Published on May 1, 2014 | by Anuschka Ross


Apps Change Private And Professional Lives

Technology effects us all, but especially we, as students of the arts – regardless if photography, film, design, journalism etc. – are especially prone to being effected by its fast evolution. With the changing technology our whole trade is changing as well.

Game Changer: Augmented Reality

In journalism specifically, there is the change from print to online publications, but now new augmented reality apps blur the lines between the two mediums further. They have the potential to be game changers in not only the publications but also graphics and design branch.

Wikitude augmented reality app on smartphone screen of central London

Augmented reality apps supplement the real world environment. Flickr: LGEPR

Smartphones and apps have already changed our communication and enabled us to share all our experiences in real time with basically everyone. But now augmented reality apps go further to integrate technology into our lives – eventually up to a point where they will be inseparable.

And this change will not only influence us in our private lives but just as much in our professions.

In the publishing sector, augmented reality apps like Layar are an important development and are further blurring the lines between print and online. With the Layar app any print content like pictures can come alive simply by scanning them with your smartphone.

This way a picture on any magazine or newspaper cover can come to life in a video on your smartphone using a new technology called “interactive print”. If you are still not sure what this is supposed to look like, check out this short Layar demonstration video.

Also in the design and graphics branch augmented reality apps like Augment can be game changers and bridge the gap between imagination and reality by visualising any 3D model in its actual size into the real life environment. To see how exactly this works watch this Augment video.

This technology is by no means only something of the future.

Furniture retail giant IKEA has already adopted this new technology in their 2014 catalogue. Customers can now use the IKEA app to view real size virtual models of the wanted furniture in their homes. So from now on rather than imagining if a piece of furniture will fit, you can just project it into your living room on our smartphone.

So augmented reality apps let the real and the digital world melt together further and soon one won’t be able to exist without the other. These apps have great potential to not only share information faster but also more easily.

Any company or professional who wants to be successful in this ever-changing technological environment needs to catch up fast and put it to use effectively. So if you so far haven’t cared much for the technological changes, maybe you should start now.

If you want to know more about the things to come and what technologies are next to revolutionise our world watch this video about Forward Thinking.

How Apps Changed Our Communication


Equipped with a camera, mobile internet and a vast amount of apps, smartphones prepare us for whatever life may throw at us.

For the iPhone alone there exist around one million apps and the same amount is available for Android. So you can rest assured that whatever you need there most probably is an app for it.

Some apps have even become an integral part in our daily lives. Apps like Facebook, Whatsapp, Viber, etc. play a huge role in how we communicate with one another.

These apps supposedly ‘connect’ us, but do they really improve our communication?

Social Media 

Smartphone screen showing several social media app icons

Social media apps are surpassing their PC counterparts in usage. Flickr: Jason A. Howie

Social media isn’t really new, but thanks to smartphones we can now take it with us wherever we go – and it seems as if we DO.

In the UK alone 33 million people use Facebook and the majority (83%) use their mobile app. (The Guardian)

Every month each user spends about 914 minutes on Facebook Mobile alone – excluding the time spent on the website. So each user spends 30 minutes each day on their mobile browsing their Facebook. (Digital Marketing Ramblings)

It shows that we all spend a LOT of time on Facebook, but why? The usual answers are “to stay connected” or “to keep in touch with friends”, but does whatever we do on Facebook really qualify as communication?

Not just Facebook but also Google+, Twitter, Instagram etc. have fostered a culture of chronic over-sharing.

Instead of talking, we flood each other with enormous amounts of random information and pictures. Thanks to this habit of sharing, we always know where our ‘friends’ are or even what they are eating without once truly talking to them.

Instant Messaging

Since their emergence, messenger apps like Whatsapp, Viber etc. have managed to surpass the traditional SMS traffic. Their only 586.3 million users (compared to 3.5 billion SMS users) create more data traffic by sending at least six times as many messages as SMS users. (Informa)

Unlike social networks, chat apps are more personal and users need to be less afraid of their privacy being breached – one important reason why more and more teenagers are switching from Facebook to chat apps. (The Guardian)

Activities on Facebook:

-4.5 billion likes/day

-350 million pictures uploaded/day

-8.3 hrs usage on average per user/month

-351 minutes per user/ month

-914 minutes per user/month

Whatsapp, one of the most popular messenger apps, has more than 250 million active users every month, who send an amazing average of 25 billion messages every day.

No wonder then that we are so accustomed to non-stop communication. Our phones ring, beep or vibrate constantly with some message or notification and even if it doesn’t, we check it anyways.

It has become normal to check your phone or type something into it while someone else is talking to you. Instead of concentrating on one conversation, we contribute bits and pieces to several – and in the end don’t really take part in any.

 Dating and Sex Apps

After the revolution of online dating, dating apps were deemed to be a success.

While online dating already helped the maybe more shy or those with less time to find a partner, dating apps basically do the same thing, only much quicker, on the go and mostly based on your location.

Tinder is one of the most popular dating apps in the UK and dubbed as an easy way to find a casual hook-up.

For those who are not familiar with the app:
It uses your Geo-location to find other users around you and shows you their picture with a short description. When you like what you see you swipe right, if you don’t you swipe left. When both users swiped each other to the right, a chat is set up between them and they can arrange to meet up.

There are numerous similar apps (some of which are more direct about their actual purpose) like Who’s Fuckin’, Pure Sex, or Bang With Friends (re-branded as Down), which connects to your Facebook account and lets you choose whom of your friends you’re “down to bang”.

Thanks to dating or sex apps it has become significantly easier not only to get to know someone around you but also to cut to the chase directly – there are no more hidden motives and everything is out in the open.

Basically: less talking needed.

So does this mean these apps have improved communication between sex partners or killed it?

A turn for the better or the worse?

Smartphones have revolutionised our communication – whether we like it or not.

We all spend increasingly more time on our phones checking Facebook, Whatsapp or what not and many have adapted a notorious habit of over-sharing, which is not so much about actually sharing than bragging about experience online.

And even though the ingenuity of messenger apps and their possibilities can’t be denied, many users are getting too used to chatting to friends instead of talking to them on the phone directly.

Also the constant use of these apps sometimes distracts us from the real things happening around us, like real conversations.

And now, thanks to various dating and sex apps, we don’t even have to make an effort anymore in getting to know someone new. We no longer need to bring up the courage to go up to talk to someone, but apps make a game out of choosing someone from a vast range of options.

Apps could improve our communication – we just might not use them that way yet.


See this SoundCloud audio file below to hear how much UAL students use their smartphones and what for.

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]


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