AireTalk Android App Review

Just when we thought communications can’t get better than this, there are developers out there who outperform what is already there on the table. VOIP has been one of the prime focuses on development, and with the sudden burst in Android market, more and more developers are now pouring into creating state of the art applications that dramatically increase chatting, calling and messaging services. Recently, making its mark in this field has been AireTalk – an application by PingShow which attempts to provide these features on Android and iOS.

Nothing comes for free in this world, although the prices might not be visible or charged in a different sense which is neither direct nor hidden/masked. Being able to make free calls, AireTalk suggests that the calls will be made using the internet connection to any other AireTalk user and the caller doesn’t have to bear the charges of the carriernetwork.

Although this app might seem very similar to all other apps in this genre, AireTalk comes with an interesting feature which is inspired from Radio Stations and Yahoo’s famous chat room concept. This feature head is termed as “Studio”. This is like radio stations, which has different languages as “Stations”. Users can select a particular Language stationjust like chat rooms and enter, also invite their friends and chat in that language. A very innovative idea which still requires more polishing, all in all this can be used as a good language tutor guide and practice zone.

Walkie Talkie screen of AireTalk

Some most common VOIP features are added by default. What is interesting to note in AireTalk is its Walkie Talkie feature. Just as the name suggest this feature can be most useful in camping trips and adventure tours where you would want a quick chat or message to be delivered. Since internet services are at use here, this app like all others doesn’t have restrictions on international calling as well.

Since its initial launch, Android has evolved at lot both in sense of performance and user experience. Although, many apps on the market still need to upgrade themselves a lot to avail the maximum that Android has to offer its developers. AireTalk has still to go a long way in becoming seamless and intuitive in sense of user experience. The options bar is responsive, while both the landscape and portrait views show the same layout; it can be improvised further to enhance visual effects and transitions between screens.

Facebook login might have become a bit old fashioned nowadays; nonetheless it has become an essential part in increasing effective user experience and ease of customization. This app enables users to login using Facebook, this way users cannot just connect with AireTalk friends but also with their Facebook friends thus accessing a wider range of people set. If you have an inquisitive mind towards what other upcoming apps have to offer to their users, you can try AireTalk.

Is remote working the future for business?

In previous articles I have talked about how technology and business interact, and what the future of technology might hold for the world of business. In this article I am going to explore the idea that in the future, almost all business will be conducted remotely.

The number of people who permanently work at home in the UK, (known as teleworking) was estimated to be 1.3 million in 2010. The working population of the UK at the same time is believed to be around 30 million, therefore around 4.5% of the UK’s population (in 2010) were teleworkers. That said, is is estimated at the same time that 3.7 million UK workers sometimes worked from home, and sometimes went into their place of work. That means that of the working population, around 12.5% were, at some point, working remotely.

The figures are similar for the USA, and other developed nations. More and more firms around the world, are offering their employees the opportunity of working from home, but why?

Cost Advantages

Many people do not realise it, but it is often much cheaper to give employees access to the technology they need to work at home, than it is is to provide them with a workstation in an office unit. Yes that might mean you need to buy every employee a laptop, printer and make sure they have an internet connection, however that is often much cheaper than maintaining a workstation, in a fixed location.

If employees work in an office, then the firm either has to purchase or rent the premises – this can be very costly. Furthermore, an (often very expensive) IT mainframe system needs to be in place, to ensure that the entire building is connected internally, and with the outside world – including offices in other locations. Most employees will need a computer to work at, so why not buy them a laptop, give them their own printer, make sure they are internet connected, and tell them to work from home? It is often much cheaper.

Technological Advancements

Improvements in technology mean that working from home is more viable than ever before. Thanks to online storage systems, which allow simple, easy and effective file sharing among workers, employees are able to connect with each other, and share data from almost anywhere in the world. Outsourcing such tasks is often a much cheaper option for firms, than maintaining their own expensive IT infrastructure.

Advancements in communication technologies have also improved the viability of teleworking. I have previously wrote about QB Robots, robots which are effectively your eyes and ears in the office, which you can remotely control, whilst you are not in the office. These sort of devices mean that you can still connect with other workers, almost as if you were there in the room with them.

Anybots QB Robot

The head of one of Anybots QB robots – notice the webcam eyes and screen inbuilt into the head – such robots can improve the potential for remote working

You don’t necessarily need a QB robot to stay in communication with others though. Technologies like webcams, and VoIP mean that it is really easy to stay in contact, and in the loop, so you are just as up to date, as you would be, were you in the office.

Service Improvement Through Better Access

Technology has made it easier to work remotely, and it is often cheaper, but another advantage of teleworking, and a reason which I believe will be one which causes further growth in the industry, is the improvements in accessibility that teleworking offers.

In his recent article ‘Five changes in video conferencing for the next decade‘ Rashed wrote about how improvements in connectivity could improve the prospects for services like telemedicine. Being able to connect to people remotely, means that those who live/work in more remote areas, are more likely to be able to become connected.

Improvements in Productivity

Many studies have shown that working from home can actually boost productivity and reduce the time employees take off ill.

British Telecom claims that its teleworkers save it an average of £6,000 per year (per worker) due to the reduction in the costs of having to provide a workstation, the reduction in commuting costs, and through the increases in productivity. BT claims that its teleworkers are 20% more productive and take fewer sick days. This is probably due to the reduced stress associated with working at home, due to employees not needing to deal with the hassles of commuting, and the occasional hassles presented by co-workers, arguments and misunderstandings can cause stress!

In addition to this, the less time employees spend commuting, the more time they have to themselves, and the more time they can spend working. Say an employee spends an hour and a half commuting each day (two 45 minute journeys) then they could spend an  get an extra 45 minutes working, and get an extra 45 minutes to themselves.

In Summary

To conclude, working remotely is often a much cheaper option for both firms and employees, it has been made more viable thanks to technological improvements, it can improve the services that a firm can offer, and also improve the productivity of the workforce. These are some of the reasons, why I believe teleworking will become much more common in the future.

Why does superfast broadband matter?

Technology Blogger has had many articles about broadband speeds, superfast internet connections, and how the general trend is that global internet speeds are on the rise, but the question is, why is that important? Why do superfast speeds matter?

Download and Upload

There are two types of internet speed, your download speed, and your upload speed. Your download speed is how fast you can receive data from the internet – how fast you can stream media, receive emails, load websites etc. Your upload speed refers to how fast you can send information to the internet – how fast you can send emails, upload media, update your status etc.

When people talk about broadband speeds on the rise, they are usually referring to download speeds, as most of us get a lot more from the internet than we upload. Both upload and download speeds are on the rise, but upload speeds are usually only around 10% of download speeds – depending upon your location.


So superfast broadband means that we can do things faster, we can download and upload content quicker than we used to be able to. But that does that mean?

More Going On

Faster internet speeds mean that you can be doing more things at once on the internet, with less lag or jitter. You can be on an online game, whilst streaming the radio, and in the background sending emails, all at the same time! You can have more internet hungry applications running at the same time, and the speed of your activities (providing you have adequate processing power) should be the same as if you just had one activity going on.

Improved Internet Call Quality

Faster internet speeds will allow for smother internet calling, with less lag and better quality. You will be able to chat with friend across the globe and stage a conversation as though they were there in the room with you. VoIP will be significantly improved, as faster speeds meant that the media you are sending out is of higher quality, and the stream you are receiving is better too.

Such improvements could significantly benefit businesses, as VoIP can significantly lower the cost of holding meetings with fellow colleges based in different locations, thanks to better, more affordable online conference calling.

Furthermore, improvements in internet call quality can make remote working more viable, meaning that employees can spend more time working and less time commuting, thanks to them being connected all the time. This can save time, money and office space, as more employees are able to work off-site.

Improvements in Healthcare and Education

As Rashed suggested in his recent article (Five changes in video conferencing for the next decade) improvements in internet calls could lead to an improvement in the provision of telemedicine, meaning that the best doctors can help patients from across the world.

There is also similar potential for education. The best lecturers and teachers will be able to educate far greater numbers of individuals from across the world, thanks to faster broadband speeds. Improvements in such technology could be very beneficial for those living in isolated communities.

Cloud Computing Becomes More Viable

Cloud computing has huge potential to cut costs, improve efficiency and improve data security, and superfast broadband makes it more viable! With faster broadband, more and bigger files can be stored in the cloud, meaning that files are less likely to be lost if one device fails, and are more likely to be accessible from any location.

Media Streaming

Streaming media from across the internet is smother, faster and more seamless with faster internet connections. You can watch online videos with less buffering, or even in high definition.

Furthermore, internet TV and other similar services become more viable than ever before. In the last quarter of 2011, Virgin Media reported profits of £48 million, which it is believed is mainly down to faster broadband speeds encouraging more users to user its TV and internet services.

Virgin Media's logo

More People Online

Every day thousands of new people around the world make the leap and go online. For every extra person on the internet demanding resources, the whole system slows down a little. However with superfast broadband, more people can be online with less of an effect on speeds. In large offices, more employees can be connected, with less of an effect on the speeds received. This is also true in households, more people can be downloading media, whilst it not affecting others on online games.

Your Speed

Superfast broadband is very important and is revolutionising the way we do business and live our lives. The question is, how fast is your broadband speed? Are you likely to benefit from the things I mentioned above, or do you need to think about switching provider? Try testing your broadband speed and comparing it to what you are paying for; could you be getting a better deal elsewhere?

Five changes in video conferencing for the next decade

The collapse of the global economy has left big business needing to cut costs in every coroner it possibly can. For many executives the solution lies in finding high tech alternatives to many of the most costly aspects of business. One of the most effective ways this is being done is through video conferencing.

The constant stream of meetings and sales pitches being presented all over the world in the flesh accompanied by high priced business class air fairs and four star hotel rooms are coming to an end. More and more organisations are looking to replace this with video conferencing, making international meetings a far quicker and cheaper process.

As the quality of video conference technology improves and the experience gets closer to that of a real life encounter the adoption of video conferencing technology is only going to become more wide spread.

Video conferencing is already available in extremely fast frame rates at full HD resolutions, but what else can be done to help make the form of communication seem more real. What are the technological developments we can expect in the next decade?

Skype's Logo

Skype can be used as a video conferencing tool

1 – Translation software

With video conferencing making global operations affordable for even smaller business, more business are going to be looking to have presence over seas and this will call for low cost translation services.

Translation software is quickly developing; two years ago we saw the iPod app that used it’s camera to instantly translate any written text, and this will quickly be combined with high quality voice recognition technologies that are become standard on the new generation of smart phones. We are not far off software that will quickly and efficiently translate the spoken word.

2 – Holographic projection

Previously the types of light needed for this kind of projection were too hot to be used in the kinds of small devices available in offices. However laser lighting means that holographic projectors will soon be able to be built small enough for not only office use, but could also be built into many portable devices such as smartphones.

Flash memory in smart phones could soon be replaced with a new storage format based on this technology, holographic memory. This will greatly increase storage capacities as the same area of a storage device can be used multiple times by projecting the light at different angles, read speeds will also become much faster as holo-memory can be read from many different points in parallel. This eliminates many of the large file size issues that have been hindering the spread of video technology

3 – Video takes over from the written word

As high quality webcams become more standard features on modern netbooks and better integrated with communications services such as Facebook, it is expected that people will begin to move away from writing emails and instead compose video mail instead.

For many a video message is quicker and easier and also seems more personal, now that it is as easy as clicking a button on Facebook to send one it is only a matter of time until they over take emails in the frequency with which they are sent for personal communication. The paper trail that emails leave behind may mean it takes longer for them to be used in business.

4 – A rise in personal broadcasting

YouTube videos are increasingly becoming an entertainment format that rivals television. The content on You Tube that is produced by individuals or very small companies is now genuinely entertaining yet far cheaper to produce than more traditional formats. With cost cutting becoming more essential these lower budget forms of entertainment are only going to increase. This could shift the way the entertainment industry is structured with more talent choosing to run there own company and be there own boss broadcasting themselves over the web.

5 – Increased usage of Telehealth

Also expect to see the medical industries developing more technologies based on video conferencing which will allow doctors to diagnose and treat patients from a distance. Telehealth hardware is already on track to be a $990 million market by 2015 and predictions are that this will continue to $6 billion five years after that.

At the moment telemedicine technologies are very much focused on developing countries, where there are shortages of doctors in rural communities. As telemedicine technology improves though it could be adopted in the west too allowing anyone to be treated by the best doctors in the world, no matter there location.