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Running head: MOBILE COMPUTING AND SOCIAL

MOBILE COMPUTING AND SOCIAL

Ervin Franklin

Dr. Durgin

December 14, 2014

Mobile Computing and Social Networks

MOBILE COMPUTING AND SOCIAL

Mobile computing applications and social networking sites are extremely popular in this
current business and social environments. This is a result of the comfort, speed, efficiencies and
functionality that these applications offer to the users. With mobile applications, the user is able
to carry out their work or communication wherever they are; primarily because the devices are
portable and able to access the Internet. The unique thing about mobile computing is that you are
able to use the exact same device that you use for verbal communication, as well as read and
write emails, or even surf and post on the various social websites. The mobile device can also be
used to perform various work functions such as write work reports depending on your devices
capability and features. Most individuals as well as business enterprises can benefit from mobile
computing and social networking in a number of ways, and with the addition of cloud computing
technology, another layer is adding.
The various mobile devices have became extremely useful in financial transactions which
allow users to conduct many of these transactions like deposit or withdraw money, without
having to physically go to the bank. Also, consumers are able to use a number of these devices to
connect to the Internet, and easily find directions to various places using Google maps, or some
other software application. Businesses also use mobile applications as a tool to offer exceptional
and real time customer service, along with real time transfer and update of data and information.
In addition, mobile computing has facilitated flexibility in the workplace, which allows
employees to work from almost anywhere instead of being stuck in the office. These tiny,
portable devices have altered the relationship between humans and computers. Mobile
computing and social networking have come together to offer individuals, businesses, institutions
and government agencies a platform to maximize on their potential, increase efficiency and

MOBILE COMPUTING AND SOCIAL

standards of quality, as well as on their performance.


Mobile computing and applications has embraced a technology known as Geolocation,
which in a nutshell, uses data acquired from individual mobile and computing devices, and uses
the information to tell exactly where the person is physically located. This amazing ability to tell
a persons location just by accessing information on their mobile devices is one of the most
celebrated current developments in information technology and an upward trend. This
application has become so popular in the social circles that some people are so enthusiastic about
informing their friends through social media where they are at. The Geolocation technology also
helps people to identify popular leisure spots to visit, locate a particular store or restaurant in the
area, or even book reservations in hotels or airports, as well as to check in virtually. It even
enables people to find directions from one point to another, using popular applications such as
Google Maps or MapQuest, which have added convenience and fun to a consumers life
(ISACA, 2011).
Technically speaking, a Geolocation system is an information technology solution which
confirms the location of an object or person in the physical or virtual environment. In most cases,
persons who want to use the global positioning system (GPS) Internet service to find a location
or place, is also capable of maintaining their privacy using the same Geolocation applications.
The data found in Geolocation technology is used for three main purposes including referencing
or positioning, coding and tagging. Geo-referencing or positioning entails ascertaining the actual
physical location of a person or object, by use of a coordinate system map (ISACA, 2011). Some
examples of geo-referencing applications include car-tracking and navigation and prisoner
monitoring through global positioning system (GPS). Geo-coding entails the search for

MOBILE COMPUTING AND SOCIAL

information or data regarding certain subjects or objects like restaurants, leisure lodges and so
on, by use of a map. Geo-tagging is adding geographical information to an object or subject, for
instance photographs and data, by integrating data available on the Internet. All of this
information is gotten in real time via the Internet and is accurate and up to date to a great degree
(ISACA, 2011).
Geolocation data is collected through web browsing using the IP addresses, through
mobile phones, GPS devices, credit and debit card transactions, photo tagging, radio frequency
identification methods (RFID) and various postings done on the Internet particularly on social
media sites like Facebook and Twitter. In other words, the Geolocation technology is used in
many platforms and devices like Android, iPhones, Windows applications, Smartphones,
Symbian and many others. The data collected is used in a myriad of ways including
customization and localization of Web content, enforcement of access, use and delivery
restrictions, and prevention of fraudulent activities on the Web, network traffic analysis and
updates and so on. Matters of privacy and security are pertinent in the effective use of
Geolocation technology, whether the data is generated in user-device-based mode or through
passive mode (ISACA, 2011).
Geolocation technology works through a GPS chip placed inside of a mobile device that
uses satellite data to calculate the exact position and direction of the device. In certain cases
where the device loses network connectivity due to weather interference or distance from cell
towers, then the chip inside the device makes use of information from cell towers to calculate the
approximate location of the device and the person whom has the device. It is important to note
that how effective the Geolocation application works is largely dependent on the service and

MOBILE COMPUTING AND SOCIAL

network availability, where the device is located. In addition, the more advanced in features,
software and database the device or application is, the more accurate the service will be in terms
of performance and quality service (ISACA, 2011).
It is important to point out that even though mobile applications like the Geolocation
have made consumer lives more comfortable and easier, there is still a risk to security and lack of
privacy, especially in cases where your information is shared widely throughout the Internet and
social media sites. The risk is not just of a single individual, but can also affect a company, their
employees, and even family members. Sometimes, in regards to privacy and safety while using
Geolocation technology, folks can be affected with spamming by different advertisers,
inadvertently sharing a location you otherwise didnt want to share, or even not knowing exactly
what information is being collected. The beauty with advancement in security is that due to the
increased cases of privacy and security concerns, a number of application developers are now
inputting privacy settings in the devices, for individuals to use as they like and safeguard their
interests while using certain social media sites. When the technology is used appropriately,
particularly the privacy and security settings, then the users find that the benefits of Geolocation
far outweigh the concerns of (ISACA, 2011).
With the facilitation of the Internet, mobile computing applications and social networking
have combined to enable improved customer service and marketing activities for both consumer
and business enterprises. Cloud computing has especially made data mobility, both transferable
and accessible in real time. With the availability of mobile devices such as laptops, smart phones,
notebook computers, tablets, GPS devices and other wireless technology, customers and
businesses alike can access almost any information from any location. Mobile computing help

MOBILE COMPUTING AND SOCIAL

facilitates flexible work practices, advanced and flexible payment options for individual
customers, as well as give businesses an opportunity to give timely and quality service to their
customers. This new technology have created a new generation of users who are slowly
embracing this new mobile lifestyle, which help to increase all-round productivity and supports
business decision making and the strategic planning processes and practices ("The near future of
retail: Meeting the demands of the mobile consumer," 2011).
Thanks to cloud-based technology and mobile computing, customers are now able to
purchase and pay for the products and services they need from the comfort of their homes and
offices, which saves the consumer both time and money. Mobile devices which have Internet
accessibility allows consumers to conduct all kinds of business from their phones which
includes, purchasing new products in the market, a price check from different stores and outlets,
as well as payment options and delivery services. Consumers can now perform a number of
transactions via mobile computing from, checking in for a flight, checking their credit report, job
hunting, or just socializing with their friends and families on social sites such as Facebook,
Twitter, and LinkedIn. Also, business executives and other government officials who travel
frequently can make their lives easier by using mobile technology to handle their day-to-day
affairs ("The near future of retail: Meeting the demands of the mobile consumer," 2011).
Despite the fact that some consumers and businesses have begun to embrace cloud
computing on mobile devices, some folks are still a bit hesitant to use them because of the small,
often compact sizes. Some consumers still may find using a small screen cumbersome to say the
least. Despite the fact that mobile devices have continually been improved and sometimes carry
better processors and improved picture with color displays and resolutions, they still do not offer

MOBILE COMPUTING AND SOCIAL

the same comfort while working on portable computers. Their biggest selling point is the fact
that a number of these devices are portable, and that consumers can just about do everything that
they can do on a desktop computer, but adds an extra benefit of doing it from various locations.
Some of the challenges of designing for a small screen are that there are a number of different
operating systems, input mechanisms and devices. Also, designers are limited to the amount of
screen space they may have, based on different devices, so that can pose a challenge. Some other
factors are that different users may use different applications, and in some cases, some users may
not even use most of the applications that are developed. Developers also have to determine if
one platform should be prioritized over another one, or should multiple versions be created to
appease all consumers. In addition, developers have to determine if the application can be run on
legacy systems or structures, as well as particular costs ("The challenge of designing for the
small screen - and why it's worth it," n.d) In designing mobile applications, there are four major
categories of technologies to consider. They are the Hybrid WebKit/Native, Native platforms
such as iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile 7. The other two are Web-based and related
frameworks, and finally proprietary middleware and clients. Developers often have to create
applications to run on multiple platforms (Dubray, 2011). There are still a number of applications
that are developed and placed in the mobile app market for consumers to choose from. However,
prior to getting there, developers have to choose the right mobile platform by analyzing and
looking at all the data. They have to look at everything from which the target consumer will be,
the technical features you want the app to have, and even the future prospects for the mobile
platforms. Also, they have to look at the scalability of the app before selecting the particular
platform (Viswanathan, n.d.).
In addition, it is equally important for business enterprises to understand the platforms

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development environment and how effective the application delivery is, so they can choose the
device that adds the most value and have the most effective platform for cloud computing. The
various platforms (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows and many others) use
different applications and are therefore not compatible. This makes it imperative that business
enterprises and consumers take time to understand the different platforms and applications they
offer competently, and to choose wisely to avoid disappointment with cloud computing.
Additional market research is needed to understand which mobile platform is most popular with
the target market and key for businesses or consumers to undertake. In addition, one also needs
to understand which platform the application developers are most competent and experienced
with and which features and functions the application needs to have, as well as which platform it
matches with, in terms of capacity and functionality (McAllister, 2012)
Developers further need to understand that high availability of mobile applications is
needed so that customers benefit from continuous, constant and real time information and data, is
key for business success. Businesses need to deal with highly available and practical applications
in order to tap the market base needed for any successful business. High-available applications in
mobile computing are those software products that are popular in use on an individual and
business environment level. The applications range from end-user programs like e-commerce
systems, online transaction processing (OLTP) programs, email software, customer relationship
management (CRM) software and many others. Some applications like clustering software
enable high availability of applications and should also be part of businesses. Having high
availability programs and software makes it easier for businesses to operate in the competitive
business environment, and to meet the needs of todays informed consumer (Bigelow, 2013).

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It is equally important to note that mobile computing and social networking despite the
many advantages it brings to businesses needs to be properly planned for. This is because the
technology brings with it the concepts of audio, video and photo sharing, Voice Over Internet
Protocol (VOIP) for video conferencing and other high level applications. These advanced
applications require high resolutions, increased network and bandwidth allocations, which could
end up being expensive for the company, provide low quality service or interfere with other
applications, if not well planned for. The business enterprise needs to ensure that all the high
availability applications are up and running and continually updated and upgraded to ensure that
the business is running at its optimum best and highest productivity (Bigelow, 2013).
It is also important that the business enterprise understands how mobile and cloud
computing platforms and applications operate for maximum benefit and gain. For instance,
understanding how application failures arise, what causes them and how to rectify the situation is
important for business success. In most cases, application failures arise from power failure,
network hardware faults, configuration error, server hardware faults, application bugs, or even
compatibility, and performance issues. This means that it is paramount that businesses ensure
that their service and product providers are willing and able to provide maintenance services and
to also have in-house technical expertise who understands networks and IT applications. The
good thing is that with so many platforms and developers fighting for similar customer base, the
applications are continually improved and services offered the best (Bigelow, 2013).
Mobile computing, network developers and solution providers are consistently working
towards ensuring that the applications being provided to the market are the most advanced in
quality that will cause less interference while working, increased speed and offering strong

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infrastructure base and easier functionality. This is done with consideration to cost efficiency,
resiliency of the applications and sustainability of the same into the long term (Bigelow, 2013).
In regards to the network design and high availability of applications, it is important that the
applications in use are able to process and update data, and are available to other users within the
network with ease. Any redundancies to network designs can be corrected through controls to the
network topology in order to ensure advanced capabilities, operations and performance of the
business processes for increased productivity. The devices like servers and switches in use within
the specific network need to be of high quality and functionality, to be compatible in how they
coordinate, as well as connect through two or more links for best results (Bigelow, 2013).
Important to note is that there are really no high-availability network components, so
businesses with the help of IT experts and network providers needs to focus on getting features
and attributes of applications that will support and propel performance. In fact, application
availability in and across networks according to experts is achieved by making the right design
choices, that works well with the relevant technologies. Some of the technological techniques
that have been named and are able to support and advance application availability include server
clustering, connection trunking, server virtualization, storage virtualization, storage area
networks, geo-clustering techniques, among others (Bigelow, 2013).
Todays networks are laden with issues that back track application availability,
particularly because the networks are not designed to contain the various and unique needs of the
applications. This is why it is imperative that businesses work towards defining their needs and
objectives into the long term very clearly, and use this information to choose what networks and
applications are best for their business performance. Failure to undertake this exercise will leave

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the business enterprise with networks and applications that do not match their needs, leading to
less productivity and costly transactions. The network providers and developers need to also take
time and effort to guide the business enterprises on what applications and networks to leverage
on based on their business needs and plans. It is also important for businesses to understand the
importance of continual and constant upgrades of their networks and applications, as only this
way will they serve them effectively and into the long term (Bigelow, 2013).
The issue of workload that a network will be subjected to is critical when choosing what
network and applications to purchase for use within a business enterprise. This is because of
matters of bandwidth in relation to transactional applications or programs that need high quality
and large data or content like video, photos and VOIP. In this case, the core business of the
enterprise in question and how often it will require using large content in communication and
business transactions will have to be seriously considered. Matters of redundancy and speed of
the network applications also plays a fundamental role in ensuring availability. It is advised that a
business network system is structured in such a way that it can automatically eliminate points of
failure between its servers, storage, switches and application users. This is possible through use
of redundant network links that support trunking for improved performance and the ability to
compensate for faulty links. This will ensure continuity in the business (Bigelow, 2013).
Mobile computing with the help of the Internet has facilitated the proliferation of virtual
social networks and broken the barriers between buyers and sellers. This is because people can
easily and cheaply communicate with others around the globe through their mobile telephones
through platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and many others at their disposal. In
the same way, the people are able to talk about a variety of subjects including brands, products,

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services and happenings around the world, and contribute their thoughts and opinions on the
same platform. What this means is that businesses and brands can be impacted either positively
or negatively by social networking, as opinions are shaped through social and psychological
appeal, and preferences shared to a wide range of people in the global market. This is the reason
modern businesses are increasingly leveraging on the mobile computing technology through
customer relationship management (CRM) on the Internet. This way, they could appeal to the
huge customer base that is on social media and mobile computing (Vizard, 2012).
An example of a U.S. business called Ministore that is connecting with the power of
social networking to business performance is given. Ministore is a New York company that has
enabled its customers to buy and sell goods and services through social networking by use of
smartphones, tablets and other web applications like video and photo sharing. Ministore
customers are allowed to take pictures of products in the store and to share the photos with
people in their networks who are willing to promote the products or services online. This way, a
very impactful promotion exercise is done on a social and psychological level as friends tell
friends and relatives about the products or services on offer. This is bound to be more believable
and is a total cost saving on the part of Ministore, since the only payment they part with is a
commission to the people sharing the information with others on behalf of the company (Vizard,
2012).
Ministore is revolutionizing how sales and marketing has previously been done and
giving an alternative from online stores like Amazon or eBay, which are purely run online. The
beauty with Ministore is that some of the promoters of the products and services actually get to
physically see and touch the products that they are promoting, and the concept is therefore a
combination of conventional and modern. Ministore is leveraging on the popularity of Facebook

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and Twitter by using the two social sites as distribution channels for goods and services that are
already popular within a segment of the people on these sites. The strategy of Ministores
management is to attract individuals and small companies, who only have to use a camera within
a mobile device to take photos of products, and then post this at no fee to the various social
networks, and even sell or buy. The whole process is automated making it fun and easy to apply
to a wide range of customers globally (Vizard, 2012).
Ministores main aim is to bring products and services to people in the most convenient
and informative way that will ensure they are informed of new products in the market and still
avail to them the best prices, quickly and at their convenience. The Ministore looks to adding
value to the buying and selling experience by reaching out to people in the comfort of their
homes or offices, and informing them in a non-intrusive manner of products and services
available in the market. Ministore is leveraging on smartphones, tablets and iPads advanced
features and popularity in the U.S., as the people with these devices will no doubt want to use
them for other services aside from social and work interactions (Vizard, 2012).
It has emerged that the major threats to organizational and even individual information
security and privacy come from cloud and mobile computing technologies, as well as social
networking, which are all interlinked. In an information security survey conducted in 2010
involving about 1,600 top executives in global corporations spread across 56 countries, cloud
computing and mobile computing were the main threats to organizational information security.
According to the senior executives, social networking only affected them minimally in terms of
individual and organizational information security and privacy (Henricks, 2013). Results from
the above survey also revealed that about 64% of the respondents named data protections as one
of the major challenges brought about by cloud computing, mobile computing and social

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networking technologies. In fact, 52% of the respondents believed that the use of personal
mobile devices was the main culprit in data leakage incidences, while 53% said that workforce
mobility facilitated by mobile computing posed the main challenge in as far as information
security was concerned. The other 92% of the respondents held the view that employee
awareness about security posed a substantial challenge in information safety and security
(Henricks, 2013).

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References
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