Thursday, June 30, 2011

Securing Your Company's Wireless Phone Network

According to the new FCC report on the wireless industry, 89% of Americans own a mobile phone. As more Americans join the mobile phone market, security is an ever-growing concern.

Whether used for personal or business purposes, mobile phones are exposed to hackers, viruses and viral attacks. Hackers can download personal or corporate information from a mobile phone in a matter of minutes.

Security needs to be the primary focus of a corporation before distributing phones to its employees. More often than not, companies place large amounts of trust into the hands of their employees, hoping that they will conduct business in a secure manner. To overcome this, companies should centralize device security management by constructing a clear and understandable security plan. Having a step-by-step plan that outlines the expectations and procedures for employee-use ensures business information will remain confidential and protected.

Having a certified team you can count on makes a difference. Once a corporate mobile policy has been established, have IT go through a certification process. When planning, IT should keep three central ideas in mind.

  • Usability: Employees need to conduct business smoothly. If cyber walls are too thick, business can slow.
  • Accuracy: Mobile devices need to be current, especially if the company is not centrally located. Employees should be able to send and receive emails, files and presentations without jumping through a ton of fences.
  • Risk: Plan for the worst, which will ensure your company’s mobile network is prepared to handle any security threat. Remember, it only takes one virus on one phone to infiltrate the entire company’s system.

Finally, mobile security is a resource all corporations should offer to their employees who use a corporate cell phone. It is an ongoing effort that every IT team and company should be committed to. If your employees know how to identify a virus or security threat properly, the security risk greatly diminishes.

Monday, June 27, 2011

RIP Unlimited Data

Rest in Peace, Unlimited Data

Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached the end of the unlimited data era. Last week, Verizon Wireless joined AT&T by announcing its new “tiered” data plan packages.*

News of Verizon’s change comes as no surprise. Earlier this year, tech bloggers and wireless industry experts predicted the carrier would “re-evaluate” its unlimited data plan in the wake of AT&T’s 2010 re-structured data plan.

The new data plans are a result of unprecedented growth in the smartphone business. Currently, 142.8 million (or one out of in every two) Americans own a smartphone. Studies estimate that consumer use outweighs business use, but for many of us at Privus, smartphones serve a double duty. Access to the Internet anytime and anywhere is a valuable tool, one that many might have not considered because of unlimited data plans. Verizon agrees. South Area Vice President of Marketing and Sales Lee Williams sent the following to Verizon Wireless employees:

“Our legacy data pricing structure was designed to address a somewhat different customer need profile than what we are seeing and can expect in the future. Consider this. Data usage has more than doubled over the last three years. Consumers and business users alike are doing more and more with their mobile devices. The notion of “send and end” has migrated to “managing multiple aspects of one’s lifestyle through mobility.” Whether it’s social media (85%+ of Smartphone users), mobile internet (88%+ of Smartphone users), or email/applications (71%+ of Smartphone users), this usage has one thing in common—dramatically increased demand for data and media consumption. As a result, we are evolving our approach around how we package our data solutions and pricing to our customers.”

Carriers want to capitalize on the demand for additional data. With three major smartphones (iOS, BlackBerry and Android) dominating the market, change was inevitable. The new data plans look like they will be based on usage level, which seems to be a response to the money-losing proposition of “giving away” bandwidth for free.

Current subscribers to Verizon Wireless need not worry. The carrier has un-officially said it will allow current smartphone users to keep their unlimited packages, as to whether or not that will last until the end of your contract or the end of the year, nobody knows.

In the meantime, Verizon’s changes are set to take place on July 7. If you want unlimited, go now!

*Read the rest of Verizon’s internal memo here.

**This is the second post in the two-part series

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mergers, Data Plans and the FCC: How the wireless world could turn upside down*

It could be the beginning of World War III for the wireless world. From reconfigured data plans (Verizon) to the ongoing AT&T/ T-Mobile merger, the telecommunications industry is dominating the news cycle.

Both events greatly influence consumers. But the merger, which was announced in March, will have the most lasting impact.

Here is what you need to know: AT&T announced a bid to acquire T-Mobile for $39 billion. Because of anti-trust laws the offer must be reviewed by Federal Communications Commission (FCC). If the FCC approves the acquisition it would merge the second and fourth largest wireless service providers leaving cell phone users with limited options. Past similar situations have been unsuccessful.

As a consumer, there are some things you should consider. One, the merger could affect up to 55 million Americans who currently have T-Mobile or AT&T. You’re probably thinking, “so what’s the big deal, I don’t have either provider?” Don’t jump the gun too quickly. While, consumers may receive better cell coverage and 3G connection, it means we will all pay higher prices, regardless of the service we use. Gigom reported earlier this year that because T-Mobile has been fairly aggressive in offering cheaper voice and data plans their competition has been forced to keep their prices down too. “This has worked well for U.S. consumers. With the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile, the market is now reduced to three national players: AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.”

Unfortunately, it looks like the consumer will get the short end of the stick, or should I say higher a phone bill. Let’s hope the FCC gives the merger some thought.

*This is a two part series.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Introducing Vietnam's NEW National Mobile Caller ID

We are pleased to announce the world’s first national roll out of mobile caller ID! Thanks to our work with Media Hub and Smart Media we will be making our caller ID application available to more than 25 million people with smartphones in Vietnam. Vietnam has recently emerged as one of the global leaders in wireless infrastructure and we are very pleased to be a part of this innovation.

In addition to being the first country to offer nationwide mobile caller ID, Vietnam boasts complete 3G coverage and was listed by AdMob as one of the ten largest consumers of mobile Internet advertising data in the world. Nearly 80 percent of the country’s population uses a mobile phone, while only one-third uses landline phone services. Vietnam is known for its biodiversity and there are more bikes and mopeds than cars in this country. What other interesting facts do you know about Vietnam?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Inside the all-new Apple iOS 5

Exciting news for Apple users! Scott Forstall took the stage at WWDC 2011 to announce some new upgrades and improvements in the Apple iPhone’s operating system. The new Apple iOS 5 is compatible with iPhone 4, 3Gs, iPad 1 and 2, and the iPod touch and will be available for download this fall. Check out a few of the cool new features that can be expected on the new operating system so far.

1. PC Free
With iOS 5, users can activate and set up their device wirelessly without a computer, iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. Users can get free iOS software updates directly on their device, and back-up and restore their devices automatically using iCloud.

2. Notification Center
Just like on Android devices, there’s a new Notification Center where users can get all of their alerts, all in one place: new email, texts, friend requests and more. Just swipe down from the top of the screen to enter the Notification Center.

3. Twitter Integration
For Twitter users, there’s an integration of Twitter to iOS 5. Sign in once in Settings, and tweet directly from Safari, Photos, Camera, YouTube, or Maps. (*crowd cheers*)

4. Safari Reader
iOS 5 brings even more web-browsing features to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Safari Reader displays web articles sans ads or clutter, and Reading List saves interesting articles to peruse later, while iCloud keeps your list updated across all your Apple devices.

5. Reminders
“A better way to do to-dos.”  Next time you need to remember something important, use your iPhone, iPad or iPod to make a note of it. Even better, the reminders are location based – so you’ll get an alert the next time you’re in the supermarket to pick up that milk you probably forgot about. Pretty sweet, huh?

6. iMessage
Finally! Apple users can BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) like BlackBerry users. iMessage is a new, exclusive service for iOS users, that has options like an indicator showing when the other party is typing.

7.  Camera features
There’s now a camera button right on your screen lock! Since your phone is always with you, it’s the best way to capture unexpected moments. Use grid lines, pinch-to-zoom gestures and single-tap focus to compose pictures on the fly. Then, press the volume-up button to snap a photo right in time.

8. Photos 
Turn your snapshots into frame-worthy photos in just a few taps right from your Apple device. Crop, rotate, enhance and remove red-eye without leaving the Photos app.

9. iCloud
There’s also amazing innovation in iOS 5 using cloud-syncing solutions. With iOS 5 and iCloud, enter your Apple ID and password, and – voila! It integrates your apps to wirelessly keep all your contacts, mails, photos, apps, books, music and updates across all your devices without connecting to a computer.

10. Newsstand
Extra extra, read all about it! iOS 5 organizes magazine and newspaper app subscriptions into one folder that lets users access their favorite publications quickly and easily.

We’re sure this is the first of many updates that can be expected before the fall release of iOS 5, but we still can’t wait! What new features are you most excited about?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Got Your Head in the iClouds?

Apple recently unveiled a new system for automatic wireless syncing of all Apple devices. The iCloud will now allow for the sharing of photos, videos, music, apps, books, calendar events, mail and contacts. This unveiling also represents the end to the dreaded MobileMe, replacing its $99 annual charge with free services of the iCloud.

While all iCloud capabilities will not be released until the fall, some new aspects are available now. Music, apps and books can all be shared now by downloading iTunes 10.3 and changing the purchase settings in iPhones, iPods, iPads and Macs.

Find out more here.