Health

The fast development of mobile technologies has expanded and sophisticated the workings of many industries and health care is no exception, with more than 50,000 health apps available. We explore the health apps currently out there and investigate the future of the health app market

Some of the popular health apps are fitness orientated and general health monitoring.  They are easy tools for users to keep track of their weight, exercise activity and help them achieve their fitness goals.

Also many of them include blood pressure and blood glucose monitoring, which is one the more important necessity among many people. Users can conveniently test and check without going to a doctor or using an external device.

Currently, Samsung leads in this area with its S Health app, which is preloaded on the S3, S4 and the new S5.  It’s a fitness and health hub, collecting and storing health related metrics such as your daily workout and fitness levels. It also measure calorie intake and amount of calorie burned, weight, blood glucose etc.

The recently released S5 comes with a new health addition, a built in heart rate monitor. The app also measures your comfort level by measuring the temperature and humidity of your surroundings. The data is then conveniently is displayed on charts and a health board.

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S Health can also connect with other health management devices like blood-pressure monitor, wireless scale or Samsung’s gear watches and you can share your health information via email and social media services.

Samsung intends to continue developing health care technologies; the company recently announced the $50 million innovation fund, Samsung Digital Health Challenge, which will be used to develop products that according to Samsung’s executive,  will “put individuals in the driver’s seat in understanding their own health and wellness,”  They have already created software and hardware design with advancements that will aid the development of these heath orientated products.

According to a survey by Deloitte, “The health care and life sciences industry is recognized as one of the top three fields (along with consumer products and the financial services industry) likely to propel mobile device growth in the next five years.” Health apps started out with general fitness and weight management and have expanded to blood pressure, blood glucose measurement and heart rate monitoring and sleep monitoring.

Along with the growth of mobile apps, people’s demand for information and self-care, increasing health costs and increasing chronic illness have pushed and evidently, will continue to push the growth of health apps. More and more systems are being developed to particularly minimize visits to the doctor and healthcare costs.HealthTap is a clever and curated system that gives users online question and answer sessions with Doctors while Glow is an app that aims to help women get pregnant.

Although iPhone doesn’t have any built in apps, there are many healthcare apps available on App store. LoseIt! is a particularly popular weight management app because you can record food with a barcode scanner and it recommends users the amount of calories they should need to reach their goals.

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As is the case for Samsung, Apple is also focusing on developing the healthcare mobile technology. One of the main new features of the iOS 8 that is soon to be released, will be the preinstalled app called “Health book”.

The app will not only track exercise activity, but intend to measure health vitals like blood pressure, hydration levels, heart rate, and possibly other blood-related metrics such blood work, oxygen saturation and blood sugar tracking

Health apps are not limited to general services for users, but there are also more sophisticated apps that are used by doctors and hospitals to conduct more sophisticated measurements and diagnostics.  The drchrono app provides doctors and hospitals with electronic health records system that is focused to the iPad interface. The app manages scheduling, patient reminders and billing system with many features.

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There are other apps specifically designed for cardiologists, pediatricians, neurologists and other specialists. There is a category ‘Healthcare professional’ found in the medical category in the App store. An example is Neuro Toolkit that does a series of exercises to assess and diagnose strokes. A neurologist at Billings clinic says it’s common for physicians to be using not just this app. but many more for updated treated options and research. Doctors can access updated databases about drugs and diseases quickly and conveniently.

However, there have been concerns on whether these apps should be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as is with for all medical devices.  There is uncertainty whether the apps are or part of a medical device, particularly those communicating with devices.

The FDA assessed the potential of apps harming patients and then issued guidelines. They said that apps that instruct patients to change their drug dose based on readings would be likely regulated, while fitness and diet apps would most likely not. However there is some still some gray areas as to distinguishing apps into these categories.  Whether proper regulations should be enforced is still in debate.

The use of health apps ranges from ordinary people for everyday activity to physicians and hospitals managing patient and making diagnoses.  Clearly the health care app market is large.  With Samsung, Apple and other companies like Intel putting focus into further developing health care mobile products it, it is expected to grow even more.

We are excited about sharing our latest infographic: “5 points mobile marketers should be familiar with in 2014”. Actually, we focused this infographic on these 5 points because in 2014, they represent 5 myths mobile marketers should stop believing.

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1st point – Most traditional web publishers are expected to become mobile-first in 2014, with most of their digital traffic coming from  mobile devices

It’s no news mobile traffic has been expanding so fast over the last few years. We already raised a question one year ago about a prediction (Is Mobile traffic to exceed Desktop in 2013 in Sports & News verticals) which came true. It was then a legitimate question to ask:  when is this phenomenon to happens “en masse”? When is the tipping year?

Well, the first great finding of this infographic is: this trend is to accelerate, 2014 is expected to be the “tipping year of mobile”, the year mobile-first become the new standard of the web.

Lots of verticals will be affected (Fashion, Food, Search, Email…) according to our data and also to public resources, most traditional publishers are to become mobile- traffic driven (we only listed the most famous).

You can’t believe it yet?

For instance, Youtube (mobile traffic=40% as of 2013), Linkedin (38% in 2013), Yahoo (<50%), Skyscanner (<50%) publically stated their digital traffic will be mobile-driven by 2014.

 2nd  point – Mobile advertising is getting mature, driven by rich media & video

Unsurprisingly, as mobile traffic has soared, so has mobile inventory too. Remarkably, mobile rich media & mobile ad video ad units have experienced a huge growth in 2013 (respectively, x2.4 and x4.2). Advertisers are increasingly ready to test innovative mobile formats.

Mobile rich media now accounts of 24% of delivered mobile ad banners and impressive mobile performances drag advertisers to mobile advertising, they seem increasingly interested in testing innovative mobile ad units. Mobile isn’t poor for branding anymore.

3rd point – Android keep rising despite iPhone 5s & 5c

Despite the recent launch of the new devices iPhone 5S &5C in Q3 2013, Android share of ad impression has kept soaring in Q4 2013. Android gained 10 points in 2013, Apple loosing 9 vs 2012.  iOS hasn’t been bouncing back after iPhone 5s & 5c.

4th point – Mobile ad dollars are pouring into the industry 

The average Mobile share of a publisher’sold inventory has significantly increased in 2013 (+89%) and this trend should keep going in 2014, as global mobile spending is expected to growth another 38% in 2014. The gap between mobile ad spending and mobile ad usage is been filled. Global mobile ad spending is even expected to overtake outdoor, radio by 2016,… Advertisers are willing to move budgets to mobile.

5th point    Mobile RTB is born, mobile buying  methods are converging with desktop

Mobile programmatic buying, whose technology is born in 2012, is already to take off in 2014.

What did you think about this infographic ?  Would you have any major points to add? Feel free to comment below and to share it

The mobile landscape certainly continues to grow as we head into 2014. More than half of the U.S. population owns a smartphone (57%, according to a Pew study) and Americans are spending an average of two hours per day on their mobile devices.

With 8% of a person’s day spent looking a mobile screen, there is a huge opportunity for mobile marketers to find customers who are looking for local services, as well as m-commerce customers who want to make a purchase online through their smartphone or other mobile device.

After all, the mobile market will generate 35% more spending by 2015 compared to 2012: $400 billion versus $139 billion.

What are you doing to increase your mobile marketing efforts?
0207 WebDAMSolutions 637x4061 The 2014 Mobile Landscape: 25 Statistics That Will Drive The Future of Mobile Marketing [Infographic]

 

 

With apps becoming such a prominent feature of our day-to-day lives, it means we’re relying more and more on mobile data, but how do you reduce the amount used each month?

Image: The Canadian Press/Ryan Remiorz

IT’S EASY TO forget just how much we rely on our smartphones, every day we use it to check email, social media accounts, play games, listen to music and watch videos among other things. With the ability to access the web anywhere, there are fewer lulls in our day-to-day lives.

This accessibility comes at a price though. The majority of us are given a certain amount of data to work with, and the lower that amount is, the more likely you are going to go over the amount and add to your monthly bill.

Even if you’re not considering upgrading to 4G yet, it’s worth keeping in mind how much data you use when you’re out. With more apps requiring mobile data to perform, it’s more important to know how your data is being used.

How do you use your data?

(Note: It should be mentioned that the figures given below are rough estimates. Factors such as reception, the provider you’re with, and overall speeds play a part in how much data is used so your own results will vary.)

The first factor to look at is the type of apps and services you use on a daily basis. If you use your phone solely for email and web browsing, this won’t be a concern, but if you’re using a number of different apps – and it’s very likely you will be – you will need to be aware of how much data they use and identify the most demanding ones.

As a rule, games tend to use the most data as a number of them work in the background and search for updates when booting up. Be wary if you allow a game access to mobile data – especially online multiplayer games – since they’re usually the biggest culprits.

For example, playing Angry Birds Go! for the first time saw 11MB used up in the space of seven minutes. After that, the next playthrough, which lasted five minutes, saw an extra 8MB used. Since it regularly connects to servers – for updates, ads and in-app purchases – the data it uses adds up over time.

It’s worth keeping in mind that if a game is free to download, then you will be paying for it in other ways.

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Games like Angry Birds Go! update every time you start the app as well as use data for background actions. 

Dealing with video, if you’re watching a show on Netflix, an average 40 minute show will used up roughly more than 200MB.  On YouTube, a two minute video would use 4MB at what is usually 240p quality when you’re using 3G.

It’s worth mentioning that when you access YouTube through a mobile connection, it’s the app itself that determines the quality of the video. This means that if you have a 4G connection, the quality will be better which means more data is used. It won’t be a massive difference but worth taking into consideration.

In comparison, listening to music on Spotify, the average three and a half minute track on a playlist would amount to just over 3.2MB. When you add radio features to it, this figure goes up a little, but you will need to keep an eye on how often you stream music since it does add up.

After that, the amount of data you use will determine on the medium. Social apps like Facebook and Twitter compress images so you won’t be stung when you’re viewing them in the newsfeed – loading up the newsfeed for either site would use roughly 2.5MB.

Uploading photos isn’t as large a burden on your data plan as you would expect. While being PNG files, images size tend to hover between the 150KB – 250KB mark. Again, if you’re frequently uploading photos, that’s when you should worry. Similarly, uploading videos places a strain as the average 15 second video would use up 6MB.

Cutting down data usage

So you’ve determined the type of apps that use up the most data and you want to reduce the amount used, how do you do that? Well, depending on what’s causing the problem, there are a number of measures you can take.

Set data limits

Both Android and Windows Phone have ways to alert you when you’re close to exceeding your limit. Both can be found in settings and let you set both the alert and the cutoff point for data. This should be the first port of call for anyone who doesn’t have an iPhone.

Windows Phone’s version, Data Sense, is one of the more useful features on the OS. Found in the apps folder, it allows you to limit the amount of data you use – by telling it if you’re a billpay or prepay customer – limit background data and reduce the amount used when browsing the web.

iOS users can only see where their data is being used so downloading an app like My Data Manager – available for both iOS and Android – will help fill in the gaps.

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Change your browser choice

Chances are web browsing won’t play a major part in data usage, mainly due to so many sites offering mobile versions, but for those sites that are image or video heavy, compressing the page size is a great way of reducing data costs.

The best choices are Opera Mini (iOSAndroid, and other) which streamlines loading pages and significantly reduces the amount of data required, or Chrome which has recently introduced a similar feature. Depending on the pages you visit, the amount of data you’ll save ranges between 20 – 60 per cent.

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Reduce background data

As mentioned before, a number of apps will use up data through background actions. That is regularly searching to see if you received an notification, got an email or backup data. It nice being notified about these things, but it can end up being a burden on your data plan.

For one, the majority of them can be set so you only get updated if you are connected to WiFi which is handy for daily updates. However, if you really need to be notified in real-time, keep the number of apps that can do this to a minimum.

Get rid of ads in apps

If you’ve downloaded a number of free apps, chances are you’re paying for it through ads or in-app purchases. Displaying these ads requires data and if you use it a lot, either opt for the paid version or better yet, turn on airplane mode before you start playing. Just remember that doing the latter means you won’t be able to receive calls or use data while it’s on.

Use WiFi as often as possible

A rather obvious tip when you’re at home or at work, but it’s worth remembering that there are more businesses and services offering WiFi hotspots. Even if your 3G or 4G connection is faster, it’s worth getting into the habit of connecting to these spots so you reduce your data usage as much as possible.

Turn off mobile data for apps individually

All phones allow you to switch mobile data off for individual apps but the level of customizsation you have access to depends on what OS you’re using. iPhone users can only turn off connections while Android users can let you choose exactly what actions apps are allowed to do with mobile data.

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Save wherever possible

This depends heavily on the type of apps you’re using but a number of streaming apps include offline services allowing you to save music or videos onto your phone for watching later. For example, Spotify Premium allow you to save and play songs offline for up to 30 days, useful if you listen to the same artist regularly.

If you open up certain pages and sites often, don’t clear your browser history as your cache will save things like images so you won’t load them again if you revisit.

If you do a lot of reading, using an app like Pocket or Instapaper allows you to save articles for reading later.

If you’ve been less than impressed with Touch ID, the fingerprint sensor that comes on Apple’s new iPhone 5S, we may be able to help.

Touch ID worked well for me when I tried it out in September, but my actual experience with my new iPhone 5S was different. Often, after placing my finger on the Home button, it wouldn’t read my print and I’d be prompted to “try again.”

Although the fingerprint scanner works well for many people, and has garnered positive reviews from some of the most prominent tech critics, others have found that it doesn’t work well for them.

What to do? Apple recommends rescanning your finger (and, of course, making sure it’s clean and dry) or trying other fingers if you are having problems. The company also notes that things like lotion, oils and dry skin, or activities like swimming or exercising “may affect fingerprint recognition.”

But I had an idea: Touch ID works with up to five different fingers, so what if I scanned my thumb multiple times, essentially telling my iPhone that it’s different fingers? After all, I rarely use a finger other than my right thumb to press the Home button, so those other four slots were empty.

I thought that having more — and more varied — prints of my thumb could only help, so I tried it by “enrolling,” as Apple calls it, my thumb two more times. The result was fantastic — Touch ID now works much better than it did before, probably over 90 percent of the time.

I’m not the only one who had this idea.

Shane Hockersmith, a mechanic in the U.S. Army, told The Huffington Post in an email that now that he’s scanned the same finger multiple times, Touch ID works nearly “every time” — up from “about half the time.”

A colleague of mine who was having readability issues with her new 5S also saw improvement by employing the strategy.

I was unsure about my theory, and Apple would not comment on whether or not it would improve Touch ID. But Michael Fiske, the founder of Biogy, a privacy company that focuses on cryptography and biometrics, said that adding more prints could, in fact, make Touch ID more reliable.

“Entering multiple examples of the same print enhances pattern matching,” Fiske said. “Basically, it enables the pattern matching to be more flexible.” Adding more prints can lower the rate of false rejects, he said — when the right fingerprint doesn’t give access to a phone.

Fiske likened scanning your finger multiple times to teaching a child how to identify leaves from an oak tree. If you show the child three leaves from an oak tree, she’ll be more likely to later recognize an oak tree leaf than had you just shown her one.

The workaround is by no means perfect. While it has improved my experience, Cpl. Hockersmith’s, and my colleague’s, my mom said that Touch ID still doesn’t work well enough for her to use it.

CNET offers additional tips for using Touch ID, so check out that article if it’s still not working. And let us know in the comments below if this strategy worked for you.