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A Cure for Smartphone Addiction?
PUBLISHED: Jan 22, 2018
If you're anything like a lot of people in 2018, your phone might as well be permanently fused to your hand. Whether you're texting friends and family, ritually checking email, or mindlessly scrolling through Twitter (that's me!), the bring glow of your pocket-sized touch screen is likely the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing you see at night.

And whose fault is that? Well, sure, the user. But who should be responsible for helping to ween you off your phone? Some believe that when it comes to the iPhone, it should be Apple who puts out a less addictive product for the well-being of their customers.

The New York Times's Farhad Manjoo spoke to Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google who now runs Time Well Spent, an organization working to improve technology’s impact on society, who believes Apple "may be our only hope" in battling phone addiction.

Harris suggests that your phone could provide you with a report on how you're spending your time on your phone, or offer more fine-tuned control over notifications.

"Imagine if, once a week, your phone gave you a report on how you spent your time, similar to how your activity tracker tells you how sedentary you were last week," Manjoo wrote. "It could also needle you: 'Farhad, you spent half your week scrolling through Twitter. Do you really feel proud of that?' It could offer to help: 'If I notice you spending too much time on Snapchat next week, would you like me to remind you?'"

Alternatively, Samsung users now have exclusive access to a new app, Thrive, from Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington. The app is essentially a timer that allows you enter "Thrive Mode" for a chosen period of time and silence all calls, notifications, and messages. It will also send an auto-reply to anyone who tries to contact you, with a default message of "I'm in Thrive Mode." (As an aside, if I ever receive an "I'm in Thrive Mode" text from a friend, the ensuing eye roll will be one for the record books.)

Thrive can also collect data on how much time you spend using apps, and can actually cut off access to certain apps if you hit your own self-imposed time limits.

“The idea is, how do we keep the best things about our phones while making it possible for us to disconnect, recharge, do deep work, have an undistracted meal with a friend and sleep without having the phone buzzing nearby?” Huffington told The Washington Post.

But couldn't we just, you know, turn the phone off if we need to do work or take a nap?

"(M)aking phones less useful isn’t the solution," writes The Washington Post's Geoffrey A. Fowler. "We need phones designed to help us be better humans — and, at least for now, humans still need to sleep and breathe deeply and stare out the window every once in a while. Occasionally, we need to be bored."
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HPA Consulting Group

HPA Consulting Group, Inc. (HPA) is a privately owned consulting firm headquartered in Rochester, NY providing specialized consulting services in Voice and Data Communications. HPA was founded in 1994 by Bill Hughes and Tom Phelps. Together, the HPA Team has over 200 years of experience in many facets of voice and data communications.

HPA facilitates businesses in determining the best communications solution for their company. This involves voice and data networks, call centers and broadband applications. In addition, HPA manages the telecom expenses for businesses to get them the most cost effective telecom solutions possible. HPA also helps telecommunications providers and manufacturers with their marketing, sales and business planning.

Since HPA's formation in 1994, over 400 clients have contracted to HPA for services. HPA has planned, designed and implemented a variety of voice and data solutions that have enabled businesses to enhance their operations in a cost-effective manner. HPA has also audited telecommunications invoices and recommended changes to client’s telecommunications services that have resulted in millions of dollars in savings for HPA’s clients.

Finally, HPA has performed work in a variety of areas for Local Exchange, Wireless, CATV, Long Distance Companies, Manufacturers and Software Providers.

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Some HPA Projects Include:

  • Designed and implemented a complete new voice, data and security network for a regional bank and their branches. Results included improved customer service in their call center, improved communication between locations and redundancy at all locations including the branches.
  • Designed and implemented a new VoIP telecommunications network including new equipment and services for a Rochester based not-for-profit with over 15 locations.
  • Redesigned a not-for-profit organization’s telecommunications system in five cities by implementing new services and pricing and auditing telephone bills. The savings paid for all new telephone equipment in less than two years.
  • Manage the communications network for a regional hospital in central New York. HPA has lowered the costs for the hospital and at the same time implemented a more up-to-date network with more functionality and redundancy.
  • Designed and implemented a Call Center for a Benefit Company in Rochester. Project resulted in drastic improvements in customer service.
  • Planned and designed a new voice and data network for a Law Firm with six locations in New York State.

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