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187 Posts By OTS Solutions

  • Hire Mobile App Developers

    What are the common things to consider when selecting a mobile app developer?

    Selecting a mobile app developer is not a straightforward activity and should never be rushed because the outcome may not be favorable. You may be tempted to go for the cheapest quote, but this might cost you more than twice the highest estimate you have. So, what should you consider when selecting mobile app developers?

    1) The Portfolio of the Developer

    Top mobile app developers have a history in the business, and that means there is at least one app they have designed. Usually, they are proud to display the apps they have made. If they don’t have samples on their websites, you can ask for a list of companies they have worked with.

    This will give you insight into the kind of apps they design and the level of service you should expect once the job is complete. Developers who have designed high-ranking mobile apps in the past are very likely to create a great product for you too.

    2) Check the Reviews of their Apps

    Some apps may look good but are not functional at all. Sometimes, the targeted audience is unable to use apps that you find simple and well designed. That is why user reviews are important. They help you determine the developer’s capacity to adjust their products to suit the intended users.

    Ideally, you should find a mobile app developer who has worked in your industry. A medical app and a smartphone game alternative are made differently. What makes one product great might make be the worst quality in the other app.

    For consistency, you can look up the reviews on the apps made within your industry or similar sectors. This will allow you to analyze the mobile app developer properly.

    3) Find a Developer who Understands Marketing as well as App Designing

    Mobile applications are a means to more business, and as such, they need to be marketable. A business-minded developer will brand your app and add the proper elements to make it good for client conversions. The developer should understand all the aspects of your business since the app will also be a base for your company.

    You can ask the developer what value they will add to your company through the app. The answer should point you in the right direction.

    4) Hire a Developer who will Stick with you even after the App is Delivered

    Often, developers will want to forget about the app after the money is paid. Be careful, however, because bugs always come up in software. You may not notice it in the demonstration or even in the first weeks, but they will show up later on. Remember that your app is a pathway to more business, and delays will cost you a lot of money. To prevent such incidents, find a developer who is ready to fix problems that come up later on.

    You can find this out by checking their warranty agreements. The guarantee should run for a period that is long enough for you to uncover bugs in the product. Also, you can consult some of the developer’s previous clients to see how they handled bugs and issues in their software.

    Don’t believe any developer who tells you that their apps never have bugs. That might imply that they are dishonest. All apps have bugs and might need to be improved in the future.

    5) Make sure you are working with a team

    Teams are better than individuals since they will be able to come up with a functional app that is also easy to use. The business aspect of your app will be taken into consideration and still allow you to access the best talent in mobile application development. Also, get the contacts of the person who will be in charge of the project. That way, you will be able to get timely updates on the progress of the job.

    Conclusion

    It is very easy to go wrong with the selection of a mobile app development company. There are many people who claim to design great apps for you, but most will give out poor products and even poorer customer service. To reduce the probability of such incidences, you should consider the tips outlined here.

  • What are the most useful cloud based tools used in agile based project management?

    What are the most useful cloud based tools used in agile based project management?

    A project is an attempt to achieve a unique goal by temporarily focusing people and resources on creating a result. That result can be a product, service, organizational change, software application or any other result that brings value to the project’s sponsor.

    Project managers apply skills, tools, knowledge, and methods to the activities performed on behalf of the project in order to meet its requirements. Only by effectively applying all of this can a project succeed. It starts with a strategy on how best to bring into reality the project manager’s vision, ideas, and goals. The decision on method and tools is critical to the project’s success. The increasing availability and lower cost of digital solutions allow powerful tools and methods to be used in even the smaller projects. There is no longer a need to manage a project exclusively with tools such as sticky notes, paper, and whiteboards. The increasing understanding of collaboration to achieve results and the use of virtual teams demand new tools and methods for managing projects.

    Today, if your project result is a software application, the methodology of choice is agile. Agile is a widely adopted method used for many years now. It applies incremental iterations in a flexible and interactive manner with the end customer to deliver over several releases a solution or application that meets customer requirements. Agile development emphasizes collaboration and a non-hierarchical management structure between developers, product managers, and customers.

    Until a few years ago small businesses and organizations would not have the budget or inclination to purchase information technology systems and tools for exclusive use in managing projects. The capital costs, investment in training and maintenance costs were factors that prevented their widespread use.

    But things began to change when cloud-based solutions and tools for project management lowered the entry costs and training requirements, providing anywhere, anytime access with zero maintenance costs. You don’t have to develop and purchase IT infrastructure. The user interface and procedures are designed to be easy to learn and intuitive for any individual with a basic understanding of personal computers. Those are the prime reasons why more and more businesses and organizations are opting for solutions based in the cloud.

    If you are tasked with developing and managing software application projects here are four examples of cloud-based tools for managing projects.

    1. Jira

    Developed by Atlassian, it was initially created and marketed as an issue tracking tool. Today it goes beyond that and it’s one of the most popular tools for managing agile software development projects and encouraging collaboration between teams and individuals. It can be customized to a particular project or work culture and has over 25,000 customers around the world including some of the largest corporations such as Walmart. It provides functions for managing projects and tracking bugs, issues, and tasks throughout the full agile development life-cycle.

    2. Asana

    Asana is advertised as a work tracking tool with agile project management features. Used mostly for web and mobile applications development, it started as an internal tool developed at Facebook for improving the productivity of its employees. It has functions that allow users to manage tasks and projects online without the need of external communications such as e-mail. Teams create workspaces and those workspaces can have projects and projects can have tasks. To each task, users can add comments, notes, and tags that allow all team members and managers to instantly know task status and issues. Followers of a task can get updates on their workspace inbox.

    3. Basecamp

    This is the calmer, saner and better-organized way to communicate and manage projects enterprise-wide according to Basecamp marketing. It has a reputation as a user-friendly tool requiring little training on how to use most of its features such as sharing ideas, getting status reports on your e-mail account, finding and recovering files easily and managing user access. It’s lacking in time management and analytical tools.

    4. Trello

    By now you have realized that collaboration is at the heart of the agile way of doing things. Trello is for many the tool of choice in this regard. Managers can organize projects into boards and in a glance know what’s being worked on who is doing it. It also shows where a task is in the process workflow. It has a beautiful graphical interface for creating and organizing the boards, lists, and cards that are at the heart of Trello’s organizational capabilities.

    5. Pivotal

    Pivotal Tracker breaks your project into manageable chunks that you can prioritize, organize, and collaborate. Agile tools such as backlogs and user stories are explicitly supported. Project managers and team members can quickly find out on status, task responsibilities and what’s next.

    6. Wrike

    Another online tool for enabling users to manage workflows and schedules while collaborating with one another. Multilingual project teams will be pleased to know that it supports Japanese, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Russian and Italian. A free version with limited features is available with task creation, task assignment and task status markings for a basic but still powerful workflow management tool.

  • Startup

    Raising Funds Not the Greatest Thing for a Startup: True or False!

    Starting a Company
    Many people today are excited about the idea of starting a business. The issue is that few people have capital to invest in the business to help it grow. Over time, this is a major hurdle that you have to overcome. Raising funds for startup is important, but it is not the most important thing that you will do in business. A lot of new business owners get distracted about raising funds, and they never end up doing anything to drive success in other areas.

    The Importance of Capital

    When it comes to running a business, capital is essential to growth. This is especially true in the realm of startup technology. A lot of companies have an advantage in that they are agile and can make decisions quickly. This allows them to change rapidly with evolving technology. The problem is that technology is not cheap. In the beginning stages of business, you have to be careful about where you allocate your money. Having a capital allocation strategy in the beginning can help you stay on track. There are going to be times when you have to look for ways to spread your capital out strategically. Not only that, but you need to work on something that will help drive sales and profits.

    Marketing

    Running a business requires bringing in new customers. This is true no matter what industry you are in. Over time, marketing is essential if you want to build a great business that is constantly growing. The great thing about technology is that allows you to market to clients without spending a lot of money. Websites are essentially free to build, and social media is one of the most popular ways to market your product or service. You need to have a marketing strategy that aligns with your overall capital management strategy. When raising capital for a business, this is generally one of the questions that will be asked of you. If you do not know how to drive future clients to your business, you may have some issues down the road.

    Growth Management

    Many small companies are growing rapidly in a number of areas. If you want to maintain your success, you have to manage growth the right way. A Internet of Things of business owners get into trouble when their business starts growing. They wrongly assume that this rate of growth is going to continue in the future, and they start to make decisions based on this assumption. You need to have a plan that is both conservative and aggressive when it comes to your capital. At some point, the growth rate is going to taper off, and you do not want to be in a capital position where you are out of funds. A startup is a great way to change your life, but you need to make positive financial decisions during this process.

    Raising Capital

    Overall, raising capital is not the most important part of running a business. However, it is important if you want to take your life to a new level in business. There are ways that you can show your business is a sound place to invest capital. The more information you have on the growth plans for the future, the easier it will be for you to have success raising the funds. Now is a great time to try and build a new business idea from the ground up. With all of the changes that are going on in the economy, a lot of new companies are going rapidly. Make sure to plan out each stage of the business journey carefully before getting started.

  • How to build a winning Internet of Things strategy?

    How to build a winning Internet of Things strategy?

    IoT is opening a new era of opportunities and for consumers and businesses ever since mobile revolution dawned. It is expected that its products service suppliers will have the capacity to generate more than $300 billion by the end of 2020.

    But the process of bringing together sensors, connecting devices analytics, cloud, and machine to machine communication requires careful strategy and planning from the Internet of Things. However, the internet of stuff is a long expedition. For this reason, it is imperative to take some small steps. Always prioritize your options, identify your goals, and analyze your market to provide IoT solutions.

    Take Smaller Steps
    One you have the idea, it is now time to create a prototype model and a minimally viable product. It is also imperative to understand and analyze to requirements needed to answer questions about costs, performance, and insights. An effective strategy requires you to lay down your requirements with the necessary strengths to make your solutions successful.

    Think about Customer Experiences First
    The internet world is all about connecting the world and people. Before taking your heels to the internet project, be sure to keep all your customers first. Work towards improving your customer experience while getting obsessed with your customer needs. As a matter of fact, you should never thing about monetizing a product. Before you start getting money, be sure to gain your customer’s trust and improving customers’ lives.

    Incorporating Security
    Whether it is all about financial data, personal data, or healthcare information, access to confidential or imperative data makes security one of the crucial aspects. One of the most vulnerable points of the internet is data security. Data and information breaches could cost you billions. Security should be the first thing you think about. Never make it an afterthought. Stay abreast on security technologies and encryptions to minimize data breach risks.

    Outcome-based & Platform Centric Approach
    Be sure to make your internet of stuff a platform where business thrives. Be sure to make it a better place for other businesses. You should let your platform offer a substantial amount of competition to help the consumers get the best service or product. Be sure to let other businesses create competitive advantages to grow and steer ahead all their businesses. You can also seek more ways to allow other companies and businesses to leverage connected devices.

    Providing 24*7*365 support
    Considering the complexity associated with the internet platform products, the possibility of switching off your device is impossible. The development company for IOT must be sure to make all devices function seamlessly to offer a better user experience among businesses and clients.

    Scalability
    Predictions reveal that the number of devices connected to the internet will be approximately 38 billion by the end of 2020. The current rate shows that more than 13 billion devices are connected on the internet. This reveals an increase of more than 250 percent. For this reason, we are presented with the most imperative aspect of scalability. For you to be sure that your network will have the capability to support all the devices, it is imperative to have a robust plan. As your numbers increase, you need a product that can seamlessly scale up in the platform. Lack of scalability results into data insecurity and poor performance.

    Big Data Management
    With the internet, there is a continuous flow of data and information. This information is very important in the transformation of businesses and helps business owners make informed decisions. It is a daunting task to manage an endless flow of data. The challenge comes when you want to harness this data, analyze it, and create better business results.

    Omnichannel Experiences
    The internet is all about allowing customers to interact on different business platforms with many devices. It is all about creating seamless experiences and Omni channels. This consistency brings out consistent data and strategies. Small channels, also known as Omni channels, will help you manage your internet activities with increased capability and security.

    Just creating an internet solution will not yield the required success. However, be sure to provide the best value to your clients in a manner that is not paralleled in the industry. You can also improve your company operations through the creation of streamlined business prototypes.

  • Cross platform mobile app development

    Is Cross platform the best choice for developing mobile apps?

    In this age, mobile phones have become the new must have for any single person or organization. Most solo developers focus on a single OS and avoid all the other ones regardless of the size their user base and potential in profits. While full teams of developers and large companies will tend to focus on all OS’s. Today, it is much more important that an app supports a plethora of devices on the market so that it may profit as much as it can.

    Whether it’s a team of developers or a solo developer, the first action will you need to take is the decision of either making the app for a single OS or going cross-platform. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, since you will have to deal with different kinds of customers depending on which OS platform you choose to develop for, and that customer will have different needs from the rest.

    Cross-Platform

    The basic concept behind cross-platform is that you will have an app that will function seamlessly on almost any OS platform. The two types of cross-platform apps are as follows:
    Native App
    HTML5 Hybrid App
    Native Mobile App Development

    As we all know, every OS platform comes with its own SDK. These software dev kit’s allow the app developer to create software for the respective OS. When it comes to Native, the developer can use something called an API which are not originally supported by the vendor of the OS but it will allow you to create a native cross-platform app.

    Once the developer has completed writing the code for their application, they can then use a unified API which will allow their code to run within several OS platforms regardless of what language was used to write the original app. The final app will then perform just as well as on other platforms as it did on the OS it was developed for and this is due to the use of Native API’s.

    Hybrid HTML5 App Development

    With the new HTML5 technology, developers are able to use a combination of HTML5, JavaScript and CSS to create a hybrid application. These Hybrid cross-platform apps can replace most applications easily since most of them use simple GUI functionality with a web service for their business logic.

    Almost all the OS platforms today have some form of web browser feature included within their SDK that will allow app developers to use standard HTML5 technology to design and create their application. Even more complex applications that need the use of the phone’s camera or geolocation for example can still be created in this fashion by using JavaScript to bridge the access to the platforms components.

    Pros in Cross-Platform
    The main reason cross platform apps are utilized by so many companies is because of how cost effective they can be. With cross platform, you can take advantage of one code base instead of re-creating the same application for several OS platforms and this can become extremely costly and time consuming.

    If any bugs are found in your code base, you will only need to fix it once and not in the several other versions of your code since the cross-platform method will utilize your original code to create the app across all OS platforms.

    Cross-platform apps also make it very simple to add new features and updates to your app without having to again change your code on the other platforms.

    Cons in Cross-Platform
    Everyone knows that each OS platform has its own special features. When it comes to cross-platform, it becomes really difficult for developers to build their app around these special features for each OS and this puts you at somewhat of a disadvantage when compared to other apps that will use those special features.

    Each platform can come in various shapes and sizes so when designing your app, you have to make sure that it can function properly on all of these different designs.

    OS platforms are ever changing. Every year, there are newer features implemented within every platform and this creates a problem for developers who have to constantly keep up with these updates.

    In conclusion, cross-platform can provide you with the necessary solutions you need to have your app run on all the popular OS platforms. This is especially important when it comes to businesses that need to get their application onto the market quickly and efficiently. Both Native and HTML5 Hybrid methods can offer you the performance without the high cost of developing multiple apps in separate SDKs.

  • mobile app development

    What are the great metrics to measure a successful Mobile App Strategy?

    Coming up with an idea and development efforts for a smartphone app that will enchant customers may be just the first step of a new business. For businesses to stand the test of time and survive through ever changing market environments and needs require a strategy for success. If your business depends on successful mobile app development you then must start by defining what it means to you. How do you measure success, what are the right metrics?

    There are basically four kinds of metrics:
    Performance: The focus of these metrics are on the customer experience as it uses your app.
    User and usage: Marketing uses these metrics as indicators on customer demographics.
    Engagement: These metrics tell how users are engaging with your app.
    Business: These metrics answer the impact of your app on important business questions like revenue.

    Performance metrics

    Customers hate it when their app crashes, so you want to know about it. An example definition of a performance metric is app crashes per load attempts or you could relate it to performing a particular operation.

    Your app probably needs to access other services and the time to get your request in and out is called latency and is usually measured in milliseconds. Latency directly impacts how a customer perceives your app as fast or slow. Another latency related metric is how well your app responds to increasing loads. You can have a low latency at the start but as the customer interacts with it and the request queue grows it may start to slow down significantly.

    Usage and demographics metrics

    Your development team can find out about your user base as a monthly or daily active users metric. This is very important if your mobile app development business model relies on advertising revenue.

    More details about your user base can be obtained from knowing which mobile devices and OS they use. This metric helps you focus and prioritize your mobile app development efforts according to your user’s platform of choice.

    Knowing where your user base is located is also very important for app development. Are you reaching out to a global market? Where are the majority of your customers? Do you want to target aspects of your app by geography?

    Engagement metrics

    A key indicator of how much your customers like or dislike your app is by looking at engagement metrics.

    Session length is a measure of time between app open and close. A long time is a strong indicator that your app is useful and liked.

    Session interval is another time measurement showing how much time a user spent on a particular function. With this knowledge, you can streamline your continuous improvement program and focus your value-added efforts on the functions that attract your user base.

    Your app can be downloaded millions of times and you may consider that a success. But is it really? Retention rate measures the percentage of customers that return after that initial engagement. By combining this metric with others your app development team can work on personalization features. Your user base may not be gigantic but those who are can be turned into loyal paying customers.

    Business metrics

    You may have to pay some of your distribution channels and you want to know if they are really worth the expense. The acquisition cost metric tells you from which channel your customers are coming from.

    Transaction revenue metric is very useful for apps that support retail product and service transactions such as shopping and travel.

    Abandonment rate metric is one you want to watch very carefully. It is a ratio of transactions abandoned vs. transactions initiated. Transactions may be abandoned due to performance, experience, or expectation issues and your app development team must be on top of it and devise fixes to prevent customers from going away.

    Once you have a user base and a business model that seems to be working you want to think long term. Lifetime value will be then your primary revenue metric. Your mobile app’s value is measured in relation to how much your users are worth during the time they are using it. Lifetime value is not only revenue in dollars but can be used to measure social sharing indicators, a number of articles read, or another measure of value that is important to you.

  • agile software development

    How to write effective user stories in agile development?

    Writing Effective User Stories for Agile Development

    The software world has been changing rapidly, and a new approach to engineering is at the heart of these changes. By embracing self-organizing teams, flexibility and iterative development, agile software development methodologies have revolutionized the world of software engineering. Traditional software engineering used the waterfall method, in which each step of the software engineering process was completed before moving on to the next step. This, however, tends to create bloated software that lags behind the needs of the users. Agile methodologies seek to address these inefficiencies by running through all the stages of software development in short iterations, called sprints. At the heart of these sprints are user stories, which are the ideas your engineering teams will put into action.

    User Stories
    User stories approach software problems from the perspective of the user, placing developers in the shoes of their customers. These replace traditional software specifications, which outline some kind of functionality expected of the software. Each user story consists of a way in which a user would hope to interact with the application. For example, a user might wish to visit the website, log in to their account, and check the remaining balance from a gift card. This user story is written out by the team, and functionality is designed around it. In this way, engineers and designers are able to empathize with users, allowing them to build their product to meet their needs more effectively.

    However, writing quality user stories can be challenging. Engineers and designers have a nuanced understanding of their product, and may not easily place themselves in the shoes of an individual trying the product for the first time. Furthermore, stories can be vague or even fail to reflect the needs of their actual user base, and this can lead to products that simply don’t do what the customer needs. Developing best practices around writing and managing your user stories will help your teams efforts stay aligned to the needs of your customers.

    Writing Quality User Stories

    There is no silver bullet for writing good user stories, but incorporating best practices will increase the overall quality of the stories your teams come up with. Ensure that writing these stories is a collaborative process. Empathizing with your user base will be easier for teams than individuals, who only bring a single perspective to the process. Stories should be as concise as possible. Using a simple template for stories will help developers keep them from becoming overly verbose or too complex. It is also important that these user stories remain visible and accessible to the team at all times, so they can remember the goals they’re working towards.

    There are pitfalls for teams to avoid as well. Often, user stories aren’t refined until they’re testable, which keeps them from being resolved. Ensure that all stories your teams work on meet certain criteria before they’re released. Remember that user stories can’t define all possible requirements, and ensure that teams don’t get locked into thinking about their product solely in those terms. It is also important for executives and product managers to ensure that the real-world needs of the targeted users are being met in the stories. Participation by all stakeholders in product development can be the difference between the success and failure of that product, and it is the job of management to ensure that participation takes place.

    Agile software development incorporates user stories because it allows for more flexibility than traditional specifications. They also force developers and designers to see the product from the perspective of the end user, which leads to a more useful and better-received product for your client at the end of the day. By building best practices around user stories into your teams’ development process, the quality of your teams’ output and the suitability of their software to its real world applications will increase dramatically.

  • methodology for project management

    How to choose the right methodology for project management?

    Choosing the right methodology for project management

    In the world of project management, the method you use to develop the product is an extremely important decision. It will affect the entire process and can make or break the success of a project, which is why knowing the specifics about the these methods is necessary.

    Waterfall

    The waterfall methodology is a more traditional route and is very common across the software industry. It consists of a linear sequence of stages during which one aspect of the project is completed before moving on to the next, which has both advantages and disadvantages. These stages are Requirements, Design, Implementation, Test, Installation and Maintenance.

    Waterfall is useful when all of the requirements and deliverable for the project are known upfront. This methods linear nature makes it structured and inflexible. Structure is provided, making milestones easily understood. Quality is emphasized over costs and time. If you know for a fact that specifications are not going to change, or the technology being used is well understood, then using this methodology may be a good choice. Example situations could be creating new versions of existing products or porting a product to a new platform. In addition, if your team is more familiar with Waterfall than Agile methodologies it is possible that training the team in something such as Scrum is not worth it.

    On the other hand, uncertainties in the project are a sign that Agile is a better fit. Due to the fact that the project development is done in stages, going back to a previous stage once finished is impossible. This gives little opportunity for the client to preview the system and makes deliverable pretty much set in stone for each phase. Also practically speaking, since implementation is done all at once, integration of modules or components is also done as one big bang at the end.

    Agile

    In direct contrast with the Waterfall methodology, Agile is a much more dynamic project management style which takes into account the iterative nature of software. It emphasizes communication, collaboration, flexibility and a working product over documentation. This makes Agile a good fit for projects with co-located teams, less rigid constraints and a schedule that is not finalized.

    Scrum

    Scrum is a very well-known and common Agile methodology with a high focus on communication and accountability. It uses a technique called Sprints which are two to six week periods during which a specific set of high priority tasks are completed. Tools such as burn down charts and scrum boards are used to track progress, and meetings are an integral part of the process. These meetings and tools are meant to increase collaboration and ensure that necessary functionality is being implemented. Additionally, a retrospective meeting is also held after every Sprint so that issues in the process can be addressed and improved upon for the next sprint.

    If quick iteration and responding to changes is important for your project, then Scrum is a good project development methodology to use. There should be a stable product at the end of each Sprint, with business needs always prioritized. In addition, Scrum team members often work on many tasks without specializing in one role. It is good to take your teams skill sets into consideration when deciding on a management methodology.

    Scrum is not all sunshine and rainbows however. Customer interaction is a valuable part of Scrum, so a customer that is unclear about what is needed will make implementing this methodology difficult. Also, as mentioned earlier, documentation is difficult due to the ever changing state of the project. It quickly becomes obsolete, along with some of the work that has already been completed in previous sprints.

    In conclusion, two common methodologies for project management are Waterfall and Agile. They each take very different approaches. Waterfall is a linear sequence that is structured and relatively easy to understand. It defines a strict set of requirements up front at the cost of flexibility. Agile is a more iterative approach that prioritizes communication and embraces the changing quality of most projects.

  • Mobile App Development

    What are the common challenges for Mobile App Development?

    Smartphones are great. But to be able to enjoy the awesomeness of these devices fully, they need to be equipped with necessary applications. With a reliable internet access and the right combination of mobile apps, there’s not much you can’t accomplish with your smartphone. There are numerous mobile applications in the app stores providing smartphone users with means of performing some of their daily activities, with each category presenting the user with a variety of options. Don’t let the sea of apps in your platform’s store fool you though, the process of mobile app development is not easy.

    Mobile app developers have to overcome a series of challenges before their application is ready for the app store. These challenges could range from financial to technical — the screen real estate is particularly challenging as gadgets come with different screen sizes, compliance and so on. Some of the most common challenges developers face during mobile application development are:

    Funding

    Funding is one of the most common issues developers face out there. You have an idea for a killer app, how do you get the funds to develop it? Mobile development could cost between $3000 and $150,000; this is a lot of money. However, it does not mean that you give up your dream. Approach the right people and present your idea to them. You can start with friends and family, then proceed to banks and venture capitalists if that’s not enough. Crowdfunding is also a good place to start.

    Getting the Attention of Your Target Audience

    If your app is going to be a success, people have to notice it so that they can download it. The competition in the mobile app market is cutthroat, if people don’t notice your application, it will get lost in the midst. Take a good look at the successful apps in your niche to get an idea of how to get the attention of your target market. The best way to create an app that gets noticed is to provide a wholesome experience for your users. Incorporate an intuitive design, usable features, and graphics while creating your app.

    Creating an Interactive App

    Developing an interactive app is just as crucial as having an interactive design. Today’s smartphones come with a lot of sensing capabilities, so take advantage of that, these high-tech sensors present immense opportunities for developers. However, developing interactions is one of the hardest steps of the design phase of your application.

    When designing your app, don’t let interactions be an afterthought. Think of them in advance. Let the app respond to the environment, direction, and position by including more tangible interactions like flipping, shaking, and tilting into play. Consider using overlays to display more info, use various click options and make good use of buttons. Don’t restrict yourself to gestures like swipe and tap. Shoot for a comprehensive application experience.

    Dealing With Device Screen Sizes

    In the process of mobile app development, dealing with different device screen sizes has got to be one of the most challenging technical aspects of developing an app. The number of devices on major platforms — Android, IOS, and Windows — is incredibly high. All these devices come with different display sizes, pixel intensity, embedded technology, and OS requirements. The challenge presents itself in the form of being able to create an app that runs on all platforms and as many devices as possible.

    Remember that you can’t build an app just for the biggest devices, or platforms. Be prepared to deal with these limitations at all times. Bugs will need to be fixed. Don’t forget to keep your app as simple — and clear — as possible. Also, don’t make the users think too much, create a self-explanatory design.

  • What are the most important challenges for IoT adoption?

    What are the most important challenges for IoT adoption?

    The term IoT or the internet of things refers to devices that are connected to the internet. IoT does not cover typical internet connected devices such as a computer or mobile phone but, more of devices that you wouldn’t expect to be connected such as your toaster. Other examples could be your car, toothbrush, refrigerators, couch and even your tableware.

    Even though this seems like an amazing concept to push us towards the future, it still faces many difficult hurdles. Technology research firms have even predicted that there will be over 20 billion connected devices by the year 2020 and this will generate more than $10 trillion dollars within the technology sector over the coming decade.

    Privacy Concerns

    Data privacy still remains as a major problem when it comes to any connected device and this is due to the fact that connected devices can collect massive data on any user. This data can then be stolen through security holes found in the software of the device or directly from the databases stored at servers around the world.

    The world is still trying to keep up with current technologies, we do not even have the necessary privacy laws to keep some technologies from exploiting its users. The worst that could happen is that companies will rush their new products to the market without rigorous testing for security concerns. Even though software security seems to be focused on the most, hardware security also needs to be put in the spotlight.

    Insufficient infrastructure

    In order to have a more effective infrastructure for these new connected devices, companies will have to come together and build this new ecosystem that will help sustain all connected devices. Currently, a large proportion of smaller technology companies are at work building these infrastructures and have made tremendous progress such as the development of the newly founded internet of things end-to-end solutions.

    Unfortunately, more work needs to be done in this part of the industry. Mega corporations are still fighting each other over who will be crowned king of the IoT space. We also lack the proper gateways for newly connected devices to work properly. Gateways are the bridge that connects the device directly to the cloud or internet. There are still many questions as to how gateways will work, such as their power source, protocol, data filtering and most important is security.

    High Costs

    The structure to have an efficient gateway and the best security possible can get expensive very quickly. Most technology companies today would tell you that they’re designing their devices with a central cloud-based model and this method could lead high costs with no revenue. Giving all connected devices the ability to send out their data at any given time while securing it is difficult with our current infrastructure but also costly.

    With infrastructure out of the way, what would it cost to build actual cloud connected devices? Of course you will need to go through the steps needed as you would with creating any other device. These steps are, prototyping, learning and scaling. When it comes to connected devices, there are a couple more steps that are required such as hardware and software security testing, security upgrades and patches. If none of these steps are taken seriously by companies then, you can easily expect to be breached and lose millions of dollars in stolen information.

    Legality And Regulations

    Currently, there are no laws or regulations that are set in stone which will help regulate the many layers of technology that is needed for the internet of things to truly work. Unfortunately, devices that connect to the internet are raising many security concerns and currently there are no laws in place that address these problems. Passing new laws for these devices will definitely take a lot of time due to how complex devices will be and the infrastructure that will help run it.

  • How to Accept Payments Through Your App

    How to accept payments through your apps?

    So, you’ve developed an app for your business. You’ve already finished designing and building your mobile application. You have your products ready to sell, be it digital, in-app goods, a subscription your business offers, or an actual physical good; you need to know how to get paid.

    Ordering products off the internet can seem like a simple task, but managing online transactions can be a very complex task. Your objective is simple, find a way to accept forms of payment from your customers. You want to protect your client’s financial information secure for future sales. Your app will need a secure, user-friendly payment system in place to make getting products in their shopping cart to their front door a smooth, reliable process.

    Mobile app developers use software kits called “gate-ways.” Gate-ways can be purchased with a variety of functions, features, and fees. All gate-ways serve one vital function, making sure you get paid for your products and services. Today, let’s talk about the various methods and services your business can utilize to accept payments through mobile apps.

    Braintree

    The first gate-way on our list is Braintree. Braintree has been the owner and developer of PayPal, both of which are owned by eBay. Braintree can develop just about anything, with customers in over 30 countries and 130 different currencies with seven side server programming languages.

    Braintree can offer you gate-way software kits for Apple iOS and Android operating systems. Braintree also offers live customer support, fraud protection and payouts in as little as two days. Bran tree offers no fees on transactions for the first $50,000 then changes to the industry standard of 2.9%.

    Google Wallet

    Google Wallet is Google’s answer to Braintree’s PayPal. Google Wallet features cloud-based computing software called “Instant Buy,” which stores your customer’s financial information securely in the cloud. Google Wallet offers programming software for buying physical and digital goods in Apple iOS and Android and desktop interfaces.
    Another unique feature provided by Google Wallet is engagement services for coupons and loyalty cards. Google Wallet doesn’t charge transaction fees but takes the payment processors standard industry costs. Keep in mind that Google Wallet is only available to users in the United States.

    Venmo

    Venmo is the social media marketing minded companies out there. Venmo offers peer-to-peer transfers from the mobile app to phone numbers, social media accounts, and email addresses.

    My favorite feature of Venmo is how easy it is to keep track of your financials. You get a live feed of transactions between you and your customers. The best part of Venmo is the price! Venmo doesn’t charge fees for bank and debit transfers, just a fee for credit card users.

    TSYS

    TSYS or Total System Services, Inc. is one of the top payment gate-ways in the United States. TSYS offers many payment solutions for online payments. Utilizing TSYS’s MultiPass system as your payment solution for your app development, you will be able to accept mobile and web-based payments through your app and websites. TSYS fees vary, depending on what type of payment solution you choose.

    Amazon Payments

    Being one of the top five technology, it only makes sense for Amazon to develop its payment gate-way. Amazon reputation for being strictly an eCommerce website is incorrect, Amazon also uses its sales platform for businesses to sell their products. Amazon utilizes Amazon Prime to enhances user features and often offer discounts for various business’s customers. Amazon has also started its software development branch, Amazon Payments.

    Much like Google Wallet’s “Instant Pay,” Amazon Payments offers a one-click buying option to utilize in your app, which allows customers to seamlessly buy products without ever having to exit out of the application or be redirected to another page. When it comes to app development, offering a user-friendly, one click and done buying option is one of the most efficient ways to manage online payments. Amazon Payments offers comprehensive fraud protection and a reoccurring payment option, which conveniently allows you to manage payments and subscriptions almost effortlessly. Amazon Payments charges 3% and .30 cents per transaction, but if you process more than a certain amount a month, you can usually work out a discount.

    I hope you found this article on getting paid through your mobile apps helpful and have gained a lot of insight. The beautiful part of being a business owner in this day in age is how many tools you have available to help you keep your business’s mobile app successful. The right tools are out there, find the method that works best for you.

  • How to Make Money with Mobile Apps

    How to make money with mobile apps?

    Mobile app development has become a very big market. The use of mobile devices has continued to increase with manufacturers coming up with new products every few months. Consumers have more options when it comes to operating systems unlike before when they only had about three alternatives. This growth has seen a new market expand for developers- mobile applications. With consumers always looking for something better, developers discovered the numerous advantages that having applications for mobile use would provide.

    From gaming to shopping to getting directions, mobile apps serve all kinds of needs. However, not a lot of companies have thrived from developing apps, and that is because they didn’t use the right monetization models. Making money from apps is possible, but it has to be approached analytically. So, how can an app make money with so many of them out there?

    Determining Pricing

    Before seeing how a mobile application makes money, consider elements that affect the pricing technique. The interaction that users have with an app will dictate the best way to make money off it. Some pricing models only work when an app requires a significant engagement with the users. If consumers don’t spend more than a few minutes on an app, then such a tactic would be ineffective.

    The utility of mobile apps is another matter to consider. How useful does a user find your mobile app? A mobile application must fulfill a need for the consumer if it is to profit you. Value also goes a long way in structuring an app to make money. With hundreds of other apps providing the same services like yours, why should people download yours? Integrating all these elements will position an app to rake in profits.

    Advertising on Free Apps

    One popular strategy of monetization in mobile app development is to offer apps for free and then charge for advertising. In-app advertising can bring in a lot of money but only if an app has a lot of consumers using it. An app with only a few downloads would be impossible to make money off advertising because advertisers pay for the number of impressions. Developers make money from a large number of downloads and high engagement with the app. The longer users interact with the tool, the more adverts you can display; and therefore, more money. Even when you charge a few cents per ad, an app with a lot of users and prolonged engagement will still make considerable profits.

    In-app Purchases

    Another pricing option that has worked very well, especially for gaming apps is offering them for free and then selling additional features. What happens is that a developer provides limited features to consumers who get to try out the app without having to pay. If a user wants to access the premium version of the mobile app, then payment is necessary. A lot of gaming apps do this where you have to buy powers, hints, coins, or bonuses to advance in the game. This strategy works because users have already seen what the app can do and like it. It is a chance to prove the usefulness and value of the app. Developers can also make money by charging for updates.

    Subscription Apps

    The subscription module only works for selected mobile apps, particularly in the media industry. The way it works is that users have to pay a fee to use the app for a certain period. A majority of high-quality magazines and news sites use this model. A subscription-based app can be tricky to pull off because users expect new content each time they log in.

    One-time Charge Apps

    App developers can also make money by designing a tool that requires users to pay only once to download it. Updates and other features for enhanced usability are expected to be free. For an app that doesn’t have a lot of customers and a short user engagement, this would be the most strategic moneymaking option. However, it means that the only way the app continues to make money is by getting new customers. Such an app has to be very well designed to convince clients that it is worth paying for even before seeing what it can do.

    Paid Download, Paid Features

    This pricing model is very hard to get away with because it requires customers to pay for the initial download and in-app features. Making money this way is possible but only with very valuable apps and even more useful features.

    Manufacturer and Carrier Partnerships

    Recently some app development companies have been working with mobile carriers and brands to have applications released with devices. It means that when a consumer buys a smartphone from a specific brand and carrier, they automatically get the app. This tactic could work, but it also means sharing profits with the other two partners.

    Mobile applications have incredible revenue generating potential, but they have to be good enough to appeal to the target audience.

  • Mobile App Development Cost

    How much money is needed to create a good app?

    If you’re considering making an app for your organization, it’s wise to determine early on how much the project will cost. Because the complexity involved in developing apps varies widely from project to project, the costs involved fluctuate widely as well.

    Unfortunately, that means there is no single answer to a question like, “how much do mobile app development cost?” But by working through the considerations listed below, you can reach a clearer understanding of how expensive your project might be.

    Who Is Developing the App?

    The first question to consider—and the one that will determine much about your approach to the project—is who exactly will develop the app?

    The are essentially two options here. In the first case, someone already working for you company could develop the app. (That person might even be you!) In this case, the total cost of the app development work is no higher than that person’s salary. If you have an experienced and capable developer on staff, and they have the time to take on a significant new project, then you might make your app without any new budget outlays.

    On the other hand, you could hire a freelancer or dev shop to handle your project. This can be an expensive proposition; high quality developers often bill more than $100 per hour. That’s $4000 for a full 40-hour work week. But, given the value that many mobile apps deliver, this can certainly be money well spent.

    How Complex Is the Project?

    If you are outsourcing the work to a development company like OTS Solutions, how much you pay them will depend largely on the complexity of the project.

    Many times, the mobile apps that clients ask for are relatively simple. If you don’t need much graphic design, and your app doesn’t include lots of interactivity, it might only take a few weeks to make.

    On the other hand, apps that require lots of design work, and include many interactive elements (like games, forms, purchases, etc.) can require hundreds of hours of work. And on top of design and development, complex projects also require more project management and QA work.

    It’s very common for complex apps to cost tens of thousands of dollars. But again, if you are developing apps that have high value for your organization, that price could be a fantastic investment.

    Controlling Costs

    No matter the size of your budget, you’ll want to do everything possible to minimize the final cost. And there are a number of effective approaches to limiting the cost of software development, without sacrificing features or quality. Below are some of the most important ones to consider.

    DIY Project Management

    Even if your organization doesn’t have developers in house, it’s likely that you do have employees with project management expertise. Leveraging their time can be an effective way of limiting the price you pay outside freelancers. Tight project management will keep the work on pace, and reduce the time developers have to waste figuring out exactly what is expected of them.

    Create a Clear Project Plan

    On a similar note, creating a definitive, comprehensive project plan before hiring freelancers will not only save you headaches and heartbreak, it can also save you thousands of dollars.

    For those without experience making applications, it’s normal to assume that most of the work consists of actual coding time. But in fact, things like requirements analysis and drafting design specs can be equally challenging, and eat up a huge portion of your budget. If you do your homework first and keep that work in house, you can easily save 25% or more on your outsourcing costs.

    Limit Feedback and Revisions

    Once you start to receive design mocks and prototypes, you will undoubtedly have ideas on how they could improve, and your project plan should account for revision time. However, you should be mindful revisions to a features (particularly once coding has started) can double or triple the time involved, and multiply your costs accordingly.

    So when offering feedback, be sure to ask yourself how important your requests really are. If they are “nice to have” but not essential, consider holding your tongue and saving yourself some serious money.

    Take an Iterative Approach

    Lastly, many clients begin software projects with bloated lists of requirements that include numerous features their users don’t really need. This is a recipe for frustration, and perhaps more importantly, a surefire way to waste money.

    Rather than attempting to build you dream application right out of the gates, consider aiming for an MVP—minimum viable product—instead. Ask yourself which one or two features are absolutely critical for the initial success of your project, and see if you can scale back your plans to just those items.

    If you do decide to build an MVP, it can be especially helpful to work with a dev shop like OTS Solutions. Experienced developers have a sharp eye for “scope creep,” and their input will help you determine which features you really need, and which can wait until after your app becomes a hit.

    The Bottom Line

    As is often the case, you get what you pay for when it comes to mobile app development, and quality isn’t cheap. Whether you pay hourly or flat price your project, you should expect an effective hourly rate of $100, if not more. If that seems steep at first, don’t worry. There are many ways to control your total costs, and a well made app will pay for itself over time.

  • How to be a better startup founder in 2017?

    How to be a better startup founder in 2017?

    “How can I be the best startup founder I can be?”

    It’s a question every entrepreneur has asked themselves at one time or another. Unfortunately, it seems like every technique to improve your business either takes a lot of time or money (or both).

    Thankfully, there are many steps you can take to be a better entrepreneur in 2017; if you apply the following tips appropriately, we’re sure that your start up will really start up.

    Knowing Yourself: The Theory of Constraints

    There are no shortage of books that claim to teach you the “right mindset” for entrepreneurs. Many of them focus on positive thinking and growth mentality, which is a good place to start, but to be truly successful, you’re going to need to be honest (and occasional harsh) with yourself.

    If you’ve ever worked in manufacturing or production, you’re probably familiar with the idea of the Theory of Constraints (sometimes referred to as the “TOC”). Essentially, TOC is bottom-up approach to improvement in which you outline every single step of the manufacturing process, with the goal of finding the proverbial “weakest link”.

    This theory can apply to your personal life, too. Take a personal inventory of your traits as an entrepreneur. For the sake of explanation, let’s say that you have realized that you have the following problems:

    • Wasting too much time on social media or other “time-wasting” technology
    • Taking too long to respond to emails and messages
    • Having problems with employee retention

    We don’t know about you, but we’d definitely choose “employee retention” as the most serious issue, and therefore, the first one you should work on. By slowly rooting out your…shall we say “lesser qualities” one by one, you can efficiently and quickly improve your skills as a startup owner in 2017.

    Harnessing SEO and Knowing Your Competition

    As the owner of any sort of business, you need to know what makes your product or company unique. What are you giving your customers that your competition isn’t (or can’t)? This means it’s crucial to have a thorough understanding of the other businesses that are competing for your customers.

    These days, one of the easiest ways to do this is by checking out their website and social media presence. If you want to dig even deeper, you should do a Google search for “(your line of business) in (your area)”. See which websites pop up before yours on a simple search–those top few results are your fiercest competition.

    It’s an unfortunate truth of business these days that if you’re not in the first page of Google results for your kind of business, you’re invisible. If you want to fight your way to the top of Google, you should start researching SEO techniques.

    SEO (Search Engine Optimization) refers to an ever-changing series of techniques ranging from content to website organization, link-building, and more. With the necessary SEO knowledge and application of a few techniques, it won’t take you long to start making your way up the search engine ladder.

    If that all sounds a little complicated, we understand. We recommend Red Evolution’s excellent guide for entrepreneurs and development professionals who are new to the world of SEO.

    Growth Hacking and Bootstrapping

    If you’re an entrepreneur, or you work in development, you’re probably familiar with the term “bootstrapping”. It’s a term that refers to self-funded businesses. Although it’s really difficult to fund a business by yourself, every entrepreneur can learn from the mindset of successful, bootstrapped businesses, including:

    • Promoting maximum efficiency in the workplace
    • Keeping expenses as low and as lean as humanly possible
    • Putting in extra hours as the boss or manager to minimize payroll

    The last 2017-centered technique we’ll examine today is “growth hacking“. It’s not as complicated as it might sound–rather, growth hacking is a catch-all term for low-cost internet marketing strategies. A few of these include setting up automatic social media posts or inbound drip email campaigns.

    Although there’s no “one-size-fits-all” strategy for business success, with the right mindset, research, and techniques, you’ll make 2017 your business’s year!

  • Agile Scrum Development

    How to use Agile & Scrum to develop software efficiently?

    Development of computer technology and its advancement is the best event that ever happened to our society. It becomes useful and functions with the use of computer software and also with small devices. Life has eventually become easier and better. Appropriate software should be developed for best results. The software is a program that is run on a computer. It instructs the computer to perform specific tasks. This article will give you an insight of how to carry out the activity by the use of Agile & Scrum.

    AGILE

    Agile development refers to classifying procedures that are depending on their iterative growth to enhance software development. Agile development processes should be within the set Manifesto. The solutions and necessities develop if the self-organizing team collaborate with the cross functional team. The methods advocate for a management process that aid in the following;
    • Frequent examination and adaptation.
    • A qualified and well-supported teamwork by the leaders.
    • Accountability and self-planning.
    • Best engineering practices with the aim of delivering quality software.
    • A business model capable of fulfilling the customers’ needs and the goals of the organization.

    SCRUM

    It is a set procedure that is used in the development of software. The framework involves a lightweight process that is used in development. A particular set of tasks is done as directed to have consistency with the framework. Development cycles known as Sprints are required in the context process while pair programming requires XP framework. The process involves little work. It saves a lot of time.

    Specific notions and tasks such as time boxes, responsibility, and artifacts differentiate it from other procedures. Complicated software and product growth use it for management by practicing increment and iteration. Time is saved, and productivity is increased remarkably. Organizations can smoothly adjust to the ever changing demands. This creates a product that helps in accomplishing the actual business goals.

    Advantages to the firm
    • Deliverables increase in quality.
    • Adapt well to change.
    • Estimates provided are better and less time is used to create them.
    • More control of the project program and state.

    You must comprehend the following significant terms used for you to understand how to develop software efficiently;
    1. Team.
    This consists of database people, developers, product owner, support people, master, and a tester. They work together relatively and at intervals to create and apply the features.

    2. Sprint.
    The duration in which the work should be completed and presented for review or deployment is called Sprint. It lies between 2-4 weeks in most cases.

    3. Product Owner.
    The primary stakeholder of the developed application is the product owner. He or she is responsible for customer clarification. The team should be able to access the product owner whenever they need him.

    4. Master.
    The master coordinates the team and ensures that they produce and progress efficiently.

    5. User Story.
    The necessities implemented are called user story. They appear in the form of a short paragraph.

    6. Epics.
    The unspecified user stories reserved for the future are called Epics.

    7. Product Backlog.
    User stories get stored in a place called Product Backlog that is managed by the owner.

    8. Sprint Backlog.
    All the collected user stories that are worked on by the team at a particular sprint are known as Sprint Backlog.

    9. Story Points.
    Story points quantify and show the complication in the user story. The complexity gets presented as small, medium, or high.

    10. Burn Down Chart.
    It tracks the everyday work of the team to determine whether the progress towards completion of the user stories is achievable within a particular sprint.

    11. Velocity.
    The total of all story points stored by the team within a particular sprint is known as speed. It helps in judging the team’s efforts.

    METHODOLOGY.

    Software development is as follows:

    a) Plan for a meeting
    The team gathers for a meeting. The product owner chooses a user story according to priority. They size the story based on its complexity after discussing it.

    b) Implementing of Sprint Tasks
    The team works on the user story until it is finished.

    c) Daily Meetings.
    The team should meet daily for at least 15 minutes to articulate on what each member did yesterday, plans for today, and any barriers available.

    d) Meeting to Review.
    The team member should come together to demonstrate the applied user stories to the owner after every sprint.

    e) Retrospective Meeting.
    The meeting is held by the team after every sprint to brainstorm on what went on smoothly, the rough times, learned lessons, and actions to take on specific items.

    CONCLUSION:

    The above methodologies may be difficult for some people at the beginning. Your application will start growing if you have enough practice and sufficient resources. Allocating the team members for self-study and presenting their findings every day offers an excellent platform for knowledge and skill enhancement on this development.

  • The Internet of Things

    How the IoT is changing business today?

    The Future of Industrial IoT And Your Business

    As far back as the assembly line, we have used technology to gather data in order to increase output, become more efficient, and more effective. We are just now entering the age of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

    For companies in any sector that take advantage of the use of technology, now is the time to get ahead of the curve. Fortune 500 companies are ill equipped on their own to handle the sheer amount of data that sensors produce, but Centers of Excellence aim to solve this issue.

    Centers of Excellence

    To properly analyze and execute upon the data created by the billions of available sensors that exist today, companies are putting together brain trusts known as ‘Centers of Excellence’. These are think tanks filled with directors, software engineers, hardware engineers, and various other positions that are experts in IIoT across global business sectors.

    Big Data

    Sensors around the world are producing big data. Uses for this data includes increasing the efficiency of manufacturing, refining current and creating new products, and lowering labor costs.

    Everyone is in search of a faster, cheaper, and more reliable way of doing things. Data captured and made use of through sensors are a surefire way to contribute to this goal.

    For example, if a Caterpillar machine has sensors that can capture and relay data such as movement, fuel, and hydraulic usage, engineers can improve upon current machine designs. This will allow them to refine their designs in order to make the machines more efficient, more effective, and more attractive for the consumer. After all, who wouldn’t want a more reliable and less expensive version of products that are vital to daily operation?

    Automation

    Labor costs are the first line item in the budget for nearly every business. Businesses need people to produce, operate, and maintain the products that they produce. For now, that is.

    Drones, robots, and driverless cars are already in use. While this may not be good news for the laborers, it is certainly good news for companies looking to cut costs and increase output. In fact, a driverless trucking company has already made a delivery of beer purely without the use of human labor. Imagine the ability to run your trucks 24 hours a day without the need for the human drivers to sleep. The ability for robots to run 24 hours a day forming, cutting, and welding sheets of metal to be used in various applications. Let us not forget drones that inevitably will fly commercial planes without the use of pilots.

    Data As A Product

    Big data is a name that doesn’t do it justice. With billions of IoT/IIoT devices and sensors now connected that each spit out a continuous stream of information, there is more information than people know what to with.

    In the future, when companies who are late to the party finally understand the need to join the connected devices and big data revolution, it will be another great opportunity for the early starters to cash in.

    The data that they collect today will be able to be sold to these late joiners in large packages for extremely high amounts of money. This is because they will have years of invaluable information collected and analyzed that late adopters will see as a necessity in order to survive, let alone thrive.

    Those companies that choose to jump the roadblocks and navigate their way with a compass early on will be able to sell their GPS-precise (so to speak) information at a premium.

    Final Thoughts

    The future of automation is close. Those companies that decide, and decide now, to get in on developing technologies on their own and through centers of excellence will cost them a lot of money now, but they will reap the rewards in the future. Their companies will understand what works and what doesn’t, thus being far ahead of the curve compared to late adopters. And when those late adopters finally arrive tomorrow, they will be met with a heavy price tag for guidance and data from those early adopters that took the risk today.

  • How are technologies changing the way people interact in the workplace?

    How are technologies changing the way people interact in the workplace?

    In today’s fast-paced working environment, technology holds the key to success. From thriving corporate environments to smaller, tight-knit startups, software and gadgets are vital. This helpful analysis shows off just how tech in the workplace has a valuable impact when it comes to collaborating on a team, communicating effectively, staying productive and much more.

    Innovation

    The internet is ripe with tools to promote innovation in the modern workplace. Many of today’s workers rely on free software and programs to brainstorm and iterate ideas. Krita, Google SketchUp, Inkscape and Pixlr are just some of the many robust visual tools that today’s companies should take full advantage of. With visual communication, it’s easy to approach problems from a new angle and ultimately innovate more efficiently and creatively. For the ultimate idea development in the workplace, these tools are absolutely essential.

    Collaboration

    It has never been easier to collaborate than in today’s world. Google Drive and Dropbox are perfect for file-sharing, while other tools available online even allow real-time collaboration. For workplaces that are either limited on space or want to connect with people in a wide variety of locations, RealtimeBoard and Ziteboard are a few of the many helpful, digital whiteboard collaboration tools. Additionally, workplaces that involve coding and programming have a slew of real-time collaboration tools as well. With options like Kobra, Cloud 9 and Code Pad, modern workplaces can experience the best of collaboration no matter whether every employee is in the office or if the organization involves off-site independent contractors.

    Research

    The internet makes it possible to stay up to date and research online content to maintain a competitive edge. Whether you need to understand market conditions before launching a new product or you’d like to stay on top of trends in the virtual reality industry, it’s easier than ever before. Sites like Twitter, Instagram, Medium and Facebook make it possible to consume valuable information on a daily basis. With plenty of niche sites created by passionate hobbyists and industry veterans, there’s a wealth of information that’s transforming the workplace on a daily basis. These days, employees are more likely to come across valuable, shareable information that promotes collaboration and innovation in the workplace.

    Connectivity

    One of the most important aspects of a quality working environment is effective communication and interaction. Whether attending conferences or simply keeping up with daily tasks, technology keeps employees connected. Tools like Slack, Skype, Whatsapp and more help everyone to stay on the page and stay in touch. With the increased use of wearable gadgets, it’s even easier for employees to stay on top of important work-related updates. Overall, today’s technological advances mean the entire workplace can stay connected and on top of tasks, even outside of the office.

    A Worldwide Connection

    Today’s technological tools mean a lot for employees and hiring managers alike. With instant online messaging and high-quality video calls, the job search has become more accessible to individuals no matter where they’re located. It’s easier to network online and connect with professionals around the globe. Likewise, employees are always looking to gain a competitive edge with online learning tools and worldwide job searches. The impact these tools have on how people interact in the workplace can be enormous when you consider how large the worldwide talent pool truly is.

    Productivity

    Although some of today’s naysayers may harp on digital communication, it surely has a positive impact in the workplace. Especially when it comes to larger companies, tech limits the necessity to track down relevant documents and individuals. Likewise, employees can avoid distractions and focus on work without lengthy or difficult communication with chatty coworkers. Although in-person collaboration is absolutely a bonus for a thriving organization, there are times when it’s more important to get down to work. With the flexibility of smartphones, laptops and answering machines, the workplace has easily become a much more productive environment.

  • The Power of Blockchain in Transforming the World

    How is blockchain transforming the world?

    The traditional ways of doing things, such as carrying out business transactions, are under attack. The technology behind that is blockchain is a technology that has created a lot of attention and excitement around the world. So what is this technology? It is a technology comparable to the internet; it is built to be robust. It stores identical information in the form of blocks that is across the network. Some of the greatest characteristics are that any single entity can not control it and it has no single point of failure. There are several ways in which this technology is transforming the world.

    There are more applications of this technology that have the capability of digital transforming the world as we know it and they go beyond the obvious things such as electronic currencies and money transfers. One of the major use cases includes electronic currencies and money transfers. They range from electronic voting, smart contracts & digitally recorded property assets to patient health document management and proof of ownership for online content.

    Increase Transparency

    One of the major features of distributed database is that it is transparent and incorruptible. Founded on the status of consensus, a state where it checks itself in an interval of ten minutes, it is a self-auditing system of digital value; the network reconciles every transaction that happens in every ten-minute interval. Each transaction that is carried out in the system is known as a “block.” There are critical properties that are the outcome of these operations/transactions; the data that is exchanged within the system as a whole is public; the database cannot be corrupted; changing a single unit of information in a database would require enormous computing power capability to take over the entire network. In theory, it may be possible to corrupt the data. However, in practice, it is impossible to carry out such a task. For example, taking control of the system to steal Bitcoins would also destroy its value.

    Transform the Internet and Global economy

    The distributed database protocol has altered hundreds of industries that depends on the intermediaries; they include finance, academia, finance, insurance, healthcare, legal, and real-estate amongst others. It eliminates the time it takes to process a single transaction and another regulatory requirement as is the case with banks and governments. The protocol is opening up the global economy; more people is in a position to conduct their business more often and efficiently. Most importantly, the technology behind this database is eliminating costly intermediary fees such as remittance space that become huge impediments for individuals and businesses.

    The protocol enables the digitization of assets. The primary objective that is driving public ledger is shifting from the internet of information where you can view, exchange and transfer information of value over the Internet; you can also transfer assets. This technology is transforming the global economy due to its elimination of the large intermediaries who is no longer play a significant role.

    Eliminating Intermediaries

    The protocol is placed to phase out the intermediaries that have been in use in previous years. In future, intermediaries such as the banks will not play their usual role when this technology finally takes over. The future of distributed database is where the trust is established through consensus and robust computer code rather than through central intermediaries. The nature adopted by the technology, decentralization, openness and cryptography, it allows you to conduct transactions that are based on trust and making operations on peer to peer basis, thereby marking the end for intermediaries. Eliminating intermediaries could also bring forth various benefits such as security. The cyber-attacks that are usually carried out on centralized intermediaries such as banks would be impossible to conduct successfully.

    Power The Internet of Things

    Blockchain can be closely related to the Internet of Things (IoT). The most significant development in this industry is concerned with the quantitative measurement of what in the past has been considered as qualitative phenomena. Apart from having the capability of tracking and authenticating device history, this technology that is powered by IoT can give a greater degree for devices enabling them to make different kinds of the transaction without having to depend on the third parties.

    Finally, this technology could provide to the rise of applications that plays a critical role in the future societies, that we do not have an alternative. With time more use case of this protocol will be adopted, and it is bound to transform the world as we know it.

  • Agile Scrum Development

    What key roles are necessary in agile scrum development?

    Agile methods are an alternative to stage-gate project management, including software application projects. Stage-gate methods of management depend on project managers delivering artifacts that record a completed task. A list of required artifacts for each stage is established, usually by a PMO, that needs to be created, reviewed, and approved before the next stage of the project’s life-cycle can be started. A change to the project must be submitted via a project change request or PCR. Changes are strongly discouraged and take a long time to approve.

    The agile development or scrum development approach assumes that changes will occur during the product’s life-cycle and are welcomed as long as they improve the customer experience. In other words, what the end customer wants and needs will change over time as they get to interact in phases (or releases) with the solution. Scrum development teams start working with a product owner, or user representative, as early as possible, to determine what is called the minimum viable product or MVP. The MVP is an understanding with the product owner of the minimum functionality required to do something useful and from which incremental development, or releases, will proceed until the full set of requirements is delivered. Scrum teams are made up of five to seven members, with role flexibility in mind. Work is done in “sprints” lasting three to five weeks, at the end of which there should be a fully tested product with additional functionality.

    There are only three key roles in a scrum team: product owner, developer/tester, and ScrumMaster.

    Product Owner

    The product owner represents the product users and their vision of what the product functionality is to be. One way they convey this vision to the scrum team is through product backlog “grooming” meetings, or prioritizing features list (a.k.a. user stories) for the product. A product owner delivers a solid understanding of users, the business competition for those customers, and a product roadmap with a vision for the future. Product owners must collaborate and compromise, since it’s the scrum team who selects from the backlog priorities the amount of work they commit to during each sprint, trusting that they know best what they are capable of. In return for that commitment, the product owner makes a reciprocal commitment of not coming up with new requirements during a sprint. Requirements are allowed to change (and change is encouraged) but only outside the sprint.

    An individual in the product owner’s role is expected to be actively engaged with the scrum team, be business savvy, and skilled in communicating different messages to different people, internal and external to his organization, sponsors and stakeholders of the project at any given time.

    Developer/Tester

    In non-agile, traditional software development, a programmer’s role (Developer) is sharply separated from a tester’s role (Quality Assurance). In scrum teams where members are encouraged to be flexible and knowledgeable with many tasks, at any given time, if necessary to meet the sprint commitments, everybody works together to improve and build quality into the product. Developer’s don’t program and hand-out their work to be tested. Tester’s don’t just run test scripts, identify defects, and log them for fixing. They work and complement each other and roles may rotate sprint by sprint, per each member’s strengths, weaknesses, and desire to learn new things. It will be difficult for individuals to meet the acceptance criteria of what they are developing and consider a story “done” without early-on tester collaboration and tester’s won’t be effective without immersing themselves and understanding the developer’s work. There are no set/fast rules, it goes down to team working agreements per sprint.

    ScrumMaster

    ScrumMasters serve as mentors and champions of the scrum way of doing things. They also organize meetings associated with it such as sprint planning, backlog grooming with the product owner, stand-up meetings, reviews, and retrospectives. The ScrumMaster role is similar to the traditional project manager but without complicated process and procedures to follow. ScrumMasters are flexible and ideally can take any scrum role to complete a task required to move the sprint forward.

    Summary

    Scrum team roles must be assigned wisely to individuals. Look for members cultural fit and acceptance of their responsibility in the sprint. Let the team come up with their own working agreement decisions and trust their daily procedures for communication and collaboration.

  • How will technology change our lives in twenty years?

    How will technology change our lives in twenty years?

    Technology is constantly advancing and changing, sometimes at a shocking pace. While we often think we know what the future holds, we are often surprised by what does and doesn’t actually happen. While the 1995 hit movie Back To The Future made some wild predictions about life in 2015, such as the availability of hover boards, it did actually hit quite a few technological advances right on the nose. Flat panel, widescreen TV’s mounted on walls were in fact a daily part of our lives in 2015, as were video chat systems, wearable devices and even tablet computers with fingerprint scanners. You don’t necessarily have to have a crystal ball to predict future technological advancements, you just have to see the seeds being planted today to understand how they will develop in the future. Here are 3 ways technology development will change our lives in the future.

    1. Disease prevention

    Watches and wearable devices are currently on the market that can monitor our heart rate and how many calories we burn when exercising. Tomorrow’s software will allow wearable tech to monitor blood sugar levels, oxygen consumption and even changes in hormone levels. Your watch can tell you when your stress levels are rising, when you need to eat and what would be the best food choice at that time for optimal health, when you are getting dehydrated or even when its the optimal time for pregnancy. Today we are getting much better at curing cancer, in 20 years, our wearable tech may actually be able to help prevent it in the first place.

    2. Minimal drive time

    We are already seeing cars that can park themselves and self-driving cars are definitely on their way, but current technological advancements are already decreasing our need to even use cars in the first place. As it is, features like video conference and cloud computing are allowing more and more businesses to offer their employees the freedom to work remotely, not to mention hire someone from India as easily as someone from Indiana. Not only does this cut down on the amount of time spend commuting every day, but it also cuts down significantly on the number of people that even need cars in the first place.

    Public transportation is also making rapid advances as are car sharing services and even hire services like Uber and Lyft. The time may come when individuals won’t even need driver’s licenses anymore because they either don’t drive at all or their car drives itself. With less cars on the road – and possibly even less roads – this will also lead to fresher air and less pollutants in the atmosphere. This may also lead more people to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. Fewer cars will almost also lead the trend away from giant shopping centers and mega marts in favor of smaller, local stores within walking distance – which will also have an increased benefit to overall health.

    3. Less time spent on routine tasks

    Just 20 years ago, when you went to the grocery store, a checker had to remove each article from your basket and manually ring in the price of each item into a cash register. Today, checkers simply run a bar code over a scanner – if there is even a checker at all. Checking out has become so easy, many people opt for a self-checkout rather than waiting in line to have someone do it for them.

    In the future, there will be no checkout lines at all, as scanners will simply scan any items you leave the store with and automatically debit your financial account. Many items will actually be ordered by your appliances and simply delivered to your home, most likely via a drone or even a robot. Even your visit to the doctor will start off with a drone or robot checking your vitals, hormone levels and perform a number of baseline tests, which will include accessing the information from your personal health monitor.

    All in all technological advancements are moving towards automation to take over our most mundane daily tasks, as well as the most mundane tasks in business, science and medicine.

  • 5-Reasons-Why-Startups-Fail

    What are the major reasons for start-ups’ failures?

    It is a sad fact that only 10% of start ups actually become profitable enterprises. It would be great if people venturing into the world of startups would genuinely learn from the mistakes of those that came before them, but like so many other cautionary tales, people often think that what happened to others can’t or won’t happen to them or they are the exception to the rule. For those that are eager to learn from the mistakes of others, however, here are 5 of the biggest reasons for a startup to fail.

    1. They create a product people don’t actually want

    The tech world in particular is littered with apps that no one genuinely wanted or had a use for. Some of those apps were able to be salvaged by others and used for purposes the original designer never thought of, but sometimes redesigning an app takes almost as much time as designing it did in the first place. Even outside of the world of technology, however, for every Croc or Post It note, there is a superhighway littered with inventions like hula chair, phone fingers and the pet spa.

    2. They compartmentalized too early

    Genius inventors often don’t have a head for marketing, while marketers may not be great number crunchers. Eventually, there comes a time when you definitely want to compartmentalize and hire people to be brilliant in different areas without your direct supervision. But entrepreneurs have to pay attention to and be fairly skilled at everything. You have to pay attention to all the “boring stuff” like contracts, finances, leases, permits, codes and even patent law. Yes, you need people who can explain all these things to you, but you also need them to not stop explaining it until you fully and completely understand not only the topic at hand, but how it affects the overall big picture.

    3. They grew too soon

    This might possibly be the #1 with a bullet reason most startups fail. Most often entrepreneurs that think they have a new, hot product or service want to get it on the market now. In reality, the most successful inventions, businesses and companies spent years in development before getting up and running. What’s true in the business world is also true in almost every other field as well. Musical acts that become an “overnight success” have generally spent years laboring away in crappy bars and nightclubs and practicing in garages and storage units before finally hitting it big.

    4. They didn’t grow fast enough

    Yes, this is something of a conundrum. The point is, before you are ready to start your business or company, there is a certain amount of preparation and maturation that needs to happen. Before you are ready to grow, you need to be prepared for growth, because once you start growing you need to grow fast to achieve critical mass. The point is, there is a lot to be said for laboring in relative obscurity for years before becoming and “overnight success.” The time you spent laboring in the dark is preparing you for your moment in the sun, because when it comes, you want to milk it for all it’s worth.

    5. Their team wasn’t solid

    This is another reason why you might not want to try and push your way into the limelight too quickly. Every major corporation was once a startup and the most successful ones were almost all started by a team of people that had a long history together and well-developed relationships. Apple was of course founded by the Steves Jobs and Wozniak, Bill Gates had Paul Allen and Phil Knight of Nike had his old track coach Bill Bowerman. Even wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg had his Harvard roommate Eduardo Saverin.

    Not all of these relationships stood the tests of time, in fact sometimes the team you need to grow a company is very different from the team you need to get it up and running the first place. The point is, most successful startups have been the result of a team effort, not a single individual. Ironically, in many of these cases, the team that stuck together through the toughest of times often fell apart once they achieved success.

  • IoT

    Why should CIO invest in IOT application development?

    In an ever-growing number of industries, the Chief Information Officer is becoming an indispensable part of the leadership team. As your organization’s CIO, it’s your responsibility to keep track of the constant technological changes confronting you and position your team to take full advantage of emergent opportunities. When it comes to the Internet of Things, application development should be a vital part of your approach.

    The Scope Of Possibilities

    The Internet of Things has made a rapid transition from trade journal buzzword to core function for many companies. The Internet of Things is no longer about “pie in the sky” consumer goods like smart refrigerators; today countless companies are finding real applications for this technology that can drive sales, boost profits, and reduce costs.

    One of the most fertile fields for exploring Internet of Things opportunities is in the field of business-to-business and enterprise commerce. If your company provides smart products that other companies rely on, you need to be prepared to make full use of the data those products collect. There are two key challenges standing between your organization and the full realization of its IoT potential: Coping with the scale of the data collected and building the tools to put that data to work.

    Problems Of Scale

    Your company doesn’t have to deploy many smart devices before you find yourself facing a tidal wave of incoming data. IBM recently estimated that a single smart car could generate as much as 25 GB of data per hour when in use. Even though your own devices are likely to be less “noisy,” the amount of data you need to sift through scales exponentially as more devices are deployed.

    App development is just part of making that data productive. You also need the IT infrastructure in place to receive, store, and manipulate your device data. The traffic between your organization and its devices may be two-way or one-way, and your infrastructure should be ready to handle the increased traffic that smart devices impose upon it. Successful implementation of smart devices will definitely put you into a “big data” situation, and you need to be ready to take full advantage of that.

    User Vs. Supplier Opportunities

    The sheer variety of different ways you might take advantage of smart devices and their data makes it difficult to talk generally about the sort of applications you’ll need. Just bear in mind that you likely have opportunities to benefit both your own organization and your end users. You may want to invest in separate teams to cover each of these bases.

    Strong applications for the user side of your smart device network will significantly improve your users’ experience and help you meet your customers’ needs. To this end, your user-side apps need to focus on ease of use and reliability. On the supplier side, you need to build robust tools that will allow you to streamline your other services. Look for every possible way to streamline your organization’s workflow through the data your devices collect. Making device data available to your support department can result in significant maintenance savings, for example.

    Why Application Development Can’t Be Left Behind

    You’ve already gotten a glimpse of the advantages that you can capture by paying attention to the software side of smart devices. What about the potential pitfalls you face if you neglect your applications? Justifying the resources you invest in apps requires you to present a compelling picture of the dangers you’re avoiding.

    While falling prices are a big driver behind the growth of the internet of things, building smart functionality into your products still represents a significant investment. Those costs will be wasted if your organization doesn’t have the software “muscle” to take advantage of the opportunities you’re building into your hardware. That means building and maintaining a potent development team both to meet your current needs and to identify emerging ones.

    Smart devices are going to play a transformative role in a lot of different industries over the next few years. Is your organization ready to take full advantage of the possibilities they unlock? As the CIO, you have a responsibility to take the long view and line up the resources that will be crucial in getting the most out of your devices.

  • Scrum-Agile-Development-Methodology

    How to derive effective results using Scrum agile methodology?

    Agile is an alternative to the traditional waterfall or stage-gate project management in software development. Traditional  methodologies follow a step-by-step sequence such as initiation, planning, execution, control, and monitoring, and finally closing. Scope, budget, and schedule are determined early in the project and closely managed during the project’s duration with clearly defined change processes. Traditional project management expects that once a scope of work, budget plans, and activity milestones are created and reviewed by sponsors and stakeholders, changes will be few and difficult to implement.

    The agile methodology approach to software development instead emphasizes that the requirements of the solution to be delivered, in other words, what the end customer wants and needs will change over time. Instead of waiting or expecting to know it all at the beginning of the project, agile teams tackle this unpredictability through incremental, iterative work, and lots of feedback from the customer.

    Agile teams are commonly known as scrum teams, emphasizing small(5 to 7 members), with simplicity and flexibility in mind for each member’s role. As a team organizational method, it requires constant empirical feedback, team self-management, and the delivery of fully functioning, properly tested product increments within short time iterations of between three to five weeks called sprints.

    There are usually only three roles: product owner, developer/tester, and ScrumMaster. The product owner represents the customers of the solution, for example, a software application, and his role is to provide constant feedback and influence team decisions taking into account what is best for the customer. Developers are expected not only to program but also to test their own work and that of other team members if necessary. ScrumMaster’s are closely related to project managers, and
    in a sense, that’s what they are, but without the baggage of processes and procedures imposed by a traditional methodology. Instead, ScrumMasters are expected to participate and facilitate teamwork by taking any task or role required to move the project forward.

    ScrumMasters are also expected to own the effective planning and execution of meetings that support agile development: backlog grooming, sprint planning, daily 15-minute stand-up, sprint reviews, and sprint retrospectives. A backlog is a collection of project/business requirements called user stories. Each user story is a self-contained, easy to understand narrative, that when worked upon in a sprint delivers a new software application capability. User stories that are not being
    delivered in a current sprint are “stored” in a backlog, and the list is “groomed” at the end of each sprint to remove, update, or become part of the next sprint deliverable. After the backlog grooming exercise, at the sprint planning meeting, the team decides which user stories will be delivered on the next sprint.

    In sprint review meetings, teams show what they have accomplished and are ready to ship. The sprint retrospective meeting is done before the next sprint is started. This is an open, honest, all-team discussion of what went well and what went wrong. At the end of the meeting, the team agrees on what could be changed to make the next sprint more productive.

    In order to derive effective results from teams following an agile methodology, there are important considerations to take into account.

    Build teams wisely with hiring decisions and team design that ensure acceptance and cultural fit of its members. Training, mentorship, and coaching should be made available and if necessary part of new hiring decisions to create a support structure for implementation of agile development. Trust the team to make decisions and stay away from their daily process. The only way to build an effective scrum team is to let them organize themselves at their own pace and with their own collaboration processes and working agreements.

    Protect the team from disruptions during the sprint, especially from over-eager product owners who may want to introduce changes in mid-sprint.

    Make it a continuous process to identify and eliminate waste, encouraging lean processes and practices. Automate as many manual processes as you can. Create incentives wisely to boost morale and reward positive behavior recognizing in a balanced approach both teams and individuals for on-time results, high quality, creativity, collaboration, leadership, and process improvements. Create opportunities for growth with rotating team roles.

  • Mobile Apps

    A good mobile app enhances the utilization of the device: True or false!

    With the advent of smartphones in the early 2000s, the world quickly changed with information in the palm of the hand. These devices began as basic tools with calculators and Internet connectivity, but they became more useful with each software update. Currently, you can access almost any company, product or game by simply downloading an application or app. These innovations beg the question of whether or not a good mobile app enhances the utilization of a device. In fact, this question must be answered with a resounding “yes” for several reasons. The technology within the device can be used with apps as clever ways to see or interpret the world.

    Incorporate Location Services

    It’s true that a good, mobile design will enhance a device’s use because of location services. Activate this function on the device so that its coordinates can be found. The app will find your location, and it can pinpoint services in your area that pertain to your needs. Locate a dry cleaners or restaurant that’s only one block away. These location services are so accurate that you can triangulate your position in regards to the destination’s coordinates. Many apps can use this device feature, which makes its applications in everyday life very useful.

    Colors Brighten the Day

    Every time a manufacturer introduces a new device, the screen progressively improves. Clarity and color quantities are common features that see marked changes. As app development improves, each subsequent game or resource can use these features accordingly. A fantasy app might take advantage of the bright screen colors that make a story come alive. As a result, app users access the game more often with a device that seems to keep on giving in the feature department. In this case, it’s true that a good app harnesses the power of a device while showing off its best features.

    The Camera Factor

    Nearly every smartphone comes with front- and rear-facing cameras. You may use the cameras for basic photography, but a good app will embed this visual function into its operations. The camera might scan an area or take a random photo for use in the app. Filters, edits, cropping and other features can enhance the use of the camera with one tap of the screen. If the app doesn’t offer the best use of the camera, this feature will be overlooked until it’s needed for a basic application.

    Accelerometer Fever

    Many smartphones have accelerometers within their assemblies, which orients the device in real time. In essence, the phone knows when it’s tilted, upright or upside down. A mobile app that takes this feature into consideration makes the physical device part of the game. An app might feature a pinball machine where you need to tilt the phone in the right direction to orient the ball. The device might be used to “point” the user in the right direction, such as toward a business along a road. Countless applications can be generated for business or personal purposes when it comes to mobile design.

    Connect to Bluetooth

    Apps with music capabilities are almost always enhanced with Bluetooth connectivity. An app might use Bluetooth to sound off its effects through speakers or headphones. Your game app may be better played when it has an old-fashioned joystick attached to it. Connect a Bluetooth game controller to the tablet or smartphone, and you have instant access to a video-game experience. App developers simply need to think like consumers in order to create the best possible interface with the device.

    Updates are Critical

    Devices are constantly receiving software updates so your app must go through the same process. Take advantage of these update opportunities to fix any bugs or add any suggestions offered by your customers. Whether you sell gaming experiences or food at the local deli market, altering the app for a successful update will only excite your clients.

    As smartphones continue to evolve with each annual introduction, you’ll see apps that harness those new additions. Keep up with the latest apps by browsing through the weekly selections offered by your service provider. The next, best app for daily life could arrive tomorrow. You simply need to keep an eye out for the opportunity to try it on your personal device.

  • Digital Strategies for Business

    10 trends that will dominate digital strategies of businesses

    Nowadays, almost everything around us is technology-based. From home appliances to office equipment, we are surrounded by items, which didn’t use to exist in the past. On top of that, all these things are fast changing. The typewriters you were amazed at recently can now only be seen in museums. Today, it’s all about keyboard and touch pad.

    Digital transformation has been so swift that you will never notice just about everything you do can now is done in just one touch. Sophistication is now the name of the game. Whatever is termed “Hi-Tech” will always be in business. This is why there is a growing trend for business in relation to digital-innovation.

    Hi-tech innovations have made businesses both producers and consumers. Businesses innovate something for businesses to use. Nonetheless, consumers will still remain the king. Consequently, digital marketers and entrepreneurs are forced to react to such changes.

    Today, we will go over the 10 trends that will dominate digital-strategies of business. Let’s get started!

    1. Intelligent Personal Assistant

    Personal assistant technology such as Amazon Echo, Alexa Voice System, Google Home, and Apple’s Siri has become popular and affordable. Expect to see new brands and new players in the market for this segment and making an impact for digital strategies in business.

    2. Chatbots

    The rise of chatbots has been very significant. Recently, Facebook, Twitter, and Google started their own experiment to enable chatbots in their messaging platforms. In business, this technology is a gem, and many companies recognize the importance of connecting with their customers through live chat support.

    However, employing a number of people to work for this alone may not be that efficient. Through chatbots, companies may get their people to focus on other work. Instead of employing real people to operate the platform, companies may use chatbots.

    3. Artificial Intelligence

    Artificial intelligence used to be just a concept in some old sci-fi films and today, it’s a reality. Google’s search engine is one good example. With the help of AI’s such as RankBrain and Knowledge Graph, your queries are answered the way it’s provided by human intelligence.

    4. The Internet of Things

    The internet of things or IoT is beginning to take shape today. The internet is no longer a place to connect to people; it can now also connect people to things and things to things. The most common example is augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

    5. Mobile Devices

    The number of mobile device users is overtaking the number of desktop and laptop users. As a result, many companies are beginning to react to this trend. They start creating their own mobile-friendly sites and apps to keep up with such changes.

    6. Cloud-Services

    The rise of cloud-services has been phenomenal. A few years ago, Dropbox and Google Drive were the only popular means to store files in the cloud. Today, there are a lot of cloud-services that provide many features other than just storage. What used to work only in your local device can now work in the cloud.

    7. Social Media Branding

    Branding strategies have evolved from the mass media to social media. Before, it was what the content that could tell people and what a brand is. Today, it is the people that can create content to determine the branding.

    8. Productivity Apps

    Productivity apps have become widespread in the past few years. However, most platforms that have been developed are intended for office tasks, especially when it involves working with computers.

    On the other hand, there is a growing trend toward going beyond the confine of office work. We can now see productivity apps being synced into POS and other non-corporate services where Uber App is a great example.

    9. Business Analytics

    Business analytics is becoming more dependent on software technology. Data is no longer generated manually. With the help of other related platforms such as customer service management (CRM), it is now easier to gather and distribute accurate data in real time.

    10. Ecommerce

    Ecommerce sites have proven itself to be resilient and viable. Amidst changes in the internet landscape, online shops continue to flourish and even dominate the internet economy.

    Conclusion

    Technology will continue to evolve, but nobody knows up to what level it will reach. The only thing we know is that technology will always give us surprises. The above innovations and trends will determine the direction of the market. This will further accelerate the race to produce the most sophisticated technology in the immediate future.

  • How can companies save cost with the help of cloud?

    How can companies save cost with the help of cloud?

    Data management is a core component to any business’s success. From inventory control to client invoicing, computers make the business world a reality in today’s connected times. However, stacking servers and updating software on a regular basis at each business can add up in cost over the years. Businesses are quickly realizing the strength of cloud computing as technology improves on almost a daily basis. By outsourcing data management to various third parties, companies can save thousands of dollars. Take a close look at the reasons behind these cost savings so that you can look forward to a stress-free office with cloud capabilities.

    Ample Storage Space

    Businesses managing their own computers will often run into storage problems. They face a choice of deleting some files or increasing their storage space. Both of these decisions take time and money away from the company. When businesses turn to third-party resources, such as Microsoft Azure, the storage factor isn’t an issue. In essence, companies rent enough server space for their needs. Many cloud-computing companies have options where businesses can upgrade their storage for a nominal fee. With virtually unlimited space, companies save on costs by avoiding any data setbacks.

    Fewer IT Hires

    When computers first entered the business world, their incorporation heralded in the field of IT or information technology. Computer-savvy employees suddenly had jobs because they were necessary for data management and possible software development. These professionals, however, can be expensive hires. Large businesses may need entire departments dedicated to IT tasks. With the use of cloud-based computing, businesses can reduce or eliminate their IT department. Only a few professionals are necessary as permanent hires to oversee this third-party relationship. Companies save thousands of dollars on payroll savings alone.

    No Hardware Updates

    Keeping up with hardware changes through the years is expensive. A computer or server might be three or four years old, and its components aren’t compatible with the latest technologies or software updates. Businesses end up paying for regular hardware updates as a result. Cloud-based computing has no such updates because the clients don’t support the hardware at their offices. The service provider houses and updates the hardware as necessary. These costs are part of the service package that’s offered to each business. There’s no downtime when the cloud-based company updates their hardware as clients continue to upload information from their remote computers.

    Remote-Employee Inclusion

    Because of Internet connectivity, many employees work remotely from the field or home office. In the past, they had to manually upload their data to the company’s computers each day or week. Remote workers didn’t have instant access to the main server. With cloud-computing services, remote workers are more efficient than ever. They can instantly see the business’s entire database without stepping into the main office. Because these workers don’t need to contact another employee and ask questions about database information, companies save substantial money.

    Data Backup Covered

    Losing data of any size is incredibly serious at a company. That information must be replicated and preserved somehow afterward. This reaction process takes time and money away from businesses every single day. With cloud-computing services, your data is backed up on a frequent schedule. It’s nearly impossible to lose data with these services because it’s their main job to focus on. Computing customers simply need to upload their information so that it’s available for regular backup processes. Time and money losses can be taken out of the equation.

    The Psychological Factor

    It’s difficult to run any business with so many worries that normally include IT priorities. When cloud-based computing is in place, business owners and managers can focus on other concerns. They’re not dividing their attention between various tasks so the business saves money as a result. In fact, a calm mind might create the next great advancement so that the company can move even further ahead. Being overwhelmed with internal issues can only drag a company’s momentum down with increased costs ahead.

    Picking a familiar name for cloud-based applications, such as Amazon Web Servcies, is a simple way to dive into this sector. Get to know the process, and you can slowly alter your needs in the future. Cloud-based computing will only grow larger as the Internet and businesses continue to expand across the globe.

  • app-development

    How to choose perfect developers for your mobile app idea?

    If you want your mobile app to work well, you need to have a defined process of filtering and choosing a good team of mobile app developers. It involves knowing what you want ahead of time. Once you know what you want from your app, you will have an idea what questions to ask your app developers.

    What do you want from the mobile app?

    When you know what you want from the app, you will communicate better with the app developers. The examples to keep in mind are having social media integration and login features. Other things to remember include giving out mobile apps for free or having a lite and premium version. You should also consider if you want the app compatible with Windows or Android or iOS or all.

    Do you want the app to make money? You need to tell this to the app developers, so they know what app to build for you. It could be a pay-per-download with a range of prices based on the features of the app. If the app is free, the app developers need to know too.

    Ask the app developers to show apps they created and list clients

    You need to be sure the developers know what they are doing. The app developer should have a list of people for whom they have created apps. The list includes the apps created. You cannot tell who has created an app by looking at it. That is why you need to speak to the developer’s clients. When you check references, you will know how responsible the app developers are. The reason you are checking the developers out is to ensure you get the services for which you will be paying.

    Speak to the team ahead of time

    Part of having clear communication is to talk to someone before hiring the person. Speak to the app developers face-to-face or on call and ask questions. It can be in person or via video messaging. You will get a feel for the team and how knowledgeable they are. The conversation will decide how the team works. You want to understand your developers, and you want them to get your message too.

    Find out what smartphone the developers use. You will get a clue of their knowledge on the topic. Whatever app the app developers claim to build, they should have it on their phone(s). They should also be familiar with how the app works and be comfortable discussing it. Asking these questions will set up a clear communication between the development team and you.

    Set up a timeline for each phase of the app development

    Ask the app developers when a part of the app finishes. It will give you a better idea of how far along the project is. You want to meet your deadline, so it is important to set these goals. Another way to handle milestones is to mark a date on the calendar you will speak to the app developers. You expect to get an update once you talk to them.

    When you know the project is progressing well; you will feel more comfortable paying their fee. The developers will know what you want once you have set these goals. Matured team of app developers would recommend using Agile Scrum & other advanced iterative models for developing apps and get quicker feedback while it is done. These practices allow you to change the app’s direction (if need be) faster and have more control on progress of app development.

    Find out the special features the app developers can createThe features attract users to the app. Know what features to include and see if the app developers can handle it. It is best not to assume the developers know it all. Examples of unique features include 3-D gaming, social media sharing, product coupons, location sharing, offline synching etc.

    Ownership of the app

    The app is important to you, so you need to show who will own it. One way to show who will own it is to draw up a contract between you and the app developers. Add a confidentiality clause to the agreement. Make sure you will own the rights to the source code and all the contents of the app.

    Testing the mobile app

    Ask the developers how they will test your app. Most people check apps on the phones they will be using. You should also get an easy to understand explanation of how the developers will test your app. You want to get rid of any glitches before the app’s completion. If they find any errors, see how they will fix the problem and how long it will take to complete.

    Conclusion

    Your app will generate an income stream. You want to make sure you have someone experienced doing the job. It means knowing what you want so you can communicate well with the app developers. Find out how many other apps the developers has completed. It is best to speak to the developer’s clients and ask questions. One question includes how responsible the developers are. You also want to know how long it took the project to finish. Another question you should ask is how competent the developers are.

  • agile-methodology

    Why is agile software development important?

    Agile development solutions evolve through self-organized teams. It encourages fast and flexible changes through adaptive planning. While other methodologies have their proponents, there’s little doubt in any Agile development shop that this method works well. To understand why agile project management is important, you only need to look at the rewards it provides.

    Scrum and Sprints

    In Agile, a sprint is a fixed time period where certain goals are met. At each sprint, your team and often the client will meet to discuss what’s to be accomplished and what criteria need to be observed.

    Scrum agile methodology is the repeatable framework. A scrum team consists of cross-functional members, a Scrum Master or project leader, and a product owner, or person representing the client or stakeholder. All work together on sprint completion. Scrum principles allow your team to work on various features in shorter sprints as requirements emerge, rather than following a sequential process that can easily be derailed if long phases of work have to be rolled back.

    The Benefits of Agile

    Iterative
    Since agile development is iterative in nature, features are delivered in increments, so that testing, approval, and revenue can be realized early and continue with project development.

    Quality
    One of the key benefits of agile development comes from integration of testing throughout the development cycle. Regular, specific testing during all phases ensures that quality issues are more likely to be identified, and allows time for corrections. Meeting quality standards at each increment also ensures that the finished product will meet your customer’s requirements.

    Transparency
    Agile principles encourage user involvement and a cooperative approach. This allows stakeholders to monitor progress and examine the product for assurances that your are satisfying expectations.

    Lower Risk
    Incremental testing, user involvement, and releases make it easier to identify issues. Any changes can be captured and dealt with at any early stage of development. This drastically lowers the risk that the final product will not meet requirements.

    Flexibility
    In many other approaches to development, significant changes can result in overhauls of planning, funding, and specifications that delay progress or inflate costs. With agile project management, change is an expected part of the process. Requirements evolve as the product evolves. Transparency and incremental progress allow your clients to make timely decisions.

    Cost Effective
    Establishing adaptive policies within fixed time frames make it easier to stand by fixed budgets. Variation comes iteratively in the evolution of the product, and does not impact cost. The agile philosophy of early release of features also means the competitive edge of faster time-to-market.

    Customer Engagement
    Direct involvement of stakeholders or their representatives, along with the level of visibility into progress and response to change, creates a better relationship between your business and the client. This leads to greater customer engagement with the process and greater likelihood they will consult you on future projects.

    Better Environment
    Agile methods provide a better experience for software developers. Rather than dwelling on specifications and long-term planning, teams get together regularly to discuss issues and progress with each sprint. The team can make decisions and explore options on their own. This provides you more motivated and focused teams.

    Kanban

    Kanban agile methodology is more loosely structured than Scrum. It works as a model introducing change as incremental improvements. In Kanban, work is planned on a visual board as states which every work item must go through. This generally includes In Progress, Testing, Ready for Release, and Released columns. Variation may be allowed through horizontal pipes, or “swim lanes”, but Kanban is focused primarily on managing work in progress.

    Scrum vs Kanban

    You won’t find it difficult to introduce Kanban to any Agile project. Scrum agile methodology offers a tighter structure for more focus, control, and direction where these things may be lacking and development is off track. But if there are already efficient, productive processes in place, Kanban agile methodology can improve your process over time without requiring any radical change.

    Some critics of agile point out that it is less predictable, and teams and product owners don’t always mesh productively. Collaboration is essential to success. Where that’s the case, the possible benefits of agile development make it an important strategy you should consider.

  • internetdelascosas-1024x768

    5 Things that will change your lives with internet of things (IOT)

    Even with self-driving cars making headlines, most consumers still seem unaware that the Internet of Things (IoT) is going to change their lives. Even the technically challenged will experience it every time they visit a friend or a public institution like the DMV. Your company may have little choice but to get onboard now. Just as social media, cloud computing, and the internet itself transformed business, smart devices that save time and money are driving innovation and opportunities. Here’s how this technology will impact your organization.

    1. Everything gets logged

    Smart devices feeding their information to computer applications can be used to track everything that goes on for every second they’re up and running. Busy hospitals or huge distribution warehouses will be automatically tracking equipment and even logging maintenance requests via smart chips and bar code scanner data shared over Wi-Fi. You’ll know where every piece of equipment is, what items are being used or produced, and what’s been shipped. You’ll know in almost real-time every product that’s been sold in every one of your hundreds of store locations, who sold it, and unless cash is used, who bought it. This can help your business improve operations and sales, quickly locate equipment and products even in transit, reduce shoplifting, generate up-to-date reports, and much more.

    2. More data

    With billions of smart devices already exchanging information over Wi-Fi, companies will be swamped with data from the Internet of Things. Sensors, keypads, and memory chips will be constantly collecting information on how smart refrigerators or programmable security cameras are being used. This can help your company improve products to meet real-use conditions, but it also means a flood of real-time information. Almost all data stores will become “big data” – very big. That requires new methods of consolidating and analyzing it so that it can be made available to marketers, strategists, sales, designers, engineers, customer support, and more. Companies making smart products will thrive only according to how well they use this mountain of data.

    3. Get there faster and safer

    They may not be the norm on the streets of the US yet, but in China a driverless bus successfully ran its route through crowded city streets. The technology works, and there’s no reason why it can’t work for you. Soon you’ll have driverless forklifts, maintenance vehicles, and delivery carts, all controlled by sensors, beacons, Wi-Fi, and computers to keep from running into each other, product, or human beings. They can run on schedule or on demand. And when the government does finally approve self-driving vehicles as street legal, your trucks will be running routes determined by computers for maximum economy of time and fuel. You can also consider drones as commercial vehicles. Long before Amazon started deliveries, they were used to upload footage for inspections and surveying, faster and more safely than any human could.

    4. Smart grids

    Almost anything can become a smart device. They can do more than gather data. A company in Idaho is now testing panels that it’s hoped will one day fill the streets. These are essentially big acrylic wafers that can support a truck, yet harboring LEDs and interconnected circuits so that they can monitor traffic, and work in sync to display warning messages or other alerts to drivers. They even have heating elements to melt ice and snow. It would cost billions to put them into place over the country’s highways, but how about a few strategically located in your office or manufacturing facility? They can alert and inform employees, guide visitors, or be outfitted with other technologies for taking pictures, recording sounds, temperatures, and weights, detecting intruders, and more.

    5. Remote management

    Today’s smart homes can be managed via smartphones. You can send a signal from across town to start the washer, turn on the lights, feed the dog, turn up the AC, and see who’s at the door. The same methods can be used for business. Just as it does for homeowners, mobile apps can let business leaders check on CCTV cameras, join meetings, view performance dashboards, create and share documents, initiate automated processes, track vehicles, time sheets, and payroll from almost anywhere in the world and at any time of day. This also helps to network with sales people or vendors when you’re away from the office. Remote management maximizes your involvement with a waste of time and travel.

    All it takes is some innovative programming with existing technology, and essentially any of your equipment, from coffee makers to tractor trailer trucks, can become a smart device. Gathering heaps of data can suggest improvements on everything your organization does. But the phrase “Internet of Things” is a bit of a misnomer; these devices are in place, ultimately, to communicate with you.

  • Modern UI flat design vector kit in trendy color with simple mobile phone and digital tablet with icons, buttons, windows and other interface items. Isolated on white background.

    Apps: Is it intelligent to choose function over design?

    It’s the age-old question for app designers everywhere – function or design? In an ideal world, you’d like to have both, but often it becomes necessary to prioritize one or the other.

    Both function and design are crucial aspects of your app and its success. However, your app’s functions serve as its foundation. If that’s not in place, your app isn’t going to succeed, no matter how beautiful the design is. Here are the primary reasons why it’s an intelligent choice to prioritize function in your mobile app development.

    Users Want Simplicity

    The average smartphone user spends the vast majority of their phone usage on mobile apps, and the majority of that time is spent on their favorite five apps. Users can install and uninstall apps in just seconds, and most aren’t willing to spend more than 5 to 10 minutes learning how an app works.

    It’s a competitive marketplace, and to give your app a chance of catching on, users have to be able to figure it out quickly. Some of the most successful apps provide one primary function, they just provide it exceptionally well.

    It doesn’t take long for a user to form an opinion on your app. You want users to catch on to your app right away, so they like it and keep it on their phones. You can accomplish that when you build a functional app that’s easy to use.

    Function Keeps Users Coming Back

    The most popular mobile apps all serve a specific purpose. Social media and instant messaging apps keep you connected with your network through your phone. Gaming and video apps provide entertainment whenever you want it. Map applications help you navigate to your destination.

    Users don’t open an app over and over, day after day because it looks pretty. They do so because it helps them in their day-to-day lives. For your app to be part of somebody’s favorite five apps, it has to help them in some way, even if it’s simply by providing a few minutes of entertainment.

    Google is one of the best examples of getting a huge user base by putting function first. Its home page has a basic layout and one main purpose, but people loved its simplicity and usefulness so much that it became the most popular search engine of all time.

    The Benefits of Great Design

    Function may be the most important aspect of your mobile app development, but your app’s design still deserves plenty of attention, as well. People are naturally drawn to things that are aesthetically pleasing. Function entices people to use your app, but design improves their overall experience when they do use it.

    Considering the importance of function, it deserves the majority of your resources, especially if you have a limited budget or are on a strict schedule. However, the goal for your app should be a blend of function and design, where the app works well and has a design that enhances its functions.

    Keep in mind that design doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple design can still be nice to look at and work perfectly for your app. In fact, what’s most important is that your app’s design feels natural, and what feels natural depends on the type of app you’re developing. For a high-octane mobile game, great design may be cool, flashy graphics. For a messaging app, a natural and effective design may be a simple layout that doesn’t overpower the experience.

    The popularity of the iPod is a testament to the power of not just good design, but good design that complements the function of the product. The iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player, it didn’t have the most storage, and there were actually several high-quality devices manufactured by Apple’s competitors. Despite that, the iPod became by far the most popular MP3 player available. It did so through an innovate design that wasn’t overly complicated, but looked good and made the device easy to use. Rolling your thumb along the wheel was intuitive and a quick way to scroll through all your music.

    The Intelligent Decision

    Overall, it is an intelligent decision to choose function over design – in the first stages of your mobile app development. At that point, it’s all about what purpose your app will serve for its users, and that means function is king. That doesn’t mean you need to discount design, though. As you move further along in your development process, building a design that fits your app and its functions is well worth your time.

  • Mobile app development 2017

    How mobile app development is getting ready to evolve in 2017

    2016 has seen plenty of trends in mobile app development. We’ve also seen the ongoing battle between iOS and Android, and the citizen development initiative. Many of these mobile app developments have been pointing us toward trends that are going to start off and continue to evolve going into 2017. It’s important to keep abreast of the latest changes in so that you can keep on top of where things are headed and adjust your plans accordingly.

    In this post, we’re going to take a look at some of the trends that will continue on into 2017.

    IoT-related apps will dominate.

    Believe it or not, the end of this year will see 6.4 million connected gadgets worldwide. That’s almost one for every person on this planet.

    The Internet of Things is shaping app development as we know it by requiring a dedicated app for almost every solution, using this to manage smart devices. Developing IoT solutions isn’t very different from what app developers have been doing for years, but most IoT solutions are already innovative by default and will require niche devices and services to integrate with.

    It’s also interesting to note that IoT mobile apps don’t necessarily run only on smartphones. There’s recently been an EKG machine that detects electrical signals that a human body produces and then visualizes the sensor data all in real time.

    This goal was achieved by developing an iOS app which uses OpenGL’s library and then wrapping it all in a native container. The developer should also focus on security along with coming up with nontrivial solutions.

    It’s estimated that 75 percent of the mobile app security breaches in 2017 will all be caused by misconfigurations. Mobile app security is completely essential when it comes to building IoT solutions.

    For instance, there’s healthcare. This market is set to top $163 million by 2020. Johnson & Johnson actually noticed a vulnerability in one of their insulin pumps that over 100,000 customers count on in the U.S. and Canada. Luckily this didn’t happen, but this could’ve easily resulted in insulin amounts being adjusted, leading to the deaths of thousands of people.

    You’ll want to make sure that you’re working with an experienced vendor and that all encryption precautions have been made.

    Messengers still continue to evolve.

    The evolution of messengers was one of the biggest things that factored into app development. The next year, messengers and AI chatbots are going to become a trend all on their own. Businesses will always seek out new ways for them to reach their targeted audience.

    Users spend as much as 85 percent of their time online in mobile apps, with heaviest usage being in social media apps. High-quality iOS apps and Android apps do help with brand visibility, but it’s getting easier and easier to communicate with customers through things like Facebook, WhatsApp and WeChat.

    This year already, we’ve seen Facebook and Kik developing what we think of as lightweight AI communications platforms where they can effectively and efficiently speak to customers and answer questions that they might have.

    Several key players have already adopted this technology and have used it to communicate more effectively with their customers. The Internet of Things is only augmented by positive communication via AI chatbots. Even companies like Uber have adopted this technology in order to talk with their customers.

    More companies are set to hop on the bandwagon for AI chatbots into the future, especially with companies set to revolutionize the e-commerce industry and really take it to the next level of performance.

    Enterprise mobiles apps go hybrid and micro.

    Millennials have officially become the largest population in the workforce. They value flexibility, use three to four devices while completing a job, and believe that the old systems that have been put into place only hamper performance, not help it.

    As more and more companies take enterprise solutions to their problems, the demand for mobile developers is going to outstrip the capacity for them by 500 percent.\

    You can’t expect an employee with no software designing experience to create a mobile application that has high performance. Instead, they will focus on a single task and then get that task done with a micro app.

    2016 has seen plenty of trends in app development. We’ve also seen the ongoing battle between iOS and Android, and the citizen development initiative. Many of these mobile app developments have been pointing us toward trends that are going to start off and continue to evolve going into 2017. It’s important to keep abreast of the latest changes in mobile app development so that you can keep on top of where things are headed and adjust your plans accordingly. While this list isn’t exhaustive, it should give you an idea as to where mobile app development is headed.

  • Innovation ideas for CIO

    7 Foolproof ways for Technology leaders to promote Innovation in their Organization

    Digital transformation has altered workplaces so that they are unrecognizable from their ancestral counterparts. Everything from marketing to software development has been impacted by Web 2.0 and the sheer speed and precision with which data passes in the modern day. If you’re a CIO or other technology leader, how do you make sure innovation in your organization keeps you not only up to date, but moving ahead of your competition? Here are 7 surefire ways to to increase innovation in your organization.

    Bring your departments together.

    Intellectual stagnation is a creativity killer. If your team hears the same ideas from the same people day in and day out, your innovation will stall to a creeping halt. Bring your departments together to offer fresh perspectives and new ideas, and to change the course of conversation for the better. The networking team or even the janitorial staff may have a gleaming idea for the software development team that would have never been shared otherwise.

    You start the conversation.

    No one wants to stick their neck out first, especially when it comes to creative ideas. Fear of judgment and ridicule may dominate the silence. So, you start the conversation. Offer ridiculous ideas. Show them that no idea is off limits, and that building on them is key. Ask them questions, and get them talking. Make your meeting room a safe, fun place for ideas to brew.

    Write down your ideas. Keep them. Review them often.

    Make brainstorming sessions a habit. Have your organization write down all their ideas, however big or small, on a regular basis. Don’t just toss the ones that look silly. It may be the creative spark to answer a big question that has not yet even arisen. Keep them visible, perhaps on a community board, and incentivize those people who come up with the most ideas. Innovation is a numbers game, so the more ideas, the better.

    Think fast, implement faster.

    While your brainstorming sessions should be speedy and consistent, your implementation must also be quick for true innovation to occur. Test new ideas in the real world. This allows your team to course correct, which is vital for innovation. Even if one is a flop, then you can move forward, choose a new path, and not waste any more time. If your ideas are stuck behind a barrier, you’ll never know, and your competition will have already tested, failed, and found the winning idea while you’re waiting.

    “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.” –Thomas Edison

    Know what you’re after.

    This facet of innovation should lie near and dear to your brand. Who are you as a company? What are you known for, or what do you want to be known for? “Make new ideas,” doesn’t work.

    “How do we make our product faster?” “How do we increase customer engagement?” Questions like these frame the creative problem at hand, then you can ask your organization for innovative ideas. A worthless innovation that doesn’t solve a problem is not an innovation at all; it’s just fluff. Keep your innovation targeted.

    Ask your customers.

    In the age of digital transformation, your customers and fans are a simple click away, so ask them what they want! Is there a common complaint among buyers in your industry? What can you do about it? Things like Twitter surveys, or simply asking your newsletter subscribers what sorts of things they’d like to see or what problems they would like to have solved can provide a cornucopia of fresh brainstorming material.

    Nurture the creative process.

    A happy home for the creative process is not within the confines of a spreadsheet or Word document. Creativity thrives on freedom and sharing. It may look to a passerby just like staring at the ceiling. It may take the form of a conversation with someone across the office. As long as you are implementing your ideas quickly so there is always a push forward towards project goals, it is safe to give your employees some space to think.

    There is a reason companies such as Google are known both for their fun office spaces and employee culture as well as their leadership in innovation. The two concepts are inseparable.

    Some ways you can help foster creative activity are to let your employees, at will:

    • Go for a walk
    • Have a chat with their neighbor
    • Work outside
    • Listen to music through headphones

    Let the buzz of employee satisfaction carryover into their productivity, and see how quickly change and innovation become staples of your work environment. Let them out of the box, and their ideas will follow.

  • CIO Holidays

    Top 5 things on mind of CIOs this holiday season

    There has not been a time when IT has been as important as it is now. The battle for business among the IT companies is at its peak with every player seeking to get an edge over their competition. CIOs and software development experts are at pains to give their bosses this edge and this holiday; it is safe to say they will have plenty to think regarding digital transformation and how they can make their presence known. But, the top five concerns on every CIOs mind this holidays should surround these five.
    1. Innovation

    Virtually any CIO in the market is looking to innovate; it is unfortunate that when most try, it ends up in disappointment. Nevertheless, it never takes away the need to innovate. Now more than ever, they need the innovation be it in mobile apps, software development or even in data integration. Innovation and how to implement it successfully is the single greatest priority that every Chief Information Officer is left to struggle with.

    Every person in any IT capacity understands the essence of innovation and how important it is. No matter how small or big, any CIO that can crack a new way to innovate and rake in better results for their companies will be on the winning team. However, to achieve any success, resources like ideas, highly qualified teams and money are all needed.

    2. Business Productivity and Efficiency

    This is something that rings at the back of every business minded person. You want to drive up productivity without having to invest in an equal amount of resources. While most individuals in management only think about this, CIOs are tasked with actually realizing the dream. Even though innovation features top at the list of digital transformation CIOs are at pains of coming up with productive and efficient ways of going about their business. The only reason why this does not feature further up on the list of things that CIOs have to figure is because of its lower revolutionary nature compared to innovation.

    With a valid idea, most institutions are willing to throw caution to the wind pump funds in following up the idea. Which is why business productivity and efficiency will rank second in the priorities that professionals will be trying to figure out.

    3. Security and privacy

    Whether it is in line with simple mobile apps or state of the art websites, every IT user has one concern, safety, and privacy online. Of course, that means that the establishment with the most comprehensive approach to securing online presence stands to be the most profitable.

    Additionally, with more people opting for online storage of information using cloud services, the demand for security and privacy to secure sensitive information by both businesses and individuals is at an all-time high. Whether it is for their companies, for second parties or as consumer products, online security is something most CIOs will be considering. Especially given that more people are embracing the idea of storing information online as opposed to local storage.

    4. Technology Alignment with Business
    Business and technology has been the theme for years and has continued to be. Aligning your business with recent IT trends is one of the most efficient ways to grow. In recent time’s business have opted for more of social marketing as opposed to the old advert methods. This is just one of the ways that the online world is changing business.

    The task that CIOs are laden with is not only creating mobile apps or engaging in cutting edge software type of development but to ensure that IT understands what the business does, the role it’s going to play and above all, knowing what the priorities are. CIOs will also need to figure and understand how their creations affect the profit margins and business delivery and strategize on how emerging technologies can enhance the operation of business. After all, IT and software development is a business in itself.

    5. IT Cost Reduction and Controls

    If your innovation is not offering the users a more affordable and efficient and effective option or alternative to save data or any other IT-based function, then, you’re headed it the wrong direction. With the ground covered, the focus is now on the ability to produce faster, cheaper and easier to maintain IT options. To achieve the same edge as competitors, CIOs should adopt the same focus. Among the options that many will be trying to consider include a different set of management best practices, personal communication skills and even governance and policies.

    Digital transformation will always be a continuing factor that requires continued thinking, brainstorming, and innovation. It is not easy to come up with new ideas, but without a doubt, this is a process that most CIOs have embraced and have made part of their lives. The only factor that keeps changing is what they have to prioritize. This holiday, these five seem to be at the top of every CIOs mind and list of priorities.

  • Digital Transformation with OTS

    How are digital initiatives shaping CIO strategies of tomorrow?

    Over the next few years, the primary focus for organizations will be on digital transformation. Business leaders now recognize that they must provide agility, scalability, and innovation to be competitive in a digital environment.

    The burden that falls to you as CIO is to provide more capabilities and performance. At the same time, you’re required to provide maximum resource availability to satisfy both business and consumers. Driving a digital transformation at the same time can be a challenge.

    To achieve this transformation you’ll the inclusion of IT in business strategy not just as a service provider, but an essential stakeholder. CEOs and business owners may have to make additional sacrifices and commitments to see that you can realize this transformation efficiently. This includes enterprise-wide collaboration on some or all of the following digital initiatives.

    Focused approach

    Given your challenges in integrating automated systems, IT is not as flexible as other business operations. It’s difficult to introduce innovation to an accepted infrastructure that’s in almost constant use due to the internet and mobile apps. But transformation requires agility.

    As more leaders recognize the digital demands of future business activity, you should be finding increased funding and more support. You must learn to foster a prioritized vision for your IT objectives, where even demands like security and data management take a second place to focus on development and integration.

    Digital revenue

    More third-party application are becoming available, so that it’s more difficult for companies to find alternative that provide genuine benefits over the competition. Technology itself is becoming more interconnected, such as self-driving cars and Wi-Fi enabled smart appliances. You must adapt to a more complex way of doing business.

    Companies are beginning to place emphasis on technical partnerships and mobile apps to provide marketability. Your deliverables must embrace popular mobile devices and an increasing number of open-source platforms. Integrating with wider and already accepted technologies provides your company new revenue streams that differ from traditional ideas of product marketing.

    Data Governance

    In the era of big data and cloud-based business analytics, information has become one of the most valuable assets at any company. Using data to maximize profits and improve efficiency is an important aspect of your role in the foreseeable future. As the volume of data grows, you will look for more automated approaches to business intelligence.

    A CIO may see analytics as a key asset of future business, but many stakeholders are not convinced of the value in investing more heavily. Data mismanagement has led to outdated or lower quality data yielding inaccurate results. Future benefits from analytics will require that you implement a data governance framework, and get top executives engaged in data-driven decision making.

    Collaboration

    Digital initiatives are likely to fail as business grows due to a lack of collaboration and effective integration. Digital transformation tends to be seen as simply a series of your specialized projects. Businesses that aren’t open to digital integration across the enterprise won’t have a clear picture of how you transform internal processes. Sales, marketing, HR, and other departments tend to compete for resources that detract from overall development. This is especially true if certain parties favor outsourcing or third-parry solutions rather than internal transformation.

    You may find it difficult to architect a program of digital transformation without the consensus and participation of management as a whole. You must convince the various stakeholders to participate and collaborate in a mutual solution that benefits the whole organization. Digital transformation can be seen as an ongoing IT function where specific ideas are married to your technical knowledge.

    Speed, quality, and innovation

    Until recently, you may have been reluctant to take up an equal partnership in upgrades that only benefit other interests. Other departments may have no grasp of the time, money, and effort required in your software development projects. But in the near future all business partners will be open to innovation in pursuit of the common goals of quality results and fast delivery.

    The Agile methodology works well not only in software development, but progress in other technical projects. Many companies are slow to deploy these principles, or to fully benefit from them, for fear that you might produce changes too rapidly to adjust to. But those companies that don’t embrace and adapt to rapid change are likely to fall behind. Transformation in the future needs to focus on not just your defined requirements, but speed of integration.

    Most managers feel that IT should play a more pivotal role in business strategies, but few IT leaders are influencers today. In the future, however, you will find that more key executives will understand that you provides not just a core service, but the impetus and leadership for essential technical progress.

  • OTS Software Solutions for Internet of Things - IoT

    Internet Of Things (IOT) – New frontier in technology or a new threat?

    Is the Internet of Things (IOT) the greatest new technological frontier in a generation, or the next great threat? The answer, of course, is both. IOT has the potential to be both a godsend and a plague, depending on how we use it. On the positive side, IOT opens new doors to software development that allow a level of personal interconnectivity and convenience heretofore inconceivable. On the negative side, it opens new doors that hackers can use to launch newer and greater cyber attacks.

    IOT: The New Frontier

    The Internet of Things, simply put, is the integration of Internet-enabled computer technology into articles of clothing, automobiles, household items, personal accessories, and other everyday objects to perform a variety of everyday functions previously left to us human beings to handle.

    These IOT-enabled items are embedded with sensors that read data like temperature, time, humidity, light, sound, motion, pressure, weight, etc., and communication devices like RFID (radio-frequency identification), QR codes, or wireless technology to send this data for analysis and receive instructions for any necessary response. This allows for machines to take over doing many of the monotonous, repetitive tasks of daily living for us, so that we can get about to bigger and better things.

    The Internet of Things offers many exciting, practical benefits that almost seem to border on the realm of science fiction, such as:

    • monitoring your vitals directly from your clothing
    • tracking your children’s whereabouts directly from their book bag
    • keeping your refrigerator stocked with automatic calls to the store to reorder items you’ve run out of
    • starting the shower when your alarm goes off and warm the water to your ideal temperature
    • turning on the porch light and house heat remotely when you’re on your way home from work

    These are examples of the advantages of IOT to consumers, which in turn benefit businesses by making their products more relevant and appealing. However, there are still other, perhaps even more powerful, ways that the IOT can benefit businesses.

    All of those little computers connected to the Internet that are integrated into consumers’ everyday belongings can also be used to collect product and user data, and transmit it back to you, the business owner. In this way, businesses have access to unprecedented data about how exactly their products are being used.

    This in turn, of course, can then be used to update and improve those products in future iterations to fit even more seamlessly with the way consumers prefer to utilize them. In short, IOT may be the biggest boon to market research since Google Analytics.

    Thanks to IOT our civilization can look forward to the following imminent innovations, some of which we’re already beginning to see take shape:

    • automated homes
    • smart cities
    • smart environments
    • industrial automation
    • health monitoring

    IOT is truly a frontier in technology, as it provides vastly improved efficiency, saving both time and money, while improving the usefulness and durability of the machines we use to facilitate our lives. Therefore it improves our quality of life by allowing us more time, money, and energy for more creative and rewarding pursuits.

    It does, however, present one worrisome drawback.

    IOT: The New Big Threat

    The problem that many in the IT world see with an IOT-enabled world is that every computer connected to the Internet, no matter how small, can be hacked.

    Just like every personal computer has its own unique IP address, so too does every communication device embedded into IOT articles. Each IP address is a unique point of communication, like a doorway opening in two directions. This creates a point of access that hackers can exploit. In this way, IOT makes previously safe items and objects suddenly vulnerable to cyber security threats.

    A hacker could take control of the computer embedded into an IOT device and use it to communicate instructions to other, more powerful, machines nearby. This is how hackers cover their tracks: by routing their manipulations through a network of other people’s machines, making it nearly impossible to trace them back to their original source.

    When more and more systems of our cultural infrastructure are infused with (and dependent on) IOT, a plethora more information will become available to anyone who knows how to access it. This means big data on a city’s water and power usage, for example, could get into the wrong hands. And if law enforcement integrates IOT into their systems, then criminals have that many more inroads to create potential havoc.

    It also means personal privacy is at risk, as all the information our IOT-enabled belongings collect about us can potentially be accessed by the wrong people and used to cause us trouble. Not only could a hacker learn things about us that we don’t want them to know, they can even change data, with consequences ranging from inconvenient to life-threatening.

    Cyber security teams have been dealing with just this type of problem for as long as the Internet has existed. The difference now, with the advent of IOT, is a proliferation of mini and micro computers all over, making it easier and easier for hackers to slip through security nets.

    Fortunately as fast as software development teams are putting out new apps to make more everyday objects more convenient, they’re also working just as fast to keep up with the security risks these new technologies present. Nevertheless any businesses considering implementing IOT in their infrastructure or product offerings, needs to consider both security and privacy concerns moving forward.

  • Startups prototype creation

    Build Better User Experiences Through Prototyping

    Prototype development is a useful stage in the UI/UX development process, but many companies get it wrong. If done correctly, prototyping helps developers, designers and marketers iterate quickly on features and messaging. If botched, it can bog teams down in unnecessary choices and technical debt. Here are some tips to prototype effectively.

    Resolve to Throw Away the Prototype

    Prototyping is often thought of as the beginning of the software development process. In that light, the prototype is viewed as the software’s initial stage. The prototype will simply gain functionality and features until it is a more fully-built app or service.

    This is the wrong approach. A prototype should be treated as a standalone project. Handling prototypes as separate entities frees developers and designers from making tough technical choices that cannot meaningfully be decided so early in a product’s development. It also allows for testing ideas inexpensively, determining if they are viable before building out the necessary technical infrastructure.

    Don’t Get Bogged Down

    Software development is full of choices. A product’s database selection determines how its data will be modeled, stored and queried. UI frameworks dictate how it will look. Message brokers, container technologies, and many other factors all combine to determine how a product will look, act and be maintained.

    The prototype stage is not only the incorrect time to make these decisions, but it is also the wrong time to even discuss them. Prototypes should be as simple as possible, even going as far as faking features and interactions instead of relying on complex solutions and interactions.Prototyping is also a good opportunity to experiment with new technologies. Since it will ideally be short-lived, and since prototypes should be discarded, using new technologies gives teams the chance to evaluate their use in the larger project. It also lets developers and designers learn without worrying about mistakes being incorporated into a long-term development cycle.

    Identify and Test a Hypothesis

    The prototype is not the place to include every possible aspect of an app’s ideal design, every feature, every screen, and every corner case. Instead, it is intended to test a simple hypothesis.

    For instance, say a company is designing an on-demand app for delivering services. There are many features an app like this would require to be successful, from complex push notifications to screens for editing account details. The prototype should instead focus on testing the value proposition. Put in place just enough UI/UX development to determine if consumers find the platform helpful and useful. If they do, throw away the prototype and start building the final app.

    Conclusion

    Prototype development may seem like an expensive proposition. After all, why spend time developing an idea only to throw the work away? A common piece of advice is to measure twice, cut once. Building a prototype measures an idea, determining if it will fit expectations before making the potentially expensive mistake of building a thing that no one wants.

  • OTS Solutions news - K8 selects OTS Solutions

    OTS Solutions Selected as Virtual CTO & Technology Partner by Chicago-Based K8 Ventures

    OTS Solutions is proud to announce its partnership as virtual CTO for Chicago based K8 Ventures, LLC, a tech-venture firm with a focus on early stage companies. OTS is currently working on the production version of BAMM – Before and After Meeting Manager, a smart mobile and web based personal assistant that enables users to plan, book and manage their schedules with people and third parties. BAMM will be available in the App Store and Google play.

    Kurt Johnson, CEO, says, “Our partnership with OTS creates capital efficiency. OTS’ knowledge and scale ensure portfolio companies build quality products at market speed. We are excited to make BAMM available in both iOS and Android, and look forward to a successful October 2016 launch.”

    Hemant Madaan, CEO of OTS Solutions, has called the partnership “A strategic combination of two innovative companies that can ideate, innovate, and deliver to the market high-impact software solutions.”

    From its New York headquarters, OTS Solutions has been helping over 200 high growth startups & businesses around the globe in developing award winning web & mobile software apps for the past 14 years. Learn more

    K8 Ventures, LLC, is located in Chicago, IL and works with early stage companies as an accelerator and investor. With the company creation supply chain, go-to-market know-how, K8 has achieved significant capital efficiency and is redefining how early-stage capital is invested.

    Read full press release in media here – https://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/10/prweb13752805.htm

  • Agile development OTS Solutions

    Making agile development more predictive and less risky

    Healthy sales often depend on being first to market. Innovation and rapid deployment are important to tech and startup companies. This is why Agile software development methods are so popular. It can deliver software quickly while allowing for flexibility, feedback, and risk and change management.

    Making development predictable

    But fast turnaround is only the first phase. Speed has to be balanced against performance, reliability, and costs. Your product has to be sustainable in the long term. It has to integrate with existing systems, often across a variety of platforms.
    What this all boils down to is predictability – software development that can be consistently delivered on time and trusted to meet requirements, pass quality assurance testing, and bring value to partners and customers.

    The level of uncertainty

    Many companies adopt Agile or hybrid Waterfall approaches because they’ve seen and heard that it works for today’s development environments. But because it’s flexible, small and large companies may not be using it the same way or for the same reasons.
    These methods require defining and identifying requirements and risks, planning, estimation, and incremental development through Agile timeboxes. But discovering and designing as you go along is often too big and complex, depending on both the size of the project and the size of the team. Too many people. too many components, and undisciplined management can cause things to be overlooked. Changing requirements and priorities can make an iterative process essentially useless.

    Enterprise Agile software development depends on control and visibility to reduce uncertainty. Using velocity, story points, and release reporting help create early confidence on progress and more accurate timelines. Relying on the methodology itself to reduce time and costs is a fallacy.

    Redefining the process

    The software development process should involve doing enough investigation upfront to create more reliable plans and estimates. This in turn means more faith in commitments to meeting requirements while assuring higher levels of quality. Using Agile is not about responding to changes in plans, but sticking to a plan that can incorporate change. A better plan is more likely to accommodate change without disrupting the project.

    Agile software development can reduce the “cone of uncertainty” by delivering smaller, working pieces of code, and correlating the progress with project data through velocity. As the project moves forward, predictability comes with increasing ability to deliver on estimates, and the experience translates to future projects. There is still going to be a need for changes and priorities, but these can be viewed in terms of the incremental rather than the iterative process.

    Small projects may be better realized by iteration and fast, adaptive change, depending on the team and the requirements. But larger, more complex problems will have to involve predictability in obtaining results, and that’s gained from making everything align with an incremental, controlled process. Big projects may be slowed not by requirements, risks, or even the size of the team, but by bad planning.

    Want to learn more on techniques of agile development – learn here for comparison on scrum and kanban.

  • Mobile app development

    Top 10 things to keep in mind when developing a mobile app

    Maybe you have an idea for an app that could draw millions to your New York brand. How do you plan to build it? Which factors do you think are important? Here are the top ideas you should keep in mind before you start developing your own app.

    1. Uniqueness
    We all tend to get bored with the same old thing, including mobile apps. There are already millions of them out there. What people are looking for is something fresh and interesting that will hold their attention.

    2. Pricing
    Pricing a mobile app can be a bit difficult, as there are a number of factors to weigh. Think about how yours’ compares to charges for similar apps on the same platform or that are marketed in the same channels.

    3. Testing
    Be sure to test you app under as many scenarios as possible, even unlikely ones, as a reputation for bugs could sink it. Your app should be creative, reliable, quick, and easy to use. If coding and testing are a bit out of your league, turn to one of the premier mobile developers in New York for help.

    4. Budget
    Every phase in mobile app development costs money. Establishing a budget and using it properly is crucial. Make a plan and keep track of expenses so you can stay on track.

    5. Scalability
    There’s no way to predict which app will be successful and which will be ignored. In the event that it really sells, make preparations for the next step – mobile app development for multiple platforms. Start with a library of functional code blocks that can be easily changed as needed.

    6. Feedback
    Your app should have built in analytics and channels for user feedback to let you know what needs changing or what really works. In fact, you should be concerned if there’s no feedback…

    7. Research
    You should do market research to gain insight into what the competition is doing and what the target audience wants. Note the strengths and weaknesses of other app marketing campaigns, scan customer reviews, and visit blogs. What people want, and where the competition lets them down, is your window of opportunity.

    8. Efficiency
    Try to achieve maximum efficiency in all areas of development, but especially in the app itself. If it’s too slow, that’s inefficiency. Find ways to conserve data use and speed up loads.

    9. Waiting
    Mobile service waits can slow down apps. Don’t leave users staring at a generic string indicator that might suggest nothing is happening. Try using animations or text to let them know what’s happening.

    10. Description
    When a prospective customer is checking out your app for the time, Google Play and Apple store only show the first couple lines of it’s description, so make those as compelling as possible.

    There’s a huge market for useful and innovative apps. But there’s plenty of competition, too. These tips should help, but if you’re overwhelmed, you might want to consider professional mobile developers in New York. Getting your mobile app development can be a daunting task. Read here to learn how to do it well.

  • v.6, expert spotlight, blog header - OTS Solutions

    Expert Spotlight: Preety Singh

    OTS Solutions is fortunate to have some of the best talent in the world working to grow our clients’ businesses. Our deep pool of experts are dedicated to providing a high level of superior customer service.

    Meet Preety Singh, our assistant vice president of sales.

    Preety Singh is an award-winning sales professional with 10 years of international business management success, directly helping OTS Solutions clients increase revenue and long-term earnings. She is well versed in helping companies enhance their corporate credibility, extend and strengthen their brand identity in the marketplace, and develop partnerships with firms to build business. Preety’s depth of experience, leadership and passion make her a valuable asset to OTS Solutions.

    Career Accomplishments

    Preety possesses ground-up experience in managing complex sales cycles, with a provide track of brand growth across global IT and tech industries. When the junior sales team hit a rough patch at the end of 2013, Preety was able to call upon her talents to boost campaigns while still providing a superior level of customer service to her OTS Solutions clients.

    Her business prowess has earned her several honors, including the Excellent Performance and Employee of the Year awards.

    Why OTS Solutions?

    What led Preety to OTS Solutions was the company’s ability to survive a sizeable recession that largely affected the IT industry. The resilience and aptitude to succeed through a global downturn showed the incredible reputation and longevity of OTS Solutions as an international partner.

    Background

    Preety joined OTS Solutions in 2010 as a business development manager to lead brand growth across the international IT and tech industries. Before OTS Solutions, Preety studied her Masters of Business Administration at Symbiosis International University in 2006. She also earned a Bachelor’s of Commerce from Delhi University and an A-level degree (equivalent to a Bachelors of Computers Applications) from the DOEACC Society in 2004.
    Click here to connect with Preety on LinkedIn.

  • MVP, tech startup, OTS Solutions

    The Foundation of a Successful Tech Startup

    The first phase of a tech startup is chaotic, fast-paced and exciting. There’s an idea, and the first step is to launch the company and bring that innovative idea to fruition. A tech startup will do this by building its Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

    MVP Vision
    The MVP is a scaled down version of your product that has enough features to convince the target audience to engage. These early adopters are crucial to gathering the feedback needed that will ultimately prove there is both an interest and demand for the product.

    When building a Minimum Viable Product, it’s essential to remember the word ‘minimum’ — too often, entrepreneurs get caught up in creating a robust MVP that the window of opportunity passes and the need is met by another company. Additionally, entrepreneurs in the MVP phase don’t have large budgets secured yet, so the MVP is limited by financial constraints. Picture the core value of the product and the fastest way to demonstrate this value to the target audience. That’s the basis of the MVP.

    MVP Development
    While the MVP may be the most simplified version of the product, there’s nothing simple about building it. Moving from concept, to design, to development is the longest part of launching a tech startup. While there are plenty of do-it-yourself tools available to put the MVP together, it’s important to think beyond the initial cost to the long-term successes and flexibility of the product. An outside development firm will take into account the founder’s vision and brand, as well as UX and necessary troubleshooting.

    There are many ways to go about constructing an MVP, some of which have been used in the beginning stages of companies like Zappos and Google: Wizard of Oz MVP, Concierge MVP, Piecemeal MVP, etc. Each has its own advantages, challenges and benefits, depending on the overall goals of the tech startup.

    MVP Launch
    Deployment of an MVP should be quick and efficient, pushing the product to the target audiences with a team in place to respond to any mishaps (i.e. bugs, poor user experience, etc.). Agility is key to a successful launch and gaining as many early adopters as possible.

    The launch phase of an MVP can also be called the learn phase, because this is when a tech startup will gather information that will dictate the future, and potential success, of the overall product. A team dedicated to implementing customer feedback will inspire users to not only provide invaluable insight, but develop a personal connection with the overall brand.

    Click here to read more about how a tech startup can go from initial funding to business growth.

  • UI UX Services OTS

    Wireframing Vs. Prototyping: What’s the Difference?

    Prototyping and wireframing are discussed fairly regularly in the early stages of UI/UX design for software. It may seem that these concepts are interchangeable when in actuality they are drastically different. While both produce useful deliverables and help advance the development lifecycle, each requires different skills and produces different end results.

    Wireframing

    Often, when someone has an idea for an app, they begin development by deciding how the app might look. By sketching the user interface on cards or a whiteboard, it becomes possible to extract functional and other requirements for what must be built.

    Wireframes can be drawn in many ways. The simplest designs may start out as simple ink sketches on paper. Notecards are a great way to add size constraints to the interface, and to rapidly swap out components in order to simulate how using the app might feel. Later on in the process, the designs might be transferred to tablets or other digital media, and may even be exported as an interface draft for initial app prototypes.

    Wireframes are useful tools in UI/UX design for software. They allow designers and developers to quickly get a sense for how an app might look without technical constraints. Wireframes also facilitate extracting interface components, UI requirements and technical goals from an idea. Yet, while a wireframe achieves much, what it accomplishes is only skin deep.

    Prototyping

    Wireframes only address how software looks. Prototype development is essential to truly get a sense for how an idea will actually work. Prototyping is a stage in software development where code is written to begin putting an idea into practice.

    Instead of merely drawing interface components, prototypes actually lay out a basic user interface with whatever widgets are appropriate for the platform. Prototypes also create just enough interaction to make the app feel usable. In this stage, it is more important to experience the app than it is to start building a sound technical foundation.

    Prototyping should not be thought of as beginning to build an app. In other words, prototype development tests the idea. It may do this by faking some features, eliminating others, and deferring any significant technical decisions until software development on the idea itself begins. Be prepared to throw away the prototype once it has tested the specific assumptions about the design.

    Wireframing and Prototyping

    Exactly how these stages interact varies widely. Some development companies wireframe before prototyping so the prototype’s user interface feels more polished. Others start with a prototype, taking more time to build an interface that connects directly to working code. There is no right answer, and the choice is ultimately determined by what works best for a given team’s skills.

    But each has its advantages. Wireframing is great for covering lots of ground without building out technology. Prototyping gives a deeper sense for how a narrower piece of the app might work. Both are useful stages in the software development process.

  • Software QA & Testing External

    4 reasons third party QA team better for making better software?

    Four Reasons an External QA Team is Better for Software Development 

    Software development can be a costly endeavor, even for businesses that have already have a fully staffed development team. It may seem counter-intuitive, but one of the best ways to save money is to actually outsource developmental duties to external QA teams. If your goal is to make a better software product, then finding a solid QA team that has a proven track record can dramatically cut down on costs while also fulfilling all of the necessary development goals. The benefits of an external QA team can essentially be summarized in four main points.

    1. It Cuts Down on Costs

    As previously mentioned, quality assurance teams can cut down on development costs by dedicating less resources to the tasks at hand. As software engineering teams are focused on developing their specific software product, you don’t have to worry about them spreading out their resources or diverting time to other tasks that have nothing to do with the product. This, in effect, means the product will be ready to go in less time and with less of a hassle. For companies that already have in-house development teams, hiring an external third party can also cut down on costs by helping a complex project be completed quicker. The faster a product can enter the market, the less costly it will be to develop.

    2. It Streamlines Development Processes

    Software development is an inherently complicated process that can almost always benefit from streamlining. By bringing in a third party and working directly with them, you can see areas that need improvement within your own development team. This forced adaptation in a collaborative environment is far more valuable than just the product development alone.

    3. They Provide Greater Expertise

    While there are certainly many testers that work on a smaller software team for a larger company, they will never be as effective as a professional third party development team that solely works on software testing on a daily basis. By working for a wide array of companies, independent teams also gain unique insight into projects that other teams may not be as familiar with. This, in turn, means greater efficiency and design input on software projects than would otherwise be possible.

    4. You Gain an Objective Perspective

    By hiring a third party team to develop and test software, you can wash your hands of any issues that may turn up later. Of course, the real value lies in the testing team’s own perspective too. When you get too close to a project, it’s only natural that you begin to see the bugs as “features.” With a third-party look at the project though, bugs and glitches that were previously overlooked can be brought back to the forefront.

    While it’s certainly possible to develop software on your own, the benefits of a professional software testing team far outweigh any benefits from trying to complete the same project with your own resources.

  • Security testing for software

    Have you tested your product for security? What technology startups of today must take care of in terms of security?

    Don’t Neglect Product Security

    Software products are coming to replace employees and business processes at an increasing rate. While an app’s ability to handle automation is usually an asset, it also increases the need for testing software products before release. Since software often handles crucial personal, financial and business details, its security should not be neglected. Security testing is complex and should often be outsourced for best results, but here are a few of the most common security stumbles software products make.

    Secure the Password

    A username/password combination is the most common way to gain access to software products. You can and should advise your customers on how to choose good passwords, but that advice works both ways.

    For instance, we all might agree that writing passwords on a piece of paper near the computer is a bad idea, but storing them unhashed in the database is the same as writing them down, and many companies do just that. Anyone who compromises your server not only has access to your customer’s data, but might also get their password if you’ve not taken basic measures to secure it. Since many passwords are reused, a password breach on your site might translate into access to customer email or social media accounts.

    Guard Personal Information

    Passwords aren’t the only secure details your software may need to retain. You may find yourself storing street addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and other details that might transform a casual data breach into a significant disaster for your customers.

    Here, too, encrypting data may prove useful. Unfortunately, in cases where your site or app requires said data to function, encryption may impose a usability barrier if it must be decrypted to query. In some advanced cases, it might be prudent to store some information such as medical data with specialized services for that purpose.

    Be Careful What You Handle

    It may seem easy to process and store credit cards locally rather than working with an external provider. Unfortunately, doing so is complicated and opens your business up to many additional security threats and regulations.

    It is better to partner with external services in these instances. Not only do they comply with necessary regulations, but they also provide simple interfaces to ensure that data is transferred securely, and only what is necessary is retained in the local database. Additionally, when regulations change, your partner changes with them. After all, your first concern when testing software products shouldn’t be changes to credit card or medical regulations, but the growth and improvement of your app or service.

    Conclusion
    ]
    None of the above mitigations replace a solid security audit. But, in reality, most criminal acts aren’t elaborate heists. Instead, they’re simply a matter of someone slipping through the mistakenly unlocked door, thus gaining sudden and complete access. If customer trust is important to your business, security testing should not be neglected in the product development cycle.

     

  • Webinar - Startups idea to exit

    What does it take to grow your startup from idea to exit! [Webinar]

    Being a startup and technology entrepreneur is never easy. It all starts with a unique idea that you believe is a killer and will disrupt the things are done in market at present. But is it only an idea that takes you to make it into a successful unicorn? Not really!

    Starting and growing into a successful startup needs a complex mix of skills that need just not good strategic thinking and vision but excellent execution abilities. How does one figure out what to do, how to do, when to do without having done this earlier or having any mentor helping you?

    Now learn through our mentors and professionals who have done it all and helped many people like you earlier in our series of technology innovation webinars. First of it focused on taking you trough step by step process from idea to exit.

    register

    Date: June 22nd 2016

    Time: 1 PM EST

  • Load & Stress Testing for software

    How to use load testing as tool to test scale possibility for your software products?

    Checking Your Software’s Scalability: How Load Testing Helps
    The software industry is littered with success stories about the killer app that reinvented the marketplace and made its creators rich. For every one of those happy endings, there are a healthy handful of sadder stories about the program with tons of potential that died a messy death as soon as its operators tried to scale it up. If you want to avoid this ignominious fate, load testing your software product will ensure that scalability doesn’t turn into its Achilles’ heel.

    Load Testing Defined

    Load testing is an attempt to test your software in a realistic usage environment. The goal is to accurately simulate what will happen when the software is subjected to normal use at high volume. There are countless tools available to this, and many types of software – such as web applications – can be properly tested using an off-the-shelf testing tool. Examples include Apache JMeter (desktop) and The Grinder (Java-based). Some products, though, require specialized (or even scratch-built) tools to model their “live” operating conditions.

    Load testing can apply to any aspect of a program. The most common form of load testing today involves subjecting a piece of software to multiple user inputs; this is particularly vital for online software. Load testing also applies to your software’s capability to handle data, though. You need to verify that your program will accept your expected volume of input without choking.

    The Blurred Line Between Load And Stress Testing

    There used to be a sharp distinction between load testing and stress testing. As noted above, load testing is shows how your software performs under expected conditions. Stress testing is intended to push your software to its breaking point. Sometimes the same testing tool can serve both functions, but many are designed exclusively for one or the other. This is why a multi-tool testing platform (like Taurus) may be useful for organizing your testing procedures.

    In today’s programming market, you’re always hoping that the new software you’re developing will turn into the next Uber or Instagram. If you’re being optimistic, you’re not going to set an upper bound on the number of users or the volume of data you anticipate. Thus modern load testing often expands towards – or even becomes – a form of stress testing.

    What Proper Load Testing Reveals

    Good load testing does more than simply confirm that your software will work as intended. With the right tools, you can measure your program’s performance as it approaches or exceeds anticipated loads. Response times, resource utilization, and efficiency can – and should – be measured during load testing. Full load testing will also discriminate between “steady” loads and “peak state” loads; showing what your software is capable of sustaining in both the long and the short term.

    The benefit of load testing is that it will illuminate the limitations your software is going to face once it goes live. You can identify processes that serve to bottleneck the program as load increases; these can be addressed through design refinements to minimize their impact. You’ll also get a better understanding of how resource consumption changes with increasing loads; this information will be vital when you formulate plans to keep pace with an expanding user base.

    To get the most comprehensive results, it may be smart to outsource your testing requirements to a specialized team. Many firms have capitalized on their testing expertise to deliver more far-reaching and informative results than you can develop in-house. If you’re hoping for your software to expand to the largest scales, investing in an experienced testing team can be invaluable.

    Every software product should receive at least some form of load testing before it’s introduced to the public. The more careful and thorough you are during this process, the better prepared you’ll be for rapid expansion. Comprehensive load testing is the best – if not the only – way to make sure your software is ready to grow.

     

  • Chasing CTO co-founder for your startups

    What you must look for in a CTO or tech co-founder?

    What you must look for in a CTO or tech co-founder.
    Nobody occupies a more precarious position in the technology world than startups. You can have the right idea and the right plan, but if you’re not able to stay ahead of the tech that drives the rest of the industry, then it can all go away.

    The problem is that there is no universal path to ensuring your technological capabilities are everything they should be. In an ever-changing world of tech, it’s dangerous to follow any one mindset or approach when it comes to staying up to date. The best thing you can do is appoint a leader within your company who is able to stay atop of all technological trends and adapt as needed. You need a good CTO or knowledgeable tech co-founder.

    For any emerging startup, your upper-level technology hires (whether they be a technology co-founder or CTO) can serve as your anchor. As the tech industry shifts and grows, they can help ensure you stay exactly where you need to be. Their value is without question, but what is up for debate is what defines a good technology expert. While you must always take into consideration your startup’s specific needs, the following are traits that any tech management specialist will possess.

    Practical Engineering Experience

    Right away, you should look at whether your CTO candidate has experience developing software technology or software products from the ground level. Nobody understands tech quite like engineers that work with it day-to-day, and any CTO that doesn’t have a background of practical experience working as an engineer will have a hard time properly appreciating the full needs of the position.

    A Proven History of Success

    Nothing speaks quite as clearly as success. Promises and plans are one thing, but the closest you can come to a guarantee that your CTO is capable of delivering is ensure they’ve done it before. Whether it’s through pioneering the implementation of a new piece of software technology within your field or even participating in the development of defining software products, your CTO should have success on their resume that speaks for itself.

    Knowledge of Your Current Technology

    Although you are ultimately hiring a CTO to advance your current technology as needed, you still need to take into consideration whether your CTO candidate is truly familiar with your current technology. Even if you are planning to move away from your current set-up soon after their hiring, if your candidate isn’t familiar with what you are working with then it will make the transition period much more difficult.

    A Deep Network of Connections

    The exact importance of an employee’s network can vary from position to position, but when it comes to a CTO, it means everything. Because a big part of your CTO’s job description will involve them having the ability to stay on top of new trends and emerging concepts, a deep network of industry insiders will help you to feel confident they have the proper knowledge base needed to be aware of such changes.

    Additionally, don’t overlook the possibility of outsourcing your technology officer position at the start. Delaying a full-time hire is not only an excellent way to offset the high costs of a tech expert but can be a great way to practically field test what you are looking for in the position as your company grows.

  • Startup needs to be successful

    You Need More Than Passion and Money to Make Your Tech Startup Into a Unicorn

    What Makes a Startup Unicorn Successful? Hint: You Need More Than Passion.

    In the early 2000s, people were still trying to figure out this thing called the Internet. What did e-commerce mean for a business? What did people see in online dating? How was Google going to fix the spam link problems? Those issues are long gone as more and more people have become entrepreneurs simply by starting their own businesses online. Do these new entrepreneurs have what it takes to create a tech startup unicorn? What exactly does that mean? In truth, many people are jumping into the tech game without realizing that passion does not equal knowledge, and knowledge does not equal success.

    Unpacking Your Startup Idea
    Anyone who watches the show Silicon Valley on HBO knows that creating a valuable and useful startup is all about investors. Where a startup begins and ends is not the same. One major example is Facebook. Once started as a website akin to the old “hot or not” trendy sites for college students, it is arguably the most well-known and pervasive social media platform used around the world.

    This is why it is essential to unpack your startup technology early and understand what is simply great about your idea. Whether you are a developer with a software product, business graduate with a cool invention or single parent just getting started, every startup entrepreneur should think critically about each component of their startup starting with the product and go-to-market strategy. One way to do this is through a SWOT analysis. Here are some questions you might ask:

    • What is my main product?
    • What does my company value?
    • What do my customers love about the product?
    • What do customers love about my brand?
    • What channels will serve the product best to my customer?

    You may also want to get more specific depending on the product. For example, who buys this software product and for what purpose? What problem does this product solve, and how much is it worth to my users to solve that problem?

    Consumer-Facing or Business-Facing
    In the past you may have heard B2B or B2C as common keywords that distinguished whether a company appealed to businesses or everyone else. The key terms now are consumer-facing or business-facing.

    Simply put, consumer-facing startups are based on how products or services are seen by a customer. This is key in determining a customer’s experience with your company and also the best way to design and deliver a satisfying user experience that includes multiple touch points. Some of these touch points include:

    • Business processes
    • Budgets
    • Marketing
    • Order processing
    • Purchasing
    • Production
    • Customer service
    • Employee training

    Business-facing is based on how can serve and provide software to other companies and clients. This is still referred to as business-to-business or B2B.

    While you do not necessarily have to pick between these two, it helps to understand what the majority of your audience demographic will be so you can understand branding, content strategy, channel selection and audiences so that your startup gains visibility.

    Defining the answers to these questions can lead to bigger investments from business partners or bring in more users who will support your startup technology company’s growth in the early years.

  • Automated unit testing

    Software Development Managers – How automated unit testing helps in controlled incremental releases?

    The Indispensable Merits of Automated Unit Testing
    Does it work?

    Because of all the rhetorical noise that can come with a hugely complex industry such as software development, you can accidentally lose sight of this fundamental question. The fact is, the only thing that matters to your client is “does this program do what I need to do, and does it do it reliably?” The way to ensure this is a simple, yet elegant development solution: unit testing.

    When developing a new software feature, you might take the naive approach and hand your engineers a rough specification, and have them implement your ideas to the best of their ability. Then, although they might have even designed a good feature, sometimes it just isn’t what you or your client needed. The perfect solution to this is test-driven development and unit testing. Using this method, instead of making guesswork of what needs to be done and then testing it later, only to find that the feature isn’t quite right, you instead write the tests first, ensure that they fit exactly what you want your piece of software to do and only then begin development. Initially, all the tests will fail. But as your engineers code the feature, they code specifically to pass each test, and as a result they code exactly what you need to get your feature working, released, and useful.

    Unit testing is especially important in incrementally released software. As you continuously roll out scores and scores of new features, it can become impossible to make sure the entirety of your program is functional. On a piece of software that is even two years old, there can be hundreds and hundreds of features that need to be ensured to work. It cannot be assumed that if a feature worked in a previous release that it will always work, as software engineering is an inherently finicky task, and the most minute change can break features for reasons entirely unknown. This is true especially if you have to change the fundamental structure of the program in order to roll in the new feature, which happens more often than you might think.

    In addition, manual testing requires your engineers to repeatedly execute repetitive tasks. Saving your engineers’ time, especially by running overnight test suites, can in addition save your company a good amount of money.

    There are scores of software development services created with automated unit testing and test driven development in mind. There’s one in any competitive IDE and one for virtually any language. Without a doubt, there’s multiple automated testing software development services for whatever technology you decide to develop your product with. Automated unit testing is a simple, elegant way to ensure a viable, reliable product, it reduces development costs, wasted time, guesswork, and headache for everyone involved, and all of the tools and services are already in place for you to integrate it seamlessly in your enterprise. In light of this, automated unit testing is, without a doubt, an indispensable practice to any software company.

  • co-development of software

    Know how Co-Developing Software Product Development is the Key to Balance Costs and Sustain Longer

    Why Co-Developing or Outsourcing Software Product Development Makes Sense
    Partnering with a software development company affords businesses the flexibility and responsiveness necessary to remain competitive in today’s fast-paced, constantly changing software product development market. What used to involve years-long project and development cycles can now be delivered in a fast, cost-efficient manner. For many companies, outsourced product development just makes sense.

    Here are four reasons why co-developing software product development makes sense for many businesses.

    Cost Savings
    The cost of maintaining a full IT staff dedicated to software product development is prohibitive. When you factor in the salaries, benefits, hiring and training processes, it’s easy to see why many organizations seek alternatives in the form of out-sourced development work. By relying on outsourced talent for development, companies can maintain the bare minimum of IT staff necessary to support, implement and guide the software products.

    Shorter Development Cycles
    Outsourced developers often have the resources and skills necessary to meet the aggressive time constraints of individual projects. They have the ability to staff-up with the right skilled developers to meet the demand. Not only does this shorter time to market present a competitive advantage for companies, but it also allows them to be more responsive to existing customer needs. Promises for enhancements and new features can be delivered sooner.

    Different times zones can also be a plus for productivity. Take for example the opportunity to develop during the day and test code at night. Or struggling to find more hours in the day that overlap, there is a chance to leverage teams in hat work in nearby time zones.

    Quickly find the Skills Needed
    As referenced earlier, outsourced product development companies have larger numbers of skilled developers than can be cost-effectively maintained in-house. The flexibility of being able to plug in different skills sets as the project demands becomes a boon to productivity and cost-savings. No longer do companies face the dreaded “switching costs” associated with getting staff trained on new technology and up to speed with the right development skills.

    Sustainability and Flexibility
    A companies ability to regularly bring updated, responsive software to market in a short time frame keeps it ahead, or in step, with the competition. The strategic strengths and sustainable development cycles mean the company will remain in a flexible and market-ready position for years to come. Co-developing software product development provides a strategic advantage.

    A software development company can also seamlessly switch from a waterfall development approach to an agile, iterative based product development life cycle. Agile has proven to deliver the better results for customers.

    Software development companies need their software product development cycles to be shorter and cost-effective while simultaneously providing the flexibility and responsiveness necessary to get to the top of the market. The costs associated with maintaining a large IT staff can hinder the profitability of many companies. Couple that with quickly out-dated skills sets and long project timelines and it’s easy to see why many organizations have turned to outsourced product development.