Making a big difference in someone’s life can be as easy as pulling out your smart phone for a few minutes every day. Really! A not-for-profit app makes life easier for those with vision problems by connecting them with sighted helpers through a smartphone app. Be My Eyes allows the blind to handle big and small tasks, while sighted volunteers get the joy of helping someone else in an easy and informal way at their convenience.
Be My Eyes harnesses the power of technology and generosity to connect visually impaired users with sighted volunteers through a live video connection. Volunteers lend their eyes to assist visually impaired users with a wide range of tasks, both large and small. For example:
Matching colors and clothing
Distinguishing between household or kitchen products; cans, cleaning products, shampoo, etc.
Determining departure or arrival of public transportation
Navigating in unfamiliar surroundings
The app is available for Android and Apple products. The Be My Eyes community is growing with more than 900,000 users across 150 countries helped by hundreds of thousands of sighted volunteers. Microsoft has also joined the effort offering Be My Eyes users a direct connection to receive technical assistance from the Disability Answer Desk, a free consumer service for Microsoft’s customers with disabilities.
People are discussing photos they share on Pinterest, the blog on their travels or the app they are using to track their fitness and exercise schedule. These conversations on technology are not restricted to the local social media clubs; they are hot topics for senior services communities like Laclede Groves near Saint Louis and coffee shops where baby boomers meet.
Vibrant seniors and boomers are blogging and using Facebook, Twitter and Skype to keep up with families and friends. Social media savvy seniors and boomers may also be boosting brain power new research suggests.
Vibrant seniors and boomers are blogging and using Facebook, Twitter and Skype to keep up with families and friends. Social media savvy seniors and boomers may not be the first to try the newest app or gadget; but are eager to adopt them once the technology is mainstream. Older users on social media are active to discuss and share travel, health, hobbies or search for products, values, and discounts. The social and digital contribution of these connected seniors is impressive! Baby Boomers are 80 million strong and growing.
In just five years, 50% of the US population will be 50+ projects Nielsen Research. (August 2012)
US Boomers’ Internet usage now is impressive:
– 33% of all online users
– 33% of all social media and Twitter
– 33% are heavy internet users.
Currently, there are about 21 million online seniors (those aged over 65 years old) in the United States according to Forrester Research, (June 2012).
Forrester finds 49% of digital seniors in the US are using Facebook.
– 91% of online seniors use email
– 59% have purchased products online in past three months
– 46% send/receive photos by email
– 44% play solo games online
– 24% sign up for coupons/freebies.
Staying connected online and through social media may be a great way for seniors to stay healthy. One recent study shows social media can give older adults a brain boost. Researchers at the University of Arizona taught some seniors, over 65, how to use Facebook and then put them through cognitive and memory tests. The new Facebook users fared 25 percent better on the tests than seniors who did not use the social network.
Boomers were raised in front of the TV and have always embraced media and technology. The size of the screens is now shrinking as they continue to grow with a constantly changing tech landscape that could help keep them young and connected for socializing, shopping and entertaining themselves on social media.
How much time do you spend on social networks? Are you backing up all those photos, videos, documents, and links? Those awesome Facebook snapshots of your childhood friends or the Flickr photos of your kids that always make you smile could be lost. Your entire online network of colleagues and clients along with the proposal you spent all weekend working on could be lost due to a computer virus, hackers, or fat fingers. Scary thought, huh? One start-up business is offering a one-stop back-up for your personal social media data. A cloud platform, Frostbox, has sights set on becoming the Dropbox of social media.
The business plan also has a significant social media component as Frostbox offers a stake to social media users — but only those with Klout scores of 60 and above. I first heard about the innovative marketing approach via Todd Wasserman’s post. It seems standard campaigns are open those with scores of 45 or more, this plan is a social experiment with Klout to document the growth of a single company when people with high influence have a vested interest in its success. What do you think? Will you invest some social influence in this start-up? It could translate into “points” rather than direct equity in Frostbox or perhaps gifts like an iPad Mini for participating in this social experiment.
It is a free guide to help small businesses and organizations understand how to provide basic security for their information, systems and networks.
The guide, Small Business Information Security: The Fundamentals, was authored by Richard Kissel, who spends much of his time on the road teaching computer security to groups of small business owners ranging from tow truck operators to managers of hospitals, small manufacturers and nonprofit organizations. The 20-page guide uses simple and clear language to walk small business owners through the important steps necessary to secure their computer systems and data. Please follow me on Twitter to learn more about small business trends and events to give you a competitive edge in business at http://twitter.com/danitablackwood
One mid-west farm has several high-tech communications features at work today getting world-wide attention! You see, Verizon Wireless is sponsoring Benton Farms’ quest to offer the world’s largest corn maze in Guinness Book of World Record’s.
You can see a familiar face and slogan in the 54.428 acre maze open until November 1, 2009 at Benson Farms in Denton, Nebraska. The sponsorship is not the only high-tech communications link at the farm; the Benson family uses Twitter, text messages and other social media to let visitors to the farm know about special events and activities. You can visit the farm website at http://www.bensonfarms.com to sign up for updates.
Located a short drive west of Lincoln, Nebraska, the record-setting corn maze is a great place to get some fresh air, have some fun and enjoy a piece of the “good life.” The huge maze holds 14.88 miles of trails in four phases ranging from easy to moderately difficult. The easiest phase will require 10 to 20 minutes to navigate. The most difficult phase will require 45 to 120 minutes to navigate. One phase of the maze gets haunted after dark on Friday and Saturday nights beginning October 9th.
Sponsorship of the maze is just one way Verizon is reaching out to small firms. There are Verizon free Wi-Fi hot spot access at more than 14,000 locations nationwide, available to every Verizon business broadband customer. Free Verizon Wi-Fi hot spot locations include hotels, airports, restaurants, coffee shops, retailers, convention centers and public locations across the U.S. For a complete list, visit http://www.verizon.net/hotspots.
Small business owners and entrepreneurs will soon have the opportunity to link online with the world’s largest dedicated security technology company.
McAfee is working to launch an online support community so users can interact with each other to share ideas, discuss emerging trends and help resolve problems. McAfee technicians, developers and product managers will be able to engage customers in new ways to enhance products and improve processes according to a media release.
Barry McPherson, executive vice president of worldwide support and services at McAfee, said the online community “will enable us to evolve beyond traditional phone and e-mail based services and focus more on collaboration with our customers through discussions, blogs, wikis, user groups and community polling.”
McAfee already monitors Twitter and Facebook. The online community, which will launch in the fourth quarter, will run on Jive’s social business software platform. Please follow me on Twitter to learn more about small business trends and events to give you a competitive edge in business at http://twitter.com/danitablackwood To learn more about vital technology issues impacting your enterprise; head to http://www.sbtv.com/Technology
Small retailers and businesses there are new mobile payment options! Amazon is rolling out a new offering bringing mobile payment processing for partners. This new suite of payment processing tools for mobile devices makes online shopping easier and faster for consumers and allows cell phone users to quickly pay with their devices at partner retailers.
A number of mobile payment providers are currently servicing retailers; but Amazon is a major player in e-retail and the new service could be an excellent option for businesses exploring options to easily accept mobile payments. Amazon’s new service will automatically detect the request origin, meaning a Web or mobile browser, or a mobile application so that developers don’t need to re-work their applications. Consumers will be able to make purchases on third-party mobile sites using the payment information in their Amazon accounts.