Category Archives: Mobile App Development

  • 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 mobile app development cost needed for a good apps. 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 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.

    Click to know mobile app development cost

  • 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?

    What key roles are necessary in agile scrum development

    Agile scrum development 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 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. Agile 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 agile scrum development 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 agile scrum development 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

    Agile scrum development 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.

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  • 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.

  • IoT application

    Why should CIO invest in IoT application development?

    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, IoT 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 IoT application 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 application 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 IoT 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 iot application? 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 iot application 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.

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  • scrum agile methodology

    How to derive effective results using Scrum agile 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  scrum agile methodology 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 scrum 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 scrum agile 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 scrum 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.

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  • 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.

  • mobile app idea

    How to choose perfect developers for your mobile app idea?

    Select 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 mobile app 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 create.

    The 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.

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  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • mshopping_1960x980

    Retail – How a well thought mobile app strategy helps modern retailers

    Retailers: Use A Careful Mobile App Strategy 
    Today a well thought out mobile app strategy enables retailers to compete more successfully for both in-store and online revenues. These useful tools promise to help some brick-and-mortar companies reverse years of gradual losses to ECommercecompetitors. How do Mobile Apps enter into modern retail marketing? What features should these software applications include? What strategies should businesses employ in implementing them more effectively?

    A New Retail Landscape

    Every year, an increasing number of shoppers head to malls and grocery stores carrying sophisticated mobile devices. A growing segment of these consumers use their iOs Apps, Android Apps, Windows Apps and more to seek out bargains. They may visit stores specifically to find certain products stocked there that they have identified via an Internet search. Additionally, a rising percentage of outlets today use wireless beacon technology to draw visitors into the store and promote products known to interest them. Visitors may gravitate to items offering coupon discounts or special promotions, for instance. Retailers who fail to take advantage of these technological innovations risk losing market shares to more aggressive, technically-savvy competitors.

    Custom Design Mobile Apps

    By seeking custom-designed retail apps, often developed with the assistance of IT Consultants, retailers obtain the ability to tap into this attractive Mobile ECommercemarketplace. Many larger stores already maintain 24/7 Online Retail operations. A well-designed tailored retail app helps your store complement and enhance these sales efforts. You can use Software Solutions that provide you with convenient tailored management platforms to track marketing and promotional campaigns campaigns very cost-effectively.

    Some Strategies

    Before making a significant investment in Retail Software, managers should consider consulting with knowledgeable IT professionals to fully explore all the available IT Solutions that might contribute to promotional efforts. Strategies for implementing retail apps vary widely sometimes, depending on your company’s marketplace, resources and staffing expertise. For example, some retailers hire IT consultants to manage retail applications for them, other companies perform this function completely in-house. You may wish to consult with an IT firm in order to gain a better appreciation of all of your potential options and marketing strategies. IT consulting holds value.

    A New Era in Retailing

    The popularity of Bluetooth-equipped devices, “smart” phones and wearable technology suggest that high tech Mobile Commerce will remain significant for retail stores far into the future. With so many exciting new ways to inform shoppers about sales and pertinent product information, retailers find information technology an increasingly productive way to convert store visitors into customers.

  • New Mobile application and its integration to your existing system and network

    With increased penetration of eCommerce, more and more organizations are investing in its mobile applications. In addition to this as a tool to enable its customers to do transactions by using mobile, it has become a platform for communication, advertisadd6ement and a medium to generate more traffic. Huge potential of commerce through mobile applications are forcing companies to lure customer with freebies and discounts to use their mobile application platform.

    There are eCommerce companies who have their own development team, but outsourcing of mobile application development to the specialist is the common industry trend. There are a number of options for outsourcing of mobile application development like offshore development, development through local companies, availing service of freelancers, joint development involving company and outsourcing team.

    Integration with existing System

    The important thing company need to consider while designing the mobile application is its integration with the existing system. Changing the backbone system of the company to adjust to the mobile application platform is not commercially viable. Hence, the new mobile application has to be fully integrated with the existing system. While configuring additional and new features should be easily managed by the existing system.

    It is also important that the mobile application development team needs to prioritise applications for different operating systems like android, apple iOS and blackberry. Considering its popularity and penetration android apps development should be the first delivery task followed by iPhone application development. It is also important that the mobile application be finally released for all platforms to cover entire mobile handset population.

    The security level and threats differ from operating system to system. Company need to invest more on mobile application security to avoid possible frauds and security breaks. Rigorous testing is another key activity company need to perform to assess the processing power, security and reliability of the mobile applications delivered by the developer. Android mobile applications and iPhone mobile applications have to be separately tested by the vendor, client and experts if required.

    The first challenge of a company and a mobile application developer is how quickly and effectively integrate the existing infrastructure to the new mobile application development minimising the changes in the core backend system.

  • Meeting Security Concerns in Mobile Application Development

    Mobile banking applications are changing the way we do transaction with the bank beyond what we imagined 2 years back. In this dmobileigital transformation, all banks, including multinational corporate banks as well as traditional government controlled banks are in the race for mobile banking application development.  The ability to deliver innovative banking application that is anywhere-any time, is the latest mantra to ensure customer loyalty, increased business and customer satisfaction.

    To address the different mobile operating system platform like apple iOS, android, blackberry, etc., banks have had to build their applications which conform to each operating system’s strength and weakness.

    Security Concerns

    It is important that any financial transaction requires a concrete security mechanism to avoid frauds. Banks are also spending huge amounts to ensure multiple layers of security for its mobile banking application development which is important to establish customer confidence in this new way of banking.

    Banks need to be more and more vigilant on its mobile banking apps development since this new age banking platform is yet to completely reveal the security threat it pose to the banking sector. It carries many risks, including malware on apps, fake banking applications created by fraudsters, hacking and the risk arises out when you lost your phone.

    Solving Security concerns

    For a robust mobile application development, the important points which enjoy prime focus is the user-friendliness, security and its integration with the existing banking network.  Some of the core features bank needs to ensure while searching for a vendor for mobile banking app development is; in addition to core banking functionality, it should carry, CRM support, messaging and alert and subscriber registration support.

    A lightweight application will enhance the customer experience. The mobile banking application development team need to foresee rapid changes in the banking sector and the platform must be ready to adapt these changes quickly. It is also important that the core banking system and its customer support mechanism also be competent and ready to suit the innovative functionalities and features of the mobile banking applications.

    Smart phones and mobile technologies are going to make an exploding impact the way and purpose we use mobile application.