Here is a universal truth which you know – The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Now here are two more (almost) universal truths of the 21st century. Mobiles are here to stay. Any and every business that wants to stay relevant has to think about going mobile. Not surprised huh? …
Last year, more than half of UK online sales took place on smartphones and this figure is predicted to rise to 73% by the end of 2021. This significant shift towards mobile shopping means that eCommerce companies need to put their mobile sites at the forefront of their development if they are going to reap …
Wouldn’t it be nice if while waiting in line, you could jot down a few notes? Get your thoughts down for future reference? Write out that grocery list?
Actually you can. Tablets and smart phones now have apps available that let you dictate and convert the information to written form. In other words, you can say your thoughts into your smartphone and it writes the information down. This is great technology for business people, teachers, Moms and just about anyone.
So what apps work best? Well, below you’ll find a list of the 5 best mobile apps that covert your voice to text for documents, emails or notes (a great feature for those who are slow typers.)
- Dragon Dictation
Dragon has always been an outstanding voice to text converter. This is what they do. They have several programs for laptops, computers and mobile technology but this is their first free version. Dragon Dictation Free is great for the mobile industry. It is a free voice recognition app that lets users speak and instantly be recognized, the information automatically turning into text or email messages. Best of all this is about 5 times faster than typing on the keyboard.
- Speech Notes
This is a special app that works at taking notes and allows you to turn speech into text using the internet. Just click your mike and start speaking.
- TalkBox Voice Messenger
This is a very cool app as it allows you to send a combination of text and voice messages through email.
- Vlingo Voice App
This is like having a secretarial assistant at your beck and call. Just tell your phone what to do and it does it. It even integrates with social media accounts.
- Google Voice Search
This is a Google Search app. So if you are tired of typing in every search you make look for Google Voice. This has another cool feature in that you can also get quick access to other cool apps like Gmail, Docs and Calendar.
The computer, the smart phone and the tablet are tools that make our life convenient. With these devices we are able to do things faster than we ever have before. However, typing can be one of those tasks that slows us down. This new speech to text application allows us to move at lightning fast speed. It allows us to capture our thoughts and ideas as fast as we can think of them. There is just one problem there isn’t one voice to text app that really does it all. Sometimes you can need more than one app that does a similar task. For instance when you write documents you might use Dragon Dictation, but when you want to search for something on Google then you’ll want to make the switch to Google Voice Search. So have fun and try any of these apps out.
The term “smartphone” is somewhat of a misnomer these days, since the millions of people who are using these so-called phones every day are actually using them to do much more than just talk to one another. In fact, a 2013 Experian Marketing survey indicated that an average adult user spends about an hour on his or her smartphone each day (iPhone users actually spend an hour and 15 minutes each day), but only 26 percent of that time is actually talking. The other 74 percent is divided between texting, social networking, browsing the web, emailing, and playing games.
Phones are also not the only way that we browse the web on the go. The rise of tablet usage in the United States has also pushed companies toward creating even more mobile-friendly options so sites can be ready at customers’ fingertips whenever they want to access information about the company online. As companies adapt and demand more and more mobile options, web hosting companies must also adapt to meet businesses needs.
Mobile Trends in the U.S.
The Pew Internet Research Project’s Mobile Technology Fact Sheet highlights the prevalence of mobile devices in our lives. As of January 2014, 9 out of 10 Americans have a cell phone, and about 65 percent of those people have smartphones. Another 42 percent of people in the U.S. own a tablet computer. In fact, people love their mobile devices so much that almost half of cell phone owners admit to sleeping with the phone next to the bed so they won’t miss anything important overnight.
Men own smartphones at a slightly higher rate than women, and not surprisingly, the bulk of smartphone owners are between the ages of 18-49, although about half of adults ages 50 to 64 now have a smartphone as well.
The Rise of Mobile Web Browsing
A 2013 survey showed that about two-thirds of mobile users use the device to go online—since 90 percent of Americans own cell phones, that means about 57 percent of all Americans are going online using a mobile device, a number that has doubled just since 2009. The same study revealed that about one-third of those accessing the internet on their cell phones actually uses their mobile device as their primary method of going online.
Groups most likely to be found online using a mobile device include young adults, African-Americans and Latinos, college-educated adults, people with household incomes above $ 75,000, and urban and suburban dwellers. These are key demographics for many businesses to capture, which is why it’s so critical that companies adopt mobile-friendly formats for their website.
Survey Says: Get a Mobile Website
Numerous surveys have shown that companies would benefit from a mobile website. In response to that need, many web hosting companies are now offering options to help get businesses online with a format that is easy to browse on small portable devices, such as smartphones and laptops. If you pay attention to market trends, you know that having a mobile website is critical to business success.
In addition, users today want more than just a “skeleton” version of a full desktop website; they want to be able to browse, find information, shop, and do all the other things they do online from their desktop, right from the palm of their hand.
Differences Between Mobile and Desktop Websites
Mobile and desktop websites have different browsing and usage habits, and require a different approach based on consumer behaviors. Some of the common differences to keep in mind when you’re building a mobile website include:
- Touch versus click – mobile users navigate by touchscreen, so buttons and clicks should be simple and large, allowing users to see and click them easily.
- On-demand usage – users have their mobile device available at their fingertips at almost any time of the day, and want to be able to access information instantly through their device. That means web hosting companies need to offer a quality online experience with fast load times and simple design.
- App usage – many consumers also prefer to use mobile apps instead of browsing a company’s website, so it’s important to find a web hosting company that can help with app support if this is something you want to do.
- Social sharing – mobile users spend significant time on social networks sharing information, and want a seamless experience when uploading, viewing, and downloading videos and pictures.
- Information – studies have shown that about half of consumers use their mobile devices for pre-purchase research, and many of them do it while they are in the store. If they can’t get the information they need quickly, companies could easily lose a sale, which is why it’s critical that web hosting companies offer fast speeds and seamless service.
There is also a third type of web design that is becoming increasingly popular, called a “responsive design.” A responsive site will automatically adapt to whatever screen it is on—desktop, tablet, or mobile phone—so a user can access the whole site in the most device-friendly way. It’s sort of a hybrid between a mobile site and a desktop site, giving you the best of both worlds.
How Hosting Companies Are Adjusting to Meet the Demand for Mobile
Mobile users demand information right now, and web hosting companies also see the importance of responding to the growing demands and unique needs of mobile users. Many of these companies are now offering mobile website building tools, mobile-friendly hosting plans, and other options that can help your company get online.
While some of these web hosting companies are still offering just the basics (some web hosts, for example, will automatically adjust to mobile devices, but offer very little in the way of allowing companies to customize their users’ mobile experience), others are going all-in on mobile offerings. The most successful web hosting companies offer mobile design interfaces that are included as part of an overall web hosting package, have intuitive and easy-to-use tools, and provide fast response times to keep customers connected, even when they’re browsing on a mobile device.
Mobile users are not going away any time soon, so as more and more customers demand access to these sites, web hosting companies will have no choice but to adapt to help companies develop mobile websites that will reach these customers.
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Though the first currency transaction using Bitcoin technology took place in 2009, it has only been the subject of mainstream media headlines during the last two years. As the currency became accepted by more retailers and associated with more news events, Bitcoin came to be a word recognized by the general public and a more familiar way of conducting business transactions.
It would seem that Bitcoin is on the way to becoming a widely accepted new technology. However, it faces some major difficulties to becoming a common currency. It is a digital currency that is not well understood by the general population and is trying to survive in the midst of serious competition in the mobile payments field.
Reports of the first well-known websites to accept “bitcoins” as a new currency for payments began in late 2012, with Dell joining as the largest major retailer to accept bitcoins in July 2014. Along the way, news stories related to Bitcoin acceptance appeared more frequently, bringing the name into broader public recognition. If a small coffee shop or bookstore began to accept bitcoin mobile payments, it had a chance of being covered in the national news as part of a larger story about Bitcoin.
The use of Bitcoin technology has been addressed differently across the globe. The United States government is most accepting of it as a currency. The U.S. Treasury and the European Central Bank classify it as a digital currency, but not legal tender. Other governments officially recognize it as a commodity or an investment. The People’s Bank of China prohibits financial institutions from using bitcoins, and it is illegal to buy real-world goods with virtual currency in China.
Each development in Bitcoin banking policy and mobile payment acceptance had an effect on the value of a bitcoin. For instance, in October 2013 the FBI shut down Silk Road, a website that allowed anonymous illegal drug trading. News stories covering the event closely associated the criminal activity with Bitcoin. Silk Road primarily conducted transactions in bitcoins, since transactions using the currency are anonymous. The value of a bitcoin dropped in the days following the FBI shutdown.
Fluctuation in Public Opinion
Acceptance as a currency has expanded, but the anonymous nature of the bitcoin transactions creates some problems for public opinion and ease of use. Association with anonymous illegal activities such as those conducted by Silk Road is prominent in Bitcoin news coverage. Volatility in the value of one bitcoin can be demonstrated through the fluctuations in price after each major news story. Trading numbers for the company continue to be mostly steady, even as several economists have warned against the currency as an investment. However, trading will have to expand to a larger public group for Bitcoin to survive.
Public Understanding of the Currency
Another hurdle Bitcoin faces in the court of public opinion is clarity. Understanding what bitcoin currency is and the technology that allows the currency to be used is not a simple endeavor. It requires research, investment, and the establishment and use of a virtual wallet to complete transactions. Bitcoin mining, using computing power to earn bitcoins rather than purchasing them, also demands a time investment and learning curve. If the concept of purchasing and spending virtual money is tricky for a consumer to grasp, using personal computing power to solve math equations in order to earn the virtual money is not going to be readily adopted.
This issue creates a kind of stand-off that must be overcome in order for Bitcoin to survive. On one side, web hosts, websites, and online retailers have to put forth effort to expand acceptance of bitcoins. On the other side, consumers need to put forth effort to understand their use. Neither side can fully embrace the transactions until the other does.
The volatility issues are not the only risks for digital currency. It is open to security risks as much as any other online or mobile transaction, but does not carry several of the safeguards. A hacker was able to redirect traffic headed for networks belonging to large hosting companies several times this year. The hacker directed $ 83,000 worth of earnings from bitcoin mining away from the miner’s connections. The small bursts of activity were not immediately traceable in the mining operations.
Since bitcoin use is unlinked to an account with any identifiers, hackers accessing the currency can spend it without connecting it to their personal information. Traditional wallet theft can be handled by canceling credit and bank cards. However, a bitcoin wallet has no official owner, so there is no way to stop use of any further transactions so customers as well as businesses accepting this form of payment assume a greater risk than with an easily tracked credit card transaction.
Competition in the Mobile Payments Field
Whether or not web hosts expand their services to accept digital currency and ensure services are less vulnerable to hacking, Bitcoin could survive if it became a serious competitor in mobile payment options. This will be an uphill battle as there are already many mobile payment vendors working with retailers to accept credit cards on tablets and smartphones.
- Flint Mobile scans credit cards using the smartphone’s camera
- Square is a popular choice among small businesses that don’t mind paying higher transaction fees in exchange for no monthly fees
- Paypal has expanded into PayPal Here to allow customers to make purchases with their PayPal account balances
- Google Wallet allows both in-store and online purchases
These options all use traditional currency, which is easier to understand for the average consumer and easier to track for business and tax purposes for retailers.
Google Wallet is currently Bitcoin technology’s toughest competitor in the mobile payment field. Google’s virtual wallet has several advantages besides the use of traditional currency. Google is already a household name and well established as a top technology organization. Google also has the advantage of coming into public awareness without criminal activity associations, a weakness for Bitcoin. Google Wallet integrates the “wallet” balance and credit cards, so consumers can use the technology to pay with account money or personal credit cards using one mobile app, though it does not provide the anonymity that bitcoin transactions allow.
Bitcoin technology has a long way to go before it catches up to the ease of traditional currency and more recognizable names such as Google. It will need to make digital currency easier to understand for the general public if the goal is to compete in online and in-store retail transactions. It certainly has the potential to survive as a form of payment, but it may never be a mobile payment leader or even widely used if it cannot solve its issues with volatility, lack of clarity, hosting vulnerabilities, and risk to the consumer and retailer.
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