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Tag Archives: ios

Combining Current Technologies to Make our Pedestrian Life Better/Safer

Lets talk about health and technologies. Not Life-Science, but what new telecommunication technologies can do for our health. For sure there is a lot done by new technologies already:

This is all great, however it is not responding to some problems such as new technologies creating health problems. One example I have recently been readying about:
Serious Injuries Have Tripled Among Walkers Wearing Headphones. This study from Injury Prevention reported by the WebMD article, explains how people listening to their iPlayers, lose consciousness of their environment and can get in dangerous situations at pedestrian crossings for instance.
Most people listening to their iPlayers in a public environment, want to be in their “Bubbles”, listening to their own music, not the Gym music, not the Subway loud noises, not the side-walk loud conversations. I think the Walkman then Discman and now MP3 players have been and are great in that sense, as they allow you to listen to music and audiobooks everywhere and at any time, to get you to relax and take a break from the outside world, if you need to. 

Now going back to the study, the conclusion says “The use of headphones with handheld devices may pose a safety risk to pedestrians, especially in environments with moving vehicles”. Lets say this is only at street crossing. How could this be fixed? 

Here is what I thought about it while reading the article as I believe this problem created by a new technology (iPlayers having becoming cheaper and mainstream) can be fixed by new technologies:

 

  • It is a question of location near a pedestrian crossing. Solution would be to pause or reduce the music volume while crossing in order to 1) make the pedestrian notice there is a crossing, and 2) make the pedestrian aware it has to “step out of its Bubble” for 3 seconds while crossing. The technology already exists to make your Smartphone / iPlayer react intelligently to your environment. For instance, this can be done through Aware Wining App “Locale”. As explained by the makers on the website: “With Locale, you create situations specifying conditions under which your phone’s settings should change”.
  • It is a question of telecommunication between the Smartphone or the iPlayer and the Traffic Signal / Sign at the crossing of 2 streets / roads. The solution would come from technologies such as Wifi, Bluetooth, RFID or NFC. Technology such as NFC, “Near Field” technology, is specific to millimetres communications, therefore maybe too short. Bluetooth and Wifi might need a password or identification process. However I am sure it is possible to have a Smartphone or iPlayer scanning for Wifi or Bluetooth signals with a specific meaning, not requiring any identification, which would just be a recognition process to identify the proximity of a street / road crossing. If there was a need of identification, I am thinking EAP-SIM for Wifi for instance. The best solution would probably come from RFID and its application to highway electronic toll collection. I experienced it in Portugal at high speed. If you can do it at 120km/h (65 mph), for sure you can do something fairly similar in a street at pedestrian pace.
  • It is a question of long lasting battery as Wifi / Bluetooth / RFID communications would need to be switched on at least during the entire time while in the streets. The solution comes from manufacturers current efforts to enhance their batteries technologies. Samsung is looking at it and Motorola has came back to the market with a solution, the DROID RAZR MAXX: 3,300 mAh battery in a 8.99 mm body for 145 grams (as a reference, the infamous iPhone 4S has a 1,432mAh battery in a 9.3 mm body for 140 grams).

 

I believe software, hardware and physics concerns are not problematic in this “Serious Injuries Have Tripled Among Walkers Wearing Headphones” problem as pointed out just above. Therefore manufacturers, smartphone designers, programmers, mayors, and whomever can do something about it, just do something to save lives. 

If you don’t do it to save people lives, at least do it to save Apple customers! More than 300 millions iPods and about 170 millions iPhones sold. That’s a lot of Pedestrians and Rollerskaters!

 

Switch from iOs to Android, big commitment issue?

It has been 25 months since I switched from an HTC Kaiser on Windows Mobile 6.5 to an iPhone 3GS. At the time I was not sure about the ‘all touch screen’ keyboard and the fact that iOS is close not allowing to install what ever I would find useful.
1 week after I never looked back. 

I started to like my new iPhone 3GS pretty quickly. It is a great phone, lighter than the Kaiser, thin and easy to hold, wide touch screen, smooth UI, etc…
I did not jump on the iPhone 4 last year as I had a 24 months contract and as I thought about taking the Android path as I am a big user of all Google services: gmail for personal emails, gmail for the email account linked to this blog, shared calendars with friends, Docs, gMaps, Translate, Google Voice while I was in the US (hopefully coming soon to Europe), Local. I am looking forward to having Navigation as well (why paying for TomTom when Google does it for free?). 

Last year, neither the Nexus S or Galaxy S made me switch. I always saw the iPhone 4 better than those 2. 

Now there is a whole new game: iPhone 4S vs Samsung Galaxy S II / Google Nexus Prime. 

In my view the S II is above the 4S (it would need an entire post to explain why), while the Nexus Prime will be a beast putting the bar even higher (if GSM Arena leaks are true). I am just waiting for the 19th of October to be convinced. Google I know you can do it. 

Having said all this, this morning I kind of thought about Android: what if it feels too different from my easy to use iOS 4.2, what if even being ‘more open’ it takes me longer to get what I need done, what if I get confused with all these widget panels that are supposed to summarize the data I need from the Apps.
Then I thought about purchase decisions of the various smartphones: iOS vs. Android is like MACs vs. PCs or like… well that’s the point, nothing else. 

For most consumers thinking about switching from PCs to MACs, it has always been a problem of being used to PCs at home and at work. Switching to the Apple side is a drastic change.
Here I am now, facing the dilemma of switching from iOS to Android, fearing to be too used and dependent on iOS.
I thought about other consumption habits which would prevent to switch from one ‘platform’ to another. I don’t see any:

  • Cars: any car in any country is the same, your own habits don’t have to change. Automatic or Manual. You buy a new car or rent one, it is easy to manoeuvre, blinkers on the left, radio in the centre, etc… And it is not a question of brands despite strong oppositions: being used to a Mercedes, you’ll ride a BMW very easily. Same things with bikes, motorcycles, boats (motor or sails), etc…
  • Home Telephones: 12 keys, plus 1 red and 1 green. That’s all you need, in any country.
  • Radio / TV: looking for a radio station or a TV channel is pretty much the same from one equipment to another. Up and Down or 9 keys on the remote.
  • Lift, bus, taxi, subway: your own habits from France are going to be the same in Los Angeles or Berlin.
  • Kitchen: microwaves are the same everywhere, fridges as well, and ovens sort of the same.
  • Laundry: a washing machine, despite some being over sophisticated, are the same, fill in, powder/gel, program, on, 45 minutes, done.

 

I am pushing it strongly on some points on purpose. If you have a Sony Bravia TV and then want to switch to a Pioneer, or a Samsung washing machine to a Whirlpool, it is just a question of new specs, not habits. 

But when it comes to computers or smartphones, all of us are now divided in 2 groups. Switching from one side to the other means thinking about it soundly and changing a lots of things:

  • Interface habits such as shortcuts, layout, etc…
  • Re-buying softwares & apps
  • Change equipment and accessories

 

I might certainly get the Nexus Prime to try Android out as I always wanted. I will make my own judgments and then if I don’t like it, I’ll get an iPhone 5, which should be a major game changer given Apple’s usual product cycles.