Research Picks – December 2016

Smart phone marketing around the world

Manufacturers of smart phones are constantly on the lookout for new trends in adoption of their products. One aspect on which they must focus is cultural differences, according to a study from Finland. The authors of this paper have looked at differences in smart phone uses across three major regions Uzbekistan, South Korea, and Turkey. They found that social influence was the strongest predictor of behavioural intention to use a smartphone among South Korean participants, this rings true given how other sociological research suggests that country has a highly collectivistic society. By contrast, people in Turkey are apparently more individualistic and this correlates with a lack of social influence on smart phone uptake. For Uzbekistan, internet penetration is still very low and in general only the rich can be adopters of advanced technology at the present time, so economics is the main influence on uptake rather than personal or collective choice.

Sanakulov, N. and Karjaluoto, H. (2017) ‘A cultural comparison study of smartphone adoption in Uzbekistan, South Korea and Turkey‘, Int. J. Mobile Communications, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp.85-103.

Young escapists won’t tolerate in-app ads

Advertising embedded in smart phone apps is a common way the developers of those apps make money from users either in addition to any fee they charge to download the app in the first place or any in-app purchases for additional options. A new study from the US of young smart phone users suggests that they are more accepting of in-app advertising if the smart phone application in question helps them in some significant way or provides them with information they deem important, as opposed to offering games, entertainment, or various forms of escapism. Specifically young people enjoy music and video apps widely and find that such apps allow them to develop their personal identity. It is advertising in these apps that is least tolerated by users and such a revelation could help marketers and advertisers adapt their business models.

Logan, K. (2017) ‘Attitudes towards in-app advertising: a uses and gratifications perspective’, Int. J. Mobile Communications, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp.26-48.

Head for the clouds during a disaster

Computer scientists in Japan have developed a two-level security and communications system that would be resilient to power outages that might occur during and immediately after a natural or other disaster such as earthquake or terrorist attack. The first tier could sustain communications and information systems for the public without relying on commercial power suppliers by mirroring critical information on cloud servers elsewhere. The second tier takes control of personal computers at the power level so that they can be safely rebooted without damage to hard drives (and so data loss) at the first warning signs of a critical problem such as early tremors just before an imminent earthquake. Again the latter utilizes remote backup to mirror critical data. The system has already been put in place at Ibaraki University in response to the earthquake and tsunami disaster of March 2011 and could be implemented elsewhere.

Noguchi, H., Ohtaki, Y. and Kamada, M. (2016) ‘A university information system made robust against natural disasters by taking advantage of remotely distributed campuses‘, Int. J. Space-Based and Situated Computing, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp.147-154.

Library navigation

You can quickly find the book you’re after even in the biggest library thanks to a navigation system being developed for smart phones by computer scientists in Japan. They explain that FeliCa cards (contactless RFID cards) act as indoor landmarks where the global positioning system (GPS) simply does not work and without the need for costly indoor markers such as beacons. The app allows the reader to quickly search the library catalogue, gives them a map showing the shelf position of the book, gets the reader’s location in the library and then displays a route through the shelves to the book they are after.

Li, X., Saitou, O., Zhou, E. and Kamada, M. (2016) ‘A low cost library navigation system by using Android devices and FeliCa cards‘, Int. J. Space-Based and Situated Computing, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp.155-164.

Author: David Bradley

Award-winning, freelance science writer based in Cambridge, England.