This week AT&T announced a new way to get connected that should certainly be helpful for business travelers and other remote workers who need to stay in the loop. This is AT&T Connect Mobile Conferencing for the iPhone, which integrates audio conferencing, Web conferencing and video conferencing into a single and unified communications app.
Users can install the app, and with a single click from an online calendar or e-mail invite, easily join a meeting. No more reasons to write down a number and/or password. Even more helpful is how the app includes other features such as viewing of virtual white boards and participant lists.
It is easy to host a session, where you can invite others to join. You can send notes to the group or a specific individual, answer polls and enter and leave conferences on the fly, and even alert the group that you need to step out for a few. The AT&T Connect Mobile Conferencing app is now available for download from the Apple App Store.
Apple Buys Siri
The war between Apple and Google seems to be heating up, as this week the former bought mobile applications developer Siri. Reports online are suggesting that Apple is likely interested in Siri’s voice-activated Web search technology for smartphones.
The San Jose start-up has been making a name for itself in the voice recognition and search application market, and actually offered the app for the iPhone early this year. The app allowed users to actually “speak” a request, which would allow for searches on partner sites including Citysearch and OpenTable.
The word circulating online is Apple will likely be looking to provide an alternative to Google’s search service on the iPhone, as well as the iPod Touch and the iPad. Of course Google has also been a vocal player in the voice command search market. Thus this looks like Google and Apple won’t be patching up their differences anytime soon.
Apps for Africa
While apps in America help us find a place to eat, make it easier to check in at the airport and generally make life a bit easier, in Africa it seems mobile apps could actually change some people’s lives in much bigger ways.
This week CNN.com noted how apps are being used by everyone from dairy farmers, who can use an app to determine the price of milk, to fishermen, who can use their phones to find the right place to fish. Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, give him a fishing app it seems and he’ll never have to go hungry again. This is quite a contrast from the American business traveler who merely uses an app to find a good seafood restaurant in an unfamiliar city.
This is just one of the many ways that mobile apps – and actually more importantly mobile devices – are changing, and in many ways improving the daily grind for many people. There are still numerous issues, and obviously I can’t believe that apps can do it all. For one thing, there is the cost involved of mobile phones, which many people – including small farmers and fishermen – can’t afford. And worse there is the infrastructure, something that needs to be more thoroughly developed. However, as I’ve long said, the third screen is something that will allow people who never see a computer to get online, and those without TV or radio to get connected to news and information. And now it seems it can help find the price of milk and where the fish are swimming.