Monday, March 28, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
Automotive Industry finally looking at open platforms
With apps and open platforms used everywhere from mobile phones to tablets and set top boxes, the automotive industry finally is also considering open platforms as a basis of their infotainment products.
Traditionally infotainment systems were built on closed source systems like Windows Automotive or QNX. More and more of Teleca's automotive customers ask explicitly in their RFQs for Linux based alternatives like Android or MeeGo.
The reasons are many-fold:
- Reduced royalties for licenses
- Chance to source from multiple vendors
- Last but not least the need to have a platform with a large developer base.
Open Source software comes not for free. To build a successful product, a strong partner that is capable to create a solid baseline from public available sources is required. More so for automotive products with their increased demands on safety and reliability.
To make full use of the open platform, a dedicated SDK needs to be created that unleashes the functionality of the platform to developers.
The platform, be it Android or MeeGo must be adapted to the underlying hardware to provide a compelling user experience for scenarios like multi screen multimedia content viewing, e.g. viewing HD video on the rear seats while the driver is guided by the voice controlled navigation system.
Teleca heads these developments together with partners and customers. Are you interested in more info see us at next automotive event, SAE2011»
Friday, March 11, 2011
Location Based Services have come over us. Have they? LBS is certainly one of the most hyped buzzwords in the industry right now, and for sure combining location data with other personal information offers a huge potential for services and marketing. And also a huge potential for paranoia. But has LBS turned into a business already? In 2009 analysts were forecasting LBS revenues to exceed 12B USD in 2014, but little has been said about such forecasts recently. And in fact, in my personal surroundings no one is actively using LBS beyond navigation and geocaching. Why?
The last cold winter in Germany revealed one special drawback of modern smartphones: the capacitive touch screens simply don’t work with gloves. And this get’s us to the major weakness of LBS nowadays: I need to become active to make use of LBS where in fact it wouldn’t be necessary. My mobile phone knows a whole lot of things about me. It knows where I’m working, it knows where I’m living, it knows my appointments, so why do I actively need to look up the best train connection when I’m leaving the office in the evening?
Taking just the location information leaves out a lot of relevant information from the context of a user, which includes calendar information, time, weather conditions, mood, social network, physical activity and wellbeing, and so much more. Combining this information with the history, my phone should be very well able to predict what I want to do next and provide me with the necessary information, without me asking.
So I’m dreaming of an active idle screen on my phone that tells me my train is leaving from track 6 in 4 minutes, that the Chinese restaurant around the corner has a special lunch offer today, remind me that I have parmesan cheese on my shopping list when I pass the supermarket and tell me that a friend which I haven’t seen in years is coming to town tomorrow. And all this without me having to press any button on a tiny 3 inch touch screen with winter gloves.
Of course this doesn’t work right out of the box. My phone and me would need some time to get to know each other. It needs to learn my habits, my favorites, my routines. But once it knows this, it could literally become my “personal digital assistant”.
And a “connected context” could even take this further! My phone knows I need to be in Bochum by 9:00 am. So does my neighbor, who’s usually taking the car. Our phones could tell us and he could give me a ride. Of course, connecting contexts requires a lot of trust and shouldn’t be opened up to everyone. But on the other hand it offers huge potential for increased efficiency and a more sustainable conduct of life.
“The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.”, Mark Weiser, father of the term “ubiquitous computing”, said in his article “The computer for the 21st century”. Well, the computer for the 21st century appears to be the mobile phone, and it’s pretty ubiquitous already, but it’s still a dumb device that I even need to tell not to ring when I’m sitting in the opera. To weave into the fabric of my everyday life, smartphones still need to become so much smarter, and I’m going to work on it now. Will you too?
Let’s see who gets there first.
Monday, March 7, 2011
By Dmitry Shapiro
SURPRISE! Steve Jobs appeared onstage. I guess the rumors of his demise just lost some legs. He started off by re-capping the year:
· iTues, App Store and iBooks over 200M accounts created.
· 100M iPhones shipped
· 15M iPads sold in 2010 (9 months) garnering over $9.5B in revenue for Apple
· 65,000 iPad specific applications in the app store vs. 100 Android Tablet specific apps.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Many of you have been seeing the term “User Experience” surfacing with increased frequency on many of our projects. Some of you may be wondering, “…just exactly what IS this thing called User Experience?” My goal is to shed some light into this mysterious yet essential role in today’s software development.
What Is User Experience?
"User experience" encompasses all aspects of the end-user's interaction with the company, its services, and its products. The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother. Next comes simplicity and elegance that produce products that are a joy to own, a joy to use. True user experience goes far beyond giving customers what they say they want, or providing checklist features. In order to achieve high-quality user experience in a company's offerings there must be a seamless merging of the services of multiple disciplines, including engineering, marketing, graphical and industrial design, and interface design.
*Definition by Nielsen Norman Group
User Experience (also known as UX) encompasses several disciplines: interaction design, information architecture, human computer interaction, human factors engineering, usability and user interface (UI)/visual design.
These roles can be broken down into two competencies:
A UX Researcher will typically come from a cognitive psychology or human factors background. A UX Researcher formulates research plans, conducts studies (both in a lab and in the users environments, also known as ethnographic studies), gathers the data, analyzes it and recommends follow-up actions. This is done working closely with a UX Designer.
The UX Designer is typically involved at the earliest stages of product development. Everything from the product strategy, business goals and aesthetic aspects are taken into consideration. The UX Designer will look at many factors in a products design including but not limited to: ease of use, aesthetics, efficiency, processes, and performance.
What User Experience is Not
There are a lot of misconceptions about what UX is, but here are some things that we can definitely say it’s not:
- UX Design is NOT the same as UI Design. UI Design is focusing on one element of the overall experience.
- UX is NOT a simple checkbox in a process. The user experience process is an ongoing and integral part of any product. It’s something that we need to keep iterating on and improving. It’s never done, even after we ship.
- UX is NOT just about usability. Usability is but one aspect of the overall experience. We want to make products that users embrace and find desirable, but is not our only goal.
- UX is NOT one size fits all. Every project and situation will be unique and have it’s own special problems to solve. You can’t take a canned approach that can be priced the same across all projects.
- UX is NOT a choice, it’s an imperative. In order for a product to be successful, you must factor the overall experience your users will have in the end. We can write the best code and solve the most complex problems in the world, but if in the end the users can’t use it, don’t like it or don’t perceive the value then we have ALL failed. It takes EVERYONE on the team to create a solid user experience.
There are many ways in which you can engage with UX at Teleca.
Sales: From initial bid proposals where we can partner with you to help tell the Teleca UX story and what we can offer our potential clients, to helping forge a solution and wireframe concepts to use in a proposal. Please feel free to engage us as part of your pre-sales business development and strategy efforts.
Project Management: From the moment you have a potential project, please bring us in to discuss how we can help with requirements gathering, defining business objectives and proposing design solutions for our clients. We can help you get clearer timelines and milestone dates for your project based on current projects in the pipeline and estimated deliverables for the client.
Developers: We are here to work with you in an iterative way throughout the lifecycle of the project. If you have a question, or something just doesn’t feel right and you need a sanity check on some element of the experience, please feel free to ping us.
While this article certainly doesn’t cover the gamut of services we can provide as part of the user experience, I hope it sheds some light on how we can help make every project at Teleca a resounding success for our clients and us.