smartphone apps

Smart Smartphones



app check-in automatically
via Bluetooth transmitter
require portal (2) prevent
queue recognize customize
local network respond
analyze based on convenience
deal (3) interact stand-alone
beacon suitable cookies (2)
tailor maintain accordingly
install sorry (2) skepticism
range personal private (2)
tag (2) personalize














Checking-in in this Berlin hotel couldn’t be easier: anyone with the Conichi app can send their information automatically.

It connects you via the hotel’s Bluetooth transmitters.

It sends your name, address, credit card number and the type of room you require to the hotel computer.

It also looks at your previous hotel stays and services you used. The hotel portal HRS has invested €10 million into the technology.

Around a hundred hotels in the German-speaking world are already using the app.

Maxililian Waldmann, Prevention: Long hotel queues: “Conichi is all about preventing the three C’s.

First we have check-in. The app really speeds up the process. The second C is customization. Hotels can recognize their guests and respond to them individually.

And the third is communication. The hotel can send a message to a guest’s cell phone, to offer them a great deal on a restaurant, or a local attraction, or anything else a hotel has to offer.”

Personalized, intelligent apps are there for convenience. The smartphone assistant, Google Now, analyses user data and provides information based on location.

For example, if you use the navigation system on Google Maps, it will tell the weather at your destination.

The music streaming service, Spodify, locates its customers and sends out information on local concerts, based on the users’ play lists.

The iPhone assistance Siri has access to almost all user data. Werner Lackner finds the Apple voice control really useful.

Werner Lackner, Vision: Everything networked: “Show me all the photos from October seventh.”

But this media expert from Berlin thinks the functions don’t go far enough.

Werner Lackner, Vision: Everything networked: “There are lots of good features. Some of the functions seem interact with other apps. For example, if I look up a song using Shazam, it appears on my Spodify list automatically.

That works really well. But others are stand-alone features, which should be more connected.

Many of the personalized services work using small Bluetooth transmitters called beacons. These are fitted around the building and connected to the customer’s smartphone.

As long as the user has a suitable app installed, they deliver notifications with special offers and promotions directly to the phone.

The Berlin company, Beacon Insides, sells Bluetooth transmitters in one hundred-fifty countries.

Michael Kappler, Creating: Offline cookies: “They’re sort of similar to online cookies, except beacons are more like “offline cookies”: They let you know where a user stayed and for how long, so you can tailor the offerings accordingly.

Data protection expert, Frederick Richter warns smartphone users to maintain a healthy skepticism.

Frederick Richter, Protection: Better safe than sorry: “I generally don’t install an app if I don’t know its range of functions; if it doesn’t tell me those functions, or I don’t understand and I don’t have experience with anything similar, I just simply wouldn’t use it.”

Werner Lackner, Aversion: Tagging friends: “There are certain features that are too private; so I don’t use them.

For example, I wouldn’t tag friends, or I wouldn’t advertise my location with photos, people’s faces, names or addresses, because then everyone in my phone knows the location.

That’s a step too far for me.”

Smartphones are highly practical, multi-functional devices — for many, life without them is unthinkable.

But the personalizes services they offer need a large amount of your personal data to work. It’s the only way they can offer a good, automatic service.

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1. Is the Conichi app very complicated or very simple? How does it work?

2. What are the three “C”s? What does the man mean by customization?

3. Describe the communication aspect. Is this part of a business model?

4. Both Google Now and Spotify base their tailoring on a user’s location. Yes nor no?

5. Which is better, stand alone apps or networked, interconnected apps? Why is the latter better?

6. What are Bluetooth, transmitters, beacons and cookies? How do they function?

7. Everyone should use any app and give all information that they request. What do you think? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?

8. Do the apps and smartphones need or want people’s personal data? Why do they need and want people’s personal data?


A. Do you and your friends have smartphones? Do you know anyone who doesn’t have a smartphone?

B. What sort of things, apps or services can it perform? What apps do you have?

C. Are you sometimes annoyed by your smartphone’s customization and personalization? Do you find it scary?

D. What smart services would you like to see?

E. Is there a potential risk or danger to all this?

F. What will happen in the future?


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