Loopt Launches First Always-On, Location-Aware iPhone App – Hopefully Others Will Follow Soon

first_imgRole of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Loopt, a location-aware mobile application and social network, just announced that it will become the first third-party iPhone app that will be able to offer an always-on location service on the iPhone. From what we have seen, AT&T officially sanctioned this feature, which Loopt already offers on other platforms. Normally, apps can’t run in the background on the iPhone. This is clearly a severe limitation for a lot of developers, and few developers have the clout to get around this limitation the way Loopt apparently did (Loopt demoed its app at WWDC last year).What Loopt is DoingWhile the details of this ‘hack’ are not quite clear, it looks like the iPhone will keep a conduit open to AT&T or Loopt’s server that will continuously update a user’s location via the iPhone’s built-in GPS chip. Loopt is only allowing 5,000 users into this program for now. You can sign up for the test here; just note that after an initial 14-day trial, Loopt will put a $3.99 charge on your AT&T bill each month for this service. Once this feature is active, Loopt will always know where you are and alert you automatically when you are close to a friend who also uses the service. Until now, you had to open the app and ‘check in’ to update your location. By running in the background, Loopt will be able to just alert you automatically without the hassle of you having to open the app – something most users are unlikely to do after trying out the app for the first time.A number of mobile phones, including Android phones and the Palm Pre, allow apps to run in the background (and Loopt is available on most of these). Apple’s push notifications only really work for apps that can already run independently on a web server and wait for an email, breaking news event, or Twitter DM to come in. Apps that use push notifications can’t actually wake up apps on the phone and download location data or access any other data on the phone. Loopt, obviously, isn’t actually running in the background on the phone either, but thanks to the way Loopt has implemented this feature, a user would never actually know the difference.Other Apps We Would Like to See Doing ThisThe ingenuity of the hack and the fact that AT&T is allowing Loopt to route around the iPhone’s limitation is interesting in its own right. It’s even more interesting to think about the other services that could benefit from this service. Obviously, Loopt’s competitors like Brightkite and Whrll come to mind here, but advertisers would also be very interested in location-aware services that could alert users to deals at nearby stores (though such alerts could quickly become annoying). The same technique – keeping a pipeline to an app’s server open – could also benefit another class of apps that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention yet: cross-reality apps (for the background on these apps, which are somewhat related to augmented reality apps, see our discussion of cross reality and sensors here). Services such as CenceMe, which uses the iPhone’s sensors to check if you are walking, sitting, running or in a loud place, also currently need to be running exclusively on the iPhone to work. Hopefully – Apple will soon just allow apps to run in the background. While other platforms already offer this feature, none of them come close to the popularity of the iPhone or have a similarly convenient app marketplace. What’s Next?What applications do you hope will use this technique next on the iPhone? Cross-reality apps? A location-aware social networking app from Facebook? Google Latitude? Related Posts Tags:#mobile#news#Trends#web center_img frederic lardinois Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

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How to win in the booming China babytech market

first_imgMatthew Ryan Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Thanks to the relaxing of the single-child policy in 2016, China is predicted to be heading towards a baby boom, with the number of newborns predicted to reach 18 million by 2018. As a result, the countries already crazy annual spending on baby products is set for 15 per cent year-on-year growth, rising to RMB 969 billion ($147.4 billion) by 2020. Chinese born in the ’80s and ’90s are fearless tech lovers, with a recent survey finding that 60% of the population consider themselves early adopters. Babytech sales are already strong, and these changing demographics paired with a growing urban middle class are set to See also: Is smart baby tech a parent’s dream or worst nightmare?A number of babytech devices have already created a furor in China. In particular Moodoo, a smart fetal monitoring patch which managed to raised more than $4.3 million in five minutes. Other successes have been smart milk formula mixing machines, like NicePapa and the number of smart thermometers and monitoring devices. We spoke to Liang Du, CEO of Mommy Knows, an OEM/ODM company that focuses on Smart Diapers, Oscar Chan of Bimado, a foreign owned, but Chinese based baby tech manufacturer and Lucas Wang, CEO of hardware collaboration platform, HWTrek. They gave us the info on what overseas companies need to succeed in this flourishing smart product market. Consider the Chinese family as a wholeA difficult recent history and rapidly changing social milieu have created complex sets of consumer demands that are distinct from the US. Young Chinese parents are some of the savviest, early adopters in the world and make, informed, research-driven tech consumption decisions. Unfortunately, the situation is not as simple as marketing strictly towards this demographic. Grandparents commonly take the role of raising children, while parents work long working hours. According to Liang Du, creators of babytech devices “Always have to consider three factors. First, the user (baby), then the person purchasing the device (the parents) and finally the operator (grandparents).” Older generations of Chinese mostly grew up poor, in a country that was technologically behind the rest of the world and are confused by complex features. They also hold a number of folk beliefs that are incomprehensible to non-natives. For example, Bimado found at the testing stage, that many older Chinese believe that the correct treatment for a child with a fever is to wrap them in as many layers as possible, making it impossible for their device to get accurate temperature readings. Oscar Chan recommends that overseas companies in the babytech field in China, “study the overall preference of the whole Chinese household, rather than thinking about consumers individually.” You need to make the device simple enough for this generation to use, while still being technically advanced to attract parents. Being foreign is no longer enoughChina has changed. The catchment of buying a product from the West is fading and consumers are starting to prefer Chinese electronics brands. This is especially true of IoT and smart products, where China is widely perceived as having a competitive advantage. The ecosystem for smart products in Shenzhen and the rest of China is so advanced, that it is almost impossible for overseas companies to compete on features. Oscar Chan, recommends that it’s better to concentrate on branding, industrial design, and product safety: “Many Chinese products have really strong features but feel cheap or look ugly. Foreign companies can really add value and be competitive through telling a story…. branding, industrial design, swish UI and safety certification.” These views are echoed by Lucas Wang: “For more simple functioning hardware you can’t differentiate on hardware because that is easily replicated, the real value for Chinese consumer is in services and user experience.”Companies need to be special. The market is much more mature than the West and consumers have seen a lot before. Just adding BlueTooth, Wifi, and an app to a traditional toy, is not enough to woo consumers. According to Liang Du, If you do want to go down that path of adding technical features to a familiar baby product, then “make sure that every last bit of your design is as good as the traditional product.”Find a local partnerMao Zedong said “Women hold up half the sky,” but in modern Chinese households, the mother now has an even greater share of the decision making process. As Liang Du explains, “The role of the father in shopping has been reduced to only suggestions. It’s useless selling a babytech product on features or techy spec stuff that men like. You need to use more feminine trigger words in your branding like “natural” and “environmentally friendly.”To meet the demands of the China market, it is best to work with a Chinese partner. The supply chain in Shenzhen and the rest of China is pretty complete, from sensor manufacturers to specialist babytech design houses. Foreign companies who base themselves in China, can take advantage of this ecosystem and get both the edge on the local market and the global one. As Oscar Chan explains that “Shenzhen has become so international. The company I work with has a Swiss designer. Shenzhen had a good downstream ecosystem and now they have upstream as well. Everything is here.”Lucas Wang adds: “Working with a local design house or manufacturer, means that you are able to meet the rapidly changing preferences of local consumers. The preferences of Chinese parents change so quickly and without a local partner, you are fumbling around in the dark.”center_img Tags:#baby#babytech#China#featured#Internet of Things#IoT#top Follow the Puck Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to…last_img read more

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Sudin Dhavlikar dropped: Biggest dacoity by ‘chowkidars’ on MGP at night, says the Dy. CM

first_imgDeputy Chief Minister and senior leader of Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) Sudin Dhavalikar, who was also Minister for Public Works, was dropped from the Cabinet on Wednesday morning by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. Mr. Dhavalikar was dropped following a split in the three-member MGP, with two of his colleagues merging the split legislative wing into BJP.Speaking to presspersons, Mr. Dhavlikar said, “At night, the ‘chowkidars’, by committing biggest dacoity on MGP, have shocked the people of Goa. People of Goa are watching this. People will decide on the course of action.”One of the two MGP MLAs who joined BJP, Manohar Ajgaonkar, is a Minister in the BJP-led coalition government. The other MLA, Deepak Pauskar, is expected to be sworn in as a Cabinet Minister later in the evening after Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, who is out of station, arrives in Goa, Chief Minister Sawant has confirmed. The political development and rift between the ruling BJP and the MGP is expected to heat up in the campaign of the upcoming general elections for two Lok Sabha seats and three assembly seats. Sources in the MGP have indicated that it will field candidates against the BJP. Dipak Dhavlikar, brother of Mr. Dhavlikar is already in the fray in the Shiroda by-poll and has refused to withdraw from it despite repeated pleas from the BJP to its ally.last_img read more

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