Tag: app

Avis trials system to use an app as a car key

Avis and Continental have teamed up to offer travellers a mobile app that features keyless entry and ignition for their cars.

Select vehicles in the Avis Car Rental fleet are equipped with Continental’s Key-as-a-Service technology.

The technology lets Avis customers use the Avis app to lock and unlock their car and start the engine.

The new service debuts in Kansas City as an aspect of Avis Budget Group’s “Mobility Lab”.

The Mobility Lab comprises over 20 Avis car rental locations in the area and features a fleet of connected vehicles.

Source: MyBroadband

Your phone is tracking your every move

Your phone can reveal all of your physical activities to Google and the apps you use.

The sensors inside it can monitor, understand and disclose your real-world movements, based on what’s happening to the phone itself.

It can tell, for instance, if you’re standing up, or if you’ve just lifted your phone off a desk, or if you’ve started
walking.

An Android permission called “Activity Recognition”, which was discussed on Reddit and highlighted by DuckDuckGo last week, makes it much easier for developers to work out what you’re doing at any one time.

Shazam and SoundHound request the permission, but it isn’t completely clear why.

Though Activity Recognition isn’t new, the reaction to the Reddit and DuckDuckGo posts suggests a lot of users are unaware of it.

“The Activity Recognition API is built on top of the sensors available in a device,” says Google.

“Device sensors provide insights into what users are currently doing. However, with dozens of signals from multiple sensors and slight variations in how people do things, detecting what users are doing is not easy.

“The Activity Recognition API automatically detects activities by periodically reading short bursts of sensor data and processing them using machine learning models.”

Activity Recognition can tell developers when your phone is: in a vehicle, such as a car; on a bicycle; not moving; being tilted, due to its angle “relative to gravity” changing; on a user who’s walking or on a user who’s running.

It can even tell when you’re doing more than one thing at once, such as walking while being on a bus.

The API automatically gives its findings a likelihood rating out of 100. The higher the number, the more confident it is that you’re actually doing what it believes you’re doing.

This information is fed to the apps you’ve granted the Activity Recognition permission to.

“A common use case is that an application wants to monitor activities in the background and perform an action when a specific activity is detected,” says Google.

For instance, an app can automatically start monitoring your heartbeat when you start running, or switch to car mode when you start driving.

Though it can prove useful, it also sounds somewhat creepy.

The fact that Google categorises buries it in the “Other” category of permissions and doesn’t let you deny or disable it doesn’t help matters.

Google keeps a complete list of almost everything you’ve looked at, and what’s more, the company has made it difficult to find out which apps ask for the permission.

Right now, the only way to find out is by checking out each of your apps’ permissions one-by-one, by going to Settings, Apps, tapping an app, hitting the menu button and selecting All Permissions. It’s a slow and laborious process.

If you’re particularly concerned about Activity Recognition, it’s worth going through the effort and uninstalling any of you apps that request the permission, for peace of mind.

What can you do about Activity Recognition?

  • Read app permissions closely when you install a new app
  • Go into settings on your phone and read each existing app’s permissions
  • Delete apps that require Activity Recognition permissions

By Aatif Sulleyman for The Independent 
Image credit: Reuters

New app makes insurance easy

StockBox is a new mobile app that allows a user to digitally store all the important information and documents related to their assets. It’s a quick and efficient way of itemising possessions and storing important information like receipts of purchase, guarantees, warranties and item images so they are easily accessible when they are actually needed.

App owner Gary Bannatyne says: “The app was created to solve a basic problem I had when we had a break in. Not only did I not know about everything that was stolen. but I also had to go through a painful process with my insurance company to prove that I owned these items – which, of course, I didn’t have on hand.”

Convenience at your fingertips
The app has a number of unique and useful features. With StockBox users can quickly capture the important details of anything they own, whether new or old. They can categorise their items and information to make it useful for record-keeping and insurance purposes. In the event of a break-in or theft, StockBox will be able to create a detailed report that the user can share with their insurance providers at the click of a button.
If the item has just been purchased, StockBox can create a report for the user to obtain quotes with insurers of their choice.

Another useful feature of the app is the groups. Two or more people can create a group with all co-owned items, which is ideal for families, newlyweds or small businesses to record all their assets.
“We all know what a mission that is when your business has more than just a few little things,” says Bannatyne. “This makes keeping track of assets simple and convenient.”

A host of benefits
Life happens. Possessions are lost, stolen or broken. With StockBox, users can capture valuable information about personal items for future use. They no longer need to file slips and warranties. They won’t need to turn the house upside down or dig through the File 13 drawer when the vacuum cleaner breaks or an item of jewellery is stolen.
All the information is digitally stored in the cloud and easily accessible from any device supporting the app.
“We see StockBox creating a substantial influence in the insurance space by supporting users with the ability to store all their assets without the pressures of insurance products. We aim to develop relationships with users to provide options for them to access a digital world of insurance, where they are able to have control of their choices in an easy and transparent manner,” says Bannatyne.
“We just want to give a user a product that works and a product that adds value to their lives. If we can create that experience for the user, the economic opportunities will definitely follow.”

Translate your documents in the cloud

In an ever more globalised world, there is an increasing demand for effective translation services, yet despite this, getting printed documents translated can be difficult. However, thanks to the new Xerox Easy Translator Service, obtaining a translated copy of a document can be achieved in mere minutes.

The Xerox Easy Translator Service is a comprehensive suite of cloud translation services that is ideal for mid-sized business that have the need to translate documents. The solution is designed to enable users to scan documents at a multi-function printer (MFP) and receive either a printout or electronic copy of the translated document—in any one of 38 languages—within minutes.

Shane Spies, marketing product manager for Xerox office products at Bytes Document Solutions, explains that Xerox Easy Translator is the industry’s first cloud-enabled language translation solution, integrated via a web portal across Xerox ConnectKey devices.

“It offers comprehensive language translation services – from instant machine translation of hardcopy documents to professional human translation services for digital files – in a wide range of common languages. These include English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic,” he says.

He adds that unlike a typical translation agency or translation company, Xerox is able to offer quick and easy access to online translation services that are available 24/7, at a minimal charge.

“Imagine walking up to an MFP with a foreign language document, scanning it, and getting a printout of the document that has been translated into your native tongue. Or imagine needing a quick translation of a document for a colleague that speaks a foreign language. That’s the magic the Xerox Easy Translator Service app enables,” continues Spies, adding that instant machine language translations are available from MFP, phone or PC.

Furthermore, the output is available in more than 20 file formats, including paper, JPG, MS Office, and PDF.

“The Xerox Easy Translator Service app has proved to be a resounding success so far, and was recently deemed worthy of BLI’s Outstanding Achievement in Innovation honours. In a global business world, there is no longer any reason to be left in the dark due to foreign language documents. Now the power to translate both hardcopy and digital documents can always be at your fingertips,” concludes Spies.

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