Apps that Change the World.

phpiha5jx“Apps really do change our daily lives” How many times have we heard that old chestnut? But unless you are one of the increasingly small proportion of adults not using a smartphone in your daily life,  it is actually true. There are genuinely aspects of our world are being changed by the digital toolbox we carry around with us in the form of mobile apps.

Yes we all benefit from those little conveniences offered by Google Maps, or mobile banking whilst waiting for the next bus or taxi.  And speaking of taxis, the world of technology has until now had muted impact and certainly seemed irrelevant to the 65,000strong army of Black Cab drivers who crisscross the nation’s capital delivering everything from paupers to princes to some destination or another. Somehow that stable of London society, so often a feature in the media and cultural world seemed beyond the reach of the technological advances happening elsewhere in the Capital’s diverse economy.

But quite suddenly everything has changed. The digital revolution is reaching parts of our lives that up to now have been otherwise unaffected by technology. The London cabbie, much to his/her chargrin is now not protected by their hard earned knowledge driven ability to pick out a route from Billingsgate to Big Ben in the fastest, or most scenic, or most tranquil manner according to instruction. Tourist, businessperson or casual traveller is all now being presented with options which could seriously cut into the income of our traditional Cabbie.  Indeed, the acquisition of “The Knowledge”, whist still the holy grail for genuine Black Cab drivers in London, is no longer the barrier it once was to entry into this lucrative marketplace.

UBER taxi service is the app which is causing concern amongst the London Black Cab drivers having gained such prominence that it is muscling in on the extremely lucrative Black Cab industry. So what’s so transformative about this app? Well, unlike the traditional Black cab mode of operation this app allows its user to pre book a ride after agreeing a fare and even pay in advance by credit card! Tipping is positively discouraged! “The idea is very simple – if you want a taxi, you look at the app on your phone, see where the nearest car is and order it. You can then watch the little icon on screen as it approaches. The payment is taken from the registered credit card.”

Convenience is our world’s greatest mantra so this app hits the traditional Cabbie approach to “Fares” with a sharp undeniable punch. But the key benefit to the user is the way it tells them where their ride is, how long till it collects them and much more information about their coming journey. This is the point surely; Information is king.  So if the service empowers the user it has a distinct edge over the competition.  IN best social media tradition the clients can even “rate” their ride giving the driver pause for thought is attempting any inappropriate manoeuvres!

The world of mobile apps has impacted for better or worse on so many areas of life in their brief history. What are the best mobile apps that you have heard of or seen in action?  Send us your views on these digital tools.

Innovative App Launched by NHS

iOS Simulator Screen shot 6 Aug 2013 10.10.22 (2)

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Innovative App Launched by NHS

App Developers UK have developed a highly innovative new app on behalf of the NHS. The App is called Test Checker and it will tell clinicians which preoperative tests are recommended for adult surgical patients, according to the latest (June 2003) guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK.

The app works by allowing the user to enter the grade of the surgical procedure together with the ASA grade of the patient, the system(s) of co-morbidity and the age of the patient. The app uses this information to produce of the recommended tests as well as other tests to consider.

The app does not override the individual responsibility of health professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patients.

Using a very simple design the app is deliberately designed to appeal to both the patient and their clinician.

The app is available as a Free App on both Google play and on the Apple App Store, this app is expected to be a really tremendous tool for hospital practitioners.

Find it Fix it Love it – Official Press Launch.

 

fifili press launch banners 2AppDevelopersUK recently released Find it Fix it Love it, a smartphone app created on behalf of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (LBTH). This innovative app brings “people power” to the fore as it allows any member of the public to download a free app with which they can send positive or negative observations about their borough directly to their local authority. The LBTH team can assess the incoming submission and decide on appropriate actions. If there’s a broken paving stone, an upturned litter bit for instance, the appropriate service can be organised to tackle the issue.  On the other hand, if someone wants to report how much they like a particular flowerbed bench or other amenity, they can report this too. Everyone likes positive feedback and the LBTH is no exception.

We expect that this approach has added benefits of allowing the council to work in a highly efficient way, collecting useful information from the residents of the borough. In addition the feel-good factor between council and its residents is promoted because there is the sense of the local authority listening and acting upon news and information provided by its residents. The app enables a really useful channel of real communication to be developed with all participating residents. The app is available on both Apple and Google Play and the official press release is shown below.

Tower Hamlets Council launches Find it, Fix it, Love it App

Tower Hamlets Council has a new tool in its armory to further improve the appearance and maintenance of the borough in the shape of a new, innovative smart phone app, Find It, Fix It, Love It.

The Find it, Fix it, Love it app has been launched as part of the council’s commitment to making the borough an even cleaner and safer place to live, work or visit and will enable users to share what they love about the borough.
Through Find it, Fix it, Love it the council wants people to send pictures and share their thoughts of the many great aspects of the borough; anything from a special place or landmark, to a quirky shop or local character.

By using the app residents and visitors can also instantly tell the council about any issues that need addressing such as graffiti, fly tipping, broken play equipment, pot holes or over flowing bins.

Users simply take a picture of a problem and the app will pinpoint their location and send the details directly to the council’s environmental contractors, ensuring that problems are dealt with swiftly. The app also allows residents to highlight specific areas on the image or send comments and contact details if they want feedback, but this is optional, making the process very quick and simple.

Launching the app, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, said: “Find it, Fix it, Love it” is simple to use and an innovative reporting approach for issues. The app will also be great for showing what people love about the borough. There are so many good things in Tower Hamlets and it will be fascinating to see what people think are our hidden gems.”

Cllr Shahed Ali, cabinet member for the environment, added: “The reporting side of the app will enable us to efficiently and effectively deal with problems. I encourage residents to help with reporting issues as we can’t be in all places at all times. I’m excited by the potential use of the app and the role it can play in reducing costs and improving efficiencies in dealing with clean and green issues.”

Jamie Blake, Service Head, Public Realm, said: “Find it, Fix it, Love it has been developed to meet the reporting needs of the mobile generation. The app is unique as it focuses on the positives of the borough whilst also allowing users to report problems that may occur. The app will hopefully capture the imagination and allow us to build a unique picture of Tower Hamlets through the eyes of our residents and visitors to the borough as they tell us why they “love it.”

The app has proved popular during the pilot phase with over 100 reports being made to date.

Download the Find it, Fix it, Love it app for free at the Apple App Store or via Google Play, search for FiFiLi. For more information about using the Find it, Fix it, Love it app visit www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/clean.
October 23, 2013

Birdcall apps are in the News

When technology meets nature,  just when you thought it was safe to back out in the countryside….it lurks, it looms ,…. it makes bird calls!

Birdcall apps are in the News - App Developers UK

Yes, it seems unlikely but there is a serious problem about apps which can play birdsong and the concern is being aired by the Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT)  amongst others. DWT are fearful of the effect of apps which mimic bird calls on the birds themselves. In general terms these apps are a boon for dedicated twitchers and casual observers alike, enabling them to call up the sounds of the specific birds they are seeking in order to elicit a response or other reaction from the bird.  In particular people wanting to get closer to a bird may use these recorded bird calls to lure a bird closer in order to be better placed to take a photograph. What harm could there be in that?

According to the DWT it certainly is harmful and they have issued a warning against it, saying that “it causes disturbances and can be harmful to certain species, according to the conservation organization”.  Brownsea Island Reserve Manager Chris Thain said: “The apps are becoming quite common, and are great, but their use needs some guidance I feel. I’m sure visitors would be devastated if they realised the possible disturbance they were causing to wildlife. We need to spread the word that use of these apps is not suitable for nature reserves and can be potentially harmful to sensitive species.”

The key problem is that the normal routine of a bird is seasonally driven and these calls may interrupt or disturb the natural daily routines or activities of the birds. The disturbance may even stop the bird nesting, foraging or feeding its young, none of which will protect the species.

In order to minimize the disturbance to wildlife the DWT has taken the step of issuing a statement to advise that the user of smartphone apps (and presumably any other form of playing back recorded birdsong) could cause problems. The 42 reserves in Dorset have also become zones where apps of this sort are discouraged as tools to lure birds closer to the observer.

Birdcall apps are in the News - App Developers UK

Appdevelopersuk developed the iOS version of BirdTrack, organised by British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). This is not an app which plays recorded birdsong but it helped enthusiasts to track the seasonal movements of different species in conjunction with the  BirdTrack website.

 

 

EE to double the speed of 4G in 10 UK Cities

4G EE

The UK’s first 4G mobile network EE has today announced that they are putting in place plans to take their already super speedy 4G network speeds and doubling the speediness of the network and its capacity.

The company will be increasing the amount of 1800MHz spectrum it currently allocates to its 4G network, which will effectively double speeds for customers on the LTE network. The company will also be increasing the amount of spectrum used for 4G from the current 10MHz to 20MHz.

EE (who combine T-Mobile and Orange’s networking and coverage) will be bringing the new double speed 4Gto a select group of cities that EE currently cover including Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield by summer of this 2013.

EE are currently the on 4G networking supplier in the UK but with Vodafone and O2 readying their launch of a 4G service later this year, its clear EE are taking their considerable head start and trying to stay on top of the 4G pack.

Our welsh friends in Cardiff will be getting the speed upgrade first as Cardiff speed upgrade will be taking place in the next few weeks and the other major cities will follow suit.

Last Week EE announced that their 4G signal now covers half of the UK with the launch of Thirteen more towns activated for the 4G coverage, so more and more customers now have access to the latest UK network.

This increase in speed will see the Apps and connection we use nearly double and could see in a whole new era of Applications features and connectivity!

Choices for Humankind

Here’s the BIG dilemma we humans are having to grapple with. What sort of handset do we want? Or what sort do we think we need?

Large screen for great media playing, or small and compact for unobtrusive practicality. Here at App Developers Uk one or two of us are wondering, maybe we actually need two phones….what’s going on?

samsung-two-larger-handsets-0

A large screened Android for those movie moments or a relatively compact iPhone for the less obtrusive phone call situation? After all it it’s a phone. Or is it? Well no actually its not, it’s a cinema, a radio, bank portal, a shopping portal, browser, diary, organiser, a camera,  message centre, book, map, sat nav,weather forecaster, newspaper, news programme…what else? Well as the saying goes, there’s an app for everything.

On the larger side of things we hear that Samsung are planning on a June release which is to include a mega display busting 6.3inch screen. That’s a Tablet by most people’s definition.

For many the last thing you do with a phone is actually make a call with it and hence the logic of the move towards a larger screen which can display visuals and render sounds in a better way than its pre smart forerunner. And why not?. Why not have the ability to speak to someone real-time on a video link for free…yes, Skype (or the horribly named “Facetime”). Why not use that phone to buy a cinema ticket or that new sofa? Its all about convergence. The phone is no longer a phone, the computer is no longer a computer, the mp3 player is no longer a  ….wait a minute!

A phone is, as we have all known for a while, not merely a device for making vice calls. It’s a lifestyle companion device through which our daily lives is often managed, mangled or mediated, depending on our grasp of the technological possibilities of course. As humankind evolves so too does its understanding of the thousand and one uses of a mobile phone.  Beam me up Scotty.

 

Tumblr Website and App Now Used by Over 100 Million Micro-Bloggers

Tumblr has reached a massive milestone with the image-sharing, socially-connected website now providing a platform for over 100 million bloggers to have their voices heard and creativity seen via the World Wide Web.

Since the Tumblr site’s launch in 2007 those 100 million users have made 44.6 billion blog posts, from to wonderful to the weird with thousands of giggly-worthy gifs to some awesome original artwork shared on a daily basis. Pictures can be accompanied by a small description or ‘micro-blog’ and tagging is used to generate a social buzz online.

As well as the popular website Tumblr has apps and mobile platforms for Android, Apple iOS and BlackBerry smartphones increasing the accessibility for all gadget users and has helped Tumblr become one of the top most frequented sites.

Tumblr has however been criticised for it liberalness and lack of content control and still allows users to share risqué and graphic images. The reblogging of copyrighted images has also caused friction between the company of 167 just employees and a number of mainstream creative studios.

What we know is that Tumblr can provide hours of distraction and is easy to get lost in with the masses of new content uploaded every day!

Indoor Mapping, a Step in the Right Direction?

Who doesn’t love Google maps and especially Street View?  Well, now its looking increasingly likely that for those of us challenged with finding our way around large buildings, the mapping technologies we have come to rely on by and large are going to be applied to the internal corridors, rooms and cupboards of our buildings. Teacher’s note, no more excuses for being late to double history with the dreaded fourth form.

Up to now the variable signal strength has curtailed any rush towards mapping inside buildings but now a new technology could bring this feature to iPhones. The technology has already been applied in small measure by Google who have provided floor plan based internal mapping since the same technology was applied in 2011. But now that Apple has acquired WifiSLAM, the inventors of this technology, it seems likely that internal mapping may be available on a wider basis in the not too distant future.

Here at app developers we have been scratching our heads to try to think of the most useful application of this sort of mapping. Ever been at an airport of train station, running late, where’s the check in for Malaga!? Well this mapping feature could really be useful in that sort of situation especially if you find yourself in a place where the native language is a barrier to rapid navigation through a huge concourse. Similarly, train stations, tube stations and other public spaces could soon be easily navigable using these maps.

But thinking laterally for a moment, is this a good thing? What about the excitement, the mystery and the unpredictability of life’s little navigation challenges? How much do we really need to be led by the hand…err by the app or map? The application of technology is fantastic and can help in some situations but having an ever present aid like this can make monkeys out of some of us. Take the irresistible Sat Nav for example. It used to be the case that we would reach for a map, even that ten year out of date one from the petrol station would do the job, maybe adding a few extra miles to the journey where new roads have appeared, but at least we engaged our brains and got ourselves across town, cities and continents without so much as a bleep from anything electronic. Nowadays it’s almost a given that you use a sat nave to take you from home down to the local take away. Our brains have disengaged with map reading and geography whilst our spatial, distance calculating functions atrophy under the smothering embraces of Sat Nave turn by turn guides.

What next? Google mapping of the route from the front door to the garden?

Onwards and upwards…or sideways?

Facebook Messenger Users in U.K Get Free Calls with Apple iOS App

Got an Apple device, a Facebook account and a friend? Then you can benefit from the social site’s latest update for its Messenger app – as from today voice and video calls across UK based iOS devices becomes completely cost-free!

Facebook’s free face-to-face chat platform has been free to use in the States since earlier in the year and we’ve been waiting eagerly for two months for this news to arrive for users over here. To get free calls you will need to have the most up to date Facebook Messenger app installed on your Apple iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and you’ll find the ‘i’ button appearing with your Messenger contacts is they are eligible to take or make a call. Hitting ‘free call’ will give you just that and you can now enjoy VOIP chatting with friends in the UK, USA and Canada without paying a penny.

The Facebook app also updates to offer push notifications, allows callers to leave a message in a voicemail feature and the quality of the calls is said to be on a level with market leader Skype. It’s available to try now by updating or new users can download the Messenger app from the App Store.

WhatsApp for iOS changing to annual subscription fee

What’s App for iOS changing to annual subscription fee

WhatsApp for the Apple iOS platform will be getting a slight change in the coming weeks as the cross platform messaging service will be going from its current flat fee download charge to the more standardised Annual payment system that is used by other platforms.

WhatsApp has historically been available on the Apple App store for iOS for a small nominal fee of £0.69 and from then onwards it has been free but with the explosion of the app on other platforms including Windows Phone 8 OS and android the app is now going to follow on with the Annual pricing system.

All other OS users get access to the WhatsApp messenger free for the first year of service (this is when you build up contacts and messages with your friends) then after this time the service goes to a yearly subscription for just 0.69p.

As anyone who uses the service will attest it is well worth the meager 69p that it costs for the annual subscription as the Messenger allows you to send free messages, Images and videos across the world and to all platforms free of charge.

WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum has reportedly revealed the change in iOS price plans to a Dutch journalist Alexander Klöpping, saying that while the company is relaxed on exact dates, the switch is definitely on the 2013 road map.

Koum also stated that the new pricing will only happen for new users so if you’ve already downloaded WhatsApp on iOS, you won’t need to pay for the Annual premium.

No reasons were stated over the pricing change but it makes sense to streamline and bring all of the pricing’s for all OS’s into one line.

Source: TechCrunch

Download: WhatsApp

 

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