“Malaria Buddy” App launched on World Malaria Day 2016

Mobile apps are great modern tools that could help in the fight against malaria. The Malaria Buddy App provides info on the disease, how to prevent getting sick and what to do if you think you’ve got malaria.

Mobile applications (APPs) are enabling easier communication in general. It is therefore, a modern tool that could aide in the fight against malaria.

malaria buddy appThe ‘Malaria Buddy’ APP focuses on both collaborating institutions’ respective “clientele” namely the people living in malaria endemic areas and travellers or holiday makers moving in or through malaria endemic areas respectively.

At first the APP appears to be very basic with information on the disease, how to prevent getting sick, map of malaria areas, and what to do if you suspect you have malaria

However, phase two of the APP aims to make use of GIS technology in order to make the APP a ‘GPS’ to malaria hot spots and treatment options, simply by using the phone’s location, and therefore, your travelling ‘Buddy’ when in malaria areas. The idea behind this specific APP, designed by a Software Developer at TWF, is the brainchild of the son of one of the MRC & UP CSMC’s members, Prof Walter Focke.

The APP is available to download on the iTunes store for iOS devices and Google play for Android devices.

Read more

 

EU Targets To Charge Google Over Preloaded Android Phone Apps

The EU has accused Google of wielding its power as the world’s leading phone software supplier to impose its search and Web programs on billions of mobile users as European Union regulators took another swipe at the U.S. technology giant.

The European Commission sent Google a formal antitrust complaint, accusing the company of striking restrictive contracts that require makers of tablets and phones to install its search and Web browser on new phones. The company also unfairly pays phone makers and telecom operators a share of advertising revenue if they agree to make Google’s search engine the default on devices, the EU said Wednesday.

“What we found is that Google pursues an overall strategy on mobile devices to protect and expand its dominant position in Internet search” with unjustified restrictions and conditions on phone makers and carriers, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told reporters. “Over half of Internet traffic takes place on mobile devices.”

Google countered the EU charges, saying that Android is a “free and open-source operating system.”

“Our partner agreements are entirely voluntary,” Kent Walker, the Mountain View, California-based company’s general counsel, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the European Commission to demonstrate the careful way we’ve designed the Android model in a way that’s good for competition and for consumers.”

Google is in the EU’s sights more than a decade after regulators took aim at Microsoft Corp. for tying a media player to its bestselling computer operating system. While some things have changed since then, Google’s efforts are “a strategy to keep and expand” its power in search by nudging Android users toward Google’s mobile search, Vestager said.

Read more from Bloomberg

8 Differences Between Mobile Websites and Mobile Apps

Investing in a mobile app or mobile websites for your small business? The decision here has always been tricky, especially since each has its own pros and cons. So here are 8 differences between mobile apps and mobile websites you should consider when developing any mobile marketing strategy.

Mobile Apps and Mobile Websites

mobile shopMobile Website Casts the Net Wider

A website has a broader scope than apps, which can be used only if you download and install it first. In fact, 80 percent of all searches are made on a mobile device. However, browsing websites requires internet connection, so you can’t use them anytime.

Apps are generally more interactive (i.e. more addictive) than websites, which is why they can retain the visitor only for as long as they are finding the thing they are looking for. Furthermore, apps can offer more functionality than mobile websites such as push notifications and GPS location abilities.

So websites take less effort to use, but apps are more fun.

Apps are Meant for Your Best Customers

Websites attract all sorts of visitors. Not all of them are prospects though. You can run an expensive marketing campaign and see a tremendous boost in the number of your site visitor, but not necessarily in the actual sales.

Apps, on the other hand, are meant for prospects as users typically spend much more time inside of a mobile app when compared to mobile websites.

Custom Apps are Costlier

Like any other professional tool, apps come with the drawback of high cost. If you don’t use a simple app maker, whose apps work fine with all platforms, you’d have to spend a lot of money on making your app compatible on all operating systems. Mobile websites on the other hand can be very inexpensive to create for your small business.

Apps are Active and Sites are Passive

Turning a website into a handy marketing tool is difficult. People don’t visit a website often, so they wouldn’t know if you are offering sales. Most marketing emails end up in the spam folder and don’t get opened.

Apps enjoy a significant advantage here. Once a user has installed them, they can lie silently in their phone and pop a small notification when you want to reach them. Messages on phone are shorter and less annoying, so they do get read most of the times.

Websites Attract Customers but Apps Retain Them

People come to your website before becoming your client. After that, they prefer to go through the app. Surveys show the average app user spends almost ten times more time on the app than on the website.

In addition to this, apps keep you posted on frequency of use. Your apps serve as a 24/7 finger on the pulse of your users, which helps a great deal in retaining customers.

People Spend More on Websites than On Apps

Studies show that people are more willing to make a purchase on the website than on the app. You may use this fact to avoid spending energy on giving your app payment processing functionality and making it more centered on retaining old clients and marketing new products.

Recently, Nielsen’s Cross-Platform Report for reconfirmed this fact when it reported that 89 percent of time spent on a smartphone is spent on apps, while only 11% is spent on the mobile web.

People Spend Less on Apps but They Spend More Frequently

People trust apps for making small transactions. According to a study by Facebook, customers spend 1$ on websites for every 42.7 cents they spend on apps but purchase much more frequently within mobile apps. If your small business has a lot of repeat purchases a mobile app would likely benefit your customers.

You Can’t Do With Having Just One

Essentially, a website is different from an app. You use the former to draw the customer in, and then gain trust through your product. An app, on the other hand, is more about retaining the customers you have already won. It’s about getting more business from your existing customers.

So both mobile apps and mobile websites are needed for a complete mobile marketing strategy—each for a different purpose. Happy mobilizing your small business!

Mobile Shopper Photo via Shutterstock

Read more from SmartBizTrends

Android Safety

Will Automated bots kill Smartphone apps?

It’s been six years since Steve Jobs introduced to the world the App Store. Since then, apps have changed the way the average smartphone user accesses content. Today, the $50 billion app industry faces its biggest threat ever. Welcome to the brave new world of bots—software that automates things people do regularly. While Microsoft faced problems when its chatbot Tay resorted to racist comments, Facebook at its annual F8 developer conference announced the arrival of bots to developers via its Messenger app that has 900 million users. This should, at one go, give a shot in the arm to the bot space. However, Facebook has been beaten to the draw by Telegram, Teamchat and Kik, which have already launched bots.

What is a bot and what does it do?

Bots have been there for years. In earlier days, if you were thrown out of a chatroom because what you wrote was abusive, it was because of bots. Nowadays, a bot is a software which automates things that most people do on their own, such as check news, order food, book flights or arrange meetings. They do tasks that are simple and repetitive; at speeds that no human can match. A simple online Q&A which, while appearing to be with a person, will in all likelihood be with a chatbot. Since chatbots reside on the server, they are easier and cheaper to develop. Bots work on any device, irrespective of the operating system. Already there are CNN and Burger King bots that provide news feeds and help you order a burger.

Who all are building bots?

Microsoft has been testing its chatbot Tay. It has also unveiled a new version of Skype that features chatbots. Facebook has launched its bot on Messenger. Most messaging platforms like Kik and Telegram are already there. Kik’s bot shop has tied up with retailers H&M and Sephora. Then there is Botlist, which offers a range of services including news, entertainment, lifestyle and games. The idea behind Botlist is to provide a centralised directory for all the bots that a person needs, almost similar on the lines of Google Play for Android apps today. Kik, with 275 million users, has announced a bot store. Two companies that are a bit slow in the space are Google and Apple. Google is reportedly working on a chatbot that will reside in a mobile messaging product.

Will bots replace apps?

Much of the demand for bots is because people are gradually getting tired of apps. There are multiple reasons. While there are millions of apps on offer, the top few garner almost 80% of the market. These are largely messaging apps like WhatsApp, Line and WeChat. It has been noticed that while people download many apps on their smartphones, they regularly tend to use only a handful. That apart, there is limited memory on smartphones (16GB largely) to download and operate a number of apps.

The advantage that bots have is they are capable of reaching people on platforms they already use, like SMS, chat apps, etc. While bots are not likely to kill apps immediately, they are expected to replace some apps pretty soon. The plus point that Facebook has is that it has huge amounts of data on its 1.6 billion users and the 900 million on Messenger. As a result, it is in a position to create chatbots that can do mundane tasks, like booking tickets or making restaurant reservations. That means you could practically do everything you want to by just being on Facebook Messenger. It also means more space in your smartphone for other things.

Will bots do everything for you?

In the initial phase, expect bots to do the routine, mundane stuff that you would rather get someone to do for you. Now that assistant will reside in your messaging application. It will take some time before more real-time core stuff is handled by bots. The way Microsoft’s chatbot Tay reacted is a classic case study. So it will be awhile before major things are handled by bots.

Who should be worried of bots?

The big threat is for Apple, which has benefited the most from the app empire, followed by Google. While Apple earned $20 billion from the App Store last year, it is believed that Google earned close to $7 billion from Google Play. The big gainers would be Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon.

However, it is not going to be all that easy. While it is easy to build an app and get users to download and use it, that’s not the case with bots. Here, the computer has to understand the language and carry on a sensible conversation. That’s where Tay stumbled. While there are many words that have multiple meanings for the user, it is difficult for a computer to comprehend what exactly the user meant. So, while bots will shake up the app world initially, it will be awhile before it can be overthrown.