New ENISA report – Smartphones – Information security risks, opportunities and recommendations for users

Our friends at Enisa have published a new report to which I am a participant

You can download the full report – HERE

You can watch a video of Dr Giles Hogben – co author of the report here

Some more information:

ENISA, the IT security agency of the EU, published a report detailing the main security risks associated with smartphones, stating that devices are “a goldmine of sensitive and personal information – it’s vital to understand how to maintain our control over this data.” According to the body, the main risks include the accidental leakage of sensitive data, for example through GPS data attached to images; data theft from malicious apps and from stolen, lost or decommissioned
phones; “diallerware,” which makes unauthorised phone calls; and the overload of network infrastructure by smartphone apps.

ENISA also highlighted many positive features associated with mobile devices. Backup features are often “very well integrated into smartphone platforms,” making it easy to recover data if the phone is lost or stolen. It was also noted that the controlled distribution channels for many apps, through established app stores, gives the opportunity for providers to have more control over app security, through the vetting of submissions and the removal of insecure products. The authentication and encryption options available to smartphone users were also noted as offering the potential to improve
security further, while the diversity of the smartphone portfolio “makes it more difficult to attack a large group of users with one virus.” In its report, ENISA provides guidelines for consumers, employees and “high officials,” reflecting the different levels of security necessary for each group.

Bodybrowser – the awesome power of HTML5

This is awesome and shows the shape of things to come .. Google explores the human body with HTML5

Innovative advertising – Kronenbourg1664 and the slow version of Motorhead – Ace of spades song ..

This is another in the series of ‘Innovative advertising’ i.e. advertising that caught my attention – previous nominee was ultrachloraseptic

And this time it Kronenbourg1664 and the slow version of Motorhead – Ace of spades song ..

For Rock fans – Ace of Spades by Motörhead is a definitive cult song

However, Kronenbourg 1664 created a ‘slow version of this song’ when they took Lemmy and his band Motörhead to a French bar. Here, inspired by the laid back atmosphere and a slow, cold Kronenbourg 1664, they played their legendary manic song, The Ace of Spades, at half the normal speed.

When I first heard it, it was stunning.

Surely, it could not be Lemmy! but it was! ..

And the ‘slow’ version is a classic .. kind of reminds me of Clapton with the unplugged version of Layla which went on to top the charts on its own as well ..

This is the slow version of Ace of Spades ..

And this is now Ace of Spades is meant to be enjoyed in its full glory :) (note dialog at the end is not work/family friendly)

The full slow version of the song is .. Motörhead – Ace of Spades (Slow Acoustic)

All in all – an excellent ad and a new version of Ace of Spades ..

Not your Christmas number one with X factor and all .. but this kind of timeless Rock classics still has a fan base I hope ..

SIMCAMS – A man who had a stroke creates a remote camera business for monitoring patients at risk ..

I love this story .. It is inspirational how adversity can be turned into opportunity and how mobile can play a role in the lives of people who need care and remote monitoring

Stan Glover had led an active and healthy life, having previously been a market manager, but he suffered a massive stroke in July 2008. During his recovery, Stan was terrified of falling over and not being able to get up again without assistance. His wife worried about even going to the shops and leaving Stan alone, especially after one occasion when he had almost fallen into the fire.

However, the experience actually inspired and motivated Stan, who started researching solutions to the problem.

He then went on to develop a system called simcams a small, portable, alarm remote camera powered by battery or mains and fitted with a SIM card, allowing it to call mobile phones or send emails.

The solution costs a fraction of orthodox CCTV systems and comes with a remote key fob, meaning that if a
disabled user falls it activates the alarm/camera.

He says:

“Not only can my wife hear everything the camera hears but she can see everything the camera sees. Also a motion detector is incorporated into it, so they can be used for security purposes too – unauthorised entry of a property protected by a SIMCAM will generate a call to a mobile phone.”

“This allows everything that’s going on to be heard and sends very clear images of the intruder. The image is sent with no time delay, and if the first contact’s phone is turned off, it can call up to ten other numbers,”

“I’m determined to make a success of it, but in all honesty, I’d be happy if it only prevented one disabled person from being stuck on the floor for hours after a fall,”

SIMCAM has now spawned several versions – a portable one which is ideal for car security and one with a smoke sensor. Stan has even made SIM-CAMS available on a lease system and can provide a completely independent monitoring service.

I think this is truly inspirational and see the video below to know more.

As an industry we should do more to encourage such innovation!

You can read more about SIMCAM

Santa spoiler – Help – I bought an iPad but am not using it ..

This may sound very odd .. and contrary to the consumer uptake worldwide since so many people want an iPad as their Christmas gift ..

I bought an iPad recently

And it sits more or less as it is

Even my tech savvy seven year old has abandoned it for his PC

I was a fan of iPad from a commercial sense see a previous post Tablet sizes and sales: One size fits all? 10 inch screen vs 7 inch screen – insights and perspectives

There are two problems:

1) The ten inch screen is NOT mobile .. Mobility has a premium which I love (ex more compact laptops cost more, I do a lot on my blackberry etc). The iPad sits on my desk keeping the PC company

2) I thought I could read RSS, research papers or other media. But there is no disk and no USB drive. So ‘out of the box’ its pretty much useless

I am now reduced to trying to find apps for the iPad using links like techradar ipad apps
and shock horror! I even bought a ‘iPad app directory’ from WH Smith in a desperate attempt to salvage my investment (see above image – it has no web site!)

In retrospect a 7 inch tablet would be GREAT since its MORE mobile.

THAT ALONE would have helped for me since I dont see myselves buying magazine subs(except maybe National Geographic or similar) and even if I did I think I could read it on the 7 inch screen

So, it seems I may have made a mistake buying an iPad. I should have either bought a kindle(since I read extensively) or I should have bought a 7 inch tablet since its more mobile and has more access to content (if its Android based especially)

Any thoughts?

What I am saying is – a device which would be smaller and more compact would be more mobile and that alone would have helped since I genuinely see a space for a ‘tablet’ if I can carry it!!

Switching to truphone next year .. any suggestions/recommendations ..

I am a very heavy user of mobile services internationally (mainly data – SMS and voice but also calls)

I have tried everything but hard to reduce the bill

Part of the problem is – Operators reduce EU rates and increase USA rates. I travel extensively in EU and also USA

This will continue next year and with increased VAT of 20% we need to find a way out

The closest operator option is 3 but that does not work very well for USA(could be wrong)

Also, roaming is a killer – ex I am in USA and the network changes sometimes – I am not sure what rates apply then even if I know Voda’s high rates for USA – I dont know what the rates are on a network which is not their normal network

So …

I am going to be using truphone a lot next year.

Anyone else doing so?

I am also looking for an android QWERTY phone with truphone sim (in the UK)

Any recommendations?

Any alternatives to truphone also welcome but I think truphone is the best option for me?

PS: Vodafone help desk actually does not know much about EU data roaming rates
One of the industry’s best known analysts James Governor @monkchips fell for this when he tweeted ..

oh fuck. turns out vodafone’s new EU roaming program wasn’t in place yet. ergo this has been an absurdly expensive web session

Wikipedia – a digital artifact of our age ..

Every year I donate to wikipedia.

To me, Wikipedia means freedom of knowledge, information and empowerment. wikipedia is an artifact of our age i.e. a cultural object made or modified by human beings.

Years later, like the stone tools of ancient man, our ‘digital artifacts’ like wikipedia will remain long after we are gone!

Support Wikipedia

Is Groupon the missing revenue model for Smart Grids


Groupon is in the news on account of the 6B USD offer Google made which they declined

A few weeks ago, while it was still not in the news, I referred to the Groupon model in another context – As a revenue model for Smart Grids. The idea was proposed by Elizabeth Hartman at a Talkstandards event in Boulder Colorado which I attended and spoke at in a discussion. I am elaborating it in more detail here.

Firstly, here is some background about my view on the Basics/fundamentals of Smart Grids.

I elaborate more on Smart Grids in the conversation with Dr George Arnold who is the National Coordinator for Smart Grid Interoperability. The full transcript of the conversation is HERE

The problem with Smart Grid acceptance by end users

Coming from a mobile/telecoms background, the uptake of Smart Grids is a very familiar problem. If you build it, will they come? Well, not necessarily. At least, not immediately. When 3G networks were built initially after spending billions of dollars, it was not very clear as to what the applications were likely to be. In hindsight, the money spent on 3G auctions was indeed well spent and today, in many parts of Europe, even that 3G bandwidth is not enough.

There are parallels with Smart Grids. The pioneering city of Boulder(the first Smart Grid city) has some faced some faced some interesting Smart grid challenges

Part of the problem is not the technology, or the various positioning within the industry – it is simply that customers don’t know what they are getting. They cannot ‘see’ the product. They cannot see the value. But the benefit of hindsight brings some ideas ..

Customers understand a game .. and many network services, including Smart Grids (and in this case, I treat Smart Grids as a network) can be packaged as a game.

Take the case of location based services,

When created as a game (foursquare), customers do not seem to mind sharing their location. Foursquare is a location-based service where users “check-in” at venues using a mobile website, text messaging or a device-specific application. They are then awarded points and sometimes “badges.”. You could extend this idea in many ways for example ‘objects’ could have four square locations. In a Jimmy Choo shoes foursquare promotion, One pair of Jimmy Choo trainers will check in at various locations and those who follow the campaign and are lucky enough to arrive at a venue before the trainers leave will get to pick a pair in the style and size of their choosing.

So, location could be a game and is more acceptable by customers in that form.

And that’s where groupon comes in

The Groupon model for smart grids

So, what is Groupon?

The basic idea behind Groupon is very simple – if a certain number of people sign up for the offer, then the deal becomes available to all; if the predetermined minimum is not met, no one gets the deal that day. This reduces risk for retailers, who can treat the coupons as quantity discounts as well as sales promotion tools. Groupon makes money by getting a cut of the deal from the retailers.

So, if ‘energy’ were a commodity, then would customers ‘group’ to ‘buy’ it?

This suits the providers to create ‘spot deals’. The idea of energy markets is also not new. Energy markets already exist but on a much more grander/corporate scale, like PJM Interconnection

We are speaking here of involving the customers more directly in energy markets much like the Groupon model. I also see a greater role for Telecoms and mobile in this space since the mechanism lends itself very well to mobile devices. It will also benefit the energy providers and thus the whole value chain.

Image source: consumerenergyreport

RIP – Hendri Coetzee – the great white explorer

It appears that the explorer Hendri Coetzee – who wrote the blog the great white explorer is probably no more. He wrote a very insightful last blog about the risks he was taking on his last adventure – Feelings – do they make you soft

As the telegraph link says – “He also had a fantastic social conscience,” he said, explaining that Coetzee ran kayak trips for underprivileged kids in Sudan. “He was one of those people that would look after others not only in a physical sense but also nurture them spiritually and mentally.”

A sad loss indeed but he died doing what he loved best ..

NEMO-SpectroNet Collaboration Forum – research topics in mobile, sensors and imaging

I was invited to attend the NEMO-SpectroNet Collaboration Forum but could not make it.

It is at Jena in Germany which is ofcourse the home of Carl Zeiss

The event focusses on visual quality with digital color image processing and spectral imaging in general. There are a number of mobile related topics which I find are important research topics in mobile. I list them below(since site is mostly in German). If anyone is attending this, happy to cross post your views on OpenGardens

Session 1: Mobile 3D and CAQ
Mobile 3D-Scan Technology / System Control and Visualisation with iPod
Smart 3D-Inspections with DLP-Sensor
Mobile 3D Measurement System for Plastics
Smart WLI-portable for 3D Surface Inspections
Mobile CAQ with Cloud Computing
Mobile Marketing with Cloud Computing

Session 2: Mobile Lighting and Colors
Colored and Multi Spectral Imaging – An Overview
Automatic Control for Lighting and Focussing in Green Vision
Color Stabilization of Flash Lighting for Smart Vision
Smart Cameras for Colouring the Invisible
Color Measurement with Smart FQ Sensors
Universal Test Chart for Smart Vision Sensors and APPs

Session 3: Small is Beautiful
Micro Smart Cameras for Mobile Applications
The World’s Smallest Digital Color Camera
Smart Vision with Lensless Microscopes
Optical Identification Sensors with Light Transmission
OEM-Electronics for Mobile Spectrometers
Texas Instruments DSP or Intel ATOM? Embedded Solutions for Image Processing
Mikrokopter with Camera for Field Inspections

Session 4: Special Tasks and Applications
Smart Sensors for Glass Solar Quality Inspections
Optical Sensors for CO2 Reduction and Photodynamical Disinfection
Smart Image Processing in Tool Industry
Smart Inspection Systems for Industrial Applications
Mobile Messaging with ECCi Code on Smart Phones
Edge Detection in Multi Channel Images from Smart Sensors
Fundamental Changes in Green Vision and Photonics with Smartpads & Smartphones