There are certain things in life that we take for granted – the sun rising in the morning and setting at night, England disappointing us at football – you get the idea. And as the world changes our expectations change also, who would have imagined 10 years ago that we would all expect to be able to access mobile data where ever we are to interact with social media (and collect email etc).
The smart phone has become an essential part of so many people’s lives now and we expect it to work all of the time 100% effectively. Apple, Samsung and Microsoft have done their best to facilitate this with their hardware and software – all of which still never ceases to amaze me with what it can do. However there is a weak link in all this…… and that is the networks.
You can have the best bit of hardware in the world, but if you can’t get mobile data it is about as much use as a brick! My experience at the Test Match at Trent Bridge this week was a classic example. I was intending to twitter via the @InnesEngland twitter account from the match, and I did, but not to the degree I wanted to due to a lack of 3G signal from our carrier Vodafone. I know it wasn’t just me because my colleagues were having similar issues with data as well.
This is not a new phenomenon brought about by the increased use of mobile data, I have found Vodafone wanting on their coverage for many years. They have made some minor improvements, I actually got 3G in my home town of Malmesbury recently for the first time ever. But generally they lag well behind the other networks EE and in particular.
There was a time when the enterprise user was the most important user to a networks data provision, that may still be the case but for different reasons as Social Media usage explodes into that market. Perhaps it is time for the various networks to share their masts and provide the sort of service the rest of Europe already experiences.
This entry was posted in Nottingham, Tech and tagged apple, innes england, iphone, Microsoft, Nottingham, O2, Social Media, Social networking, Trent Bridge, Twitter, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone, West Bridgford Wire.
I blogged just before Christmas about the Pebble watch, I was in two minds about getting one to try. Basically it is a ‘smart watch’ that acts as an extension to a smart phone (such as an iPhone). It shows received emails, messages, calls, it can use apps to give bus or flight times, show the weather, act as a gps, show my diary etc – you get the idea.
In the end I held off because I wasn’t keen on the plastic design which would have been rather large on my ‘small’ wrists. However, just after Christmas Pebble announced that they were releasing the Pebble Steel – a much more upmarket design made from steel (no surprise there) – it was more expensive but was also smaller and would arrive with the long-awaited software upgrade to version 2, which would bring further benefits and improvements to its abilities. That was enough for me, I ordered one on-line during the announcement (a Birthday present from my wife). Delivery wouldn’t until mid Feb but I was happy to wait….
Well, I must have been one of the earliest people to order one as it was dispatched on the day of release from the factory in China and arrived on the 31st of January (take note Royal Mail). The software update with the new app store arrived a week later and I have now been using the watch for a week and am rather impressed. I know some people ‘don’t get it’ and think it is just a novelty, but it has already proved its worth – let me explain;
If I am inspecting property as part of my work I tend to have my hands pretty full; clipboard, camera, tape measure as a minimum, my iPhone is consequently in my pocket. Any emails or calls received previously required me to stop, put things down and pull out my phone to see if it needed dealing with. Now I can see who is calling and decide to answer or drop the call from my wrist. I can also see if that email or text is important or can wait in the same way. This sounds a small thing but it can make a huge difference to my time spent on site.
This last weekend in London I kept my phone in a pocket to keep it away from any ‘undesirables’ – if I was on a noisy street that in the past would cause me to miss calls or messages as they came in. Not anymore – a vibration on my wrist and I can ‘filter’ them without having to pull out my phone and draw attention to it.
And the last and perhaps coolest thing is an app I have for the Pebble called Pebbgps, it allows me to get directions from the gps on my iPhone direct to my wrist, so walking across London from A – B was so easy (and it worked really well). Again no iPhone out for someone to snatch.
So all in all a very good piece of kit – it will be interesting to see what Apple come up with in their upcoming iWatch – it will need to be very good to better the Pebble.
I have a client who makes coffins – this sounds rather morbid and unexciting, but as well as ‘normal’ coffins they make bespoke coffins as well. This side of the business trades as ‘Crazy Coffins‘ – and what they produce are quite amazing.
It is as you can imagine quite a niche business, but once people hear of it they tell others about it, so growth is somewhat organic. However they do have a Facebook page and put up photos and information about their special coffins. The number of likes on the page were at around 700 a few weeks ago, and then they had some ‘internet luck’….
A lady who lived in Aylesbury wanted a casket for her ashes in the form of the Star Ship Enterprise from Star Trek (she was a Trekkie). The details and photos were duly added to the Facebook page once completed on the 8th December, and then some internet growth occurred…
Within a day the likes on the Facebook page had doubled, mainly due to a US undertaker who liked the page, his like was then seen by George Takei (Mr Sulu from Star Trek) who has 5 Million followers on Facebook (he is also on Twitter @GeorgeTakei) – the photo then gained 40,000 likes.
Crazy Coffins Facebook page currently has 1855 likes – proof (if needed) that social media still works for marketing!
I saw a report last week that said that ‘half of teenagers have never sent a letter’ – this set me thinking about the way we relate to each other nowadays.
The stats on letter writing really were quite salutary – apparently half of 12 to 17 year olds have never sent a personal letter to family or friends, and many claim they wouldn’t know how to! This is obviously good news for those who have taken up shares in our recently privatised Royal Mail…..
Two in five girls and three in five boys admitted to never having used the traditional post in their lives, with the majority not seeing why they should when they can send an email instead. Even adults have changed with one in three unable to recall when they sent a personal letter last.
So email is the new letter – 93% of teenagers and 55% of adults confirming this was their preferred choice for ‘written’ contact now with family and friend. But perhaps even more damming is the reason given by almost a quarter of the respondents – cost and time taken to deliver the letter.
We live in a much more ‘instant’ society now, the smartphone has become almost essential to be an active part of society – 2013 will without doubt be seen as the year we all went mobile.
I love tech and how it can help smooth the experience of running your life, the iPhone (or any smartphone) is an amazing piece of kit that can help you keep on top of things. I have run my life for years via one piece of kit – initially a Psion, then a Pocket PC and now an iPhone. There is an issue however that is becoming more off an issue as more and more people and businesses become ‘tech savvy’. And that is information overload – something that allows you to screen the information coming through your smartphone would be great (and prevent constant checking of the phone).
I think I may have found the answer – but do I adopt now or do I wait for Apples take on this technology? I am of course talking about ‘smart watches’ – Apple are believed to have the iWatch in the wings (release is currently ‘expected’ in fall 2014). But there is a current option – the Pebble – it isn’t as flashy as Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, but it also doesn’t cost an arm and a leg!
The Pebble only has a black and white screen, but it does offer up to 7 days battery life and will link with an iPhone (running iOS7) and show all notifications of emails, texts, Facebook, twitter – you get the idea. It is this which interests me – the ability to screen out the many notifications with only a flick of the wrist.
Yes, it does perhaps currently lack the depth of abilities to make it a real ‘killer’ item, but it is constantly being updated via its software and has huge potential. In many ways it is a classic case of ‘more is less’ and almost has the feel of ‘Apple’ to it.
I am tempted – if Santa is reading this I would like a black one please…
I am a big fan of our Nottingham bus service, it provides a great service that I use (very) infrequently. But when I do I know that I can find the next bus due at our local stop (or any other in the city) just by looking at the NCT app on my iphone – it is a great app and works really well – until today….
I was checking twitter this morning and discovered a trail between my mate @johnlyle and Nottingham City Transport. He was berating them for the loss of the NCT app which they had ‘killed’ in favour of their nice new website. Now I accept that the website provides all the information the app did (and more). But, and this is my issue – it isn’t as handy to access and requires a greater level of ‘techy’ knowledge to set up a short cut onto the screen of your iphone – not ideal for all users.
Apparently NCT had around 20% of users who were unhappy with the app – this they consider to be a lot. Personally I would have thought that 80% satisfaction was good in their industry?
What is likely to cause them more ‘fun’ is the fact that the loss of service via their app came as a surprise to them. They were going to publicise the removal off the app during October and then end it fully in November according to the twitter exchange I had with them. Something tells me their 20% rate is about to get a whole lot worse!
How about bringing it back instead NCT?
Twitter has become an integral part of our society, it seems that there are a huge number of users who have signed up – quite a few people I know are ‘watchers’ rather than active tweeters. Certainly at work we have an active account and I know many of my colleagues regularly use it to publicise deals or events. In the correct hands it can be quite effective.
So I couldn’t help smiling when I saw the news about David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham who was outraged by the BBC’s ‘racist headline’ about the smoke from the Vatican’s chimney being black or white. He was in the House of commons and misread the original headline…….
His tweet was swift and decisive.
I did think his subsequent tweet when he realised his mistake was spot on as well however.
This highlights two things – firstly you should think before you tweet and secondly MP’s shouldn’t tweet in the commons!
This is an interesting question – should the fire services take emergency calls (currently 999) via social media sites like Twitter? Last week the London Fire Brigade said it was considering such a move, allowing people to tweet emergencies instead of dialling 999.
Previously it has advised against using social media to make the service aware of fires as it is not monitored 24 hours a day. But it has acknowledged that the increasing proliferation of smart phones means they might actually get a swifter response.
First introduced in the London area on 30 June 1937, the UK’s 999 number is the world’s oldest emergency call service. The system was introduced following a fire on 10 November 1935 in a house on Wimpole Street in which five women were killed. A neighbour had tried to telephone the fire brigade and was so outraged at being held in a queue by the Welbeck telephone exchange that he wrote a letter to the editor of The Times, which prompted a government inquiry (even in those days).
In recent large fires in London the fire service have actually asked via twitter and other social media sites for local reports, photos and videos of fires to help them judge their initial response, and apparently it has enabled them to deal with incidents more effectively. So perhaps this is the way forward?
After all, when 999 calls were first introduced to summon assistance everyone apparently said it would never work!
Well they are 50% over, the UK’s most widely anticipated sporting event ever. They were going to be the first games of the social media revolution – so how have they been, and has social media played as big a part as expected?
Well from my point of view I will admit to having been a bit of a sceptic originally, but I believe the games have been an amazing success and I have really enjoyed following them – even while away on holiday in Italy! I thinks as a country we have done a great job and even the most ‘anti’ UK resident is now a fan.
The upcoming Paralympics promise to be the best ever with almost 100% ticket sales as well!
And what of the social media side? Certainly this has made it easier for me to follow events while abroad and at work – the news side of Twitter has enabled almost instant news of medal wins, which has then allowed me to use other mobile apps to follow events live.
The Tom Daley trolling episode showed the bad side of social media – but the rest of Twitters followers soon put paid to his comments.
So all in all I think Twitter and Facebook and the like have added to the experience, but have not perhaps had the impact that was expected – although that was probably a good thing as it was the negative aspects that were being commented upon pre-games more than the positives.
The real star of the Olympics for me (apart from Team GB) – was the BBC – their coverage has been brilliant, something that you appreciate even more when in a foreign country and having to watch their coverage! I really hope that Channel 4 can match their coverage during the Paralympics.
You may recall the BT advert from a few years ago that tried to get us all to use our telephones to talk to each other – it was apparently ‘good to talk’. Time moves on and it now seems that it isn’t and we are more likely to text each other than speak!
According to Ofcom while 58% of people communicated via texts on a daily basis in 2011, only 47% made a daily mobile call, the shift away from traditional ways of keeping in touch being led by young people aged 16-24 (no surprise if you have your own teenager).
The report confirms that on average UK consumer now send 50 texts per week while fewer calls are being made on both fixed and mobile phones (certainly our home phone is more of a decoration now).
However for the first time, there was a fall in the volume of mobile calls – by just over 1% – in 2011, while landline calls were down by 10% and overall time spent on the phone fell by 5% in 2011.
This change in behaviour is believed to be down to greater ownership of internet-connected devices – smartphones like the iPhone;
- 39% of adults now own a smart phone, a 12% increase on 2010.
- 42% of these now say their smart phone is the most important device for accessing the internet, with a similar percentage regularly using social networking sites and 51% using e-mail.
- The average consumer spends 90 minutes a week accessing social networking sites and email.
- Tablet ownership is also on the rise, with 11% owning such a device, up from 2% last year.
- According to Ofcom, tablets are most often used in the home as a “snacking version” of the home PC.
So probably no surprises here, but a confirmation that the smart phone is beginning to play a very important part in all our lives – and is perhaps going to kill off the basic telephone before too long. It is also sad that people now prefer not to talk to each other. Is this the start of something more insidious in our behaviour?
This entry was posted in General, Tech and tagged BT, ipad, iphone, iPhone 4, Microsoft, Ofcom, phone calls, Social Media, Social networking, Steve Jobs, texting, Twitter, Virgin Media, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone.