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4 posts from January 2016


10 Fitness Apps for the Year Ahead



In 2015, the top three New Year’s resolutions were: 1) lose weight, 2) get organized, and 3) save money. Losing weight may be a tired cliché as far as resolutions go, but in 2016 the apps available for people inspired to get fit are anything but ordinary. 

Here’s a breakdown of the best fitness apps available in 2016 to help get you on your feet and in the best shape of your life. 


1) Pact

Have you ever made a deal with a friend to motivate your workouts? That’s kind of how Pact works except it motivates you with your checking account. Make a financial promise (big or small) then make fitness goals and monitor food consumption. If you keep your promise, you can earn a small reward; if you don’t, Pact debits the money from your checking account. How’s that for some fitness motivation?


2) Spring

If you’re looking for a little Spring in your step, this free music app has got the beat for you. Using a beat per minute (BPM) calculator, you can pick a soundtrack that will get your target heart rate in the zone and your mind focused on your favorite music. 


3) ShopWell

Some of the most intense fitness training users of ShopWell do is in the grocery aisles. ShopWell allows users to generate a profile with specific nutritional goals. Using your phone, scan items at the store before purchasing to ensure you’re getting the best products to keep you on track. 


4) Argus

For people just beginning their fitness journey, few things are as satisfying as seeing progress in nifty charts and metrics. Argus is the ultimate tracking and analytics tool designed to count just about everything. From stairs and jogging to elevation and calories, it’s all here on this free app for iOS users. 


5) FitMo

Most people can’t afford a personal trainer, which is where FitMo comes in. Using all the wonderful technologies afforded by the Internet, you can video chat, send pictures, and text with a real personal trainer at a fraction of the cost. For about $40 a month, you’ll get the one-on-one attention you crave. Personal trainers help set meal plans, training routines, and more for users of iOS. 


6) MyFitnessPal

For an app that’s all-inclusive, MyFitnessPal has a little bit of everything to keep you motivated in 2016. This free app features a large index of foods in a nutrition database so you can record food intake and track progress. It also tracks activity levels and allows you to ask friends for help and motivation if you need it. 


7) Nike + Training Club 

If you’re not sure where to begin this year, the Nike +Training Club app is your starting line destination. Here you’ll discover dozens of workout plans crafted by expert trainers. This app has very useful training videos to ensure you’re doing the workout properly and safely. This app is also great for users at all levels of fitness and is available on both iOS and Android devices. 


8) WOD Deck Cards

For all you crazy Crossfit fans out there, nothing could be easier than drawing a card to select your workout of the day (WOD). With this free app, you can maximize your favorite workout routines from Crossfit in a fun deck of cards. Mix them up and draw cards until your thoroughly exhausted. 


9) Sworkit 

This is a great app for people who can’t ever seem to find the time to workout. Sworkit allows users to select a specific area of fitness (yoga, cardio, strength) to focus on, and delivers workouts that can take as little as five minutes or as long as one hour. This app is free and available to both iOS and Android users. 


10) Sleep Cycle

Waking up early for a morning workout is often harder to do than the workout itself. Sleep Cycle works by detecting your activity level during sleep and tracks your REM. Set a time to wake up and the app will wake you up when you’re at your lightest level of sleep so you won’t feel groggy. 

This year’s best fitness apps are all about focusing on individual goals and performance needs. Pick an app that works best for your lifestyle, and you’ll be sure to meet your fitness goals in 2016. 





Mobile Predictions for the Year Ahead



The New Year has finally arrived, and many are wondering what we can expect with regard to mobile. Plenty of industry experts have made predictions, including how mobile is set to override newspapers as the main news source. Let’s check out a few of these mobile predictions for 2016 and see if they don’t provide advice for your own business:  


The Voice of the Consumer

According to eMarketer, the voice of the consumer will be louder than ever in 2016. Smartphone use has increased inbound call numbers to businesses, as has voice-activated search. The number of smartwatches and connected home devices in use has also increased, and marketers must subsequently optimize speech-based searches this year, not just keyword-based searches. 


Internet Advertising Will Surpass Print Ads

Print ad spending will continue to decline this year, something it’s done since 2008. According to ZenithOptimedia, print ad spending will decrease by about 4.9% a year through 2017, while mobile Internet advertising’s share of the global ad market will increase “from 5.7% in 2014 to 15.0% in 2017.” 


Data Security: More Important Than Ever

Businesses of every size must pay greater attention to data security in the New Year, with an increase in cloud-based services resulting in a greater need for cybersecurity. This year has been called the “cloud generation” in regards to startups, and any major SaaS data breaches would have serious repercussions for small and medium-sized businesses that rely heavily, if not completely, on the cloud. 


Messaging Apps Mean Marketers Are Joining the Conversation

Facebook and WhatsApp are on a direct path to obtaining 1 billion monthly active users around the world, and this year Facebook will add more marketing options and services to businesses. Such offerings will likely be far from traditional based on what Facebook higher-ups have remarked about messaging app advertising. 


Mobile Payments Will Become the Norm

Mobile payments are likely to become standard in 2016, as an increasing number of retailers are accepting payments from systems such as Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, and Android Pay. Coupons, loyalty programs, and other rewards will fuel this shift, as changing decades of paying via cash and credit isn’t going to change overnight. 


Facebook=Entirely Mobile

Another prediction for 2016 is that Facebook will become an entirely mobile app. Q3 2015 saw the social media giant earning 78% of its $4.3 billion in ad revenue worldwide due to mobile, and it’s used in app form now more than ever. For example, in Q3 2015, 727 million of Facebook’s 1.55 billion MAUs were mobile-only, which is equal to 47% of users who have never used with Facebook via desktop computers. Compare that to the same period in 2014, where just 34% of users were mobile-only.


The Human Connection

Despite the many advances in mobile and other technologies, the human connection remains vital in terms of brand loyalty. This is regarded as the key to repeat business, and more and more brands will scramble to demonstrate that each visit/transaction with customers matters, and that said customers are “important beyond the sale.” 




MTN Rolls Out 4G LTE in Cameroon



It’s hard to imagine a world without wireless technology and connectivity—to do so would be like setting back our greatest achievements, limit our resources, and deter the proliferation of information we’ve come to expect from our online democratic space. But that’s exactly the kind of world many poor and underprivileged countries face despite vast improvements to the technologies at large. 

This year, however, we saw a few victories among those countries and regions that struggle the most. Cameroon, a central African country bordering the Atlantic, just received its first 4G LTE mobile network this month. MTN Cameroon, the country’s leading cell phone provider, announced the launch on Dec. 18 to more than 10 million subscribers. The potential for social and economic growth will help propel Cameroon into the 21st century. 

Currently, the 4G network is available in Yaounde, the capital, and highly populated regions Douala, Bamenda, and Buea. Among the country’s population of about 22.8 million, almost 50 percent are network subscribers. Aside from meeting international standards, the network was designed to work better than most existing 4G networks in other countries. 


Changing Cameroon for the Better 

The impact of this outstanding improvement will affect both this generation and generations to come.

“By launching the next generation 4G LTE technology,” said Philisiwe Sibiya, CEO of MTN Cameroon, “we are not only investing in a network. We are also, and most especially, investing in the Cameroonian people.”

Earlier this year, and after the government of Cameroon approved its license, MTN Cameroon deployed a 3G network. Eight months later, MTN launched the 4G LTE network for an estimated 60 billion. Cameroon is one of a few countries to develop both networks in such rapid succession—a sure sign of the countries’ eagerness to participate in global commerce and communication. 

“The 4G of MTN Cameroon is an evolution,” said Linda Kouam, MTN’s chief marketing officer. “Cameroon’s economic growth will change.”


Sharing Cameroonian Culture 

Cameroon has made headlines in the past for its well-known football (soccer) team, which has won four African Cup of Nations titles, a gold medal in the 2000 Olympics, as well as spurred attention during the 1990 FIFA World Cup

Cameroon is also well known for its geographic and cultural diversity—there are some 200 different linguistic groups represented. 

In addition to spreading the unique Cameroonian culture, the technology means citizens can now gain access to education, healthcare, sanitation, and other programs or services they once lacked. 



Samsung Says No to 4K (at least until 5G)



In the competitive world of mobile technology, new and improved almost always trumps old and efficient. Phones got smaller, and then the screens got bigger—it’s not always about change in a particular direction, just that change is good for business, and typically better for the end user. But when it comes to screen size and resolution, could there be an end in sight? 

When Sony introduced the Xperia Z5 Premium smartphone, the crown jewel of the device was the exclusive use of 4K—about double the resolution of most popular 2K resolution phones currently on the market. Sony is the first major manufacturer to include 4K on its device and many critics assumed other brands would follow suit in the coming year. This, however, may not be the case. 

A 4K smartphone uses the same advanced tech we see on many high-end, HD televisions—and those, as you know, don’t come cheap. But the economic side of this coin isn’t what may have turned off two of the largest smartphone manufactures in the game: Korean-based Samsung and LG. 

Rumor has it both Samsung and LG will forego 4K on all its new models in 2016. The source of this information is inconclusive, particularly because tech writers are scrambling to translate this Hangul news source—which doesn’t exactly translate word-for-word.  

But the gist of it goes something like this: Samsung and LG see no reason to move prematurely forward with 4K despite their Japanese competitor’s latest gadget. They fear the extra resolution may actual hinder other aspects of the phone they have been working to press forward on—specifically the battery life. 

Another reason Samsung and LG may steer clear of 4K is because presumably most content for 4K won’t be deliverable until the 5G network comes to pass. Also, some argue the boost in resolution from 4K wouldn’t even be visible to the naked eye, let alone on a 5x5-inch smartphone screen. 

The bottom line, Samsung and LG are playing it safe by not jumping on the upgrade bandwagon, and following what may have been an over-zealous attempt by Sony to get noticed in the smartphone arena. 

Some consumers will nab the Xperia Z5 just on tech principle, but others won’t be missing much—at least, not anything they can see. 

So don’t get down that your next Samsung or LG phone might not have the latest and greatest screen resolution next year. What you can’t see, in this case, surely can’t hurt you.