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Last Monday, we held yet another Mobile Monday event. Let me tell you about it…

Ammeon CTO welcome Mobile Monday members to Morgan McKinley’s offices and offers and introduction and history of Mobile Monday

Ammeon CTO welcome Mobile Monday members to Morgan McKinley’s offices and offers and introduction and history of Mobile Monday

First up, we had the gentleman that is; Rory MacHale, who welcomed Mobile Monday members to Morgan McKinley’s offices and offered an introduction to, and history of: Mobile Monday.

Dara Boland

Dara Boland

Next up, I gave my insight on Mobile Security, discussed recruitment trends in the space and gave a short presentation entitled; IT Security, whose job is it anyway?

I was very proud to, once again, have Morgan McKinley partner up with Mobile Monday, and this time around, we had a really fascinating topic lined up; Mobile Security. See: http://www.morganmckinley.ie/article/mobile-monday-free-event-morganmckinley-mobilesecurity

Morgan McKinley are witnessing, across all of our global markets, but particularly in Dublin, how businesses are realising how critical mobile is to Business. We are assisting more and more companies hire the right people, to address mobile security. This has been one of Morgan McKinley’s most profitable areas, and that serves as a positive message, that Ireland is, slowly but surely, addressing IT & now;Mobile Security, and giving it the respect and resources that it warrants.

On the day of the event, I met a buddy of mine for lunch and I was telling him about Mobile Monday. He asked me; “who is the event for?” “Who will be in attendance?”

And once the event had kicked off and the room began to fill up, I noticed quite a few people whom my team had placed into jobs; Ethical Hackers, Pen Testers, PCI-DSS mobile app developers, Development Managers, Cyber security engineers, Network security engineers, BYOD, MDM, Compliance, Risk, Disaster Recovery, Business Continuity Consultants, CTO’s, CIO’s, CISO’s.

The question then arises about Mobile Security, and it is a question I put to the audience; “Whose job is it anyway?”

1.) Is it the Mobile app developers?

2.)Is it the Vodafone’s, O2’s, Eircom’s of the world, the service providers who own the infrastructure?

3.)Is it the hardware manufacturers that provide mobile devises?

4.)Is it the Mobile operating system vendors? iOS/Android/Windows/Blackberry

5.)Is it the end users job to educate themselves?

Personally, I think we all have a stake in Mobile Security. It is for this reason that events like this one, are so important. Important too because, I believe that everyone who attended would take some useful information with them. And that they did.

Next up, was the brilliant Robert Fowler, Senior Security Consultant at Ward Solutions  and Vodafone.

Robert Fowler

Robert Fowler

Wow does Robert know his stuff! He offered an excellent talk, offering his top 10 reoccurring IT Security issues.

1 password security

2 installing too much unnecessary exposure

3 mid configuration – making mistakes

4 system isn’t hardened

5 no security training awareness of staff

6 Patches not applied

7 encryption issues (securing communication)

8 broken input /output validation – one god developer, one not so good

9 Improper management of policies, standards, guidelines

10 security is only engaged with at end of project

This was a great way to present, as if broke down each point (which in and of themselves are highly complex) in to bite size chunks, easy for the audience to digest. It’s an approach which OWASP are famous for with their top 10 lists.

Networking

Networking

Next up was the outstanding Cathal McDaid. I think that everybody in the room would have gladly listened and engaged with Cathal for hours. Cathal, as head of Security Operations at Adaptive Mobile and Chairman of GSMA Mobile Malware Group, is a real expert in the area.

Cathal MoMo

He offered an interesting example of mobile malware, an android app called Bazuc. This particular app led to many being charged excessively large phone bills as well as being linked to stock market manipulation. All from a seemingly harmless app from the Google Play Store (since removed).

One of the interesting things about this app, is that it is not regular malware, as people actually sign up to it and consent to the terms and conditions.

Cathal displayed an image of Leo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, the subject of the blockbuster books and movie; The Wolf of Wall Street. He discussed how Bazuc can and is influencing the stick market, targeting penny stocks. Using people’s phones as drones, it will send messages to people across the world, promoting particular penny stocks. Eg, buy stock a now and expect returns of 400% over 6 months. By manipulating demand/price of these stocks, there is scope for the culprits to trade their way to millions in profit.

Another example of how Bazuc can be used is prompting txt receivers to “call me back”. The number provided may look similar to a local number, eg 085/086/087… But included an extra number, bringing you I stead to a foreign premium rate number.

Cathal used an excellent analogy in which he named Bazuc users as  malware mules. Mules similar to drug mules, in the sense that they are knowingly carrying contraband. Users are told to fly under the radar of authorities, which should sound shady to users. He discussed instances where people have sent thousands of texts a week, many times from their company issued phones. Oftentimes, people are mistaken in their assumption that their phone plan included out of country texts, if it doesn’t, their service providers can hit them or the bill payer ( employer ) with a bill of up to 25 thousand. That is sure to be an awkward conversation with your service provider/employer/husband or wife.

More info on Bazuc here; https://blog.lookout.com/blog/2013/12/19/shoot-the-bulk-messenger/

One of the things I found interesting was how the room marvelled at and in some ways; showed appreciation for the intricate genius required in order to come up with and develop a malicious app such as Bazuc. Not only that, but also doing it in a way that users actually sign up and download the app themselves. I witnessed the audience taking notes and I’m sure it was so they could look the creator up at a later date.

This level of intrigue, between the white hats and black hats ( http://www.morganmckinley.ie/article/ethical-hackers-good-guys ) is fascinating, as in many ways the good guys and the bad guys work in the same space and get a thrill by learning of new innovations. It is also true that, sometimes the line between good and bad, can be a thin one, often times a white hat will swap out their white gag for that of a grey one.

Cathal also discussed how people will often click accept terms, in a case of user permission fatigue, which may stem from an inherent user trust, in applications offered by trusted OS vendors such as Android.

He discussed how, sure the android market, iOS AppStore etc are quite safe but they are not perfect. They are becoming safer with the stores becoming more and more security conscious, with regular updates ; eg the recent Kitkat upgrade, flushing

out security risks, tools which can be used for malicious purposes, tightening criteria to enter/publish apps.

I spoke with one of my contractors afterwards, an ethical hacker. I told him, if I had the brains for it, I would love to work in IT security. It is an area of IT which is full of really passionate people, unlike any other. My contractor gave examples of how security issues are all around us, shoulder surfing, even losing phones/data is one of the highest concerns of people/organisations. I had put up our login details so people can tweet etc, he gave me examples of how that could be a bad idea!

Momo_Room

The event, was a success. We had a room packed to capacity, full of 80+really smart, intelligent IT Security professionals, all of whom were happy to engage in conversation and debate. Most will have left our offices last Monday having learned about Mobile Security and having got to network with peers over some Pizza and beers, ha that rhymes!

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The Digital Skills Academy…You’ve heard of it, but what do you know about it?

I had a meeting with management at the Digital Skills Academy last month, where, in that meeting alone, I received a real education myself.

The DSA offer 5 distinct courses; WebInnovateWebElevate, WebActivateTechElevate. These programmes are predominantly aimed at people who have been on the live register.

They are building an Infrastructure which is successfully addressing the IT skills shortage, by training people, in the most sought after skills.

Check out their website for some excellent testimonials from people like Laurence the once Fashion Retailer, now web developer, like Mike the once mortgage vendor, now IT Project Manager, and like Aoife the graduate of an outdated IT course, who was able to rejuvenate her IT skills and is now a mobile app developer.

 

One of the things I like about the courses provided is the practical application of knowledge they promote. For example; the projects the students work on are with real life companies, solving real world challenges. So, take the company who asks the students to complete a mobile application… This will be a real company and so they will demand a fully functional finished product. Their development manager will not sign off and publish shoddy work. The students will, to varying degrees work with the company (from taking a brief, to an all encompassing internship like scenario). They will work in teams, assigning and getting to grips with the different roles, including project management, coordination, reporting etc. This level of Industry engagement prepares the students well and it also allows them to include real commercial experience on the CV. As anyone within IT will know, yes, there are lots of jobs, but it is still competitive. Getting that start, the first job, can be a real challenge, if you have zero commercial experience.

It really is fantastic what the Digital Skills Academy have achieved in such a short time, with finite resources.

DSA_Cork1

 

dsa_Dub

Morgan McKinley are proud to support their expo events (Cork – Monday 25th and Dublin – Thursday 28th). If you are a potential employer in the areas of IT or digital marketing, why not register to attend. Come along and meet these talented graduates, who have real get up and go, people who took it upon themselves to up-skill, to find their passion.

 

 

Not so long ago, Morgan McKinley sponsored a UXPA event, in which Dr. Jurek Kirakowski of UTEST, extended a welcome to all attendees to the UTEST community.

UTEST is predominantly a private online community of UX practitioners and researchers.

UTEST exists to promote new approaches to user experience (UX) practices, increase general knowledge of UX-related disciplines, and facilitate healthy and productive discussions among community members while protecting their privacy and their rights to their own intellectual property….

UTEST is not a “list,” “alias,” “archive,” “database,” or other public resource. It is a private community of professionals working together to create new knowledge and better practices.

The Journal of Usability Studies just published an article  about the now 20 year old Community, which explores the What, Why, When, Where and How’s of UTEST.

Why don’t you request access to the community today?

“UTEST is better than Google! When I have a question about methodologies, I get answers that are backed by years of experience, often times from those who are pioneers in our field” —Rebecca Destello

 

“As a one-person Usability team, it’s invaluable to be able to confer with colleagues on stuff that no one else around here understands” —Mary Mascari

 

“My years involved in UTEST have been a virtual Master Class in all areas touching User Experience. I owe much of my career progress to this fantastic community” —Tomas Sola

 

“UTEST…was my connection [to usability], my link to mentors and education, and even occasionally my cheering section as I broke into the field. I owe the UTEST community a world of thanks for helping me start and grow my career” — Mitch Berg

 

“The safety of UTEST for its members seems to me to arise from the fact that it is closed…and private…so we may feel relatively free to speak frankly and to float ideas that are less than fully developed and not (yet) rigorously supported by evidence” —Douglas W. Anderson

 

IxDA Event - Defuse

IxDA Event – Defuse

 

I regularly attend different IT events and meetups around town. Some are great, others can turn out to be snorefests. Some of them are filled with people who, maybe don’t have a great interest in the subject of the speakers, but are waiting for the networking recess, business cards cocked and ready.

 

Anyway, my point is that people attend events in pursuit of different objectives.

 

Defuse (presented by IxDA Dublin) though, is guaranteed to be packed to the rafters with genuinely passionate Interaction Designers. The concise pitches by the 12 speakers, promise to offer powerful insights, derived from real world UX experience.

 

Head on down to the Sugarclub  at 7pm tomorrow today.

Morgan McKinley recently celebrated its 25th year in Business. What better way to celebrate, then by conjuring the nostalgic effect of the #1 IT icon of the 80’s; Mario!

Why not check out my latest blog over at MorganMcKinley.ie.

Web Summit

Web Summit

Come on over to the Morgan McKinley stand, where we will have a Super Mario competition, with all kinds of retro IT prizes.

mario #mmk

Watch out for Mario and Luigi, or any of our Consultants, and try and get a snap of the QR tags on their backs.

Our friends over at HeyStaks have kindly released a handy, downloadable guide. Click _Guide-to-the-Dublin-Web-Summit-2013-HeyStaks (1) to access. This contains a full printable schedule, updates and tips on where to go and who to see at the Night Summit, and a floor plan of the conference venue so you can’t get lost.

Here is the full schedule and the night schedule can be found here.

On both days, the stages open at 8.15am, and they close at 5pm (Wednesday) and 6:30 (Thursday). Having attended the Summit last year, my top advice is to pick out which talks you want to attend and get there early! Despite the fact that the stages are very large, for some of the talks, e.g. the NASDAQ opening bell or Elon Musk, there simply won’t be enough seats.

You should take the time this evening to set up your own TheSummit.me profile. http://thesummit.me/people/sign_in

MySummit

Just log in using you email address and your ticket reference. It syncs up with nicely with Linkedin and Twitter and it allows you to search (and connect with) other attendees. It can also be used as a substitute for exchanging business cards.

I’ll be hanging out with Mario and Luigi tomorrow and Thursday, come say hi!

morganmckinleyinfog

UXTraining.ie

Have you heard about UXTraining.ie?

I met with Colman Walsh a few months back and we discussed his vision for UXTraining.ie. We also discussed how I, and Morgan McKinley, can help support it.

We began by sending out emails to targeted groups on our database and put out some blogs about it.

UXtraining.ie 1

 

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UXtraining.ie 2

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We would also mention it to individuals whom we would speak with. The feedback was excellent, there was a feeling amongst many that; it’s about time, about time Ireland has our own dedicated User Experience training resource. Some companies we had spoken with had previously paid for costly trips to the UK, so that their teams could receive comparable training.

Colman is a true UX evangelist, having plied his trade across the world with companies like; IQ Content, Sapient and Distilled Media. He understands UX, is passionate about it and wants to spread the word.

If interested in hearing more, why not check out the website; http://www.UXTraining.ie

If you have an interest in application security, take note… The Dublin Chapter of OWASP are hosting their next event on Tuesday 22nd October. This one will be held in T-Cube Dublin office on Castle Street.

Taking the stage will be David Rook. David will discuss how Realex Payments approach Application Security. The real hook for me is that, his talk will not be focused on complicated theoretical approaches, instead he will the story of how Realex have scaled application security, give practical examples, offer simple tips and some valuably placed warnings.

OWASP_Tlk

Click here for details

It’s that time of year again. The Dublin Web Summit is fast approaching, the biggest and still, fastest growing IT Tech conference in Europe.

I attended both days last year, spending the days manning the Morgan McKinley stand, chatting with start ups and other exhibitors, attending talks and #chillingout in the tweet cafés. For an IT recruiter, who loves all things tech, it certainly satisfied all my needs.

The only down side is the cost. At €595 for a normal entrance ticket, it’s not cheap. And if you want to have a stand at the event like Morgan McKinley, then you better get the cheque book out!

Despite the prices though, if you are involved in the IT/Digital Industry, your attendance is a must.

If you are part of an IT start up, miss this at your peril, for you may be missing out on speaking with Investors, other start ups or like minded individuals from all over the globe, whom can share tips and ideas with you. If you are looking to justify the cost, either to yourself or your employer, click here for some gentle self persuasion.

Personally, I look forward to visiting the Start Up Village, where people pitch business/ tech ideas.

I look forward also, to speaking with some of the excellent start ups coming out of programmes like Wayra, NDRC, RyanAcademy etc.

To be honest though, what I most look forward to is attending Tony Hawk’s talk, that should be really cool!

See here for a list of speakers and here for a list of exhibitors confirmed so far.

Dublin Web Summit Exhibitors

Dublin Web Summit Exhibitors

See below video of this cheeky chappy, the all singing, flirting and dancing robot. We had great fun with this last year as it was hanging out beside the Morgan McKinley stand. In fact, you can spot us in the background.

robotMMK

Web Summit - MMK

Web Summit – MMK

Following the previous weeks, launch of Morgan McKinley “Tech Tuesday” event, ( Tech Tuesday ) we where to launch Morgan McKinley’s Mobile Monday.

A lot of organising had went into this event so as it approached there’s was a mix of emotions… Excitement and nerves.

Excited for the excellent speakers and networking but also apprehensive… Would people show up? Would the pizza arrive on time? Had we ordered enough drinks? Do we have enough goodie bags to go around? Will the projector work? Will I fluff my lines?

Lucky enough, the reception area at Morgan McKinley quickly filled up with aprox 80 Mobile Monday members.

I was to be the first speaker. My intention was to keep it brief, the basic message being that, although proud of the ongoing partnership, the evening was not about Morgan McKinley, it was about Mobile Monday.

MomoDara_

Next time around, I will have more time to develop a little more on the state of the recruitment market for Mobile. Not just to state facts and figures but also to offer Our market experience and knowledge, trends and sentiment. Some of the questions from the floor where eg; that sounds great, but how much will it cost. As such, I can give an insight into that too.

MomoDara__

Finishing up my speech, I welcomed Norbert Sagnard.

MoMoNorbert

Norbert gave a brief intro to Mobile Monday, it’s history etc. It originated from Helsinki, Finland, the same country as Nokia, remember them, he quipped.

Kevin Foley, Co-founder & Director of Adforce.com, which was established in 2009 to help companies engage with their customers on mobile, tablet and web. Adforce.com specialises in digital advertising and publishing, helping customers both profit from the opportunities and triumph over the challenges offered by the rapidly changing world of digital media.

Kevin Foley, Co-founder & Director of Adforce.com, which was established in 2009 to help companies engage with their customers on mobile, tablet and web. Adforce.com specialises in digital advertising and publishing, helping customers both profit from the opportunities and triumph over the challenges offered by the rapidly changing world of digital media.

The first Keynote was Kevin Foley of Adforce.com. I had attended another event ( See my blog here )  where another Co-founder ( Colm Grealy) of Adforce had spoken, I knew these guys where doing great work.

Some facts disclosed included; 1.2 million Irish people go online daily, using a mobile device and for an average of 9.2 hours per week.

Kevin showed the audience some of Adforces handy work, mobile web apps they have created. Mostly via HTML5 as opposed to native apps, “it’s all about HTML5”, Kevin said.

3G is helping support rich media and better apps. For example, whereas before developers might have to use lower resolution Gifs etc, HTML5 can support rich media. That said, the environment will be taken into account when developing. For example, if the intended app will likely be used by commuters on Irishrail wifi, it may be more simplistic than those apps which will be used more commonly in a stronger connection area or wifi, eg at home.

The audience where impressed by their showcase of apps. The inevitable question arose, how much, what is the cost. I can understand Kevin’s hesitance to answer to the wide audience but he is right in that, it depends.

Rest assured though, any marketing spend will be tracked and measured via various analytic packages. When dealing with a web/mobile/ad agency clients will seek third party verification. Tools like Flurry and Doubleclick offer this. The message was that Everything (including budget spend and ROI) is accountable once we have URL.

Kevin talked about typical engagement rates. For example, typical desktop banner ads have an average of 0.01, whereas mobile typically has 5 times more than web. According to Kevin, he has never seen it below 0.05 on mobile.

He discussed that, even in games, there is often an aim to reach a data capture point. For example, he showed a game ad app built for Jaguar. Aimed at males, it allowed you to mimic sitting in the car and press the accelerator, giving the user the exhilarating sound of the roaring exhaust. Kevin noted that people won’t buy a car via mobile web, instead the data capture point may be a form at the end; eg, enter your details so a dealer can contact you if you are a sales prospect, the intention being, bring the prospect to the showroom or for a test drive.

He also talked about 2nd screen interaction, something which would later surface in Julian Doulas’ talk. In relation to this he cited Shazam as a marketing tool, particularly useful where other media have an ad with music playing and the shazam logo on it, eg a TV advert. It helps make ads more interactive. Shazam is of course the app which can tell you the name and title of a song playing in the background, and even give an option to purchase the track.

This is not just a novelty, 1 million people in Ireland use it, or at least have it on their phones. That’s a big % of the population.

Julian Douglas, Founder & MD at Entertainment.ie, the most up to date entertainment based website in the country, bringing the latest movie & music news, celebrity gossip, cinema listings and fantastic competitions. Entertianment.ie is part of The Electric Media’s Mobile & App Network.

Julian Douglas, Founder & MD at Entertainment.ie, the most up to date entertainment based website in the country, bringing the latest movie & music news, celebrity gossip, cinema listings and fantastic competitions. Entertianment.ie is part of The Electric Media’s Mobile & App Network.

Next up was Julian Douglas, Founder and MD of the brilliant company that is; Entertainment.ie

I am raging that I missed some of this, as I was tending to pizza deliveries and putting out the beers.

From what I did witness, I liked.    Julian Is a really confident speaker and spoke with passion and great pride, and so he should, for anyone who have used their apps or sites will know how useful they are.

He pondered whether the right move would be to include advertising in the entertainment.ie apps or instead drive them towards their responsive design sites. Nobody likes ads disrupting their experience, especially when the screen is so small.

He talked about second screening and gave a great example as to how optimising user experience is key to users adopting your product. He gave an interesting example where UPC customers use the entertainment.ie TV guide app whilst watching TV, despite UPC having their own guide. Why? Well at least in part, because its simple to use, they have a great User interface which users like.

He went on to discuss how things need to be simple on mobile. He discussed why entertainment.ie offer various apps, they split up their online offering, across different apps, eg TV guide, cinema listings etc.

He acknowledged however that the app needs to offer real value, “people’s phones are just cluttered with apps”.

He warned too that, although apps are great, that they will have their day. The Internet will come up with something cooler.

Tony McCarthy is the founder & CEO of Mobile Media Placement, a Cork company that creates interactive and entertaining game-based advertising for brands that the people will love even more.

Tony McCarthy is the founder & CEO of Mobile Media Placement, a Cork company that creates interactive and entertaining game-based advertising for brands that the people will love even more.

Banner Ads absolutely suck! That was how Tony McCarthy of MobileMediaPlacement.com Began his talk. He said that although mobile advertising is effective, banner ads don’t work in gaming.

He stated that across almost every major market that more time is spent in gaming than is in social networking, with the largest growth area being stay at home mothers.

The gaming market is a busy one and highly competitive. When you shift your focus from the blockbuster titles such as TempleRun (product placement idea for that game would be let the character consume eg a bottle of Lucozade for added energy burst) candy crush, and Angry Birds(Samsung have just signed up for product placement rights) the average return for a game is actually very low. Product placement or at least clever in game advertising, which doesn’t negatively impact user experience, is a viable revenue stream.

Ok, so banner ads don’t work too well, what does? Well, MobileMediaPlacement.com are banking on in game product placement/advertising.

MobileMediaPlacement.com are a recent start up that intend to build games and eventually sell advertising space in the game. For example, take a boxing game… The user’s undivided attention is focused on the game. If there is an advertisement pasted onto the canvas of the ring, the users will notice it.

Another prototype example is a driving game where advertising space could be sold, like billboards. A novel idea for this was that they intend to use this driving game and sell advertising to pizza delivery brands. The idea is that you drive the root and if you beat the actual delivery man, you get the pizza for free.

There where questions from the audience from Zynga employees which questioned the legal and ethical issues relating to marketing towards kids. The marketers in the crowd wanted to know volumes of impressions but more importantly, how this would be traced and measured.

My main concern for this business leads back to a statement which Julian Douglas made about his own business. It all begins with good content, content is everything, content is King. For a start up like this to succeed it will all depend on the quality of their games and the volume of users they can attract. Only after achieving this tipping point, will the marketing vehicle truly take off. The gamer will adopt the game, primarily based on the perceived quality of the game itself.

It seemed to me that the focus was on the advertising, whereas in my opinion, the primary focus should be on creating the games themselves.

I look forward to seeing how MobileMediaPlacement.com get on. There’s no doubt that if somebody can make it work, it will their proud owner; Tony McCarthy. It would be fantastic to see another indigenous gaming company succeed, i really hope it takes off for them.

#MMKTechTalks

#MMKTechTalks

Between the coming and goings and running out to organise the room for intervals etc, I didn’t catch all of the talks, but from what I did get, I was impressed. Really good content and definitely the most interactive event I’ve come across, lots and lots of audience engagement and questions from the floor, a great buzz and banter.

Momo reception

Thanks all for coming and I look forward to seeing you at the next one!

Join us this coming Monday 16th, for the next Mobile Monday Event.

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Places are limited so secure your place now, by registering here.

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