Mobile Computing and Social Networks

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Mobile Computing and Social Networks


Jamia Yant

June 6
, 2012


With Regard to
Geolocation and Consumer Data

Geolocation is a technology that uses data acquired from an
individual’s computer or mobile
device (any type of radio or network
enabled device) to identify or describe his/her
actual physical location. (
ISACA, 2011
) This technology has become one of the most popular
trends in social networking

us the ability to let our friends know where we are, identify
popular or convenient places close to our physical location or even remotely check in to
These types of applications when accessed on a desktop system are flatter and less
of an ex
perience. Most individuals at some point in time have pulled up MapQuest or Google
Maps to get directions from point “A” to point “B”, printed

directions and were on

way. But the experience is a lot richer when you are mobile and you’re Smart
phone or other
device automatically plugs in your current location. The relevant data you send and receive
changes as your location changes.


applications are able to do this through a GPS chip
inside the device. The chip uses satellite data to c
alculate your exact position. In the event that
there is interference or the service is

the chip uses information from cell towers to
ate the approximate location of the device. The efficiency of these apps is dependent
heavy upon se
rvice availability. Something as simple as driving through a heavy rain storm,
cloud cover, heavy trees or a valley can hinder the GPS chip from communicating with the
satellite. There can also be issues if you are inside or if your location is confusing

because there
are several businesses within close proximity at the same location like a strip mall. But if you
are driving along on a clear day these apps can be reasonable accurate. Something else to keep
in mind is the abilities of the application. T
he more sophisticated the software and the larger the
database the more accuracy it will proved.

There are also privacy concerns that accompany this type of application.
By sharing your
location on social networks, you could increase your level of
personal risk. Fortunately, as these
concerns arise application developers are allowing users to set some type of privacy preferences.
A few examples of the dangers of location sharing would be stalkers, pedophiles or even people
who see you are not at ho
me and then break in and rob you all while tracking your location as
you move. If users make smart choices with their privacy settings they will still find the rewards
we reap from this technology outweighs the small amount of privacy we sacrifice.

The Benefits of Mobile Applications for Consumers Using the Cloud

With the development of cloud computing, data has become mobile, transferable, and
instantly accessible.
Mobile technology had made almost every aspect of our lives portable.
Thanks t
o laptops, notebook computers, mobile and smart phones, GPS devices and wireless
debit/credit payment terminals there are a variety of ways to access this data on the go. This
technology offers individuals more flexible working practices, more flexible pa
yment options for
customers, allows businesses a way to provide better customer service, it increases product
and supports decision making
. Customers can now log into a payment center via their cell phone
or computer and pay bills without ever havin
g to leave the comfort of their own homes should
they choose to do so.
They can review transactions, read emails, share photos, update their
social networking relationships, and check in with doctors while refilling prescriptions all from
the palm of thei
r hand. The possibilities are limitless.

can still be actively involved
with the day to day business activity while traveling whether it be from a hotel room or an
airport. The freedom the cloud has given to working mothers is also a huge ben
. Some even
believe that cloud computing offers advantages to nearly every entity in the ecosystem.
gain three solid benefits from using the cloud.


Cost Savings

It reduces and limits the capital spent on in house
hardware/servers and ma
intaining them.



The business can scale their services up or down to meet their
businesses needs.



IT departments can focus on more strategic initiatives that will
have top and bottom line impacts by spending less time on deployment

There are still some remaining barriers that keep some business from adopting cloud
technology such as security risks, regulatory compliance and concern about connectivity and

Examine the challenges of developing
applications that run on mobile devices because of
the small screen size.

Designing for small screens has always been one of the biggest challenges for the mobile
medium. Screen real estate needs to be maximized. Even though mobile devices have beco
more powerful with the addition of bett
r processors, better color display and sharper resolution,
it is still not a good idea to try to transfer full sized PC websites or applications to these devices.
This would only lead to poor performance issues a
nd a lot of unhappy people. The idea is not to
shrink the website to fit to a smaller screen but to revamp the sites and apps to make them more
mobile. They need to be optimized for the user to have a productive experience. Potential
problems can range
from the various input methods for inputting data into the phone (different
keypads and methods of scrolling), varying screen sizes, varying phone capabilities, varying user
expectations, varying user behavior


leveraging built
in hardware and features
on a mobile
. (
Cartman/Ting, 2009

To successfully design for mobile devices, developers need to use a mobile interaction design
process. It can be broken down into a three step process: user research in order to understand the
user of the site or app being created, developing the des
igns, and test, learn and refine. The first
step is centered on target device analysis, user studies and interviews, and gathering the
requirements for the site or application. The second step targets conceptualizing, organizing,
interactive designing an
d rapid prototyping. And the final step involves testing (both focus and
usability) and then refining your final product. It is also important to remember that not every
mobile site or application will work on every device. That is why it is important t
o target
specific devices. A developer needs to isolate the most common devices likely to use their site
or app and design for that target audience

and then use that device when choosing optimal design
specs. Also look at the type of people using the sit
e or application and design it for those
individuals ease of use and expectations. Then document the requirements of those users so
there is formal documentation to refer to when doing the actual designing of the site or
application. Design and prototypin
g comes next so there are samples of the site or application
that can be tested in the final step. By the end of step two, the designer should have the concept,
site map and navigation, rapid paper prototyping or sketch, interaction design schematics, and

functional prototype.
The design principles taken into account are balance/instability,
attraction/grouping, symmetry/asymmetry, consistency/variation, economy/intricacy and
hierarchy. Balance/instability revolves around the visual balance in screen desi
gn helps the
information to be perceived easily and to set the focus on the target. Attraction is the condition
that creates a circumstance of attention in relative interaction. Symmetry is an axial balance; it is
the total of resolved visual formation in

which every unit on one side of a centerline is replicated
exactly on the other side. Consistency and variation refer to the way the same theme appears in
different versions of the app. This is premeditated before visualizing the different grid pages,
sing the same theme in application. Economy is the presence of minimal visual units, which is
the visualization of elements, frugal and judicious in their composition. Intricacy is the heavily
weighted, enriching technique in composition. And hierarchy
is an arrangement in an
understandable and aimed way according to the grouping of objects, information, etc.


Methods for Choosing Which Mobil Platform to Support

he choice of platform limits the choice of tools and languages that are

available, not to
mention the range of devices the apps can run on
. There are several questions to consider when

a platform for your mobile site or app: which carriers offer devices for the platform,
how many handsets are available, and what fea
tures do they offer, how robust is the platform's
development environment, and does the platform's application delivery method measure up?

Viswanathan, 2012
) Today mobile developers must choose between Android, BlackBerry,
iPhone, Palm webOS, Symbian, and

Windows Mobile

and the list goes on.
To make matters
worse the applications developed for these platforms are incompatible with each other

of this

the choice of platform limits the choice of tools and languages that are available


e of devices the app

are used with

McAllister, 2009

There are three questions
that the developer needs to consider before choosing his platform.


Which mobile platform is most popular with the target audience?


Which platform the developers hav
e the most experience with


hat features and functions the application needs to have and which platform has the
capacity for these

The platform that fits all three of these questions is the best one to start with.

Today it is expected
that the same app or
variation of


app be available for several different platforms.

Below is a graphic depicting Facebook’s mobile usage for different devices.

High Availability and Mobile Users

Today mobile technolog
y users depend on their devices for fast, reliable, easy access to email
and mobile business applications.
Any downtime can adversely affect businesses with respect to
customer service, productivity, sales and revenues. Businesses and individuals alike ha
become expectant of 24/7 application delivery. Service failures, downtime, and bad weather are
no longer acceptable excuses for down time.
Planned outages are easily managed but the
catastrophic affects of unplanned downtime can bring about serious co
, 2009

Even a few minutes of application downtime can cost big financial losses,
erode client confidence damage brand image, and present public relations problems.

Leung/ Mariza
, 2007)

Designing for availability is about anticipating, detecting, and automatically resolving
hardware or software failures before t
hey result in service errors, event faults, or data corruption

thereby minimizing downtime. The technology part of the solution requires multiple routes to
application services and data. The operational part of the solution is to use only tested, proven

processes (both automated and people
based) to support the application throughout its entire
lifecycle. (
Microsoft, 2012

Clustering is one of the most preferred methods for trying to provide continuous availability
for applications and servers.

This is done with multiple computers that are physically networked
together and logically connected using cluster software. This software allows two or more
independent servers to work as a single system. If a failure occurs, the workload is moved to
nother server, current client processes are switched over and the failed application restarted.
This all happens automatically and it gives the appearance of no downtime. There might be a
slight delay but the service will be completed.
A few benefits of

clustering are reduction of
unplanned downtime, reduction of planned downtime, continuous health monitoring and it is
compatible with industry standard hardware.

Another method is called Network Load Balancing. This is similar to Clustering except
Web traffic is evenly distributed over a number of servers. This method automatically detects
server failures and redirects client traffic to the other servers within seconds providing
uninterrupted, unbroken client service. Some of the benefits of t
his method are continuous
application service and incremental server additions.


is another method that

mirrors data to a remote storage system so that if the
primary storage system becomes unavailable, the data can be retrieved and accessed through the
remote subsystem
. There are other methods available to reduce downtime as well: using RAID
for data stor
es, reducing planned downtime by using rolling upgrades, queuing, and using a
Distributed File System. With many methods to assist us with providing high availability, one
thing is for certain; it is expected.
(Microsoft, 2012)

Security of Mobile

Consumers are just starting to catch on to the fact that the words mobile device and security
are not typically words they hear together

in a positive light
. With more and more businesses
starting to depend on mobile technology

more needs to

be done to close the security gap that
exists today in order to preserve sensitive data. Two of the largest threats against these devices
today are theft and insecure communications. If a thief gets his hands on someone else’s smart
phone or laptop, the
/she has access the user credentials and information stored on that device.
There are application weakness with regard to where they store the data, all the person in control
of the device needs is a USB cable, in some cases, to get log in credentials or
other data
pertaining to a lot of high profile apps on both OIS and Android platforms.
Immobilizing this
threat starts with us but it also has to be the responsibil
ity of application developers. (

In order to preserve our sensitive data there are steps we can take. The first step would be
to set up a password or lock code for device when it is idle. It can be inconvenient but the
immediate protection it offers is greatly beneficial. This will p
revent random individuals from
accessing your device when you are away from it. Setting up remote wiping is another security
step that can be taken. Today all mobile devices have the ability to send a signal to a device that
triggers the software install
ed on the device to delete any and all data stored on the device. If a
person looses their phone or device they can just wipe it and clear out all emails, documents and
contacts instantly. Encryption is another security step that a lot of organizations r
equire on their
laptops and other devices. Unfortunately, this isn’t available for all devices on the market today
but if it is available it should be used. Anti
virus software is another option for protecting your
phone or device. Usually this software

is in a sort of catch up to problems already found

previous individ
uals who have been hacked. Anti
virus doesn’t necessary promise security but if
it detects malware, it is a productive tool to use. Another way of avoiding security issues is to
use t
he device as a thin client. User of mobile devices should be weary of links and also turn of
the GPS feature when it isn’t needed. An added benefit to this is that it will also conserve batter
Another measure for protecting your device is to be c
areful which Apps you load onto
the device. The last thing I can recommend is to secure the device itself. I realize this seems
crazy but the reality is that if an individual has target a specific


and wants the
data contained on it, he/sh
e will have the lock code bypassed and have the information he or she
wants before the owner even knows it is gone or has time to wipe it.


Cartman, J., Ting, R. (2009) Excerpted from Strategic Mobile Design: Creating Engaging
, Pearson Education,

McAllister, N. (2009) How to choose a mobile development platform,

Worklight (2010) Top 10 Considerations for Choosing a Mobile Application Platform

Technical Whitepaper (2009) Understanding High Avai
lability for the BlackBerry
Enterprise Server,

Business Link (no date) Mobile Technology: What is mobile technology and what are the

VanWyk, K. (2012) Kenneth Van Wyk: We need more secure mobile devices, Computer


Viswanathan, P. (2012) How to Choose the Right Mobile Platform for App

Brooks, C., Leung, C., Mariza, A.

(2007) IBM S
ystem Storage Business Continuity
Solutions Overview


ISACA (2011) Geolocation: Risks, Issues and Strategies,

Microsoft (2012) Designing for Availability,

Mobinex (2009)
Smart face

Platform Application Development Guide,

Zevadsky, V. (2010)
Mobile Application Platforms: A D
eveloper’s Perspective,