Online Safety Measures for Kids

Online Safety Measures for Kids
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At this day and age, almost every home have a personal computer used by the entire family. We have access to and we can use and interact with different kinds of media available to us today.

Children these days are much more tech-savvy — they also have access to gadgets, tablet computers, smartphones, mobile devices and even technologies and services that cater to our ever-changing needs.

Based on an infographic released by statistics portal, nearly 1 in 5 kids (0-to-8-year olds) in the US use mobile devices daily. At least 14 percent use computers while a good 17 percent use a mobile device; 7 percent use handheld video games while 6% use video game consoles.

kid clicks

Even toddlers and children below 2 years old who are not even old enough to speak or write are given access to mobile devices by their parents.

Nearly 44 percent of kids under 17 years of age (most are tweens) own their own smartphones.

Technology, particularly the Internet, poses differents risks and threats to unaware or inexperienced users like kids and teens. Cyberbullying, child pornography, online predators, data and identity theft are just some of the threats that can harm kids whenever they go online unsupervised and without guidance from older Internet users.

Aside from safety and privacy, parents should also be concerned with other risk factors resulting from use of smartphones by children — overuse and addiction, distraction from school and relationships, exposure to sexting, among others.

As responsible digital citizens, parents and guardians have the primary task of maintaining the online safety of their family and children.

Using the Internet can be a fun and educational experience for kids. It can also be a cool family bonding activity. For this to happen, kids and tweens should feel safe online. Parental guidance and supervision is a must when it comes to minors using the Internet.

There are basic family safety measures that should be observed when using the Internet:

Protect your hardware. Make sure your desktop computer, laptop, tablet computer, smartphones and mobile devices have proper and up-to-date protection. Install anti-virus, anti-phishing and anti-malware software. Be in the know about the latest online threats. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Discuss online safety to your kids. Even the busiest parents should inform and educate their children about online safety and security. Kids should not go online at their own risk.

Limitations, filters and safety protocols should be in place. Kid-safe the computers, laptops and gadgets that kids have access to.

Buzz and Maxim

Regularly discuss with them the importance of internet safety. Kids should at the least, know the basics on how to protect themselves from phishing, data and identity theft and cyberbullying.

Tell them that the rule ‘Don’t talk to strangers’ also apply online. Facebook friends that they just met online are still strangers.

Always remind children to refrain from sending messages, photos or replying to online users that they do not personally know; not to share or divulge passwords of online accounts to anyone; not to share any personal information about himself or herself or anyone from the family to people they do not know; not to accept files or open email or message attachments from unknown people; and not to post home address online.

Set reasonable rules agreeable to all. Parents should set clear Internet safety guidelines at home. The first step to realize this is to set limitations on Internet usage.

But don’t be a major spoilsport. Make sure that everyone in the household knows about the ground rules. It is best to discuss it with your children and household members first so they are fully aware and they clearly understand why there are limitations and controls on Internet usage.

Once you talk to your kids about Internet usage at home, set agreeable terms on how long they can stay online. Place the desktop or laptop computer in a common area in your house so adults can supervise and monitor kids whenever they are using the computer.

Set parental controls. This is basic but always necessary. Always enable privacy and security settings. Make sure to check the age restrictions of online services. There are certain services and apps that require 18+ age for registered users. Use age-appropriate apps and softwares especially for kids. There are many kid-safe Internet browsers available online. Google has Safe Search for Kids while Youtube allows users to enable the Safety Mode. Remember to turn off location or GPS services across all devices and apps.

Limit access to only approved apps and games on mobile devices. There are many available kid-friendly browsers for mobile devices. You can install them for your child’s use. Be sure to install internet filtering sofwares to block or prevent access to illicit online material or adult content.

Observe online etiquette and responsible communication. Teach kids on how to properly communicate online. Tell them that whatever they send, post or upload online stays online, forever. In 2014, a survey found that 49 percent of young people have expressed regret over something that they have posted online. Discuss and agree on family guidelines about appropriate online communication. ###

Images: Kids Click, Buzz and Maxim from Used under CC license. Some rights reserved.

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Instant Messaging Dominating Workplaces

Instant Messaging Dominating Workplaces
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Workplaces in the Asian region are embracing the use of instant messaging apps in the office.

Even governments are said to be using instant messaging to reach and connect with a huge number of people and deliver services to them. Instant messaging apps are quite popular in agencies providing frontline services, like education, public security, and civil affairs.

keyboardIn Hong Kong, instant messaging apps and services are said to be changing the working patterns of employees there. Majority  or 83% are heavy users of instant messaging at work. That percentage is even higher  than the 59% average use of instant messaging apps among US employees.

The adoption of instant messaging in the workplace is easy because of its increasing and growing user base, ease of use and cost-effective nature. As a result, more and more employees are making use of the advantages of instant messaging in the workplace.

Instant messaging apps and services have been proved to provide cost-effective solutions to the ever-changing and highly-adaptive needs in the workplace.

Importance of Team Programming Discussed at Software University ConferenceUsing instant messaging apps, employees can communicate with their counterparts and clients as well. It can hasten inter-office communications and it can keep customer service and client relations up-to-date and real-time.

But as always, technology has its drawbacks. If used unproperly, instant messaging can be an instant distraction for employees. Be sure to observe guidelines in instant messaging use in the office. 


Images: from

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New and Interesting Stuff From Around The Web: April 2015

New and Interesting Stuff From Around The Web: April 2015
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Here’s a round-up of the latest technology news from the Web:

Twitter’s Curator

spotifyThis is particularly useful if you don’t have the time to browse the latest reads and happenings on social media. Twitter’s Curator tool launched this week allows easier access to the latest and most relevant Twitter and Vine posts.

Using this tool, media publishers and social media users can search, filter and curate Twitter content that can be displayed on web, mobile and TV screens. Curator can be used to: 1) discover relevant conversations and trending topics on Twitter; 2) curate Twitter content for the best conversations; 3) display Twitter on any screen to enhance audience’s experience.

With Curator, Twitter wants media and news organizations to use the social networking app to its full extent other than posting breaking news and stories.

Facebook’s Scrapbook

Mark Zuckerberg and his team wants you to post every bit and detail of your life and existence on Facebook. So they came up with Scrapbook — a digital scrapbook that allows users to organize and tag family photos. It’s like your entire family photo album on Facebook. Through this feature, Facebook is enticing more parents to use the social network.

Dan Barak, a proud father who often posts photos of his son on his account, is Facebook’s product manager for Scrapbook. He shared a few tips and information about Scrapbook on Facebook’s official blog:

You can opt to co-own the scrapbook with a partner who you’re in a relationship with on Facebook.

You choose what you call the tag—it could be your child’s name, initials or something fun.

You and your partner choose which photos to tag.

Only you and your partner can tag your child in photos.

Facebook users in the US will get to try this feature first. Scrapbook will be available for Facebook for desktop, iPhone and Android.

Jay-Z’s Tidal

beatsStreaming music is the hottest buzzword these days as rap royalty Jay-Z launched Tidal, a streaming music service that combines high fidelity sound and high definition music videos.

Tidal was launched with a bang last March 31, featuring a stellar cast of music industry icons who co-owns the service. Tidal was rebranded from Swedish music streaming company Aspiro which Project Panther, a company owned by Jay-Z, bought for $56-million last year.

Tidal will offer a 30-day free trial and a basic subscription package of $10 per month and $20 for high definition music and video.

A-list musicians including Madonna, Kanye West, Rihanna, Chris Martin, Alicia Keys among others are throwing their hat on Tidal which some described as the ‘game changer’ in the current streaming music industry already crowded by Spotify, Pandora, Deezer and others.

But not everyone is riding the wave that is Tidal. Singer Lily Allen said Jay-Z’s brainchild could backfire and cripple the music industry. She said in a Twitter post that fans could swarm back to pirate sites in droves sending traffic to torrent sites.

Note: This blog was quoted in this story

Images: Headphones and Music Tech Audio Sound from Some rights reserved.

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One Day You’ll Be Thankful For Backing Up Your Data

One Day You’ll Be Thankful For Backing Up Your Data
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What would you do if you lost everything?

Every March 31st is the annual World Backup Day, and around this time of year, there’s no better reminder for you to do a regularly scheduled backup. This day is observed to raise awareness about the importance of protecting personal data.

Our daily lives are a mesh of files, messages, electronic data, and other digital stuff. We use our computers, smartphones, hard drives and wearables for work and personal use. We don’t just keep files on these devices, we keep important files on these devices.

hard drive array

If we are entrusting important documents, pictures, videos, emails and files on these devices, then we must be responsible enough to perform a backup every day.

A backup is a second copy of all our important files. But, if due to some unfortunate event, that the original copy of our important files and documents gets lost, stolen or destroyed, then, automatically, our backup becomes our only accessible copy of our files. Backups are quite the lifesaver if you’ll ask me.

It’s common knowledge that we shouldn’t keep our backup in the same place where we store our original files. We place and safe keep backups in a separate storage device. Whenever our original file becomes unavailable or compromised, we can retrieve another copy from the backup.

Many important files are lost forever because some people underestimate the significance of having a backup. They thought that their files would remain intact, safe and available at all times. But in fact, we lose our files in more common ways than we can think of.

World Backup Day website posted that more than 30% of people have never backed up their files or documents; 113 phones are either lost or stolen every minute; 29% of disasters are accident-related and one in every 10 computers are infected with viruses each month. That means our files are always vulnerable of being erased, lost or damaged.

Lost data is not always gone forever

external driveData is said to the most expensive part of a computer. A brand-new, computer without data is just a hardware. But once it is loaded with files, its value increases. The computer becomes more than just a hardware. It becomes a tool and a machine.

The same goes with our ever-reliable smartphones. We keep relevant and real-time messages on our smartphones. We also use it to take photos and videos of people, places and happenings that we regard as important.

The data on these computing devices are irreplaceable when lost.

A friend once lost her iPhone 4 but what distressed her even more is the reality that her files, pictures and messages stored on the iPhone that she’d been using for years are gone forever. She lost pictures from her travels, everyday musings, and candid experiences. The first lesson and realization she learned from the tragedy — “I should have kept a backup.”

This true-to-life experience is reflective of the study released by Acronis which “confirmed that personal information is considered more important to users than the devices it is stored on.”

Data on computers, on the other hand, gets lost or compromised due to several factors including hardware damage, equipment theft, data corruption, malware infections, which have recently evolved to ransomware — a type of malware that infects corporate computers and networks an can encrypt and withold the data until a certain ransom is paid by the data owner.

If we keep a backup, then we won’t be too vulnerable and our lost files won’t totally disappear forever. We can retrieve the backup and breathe a sigh of relief.   

At work, most of our files and business data are electronic and are stored on company computers. Imagine, if one morning you arrive at the office, you open the computer at your workstation and find that all the files on your computer’s hard drive were wiped out, including the all-too important project that you’ve been working on for weeks. There’s no way possible way to retrieve the lost data and, horrors of all horrors, you don’t have a backup. It could happen to you and to anyone who ignores the importance of backup.

Data management

While users realize the importance of protecting personal data and information, not everyone is doing their job to back up their own precious data and information.

“Less than half of the respondents currently back up their data externally. And among those who do utilize a data backup system, only one-third of respondents said they are protecting their entire computer system,” the Acronis study stated.

Having a backup and a backup plan are part of data management. Companies have backup policies but it is also everyone’s responsibility to have an effective data management strategy for our work and personal files.

There are several ways on how to backup data:

Use external hard drives. External hard drives are often used to back up data on personal and work computers. Choose a hard drive with sufficient memory to use as storage for your important files.

Cloud-based backup and data management. Companies make use of this strategy. Local and cloud-based backup solutions perform uninterruptible and continuous backup of data. Security is the first priority of cloud-based backups.

Backup of backups. Once is never enough if your data is too valuable. Consider keeping a backup of your backup. If all else fails (or crashes), you are saved.


Note: This website was cited in this story.

Images: Hard Drive Array and External Drive from Some rights reserved.

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Brosix Will be at The Bulgaria Web Summit 2015

Brosix Will be at The Bulgaria Web Summit 2015
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Brosix will participate in this year’s Bulgaria Web Summit 2015 happening on April 18 at the Inter Expo in Sofia, Bulgaria.

programming (1)

Tickets for the must-go conference are already sold-out as of late March. The event is addressed to programmers, developers and IT specialists. Participants will be able to attend lectures and discussions of experts in different IT fields – from Javascript and PHP/MySQL, up to the issues of privacy and copyright.

Brosix will be among the sponsors of the Bulgaria Web Summit: our very own Stefan Chekanov will be one of the speakers.

bwsummit (1)

Stefan will discuss “Mobile applications That Communicate.” He said this topic is very relevant because mobile technology is storming the industry and it is reasonable to talk about mobile apps, especially ones that allow communication among users.

Bulgaria Web Summit’s Facebook page said the event is about (almost) everything a modern web person should know — programming, web development, cybersecurity, privacy, and other interesting topics.

Some of the other speakers include Jeremy Keith (adactio); Daniel Glazman (CSS Working Group); Burak Yiğit Kaya (Disqus) and Amelia Andersdotter (Pirate).

The summit ‘focuses on the open source and locally grown Bulgarian tech ecosystem.’ Startups and entrepreneurs from Bulgaria and Eastern Europe are expected to attend. A great crowd will gather on April 18th as attendees will come all the way from Norway, UK, Italy, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Greece.

To know more updates about the Bulgaria Web Summit 2015, follow @bgwebsummit on Twitter.

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Importance of Team Programming Discussed at Software University Conference

Importance of Team Programming Discussed at Software University Conference
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Last March 22 to 23, the Software University sponsored the Software University Conference in Pamporovo, Bulgaria.

Software University (SoftUni) was founded with the idea of an innovative and modern educational center that creates real professionals in the world of programming.

It was created to meet the increased need of software engineers in Bulgaria. They organize annual conferences to gather students and professionals from the IT industry.

Importance of Team Programming Discussed at Software University ConferenceThe curriculum of the university is divided into levels and is carefully developed with the direct participation of companies in the IT sector. The University offers courses in programming and technology in line with the latest trends in the world of information technology and software engineering.

Brosix founder Stefan Chekanov presented about Team Programming. The topic examined several issues directly related to effective teamwork: source control, code commenting, naming conventions, testing, among others.

In his talk, Stefan shared experiences and guidelines on how programmers can be more efficient when working in a team. Stefan said this is a topic of high importance as programing becomes more and more a team effort. “Only efficient teams can produce quality software we need these days,” he added.

keyboardOther interesting topics discussed during the Conference include “Functional programming, lambda expressions and streams in Java”; “Rapid development of web applications with Java”; “Memory Management” among others relevant discussions on IT.

Images: Keyboard from and Teams working from

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What We Know About Apple’s Spotify Killer

What We Know About Apple’s Spotify Killer
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Tech giant Apple and Beats are said to be developing a streaming music service that is dubbed as the Spotify killer.

In May last year, Apple acquired Beats Music for a whopping $3 billion including Beats Electronics that manufactures Beats headphones. the music streaming service founded by rapper Dr. Dre and music industry executive Jimmy Iovine.

beatsWhen Apple announced its acquisition of Beats Music, senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue said music is an important part of Apple’s DNA and always will be. With Beats now under its wing, the company aims to make its music lineup better with the transformation of the iTunes Radio to a world-class subscription service.

This development is a major change in the music strategy of Apple, which introduced the iconic iPod music player more than a decade ago.

Apple and Beats Music are working on a subscription-based streaming service that is similar to the current model of Swdish streaming music service Spotify. The company will also enhance iTunes Radio that will target different audience from various regions.

Based on initial information gathered by news sources from Apple employees, the music service will be similar to Beats Music. One drawback is that Apple reportedly failed to convince record labels to lower the licensing fees for music. Apple is said to be aiming for a subscription fee of $8 a month, lower than the current $9.99 offered by several music streaming services like Pandora and Rdio.

Industry experts forecast that customers will be shifting from music downloads to streaming. Last year, music downloads generated a total revenues of $2.6 billion while streaming made $1.87 billion.

The service may include curated playlists and Apple’s minimalist aesthetics. But a grand product like this will have corresponding expenses for customers as insiders say that it will not be likely offered for free.

When compared side-by-side Beats and Spotify cater to different music audiences. Both offer exclusive access to specific artists and music. Beats music interface is heavier on the visual side while Spotify is menu-driven. But most users prefer Spotify because of its wide selection of songs and its offer for free and minimal subscription.

spotifySpotify, launched in 2008, is the most widely used music subscription service. It has over 20 million songs in its library.

For those using the free Spotify, audio and visual advertisements are automatically included in the playlist. Users have the option to build a personal music library. The service also provides music and channel suggestions based on current playlists.

Spotify is available for Windows Phone, Android, iOS, Symbian, BlackBerry, Windows and Mac OS. It is also available as a desktop app.

Note: This news article is quoted in this story.

Images: Beats by Dr. Dre and Spotify on iPhone

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Conquering the Work-Life Balance Challenge

Conquering the Work-Life Balance Challenge
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If you often feel exhausted and stressed at the end of the day after work, then you must be pushing yourself on the edge with all work and no play. If you are devoting all your waking hours to work and business and you forget to pay attention to your personal life and needs, then you are neglecting your most important asset — you.

Maintaining a work-life balance is a never ending challenge for many of us. It’s hard but not impossible. Simple and doable hacks in your usual routine and a change in your outlook can make a whole lot of difference.

Establish boundaries

The first practical and sensible tip to remember is to keep work where it belongs — at the office. Once you leave the office after work hours, leave everything behind. Try not to think about the reports due next week or the outcome of the meeting that you attended this morning. There’s always a time for everything.

LifeDevote your time to work during work or office hours and devote time to yourself and your family the moment you leave the office premises.

At this day and age, people have the tendency to be ‘over-connected’ through internet, social networking and other technology. Even after work hours, many people tend to frequently check their emails only to find additional work, business emails and other work-related messages. STOP! Don’t burden and further stress yourself.

We often blur the boundaries between work and personal time. We also mistake multitasking as a work-life balancing act. But that is not always the case, at one point, our ‘push yourself to the limit’ lifestyle will drive us to the point of exhaustion or burn out.

Even if you are working from home or you maintain a space inside your house that you declare as your ‘home office,’ set boundaries and limits. Try not to think about work when you are with your spouse, children and friends. The time you spend with them is also a time for yourself, a time to nurture your relationship with other people.

Master the art of saying no

If you are taking home some work, working over time several days a week or going on errands and trips for work, ask yourself again why are you doing these things.

Sure you love your work and you are only acting like the professional that you are. But working too much and accomodating all the requests at work at the expense of your personal welfare is not at all productive.

gift of lifeIf you are doing too much way beyond what you are asked to, then you are putting to waste your valuable time and energy that you could’ve spend to improve yourself.

It’s OK to say no to requests from your boss and co-employees. If it’s your time off or rest day, don’t take home extra work. If you know that you have finished all your tasks and targets for the day, you don’t have to stay longer for over time. Tomorrow is another day.

Give yourself a chance to recharge

Competitiveness, overachieving or just being too work-centered can sap out our precious energy. A little relaxation can go a long way to perk up our tired minds and bodies. Some companies encourage official nap time — a 15-minute to 30-minute nap time to allow employees to recharge. Take it. If you are feeling lethargic or tired, take brief power naps at work, you can take it during your breaks. Don’t rush your meal at lunch. Make your lunch time and breaks as relaxed and enjoyable as possible.

Avail your work leaves. Use your vacation leaves to travel to places you want to visit. Go ahead and schedule weekend trips with your friends and family. If you’ve worked too passionately, then all the more you deserve to rest and recharge.

Exercise, eat healthy, and meditate

Take care of your health and you body, it’s your best asset at work. Find time to exercise regularly. You can run, workout or take yoga classes. Put physical fitness and an exercise routine in your schedule.

Try to skip the fast food and opt for healthier food choices. Junk food and foods that are high in sodium, cholesterol and artificial flavors don’t have the nutrients needed by our body. If you can, try to pre-prepare and cook meals that you can eat for lunch during work days.

Meditate for at least 10-minutes in the morning and in the evening. It will do wonders for your well-being and peace of mind.

Declare ‘Me time’

In our modern world where everything is rushed and everyone is rushing, learn how to take it slow. Whatever it is that you are doing, take care of yourself. Declare a ‘Me time’ in your busy schedule. You can go on trips and journeys that will enhance your creativity and relax your mind and body. There’s life outside the office cubicle, live it.

Images: Gift of Life and Life from

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Maintaining Customer Connection Points

Maintaining Customer Connection Points
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Technology is a necessary and indispensible part of a business. With the growing technology available nowadays, there are so many ways on how we can maintain and improve customer/client relations. If we want to achieve a competitive edge in dealing with our target market which includes our valued customers, clients and business partners, we must develop an effective and pro-active communications strategy.

These days, consumers are becoming highly-mobile. They can transact through their smartphones, computers and they are not tied to a single communications device. With this in mind, we must maintain reliable connection points with our target market.


We must see to it that our existing communication platforms are up-to-date.

  • Call Center: This service may be integrated in our business or outsourced from service providers. In maintaining customer/client relations through a call center. Customer support staff should be knowledgeable of the customer’s history in order to provide the best customer service.
  • Website: Our business or company website should be updated on a regular basis. To entice customers, we must constantly provide them with relevant information about our products and services. Most websites also have feedback mechanism wherein customers can send suggestions, complaints and inquiries. We can also introduce self-service options that allow for a more interactive  experience for the customer.
  • Social Network: Companies are so into social networks. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are just some of the most commonly used social networking sites for marketing and customer relations.
  • commentInstant Messaging and Web chat: These forms of communication are personalized and at the same time interactive communication platforms for current and potential customers.
  • Email: Outbound email to customers and clients is an effective marketing tool   as well as a good communication touchpoint. Targeted and personalized offers and services can be communicated through emails. Emails should be rich and relevant in content.

These platforms will help us ensure that our business’ communications cater to the needs of modern consumers.

Images: Customers and Comments from


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Study Shows Growing Adoption of Instant Messaging In Businesses

Study Shows Growing Adoption of Instant Messaging In Businesses
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A new study revealed that there is an ‘explosive growth’ in the use of Instant Messaging in businesses. Comparing the use of Instant Messaging (IM) in companies to consumer use, Radicati Group found out that the business use of IM is growing at a much faster pace.

Key statistics from the study showed that for this year, the number of global Instant Messaging accounts totals to more than 3.2 billion and is expected to further grow at an annual average rate of 4 percent in the next four years. By the end of 2019, Instant Messaging accounts could reach over 3.8 billion.

This is much higher, almost double than the predicted Instant Messaging growth in 2013, which was 1.7 billion. These figures do not include Mobile Messaging or mobile chat that is also popular among younger users and consumers using other technologies such as social networking applications.


The study revealed that in the workplace, traditional IM is being used in the same way that employees and business users are using email for communication.

“IM use in the workplace can be tightly monitored and controlled by IT and users are expected to use it much in the same way they use email,” the study stated.

Instant messaging in the modern workplace allows co-workers to chat and communicate with each other quickly, privately and in real-time. It is used to communicate with clients and colleagues. But compared to phone calls, instant messaging is said to be less intrusive. Instant messaging is one of the best new tools available for businesses.

In the consumer space, Mobile Messaging is the application of choice for reaching family and friends. However, the study also forecasts the strong adoption of business users to Mobile Messaging or mobile chat due to its simplicity and efficiency.

The study compiled and analyzed key data and statistics on business and consumer use of Instant Messaging, Mobile Messaging including mobile instant messaging or chat and mobile texting, including:instant messenger

  • Instant Messaging – worldwide users and accounts, breakouts by enterprise and public IM accounts, IM traffic growth forecast, average number of IMs sent/received per user/day, average user time spent on IM/day
  • Public IM – business vs. consumer users and accounts, breakouts by region, business size, four-year forecasts
  • Enterprise IM – users and accounts, breakouts by region, business size, four-year forecasts
  • Mobile Messaging – users and accounts, four-year forecasts, breakouts by region
  • Mobile Text Messaging – business and consumer messages set/received per user/day

Instant Messaging vs. social networks

Instant messaging is growing each year. In an ever more connected world, millions of people are seeing the advantage of instant messaging. As of mid-2014, it was forecasted that globally, 50 billion instant messages will be sent each day. By the end of 2014, more than 18 trillion instant messages were sent through various platforms.

If we look at the data of active users by social platform, it shows that social networks are indeed competing with traditional instant messengers and chat applications.

As of January 2015, Facebook announced that its monthly active user accounts reached 1.36 billion while Facebook Messenger registered 600 million monthly active users and the same with Whatsapp (600 million) and WeChat 468 million.

Images: Instant Messenger from; Did you get my message from

Note: This news story was quoted in this article

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