News Scan: Surface retail partnerships; Customer-facing apps have many uses; more

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>> Microsoft forges Surface retail partnerships

Microsoft is forging retail partnerships for its Surface tablet, explains Cyril Belikoff, director of Surface, in a blog. "Tablets are being used by retailers to allow for 'assisted selling' and mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) solutions that help make employees' lives easier and improve the customer experience," writes Belikoff. For example, Scandinavian retailer MQ Retail has deployed Surface Pro 2 tablets in its stores to create an "endless aisle" by giving customers access to its entire inventory. Also, Microsoft has teamed with AnywhereCommerce and MagTek to provide mobile payment options for the Surface tablet. Read more on Surface's retail partnerships.

[More on Surface: Surface Pro 2 gets battery boost | Microsoft tries to woo enterprises with Surface 2 tablets]

>> Firms use customer-facing mobile apps for variety of reasons

Businesses are using customer-facing mobile apps for a variety of purposes, including communications with customers, customer service and support, product information, transaction facilitation, brand engagement, event support and announcements, according to a survey of executives conducted by Forbes Insight for Adobe and reported on by eMarketer. Close to one-third of respondents say the mobile apps' role during the purchase cycle was to retain customer; 28 percent say apps play an important role at the purchasing stage, 22 percent say apps are useful at the consideration stage of purchase, and 18 percent say apps help to create early awareness. Read more on the mobile app survey.

[More on mobile apps: Enterprise mobile apps: Money maker or minefield? | Most enterprise mobile apps are vulnerable to common exploits, warns HP]

>> China's enterprise mobility market to reach $4.7B in 2017

China's enterprise mobility market is forecast by IDC to reach $4.7 billion in 2017, even though enterprises are currently taking a "wait and see" approach toward mobile apps, says Andy Wang, research manager for enterprise system and software research at IDC China. "As industry mobile solutions mature and increase understanding of mobile applications from customers, IDC expects more mobile applications to be built in the coming years….At the same time, security concerns and investments in mobile equipment are two major inhibitors that hinder the development of enterprise mobile applications," says Wang. Read more on IDC's analysis.

[More on China: Apple gains foothold in China | Cost of calling China becomes free--sort of]

>> Mercedes-Benz tops ABI's ADAS competitive assessment study

Mercedes-Benz is named the top auto maker for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) by ABI Research in its competitive assessment report, with Volvo and BMW coming in second and third, respectively. ABI ranks car makers based on implantation and innovation. ADAS include front collision avoidance, lane changing notification, automatic park assist, night vision and semi-autonomous driving systems. "The decision by car safety ratings agencies to include ADAS in their ratings reflects a growing awareness of the potential of these active safety systems, and car OEMs will now be challenged to raise the availability of these systems in their new car models," says Gareth Owen, principal analyst at ABI. Read more on ABI's rankings.

[More on automotive IT: Ethernet in-vehicle networking to reach 40% penetration rate by 2020 | More automakers offering LTE-based Wi-Fi hotspots in vehicles]

>> Starbucks stores mobile payment info in clear text

Starbucks' mobile payment app stores user names, email address, passwords and geolocation data in clear text, according to a report by Computerworld. The information can be viewed in clear text by anyone with access to the mobile phone by connecting the phone to a PC. The potential problem was first identified by security researcher Daniel Wood, who published his research on Monday. Starbucks says it was aware of the issue and had added "extra layers of security" to secure the information. Read more on Starbucks mobile payment app security issues.

[More on mobile payments: Amazon, eBay grab a piece of mobile payment pie | Retailers using mobile checkout will have happy holidays]