Smartphones, IoT and Consumer Interest

accentureAccenture have report Igniting Growth in Consumer Technology (PDF) that covers how smartphone sales growth is coming to an end and how IoT devices are not filling the gap.

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Price is the top barrier to purchasing IoT devices while security comes next when it comes to people’s concerns. People are also finding IoT devices difficult to use.

Accenture provide some suggestions to help prevent stalling of consumer interest. These include improving consumer experience, building security/trust and leveraging IoT to create new types of solutions. Ecosystems are partnering are ways to enable growth.

With Security Comes Liability

thehackernewsTwo bits of news today related to legal proceedings due to security…

 

Samsung Get Sued for Failing to Update its Smartphones
and
Las Vegas Casino firm Affinity Gaming sued Trustwave for allegedly failing a data breach investigation

Both these demonstrate that security involves responsibility and ultimately liability. This makes me wonder how many apps out there with poor security could end up being an expensive and/or reputation-busting liability?

TrendForce Smartphone Research

trendforceTrendForce has new research that shows that Samsung smartphone shipments are in decline while Chinese OEMs are making larger market share gains…

trendforcejan2016

What does this mean for developers? While Samsung is still very strong, over time we will have to broaden our device testing portfolio to include more of the long tail of devices. The good news is that such devices will be less expensive than the high end Samsung devices we have been used to having to purchase in the past.

New Articles on iBeacon and Eddystone Bluetooth Beacons

beaconzoneThere are many articles on iBeacons and Eddystone that obscure or confuse what beacons actually are due to over emphasis of the business benefits or description of proprietary server side CMS features.

I have recently written several new articles for beaconzone.co.uk. The articles explain what beacons are, ways they can be used and pragmatic tips how to set them up based on past experience…

What are Beacons?
Ways to Use Beacons
iOS and Android Apps
Choosing UUID, Major, Minor and Eddystone-UID For Beacons
Choosing an Advertising Interval
Choosing the Transmitted Power
Determining Location Using Bluetooth Beacons

Also take a look at my recent article on this site on Bluetooth Beacons, iBeacons, Eddystone and IoT. You can also follow @TheBeaconZone on Twitter for the latest news on iBeacon and Eddystone.

Fiksu Charts

fiksuFiksu has some pretty charts tracking Android and iOS adoption. The data comes from apps worldwide using the Fiksu SDK that are reporting in-app events. However, despite being Worldwide data, most of Fiksu’s clients are in the US and Europe.

There are lots of charts and implicit insights. For example, want to know what Android devices you need to test on? Take a look at the top Android phones:

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Liquid Expectations in Mobile Health

accentureAccenture have a recent free paper on Losing Patience:Why Healthcare Providers Need to Up Their Mobile Game (pdf) where they say hospitals have engaged less than 2% of patients using mobile apps despite a growing desire for mobile engagement from patients. While the paper is based on US research, I believe most of the findings are applicable to global healthcare.

accenturehealthneeds

The paper talks of ‘liquid expections‘ where consumer expectations seep over from one industry to another, leading to end users feeling they haven’t been served well. It’s an interesting concept because it applies not just to health but other areas lagging in mobile.

Accenture emphasise the need to meet patients needs and improve the patient experience. However, I think there’s more at stake. Mobile technologies can improve efficiency for healthcase providers and enable side activities such as data capture and extra revenue streams.

If you happen to be in the UK and have an IoT idea for hospitals or social care, take a look at the IoTUK Boost that has a competition running with prizes of workshops, mentoring and desk space. But be quick, it closes 1200 on Monday!

Bluetooth Beacons, iBeacons, Eddystone and IoT

bluetoothWhat have Bluetooth Beacons, iBeacons and Eddystone to do with the Internet of Things (IoT)? What’s the role of smartphones and apps in IoT?

The IoT is the networking of physical objects such that they can be sensed or controlled remotely. The Enabling the Internet of Things article is a great primer. Ignoring for a moment the complex issues of data management, analytics, security and privacy, IoT has a connectivity problem.

The physical ‘things’ need to connect. However, they are often cost constrained and/or energy (battery) constrained and/or resource (cpu/memory) constrained so many can’t have their own WiFi. As a paper from the University of Michigan says, ‘The Internet of Things Has a Gateway Problem‘. Most current IoT solutions either implement expensive WiFi or have a separate router. The main problem with the separate router approach is that this will become impractical when a large number of things, for example in the home, become part of the IoT. You won’t want a router for each service.

Some people say Bluetooth Beacons, iBeacons and Eddystone are part of the IoT but I’d argue they strictly aren’t as current implementations don’t talk over an Internet protocol (IPv6) – yet. There’s a draft specification for IPv6 over Bluetooth LE  and the Nordic nRF51 SoC used in many iBeacons, has an SDK for IPv6 over Bluetooth® Smart.

Even with IPv6 over Bluetooth LE there’s a router problem. Something needs to forward on the IPv6 data. In Nordic’s implementation a Raspberry Pi is used as a Bluetooth Smart router. However, the good thing is only one router, per location, is needed for multiple services. Another future possibility is to use smartphones as the IPv6 router.

Another problem is the capability (cpu, memory) of current SoCs typically isn’t sufficient to run IPv6 over Bluetooth LE and the core functionality of whatever it is doing/monitoring. However, newer SoC such as Nordic’s nRF52 Series might help solve this problem.

Whether now or in the future, smartphones can be used to pass on either the data itself communicated via BLE or data wrapped via the IPv6 protocol. Smartphones are the enabling technology. Apps are also ideally placed to provide a UI to control and view local or remote IoT devices.

So what can the Bluetooth beacons do? Up to now, most uses have been in the retail and visitor spaces with an emphasis on location. However, IoT is more about sensing and control. What can beacons sense? Current beacons can sense acceleration, temperature and humidity. A conversation with Terence Eden on Twitter made me realise that current beacons already offer a bit more. Some of them have on-off switches, turning broadcasting on/off, that can be directly wired into other sensors such as door/open close sensors, other security sensors or other on/off circuits.

AppStretch to Make the Most of Your Best Customers

appstretchI previously wrote how, for in-app purchases, 1.14% of paying customers generate 30% of the sales. A relatively small number of customers are the loyal ones.

Today I came across an announcement for AppStretch that takes advantage of your most loyal customers. AppStretch says fans will pay a lot for a great feature, improvement or just to support the developer. I guess AppStretch are right and developers are actually under-charging the worth of in-app purchased new features for the top loyal users.

AppStretch will crowdsource feature ideas for apps and provide a better mechanism for monetising the process. It’s coming in Q1 2016 but you can sign up now.

Remember, it’s not just about money. This process might also help refine and improve your app in the right direction.