Categories
Lifestyle Technology

Tracking The Cheating Spouse

sb10064861z-001Vehicle GPS trackers made a foray into the Nigerian market over a decade ago, and was made popular by the insurance companies who bundled these devices with their comprehensive insurance packages. The primary purpose of these devices is to help in reducing the risks the insurance companies face in the event of theft of these cars.

However, some people have found a different use for this device which may not have been the intention of the manufacturers of this technology – Spouse Tracking.

Ever so often, spouses tend to have reasons to suspect their partners of infidelity; the perpetual late nights at work, work trips, cutting off calls when you come into the room, and perhaps, lack of interest in “you know what”. Stories abound everywhere of marital infidelity, and it is becoming increasing common place and many even see it as a norm.

A temptation to have an affair can come from all over. Lures from a co-worker whom they spend lots of time with or go on business trips with, the house help that watches your children, your so called good friend or even a neighbor.

The thing is, you may have not gone all out to get and fix the device on your partner’s car, as it may have been installed by the insurance company but the fact is, the vehicle GPS tracker does a very good job keeping track of the movement of the car occupant, even keeping a log of locations visited for future reference. It is just a matter of you taking charge of the SMS or internet services required to monitor this movement of the vehicle. You may even go a step further and install a discreet video camera as an add-on to the GPS device to get a video and audio feedback from your spouse’s car.

Alternatively, if what you have is a “tokunboh” (fairly used) car that you did not bother to fix a tracker in, most smartphones now come with GPS feature. Apps like SMS & Call Mobile Monitor,  available on the android and the iOS platforms, even allows you to check on the content of your partner’s phone in addition to tracking her movement.

Well, this sort of raise ethical issues (as if jealous spouses care about this 🙂 ) but i am very sure some spouses have taken even more extreme measures to catch a cheating partner especially in Nigeria where voodoo is very common place. The mythical magun charm easily comes to mind.

Categories
Lifestyle

Technology And The End Times

The Bible tells us that in the end times and last days that mankind will make great advances in the development of technology. In fact, it was the prophet Daniel who recorded the following word from the Lord:

Dan 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

Here we can see that men will eventually run “to and fro” and that knowledge shall be increased. I would imagine that when Daniel penned these words under the guidance of the Holy Spirit that he was simply astonished to see the advancement that mankind would make in some 2,500 or more years later. Imagine the prophet who used horses and mules for transportation seeing visions of automobile, jet planes, and high speed trains. Not to mention fighter aircraft, submarines, speed boats, etc.

In the past one hundred or so years mankind has made tremendous gains in technological knowledge and advancement. Trains of course have been around even longer than say cars and airplanes, but during this time period we have seen airplanes and automobiles developed that would take the transportation industry to a whole new level that could only be dreamed of by people living in the 1800s much less at the time of Daniel. With the advances in the locomotive and development of the automobile and airplane men have been able to “go to and fro” at speeds that were only once imagined but have now become a reality. The development of the automobile and airplane in the early 1900s revolutionized and increased the ability of mankind to communicate, move goods across vast distances at greater speeds, and of course increase recreational leisure. The advancement of the transportation industry has allowed the continents to be bridged and cause an increase in globalization. These advances also brought about a greater improvement in the overall quality of life for the average person who had financial access to these things. Instead of waiting weeks for a rider on horse to make a several hundred mile trip via horseback, a person in a car could arrive at their destination in just half a day or so. This increase in the ability to go “to and fro” has also helped to speed up the fulfillment of other Bible prophecies.

The Daniel 12:4 verse also mentions that knowledge should be greatly increased. It is commonly known that there are more scientists living today than the whole sum of scientists that have ever lived in the past. It is also estimated that about every two years that the total sum of man’s knowledge is doubled. With the invention of television, satellites, the internet, and other advances in other fields such as medicine, etc. mankind has increased his knowledge here in the end times just as the Bible forewarned would happen. The advances in technological knowledge make the fulfillment of future Bible prophecy all the easier to do.

For example, with the invention of satellite television mankind is for the first time in his history is able to fulfill the prophecies concerning Revelation 11:3-10 where the two witnesses are slain by the antichrist and the people of the world are able to marvel at their bodies lying in the street of Jerusalem. Revelation 11:3-12 tells us:

Rev 11:3 And I will give [power] unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.Rev 11:4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

Rev 11:5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

Rev 11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

Rev 11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

Rev 11:8 And their dead bodies [shall lie] in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

Rev 11:9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.

Rev 11:10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.

2012This prophecy could only be fulfilled with the advent of the modern day satellite systems that we use today to broadcast news from around the world live as it is happening. A prime illustration of how the prophecy of the two witnesses could be fulfilled was seen most recently when Pope John Paul had died and his body laid in the Vatican under 24/7 observation through satellite feeds. Only in our lifetime has this prophecy been able to be literally fulfilled. The Lord saw this ahead of time and forewarned mankind through John the prophet as he wrote the book of Revelation on the isle of Patmos.

Another example of technological advancement that is related to Bible prophecy fulfillment involves the development of global positioning systems (GPS) that allows mankind to locate other people anywhere in the world as long as they have a device that will transmit signals to the satellites in space that will then record the movement and position of the person or thing being monitored. The technology now exists to embed RFID microchips inside ones skin that are basically rice-sized capsules that are able to transmit signals so that people can be easily found should say a natural disaster strike. Hurricane Katrina that hit New Orleans is often used as an example of a recent natural disaster situation where microchips would have been able to aid law enforcement officials in indentifying bodies found in the disaster area. These microchips are also being used to implant inside of Alzheimer’s patients in order to help monitor their whereabouts since they are prone to walking off a nursing facilities grounds and suddenly getting lost. The applications for these microchips is absolutely phenomenal and the market for them will only grow as their application use expands and mankind finds more ways to use the technology.

In the medical community these microchips can be used to store a persons entire medical history and more so that if they were to say suddenly blackout and not be able to give critical medical information to emergency responders, then with the simple swipe of a transmitter receiving device these medical records can be easily retrieved from the embedded microchip. This is now being hailed as a new way to provide patient safety and reduce medical errors. There is even talk of making these implants mandatory in the future. In fact, there are laws now that require livestock in some places to be implanted with microchips to help monitor the outbreak of disease among other things. Governments can use these microchips to keep track of livestock levels held by different farmers so that accurate records can be kept when it comes to comparing livestock and economic reports.

The danger of today’s technological advances are in their misuse. The Bible warns that in the future the one world leader often referred to as the antichrist will implement a “mark of the beast” system that will not allow people to buy or sell unless they have this mark. This system is actualy introduced by the antichrist’s sidekick the false prophet but will be for the purpose of pledging allegiance to the antichrist. The Bible says in Revelation 13:11-18:

Rev 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

Rev 13:12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

Rev 13:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

Rev 13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by [the means of] those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

Rev 13:15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

Rev 13:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

Rev 13:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Rev 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number [is] Six hundred threescore [and] six.

What exactly this mark of the beast will be remains to be seen, but the Bible does say that the mark of the beast will be in people’s foreheads or hands. While the mark could simply be a tattoo, it is interesting to note that the best place to implant a microchip is in the forehead or the hand where the skin is the thinnest. This of course has made the RFID microchips a prime suspect of Bible prophecy watchers as it is deemed a good candidate for the future mark of the beast as it can be easily introduced to the world society and if a person doesn’t have the mark (microchip) then they will not be allowed to buy or sell unless they pledge allegiance to the future one world government leader – the antichrist.

With the rise and continued progress of technology in these end times and last days, we are moving ever more quickly to the time of the end. The time when the world is thrust into the the great tribulation period. The final seven years of this age that is often referred to as the “time of Jacob’s trouble” as God pours out his wrath upon unbelieving Israel and unrepentant sinners. But before this final seven year period commences, the rapture of the church will take the bride of Christ to Heaven in a remarkable event that is often referred to as the “blessed hope” for believers. The rapture will happen unexpectedly and without warning. Only people who have placed their faith in the atoning sacrifice and completed work of the Lord Jesus Christ will participate in the rapture. I encourage everyone to make their decision today for the Lord Jesus Christ. For tomorrow could be too late.

God bless.

Source

 

 

Categories
Gadgets

Smartphone Spying

IT SOUNDS LIKE a B-movie plot: Millions of smartphone owners are being tracked by their phones. In addition, their mobile apps are eavesdropping on them. And information on their whereabouts is being sold to third parties.

But it isn’t science fiction. If you own a smartphone and download popular apps, the odds are good that your handset knows more about your day-to-day travels than your spouse does. Apple, Google, and Microsoft are in the hot seat now, having to explain how iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone 7 handsets really work, and what they know about where you go and what you do. Predictably, the lawsuits are flying.

Two women in Michigan are suing Google over the location-tracking technology included in the company’s Android mobile operating system. In a Florida court, two men are suing Apple and demanding that the company either stop collecting tracking information or more-effectively safeguard the data it does collect. Both Apple and Google faced an inquiry by a U.S. Senate subcommittee in early May intended to discover to what extent they snoop on their customers via smartphones.

With so much alleged spying going on, it’s hard to focus on the most important question: Should you care?

Location Tracking

A database file in Apple’s iPhone and 3G iPads kicked off the latest round of privacy concerns. The controversy started after a file called consolidated.db was discovered on iOS devices and in iOS backup files on PCs; the file seemed to be logging the device’s location based on the positions of cell towers and Wi-Fi access points.


Apple disputed that allegation, however. The company says that about every 12 hours iOS devices send back encrypted and anonymous cell-tower and Wi-Fi access-point location data; Apple then uses that information to update a master database of worldwide cell-tower and Wi-Fi access-point locations. The data later updates on each iOS device to help it find its location faster, as opposed to depending solely on GPS satellite signals.

Apple says that it will take the data from your iOS device only if you are using the device’s location services, and an iOS update ensures that the consolidated.db file won’t log any cell-tower or Wi-Fi access-point information if you turn location services off.

Apple Isn’t Alone

If you opted in to use Google’s location services when you first set up your Android phone, Google is taking location data from your device in a manner similar to Apple’s approach. Android sends GPS information and Wi-Fi access-point locations, as well as your unique device identifier, back to Google, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Just as Apple does, Google uses that data to maintain a location database. Reportedly the company uses the data to serve you targeted ads and other location-relevant content. Google has also stated that all of the data sent back to it is anony-mized, despite researchers’ findings that each user’s unique device ID is included.

Seeing its rivals getting hit with criticism, Microsoft posted a Q&A on its Windows Phone 7 blog about its location-data collection practices. Much like the other companies, Microsoft says that for Windows Phone 7 it “assembles and maintains” a database of cell-tower and Wi-Fi access-point locations. Microsoft fills that database by collecting data from a fleet of cars, as well as by collecting Wi-Fi access-point information from mobile devices.

The company says that it will collect Wi-Fi location information from your phone only if you turn on location services, if you are using a location-based app that requests location information, and if your Wi-Fi radio is on. “If any of these conditions are not met,” Microsoft asserts in the blog post, “the mobile device will not survey Wi-Fi access points.”

However, Microsoft also says that if a phone’s GPS function is on, it will collect the device’s “observed longitude and latitude” as well as the direction and speed the device is traveling. Presumably, Microsoft uses that data to feed a traffic-information database, but the company does not explain further.

Bejeweled 2 collects your phone number and, according to the Wall Street Journal, shares it with third parties.

Apps That Eavesdrop

If you think that’s bad, you’ll love what app makers are doing. Some popular iOS and Android apps, such as Color and ShopKick, turn on your smartphone’s microphone to listen to background noise and report back to their creators what they hear.

Fortunately, it turns out that these apps aren’t fishing for juicy tidbits about your life; rather, they’re listening for sound patterns. Color and IntoNow, for example, both perk up your phone’s ears to help create on-the-fly social networks, their makers say. By comparing the sound patterns across many phones, the creators claim, the apps can better determine whether people are in the same room, say, or watching the same program on TV.

The makers of ShopKick, meanwhile, say that their app is listening for a special tone (inaudible to human ears) so that it knows when you are in a store that offers a ShopKick discount. To be clear, all of these companies say that your words aren’t being recorded and that they aren’t being sent anywhere.

As for apps in general, most phone owners realize that when they install apps, they grant the apps access to some personal phone data. But most people would probably be surprised to learn exactly what that data is and who has access to it.

The Wall Street Journal discovered that most of the 101 apps it tested shared a phone’s unique ID number with third parties. It found that popular apps such as those for Dictionary.com and Fox News collect location data. Publisher Rovio Mobile, the maker of Angry Birds, collects data on your latitude and longitude, your contacts, and your phone’s ID (not your phone number). Other apps, including Pandora, collect your age, gender, location, and phone ID. Apps such as Foursquare, TextPlus 4, and WhatsApp Messenger collect your phone number. Bejeweled 2 collects your phone number and, according to the Journal, shares it with third parties.

An interesting side note: The Journal’s project found that the iOS apps were sharing much more information than the Android apps were.

App publisher Rovio Mobile, the maker of Angry Birds, collects your latitude and longitude, your contacts, and your phone’s ID.

Mixed Signals

With all of the headlines about location tracking and online privacy violations, it’s easy to live in fear—namely, fear that companies know too much about you and are going to reveal your deepest, darkest secrets to the world. But in reality your location is not being transmitted to a giant map in a secret room, where all of your movements can be followed via some sort of flashing beacon.

Even so, privacy safeguards are needed to protect consumers. Verizon, for one, is looking to head off concerns by placing a peel-off sticker on its devices warning users that their location may be tracked by the device.

At a U.S. Senate judiciary subcommittee hearing about mobile-device tracking in early May, Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) said that Apple and Google were releasing “confusing” information about what location data they collect. Senators in attendance suggested that new laws may be needed to govern the collection of data over phones. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) remarked that the current environment, in which various mobile-phone operators and app providers share location information with third parties, is a “Wild West” with few restrictions in place.

But most of the controversy, experts say, is overblown for now. More disturbing to mobile-privacy experts are future phone services that might be vulnerable to rogue developers, or user-location databases that have the potential to be hacked.

For the time being, exercise caution and good judgment when installing apps and using location-based features. On top of that, you can avoid the majority of mobile-privacy pitfalls by using a combination of common sense and digital tools such as the highly rated Lookout Mobile Security app for Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone 7 devices.

(PCWorld)

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Categories
Articles

Big Brother Is Watching

“If the Internet were your living room, there would be crowds of people peeking through the windows,” says Mark Ghuneim, CEO of New York digital marketing agency Wiredset, “and you would have unwittingly granted them permission to watch and record everything going on.” Among the Peeping Toms: George Orwell’s figurative Big Brother—the government—but also, potentially, your employer (and future employers) and marketers, as well as so-called data miners who’ve made a multibillion-dollar business out of buying and selling intimate details about you.

In an age of social networking and oversharing, our lives are open books. What we do in our homes with our technology doesn’t always give us what the law calls “a reasonable expectation of privacy.” How easily can others get their hands on all the information floating around cyberspace about you and your family?

Who Can Read Your E -Mail

You just sent a message to a friend about a trip to St. Petersburg you’re thinking of taking. Somewhere a computer is probably “reading” that e-mail with keen interest, using sophisticated software to discern your plan to travel as well as the specific destination—which is why you might suddenly start noticing your e-mail provider serving up ads for, say, St. Petersburg hotels and restaurants.

Google, whose Gmail service keys ads to e-mail content, announced in late March that it will be refining its system to serve up more “relevant” ads (“For example,” Google helpfully explains, “if you’ve recently received a lot of messages about photography or cameras, a deal from a local camera store might be interesting”). The company reassures users that the process is “fully automated” and that “no humans read your messages.”

Whether you use Gmail or another service—and no matter how much information about yourself you volunteered when setting up your account—any e-mail you send from your home is likely to be associated with a specific IP (Internet protocol) address. In other words, if you set up a Hotmail account under the name Jane Doe, it may be directly traceable to you by law enforcement. (Prosecutors across the United States have successfully sought to subpoena records from Internet service providers to demonstrate such links in criminal cases.) You may think you’ve sent an anonymous e-mail, but for all practical purposes, it’s as good as signed.

Of course, if you use an anonymous service like GuerrillaMail—which allows you to create a temporary e-mail address that lasts just one hour—and log in from a public location such as a coffee shop with free Wi-Fi Internet access, you should be able to cover your e-mail tracks. But such disposable e-mail addresses (which some people use to gain access to websites that require an e-mail address during the registration process, hoping to avoid spam) aren’t practical for the vast majority of us.

On some sites, the price of admission is your surrender of privacy.

And as for e-mail you send from work, beware: Dr. Darren Hayes, a Pace University professor and expert in data security, says, “The legal presumption is that no matter what you do on your employer’s network, there should be no expectation of privacy.” In other words, your employer doesn’t have to tell you that the computer on your desk and everything that passes through it is being automatically monitored.

The San Diego–based Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, which maintains an informative rundown of employee privacy rights (and lack thereof) at privacyrights.org, is fairly blunt about it: “If an electronic mail system is used at a company, the employer owns it and is allowed to review its contents.” Whenever you visit a website, chances are the site will insert and/or update a small bit of code on your computer called a cookie, which allows that website to track your visits as well as monitor where else you might end up surfing. As Wiredset’s Ghuneim explains, “Marketers buy, collect, and process many data types, including location data, brand preferences, purchase activity, and behavioral data. The data collected by Web browsers adds to each of those areas, and marketers can grab that information as long as it’s disclosed in their posted privacy policy.”

Who Can Track Your Web-Surfing History

Michael Fertik, CEO of reputation.com, recommends that you “always browse in privacy mode.” (In Firefox, look for Start Private Browsing under the Tools menu; in Internet Explorer, click the Safety link, then select InPrivate Browsing; in Safari, look for Private Browsing under the main menu.) “That might mean,” he adds, “that you have to log in every time you go to your banking site, but guess what: That’s better anyway.” It’s important to note that some websites won’t function properly unless you allow them to place cookies on your computer. In other words, the price of admission is your surrender of privacy.

Every Web browser allows you to clear cookies after visiting sites. That’s a useful tactic if, for instance, you’re checking e-mail on a computer that other people can access.

Both Internet Explorer (from Micro soft) and Firefox (from Mozilla) recently added so-called do-not-track features designed to limit the amount of information marketers can collect about you as you surf the Web. So far, though, marketer participation in do-not-track programs amounts to self-policing, as there is no force of law behind them. That’s why the U.S. Senate’s commerce committee has been considering legislation that would mandate the ability of consumers to opt out of being tracked.

Keep in mind that clearing your cookies or turning on a do-not-track feature does not erase your tracks. Your service provider may maintain detailed logs of every site you’ve visited, and other evidence of your surfing habits may persist on your computer. In 2007, a New Jersey woman was convicted of murdering her husband. Before the crime, she’d entered four words into Google’s search box: how to commit murder.

Comments left anonymously, or under assumed names, on website message boards are traceable too. The administrator of a site, for instance, can see the IP address of the computer of any posted comment—information that can be subpoenaed by law enforcement. (Some websites even make IP addresses of commenters visible to other commenters to not so subtly encourage civility.)

As for social networks, reputation.com’s Fertik maintains that even the most rigorous privacy settings are not good enough: “The social networks will still take your data and give other people access to it. That’s their business model. So just assume that no matter what you post, no matter how private you think it is, it’s going to find its way to someone else.”

While Facebook, for instance, allows you to limit what nonfriends can see, people in your social circle may not have the same scruples about your information. And once information is out there, it can be used against you. In 2010, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported that four of five surveyed divorce attorneys reported seeing information from social networks being used in divorce cases. In 1988, Congress passed the Video Privacy Protection Act after a D.C. newspaper published Judge Robert Bork’s video-rental records during his unsuccessful confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court. Fast forward to 2011: Chances are no matter what you watch on television—through cable or via a service like Netflix—at some level, it’s being tracked digitally, seamlessly, and automatically.

Who Can Track What You’re Watching on TV

In fact, cable companies such as Cablevision have been experimenting with “addressable ads” that deliver commercials tailored to your household. Bob Fetter of Massachusetts- based Pluris Marketing, a company that helps cable providers and other firms conduct such so-called data mining, doesn’t think that’s always cause for concern: “Sometimes sharing your data leads to a better customer experience.” For instance, Disney and Toys“R”Us have participated in Cablevision’s tests, and while they don’t reveal whom they’re targeting, it’s obvious that they’re interested in reaching, for instance, middle-class households with children. Their spots might be more welcome than, say, commercials for erectile-dysfunction drugs. Those who balk at addressable advertising can, of course, opt out. The burden, in other words, is on you, the consumer. “In the past decade, the stakes for privacy have dramatically changed,” says Jules Polonetsky of the D.C.-based advocacy group Future of Privacy Forum. Today, though, even if you do all the right things on your computer—surf in private mode, enable the do-not-track feature, etc.—you are likely being followed more closely than ever, thanks to what you’re carrying around in your pocket or purse. “Your cell phone,” Polonetsky points out, “is a sophisticated computer that knows all your contacts, including all your friends, and knows your location because you always have it with you.”

What Your Cell Phone Can Reveal About You

As the New York Times reported this spring, a German politician recently sued his cell phone provider, Deutsche Telekom, to force it to reveal the data it was tracking about him. It turned out that over six months, the company had recorded his exact location, in the form of longitude and latitude coordinates, more than 35,000 times. As the law stands in the United States, cellular providers don’t have to reveal to their subscribers what sort of information they routinely collect and to what degree. Just the same, for most users, the benefits may outweigh privacy concerns.

For instance, even cell phones that lack sophisticated global positioning system (GPS) circuitry can determine your location by triangulating your distance to nearby cell phone towers. Good news if you’re lost in the Dismal Swamp, of course, and good news for law and order. Both GPS and tower data have successfully been used in court to demonstrate a suspect’s proximity to a crime scene.

Verizon, incidentally, has a service that’s specifically designed to invade privacy—of children. Verizon Chaperone uses GPS to allow parents to pinpoint the location of their kid’s phone at any time (on the theory that kids are entirely inseparable from their mobiles). But the biggest privacy threat to cell phone users, both children and adults, may be one they bring on themselves through services like Foursquare, which lets you publicly check in to locations (for example, announcing to your friends that you’re at the mall), and Facebook and Twitter, which let you add your locations to updates and tweets.

In fact, in the winter of 2010, a group of activists launched pleaserobme.com to raise awareness about the danger of broadcasting your location to the world. Indeed, last September, police in Nashua, New Hampshire, busted a burglary ring that targeted homes whose occupants had posted their whereabouts on Facebook, graciously letting thieves figure out exactly when they wouldn’t be home.

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

iPad in the Enterprise

The iPad is transforming the way businesses use technology. More than just a consumer phenomenon, the iPad is disrupting business models and power structures within corporate information technology (IT) departments. Within 90 days of being released, the device was already adopted by 50 percent of Fortune 100 companies. This unprecedented rate of market penetration represents a fundamental shift in the way technology enters the enterprise.

IT departments have traditionally had complete control over the selection and management of technology, but that iron-clad grip is being threatened. Corporate employees, who are consumers themselves, are bringing their own personal devices into the workplace. While many IT departments have moved quickly to ban this, such a ban is very difficult to enforce, especially when executive leaders are among the offenders. Even when it can be enforced, the ban puts significant pressure on IT departments to support the popularized consumer technologies demanded by the employee base.

Many industry leaders have begun to recognize that it can be in the company’s best interest to support this trend instead of fighting it. Gartner Inc., the market-moving analyst and technology advisory firm, issued an advisory recommending that businesses embrace the iPad. Gartner went so far as to say that, because the iPad is such a disruptive technology, there will be significant obstacles to its adoption, and that top executive management should get involved to clear barriers to the iPad within the enterprise.

“It is not usually the role of the CEO to get directly involved in specific technology device decisions, but Apple’s iPad is an exception,” said Stephen Prentice, Gartner Fellow and vice president. “It is more than just the latest consumer gadget, and CEOs and business leaders should initiate a dialogue with their CIOs about it if they have not already done so.”

Disruptive technologies can be both powerful and dangerous to companies that employ them, and the iPad is no exception. But according to Prentice, “Even if you think it is just a passing fad, the cost of early action is low, while the price of delay may well be extremely high.”

Consumer Choice

Just as Apple was bringing the iPhone up to par for enterprise use, the ingredients were swirling to create the perfect storm that would change the mobile and wireless landscape forever. The global economic downturn of 2008 put pressure on corporate spending and left companies looking for ways to cut spending any way possible. As many employees with corporate-owned mobile devices started buying their own personal iPhones out of their own pockets, companies realized that they could reduce their wireless spending while simultaneously increasing worker satisfaction. It turns out that lots of employees are more than willing to cover all or part of their own wireless expenses if they can carry the phones they want. As the IRS decided to start cracking down on personal use of corporate mobile phones, it only put more fuel on the flames. The result was a fairly dramatic and rapid shift within the industry from corporate-liable to individually-liable wireless plans.

As more people wanted to use their personal iPhones at work, companies shifted to individually-liable wireless plans.

By June of 2010, the iPhone had achieved 80 percent adoption within the Fortune 100. At first glance this might sound quite impressive, considering the traditional purchasing cycle within the enterprise, but it’s important to understand that most of these enterprises were not purchasing the devices for the users. They were giving their users the option of using an iPhone.

Genentech is an example of a forward-thinking organization that was quick to embrace consumer choice. The San Francisco-based biotech firm, now part of the Roche Group, previously had more than 5,000 BlackBerry devices. Even though most Genentech users loved their BlackBerrys, as the company began lettings users choose the phone they wanted, these users switched en masse to the iPhone. By late 2009, Genentech had more than 5,000 employees using iPhones and only 1,500 with BlackBerrys.

While the iPhone was brought into the enterprise mostly by individual users, the iPad is taking a different path. The first few devices brought into the enterprise environment in many cases were personally-owned devices, but companies very quickly saw the benefits of the iPad and began purchasing the devices in bulk.

For example, the medical device industry has demonstrated widespread corporate adoption and deployment. By the end of 2010, less than nine months after the release of the iPad, Medtronic had deployed 4,500 iPads, Boston Scientific had rolled out 2,000, and St Jude Medical, Abbott Labs, Zimmer Holdings, and Stryker had all rolled out units as well. Within many of these same companies, mobile phones were transitioning to individually-liable deployment models and away from the centralized corporate-liable deployments of years past.

This seems to represent a very interesting trend in consumerization, where even corporate-driven centralized deployments seem to be migrating to consumer-oriented technologies. In the context of the history of the computing industry, this appears to be a reversal of a trend in which technological innovations were driven by the government, then moved into the private sector, and finally were brought to consumers.

This trend developed when the only organization with the necessary resources to finance development of new computing technologies was the federal government. Once the heavy research and development costs had been covered, the cost of the technology would come down to the point that it could be used by private sector businesses. Over time, the costs would continue to fall until eventually the technology would even hit a price point that would make it acceptable to consumers.

Through the Internet and personal computing revolutions, not to mention the on-going march of Moore’s law (simply stated, computing power will double every 18 months), the historical trend of technology going from government to the private sector and then to the consumer has been flipped on its head. In many ways today, the consumer has the most advanced technology, which is then working its way into the business world and then finally the government.

Not only is the consumer technology itself (like the iPhone or iPad) making its way from the consumers hand into the corporation, but the consumer’s desires are now able to impact purchasing decisions within the enterprise. This trend is only beginning to emerge, and it’s unknown how far it will go. One thing is clear though: today’s enterprise employee is also a consumer, and those users will continue to have significant influence over the technology decisions of their corporations.

It’s all about the apps

It’s easy to forget that when Apple first launched the iPhone there was no App Store, no iPhone SDK, and no developer ecosystem. People thought their phones were great for making voice calls, checking their e-mail, and maybe even browsing the Web. The average user had no idea that their phones could run “apps.”

Even though the first generation iPhone did not support native apps, when Apple did introduce the iPhone SDK and the App Store it really was nothing new. Windows Mobile had what many viewed at the time to be a thriving developer ecosystem with more than 20,000 mobile applications available. What Apple did with the App Store, though, was simplify the user experience. It made the act of installing an app onto your phone into a clean and straightforward process. Then it ran primetime TV commercials about all the apps available in the App Store and how easy it was to install them on your device. Apple took a geeky, complicated process of installing software onto your mobile phone and transformed it into an incredibly simple experience.

Apple was able to build the App Store on top of its already successful iTunes platform, and as a result it already has nearly 100 million credit card numbers on file. As an owner of an iPhone or iPod touch, you didn’t have to give Apple a credit card number for its file, but you couldn’t download free apps until you did. The result was a thriving ecosystem built around the impulse purchase.

The vast majority of downloads from the App Store are of free apps, but this hasn’t prevented the gold rush in which tens of thousands of developers quickly developed apps for just about anything. The App Store launched with just 500 apps, but quickly grew to 5,000, then 25,000, then 100,000. It will likely hit the half million mark in mid-2011.

First with the iPhone

There’s an app for that. And that. And that, too.

As the App Store exploded with growth, the average consumer discovered there was an app for almost anything. As Apple’s TV commercials stated, whether you “want to read a restaurant review, read an MRI, or just read a regular old book” there was an app for anything. Want to play a game? Recognize a song on the radio? Pay your bills? Order a pizza? Start your car? Unlock your front door? iPhone users quickly realized that there really was an app for almost anything they could imagine.

The auto insurance industry provides an excellent case study for how Fortune 1000 organizations first began to embrace consumer-facing mobile applications. In April 2009, Nationwide Insurance launched Nationwide Mobile in the iPhone App Store. The app provided Nationwide’s customers with an “Accident Toolkit.” In addition to calling emergency services, the app could file an accident report that used GPS to pin-point the user’s exact location and captured pictures of the damage with the camera. It even provided a flashlight feature. The company then ran an extensive primetime TV advertising campaign that showcased the iPhone app. In addition to providing a great marketing message, the app offered a huge value proposition to the customer by replacing manual labor-intensive processes with self-service functionality that consumer could use right from their phones.

By December 2009, Geico Insurance had launched its own Geico GloveBox app in the App Store, and shortly thereafter began featuring the app in television commercials along with its trademark cavemen.

By the spring of 2010, almost all the major auto insurance companies, including Allstate, American Family, esurance, Farmers Insurance, Progressive, and State Farm, had all released iPhone apps. State Farm continued in the tradition of running primetime TV commercials to announce its iPhone app. Nationwide took this trend to the next level, and ran a second television campaign around another iPhone app it developed called Cartopia. This app was marketed not only to existing Nationwide customers, but was also designed as a lead-generation engine where users could comparison car shop and even run free vehicle identification number (VIN) checks on used vehicles. The app could then instantly provide auto insurance quotes to car shoppers on the go, who already had taken the time to enter the vehicle information into the app.

Take a moment to imagine that you work for one of these auto insurance companies as a claims adjuster. How would you feel about the fact that your employer is giving better technology to consumers than to you, the employee? How would it make you feel that, in the time it takes to boot up your company-provided laptop, you could pull an iPhone out of your pocket, install an app from the App Store, log in, start a claim, capture GPS coordinates to get your precise location, and take several pictures of the damage with the built-in camera?

For another example, let’s look to the retail industry. Most major brick-and-mortar retailers, like Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Home Depot, Macy’s, Target, Toys “R” Us, and Wal-Mart, have consumer-facing apps. Several of these apps, including those from Best Buy and Target, have the ability to use the camera in the iPhone to scan a barcode on a physical product and pull up additional information about the product, including detailed technical specs and product reviews.

Now take a moment to imagine that you work on the sales floor of a retail store. How would you feel if a customer came up to you to ask a question but already had more detailed information about the product on his or her own mobile phone than you have access to on the rugged handheld scanner provided to employees by the store?

These thought exercises are not just imagined scenarios; rather, they are real-life situations faced by thousands of corporate employees every day. As a consumer, you have grown to expect an app for everything, and to expect that all your favorite brands will provide you with apps to complete your consumer-oriented branded experience. But as an employee, you can’t access the same information from your phone that you can from your desktop or laptop. Sure, your IT department now finally allows you to synchronize your mail, calendar, and contacts with your phone, but why do you still have to boot up your computer when you want to run some reports? Why do you have to be at your desk to “approve” workflow requests? Why can’t you run the apps you need to do your job from wherever you’re doing your job? Why can’t you access the information you need, when you need it, where you need it?

As a result, it’s not a matter of whether enterprises are going to embrace employee-facing iPhone apps, it’s a matter of when. In the same way that consumerization trends brought support for mobile platforms into the workplace, enterprises must also recognize the demand and even outright expectations of employees to have apps for business purposes. The release of iOS 4.0 with the over-the-air deployment capabilities of in-house enterprise apps has accelerated the rate of adoption within many enterprise IT departments.

By the end of 2009, Genentech had developed over 30 in-house apps for the iPhone and had deployed its own Genentech App Store for employee use. An example of these apps is shown in Figure 1-5. In an interview, Todd Pierce, Genentech’s CIO, said, “I spent $10 million making my purchasing system usable on SAP. I spent $10,000 making it usable on my iPhone. You do the math.”

Now with the iPad

The iPad launched with ability to run around 200,000 apps that were originally designed for the iPhone and iPod touch. While the user experience wasn’t necessarily the greatest, this helped kick-start the iPad’s explosive adoption. Even though the web-browsing experience on the iPad is quite good, many major websites have provided iPad-optimized apps that take the browsing experience to the next level. Think about the typical user who spends extensive time on a computer browsing the Web on sites like Bloomberg, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, or Weather.com. The iPad apps for those sites provide an extremely rich and engaging user experience that in many cases is significantly better than the websites themselves consumed on a traditional computer.

From day 1, the iPad was viewed as more than just a consumer device. With apps like Apple’s Keynote to give presentations, the device was quickly embraced by professionals to show a slide deck to a colleague. Whether in a conference room or at a restaurant table, the iPad is simply more convenient than a laptop ever was, and as a result it was quickly grabbed by professionals to use for business purposes. After that, it didn’t take long for companies to see the potential for the iPad.

As one of the first organizations to embrace the iPad, Mercedes-Benz developed a custom application that it rolled out to 40 pilot dealerships in June 2010. The application, called MB Advantage, gives dealership employees access to the point-of-sale system right from the iPad.

Mercedes-Benz salespeople can access their point-of-sale system from the sales floor on their iPads.

Mercedes-Benz sales people can use the iPad to take credit applications and look up marketing programs with the prospective customer right next to the vehicle on the sales floor. The iPad has also been used to replace paper-based forms for the lease-vehicle turn-in process in which the dealership employees needed to fill out an inspection checklist for the automobile.

Andreas Hinrichs, the VP of Marketing for Mercedes-Benz Financial, has been quoted in a press release as saying, “MB Advantage on iPad allows Mercedes-Benz dealers to increase their mobility and efficiency, from the initial finance and lease process through the lease turn-in process.” By the end of 2010, Mercedes-Benz had also added the ability to capture customer signatures for certain documents right on the iPad.

But Mercedes-Benz isn’t the only automaker to embrace the iPad. BMW developed a custom iPad application to display interactive vehicle info and pricing at trade shows. The app includes many photographs and videos, and features a digital configurator to allow consumers to design their own vehicle. GM also launched a “Chevrolet Dealer” app for iPads, which gives salespeople access to available vehicle colors, options, and pricing along with dealership inventory.

In the context of apps, let’s revisit the example mentioned earlier of the medical device industry. Medtronic is the world’s largest medical device manufacturer and was one of the first large corporations to purchase significant quantities of the device. With the rollout of 4,500 iPads, Medtronic may have had the largest iPad deployment of 2010. Within weeks of the device’s coming to market, the company ramped up a team to begin developing internal applications for the iPad. According to Mike Hedges, Medtronic’s CIO quoted in the Wall Street Journal, “The iPad enables our sales employees to do a much better job of engaging in a really different way than we’ve done before.?”

Boston Scientific, another Fortune 500 medical device manufacturer that deployed more than 2,000 iPads within months of the device’s launch, is in the process of developing many employee-facing applications for the iPad. At a conference in late 2010, Ray Elliott, the CEO of Boston Scientific, talked about why the company is investing significant money into the iPad platform even while it’s in a cost-cutting mode. He said, “We’re beginning the process for our sales force of downloading more than 20 specific product apps and opportunity to get into pricing, time efficiency, expense reports, filling out requests and all the other things that we manage to do to take time away from the sales force.”

It might seem surprising that a Fortune 500 CEO would spend time during a company conference to talk about IT strategy relative to deploying iPads, but it’s becoming increasingly common for business executives to talk about IT, especially as it relates to the iPad. In November 2010, the Gartner analyst firm issued an advisory to CEOs, recommending that they clear any obstacles that IT might have in the support of the iPad.

This represents a radical and disruptive shift in business-as-usual for corporate IT. The iPad is shaking things up, and organizations have an opportunity to take advantage of the potential of the technology to improve mobile worker productivity and efficiency.

iPad in the Enterprise

$30, ipadintheenterprise.com

Having taken the enterprise by storm, iPads are now in the hands of workers in virtually every level of companies in almost every industry, and users are beginning to demand line-of-business applications to help them be more productive and efficient from wherever they are. From business intelligence and executive dashboards to customer relationship management and order capture solutions, the iPad has incredible potential to leverage existing investments in information systems and enterprise applications. Even many paper-driven processes today, from sales presentations to survey data capture, can be dramatically enhanced through the introduction of the iPad.

This book is a guide for how business and IT must collaborate to develop a mobile strategy to properly take advantage of this transformative technology. Readers will also learn about the high-level software architectural options, the importance of design and user experience, application development tools and techniques, and best practices for deploying and managing iPads in the enterprise.