Lack of Mobile Device Security Policies Placing Businesses at Risk

Phone in hand of businessmanA lack of strict digital security policies is putting companies at risk due to the amount of devices now used for both business and personal reasons.

The warning comes from research by data recovery specialists Kroll Ontrack which showed that 38 per cent of UK employees had downloaded personal files onto devices they also used for work, while 29 per cent had installed personal apps or programs on devices primarily used for work.

The research also showed that five per cent had used peer-to-peer file sharing services such as BitTorrent and Gnutella on work devices, four per cent cancelled antivirus scans, and five per cent temporarily disabled firewalls or antivirus software on devices used for business.

The research also highlighted to risk to data security this lax approach poses, with 32 per cent of devices that were used in both personal and work environments suffering from data becoming irretrievably corrupted in the last 12 months.

“As the line between work and personal life continues to blur, employees will increasingly conduct personal activities on a device they also work from,” said Paul Le Messurier, programme and operations manager at Kroll Ontrack. “This will raise a number of issues for organisations, from data security through to productivity uncertainties. As such, businesses must look to protect their assets, both digital and physical.

“Employers must educate employees on what activities are acceptable; develop a simple but thorough IT usage policy; and ensure backups are in place and up to date for when disaster does strike.”

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Gressingham Duck Adopts Google Glass with Cook Along App

gressingham duck appFood supply firm Gressingham Duck have developed a ‘cook along’ app for Google Glass which includes voice and gesture activated controls.

The app, built in conjunction with creative technology agency Knit, enables users to search and find a recipe from Gressingham Duck’s extensive selection, then follow simple step-by-step instructions that appear in view and can be controlled by voice.

The benefits of using the app on Glass mean users can experience a truly hands-free interaction with the recipe that doesn’t risk smearing screens or recipe book pages with messy cooking hands.

Knit trialed the app in-house then with a novice cook who had never used Google Glass before to test the functionality and ease-of-use in the app. Originally, the app was developed as a research project with Gressingham Duck, but the results were so impressive that it is being further developed to include more recipes and additional functionality.

“As a brand we aim to offer our consumers the latest and best technology to improve their experiences with us,” said Steve Curzon, associate marketing director for Gressingham Duck. “Using Google Glass was one way we knew we could do this to create a unique proposition.

“We are always looking for ways to show people how easy it is to cook with duck, and this is just one step further to show how simple it really is even for a beginner. It will be interesting to see this develop as wearable tech becomes more mainstream.”

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Apple Working on iOS 8.1, 8.2 and 8.3 Simultaneously

iOS 8 spreadApple is reportedly already developing the next three versions of iOS – 8.1, 8.2 and 8.3 – less than a fortnight after the introduction of iOS 8.

 

This breaks the usual pattern of Apple’s development cycle, which tends to follow each autumn’s OS launch with a major update early in the following year, with at least three updates looking set for 2015.

The updates were spotted by 9to5Mac, based on data from a ‘hardware-connected’ iOS app developer as well as the site’s own analytics, showing visitors using the new software.

9to5Mac speculates that this could signal a move away from Apple’s annual releases, which sync up the latest versions of its hardware and software – or alternatively that Apple is actually speeding up the development cycle, possibly as a way of fast-tracking any features that missed out on iOS 8’s release date.

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Ryder Cup Embraces Multi-platform Viewing with Samsung Apps

ryder cupElectronics company Samsung has partnered with Turner Sports and the PGA of America to provide streaming coverage of this year’s Ryder Cup through a variety of devices.

The iOS and Android apps provide live streaming video for users within the US, while European users can access live updates to keep them up to date. All users can listen to live radio, get highlights, read the latest news from Gleneagles and see photos of the day’s action. The apps can also be customised to receive personalised news, videos and photos of favourite players.

Samsung users will also be given access to exclusive ‘all-access’ videos through their smartphone or tablets, and Samsung connected TVs have their own version of the app, which enables viewers to stream the Ryder Cup live, and watch the all-access videos.

 

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Coldwell Banker Unveils Mobile-centred eMarketing Platform

coldwell banker ipadReal estate firm Coldwell Banker has introduced a new mobile-optimised marketing platform for its agents, enabling them to engage with consumers via web, email and social media more easily.

The platform, part of the Coldwell Banker 360 suit of products, is aimed at enabling more interaction between independent agents, brokers and consumers. The redesigned marketing content will be implemented through the brand’s Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest networks.

The platform will bring the brand’s marketing content to smartphone and tablet users for the first time, and enables agents to create and distribute content from tablets as well. It also enables rich media and video to be embedded in email campaigns, and integrates with Coldwell Banker’s preferred vendor for commercial printing, to ensure continuity between digital and physical marketing.

“Our new Coldwell Banker eMarketing platform will make it easier for Coldwell Banker agents to connect with prospective home buyers and sellers while increasing productivity,” said Sean Blankership, senior vice president of marketing for Coldwell Banker Real Estate. “We are excited about the Imprev system integrating with Coldwell Banker Leadrouter, or lead routing system that allows Coldwell Banker agents to respond immediately to online leads and effectively maintain relationships with past, present and future clients.”

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Rideshare App Lyft Expands to LA, Despite Legal Threat

arrivalRidesharing startup Lyft has expanded its carpooling service to Los Angeles, despite warnings from the city’s district attorney that the service may be illegal.

Lyft Line, the company’s new service, has been rolled out in LA after launching in San Francisco last month, in defiance of district attorney Jackie Lacey, who joined with San Francisco’s DA in alleging that ridesharing services are breaking the law and misleading consumers.

The two DAs sent a joint letter to Lyft and rival services Uber and Sidecar, warning that they were “prepared to file an action against [the businesses] seeking injunctive relief and civil penalties” should the companies not remove the ridesharing option from their services, as well as demanding they make clear on their website what sort of background checks were carried out on drivers.

Lyft has previously challenged the idea that ridesharing services violate the law, stating in a letter earlier in the month that the law being cited was “not written to prevent casual carpooling, which has been used by commuters for decades.”

In response to the new concerns raised by the district attorneys, a Lyft spokesperson spoke to the Wall Street Journal, saying: “Ridesharing has been enthusiastically embraced by California residents and we have worked closely with the California Public Utilities Commission over the past two years to secure a future for this innovative option throughout the state. We are confident that we can work with the District Attorneys’ offices to address the items outlined in their letter and look forward to discussing with them soon to do so.”

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Zappar and Playnation Partner for Holiday Park AR Experience

image008Augmented reality company Zappar has teamed with Playnation and Park Resorts to develop an interactive treasure hunt aimed at young visitors to Camber Sands Holiday Park.

Using Zappar’s free smartphone and tablet app, children and parents can trigger AR content using a series of posters locations around the park. The content features 3D animation of Park Resorts’ mascot Sparky, who accompanies children through the hints and tips on each poster, encouraging them to explore the park and find the next checkpoint.

The different checkpoints also unlock interactive experiences, from games to ‘selfie challenges’, and end with the children winning one of many prizes, including Playnation arcade tickets.

The activity spans the entirety of the park and includes popular areas such as the swimming pool and adventure playground, enabling new visitors to discover everything the resort has to offer in an immersive, fun way.

“Working with Playnation and Park Resorts has been enormous fun,” said Max Dawes, partnerships director at Zappar. “Bringing to life an iconic mascot such as Sparky is a great example of how our tech can be used to add an extra layer of excitement to holiday activities and create lasting memories for children.”

“In a competitive market it’s important that we keep out attractions as appealing and exciting to children as possible,” said Eric Doherty, retail director at Playnation. “We’re really pleased with the interactive element that Zappar and AR has allowed us to bring to the children’s treasure hunt. Not only does it encourage kids to explore the world around them, but also helps bring them closer to characters such as Sparky, making their visit to the Park Resort one to remember.”

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eBay and PayPal Split into Two Separate Companies

ebay hq logoeBay is to spin its PayPal business arm off into a separate, publicly traded company in the second half of 2015.

The move has been rumoured for several months following demands by activist investor Carl Icahn to do so, but had previously been resisted by eBay’s president and CEO John Donahoe, who said that PayPal was integral to eBay’s business, and vice versa.

However, following Icahn’s demands, several other key investors became concerned that PayPal’s growth was being held back by rival companies to eBay not wishing to partner with the payments business.

In an interview with the New York Times, Donahoe acknowledge the decision was following Icahn’s recommended strategy, but contended that the company had arrived at it following a ‘deliberate process’ and was not simply reacting to outside pressure.

“eBay and PayPal are two great businesses with leading global positions in commerce and payments,” said Donahoe. “For more than a decade eBay and PayPal have mutually benefited from being part of one company, creating substantial shareholder value.

“However, a thorough strategic review with our board shows that keeping eBay and PayPal together beyond 2015 clearly becomes less advantageous to each business strategically and competitively. The industry landscape is changing, and each business faces different competitive opportunities and challenges.”

The tax-free spin-off is expected to be completed in the second half of 2015, subject to market and regulatory conditions. Donahoe and CFO Bob Swan will oversee the separation of each business, with Devin Wenig, the current president of eBay Marketplaces, becoming the CEO of the new eBay company and Dan Schulman joining from American Express to serve as President of PayPal until the split, and CEO-designee of PayPal after the spin-off.

Separating from eBay should provide PayPal with more autonomy to compete in the rapidly-growing payments market, which will be essential following the introduction of Apple Pay and the growth of other mobile wallet providers. Mobile proximity payments are expected to grow from $3.5bn (£2.16bn) in 2014 to $118bn in 2018.

Equally, the retail eCommerce market continues to grow, expected to reach $305.7bn in the US and £52.45bn in the UK in 2014, with mobile eCommerce also rapidly growing, and predicted to account for 19 per cent of the US eCommerce market and 27 per cent of the UK’s by the end of the year.

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Premier Inn Launches App for New Tech-centred Brand

hub premier innTech-centred hotel brand Hub by Premier Inn has launched its booking app, enabling guests to organise their stay at its new hotel chain, the first of which opens in Covent Garden in November.

The hotels are designed around integrated technology, and as well as enabling booking, the app will give guests control over various room settings, such as temperature, light, and even the channel on the smart TV.

The app also includes a detailed local area guide which works in conjunction with an AR experience in the room to provide a wealth of information on experiences within the city. The Hub by Premier Inn brand has been in development  for four years, and aims to capture the imagination of guests who already rely on technology for many other aspects of their lives.

“Whether it’s for business or please, the way we choose to travel and experience a city is changing,” said Simon Ewins, business development director for Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants. “Apps are already revolutionising the way we order our groceries, book taxis, and check-in at airports, it was only a matter of time before the hotel experience followed suit.

With Hub by Premier Inn, we believe we’ve created a first-class technology-enhanced hotel experience, without compromising price, style or comfort. Launching bookings for Hub by Premier Inn with our app is the first step in demonstrating how, with a simple swipe or push of a button, our guests can be in total control of their own experience.”

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Macmillan Cancer Support Safeguards Volunteers with Mobile App

AndroidG24InLineHelmetMacmillan Cancer Support has unveiled a personal safety mobile app aimed at safeguarding its staff and volunteers who work alone.

Volunteers for the charity often have to spend periods as lone workers, including a considerable amount of time working in the homes of people affected by cancer. In order to ensure their safety, Macmillan needed a central, consistent way to protect volunteers, no matter when or where they were working.

“Our aim is to grow our volunteer base from around 70 volunteers supporting people in their own homes to 2000 by 2016,” said Chris Badman from Macmillan. “Buddy schemes aren’t as reliable as we’d like and we needed something more robust in place to cover our Duty of Care as an organisation and to allow our paid staff to do their main job without worry about the well-being of volunteers in the community.”

The solution came in the form of Guardian24‘s lone worker solution, which enables staff and volunteers to log into the system prior to each home or location visit, giving details of the address, who they are going to meet and the expected duration. If the activity overruns, the app automatically calls the worker to verify their safety and if they cannot be reached, Guardian24’s Alarm Receiving Centre is notified.

The app also includes a dedicated panic button, which works even when users have not logged a lone worker activity. By using Guardian24’s Alarm Receiving Centre, the charity saves money, and enables paid staff to make the most of their time, knowing that both they and unpaid volunteers are safe.

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