consuming to monitor what all of their child’s friends are doing, especially since the average teenager has more than 200 friends on social networks. Many parents don’t realize that the greatest danger posed to their child on social networks isn’t what their child does, but what others do to or say about their child.

“Almost all parents agree that they have a responsibility to look out for their kid’s safety and well-being while they’re on social networks, but there is a serious gap between what most parents believe is sufficient monitoring and what they are actually doing, which in most cases is far from sufficient,” said George Garrick, chief executive officer of SocialShield. “Our goal is to evaluate every friend request, every comment, every photo and all other activities regarding our customer’s children—including by all their friends—so that we can alert the parents if there’s anything suspicious. It’s ironic that so many parents insure their cellphones or protect their computers with anti-virus software, yet fail to properly protect their children from potential threats that can be both physical and psychological.” 

Unfortunately, suicides by teens who have been cyberbullied on social networks are a fact of life today, as are incidents of predators stalking and contacting young teen girls, with such contact often leading to tragic outcomes. About half of young people have experienced at least some form of cyberbullying, and 10 to 20 percent experience it regularly, according to the Cyberbullying Research Center, which also found that cyberbullying victims are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide compared to youth who had experienced no cyberbullying.

Since using a social network essentially requires the use of your real name and identity, many people (younger, more vulnerable teens in particular) often post excessive amounts of personal data including their daily habits and locations, not realizing they are leaving a real-life trail of who they are, what they do, and where they can be found.

Other findings from the report include:

  • 62% of parents feel that occasionally looking over their child’s shoulder while he/she sits at the computer in the family room is enough to monitor his/her activities effectively, even though 71% admit their child also accesses social networks from other places, such as at a friend’s house or the library
  • 50% of parents admitted that “properly monitoring would take a lot of time and I’m sure there are things I’m not seeing”
  • 63% of parents say they frequently review who their child is friending on social  networks to make sure it is only people that he/she knows in real life (although it’s impossible for any parent to really know who a particular “friend” is);
  • 54% of parents say they monitor their child’s social networking account by logging into his/her account as him/her on occasion; only 5% say they are currently using a monitoring application that alerts them if there is something they should be aware of.

Steve DeWarns, a San Francisco Bay Area police officer and the chief safety officer of SocialShield, said: “Whenever I’m speaking to parent organizations, I always tell them that you don’t know what you don’t know, and this data proves that while parents want to protect their kids on social networks, they don’t necessarily have time or even know the most effective way.  And at the most basic level, a large proportion of parents really don’t understand what social networks are and how they work, thus where the risks lie.”

“SocialShield has exceeded my expectations,” said Theresa Jeevanjee, a parent and SocialShield customer. “It’s extremely easy to use, with simple reports and efficient, timely alerts. Until my family started using it, I wasn’t sure we would need it. But we’ve come across lots of things that were worth at least talking about with my kids, and I’ve encountered many opportunities for valuable teaching experiences.”

About SocialShield

SocialShield is the leading cloud-based social network monitoring service. SocialShield gives parents affordable, easy-to-use, state-of-the-art tools to help them enhance Internet safety for their children in the online environment. The patent-pending SocialShield technology flags parents about their children’s activities on popular social networks so they can feel comfortable about who their children interact with online, what photos and conversations are being posted, and where children have profiles. Yet, by operating primarily as an “exception reporting” technology, children can still use these networks with a feeling of privacy and independence.  Based in San Bruno, CA, SocialShield is backed by USVP and Venrock as well as several notable private investors. For more, visit

Who should you target?

Pay attention to “upscale Latinos,” says Nielsen, calling them “the most influential segment since the baby boomers.” In partnership with the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA), Nielsen has released some data concerning this demographic, which accounted for 29% of the Hispanic population last year but an outsized 37% of its total spending power. Defined as Hispanic households earning between $50k and $100k in annual income, these Latinos tend to be fairly young, with three-quarters of them under the age of 45.NielsenAHAA-Quick-Facts-Upscale-Latinos-June2013


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