Tech 101: Mobile Buzzwords

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With enterprise mobility on the rise, we’d like to take a moment to cover some mobile technology buzzwords so all the laggards out there can get up to speed.

2G: short for second-generation wireless telephone technology. 2G systems offer increased voice quality and capacity to handle more calls. Introduced commercially in 1991, the three primary benefits of 2G networks over their predecessors were that phone conversations were digitally encrypted; 2G systems were significantly more efficient on the spectrum allowing for far greater mobile phone penetration levels; and 2G introduced data services for mobile, starting with SMS text messages.

3G: Short for third-generation mobile telecommunications technology and is currently being used by many mobile systems. 3G supports data transfer rates that allow users to surf the Internet and watch videos. 3G finds application in wireless voice telephony, mobile Internet access, fixed wireless Internet access, video calls and mobile TV.

4G: Short for the fourth-generation of mobile phone mobile communication technology standards. Already deployed in parts of Europe it promises data speeds of 300Mbps, which is about 20 times faster than existing 3G networks. Conceivable applications include amended mobile web access, IP telephony, gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing, 3D television and Cloud Computing.

Android: An operating system created for mobile devices by a consortium of tech firms led by Google. Different versions of Android are typically named after sugary treats, namely Gingerbread, Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich.

Cloud Computing: The offloading of data storage or processing to the Internet or a shared network. Cloud technology allows phones to outsource their functions, provided there’s a good Wi-Fi connection.

iOS: A mobile operating system created by Apple to run devices including the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

NFC (Near Field Communication): Technology that allows smartphones to communicate with other nearby devices. It allows simple data transfer between mobiles. It can also be used in contactless payment systems, allowing mobiles to behave like debit cards. Plays a big part in what is referred to as M2M.

The “Second Screen”: sometimes also referred to as “companion device” (or “companion apps” when referring to a software applications), is a term that refers to an additional electronic device (e.g. computer, tablet, smartphone) that allows a television audience to interact with the content they are consuming, such as TV shows, movies, music, or video games. Extra data is displayed on a portable device synchronized with the content being viewed on television.

Bluetooth Wireless Technology: the low-power, short-range radio technology that allows digital electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets, headsets, laptops and even cars to “talk” to each other without wires and easily transfer files at high speed.

GPS (Global Positioning System): a location system based on a constellation of US Department of Defense satellites.

Digital Divide: an inequality between groups, broadly construed, in terms of access to, use of, or knowledge of information and communication technologies. The divide inside countries can refer to inequalities between individuals, households, businesses, and geographic areas at different socioeconomic and other demographic levels, while the Global digital divide designates countries as the units of analysis and examines the divide between developing and developed countries on an international scale.

Bring your own device (BYOD): the policy of permitting employees to bring personally owned mobile devices (laptops, tablets, and smart phones) to their workplace, and use those devices to access privileged company information and applications.

Internet of Things: The idea is that everything that can be connected will be connected. Example: everything from devices that tweet when the cakes are ready to devices that send email notifications when the plants need watering.

QR (Quick Response) Codes: specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in square pattern on white background. The information encoded can be text, URL, or other data.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID): the wireless non-contact use of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects. Some tags require no battery and are powered and read at short ranges via magnetic fields. Others use a local power source and emit radio waves. The tag contains electronically stored information which may be read from up to several meters away. Unlike a bar code, the tag does not need to be within line of sight of the reader and may be embedded in the tracked object.