HoverWidgets: Improving the Functionality of Pen-Based Interfaces
Edited by Eric M. Zeman and Michelle Maisto
The Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI) recently hosted CHI 2006, an international conference where scientists and researchers gathered to share their work in the growing field of computer-human interaction. Microsoft Research submitted 11 percent of the papers accepted to the conference, including one titled “HoverWidgets: Using the Tracking State to Extend the Capabilities of Pen-Operated Devices,” which introduced an innovative technique for increasing the pdf capabilities of pen-based interfaces.
The paper, which was written in collaboration with scientists from the University of Toronto and the University of California, Berkeley over the past three years, describes how HoverWidgets create a new command layer that can recognize pen movements made above the display surface, eliminating the need for the user to spend time glancing at the screen. According to Microsoft Researcher Ken Hinckley, the HoverWidgets allow the user to “just wave the pen above the screen to trigger different functions. Our studies show that it is a huge advantage for tasks that require steady visual attention.”
Although Hinckley had no comment on specific plans to manufacture HoverWidgets, he states that the invention, combined with other new features and applications designed exclusively for the pen, will “strengthen the value of a pen-operated device like the Tablet PC and help lead to increasing adoption of the technology in the future.” Hinkley adds: “Tablet computers have the potential to make a tremendous impact on the enterprise because they allow digital capture of ink strokes as a new data type … Soon, the pen will be an indispensable tool for working with digital
Mobilizer Awards ‘06
Mobile Enterprise magazine is proud to annouce its 2006 Mobilizer Awards, which will honor the most effective mobile technology deployments. The medal winners will be announced in a special November issue of Mobile Enterprise, as well as posted on www.MobileEnterpriseMag.com. Awards will be presented in person at the Mobile Enterprise Executive Summit, in Miami, Fla., Nov. 1-3.
Any organization that has deployed a solution primarily to improve the work processes of field service or field sales employees is eligible. Entries from all vertical markets are welcome, including public/ government agencies. Entries must be submitted by an end-user organization. Entries from developers, vendors, resellers or integrators of mobile technology solutions on behalf of their customers will also be accepted.
All entrants must be approved by the end-user/ customer for printing in Mobile Enterprise with the understanding that the winning case studies will require interviews and discussions of corporate information. The deadline for submissions is June 30, 2006.
A Force Multiplier
Dr. Robert J. Mitchell is a retired physician and a bio-terror response coordinator for Stevens Healthcare, a hospital in Snohomish County, Washington. “Part of disaster planning is being able to track patients, so we’ve implemented a patient-tracking system that involves handhelds in the field with EMS providers,” says Mitchell. “Those handhelds are used to enter patient data, such as their photo, vital signs, medical acuity information, any treatment that occurs, etc., and that information is then sent in real time over cellular connectivity to the hospital ER, where it pops up on a flatscreen monitor.”
Traditionally, EMS workers conveyed the facts of a situation to the ER via cell phone, where a message was taken by hand and passed by mouth. Now that the data is sent directly to the flatscreen, human error is reduced and more people can be alerted simultaneously and prepare more effectively.
The solution, which involves Hand Held Products’ Dolphin 9500 mobile computers deployed with IRIS (Incident Response Information System) from Iomedex, is part of a pilot being tested by 20 fire and EMS agencies and four hospitals in Snohomish County and focuses expressly on patient tracking, credentialing and asset management for disaster scenarios. Mitchell says his dream is to see similar implementations rolled out throughout the country.
“It’s all about standardization and interoperability,” he explains. “If we can get everybody to use the same kinds of technology—and it doesn’t have to be the same [brand]—so that we can all look at the same data at the same time, then we can make educated decisions, move things around, find things that we need, find people that we need, find the patients and the victims that are out there in the field and reunite them with their families, and go about the recovery piece of a disaster.”
Enterprise Workers Warm to IP Video
On April 21—Earth Day—more than 16,000 high school and college students participated in a two-way Internet-protocol television (IPTV) discussion with a panel of science experts and religious leaders about global warming. Communication Technologies, whose private IP network made the event possible, suggested the event was the largest single simultaneous application of IPTV ever attempted.
Perhaps it also marked a public warming toward IP-based video technologies. Apple, certainly, has been easing mobile professionals into the idea that IP-based video conferencing is as convenient and simple a communication tool as instant messaging (IM). Its new MacBook Pro comes with a camera built into the screen and iChat AV, a feature-rich video conferencing application that’s integrated into the user’s iChat (Apple’s proprietary IM application) buddy list.
However, as IP-based peer-to-peer, and peer to multi-peer, conferencing grow, the bigger enterprise trend is now toward being able to record video events, archive them and make them available for later viewing by select audiences. “That is exploding right now in the market,” says Steve Pattison, EVP of marketing and business strategy at Media Publisher, a 6-year-old company right at home in this space.
“We help companies to leverage their existing investment in video infrastructure,” says Pattison. “We offer a complete application suite to enable people to create live video events and video-on-demand (or VOD) events, and we dramatically bring down the cost to create and deliver those events.” After rolling out Web Messenger, one customer, says Pattison, saw its average cost for a video event drop from $30,000 to $3,000. Another customer was able to Webcast an HR benefits presentation to an audience of 10,000, and then, with its VOD capabilities, saw an additional 42,000 viewer hits after the event.
A number of reasons are driving this growth, says Pattison. “It could be that people are getting more comfortable with video because of trends in the consumer market, like podcasting, or just doing a video event at home, friend to friend. I think that’s complementary to what we’re talking about with enterprise video communications.”
Forum Nokia PRO, an exclusive community of more than 1.8 million mobile developers of software for Nokia platforms, announced the winners of its annual awards in December 2005. More recently, it also released corporate profiles of the awards candidates, which interestingly showed just how much the candidates have in common. In addition to being mostly small, up-and-coming entrepreneurial firms less than five years in business, they share a rapid increase in end users, revenue growth, international expansion, interests in enterprise applications such as wireless email and Outlook capabilities, and a frequent release of new products. All of which speaks well for the future of this space and the possibilities it could yield for enterprise users.
“Developer of the Year” accolades went to enterprise software solutions provider Quickoffice, which is currently working on fourth-generation development on the Symbian OS and partnered with Nokia in 2005 to integrate S60 platforms into 12 million to 15 million phones. The Enterprise Series 60 award went to Seven Networks, a provider of a mobile real-time data services platforms. Ari Backholm, VP of product development, described mobile email as “still in its infancy … We see it becoming as common as using voicemail.”Other winners included Birdstep Technologies, a software technologies provider, and Vidiator, a rich media content enabler.
Which Comes First, IM Threats or Security?
Instant Messaging (IM) within the enterprise has made the inevitable jump to enterprise mobile devices. “The Raticadi Group is saying IM is being used by an estimated 135 million workers and is projected to grow to 477 million workers by 2009,” says Joe Naylor, chief marketing officer and VP of product development for WebMessenger. “And, they’re projecting mobile IM revenues from business users could reach $1.1 billion by the end of 2007.” Enter: the also growing space of IM security.
WebMessenger’s flagship solution, Mobile Platform, consists of a server and IM gateway that sit behind the firewall and allow users to IM using “all the different networks—Yahoo!, AOL, plus all the enterprise [applications], like Lotus Sametime,” says Naylor. “We also use some of the more advanced encryption algorithms.”
How necessary is all of this security? Facetime put out a report showing a 700 percent increase in attacks over chat, peer-to-peer and IM in Q106, compared to Q105, says Naylor. “But the number is actually only 450 incidents, so in the grand scheme of things it’s still pretty low. But that said, enterprises have to assume the worst. Any type of electronic communication system is going to be subject to threats, and we see [IM] as the next type of environment for people to target after email.” //
PROCESS-ONE has launched its scalable Mobile Enterprise Instant Messaging Platform
and partnered with SHAPE SERVICES, an IM client
developer for mobile platforms such as BlackBerry and Palm. The two companies will work together to ensure interoperability of clients and servers.
JUNIPER NETWORKS, a provider of secure network communications, announced
it has been chosen as a charter member of SAP’s Enterprise Services Community, a group
of enterprise customers, vendors, infrastructure providers and
system integrators aiming to deliver infrastructure solutions and services to the enterprise.
EMPLOYEASE, a supplier of on-demand human resources, benefits administration and
outsourcing solutions, announced that it has been selected by GOOGLE as a go-to-market partner for the new Google OneBox for Enterprise feature of the Google Search Appliance.
GLOBERANGER, a provider of RFID, mobility and sensor-based software solutions, will join
AIM GLOBAL, a 30-year-old association for automatic identification and mobility. AIM Global’s goal is to increase enterprise knowledge and usage of Auto ID, RFID and enterprise mobility technologies.
DANGER, a mobile Internet software and services company, has joined the MSN MOBILE DEVELOPER PROGRAM,
a group that provides support for independent software
vendors and developers to build solutions on the MSN network. The agreement will allow Danger to extend services such as MSN Messenger to its mobile customers through its mobile Internet platform.
MICROSOFT has confirmed a formal agreement with LENOVO, China’s largest PC manufacturer, to pre-install the Windows operating system on Lenovo computers made in China. The agreement, which was initiated in November 2005, is expected to garner $1.2 billion in sales for the Windows OS over the next 12 months.
HANDMARK, a global provider of mobile media, has partnered with VIAMICHELIN, a European digital mapping and travel assistance services company. Handmark will produce and distribute digital maps, route planning and two Michelin travel guides for its European customers’ mobile phones and smartphones.
SAS, a business intelligence company, has announced a new joint technology with GOOGLE that will allow users to perform relevant searches of data, analysis and reports from SAS business intelligence software through the Google search interface. The partnership will give users access to more business-related information than an ordinary keyword search.
BLUETOOTH SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP (SIG), a consortium of over 4,000 telecommunications leaders, announced its intentions to deploy the WIMEDIA UWB solution as its high data rate link. The collaboration will provide a vast market for products in the UWB field and will enable the expansion of the Bluetooth brand into a wider range of end applications.
EMERGIN’s Clinical Safety System has been deployed by the MEDICAL CITY DALLAS HOSPITAL to provide a more streamlined means of communication for hospital staff and to give clinicians speedier access to critical patient information. The Clinical Safety System receives patient alarms and other event notifications, which are then dispatched directly to the appropriate nurse’s wireless phone.
BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE has signed a contract to license Advanced Clinical Software’s Study Manager EDC, a software package designed to electronically capture clinical trial data. When used in conjunction with Study Manager CTMS, which was purchased by Baylor in 2005, Study Manager EDC provides a standard research platform with a single user interface.
ELECTROLUX has selected Accolade from SOPHEON as its product portfolio management solution. Electrolux will deploy Accolade under an enterprise-wide agreement covering company locations throughout the world.
MOBILEACCESS NETWORKS, an enterprise wireless provider, has been deployed by the KEMPER DEVELOPMENT COMPANY (KDC), a privately held commercial real estate development and property management company. KDC will use the MobileAccess Universal Wireless Network
at its Lincoln Square location in Bellevue, Wash., enabling KDC and its customers to access wireless communications.
ADC, a network infrastructure company, has been chosen by OPEN ACCESS, a New York City area network supplier, to provide ADC’s LoopStar 1600 and 810 SONET transmission and access systems to mobile carrier customers in the greater metropolitan area.
Pointsec Mobile Technologies, a provider of enterprise security software, has announced the formation of Pointsec Wireless Solutions, a self-sustained unit within Pointsec Mobile Technologies that will focus on bringing data encryption to wireless devices in the enterprise.
Mobile Edge, a designer of notebook computer carrying cases and accessories, announced a partnership with the Boomer Esiason Foundation (BEF) to help raise funds for cystic fibrosis research. Ten percent of the funds raised by Mobile Edge’s new G-Pak carrying case, named after Esiason’s son, Gunnar, will be donated to BEF.
Verizon Wireless has been recognized by the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 U.S. Wireless Regional Customer Satisfaction Index Study, sharing top honors for overall satisfaction among wireless phone users in the Southeast United States. The study measured satisfaction relative to six key factors of wireless carriers, including customer service, brand image, call performance and reliability.