Tag Archives: United Kingdom

Phone Predicts Where You’re Going


Beyond merely tracking where you’ve been and where you are, your smartphone might soon actually know where you are going — in part by recording what your friends do.

Researchers in the U.K. have come up with an algorithm that follows your own mobility patterns and adjusts for anomalies by factoring in the patterns of people in your social group (defined as people who are mutual contacts on each other’s smartphones).

The method is remarkably accurate.

In a study on 200 people willing to be tracked, the system was, on average, less than 20 meters off when it predicted where any given person would be 24 hours later. The average error was 1,000 meters when the same system tried to predict a person’s direction using only that person’s past movements and not also those of his friends, says Mirco Musolesi, a computer scientist at the University of Birmingham who led the study.

He cautions that the 200 participants might not reflect the general population — they all lived within 30 miles of Lausanne, Switzerland, and were mainly “students, researchers and people that are fairly predictable anyway.” Even so, he says, the findings were noteworthy because “we are essentially exploiting the synchronized rhythm of the city” for greater predictive insights.

Although it is still a research prototype, the prediction algorithm, described in this paper, could be a boon to mobile network operators if it proves more widely applicable. These companies already possess such data and could use it to provide a sharper recommendations or ads for restaurants or shops near locations where you are likely to go. Musolesi’s group is planning to build a developer platform based on the algorithm.

This paper was part of a Nokia-sponsored Mobile Data Challenge, at which the Birmingham group won 3,000 euros for their work. Other papers from the contest can be found here. All the projects drew on the same smartphone dataset from the 200 volunteers, who agreed to have their location, communication patterns, app usage, and other metrics tracked over an 18-month period ending in 2011.

To explain how your friends’ patterns can be used to refine predictions about you, Musolesi gave this example: If Susan goes from home to the gym every Tuesday at 7 p.m. following a certain route, a prediction algorithm based only on her past movements might be thrown off on a certain Tuesday when she makes a side trip to the mall. But by noticing that her close friends Joe and Bob are in their usual hangouts that day, Musolesi’s algorithm can determine that Susan is highly likely to go to the gym after finishing her mall errand.

Habits and patterns of friends are highly correlated, meaning there will be enough noise-free information from the friends’ mobility patterns to extrapolate from them. Naturally, the predictions can be refined even more when two people often spend time with each other, but such “mutual information” is not required for a friend’s information to be useful.

The research grew out of a mid-2000s reality mining project, also sponsored by Nokia, that sought to glean insights about social interactions from personal devices. That work took place before the current smartphone boom. “It is exciting to see the project flesh out some of the hints and preliminary results we’ve seen in our earlier projects. This field is really moving toward being practical,” said Alex “Sandy” Pentland, director of the MIT’s Human Interactions Lab, referring to all of the research done on the Lausanne data.

He added that progress in the field — together with the many commercial efforts that already extensively mine and leverage personal data — makes it even more crucial for companies, governments and researchers to follow a personal data privacy and usage framework developed at Davos last year.

?Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, gremlin?

This article originally published at MIT Technology Review

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/07/09/phone-predicts-future-location/

UK Supermarket Giant Tesco to Release an Android Smartphone


Tesco’s 7-inch Hudl tablet, which was released in 2013.
Image: Bloomberg

Further extending its brand from supermarket giant to tech-savvy retailer, UK-based Tesco has announced plans to release its own smartphone.

The company’s CEO, Philip Clarke, announced the news during an interview on BBC Radio 5 Tuesday.

The device will be Android-based, and will target the higher end of the smartphone market, according to BBC.

Releasing a smartphone might seem like an unlikely move for a supermarket brand, but the company’s first such experiment — a $200 7-inch tablet called Hudl, released in 2013 — resulted in the sale of over half a million units.

“[Both devices] will come loaded with the Tesco services,” Clarke said. Among those services will be BlinkBox, Tesco’s on-demand television and movies service.

Hudl tablet
Tesco’s 7-inch Android-based Hudl tablet, which was released in 2013.

Image: Tesco

In recent years, Tesco has made a point of promoting itself as a retailer working on the cutting edge of technology. In March, the company showed off a virtual version of its store via the Oculus Rift, and last year it held a virtual Easter egg hunt using Google Street View.

However, Tesco’s tech-focused promotions aren’t just for show. The company already has a wide array of apps for iOS, Android and Windows 8 that cover grocery shopping, recipes, calling cards, car insurance and photography.

Clarke did not disclose the price of Tesco’s upcoming smartphone, which will debut by the end of this year. However, he did reveal that the company plans to release a follow-up to its first tablet, called Hudl 2, in September.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/05/06/tesco-android-smartphone/

Body Language In Cats

As cats are arguably the most popular creatures on the web, it’s a wonder this video covering Body Language Of Cats doesn’t have more views.

The video by Cats Protection UK demonstrates for viewers a few common messages cats will ‘say’ with their body language. Shockingly enough, when a cat rolls over on its side, it’s most likely saying it trust you, and does not want a belly rub.   


Read more: http://www.viralviralvideos.com/2013/08/05/body-language-in-cats/