Starbucks rocking the mobile world with over 70 million mobile transactions

The Starbucks Coffee Company has become an architect of great commercial success with their entry to mobile applications world eighteen months ago. As of late last year they can now boast in having over 70 million payments through their mobile application, which is an amazing feat for any company mobile presence.
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Unlike many other merchants who use a third party payment processing application the Starbucks application was launched with a built-in payment service. That is set to change, as Square and Apple’s Passbook are now going to be well unified to the Starbucks brand, the former through a directory link to Starbucks and the latter will be integrated to iPod Touch or iPhone via Passbook software. These are very exciting developments; the future holds much innovation and further mobile presence for Starbucks.

Mobile app assisting those with visual disabilities

A mobile application published by the nonprofit group Horizons for the Blind is offering solutions to the visually-impaired by increasing their autonomy when shopping at stores. Horizons for the Blind have been working on the app, called DirectionsForMe, with consumer package goods group Gladson with the intention of aiding those who have trouble with vision and the challenges they face as consumers. Camille Cafferlli is the founder of Horizons for the Blind and briefly took time to explain the initiative:

“DirectionsForMe provides a platform of independence … it allows you to put in a product name, and then you get all the directions, the warnings, the ingredients and anything else that would be on the package…”

The app will also be a benefit to seniors who may have trouble making out important information among the complicated packaging we see nowadays, as well as the small print in the case of ingredient listing. A user of DirectionsForMe will experience three functionalities once the product is scanned whereby information is presented through 1) A voice reading out the information 2) a portable braille reader and 3) augmented text size on a smartphone.
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It’s good to see mobile technology being used as a tool to empower the disadvantaged instead of only as a marketing channel. Hopefully DirectionsForMe meets a lot of success and inspires other like-minded applications.

http://pymnts.com/ Sept 2012

Cybercrime: are you one of its increasing numbers of victims?

A new Norton Cybercrime Report cites that 1.5 million people worldwide are victims of online crime on a daily basis. They also claim that 2 out of every 3 internet users have been affected by cybercrime at least once in their lifetime and the costs on consumers are over a billion dollars (USD) per year. These numbers are truly staggering.  On average, victims are averaging $197 in financial losses as a result of this epidemic.

As more people turn to smartphones to access the internet, they increase the probability to succumbing to cybercriminals activities. Threats were initially low with the use of mobile phones but now since nearly 2 out of 3 people are online via their smartphones the threat has increased to over 200%.
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Social networks are also major targets. The report states that 4 out of every 10 users have suffered from cyber criminals hacking into their platform. In addition to that two-thirds of people have not set up security settings on their mobile phones or otherwise. Surprisingly, there are an estimated 44% of users that don’t even realize they have security settings to help offset any cyber crimes. Sounds like it’s time for all of us to wise up and get educated on how we can stop cybercriminals in their tracks.

http://www.thepaypers.com/news/

Everything Everywhere and MasterCard team up

MasterCard’s deal with T-Mobile and Orange has come to an end. A new 5 year deal between MasterCard and Everything Everywhere has been forged. Their plan is to develop a person to person payment system close in comparison to Pingit.  This is not good news to rival networks O2 and Vodafone, who are also working together to build out a unified mobile payment service called Project Oscar, which would have standardized the system across the nation. Vodafone is currently partnered with Visa and O2 is attempting to establish their own system. It will be interesting to see just how this all pans out in the grand scheme of things. Stay tuned.
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