Mobile Computing and Social Networks
“Mobile Computing and Social Networks” Richard Henderson Dr. James Francisco CIS 500 – Information Systems for Decision Making 9/7/2012 Strayer University Mobile Computing and Social Networks Mobile computing and social networks are part of the daily lives of millions of Americans. “48% of American adults own a mobile computing device in some form according to the latest Nielsen data. ” (Knott, 2012) As far as social networking site usage “over 65% of all internet users in the United States use social networking sites. (Brenner, 2012) It is obvious that mobile computing and social networking on the web is not a passing fade. There are many uses and applications for mobile computing and social networks. In this paper a few of these aspects will be examined. First an assessment will be made as to the effectiveness and efficiency mobile-based applications provide to capture geolocation data and customer data, and quickly upload to a processing server without users having to use a desktop system.
Second, an evaluation of the benefits realized by consumers because of the ability to gain access to their own data via mobile applications will be completed. Third, the challenges of developing applications that run on mobile devices because of the small screen size will be examined. Forth, the methods that can be used to decide which platform to support, i. e. , iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone, or Android will be described. Fifth, due to mobile applications requiring high availability because end users need to have continuous access to IT and IS systems, a discussion of the ways of providing high availability will be undertaken.
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Finally, because mobile devices are subjected to hacking at a higher rate than non-mobile devices, methods of making mobile devices more secure will be examined. Mobile based applications provide a wealth of information to the end user and businesses alike. Users on the go can download and upload information effortlessly on the go without having to boot up a traditional computer. Businesses can capture customer data from these mobile devices and use it to target their marketing efforts.
This is due to the high availability of today’s mobile networks and the effectiveness and efficiency of mobile- based applications. Two types of data that are routinely captured and uploaded today are geolocation data and customer data. Geolocation refers to the “technology that uses data acquired from an individual’s computer or mobile device to identify or describe his/her actual physical location. ” (ISACA, 2011, pp. 5, par 1) Finding the users location is done by the use of GPS or through cell tower triangularization. Most smart phones have a GPS chip inside and the chip uses satellite data to calculate your exact position, which services such as Google Maps can then map. ” (Ionescu, 2012) Google Maps is just one of many applications that can utilize the location of potential customers. Examples of these applications are “Foursquare, Path, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Voxer, Skype, and Yahoo! Messenger just to name a few. ” (Panzarino, 2012) These types of applications are robust and very efficient at uploading customer data and storing it on their data servers, all through the very air we breathe.
This data is used in a variety of ways: Geolocation data generally are used for three purposes: Geo-referencing – the physical location of an object or person; geo-coding – refers to the searching of information regarding objects or services on a map; and geo-tagging – adding geographic information to an object, such as a photograph. (ISACA, 2011, pp. 5, par 3) Geolocation data allows mobile users to look up restaurants, find their friends current location, and tagging photos they take while on vacation. Businesses also benefit from the geolocation data they acquire on their customers. It is used in advertising; to better understand customers’ product and services needs; content customization and fraud detection”. (ISACA, 2011, pp. 7, par 1) On the other side, additional data is being uploaded from customers who use these robust and efficient applications: “Apps that send data with no warning: Foursquare. Apps that send data after warning: Path, Instagram, Facebook, and Voxer. ” (Panzarino, 2012) In return for the use of their mobile computing applications these companies will (with or without user permission) help themselves to your address book data, browsing habits and ervices usage. Mobile computing applications have proven to be effective, efficient, and very fast with regards capturing data and quickly uploading it to a processing server without users having to use a desktop system. Data availability has become instantaneous with the advent of powerful and highly available wireless networks, state of the art mobile computing devices, and mobile computing applications. Consumers have access to a wealth of their own data while on the go – what was not thought possible a decade ago has materialized into an expectation of instant data gratification.
Benefits realized by consumers because of the ability to gain access to their own data via mobile applications are many. Convenience is one benefit followed by the efficient way that mobile computing applications give consumers access to their data in real time. Some examples of these mobile computing applications are: “Mobile banking, mobile health monitoring, social networking, shopping, music, video and email. ” (Gartner, 2009) Most major banks have developed applications that run on today’s popular mobile computing platforms and smartphones like the iPhone, iPad, and Android.
Consumers gain great benefit from being able to check their account balances, make payments and with some mobile devices even deposit checks by taking a picture of it and sending it to the consumers’ financial institution. Mobile health monitor is coming of age – consumers can access their health information from their mobile device by logging into their healthcare providers’ portal or having their monitored health statistics/information sent directly to their mobile device via text message.
It goes without saying that social networking access can be considered one of the top applications that consumers use daily – with just a few clicks a user can update their status, post and download photos, and update profile information via their mobile computing device all in real time. Shopping is also gaining popularity in mobile computing – consumers can log in to their favorite shopping website and utilize their stored account profiles to make shopping easy and convenient (almost too easy and convenient).
Logging in to music accounts like iTunes gives a consumer access to their music and video on the go, and provides them the opportunity to stay connected to their favorite content no matter where they are. And let’s not forget one of the most used features of the technology age – email. Consumers can have multiple email accounts imported into just one mobile device and stay in contact with friends and business associates alike, again, in real time without the use of a traditional desktop computer. Consumers have realized many benefits due to the ability to gain access to their own data via mobile applications.
There are a multitude of mobile applications in existence. Creating these mobile applications can be a challenge. There are many devices on the market, all with different operating systems, overhead requirements and form factor parameters. One of the factors that a mobile device applications developer will need to consider is the screen size of the mobile device that they are developing the application for. “Mobile device screen size is our main concern, because it’s the object that encapsulates user interaction and navigation.
Only one screen is visible at a time, and the user can only interact with the items on that screen. “ [ (Extenrix, 2007, p. 4 par 5) ] Not only are the screen sizes small on today’s mobile devices, but there are many different screen sizes as well. After the small screen size is taken into consideration then the designer must allow flexibility in the application design as to be compatible with these different screen sizes. Your design should fit most mobiles with different screen sizes and resolutions, so your design should be as flexible as possible.
And for this issue you need to look for your market, what the major kind of devices are used, and what their screen sizes are. So you can orient your design to fit your market. [ (Extenrix, 2007, p. 4 par 6) ] Due to screen limitations it is important to make a mobile application as efficient as possible. As users of desktop and even laptop computers with large hi definition screens we take for granted the complexity of many of the applications and websites that we use every day. In mobile application development complex is not a primer to use. Menus should be simple, flat and minimal. You need to rethink normal navigation and content display to deliver clear, concise content with minimal navigation menus” [ (Extenrix, 2007, pp. 7, par 3) ] The application itself should also be as simple as possible: “Designing for mobile is about breaking up an application into small steps: Remember the user can only interact with the items on one screen. . . divide your application into very discreet tasks. ” (Extenrix, 2007, p. 6 par 4) The size, type and formatting of text is also an important consideration when developing applications for small screened mobile devices.
Don’t hard code text size, and allow users to change text size. Try to use dynamic size in list views and tree views and static font size in dialog boxes, label, etc… Use Title Case for Button labels, group box headers, menu/popup menu labels, soft key labels, and Message box titles. [ (Extenrix, 2007, pp. 8 par 1-2) ] How text and content are displayed is also crucial for developing mobile applications for small screen devices. “When developing your application, make sure that you avoid horizontal scrolling and set the column widths on Auto size. It’s preferable also to have two rows per item vs. of two columns. ” (Extenrix, 2007, p. par 3) As can be seen there are several challenges with developing an application for small screen mobile devices over traditional larger screen desktops and laptops – but these challenges can be overcome with a smart simple design of the mobile applications user interface. When a mobile application begins the development stage there has to be a target market in mind. With that target market comes the decision on which platform should the application be developed for initially. Not every platform can be accommodated with just one application so to get the most bang for the buck a primary platform must be targeted.
The ever popular iPhone is targeted more and more by application developers, if it exists on another platform it was probably developed for the iPhone first and then re developed for secondary platforms. But is the iPhone the platform that should be supported. There are other platforms out there such as iPad, Windows Phone and Android, which one should be chosen? Some considerations should be made when deciding what platform to support. “Every company has to decide which mobile platform to support . . . the mobile battlefield is littered with dead platforms.
There are also some important business differences that affect product strategy, distribution and monetization. ” [ (Devitt, 2012) ] Things to consider when choosing a platform to support: “Freedom to innovate; distribution; bundling deals and monetization. ” [ (Devitt, 2012) ] The freedom to innovate is something that should be considered when deciding which platform to support. Does platform A give you enough freedom to create an application without any undue restrictions? What is the approval process to get your application on platform? For example: You cannot launch an iOS app without Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) approval.
You can’t sell a better music player, and you can’t replace the core dialer, which hobbles apps like Google Voice. Mr. Number can’t offer Caller ID or call blocking services on the iPhone. Rigid enforcement of the human interface guidelines makes the iPhone UX seamless for consumers but limits innovation. [ (Devitt, 2012) ] The method that the new applications will be distributed is another important consideration when choosing which platform to support. “If you’re a startup with a low budget, you need to consider search marketing, social media, PR, viral and OEM deals, and once again there are differences among the major platforms. [ (Devitt, 2012) ] A third consideration is bundling deals. If you can get carriers to pre load your application on their devices that is a good way to get you application out in front of users. Which carrier and platforms allow bundling, due diligence must done in this regard. For example: Apple does not bundle or pre-load applications and does not allow carriers to do so. But, OEMs and carriers have much more control over Android and need a way to make their phones stand out… independent app stores like GetJar offer another channel for developers willing to experiment with pricing models. (Devitt, 2012) ] Finally there is monetization to consider. Will there be a charge for the application and if so how much? Which platform is more successful for monetization? In this Apple seems to be the best platform: “If you plan to charge for your app or make money from in-app purchases, iOS still crushes the competition. Apple has been collecting credit card numbers since the launch of iTunes and has hundreds of millions of billing relationships. ” [ (Devitt, 2012) ] As can be seen many decisions need to made in advance of any mobile application development. All mobile platforms differ from one another. The right platform is not simply a technical decision. The business rules, marketing strategies, and revenue opportunities all differ. ” [ (Devitt, 2012) ] The platform has been chosen, the application design is complete and the application has been launched – now what? Mobile application availability is the next step in this process. Mobile applications require high availability because end users need to have continuous access to IT and IS systems. How do you provide this high availability? “Where reliability is concerned with the question, “Does it work? ” availability engineering is concerned with the question, “How fast can it be fixed? ” (Microsoft, 2012) Some ways to sustain high availability are: Reduce unplanned downtime with clustering; use network load balancing; use RAID for data stores; reduce planned downtime; and isolate mission-critical applications. What is clustering? “Clustering technology is about linking many physical servers, so that if one fails the running application is swapped over to another server and continues running. ” (Microsoft, 2012) With Clustering the end user of the applications does not feel any impact of use if the server the application is running on goes down.
The next method in providing high-availability is by using network load balancing. Network load balancing can also help with availability: should a server fail, you can redefine the cluster and direct traffic to the other servers. NLB automatically detects a server failure and redirects client traffic to the remaining servers within ten seconds — all the time maintaining continuous, unbroken client service. (Microsoft, 2012) A third method for providing high availability is using RAID for data storage: “RAID is a way to use multiple hard disks so that data is stored in multiple places.
The benefit of RAID is that any disk failure automatically transfers to a mirrored or reconstructable data image, the application continues running. ” (Microsoft, 2012) Next item for maintaining high availability is avoiding planned downtime. One of the best ways to avoid planned downtime is by using rolling upgrades. . . You simply move the server’s resource groups to another server, take the server offline, do the upgrade, and bring the server online . . . the other servers handle the workload and the application experiences no downtime. Microsoft, 2012) The last method discussed for providing high availability will be isolating mission-critical applications. “A high-availability application cannot risk contamination by other running applications. For mission critical applications, it is highly recommended that data and system dependencies be eliminated by using entirely separate physical backbones for each. ” (Microsoft, 2012) Basically this means using different network paths to connect to the outside internet so the mission critical application will have its own route out without sharing it with other applications.
Mobile devices are subjected to hacking at a higher rate than non-mobile devices. What methods can be employed to make mobile devices more secure? Some methods to be considered are: keep mobile device software updated; enable PINs or passwords; install mobile device security software; and create a network defense. The first step to safe guarding mobile device data from hackers is to keep the mobile devices operating software updated to insure patches and fixes are installed.
By doing so the most recent security updates are installed on the mobile device keeping hackers at bay. Next, enabling a PIN or password on a mobile device puts one more barrier up to help protect the data on the device. Access control is the simplest safeguard you can apply to any mobile device. All contemporary mobile operating systems support power-on PINs or passwords – using PINs or passwords could inhibit unauthorized use of a lost or stolen smartphone without major productivity drain for many workers. Phifer, Three Steps to achieve security for smartphones within a budget, 2009) Another protective measure is to install third party mobile device security software on the platform in question. “Consider filling these holes with device-resident mobile security programs. For example, antivirus and SMS antispam programs are available for all popular mobile operating systems from sources like AirScanner, F-Secure Corp. , Symantec Corp. , SMobile Systems, Trend Micro Inc. , and Sophos. ” (Phifer, Smartphone Security: The growing treate of mobile malware, 2008) The last method to be discussed is network defense. When mobile devices access corporate networks through an application gateway or remote access concentrator, malware propagation may be deterred by device finger-printing and/or content inspection. ” (Phifer, Smartphone Security: The growing treate of mobile malware, 2008) Another method of network defense would be to – “Relay all tunneled traffic through a network antivirus, intrusion prevention system (IPS) or unified threat management (UTM) platform to drop suspicious messages. (Phifer, Smartphone Security: The growing treate of mobile malware, 2008) In summary an assessment was made as to the effectiveness and efficiency mobile-based applications provide to capture geolocation data and customer data, and quickly upload to a processing server without users having to use a desktop system. It was found that the current crop of mobile-based applications was effective and efficient with regards to their tasking. An evaluation of the benefits realized by consumers because of the ability to gain access to their own data via mobile applications was completed.
It was found that users realized greater real time convenience in accessing their data with, mobile banking, mobile health monitoring, social networking, shopping, music, video and email. The challenges of developing applications that run on mobile devices because of the small screen size was examined and design of user interface was outline in relationship to mobiles with different screen sizes, simple menu design, text size and formatting , scrolling and displaying rows vs. columns. Methods were explored on how to decide which platform to support, i. e. iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone, or Android and it was found that the freedom to innovate, distribution, bundling and methods of monetization should be considered to assist in this process. Due to mobile applications requiring high availability a discussion of the ways of providing high availability was undertaken and it was identified that clustering, network load balancing, using RAID for data storage, reducing planned down time and isolating mission-critical applications on their own backbone were some methods that could be used to provide high mobile application availability.
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