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Mobile Computing and Social Networks

INTRODUCTION

            Over the recent past, technology structure has undergone many changes, and this has been due to the availability of user-friendly mobile applications and mobile computing. The applications are a new type of platforms used in the mobile tablets and Smartphones. The applications impact on the lives of people and the social networks directly. There are many available applications on the internet, and each of them has particular uses to the users. The applications developed in the mobile phones help to shape the nature of the social networks.
            Mobile computing innovations led to the development of platforms like Android and iPhone. The two platforms are a boost to the growth of the social networks. Hardware and the software developers do not contribute as much to mobile computing, but the many users who regularly use the social networks. Those on the ground use the applications from their devices and can easily predict the future of the mobile computing. The development of applications depends on the purpose of the user. The initial applications developed were games purposed for play on the mobile phones. However, the rate of development of applications is very high such that almost every task by man has software to assist them. There was an extension of the developed applications for them to run on the mobile devices so that their uses can be broader than before.

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            Many businesses adopted the mobile applications since the mobile devices could do many of their activities. The benefits to this are many including reduction of time taken to process information and the uploading of digital media to the server. Business processes developed through mobile computing include quick response codes that replaced the one-dimensional barcodes. Mobile phone devices read the response codes and allow credit card payments from the devices without visiting the banks. Mobile computing assists the activities of humans in almost all spheres of their lives. The increased number of applications for the mobile phones influences the youth by introducing different types of social network sites. In general, mobile computing is a broad platform that offers fast methods to improve the output, production, profitability and the efficiency of human activities. It also aids in the accessing and controlling personal data and information anywhere and anytime through the mobile devices.

            The paper focuses on the assessing the effectiveness of the mobile based applications and the benefits and challenges encountered by consumers in their use. It also discusses the methods to use in deciding the platforms to use and the security threats associated with it.

Discussion
Effectiveness and efficiency of the use of mobile-based applications to capture geolocation and customer data

            Mobile based applications find use in capturing geolocation and customer data and quickly upload the information to a processing server. Geolocation is a type of technology that utilizes the data obtained from the mobile device or computer to identify and describe the actual physical location of the user (ISACA, 2011). The device has to be radio or network connected device. The technology is one of the most common trends in social networking and helps in identifying locations of where the friends are. It aids in the discovery of the popular and convenient places close to the physical location or remotely checks into the restaurants. Accessing the applications via a mobile phone seems flattered and of lesser experience than using the mobile phones. Many people have always used applications like Google maps to identify and locate specific places they wish to know. They mostly use the mobile devices in preference to the desktop computers. Using the mobile devices and the Smartphones to locate places is much easier since they trace exact locations of where an individual is. The data sent or received changes with the change in the location of the individual (ISACA, 2011). A GPS chip installed within the device enables it to show the locations of individuals wherever they are. The chip has a wireless connection to a satellite that has data to calculate the exact positions. In case the service is unavailable or has interference, the chip uses information from the cell towers to triangulate the estimate device location. The efficiency and effectiveness of the applications depend on the availability of the service.

The hindrances that can cause failure of communication between the device and the device are a heavy downpour, cloud cover, heavy trees cover or a valley. Driving in such places obstructs the chances of the service availability. Another hindrance to the efficiency of the service availability is being in a location having many other businesses using the same satellite. Using the application on an open area ensures accurate estimation of the locations. In addition, the ability of the application matters. More sophisticated software and a large database gives more accurate information than the others.

The concern about the use of the service is the lack of privacy. Sharing information on the social networks about the exact locations of an individual can be risky at times. However, as the invention of more applications continues, there is availability of privacy preferences. Dangers of location sharing can be due to the stalkers or spies. They locate that one is away from home and might break in as they trace the location as one move. Utilizing the smart options within the privacy settings of the devices minimizes the risks of invasion of privacy and hence ensures more security. Thus, the applications have more uses that outweigh the small issues of privacy.

Benefits realized by consumers due to the ability of gaining access to their data via mobile applications

Development of services for cloud computing makes data be more mobile, easy to transfer and accessible anywhere. It makes most of the aspects of life become portable and mobile (Shon, Cho, Han, & Choi, 2014). Some of the common devices allowing the applications are laptops, mobile and Smartphones, GPS devices, and the utilization of credit cards in various ways. They allow the accessibility of the data at any location due to the wireless communication through the devices. The applications help individuals have a more flexible working environment since most of the services are accessible at a go. In terms of payment options, users access various payment services at the comfort of their home or office locations. The applications are essential to the business owners since it offers improved service delivery to their customers. The services offered by the applications increases the level of productivity and enhance decision making due to the availability of supportive information. To the customers, they easily log into some payment services using the mobile devices or computers and pay their bills without having to travel to the physical locations of the service providers.

Consumers can review transactions, read emails and update the social networking relationships by the support offered by the applications. Some connect with health care providers by checking in to certain sites and get the help desired from the comfort of their homes. The services find many uses in the health sector especially with telemedicine services. Moreover, managers and top executives of companies and corporations participate in the daily operations of their workplaces regardless of their locations. They can access the activities of their companies while traveling or in a different location like a hotel room.

A major service that uses the mobile applications is mobile banking. Many of the Americans access their bank accounts through the cell phones (Mishra & Singh Bisht, 2013). The service is simple to use, has the necessary precautions and safe. Use of the mobile phone ensures portability unlike the other devices. The common modes of mobile banking are text banking, mobile web banking and use of banking applications. The services are more convenient and allow the transfer of money between accounts. Users get notifications about the changes that occur in the status of their accounts via text messages to a mobile device (Sohail & Al-Jabri, 2014).
Challenges of developing applications that runs on mobile devices due to the small screen size

The issue of small screen size to the mobile devices poses a for investors having a focus on creating applications for them. People have a perceived notion that developing and designing application for the mobile devices is a difficult task. However, there are many ways of dealing with the problem. A new technique in use is a “responsive design;” that has a basis on emerging issues in architectural designs. It has rooms that have the capability of adjusting automatically in reference to the number and flow of people in it. The responsive design tackles the issues of navigability and readability through utilization of several grid and layout systems and image optimization. The developers work together to establish how to redistribute the elements according to the resolution, elimination of some elements and maintaining the concept while still simplifying the structure.

Transfer of the full-size computer applications to the mobile devices leads to poor performance. The devices may have better processors, color display, and resolution, but cannot entirely handle the computer applications. The idea of developing mobile phone applications is not shrinking everything to fit on the screens, but redesigning them to make them more mobile and easily accessible. The challenges vary from data input methods, phone capabilities, screen size, and user expectations and behavior.

Successful design of the applications requires the use of a mobile interaction design process. The first step involves conducting research on the target device requirements for the site or application. The next step involves conceptualizing, organizing, designing and prototyping. The final step entails testing and refining the product ready for use in the mobile devices. Not all the applications work well with all the devices. Instead, specific applications target particular models of the devices.

Methods used in deciding the platform to support, i.e., iPhone, iPad, windows phone or Android.

Due to the many devices that support the mobile applications, developers have to decide on the types platforms in use. The choice of the platform limits the type of tools and languages to use and also the extent of the devices supporting the applications (Viswanathan, 2012). One feature to consider is the features offered by the device. The application depends on the nature of the features supported by the device. Some devices have features that allow certain applications and others do not.

Another factor of consideration is the type of carriers that offer devices for the platform developed. Different carriers have specifications that only fit certain platforms and hence the need to consider them before deciding on a device to use. Most of the applications developed for the various platforms are incompatible with each other. It limits the use of particular applications due to the compatibility problems (McAllister, 2009).

There are issues that guide developers in deciding the platform to use. One of them is whether the target population commonly uses the mobile platform. Each platform has specific users for preferred reasons. Some are good for entertainment, others for academic purposes, and others for business purposes. Hence, the developers have to consider the target population in order to meet their needs. Developers need to have a knowledge of the features and functions that the application has, and the capacity of the device to support them (McAllister, 2009). A platform should meet all those issues. An application can be in use on different platforms to ensure that it serves many devices.

Ways of providing high availability to the mobile applications for users to have continuous access to IT and IS systems

High availability requirements vary depending on the mission and operations of the organization. Developers should enhance security issues in addressing the availability of the applications to the consumers. Security threats are major problems that affect mobile devices since the rate of hacking is higher than that of non-mobile devices. The problem is rampant due to the increased demand of the Smartphones. The high adoption rates of the mobile devices applications increases the chances of fraud. It lowers the availability of the applications to the consumers. Malware too affects the availability of the applications. The applications are liable for having viruses that affect the normal operations of the device. Hence, the developers should enhance the security of their applications to minimize the cases of fraud and hacking.

The high dependence of the mobile applications by users means that any breakdown can adversely affect businesses and individuals. Applications have a 24-hour access mode by the users, and any failure would translate to delays and poor decreased efficiency. Designing applications for increased availability to the customers entails anticipating, detecting and resolving software and hardware failures before leading to errors and data corruption. In terms of technology solutions, the application should have a number of avenues to the services and data. In terms of operation, the device should undergo testing and proving processes before implementation to support the application for the best part of their lifecycle.

Clustering provides continuous availability for the applications. The mechanism involves the use of many computers physically connected together, but logically linked through cluster software. The software has the capability of allowing separate servers to work as one system. The failure of one server initiates the process of offloading the work to the next server. The user’s services are switched to that server and the failed application restarts. The processes happen automatically; hence there is no delay time. Delays that might occur are not significant to cause aborting of the processes. The clustering software has a few benefits. It reduces the chances of planned and unprecedented system failures and ensures continuous monitoring of critical aspects of health services. The method does not have compatibility issues with a common standard hardware.

In addition, network load balancing ensures continuous availability of the mobile applications. The method automatically detects the system failures and redirects the user’s services to other servers within a short time. It offers uninterrupted and unstopped user service. Thus, the use of the application maintains a continuous use by the users.

Methods of making mobile devices more secure

Security of data and information is a critical aspect of the mobile devices. They have risks of loosing important information through the security threats. Due to the easy accessibility of the mobile devices, their risk of hacking is higher than that of non-mobile devices (Van & Kenneth, 2012). It is not expensive or difficult to protect the devices and the information stored in them. One factor is to ensure that the software is up to date. Every release of software has a number of security risks out in the market. The recommendation is that one checks the manufacturer’s website for the software updates. The user should also use strong passwords having a combination of letters, numerals, and special characters. Some common dictionary words are easy to guess and hence risky to use. Changing of the passwords regularly makes it more secure and hard to track. Some programs are available that can help in creating strong passwords if one feel insecure. The user should avoid messing with the security settings of the device. Most of the default browsers settings are secure out of the box, hence no need of altering them (Van & Kenneth, 2012).

The users of the mobile devices should shun from using the unencrypted public wireless networks. Some wireless networks require no passwords to log in, and therefore open to any user. Some people may set up an open network that has malware to capture the less careful people. The best networks to use are those that require authentication before access. The wireless accessibility capability should be off when not in use. It hinders automatic connection to any networks available.

Most of the URLs that start with “https:”; are safer than others. Sharing personal information requires such sites to maintain the confidentiality. The letter ‘s’ in the “https:” ensures that all data transmitted via the website is authentic and encrypted. The cookies and auto fill should be off especially if the device enters passwords into the websites frequently visited. The type of applications downloaded might also be a threat to the security of the device. The Android market is more open to malware than other sources; hence its use requires caution. Some of the applications do not have strict developer guidelines. The user should be familiar with the developer or else have time to review the comments before downloading the software.

In addition, the user may have the device details hacked regardless of the security measures. The surest way of solving it is by changing the password and immediately sending a message through the network explaining what happened. The devices should have an auto wipe feature that deletes all the sensitive information in case of theft.

Another method of preventing hacking of the device is having updated antivirus software. It detects and prevents malware from affecting the other applications. The device should also be lockable by securing it using a PIN. Unlocked devices are like open books that are easily accessible by anyone.

                                                          Conclusion
            The use of mobile computing for the social networks is a good invention that has a lot of potential for the IT sector. Through the use of various applications in the mobile devices has some negative issues, the benefits are numerous. Mobile applications make work easier by improving accessibility and accessibility. There are different platforms available for use by the applications developed, but each of them has specifications that limit its utility. The applications developed should have continuous availability for use by the user. Mobile devices have security threats, but when protected the devices are safe. Many security features are available, and hence depends on the choice of the user.

References

Adistambha, K., Davis, S. J., Ritz, C. H., & Burnett, I. S. (2010). Efficient multimedia query-by-content from mobile devices: Computers & Electrical Engineering, 36(4), 626-642.

ISACA (2011) Geolocation: Risks, Issues and Strategies,

Lookout’s State of Mobile Security Identifies Malware Designed for Profit and Privacy as 2012

Growth Areas” (2012, September 06). Business wire: Retrieved from

Mishra, V., & Singh Bisht, S. (2013) Mobile banking in a developing economy: A customer-centric model for policy formulation: Telecommunications Policy, 37(6/7), 503-514

Sohail, M. S., & Al-Jabri, I. M. (2014) Attitudes towards mobile banking: are there any differences between users and non-users? Behaviour & Information Technology, 33(4), 335-344.

Sherry Roberts is the author of this paper. A senior editor at MeldaResearch.Com in urgent custom research papers. If you need a similar paper you can place your order from nursing school papers services.

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