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  • 27 Aug 2018 10:23 AM | Mark Michelson (Administrator)

    The Next Generation Smartphone Has No Screen

    FRANCOIS PETAVYBusiness Insider Australia

    No wonder the smart-phone business is so tough. Every new design seems to simply be yet another take on a 3.5 to 5 inch screen. But what if a smart-phone could expand to replace all four screens (phone, tablet, PC, TV) in your house? Or, what if we simply eliminated the screen entirely with a 3D hologram phone that provides an Xbox Kinect experience in a small puck? (note: if you just want to see the phone…scroll down)

    We asked the eYeka community of co-creators to imagine not what features the iPhone 5 or next Android phone might have, but what a true, next generation phone might look like. One that will make today’s phones looking like yesterday’s rotary phones (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotary_dial – for all you youngsters).

    The best designs show the creativity of a similar paradigm shift in product design that the iPhone took from the Blackberry-type qwerty designs.

    “The Round Phone” by j-bouille
    The crowd favourite is a small round item that fits into your pocket, but projects any number of functions with which you can interact. User j-bouille imagined a round smartphone that contains a camera, a projector and is able to connect to a wide range of objects. Take it into a shower and you will know the temperature of water. Connect it to a fridge and you will know what food you are missing. This is a phone for the future that connects to the “internet of things”. It adapts with what it touches and becomes simply a part of our everyday life.

    “The Flexphone” by iKev
    We also loved the “Flexphone” by iKev who created a new take on e-paper. Instead of simply creating a rollup phone, it uses flexible OLED technology to easily turn a phone into a gaming device, tablet PC, or full fledged media-player. Flipping photos from one screen to another, shifting form-factors to easily morph into whatever device you need it to be.

    Ford was quoted once in saying “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said: ‘faster horses’ “. And professional designers often say that no disruptive innovation can’t come from consumers. Well, j-bouille and iKev may well be proving them wrong.


    Read more at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/take-a-look-the-next-gen-smart-phone-has-no-screen-2011-4#FlAZrVguuM85J1ki.99

  • 16 May 2018 1:51 PM | Mark Michelson (Administrator)

    May 16, 2018. From Bob Lederer, FRL Communications and Research Business Daily report: 

    InnovateMR’s Chief Research Officer Lisa Wilding-Brown blogged for Women In Research about the great opportunity and unseen importance of mobile research in turning around the long-decaying respondent cooperation problem.

    https://rflonline.com/2018/05/16/could-mobile-be-one-of-survey-mrs-last-chances-rbdr/

  • 23 Apr 2018 3:47 PM | Mark Michelson (Administrator)

    Our phones are not the problem when it comes to gadget addiction. It's this.

    By John Brandon

    Contributing editor, Inc.com

    It's not the smartphone in your hand. It's not the tablet or the laptop. Reports about shiny objects captivating us all day miss the mark by a long shot. Apple is not to blame for making a useful phone, and Google is not to blame for the wide assortment of gadgets that use the Android operating system, like the Pixel 2 smartphone.

    What's to blame instead?

    It's an excessive desire to collect micro-feedback about ourselves. Experts have found that we're constantly checking for feedback, and it's addictive. One even said social media is a drug that causes addiction. It's not the gadget itself, it's the micro-reward we crave.

    I noticed this when I was waiting in line at a coffee shop. Everyone was flipping through their social-media feeds. We're not that into photography and cat videos, are we? What tends to get most people excited is when they see a comment on one of their posts, or a heart on an Instagram photo. We're addicted to seeing digital rewards; each one releases a small drop of dopamine in our brains, and it can happen every few seconds.

    That's why apps like Snapchat and Instagram are rising in popularity even more than Twitter and Facebook. Micro-feedback taps into our desire as humans to be noticed, to be credited, to experience recognition. As society becomes more and more insular, more cocooned with media and gadgets, we're all looking for more feedback on our phones because we're certainly not getting feedback in person.

    When was the last time someone told you in person that you posted an amazing photo, or that you look awesome, or that you finished a work task on time? We all know the best bosses are the ones who give positive feedback regularly, but no one could ever compete with the feedback loop in social-media apps like Instagram and Snapchat. Sadly, when we don't get enough of this dopamine hit--say, no one notices a photo we posted--we also get depressed.

    Mark Zuckerberg didn't quite acknowledge this problem in a recent Congressional hearing. But a former Facebook exec certainly did, essentially saying the feedback loop from apps like Facebook are contributing to the decay of society in general. The younger you are, the more you crave the reward, and the more depressed you get when it doesn't arrive.

    What can help?

    My advice is to schedule your social-media sessions. Maybe you review accounts early in the morning and you avoid getting addicted all day. The issue here is that we're often tired when we finally get to the mall or have to wait in line at the coffee shop, so we pull out the phone and start looking for micro-feedback to deal with boredom and routine. That's when it really causes the most problems and when we turn into digital zombies.

    I also recommend going on a digital fast. Take an entire month off from social media, if you can, and see how it impacts your day and how much you interact with people in person.

    Yet, more than anything, it's all about a simple realization. You have to remind yourself, every time you check an account, get an email, finish a level in a game, or discover a wonderful new product on Etsy, that you are in a feedback loop. The gadget is a tool, but the apps are clearly tapping into something else. You're collecting micro-rewards.

    Our phones are stuck to our hands like glue. It's a little scary. The devices are useful and helpful, especially in a work setting. It's the micro-feedback that's causing the problems. Using phones for actual work, actual conversation--and avoiding the trap of looking for digital rewards--can help you find a better balance for how you use the devices.


    So what kinds of digital rewards are you giving respondents?

  • 09 Apr 2018 6:48 AM | Mark Michelson (Administrator)

    By GRBN_News April 9, 2018

    Are traditional ‘best practices’ limiting the business potential for clients?

    It’s an important question but not often asked. Having a set of best practices gives us confidence in our processes for execution with the promise of a strong research process plan delivering high quality data. But what if your best practices require you to exclude a key group of research participants by removing mobile audiences? How does that impact the data you’re collecting and do the results adequately reflect the marketplace opportunity?

    A team of researchers in partnership with the GRBN (Global Business Research Network) are conducting research to assess the impact of excluding mobile audiences in pricing research.

    Three considerations driving best practice decisions for online research

    • Mobile survey participation is increasing but consistent representation is lagging
    • Survey platforms are improving but multiplatform designs remain too few
    • Sample representation and sourcing needs greater transparency

    With the prevalence of mobile response and a renewed focus on the respondent experience, there’s an opportunity to revisit our assumptions for what research may be appropriate for certain devices.


    INCREASE IN MOBILE PARTICIPATION

    No surprise here. We’re tied to our phones and there are inherent opportunities associated with that level of access. The percentage of participants responding to a survey request on a mobile device continues to climb, and the increase is even greater among younger audiences.

    While mobile access is on the rise, the focus should be on participant inclusion regardlessof device. 

    SURVEY PLATFORMS

    The industry is responding to the challenge of improving the respondent experience but there’s more work to do to improve the consistency of presentation of surveys across devices. Many platforms continue to render surveys differently for mobile participants or not render adequately for participant accessibility.

    Researchers are doing a tremendous disservice to clients if they don’t optimize the respondent experience and aren’t focused enough on inclusion of sample through platform design.

    SAMPLE REPRESENTATION 

    How is your data different because mobile audiences weren’t included in the sample?

    Sample companies have a responsibility to consult with clients about the potential inclusion or exclusion of groups due to poorly designed surveys. The exclusion of a portion of sample should never come as a surprise. Clients should understand the sample plan prior to research and be given time to make appropriate adjustments to maximize participation.

    The opportunity is to improve the respondent experience through better platform and survey design and focus on widening the net of available participants in research. Higher quality data is the outcome and participant inclusion is imperative.

    REVISITING DISCRETE CHOICE AND MOBILE PARTICIPATION

    Assumptions have been made over the past several years that certain types of surveys aren’t a good fit for a mobile audience given screen size and platform limitations. The limitations are still there with certain types of research, but as the levers have changed we have an opportunity to revisit what is deemed ‘best practice’ for specific types of research.

    Discrete choice research presents some challenges and for many the default course of action has been to exclude mobile participants. Depending on the design, there can be a lot of information presented and too many options to display on a small screen. The presentation of questions can be inconsistent and could lead to different results by subsets of your sample.

    As we consider the potential for mobile audiences and discrete choice, two questions come to mind.

    1. How does the discrete choice exercise render on a smaller screen? 
    2. What is the impact on data if we exclude mobile participants from sample?

    The focus to date has been on point #1 – the rendering of the survey exercise on the screen. If the exercise is different by device, we exclude the smaller screens and control the presentation of the exercises by limiting participation to laptop and desktop respondents. It then becomes ‘best practice’ to default to exclusion of mobile audiences for discrete choice studies. But we haven’t paid sufficient attention to point #2 – how the exclusion of the sample impacts the findings from research. How are insights limited as a result?

    Thankfully platforms are improving to better support multiplatform surveys with a consistent display across devices. This means the presentation of the questions is the same on a phone as it is on a laptop or desktop, without the need to scroll or pinch to navigate the survey. We know this consistency is crucial to delivering data comparability.

    The improvement of online survey platforms is no small achievement. It makes it possible to offer research to participants previously deemed a ‘bad fit’ for the design. What was once not a ‘best practice’ might now warrant consideration.

    PRICING RESEARCH AND UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

    What if ‘best practice’ of excluding mobile participation in a discrete choice pricing study results in more conservative pricing recommendations? 

    Much the way we ask participants in discrete choice surveys to make ‘trade-off’ decisions over product features, researchers go through a similar series of ‘trade-off’ decisions to determine their optimal approach for executing research. Decisions regarding sample, programming, question types and exercises to include, incentives to offer, and other areas have a major impact on the potential for insights.

    In the case of pricing research, these decisions on execution, specifically on the inclusion or exclusion of mobile audiences, may fundamentally change the recommendations from research.

    Could pricing research without mobile audiences lead to more conservative or aggressive pricing decisions?

    RESEARCH PLAN AND NEXT PRESENTATION

    Through our partnership with Mindbody, a B2B software provider serving the wellness and fitness community, we intend to better understand how pricing decisions may be affected by the inclusion of mobile audiences.

    Our team of researchers will present findings on this topic with the industry at the Insights Association NEXT Conference May 1st, so we hope to see you there.

    Research Team:

    Andrew Cannon, GRBN
    Dyna Boen, UBMobile
    Lisa Wilding-Brown, Innovate MR
    Bob Graff, MarketVision Research
    David Lau, Mindbody

    Bob_Graff

    Bob Graff

    MarketVision Research

  • 05 Sep 2017 10:03 AM | Mark Michelson (Administrator)

    Latest guidelines by ESOMAR include specific applications such as mystery shopping, biometric data and in-store tracking.

    https://www.esomar.org/uploads/public/knowledge-and-standards/codes-and-guidelines/ESOMAR-GRBN-Guideline-on-Mobile-Research.pdf

    Mobile research has been growing steadily in the past 8 years to now account for $1.8 billion global annual turnover. (Source ESOMAR)

  • 04 Sep 2017 2:38 PM | Mark Michelson (Administrator)

    By Matt Weinberger, Business Insider, Australia

    We fell in love with he Smartphone when Apple introduced the iPhone 10 years ago. But what's predicted to happen next will blow our minds.

    Paris Hilton arrives for a Q&A with fans at Westfield Doncaster on November 18, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Michael Dodge/ Getty Images.

    *This article was originally published in April, 2017.

    One day, not too soon — but still sooner than you think — the smartphone will all but vanish, like beepers and fax machines before it.

    Make no mistake, we’re still probably at least a decade away from any kind of meaningful shift away from the smartphone. (And if we’re all cyborgs by 2027, I’ll happily eat my words. Assuming we’re still eating at all, I guess.)

    Yet, piece by piece, the groundwork for the eventual demise of the smartphone is being laid by Elon Musk, by Microsoft, by Facebook, by Amazon, and a countless number of startups that still have a part to play.

    And, let me tell you: If and when the smartphone does die, that’s when things are going to get really weird for everybody. Not just in terms of individual products, but in terms of how we actually live our everyday lives and maybe our humanity itself.

    Here’s a brief look at the slow, ceaseless march towards the death of the smartphone — and what the post-smartphone world is shaping up to look like.

    The short term

    People think of the iPhone and the smartphones it inspired as revolutionary devices — small enough to carry everywhere, hefty enough to handle an increasingly large number of our daily tasks, and packed full of the right mix cameras and GPS sensors to make apps like Snapchat and Uber uniquely possible.

    But consider the smartphone from another perspective. The desktop PC and the laptop are made up of some combination of a mouse, keyboard, and monitor. The smartphone just took that model, shrunk it down, and made the input virtual and touch-based.

    So take, for example, the Samsung Galaxy S8, unveiled this week. It’s gorgeous with an amazing bezel-less screen and some real power under the hood. It’s impressive, but it’s more refinement than revolution.

    Samsung Galaxy S8Business InsiderSamsung Galaxy S8

    Tellingly, though, the Galaxy S8 ships with Bixby, a new virtual assistant that Samsung promises will one day let you control every single feature and app with just your voice. It will also ship with a new version of the Gear VR virtual reality headset, developed in conjunction with Facebook’s Oculus.

    The next iPhone, too, is said to be shipping with upgrades to the Siri assistant, along with features aimed at bringing augmented reality into the mainstream.

    And as devices like the Amazon EchoSony PlayStation VR, and the Apple Watch continue to enjoy limited but substantial success, expect to see a lot more tech companies large and small taking more gambles and making more experiments on the next big wave in computing interfaces.

    The medium term

    In the medium-term, all of these various experimental and first-stage technologies are going to start to congeal into something familiar, but bizarre.

    Microsoft, Facebook, Google and the Google-backed Magic Leap are all working to build standalone augmented reality headsets, which project detailed 3D images straight into your eyes. Even Apple is rumoured to be working on this, too.

    Microsoft’s Alex Kipman recently told Business Insider that augmented reality could flat-out replace the smartphone, the TV, and anything else with a screen. There’s not much use for a separate device sitting in your pocket or on your entertainment center, if all your calls, chats, movies, and games are beamed into your eyes and overlaid on the world around you.

    Apple airpods in earHollis Johnson/Business InsiderApple’s AirPods keep the Siri virtual assistant in your ears.

    Meanwhile, gadgetry like the Amazon Echo or Apple’s own AirPodsbecome more and more important in this world. As artificial intelligence systems like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Samsung’s Bixby, and Microsoft’s Cortana get smarter, there’s going to be a rise not just in talking to computers, but having them talk back.

    In other words, computers are going to hijack your senses, more so than they already do, with your sight and your hearing intermediated by technology. It’s a little scary. Think of what Facebook glitches could mean in a world where it doesn’t just control what you read on your phone, but what you see in the world around you.

    The promise, though, is a world where real life and technology blend more seamlessly. The major tech companies promise that this future means a world of fewer technological distractions and more balance, as the physical and digital world become the same thing. You decide how you feel about that.

    The really crazy future

    Still, all those decade-plus investments in the future still rely on gadgetry that you have to wear on you, even if it’s only a pair of glasses. Some of the craziest, most forward-looking, most unpredictable advancements go even further — provided you’re willing to wait a few extra decades, that is.

    This week, we got our first look at Neuralink, a new company cofounded by Elon Musk with a goal of building computers into our brains by way of “neural lace,” a very early-stage technology that lays on your brain and bridges it to a computer. It’s the next step beyond even that blending of the digital and physical worlds, as man and machine become one.

    Assuming the science works — and lots of smart people believe that it will — this is the logical endpoint of the road that smartphones started us on. If smartphones gave us access to information and augmented reality puts that information in front of us when we need it, then putting neural lace in our brains just closes the gap.

    Ray KurzweilTech InsiderFuturist Ray Kurzweil has been predicting our cyborg futures for a long time now.

    Musk has said that this is because the rise of artificial intelligence — which underpins a lot of the other technologies, including voice assistants and virtual reality — means that humans are going to have to augment themselves just to keep up with the machines. If you’re really curious about this idea, futurist Ray Kurzweil is the leading voice on the topic.

    The idea of man/machine fusion is a terrifying one, with science fiction writers, technologists, and philosophers alike having very good cause to ask what even makes us human in the first place. At the same time, the idea is so new that nobody really knows what this world would look like in practice.

    So if and when the smartphone dies, it will actually be the end of an era in more ways than one. It will be the end of machines that we carry with us passively and the beginning of something that bridges our bodies straight into the ebb and flow of digital information. It’s going to get weird.

    And yet, lots of technologists already say that smartphones give us superpowers with access to knowledge, wisdom, and abilities beyond anything nature gave us. In some ways, augmenting the human mind would be the ultimate superpower. Then again, maybe I’m just an optimist.



  • 23 Jul 2017 8:55 AM | Mark Michelson (Administrator)

    Industry guru Ray PoynterAuthor of The Handbook of Mobile Market Research, shares an excellent update on mobile market research.  Originally published July 23, 2017 on LInkedin.

    Bottom line: Most survey platforms are compatible on mobile but researchers need to adopt a mobile first mindset to make mobile research work.

    Major update on mobile market research

    For a few years there have been relatively few new findings about mobile market research. We have seen the share of online surveys completed via mobile increasing and we have seen the number of mobile only studies (studies that require a smartphone, for example location-based, in-the-moment and smartphone ethnography) increasing. But the overall picture has remained fairly constant in terms of advice and practice. However, the picture has now changed.

    Last week saw five days of short courses and presentations in Lisbon, Portugal at the ESRA Conference (European Survey Research Association). There were over 700 presentations and most of the leading names in survey, web, and mobile research were present (including: Don Dillman, Mick Couper, Google’s Mario Callegaro, SurveyMonkey’s Sarah Cho, Edith de Leeuw, Roger Tourangeau, GfK’s Randall Thomas & Frances Barlas, and my colleague Sue York).

    There were more than 20 presentations particularly relevant to mobile market research - making it one of the largest collections of reports and findings from experiments reported anywhere.

    In this post I set out my key takeaways from the ESRA Conference in terms of mobile market research. But, I may update this post when I get access to all of the presentations and papers from the conference.

    Grids on smartphones do not have to be worse than grids on PCs

    For many years, the prevailing wisdom has been that grids on smartphones are a much bigger problem than they are on PCs. However, several studies presented at this conference, especially the study presented by Mick Couper, showed that this does not have to be the case. 

    A mobile optimised grid performs in a very similar way to a grid on a PC. When we say performs in a very similar way, we mean it gives similar results, in most cases takes a similar amount of time, and attracts a similar level of dissatisfaction from the research participants.

    What is a mobile optimised grid?

    In many ways a mobile optimised grid is the result of adopting a mobile first approach (something that Sue York spoke about at the conference). A mobile optimised grid can mean looking like a traditional grid, if the labels are short, the number of scale points is few, and if the software is responsive (meaning it fits nicely on the page). 

    Another way of dealing with grids is to present the rows of the grid one item at a time (and there are now a wide variety of ways of doing this). This one row at a time approach is usually called item-by-item. Most of the studies, presented in Lisbon, preferred using a scrolling approach to presenting the rows of the grid one item at a time. For example, after answering one row, the user scrolls down to the next question (or is auto-advanced down to the next row). In commercial projects the item-by-item approach is often achieved by showing each item on a new page.

    The papers showed that survey results were very similar when using mobile optimised grid, when making the following comparisons:

    1. The PC and mobile sample both saw grids that fit on the smartphone screen nicely.
    2. The PC participants saw grids and the smartphone participants saw alternatives (such as the item-by item scrolling approach).
    3. The PC participants saw item-by-item versions and the smartphone people saw nice grids.
    4. Both PC and smartphone participants saw item-by-item options.

    Note, when item-by-item approaches were used with a new page per question (as often happens in commercial studies) the data were similar, but the surveys took longer to complete.

    Long labels are a problem 1

    A point highlighted by Don Dillman was that if long labels are used for the rows it is hard to produce a grid that is mobile optimised. For example, if we have a question asking how important the following are in selecting a holiday destination 

    •  “Has a wide range of cultural events and museums”
    • “The connections from my country to the destination are convenient.”
    • “Has a wide range of water sports, such as sailing, fishing, surfing, water-skiing, and snorkelling.”

    On a smartphone these long labels mean that there is not enough space to make several rows visible AND make the scale points visible AND ensure that the buttons or sliders are easy to use. If the labels are long, the mobile version needs to be achieved using an item-by-item approach.

    Long labels are a problem 2

    Several studies showed that long labels (and long instructions and long questions) tend to be poorly understood by many research participants. This was true of all self-completion modes; web, mobile and paper. Several speakers stressed the need for cognitive interviews to be conducted when designing new questions and questionnaires – to assess what the participant thinks they are being asked and how they set about answering the question.

    Turning smartphones horizontal is not a great option

    In the past, many researchers have felt that the best option is to ask research participants to use their phone in landscape mode, especially for things like scales and grids. However, several studies showed that (even when asked) only a few people do this. The people who did hold their phones in landscape mode tended to be younger and were perhaps familiar with using their phones to play games.

    Making studies Mobile First can change the results

    Facilitating mobile devices does change the results, because it increases the range of people taking the survey. This has been known for many years and nothing has happened to change this picture. 

    There are many groups of people who are less likely to complete a survey on a PC and if participants have the choice to use PC or mobile the coverage of the study improves. When the coverage improves the answers can change because some people are no longer being missed. 

    In her keynote speech, Edith de Leeuw made the point that mode effects comprise two elements. The first element is changes caused by the change in hardware, these are undesirable mode effects. Secondly, changes caused by improving the coverage of the study – these are desirable effects.

    Are there mode effects when using a mix of Mobile and PC?

    If your survey is badly designed for mobile, there will be mode effects. There is mixed evidence about open-ended responses on mobiles, with many people reporting that the open-ends are more limited from mobiles. There still seems to be agreement that multi-select grids when asked item-by-item on a mobile produce more answers that the multi-select grid asked on a PC as a conventional grid.

    So, does that mean grids are ok? If well designed?

    Not really. We can make grids on smartphones as good as grids on PCs. But on PCs and smartphones grids remain one of the items most disliked by participants. They are associated with more break offs, and, in interviews with research participants, they are regularly cited as reasons for not doing studies. Research still has a need to minimise the use of grids, to make grids smaller, and to make them easier.

    Reduce scale points

    Several people, for example Sue York, talked about the need to be more mobile first and to move away from long scales to simpler options, such as selecting rather than rating. Great evidence for this point of view was provided by GfK’s Randall Thomas & Frances Barlas. They showed that with fewer scale points the scales were easier to read on a smartphone, the information was very similar, and the differentiations (e.g. standard deviation) was greater. 

    Thomas and Barlas seemed to be recommending 3-point scales (e.g. Not Like, Neutral, and Like) – but they also offered support for 2-point scales.

    Anchored Scales are more consistent

    Thomas and Barlas showed that in their studies, anchored scales produced results that were more consistent (between PC and mobile) than scales that were only anchored at the end points.

    Perhaps standardise on unipolar and anchored scales

    In most cases Thomas and Barlas found that within the USA bipolar scales tended to perform better than unipolar, for example Dislike, Neutral, and Like (as opposed to the unipolar Not like, Neutral, and Like). But they also noted that for many languages there are problems translating bipolar scales and these translations created differences in the data that were unwanted. Hence, the advice to use unipolar scales.

    Are researchers training people to use PCs?

    Several studies, for example data from SurveyMonkey, showed that when contacting people who were not part of research panels, almost 50% tend to use a mobile device. However, studies with panels (commercial research panels and the probability research panels favoured by social researchers) the proportion using mobiles is closer to 20% to 30%. Perhaps, the poor performance of mobiles in the past has discouraged mobile preferrers from being involved with these panels? If so, this is another reason that we need to adopt a more Mobile First approach.

    Commercial researchers are doing a bad job at being Mobile First

    Sue York presented data supplied by Research Now that showed that the proportion of Mobile Optimised surveys has not really improved over the last 3 years. The table from Sue York's presentation is shown below.

    Despite the best efforts of panel companies, nearly one-third of the surveys being submitted to Research Now are judged to be ‘Mobile Impossible’, nearly a quarter ‘Mobile Possible’ – with fewer than half being mobile ‘Friendly’ or ‘Optimized’.

    If it doesn't work on mobile, don’t do it

    Some people have argued that specific types of questions only work on PC (for example large grids, or some types of interactive questions). However, in most cases, excluding people who will only take part via mobile is going to compromise your research – and this effect is likely to increase. If you have something that is PC only, try to re-design it (or re-envision it) so that it does work on a smartphone, or reconcile yourself to using an increasingly skewed sample.

    Sensors still not ready for the major league

    There were some interesting papers in the use of sensors, for example using apps to collect media usage, audio capture to record broadcasts heard, and GPS to aid travel diaries. But none of them were without their challenges. The media capture approaches requires apps to be downloaded and significant  ‘per participant’ incentives to take part.

    The GPS tracking for travel diaries was perhaps the most illustrative of the benefits and challenges. A pilot study presented at the conference showed that the data collected could be quite useful, much richer than the paper diaries and more accurate in terms of things like distance travelled. However, the app under-recorded the number of journeys. One of the reasons for under-recording was that the app turned itself off when the battery indicator reached 20% remaining – which happened often enough to change the data.

    The key lessons from the various uses of sensors are:

    • Not all smartphone users will take part, so sampling comparability issues can arise. We could end up finding out a great deal about a small and not necessarily representative group.
    • When the systems work they provide different data than older systems (such as paper diaries), which means many organisations will want to delay to the change until they are sure that can achieve all the benefits in one move, rather than having several disruptions to their historical data.
    • We need to keep trialling and piloting new systems; they are getting better and can deliver better information (although better does mean different in many cases).
    •  Issues like informed consent become even more challenging with passive data collection – see the next heading.

    Data Privacy and Informed Consent – problems ahead

    Market research is based on informed consent. A paper by Barbara Felderer and Annelies Blom highlighted some of the challenges with privacy and consent. In a study in Germany they asked people to type in their current location (with options such as address, post code etc). Well over 90% of participants did this. However, the survey also asked permission to collect the location of the phone automatically using GPS. About one third of people who typed in their address said no to their GPS location being collected. This suggests we should not simply be collecting GPS without consent, and that consent will not necessarily be given when we ask for it.

    No new references to Non-Smartphone phones.

    There are over 7 billion mobile phones in use around the world. Fewer than 3 billion of these phones are smartphones, so by focusing on smartphones we are excluding the majority of the world’s population. However, the rate of smartphone adoption means that soon this will be less of a problem, and is already a marginal problem in many countries.

    In Summary

    The top takeaways are:

    1. Surveys need to be good on mobiles if research participants are not to be alienated and if we want data that is comparable between PC and mobile.
    2. Many of the survey platforms are capable of producing mobile optimised surveys, but many researchers do not appear to be making the effort.
    3. None of the survey platforms have a magic button to create mobile first surveys, it requires design changes from the researcher too, for example shorter text, shorter scales, and shorter answer lists.
    4. A well-designed study will produce similar results on both mobile and PC – but a badly designed study is more likely to produce different results.
    5. Grids are not necessarily a smartphone problem anymore; they are a general research problem.
    6. Consider using 3-point, unipolar scales, fully anchored – especially in grids (if you are still using grids).
    7. If you are designing new questions, test them using cognitive interviews to find out what participants think they mean and how they are approaching them.
  • 18 Jul 2017 9:11 AM | Mark Michelson (Administrator)
    Revolutionary way to improve privacy and localization accuracy.


    June 12, 2017:  Data constantly collected and reported by smartphones can find numerous applications. A Swiss National Science Foundation funded project devoted to crowdsensing has found ways to improve privacy and localisation accuracy as well as reduce the impact on hardware.

    Connecting data from the world's smartphones could put a global supercomputer into all of our pockets. Tapping into that processing power would improve the real-time collection and analysis of data, but technical hurdles and privacy concerns linger. Scientists from SwissSenseSynergy, a project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), have addressed issues and proposed new ways to collect and use such information.

    The main focus of the project is crowdsensing, in which access to a smartphone's sensors makes it possible to collect information about a particular area. A typical example are map applications which can infer traffic congestion data from the smartphones' accelerometers. As our connected devices gather insights about many facets of our environment -- motion, sound, people, air quality, etc. -- crowdsensing has the potential to guide decisions on where we eat, what we wear or how we travel.

    "All of this information is useful in applications ranging from marketing predictions to predicting crowd behaviours," explains Torsten Braun from the University of Bern and coordinator for the project. Nonetheless, crowdsensing applications face significant challenges. In particular, there is a trade-off between data collection, user impact and privacy. Transmitting data drains hardware resources, for example, while poor security measures pose risks for identity theft.

    Four teams developed new approaches to improve crowdsensing technology and establish best practices for its application. Researchers are exploring four key areas: improving location accuracy, increasing security, industry uses, and making data collection more efficient.

    Localisation beyond GPS

    The team led by Torsten Braun at the University of Bern improved location accuracy indoors and underground to 1.1 metres in 90% of cases. That is comparable to GPS, but relies only on the device's sensor data and radio signals, reaching areas behind walls and concrete where GPS signals are blocked. The researchers collect sensor measurements from the smartphones, alongside the Wifi radio's signal strength. This information is then passed through several machine learning algorithms. "The next step is to determine where users are going," Braun said. "This could have an impact on shopping centres or train stations, for example."

    Scientists from the universities of Bern and Geneva collaborated to design a mobile application combining indoor localisation, mobile crowdsensing and smart spaces. The resulting mobile app integrates sophisticated localisation algorithms and location-stamped sensor measurements, which are pushed to the cloud. From there, the information is fed to the Internet of Things, allowing personalised and location-based automation applications across a number of smart objects and products.

    A team at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland in Lugano (SUPSI) has developed models that use predictive location data to distribute information through social media. The experiments showed that they could create rapid outreach on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, but also in ad hoc physical networks of mobile devices. These messages could respond to local behaviours, assess feedback in real time and circulate more quickly among targeted users. The research provides a deeper understanding of social influence in human behaviour, and discovered correlations between physical locations, shared preferences and event-based social communities.

    A balancing act

    "A major problem for researchers is balancing data and privacy," explains Braun. "Accurate data can cost privacy." If user information is being swept up while collecting data, it discourages participation. To ensure security, the Chalmers University of Technology team in Sweden has developed machine learning methods for data analysis and automatic decision making that achieve "differential privacy." This protects the data of individuals by injecting carefully calibrated "noise" (random data) into information collected from a device.

    Researchers at the University of Geneva addressed another challenge: the desire to collect large amounts of data against the burden that crowdsensing can have on hardware. If users fear a strain on their phone, they might reject applications which make use of otherwise idle sensors. This project is investigating game theory models for distributing such burdens among phones and users. In a field experiment, volunteers in San Francisco downloaded apps to map noise levels in the city, collecting useful data for the local government while testing competing methods for distributing loads among devices.

    With its interdisciplinary approach, the SwissSenseSynergy project has yielded new techniques with potential benefits for research and applications. The project is developing a novel experimentation architecture, called Vivo, to involve volunteers in the experimental phase to support application development.

    The SwissSenseSynergy project

    The project gathers four partners: the Institute of Computer Science at the University of Bern, the Department of Computer Science at the University of Geneva, the Institute for Information Systems and Networking at SUPSI and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden). Swiss Sense Synergy is funded by the Sinergia programme of the SNSF until the end of 2017.

    Story Source:

    Materials provided by Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

    Source: Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

  • 17 Jul 2017 9:44 AM | Mark Michelson (Administrator)

    From BoingBoing by David Pescovitz


    What do you consider to be mobile research? Is it limited to the smart phone and tablets or does it extend to wearables and IoT devices? As we continue to shape the future of research, we should consider all opportunities to understand the customer in a mobile world.

    MIT Media Lab spinoff company mPath has developed a wristwatch-like wearable that measures changes in skin conductance tied to stress, frustration, disinterest, or boredom. Combined with other data, the device is meant to help companies with "emotyping," the process of "undersand(ing) customers’ emotional needs or wants" during market research and product development," according to CEO Elliot Hedman. Their clients range from LEGO to Google to Best Buy. Most recently, they started working with the Boys and Girls Clubs in Denver that could lead to new ways to encourage reading. From MIT News:

    This process combines the stress sensors with eye-tracking glasses or GoPro cameras, to identify where a person looked at the exact moment of an emotional spike or dip. Personal interviews are also conducted with all participants, who are shown the data and asked what they think they felt.

    This entire process creates a more in-depth, precise emotional profile of consumers than traditional market research, which primarily involves interviews and occasionally video analysis, according to Hedman. “All these things combined together in emototyping tell us a deep story about the participant,” he says.

    Emototyping is an especially useful tool when studying children’s experiences, according to Hedman. “It’s hard for kids to describe what they felt,” he says. “The sensors help tell the whole story..."

    A study with the New World Symphony found that making songs shorter and performing classical compositions of modern pop music help engage new audiences in classical music. Studying movies such as “The Departed” revealed where some techniques or concepts (such as dark humor) can be implemented in films to keep audiences engaged. At one point, the startup even tracked patrons’ fear throughout parts of a haunted house.

    One of mPath’s more unique recent projects was helping a toothpaste company understand people’s experience with brushing their teeth.

  • 29 Jun 2017 4:00 PM | Mark Michelson (Administrator)

    Amazing how fast 10 years goes by, and at the same time it's hard to imaging life without a smart phone. It wa only 10 years ago today that the 1st iPhone was released - here's a look back at how Steve Jobs announced it.

    Curated from Business Insider, Written by Rob Price

    "Ten years ago, June 29, 2007, was a milestone in the history of computing: the launch date of the first iPhone.

    It wasn't the first "smartphone," or the first phone with a camera. It wasn't the first mobile device to have a touchscreen, or to let users install apps. (In fact, the App Store didn't even launch until 2008, a year after the first iPhone was released!)

    But it tied numerous disparate features together in a cohesive, well-designed whole — kickstarting a mobile revolution that has transformed the modern world.

    Today's app economy is bigger than Hollywood, and WhatsApp, Snapchat, Uber, Tinder, and more are essential parts of modern culture, collectively used by hundreds of millions of people every day. But 10 years ago, none of that existed, and the iPhone's success was by no means guaranteed.

    It was announced by CEO Steve Jobs onstage at the company's Macworld conference on January 9, 2007. The now-iconic exec was not humble about its possibilities — calling it a "revolutionary device ... that changes everything."

    Five months later, as customers queued for days, it hit shop shelves in the US.

    And the rest is history.

    Keep reading for the story behind the launch and to watch the full keynote ...

    View As: One Page Slides

    Jobs took to the stage in his trademark black turtleneck sweater for the now-legendary presentation in January.

    Jobs took to the stage in his trademark black turtleneck sweater for the now-legendary presentation in January.

    David Paul Morris/Getty Images

    "Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything," the executive said. "Apple's been very fortunate. It's been able to introduce a few of these into the world."

    "Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything," the executive said. "Apple's been very fortunate. It's been able to introduce a few of these into the world."

    "Well, today, we're introducing three revolutionary products of this class. The first one is a wide-screen iPod with touch controls. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough internet-communications device."

    "Well, today, we're introducing three revolutionary products of this class. The first one is a wide-screen iPod with touch controls. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough internet-communications device."

    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    He went on: "An iPod, a phone, and an internet communicator. An iPod, a phone … are you getting it? These are not three separate devices: This is one device, and we are calling it iPhone."

    He went on: "An iPod, a phone, and an internet communicator. An iPod, a phone … are you getting it? These are not three separate devices: This is one device, and we are calling it iPhone."

    David Paul Morris/Getty Images


    The performance was carefully stage-managed — but it wasn't all plain sailing getting there.

    The performance was carefully stage-managed — but it wasn't all plain sailing getting there.

    David Paul Morris/Getty Images

    According to a report from The New York Times from 2013, rehearsals were plagued with technical glitches. An early iPhone engineer said Jobs was "intense," telling him, "If we fail, it will be because of you," and, "You are [expletive] up my company."

    According to a report from The New York Times from 2013, rehearsals were plagued with technical glitches. An early iPhone engineer said Jobs was "intense," telling him, "If we fail, it will be because of you," and, "You are [expletive] up my company."

    David Paul Morris/Getty Images

    Source: The New York Times


    Apple is (in)famous for its secrecy — and Jobs reportedly even wanted contractors working on the presentation to sleep at the auditorium to prevent leaks. (In the end he was persuaded against the idea.)

    Apple is (in)famous for its secrecy — and Jobs reportedly even wanted contractors working on the presentation to sleep at the auditorium to prevent leaks. (In the end he was persuaded against the idea.)

    David Paul Morris/Getty Images

    When the phone launched, The New York Times described it as "not ... for everyone" and a "gamble." That "gamble" has propelled Apple to stratospheric heights, with the largest market cap of any company in the world.

    When the phone launched, The New York Times described it as "not ... for everyone" and a "gamble." That "gamble" has propelled Apple to stratospheric heights, with the largest market cap of any company in the world.

    David Paul Morris/Getty Images

    Source: The New York Times


    Revisiting the launch earlier this year, BBC tech reporter Rory Cellan-Jones wrote that he was criticised for giving what some argued was "undue prominence to a product launch." He now feels as if his coverage was probably justified.

    Revisiting the launch earlier this year, BBC tech reporter Rory Cellan-Jones wrote that he was criticised for giving what some argued was "undue prominence to a product launch." He now feels as if his coverage was probably justified.

    David Paul Morris/Getty Images

    Source: BBC

    Google and Apple would become bitter rivals, battling for supremacy on mobile. But Eric Schmidt, then the CEO of Google, actually appeared onstage at the iPhone launch. He praised it as an "incredible job" that let companies like Google and Apple "merge without merging."

    Google and Apple would become bitter rivals, battling for supremacy on mobile. But Eric Schmidt, then the CEO of Google, actually appeared onstage at the iPhone launch. He praised it as an "incredible job" that let companies like Google and Apple "merge without merging."

    Eric Schmidt being greeted by Steve Jobs.David Paul Morris/Getty Images


    Though hyped, dozens of features iPhone owners now take for granted were nowhere to be seen at the time. No App Store, no copy-paste, no changeable background, no picture messaging, no video camera, no Siri, no notification centre, and more. It was actually pretty basic.

    Though hyped, dozens of features iPhone owners now take for granted were nowhere to be seen at the time. No App Store, no copy-paste, no changeable background, no picture messaging, no video camera, no Siri, no notification centre, and more. It was actually pretty basic.

    The iPhone 7. It has come a long way.Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

    We've rounded up even more here.

    After 2 1/2 years in development, the iPhone was announced on January 9, 2007.

    After 2 1/2 years in development, the iPhone was announced on January 9, 2007.

    The first iPhone, on display at Macworld in 2007.David Paul Morris/Getty Images


    It went on sale on June 29, 2007, in the US. People lined up for days outside Apple Stores to be the first to get their hands on it.

    It went on sale on June 29, 2007, in the US. People lined up for days outside Apple Stores to be the first to get their hands on it.

    Mario Tama/Getty Images

    It didn't launch in the UK until months later, on November 9, 2007. People queued for it then too — and queues have since become a familiar sight at Apple's hyped launches.

    It didn't launch in the UK until months later, on November 9, 2007. People queued for it then too — and queues have since become a familiar sight at Apple's hyped launches.

    Fun.Stuart Wilson/Getty Images


    Since then, more than 1 billion iPhones have been sold worldwide.

    Since then, more than 1 billion iPhones have been sold worldwide.

    Flickr/groovenite

    In a statement celebrating 10 years of the iPhone earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the "iPhone is an essential part of our customers' lives and today more than ever it is redefining the way we communicate, entertain, work and live ... iPhone set the standard for mobile computing in its first decade, and we are just getting started. The best is yet to come."

    In a statement celebrating 10 years of the iPhone earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the "iPhone is an essential part of our customers' lives and today more than ever it is redefining the way we communicate, entertain, work and live ... iPhone set the standard for mobile computing in its first decade, and we are just getting started. The best is yet to come."

    Tim Cook.REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

    Source: Apple

    Finally, here's part of the press release that came out alongside the announcement of the first iPhone, and the full keynote:

    Finally, here's part of the press release that came out alongside the announcement of the first iPhone, and the full keynote:

    David Paul Morris/Getty Images

    Apple Reinvents the Phone with iPhone

    MACWORLD SAN FRANCISCO - January 9th, 2007

    Apple today introduced iPhone, combining three products — a revolutionary mobile phone, a widescreen iPod with touch controls, and a breakthrough Internet communications device with desktop-class email, Web browsing, searching and maps — into one small and lightweight handheld device. iPhone introduces an entirely new user interface based on a large multi-touch display and pioneering new software, letting users control iPhone with just their fingers. iPhone also ushers in an era of software power and sophistication never before seen in a mobile device, which completely redefines what users can do on their mobile phones.

    "iPhone is a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone", said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "We are all born with the ultimate pointing device — our fingers — and iPhone uses them to create the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse".

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