Mobile devices have become an intrinsic part of society. Most of us can’t go a day without our mobile devices, and it’s understandable. In the social age we live in, we use them to check our emails, get updates from the stock market, use the navigation to guide us to our destination, browse the internet, interact with our family and friends and even store important personal details.
If there isn't already a proverb to the effect that someone's greatest strength is also their greatest weakness, there should be. A prime example in the enterprise is mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Their mobility has spawned a veritable computing revolution. Yet that mobility also creates a number of vulnerabilities.
For example, in the UK the Metropolitan Police has reported that 10,000 mobile devices are stolen each month. That’s a staggering 333 mobile phones stolen every day, and over 13 per hour. All those mobiles are stolen in the UK alone! Imagine how many are being stolen worldwide?
Why Track a Mobile Phone?
There are many reasons as to why you would want to track your smartphone or tablet. One of the main reasons why people track them is to find them after they’ve been misplaced or even worse, stolen.
Most of the mobile devices in use today possess accurate location awareness. Although we often use the word "GPS" to describe any kind of location tracking, actual GPS is only one of the methods used by modern devices to determine their own locations. Mobiles also rely on the known locations of cellular towers they are associated with, as well as any Wi-Fi network to which they may be connected. But calculating location can be a drain on battery power, which becomes a factor when we look at ways to keep track of mobile devices.
Although the term "tracking" can have perverse overtones, there are many legitimate reasons for a business or an individual to keep tabs on the location of their mobile devices.
It was lost. Probably the single most common use for tracking location, lost mobile devices can represent serious security concerns for the owner. They might hold emails logins, credit card information and other sensitive information.
Business and Office
When mobile devices are used by employees in the field, location data can help a company fine-tune efficiencies. For example, the data may reveal that too many field personnel are in one area while not enough are in another.
Rules enforcement. Due to the sensitive data they may contain, a business may want to restrict where employees or other workers like contractors may take company-owned mobile devices.
Customer service. Using mobile device location, a company like a tow truck service can dispatch the closest field worker to a customer, improving response time.
Investigations. Mobile device locations could reveal suspicious activity like corporate espionage. Suppose a company's device was often tracked to a location at a competitor's workplace, for instance.
iOS Devices: iPad’s and iPhones
iPad’s and iPhones users are familiar with Find My Device, Apple's iCloud-based location service. This finder service can be useful for spot checks, such as finding a lost phone. Find My Device can also remotely lock or wipe a phone, allowing its owner to secure it against data loss. But there are limitations too.
Find My Device requires that the mobile device be logged into iCloud. This means that the user must have signed up for an iCloud account and set up the phone to connect to it prior to initiating any tracking.
Because this service uses on-demand location tracking, the device is not regularly updating its location with iCloud. Therefore, if it loses its battery power or data connection, retrieving its last known location may be useless if that spot check took place hours, days, or months ago.
You can turn to a third-party app like GPS Location Tracker, which maintains an on-going location log. There, you can view travel paths of the map where the device has travelled. But note that this is not real-time tracking; the log is not literally live.
Unlike Apple's own Find My Device service, Android does not have an "official" device tracking option. However, there are several creative third-party apps which not only provide location tracking but additional security features.
Popular desktop anti-virus vendor AVG has a free Android AV app which includes location finder and remote wipe-and-lock. Another free application, Locate My Droid, allows you to authorise multiple email addresses to view the location of a particular device.
But again, these applications must be installed in advance. If your device is already lost or missing… well, there is Plan B. This application can be remotely installed to an Android device from the Google Play Store (assuming the device is registered under your Google Play account). Once it installs, it send an email to the device's registered Google account with its location. Plan B literally is a last resort; it only works on certain versions of Android and even then, results can be erratic.
Real-time live tracking is available for Android, but its reliance on GPS means that it could drain the battery quickly.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 is set up with a Windows Live cloud account. Unlike Apple's finder service, Windows Phone 8 users do not need to install an application. So finding the location of a Windows Phone 8 device is the most seamless option among mobile platforms. Using the Windows Phone website from any computer you can find, lock or erase a stray device. On the other hand, the Windows Phone application market is relatively small compared to Apple and Android, so options for third-party tracking applications with more features are limited.
THIS WEEK ON GADGETS
LG 84-INCH ULTRA HD TV
Nigerians by their nature are hardworking people; at the end of every day, they seek for ways to revitalise their minds. To achieve this they turn to their TV sets for programs such as news, sports, soap operas and sitcoms.
TV viewing is indeed a popular pastime in Nigeria. This relaxing activity serves as a way of rewarding oneself after a hard day’s work.
75 years ago, television was introduced with scepticism and awe. No one truly believed it would change the way we view the world. Now more than ever people are more attached to their television. A TV set is now being considered as a status symbol by householders; and increasingly a lot of attention is being paid to the quality of TV adorning living rooms.
In the early days of TV, a tube delivering images in black and white was considered to be okay. But with the advent of colour TV and availability of contents for colour TV, the black and white TV has lost its charm. it is no more relevant as globally there have been a mass migration to colour TV. Over time, there have been advanced introductions such as the LCD, LED and 3D TVs, which has brought about tremendous improvement in picture quality.
Recently I was at the atrium of the Ikeja Shopping Mall in Lagos to witness the unveiling of the 84-inch Ultra High Definition TV by LG Electronics, a global leader in Consumer Electronics. The launch of the TV which is the world’s first 84-inch Ultra Definition (UD) Cinema 3D Smart TV as well as the first of its kind to be introduced into the Nigerian market was witnessed by a mammoth crowd.
The LG 84-inch ULTRA-HD TV, also known as 84LM9600, is the world’s largest
Ultra High Definition TV. The sheer size of the display, which is equal to 4units of 42-inch TVs, delivers an unparalleled picture resolution of 2160p which is 4 times higher than full HD. It is incredibly vivid and crisp, even when viewed from close distances. The LG 84-inch ULTRA-HD TV comes complete with an enhanced sound which no other TV currently offers. Its 2.2 speaker system delivers a sound output of
50W, boasting two woofers, which delivers an incredible depth and energy, bringing eye-encompassing visuals to life with exhilarating sound.
Speaking on this milestone achievement, the General Manager, Home Entertainment division, LG Electronics, Mr. Steve Ryu, said: “It is obvious that our industry is driven by innovation and Ultra Definition which is our latest invention will transform viewing experience.
“This is indeed a watershed moment in TV history because the Ultra HD 4K technology will make it possible for consumers to enjoy crystal clear picture quality. The LG 84-inch ULTRA-HD TV offers quadruple the detail of a full HD 1080p unit, with 8 million pixels.”
The new LG 84-inch ULTRA-HD TV uses LG Resolution Upscaler Plus hardware which delivers higher detail from the existing SD/HD external sources. It provides the most convincing 3D viewing experience currently available outside of a movie theatre. The TV’s Triple XD Engine comes with a TruMotion of 240 Hz with the benefit of fast screen refresh rate which guarantees quality viewing of fast movies and sports
The LG 84-inch ULTRA-HD TV also has Smart TV ecosystem, featuring well over 1,000 applications. It comes complete with 3D glasses as well as LG’s Magic Remote, now upgraded to understand voice commands allowing users to intuitively access and navigate the Home Dashboard with ease.
Guests at the event, with the aid of the LG 3D glasses, were able to try out the device for the first time; they were enthralled by the breath-taking viewing experience the massive display gives with many admitting that with a new technology like the LG 84-inch ULTRA-HD TV there is bound to be a resurgence in family time which has been recently observed to be waning.
For tech enthusiasts wanting to put themselves at the cutting edge of what’s possible. The Ultra HD is a compelling trend. They are able to reproduce colours that can’t be seen in the colour space of their HD counterparts. Most importantly, they are simply stunning to look at. There is a growing concern about the lack of Ultra HD content. While this will undoubtedly change in the future, LG is already offering very sophisticated resolution upscalers to convert 1K content to 4K. Indeed, Ultra HD is the next step towards the future where we have truly lifelike video at home.
Observers were stunned by the magnificent display and extraordinary breath-taking picture quality. LG’s mammoth 84-inch Ultra HD TV puts LG firmly in the driver’s seat in terms of ushering in a new Ultra HD era and taking a leadership role in encouraging the adoption of the technology.
LG Electronics is committed to making consumers happy through its products and services with the goal of improving on its technology for better performances that meet the end users’ peculiar needs.