Category Archives: Web Development

  • artificial intelligence

    What is the future of artificial intelligence in software?

    What is the future of artificial intelligence in software?

    If you’re a C-level executive at a company, you’ve been paying attention the rise in news coverage about artificial intelligence and the impact it could have on software development in various industries. From healthcare to manufacturing, security and banking, the technology will revolutionize the way that humans interact with its own creations.

    But how will AI influence software in the next few years? Is this something that you should consider? Is it even worth discussing?

    It turns out that not paying attention to AI may prove detrimental to you and your business. Below you’ll find a few ways that this technology can improve your business, but only if you’re willing to take the risk of integrating it into your business plan.

    Mundane Tasks Will Become Automated

    Startups generally have an issue when it comes to finding people to operate mundane processes, especially in accounting, shipping and receiving, and inventory. This is because startups don’t have a lot of money for staff and need to find ways to streamline their processes.

    AI in the future, and even now, can handle most of these mundane processes; they can also do it at a fraction of the price of actual human employees. With better accuracy, a faster timeline, and other factors, AI is a great option for startups who need an extra hand in these endeavors.

    But while this may send a signal to business professionals that their work is not valued, the opposite is true; automating mundane tasks frees up employees to become more creative, work on more complex problems, and even come up with new services and products. In the future, this creativity will be a cornerstone of the business world and will be thanks, in part, to AI stepping up to do mundane tasks.

    Chat Bots Will Change Retail Consumer Engagement

    You’ve no doubt heard of chatbots and how they’re changing retail consumer engagement, especially at the e-commerce level. With more and more consumers shopping online, these chatbots, which are supported by AI software, are a crucial part of growing an online retail business.

    What you may not know is that with the evolution of AI comes the evolution of chatbot software. In due time, your company may be able to use these bots to solve customer service complaints ranging from refunds to shipping issues; these bots will be able to communicate with bots from shipping companies, freeing up your staff to focus on larger issues.

    But if that’s not enough, the feedback gained from using this AI software will be incredibly useful to your business. If a line isn’t faring well or a shipping partner isn’t pulling its weight, the chatbot interface will be able to give you an intimate understanding of the problem. The chatbots may also be used for social media marketing purposes, including special sales and promotions, and the feedback from these events may also indicate when and how is the best time to reward loyal clients with promotions at your business.

    Learning Software Will Revolutionize Manufacturing

    AI has already begun to take on a larger role in manufacturing; this is visible particularly in the car manufacturing sector. But what if, in the future, AI could handle more assembly projects? What if AI could build smart home devices, phones, electronics, and even homes, all without human interference?

    It’s a possibility. Recent developments in the sector have shown that AI is using machine learning to become faster and more efficient in the manufacturing process at all levels, from small products to large-scale projects.

    What this means for startups in the future is that AI software will be able to learn how to create new manufacturing processes. Humans will always supervise these processes, but it enables employees to design and implement new systems that AI would be responsible for as part of its tasks for day-to-day operations. It also enables human employees to use their creativity to build new services and products.

    Integration in All Industries

    The future is looking at AI integration in all industries through different software. From healthcare to technology, banking to government, the software that is powered by AI will enable small businesses and startups like yours to thrive in a more competitive and equal playing field. In fact, this evolution has already begun, especially in the American healthcare system.

    You will find that as AI software continues to develop, you will have a variety of resources that have never been offered before. No matter what industry your company is doing business in, some part of your business operations will be operated by AI. The more comfortable you become with technology becoming a large part of your business, the better your company will fare.

    Artificial intelligence is not the only software development that is taking the business sector by storm; other technologies, such as blockchain, cryptocurrency and others are becoming more mainstream. But AI is consistently the foundation that all other technologies are being used, and it’s more important than ever that you, as a business professional, learn how to use it effectively. Now is the best time for you to take a good hard look at AI and see how it can benefit your business now and in the future.

  • IOT Security

    5 ways developers can improve IoT security on their devices

    Five Ways to Developers Can Improve IoT Security on their Devices

    Today, modern technological devices have changed the way we do things. With an increasingly high number of people using various devices to access the internet, online users are able to communicate more easily, purchase products online and access a wealth of information. However, just as the devices evolve, so do the threats associated with the Internet of Things. While it is clear that IoT security offers numerous benefits, system security remains a concern among both developers and users. Lack of proper security measures is likely to result in major vulnerabilities, with malicious actors exploiting IoT security weaknesses to compromise homes, enterprises and even governments. With more devices being introduced into the market, these threats are bound to increase. This is why mobile app developers should use innovation to improve IoT security.

    Focus on simplicity

    In most cases, hackers will target unprotected and under-protected devices when looking to carry out attacks. This is why all mobile app developers should consider effective ways of strengthening security on the side of the end consumer. The first step to achieving this would be to understand that some of the users of these devices are to tech savvy. This is why it may be important that you alert them of new IoT security breaches as well as guide them on how to maintain security. You can make it easy for them to update their gadget software and change their passwords in order to boost security.

    Ensure your gadgets are patchable

    The nature of malware attacks is such that they are constantly evolving. This is why ensuring IoT security will require that you keep up with the changing trends. Some of the IoT gadgets in the market come with pre-prepared passwords. This means that end users will find it difficult to change the passwords or patch their gadgets. One of your responsibilities is to ensure that gadgets are patchable so that all device users can update them, effectively resisting any possible attacks and breaches.

    Multifaceted approaches to security

    Although it is impossible to achieve perfect IoT security, there are several measures that you can take to strengthen security and minimize attacks. Rather than relying on a single approach to address security issues, mobile app development should embrace multi-faceted approaches to the problem. Since you can never be sure of the nature of threats that software and malicious hackers will present in future, modern techniques will go far in helping you meet the problem. If the approaches are to be effective, you should consider investing early enough during the development process. In the end, it will be more difficult for malicious hackers to exploit gaps.

    Encryption to secure communications

    In the world of the Internet of Things, hackers are constantly monitoring network traffic with the aim of identifying weaknesses in the system and carrying out attacks. Rather than allowing for communication in plain text, you should consider encryption during initial configuration. You should always use encryption tools that guarantee end-to-end security, making it hard for anyone looking to access or compromise data being transmitted across the internet. This will protect the various gadgets from destructive software while at the same time ensuring that data belonging to end users is secure at all times.

    Threat detection

    Hackers are always coming up with new ways of exploiting system vulnerabilities. This is why you should develop innovative ways of preventing them before they can carry out possible attacks. Web app developers should ensure that devices are built in such a way that they will detect possible threats in the event of attempted logins or malware. One of the best ways to achieve this would be to monitor networks so as to detect any suspicious activities. By being aware of security breaches in real time, there is a good chance that the necessary steps will be taken to protect both the Internet of Things device and the end user.

    Taking the necessary steps to promote security during mobile app development will go a long way in ensuring that devices that are introduced into the market are secure. Although efforts are being directed towards tackling IoT security issues, a lot more needs to be done. It is only in this way that the opportunities available to hackers will be reduced.

  • tech startup

    5 top things to keep in mind when scaling your tech startup?

    Top five things to keep in mind when scaling your tech startup

    Scaling your tech startup is an exciting phase of the whole entrepreneurial venture. The option to do so serves as validation that your product/service has value. In a cutthroat industry wherein 9 out of 10 tech startup fail, being able to scale should be greeted with a pat in the back for the good work. However, before celebrating the fact that you’ve been able to survive this long, one must first consider if scaling is the best possible direction for your tech startup to take. Here are five things to keep in mind if you’re at this particular crossroad of whether to scale or not:

    Determine Your Workforce’s Readiness

    Scaling means higher volumes of work and more data to process. Is your team ready to take on this workload? Can they work under the stress and pressures that come with expanding to new market niches or new audiences? Sit down with other high-level staff, such as senior software development engineers and product managers, to figure out if your current team has enough collective brain power to handle the new technical challenges that scaling brings.

    Start with the Small Things

    It’s a preconceived notion that successful startups, such as Uber or AirBnB, were already high-functioning companies right from the start. However, these companies weren’t born superstars overnight. They began on the hard route, which is by working on tasks manually. Take Zappos as a good example. When the company started, its founder, Nick Swinmurn, visited local shoe stores and took photos of everything that was on display. He then posted those photos on a website. When someone clicks the photo and buys it online, he returns to the shoe store, buys it, and them mails it to the customer.

    Figure Out the Tech First

    A tech startup relies on technology to be able to move forward. If you haven’t figured out how to specifically scale your IT systems and product’s tech startup capabilities, it’s best to hold off any plans to scale. Figure out how to set up your cloud storage and organization, how to set up your hiring and training processes, how to automate your marketing campaigns, and how to improve on your product’s or service’s current technology to be able to offer future updates and features. The underlying tech startup behind these operations are vital for your company to keep up with new market demand without collapsing under the weight of increased costs.

    Work on a Mobile App

    A mobile app is an expected feature for any serious tech startup. App development and maintenance, however, can be expensive. You can choose to either have an app built in-house or by an outside app development firm. It depends on your budget as well as the technical expertise and specializations of your employees and teams. Look for someone experienced in Ruby, Swift, Java, and other mobile-friendly and agile languages. Before expanding to new markets, it helps to have a mobile app to represent your brand on consumers’ mobile devices. Without one, it’ll be difficult to get your brand out there.

    Consider Outside Investment

    Startups in general burn through cash quicker than traditional businesses. It’s one of the many reasons why investors treat startups as a high-risk investment. Before scaling, think about your runway. How much time do you have until you eventually run out of operating capital and require an injection of cash from outside parties? Six months? A year? Perhaps your startup is only afloat until the end of the month in which case it makes fiscal sense to focus more on how to bring in more investors and how to bring down the costs of software development and less on scaling.

    Final Thoughts

    Scaling a startup is a very tricky objective to say the least. There are a lot of moving parts, some of which are very fragile and reactive to change. Use the five things mentioned above as a template or checklist before making any final decisions and setting anything in motion.

    Click to find best tech startup advisory

  • augmented reality

    How we can achieve Augmented Reality (AR) in mobile app development?

    Achieving Augmented Reality In Mobile App Development

    With the constant technological changes, it has become paramount for the software design managers to stay in touch with the latest trends. It isn’t easy keeping tabs on the latest developments, and therefore, argument reality enables businesses and app development experts to overlay digital data over the real-world objects. Although augmented reality is constantly growing in the mobile technology niche, it’s still a disruptive force in other sectors such as fashion, travel, retail, and finance.

    Here are some of the tools that will help you achieve Augmented Reality in mobile application development:

    1) LayAR

    LayAR is an important tool in mobile application development given that it supports mapping of extra items on user’s location and images. Each of the frameworks consists of data on particular social network users and other areas. Also, the functionality expands the ability of a printed product. For instance, if you use the LayAR based app, it’s possible to make an order on a printed catalog or even listen to songs you saw in a magazine. Most of the work takes place on the server which usually takes into account the mapping of additional elements in the recognition.

    2) Augmented Reality ToolKit

    Augmented Reality ToolKit is a combination of software tools that are important in the design of AR mobile app development. One of the greatest advantages of this tool is that it supports different platforms such as Mac OS X, Linux, Windows, SGI, Android, and iOS. It’s also important to remember that these platforms come with different design environments, which are free. Additionally, the design environment is an open-source code, which means that anyone can have access to the library.

    3) Wikitude

    This tool is specifically geared towards the Android and iOS platforms, and it can still be integrated into other modules, especially as a plug-in for Phone Gap. What’s more, its supports unity programming languages as well as other software designs kits such as the SLAM markerless tracking. This platform can also support real object for 2D and 3D model rendering and it has received recommendations from other users.

    4) Vuforia

    This is a complete software design tool that is used for the Augmented Reality mobile app development. The platform supports 2D and 3D recognition, mapping, target tracking, and virtual buttons, which are done through the OpenGL. Additionally, it can support extended monitoring that provides for continual experience, although the target might not be on view. Given that the tool comes with a TerrainTM feature, it can easily design a terrain in real time. In so doing, this tool is used in the construction of a three-dimension geometric map while at the same time detecting targets such as objects, English text, and images.

    Additionally, when using Vuforia, you can easily take advantage of applications that make use of a database that is either on the cloud or on local devices. The other benefit of this framework is that it supports test app with comments and virtual reality devices that display the Vuforia abilities.

    5) Kudan AR

    The Kudan Augmented Reality functionalities are comprised of markerless tracking. This means that instead of relying on fiducial marks, it comes with natural features such as textures, edges, and corners. It also maps extra elements on the base of the user recognized image and location as well as other elements through separate components over OpenGL. This is one of the fastest frameworks since its library assists mobile AR apps when it comes to importing three-dimensional models and also mapping out multi-polygon models.

    Also, the framework doesn’t require a lot of memory to store files in the system and the number of recognized images has no set limit. Application developers can use the original documentation since the manual for the framework is both short and detailed.

    Develop you mobile app with augmented reality

  • Mobile App Development Team set-up

    How is a Mobile App Development Team set up?

    How To Set Up A Experienced Mobile App Development Team

    In a global economy where technology is evolving at lightning speed, as a CTO/CIO, it is important to ensure that you put together a team that understands the current trends in app development, and one that is bound to provide exemplary results. Finding the right experts can be hard, owing to the numerous projects in different organizations that need to be completed. Before putting up a experienced mobile app development team, it is important to understand that there should be a developer, manager, and designer.

    Application Manager

    He/she is the person who ensures cohesiveness within the team involved in app development. The manager understands clearly what the product development process entails, and he/she works hard to make sure that there is a smooth flow of information between team members. The manager’s input is valuable in marketing, planning, and offering clientele service.

    Mobile Application Designer

    He/she designs the applications User Interface (UI) and plays a significant role in the branding of the software. The designer ensures that features such as the logo, marketing components, and website are incorporated into the mobile application.

    The Developers

    They are the people involved in the actual programming and bringing a mobile application to life. The developers come up with the program’s code and specify how it should operate.

    Factors to Consider when setting up a team of developers

    Conducting a face to face interview is a suitable way of deciding the right person for the job. However, there are some other important aspects that should always be considered in the process.

    Do not absorb the Rockstar type of developers

    The major technicality with rock star mobile developers is that they usually want to shine more than the other team members. The best mobile application developer is one who tries to create an atmosphere of cohesiveness in a team since this helps in achieving the set objectives. Rockstar mobile developers tend to put their objectives first, and this frequently leads a team to the rocks.

    Create an environment that motivates the mobile app development team

    Well-seasoned mobile application developers are regularly encouraged by the culture established in an organization, rather than huge incentives, only to end up working in a company where there is no adequate support.

    Encourage Agility

    Agile methods of software development dictate that production and the release of an application into the market should follow predefined steps to avoid delay. The development and subsequent release of the mobile apps into the market should be done in a manner that does not hinder the continuous release of other mobile applications. Well-seasoned mobile app developers look for factors such as pivoting, continuous application deployment, split testing, and actionable metrics as aspects that should initially be incorporated into a mobile app development team.

    In case the organization is still employing traditional desktop methods of software development, then a mobile-first rationale should be included in the mobile app development team. Agility is an important aspect of any application development process as software developers admire projects that come to an end fast.

    Create an Attractive Organizational culture

    Mobile application developers are individuals who desire create an impact in the globe. Additionally, they admire working in companies that provide them with proper incentives. Incorporating such features into an organization will make it easy to attract a well-seasoned developer. Additionally, the team that is set up should be exemplary, and one shares a common thought of achieving the organization’s objectives.

    Building, Operating, and Transferring (BOT)

    The process of using a mobile app development team of armatures may be a challenging. Additionally, a lot of time and much financial support will have to be incorporated into the entire process, yet there is a high chance that failure may be encountered.

    However, employing a company that already has a setup team of developers is usually one of the most efficient methods of mobile app development team. When an IT company is contracted, it will come with it’s team of experts who will develop the application, and carry out tests to ensure perfect functionality. Once the project is finished, you can absorb the team of developers so that they can be part of your company as they continue helping in the maintenance of the application.

    Click to contact a well experienced mobile app development team

  • Startup

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

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

    The Importance of Capital

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

    Marketing

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

    Growth Management

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

    Raising Capital

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

  • How to build a winning Internet of Things strategy?

    How to build a winning Internet of Things strategy?

    How to build a winning Internet of Things strategy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Click to know wining internet of things strategy

  • developing mobile apps

    Is Cross platform the best choice for developing mobile apps?

    Is Cross platform the best choice for developing mobile apps

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

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

    Cross-Platform

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

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

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

    Hybrid HTML5 App Development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Select the best platform for  developing mobile apps

  • Mobile App Strategy

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

    Great Metrics to Measure a Successful Mobile App Strategy

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

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

    Performance metrics

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

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

    Usage and demographics metrics

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

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

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

    Engagement metrics

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

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

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

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

    Business metrics

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

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

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

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

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  • agile development

    How to write effective user stories in agile development?

    Writing Effective User Stories for Agile Development

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

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

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

    Writing Quality User Stories

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

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

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

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  • Methodology for Project Management

    How to choose the right methodology for project management?

    Choosing the right methodology for project management

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

    Waterfall

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

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

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

    Agile

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

    Scrum

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

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

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

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

    Select right methodology for project management

  • Mobile App Development

    What are the common challenges for Mobile App Development?

    The common challenges for Mobile App Development

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

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

    Funding

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

    Getting the Attention of Your Target Audience

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

    Creating an Interactive App

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

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

    Dealing With Device Screen Sizes

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

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

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  • What are the most important challenges for IoT adoption?

    What are the most important challenges for IoT adoption?

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

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

    Privacy Concerns

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

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

    Insufficient infrastructure

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

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

    High Costs

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

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

    Legality And Regulations

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

  • How to Accept Payments Through Your App

    How to accept payments through your apps?

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

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

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

    Braintree

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

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

    Google Wallet

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

    Venmo

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

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

    TSYS

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

    Amazon Payments

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

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

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

  • How to Make Money with Mobile Apps

    How to make money with mobile apps?

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

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

    Determining Pricing

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

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

    Advertising on Free Apps

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

    In-app Purchases

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

    Subscription Apps

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

    One-time Charge Apps

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

    Paid Download, Paid Features

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

    Manufacturer and Carrier Partnerships

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

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

  • Mobile App Development Cost

    How much money is needed to create a good app?

    If you’re considering making an app for your organization, it’s wise to determine early on how much 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.

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  • 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.

    Click to hire dedicated agile scrum development team

  • How will technology change our lives in twenty years?

    How will technology change our lives in twenty years?

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

    1. Disease prevention

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

    2. Minimal drive time

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

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

    3. Less time spent on routine tasks

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

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

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

  • 5-Reasons-Why-Startups-Fail

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

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

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

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

    2. They compartmentalized too early

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

    3. They grew too soon

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

    4. They didn’t grow fast enough

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

    5. Their team wasn’t solid

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

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

  • 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.

    Build software using scrum agile methodology

  • Software product development

    Why Software Product Development is Different Than Internal Software Projects?

    Why Software Product Development is different than internal software projects?

    Internal software projects can cover a wide variety of tasks, such as building a data warehouse or creating a custom application to be used internally by a business. Many projects might involve coding, but actually developing and producing software from an initial concept to successful release is an entirely different animal.

    Software Development Process

    The software development process, or life cycle (SDLC), is a structure for defining progress. There are a number of development methods which describe approaches to the tasks and objectives involved. These process models began with waterfall methods, which developed in turn into iterative, Agile, and extreme programming (XP) processes.

    Typically any software development includes stages of requirement analysis, specifications, software architecture, implementation, testing, documentation, training and support, and maintenance.

    In thee internal software projects, this cycle is completed for a version to be used by business and remains steady for a while till business needs new changes. However, software product development in many instances, development is never really completed, as there are numerous releases over time with new features and fixes as customer feedback is received and user needs change more frequently. With new cloud based SaaS products gaining foot in market, the cycles of development have become more agile and product companies are actually doing this shorter as possible to get more customer feedback as fast as possible.

    Driving Role

    With internal software projects, it is usually seen that CIO or IT heads get the requests for business software needed, which gets checked by them if available off the shelf. This is what drives to make decisions of creating this custom internally for their business OR if a off the shelf software package can be used to meet the needs with minimal or no customization.

    In technology startup space, CEO is more of an “idea man” or venture capitalist who hires or partners with a technology specialist to head up development. This is the CTO, or chief technical officer. In practice this is seldom a hands-on team leader but a technical adviser. In today’s development world of IT outsourcing, this is not someone with a vested interest in the technology startup, but a contracted, high-level consultant who can be hired as virtual CTO. The role may become more physical and they may need to bring a full time CTO in house once the product hits market

    Platforms & Technology Stack

    Today’s software product development can be extremely complex, and may need to run a variety of devices and platforms. Development teams must stick to their methodology to establish and meet requirements, plan system architecture, and coalesce constantly revised code blocks into a working product that satisfies all quality tests. Going at it with a poorly defined process will only lead to failure.

    In contrast, an internal project although being a very important requirement from business standpoint, does not necessarily need to support many platforms for user adaptability as most of the users may still be internal to business. Technology and architecture decisions however are equally important, still rank low as preference if compared with product development needs of a technology company.

  • Tech Start Ups

    Tech Start Ups – Why UI / UX has Become Make or Break Decision Now?

    If you’re working in the software industry, you already know that UI design is important for any product or service. Now the latest word is that any software development company that wants to be competitive needs to invest in UX design as well as UI work. Is this true? Do you need to start scanning the job sites for UX experts? The answer is yes, and this is why:

    Breaking Down The UI / UX Team:

    User Interface (UI) design is a pretty familiar concept in the world of software and web development. You already know these graphically-talented pros as the specialists you turn to put a pretty face on your products and services. User Experience (UX) design is the hot buzzword in the development world now, though. Just what is it — and more importantly, why is it important to you?

    UX design is the number-heavy, analytical muscle that backs up UI decisions. UX encompasses how and why your users see the designs developed by your UI team. It’s about shaping, analyzing, and improving how your users interact with your products and services. Moving into the future, capturing market share is going to require great UX work just as much as it requires great products.

    A Core Component Of Success:

    A software development company that’s looking to build great web solutions (or any other kind of software product, really) obviously needs skilled UX and UI specialists to get the job done. These pros aren’t outsiders that you call in at the end of the product development cycle, though. UX needs to be a key consideration as early in the development process as possible.

    Your entire team — both UX experts and the rest of your programmers — should be thinking about your user experience long before development is complete. UX design is complementary; it can alter the shape of your web development process and dramatically improve the final quality of the products you have to offer users.

    Start Strong; Get Stronger:

    The other reason you need to get serious about adding UX and UI muscle to your permanent team is that these disciplines do not (or should not) pack up and go home at the end of the development cycle. UX design is an iterative process. While a UX professional should be able to give you a workable, well-polished UX before you go live, he or she can also refine that design based on user feedback. As your user base grows and changes, you need to make sure your company’s web development evolves to keep up.

    Your UI specialists have plenty of work to do once you’re serving users, too. The insights gathered by the UX team will lead to improvements — everything from minor tweaks to major overhauls. All of those changes need to be crafted, and you want the crafting to be done by the same team that developed your UI in the first place.

    Strong UI / UX work isn’t just the cherry on top of the software sundae your team has created. The best web solutions in the world won’t reach their full potential if they’re burdened with a shabby user experience. The reverse of that statement is also true: Outstanding UI / UX work can help shore up a weak product and help you improve it. These are the key reasons why you need to make sure your team includes real UI and UX expertise.

  • featured_e-commerce

    ECommerce Comparison – Selling Through Your Own Store vs Existing Marketplaces

    Is it better to sell your products through your own store or through an existing marketplace like Amazon.com, eBay.com or Etsy.com? When making this decision, it’s worthwhile to take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy.

    Advantages of Selling Through a Marketplace

    • It’s typically easier to get started selling through a marketplace than it is to start your own ECommerce store from scratch.
    • Some marketplaces do their own advertising and marketing. This creates a possibility of customers finding your store through their efforts.

    Disadvantages of Selling Through a Marketplace

    • You give up a substantial percentage of your revenue to the marketplace.
    • Many marketplaces will not allow you, or any of their third-party sellers, to market directly to customers acquired through their platform. What this means: They consider the customer to be their customer, not your customer. This limits your ability to solicit repeat purchases, and repeat purchases are essential to the success of many small businesses.
    • Your business is subject to the policies of the marketplace; you might or might not like or agree with their policies.
    • The marketplace can make changes to their policies, platform or procedures at any time. This will directly affect your business, but you will not have any say in the decisions they make.
    • The marketplace has the power to revoke your privileges to use their site at any time, and you have no control over their decisions in this regard.

    Advantages of Selling Through Your Own ECommerce Store

    • You are able to keep and allocate the revenue generated by your business; you decide which business expenses are worth paying for.
    • You are able to retain and use all the data from your business, including customers’ contact information. Thus you are free to continue marketing to existing customers within the framework of existing laws in your area.
    • You have complete control over your store policies, and you are able to change or adapt them as it suits your business needs.

    Disadvantages of Selling Through Your Own Store

    • Setting up a store is complex and requires skills that may be beyond your capability. However, this is not a long term or serious disadvantage; you can easily outsource the setup for your store in the current marketplace.
    • You are completely responsible for customer acquisitions and marketing of your business. This is also not a serious disadvantage; the truth is, even if you were to use a platform like Etsy.com or eBay.com, you would need to do substantial amounts of marketing. If you are going to spend time and money on marketing a business, it’s a good idea to spend that time and money marketing a business that you fully own and control.

    Keep in mind that you do not need to decide between creating your own store or using a third-party marketplace. You do have the option to use both strategies, and utilizing both can be advantageous for sellers.

    How to create your own online retail store

    If you decide to create your own ECommerce retail store, you have many options for getting it set up.

    • It’s helpful to seek IT consulting for guidance that will be specific to your business needs. Retail IT consultants can help you simplify all the complex decisions and details that could overwhelm you otherwise.
    • You can research software specifically created for retail ECommerce.
    • Hire a retail IT consultant to choose the most optimum retail software as per your needs.
    • Hire a IT consultant / software development company to help you.

    Hopefully this gives you a better idea of your options when it comes to choosing whether you want to sell through a marketplace or your own store. We hope this information will be helpful to you as you decide on the best approach for your business.

  • Online Payments

    Retail Ecommerce – Things to consider when accepting payments online

    Once your Ecommerce website is up and running, it’s time to figure out how to accept online payments for all the products your customers will be purchasing through you. There are a number of easy steps that can be taken in order to ensure an easy checkout process for your customer. Plus, with software outsourcing and software consulting, accepting payments with your retail website is easier than ever.

    Pick your payment method

    How do you want to be paid? That should be the first question you ask yourself. There are a variety of payment methods that can be utilized on any given Ecommerce website. Popular payment methods include:

    • PayPal
    • Credit/ Debit Card
    • Bill Me Later
    • Google Checkout
    • Check
    • Cash on Delivery

    Now, you don’t have to use every payment method available. However, offering at least three payment methods is recommended so that your customers aren’t stuck only using one. This is incredibly helpful for customers who may not have a PayPal or credit card (or prefer not to provide their information over the web), and prefer sending in a check instead. A variety of payment methods just mean more ways for you to get paid!

    Pick your payment gateway

    Without a payment gateway, there’s no way to verify information and authorize payment in real time. With a payment gateway account, you get a service that facilitates between the customer’s account and your account, which allows you to receive payment. There are literally hundreds of different payment gateways, including:

    • VeriSign
    • Sage Pay
    • net
    • Paypal
    • 2Checkout

    Integrating a payment gateway might not be a straight task and you may need an experienced IT consultant and software programming company to do it for you. They usually integrate different types of payment gateways to build a system for you that works again and again. Using a middle man like that really cuts down on the time you spend creating and using a payment gateway account.

    Pick your online merchant

    Once you’ve decided what retail IT software you’re going to be using for your shopping cart, payment gateway, payment method, and more, it’s time to get an online merchant account. Without an account, customers have no where to put the money they give you when they make a purchase.

    This step is extremely crucial, as there are many online merchant services to watch out for. Make sure to read the fine print and avoid using any online merchant services that require an additional fee for credit card use or hidden charges. Also, make sure to stay aware of the other fees that go along with having an online merchant account, including account fees and minimums, termination fees, statement fees, annual fees, and much more.

    Don’t rush

    Take some time researching your options for all of the software you’re going to need. The software plays a role in the theme and design of your website, so choose carefully and make sure that each different software ties in with your overall goal for the website.

    As simple as it may appear with a complete plethora of tools and software available in the market, it may still be a scary but essential step in your journey to sell online.

    If you feel a little confused or feel that putting this in the hands of a professional will make everything run smoother, look into employing an IT consultant. An experienced IT consultant should be well capable of making the choices for you so that you can get the best and well secured experience of online payments for your consumers.

  • Tech Start Ups – Marrying Correct Technology Partner

    Most business ideas today are involved in Internet or computer technology one way or another. It may not be the business or the service itself, but still technology and Internet plays an important part for core operations management in each department of business management. This is one reason for which we see businesses evolved and succeed around cutting edge technologies these days.

    This makes it very important for any new entrepreneur to have a good technology partner similar to finding and marrying a right life partner. When you have a technology expert in your team, they are very effective in assisting you at any point of time, plus can save your effort when it comes to the technology aspect of your business.

    Information-Technology-Partner-for-Businesses

    With the startups running lean and thin on finances initially, it is not advised to bear the heavy expense and burden in having a technology partner on board. One of the best ways that you can mitigate this risk is to have the correct tech partner through a reliable outsourcing vendor. This brings a ready available team of experts for your disposal suggesting and guiding you through technology challenges in business.

    Such technology partners come with many advantages over having a single person or having your own team of technology specialists in house. Some of these advantages you must check before choosing right partner are,

    • Having the right mix of technology skills to support your business idea and technology needs in long run
    • Acceptable service level expectations in contracts
    • Accreditations and certifications required to achieve technology vision
    • Past experience with similar kind of technology deliveries
    • Required expertise and skill set in key people to communicate at vendor’s side
    • Right price mix to support the long term association
    • Capacities to ramp up or down the size of team to reduce go to market time cycles.
    • Possibility of speaking to someone in your own time zone for critical situations
    • Ability to reach escalation matrix when needed with minimal support time
    • Ability to mitigate the risk by providing necessary insurance and legal requirements for your company.

    While planning a new software product, it becomes even more important outsourcing and having right technology partner. The most important aspect for a technology startup is to work in a lean manner and create the product in incremental manner, which needs that it is released in parts earliest to market and tweaked according to feedback. Right technology outsourcing vendor can help by providing skills and team to reduce these timelines and take the product to market soonest and in efficient manner.

    Take Away:

    With all these advantages of using a technology partner, biggest disadvantage is time and effort required to find a vendor that suits your needs and is the right fit for you. As a new business startup, an entrepreneur now must make finding a right technology partner as one of the key strategic decisions on their must-have list.

    About Author:

    Author is CEO & Managing Director at OTS Solutions specializing in mentoring technology startups in guiding and helping them form successful technology products. Feel free to contact OTS Solutions if you are looking for an efficient and right technology partner for your startup using +1 818 937 4164 OR sales@otssolutions.com

  • What Digital Marketing Has For The Healthcare Industry

     

    health care services onlineThe Healthcare sector is one of the fastest growing industry of not only in the US but in all of the globe. As the number of players are surging up high, to be successful in this business, enterprises need to move into the new dimensions of business. Digital Marketing do provide the platform that blends this sector with industry relevant trends. As internet is on the way to be omnipresent, other industries cannot be distanced from this. In fact, the digital world provides the most favorable pathway for business.

    Focusing the Web

    digital health careDigital Media can open the way for a larger business outreach. Being on the web means connected to people all around the world. It can pave the way for global presence. Therefore, health services should focus on optimizing their websites. According to relevant sources, 84% of the patient use both online and offline health services. To make websites more convenient to this bulk of patient, responsive layout is much preferable, because a considerable portion of this percentage of people used mobile devices such as Smart Phones and Ipads. To be more competitive, Search Engine Optimization could help to be ahead of others. These would require more relevant contents in the websites, provide original information on health related issues that patient searches for. This would eventually provide more benefit to patients and hence bringing more traffic to the website.

    healthcare marketing

    Making the Service More Accessible

    Healthcare Applications for mobile devices is an important strategy to reach patients. As Mobile applications has become a day to day use, Mobile applications can bring the healthcare industry closer to its audience. Applications would make health services easily accessible. These must be developed for all types of devices in the market such as Android, iPhones, iPads and so on. Applications must focus on quick solutions to common health issues, capability to detect symptoms of ailments, quick address or contact information about doctors and hospitals, online connections to doctors and so on. This would increase applicability as well as the popularity of the service.

  • Why Use PHP For Web Graphics

    Personal Home Page, PHP Hypertext Preprocessor or PHP is the most powerful and dynamic programming language used in web development as well as other general purposes. It is a server side scripting language and hence it can achieve multifarious objectives of a website that cannot be accomplished using scripting language like HTML. Its power to connect to the MySQL database makes this the most useful and cogent scripting language. Websites can be used dynamically by maintaining forms, records, automating web contents among others. It is fast as does not need massive coding as that of HTML. PHP web development

    Web pages can be made responsive using PHP. Graphics are one of the most compelling aspects of PHP. Equipped with a powerful GD graphics library it can dynamically manipulate images. It can create GIFs, JPEGs, PNG, and WBMPs.

    Use of GD graphics library provides PHP programming with another major advantage. Graphs, Charts, Bar diagrams, line diagrams can be easily created with dynamic properties using this. Creating graphical data charts is easy using this language.

    PHP GraphicsPHP enables creation of image objects like circle, rectangle, oval among others that can be manipulated to draw complex designs and patterns. It supports grouping of large, complex objects and render dynamic properties to image objects.

    The graphics library allows manipulation of Z-index. It is the ability to place objects above or behind other objects. In web development this aspect is a crucial one to add dynamic visual properties. It is creation of multiple layers in a website where objects can be placed.PHP web graphics

    Image scaling is an important aspect that is required in websites. As internet users browse from devices like iPad, Cell phones that has a smaller screen size, website display is expected to be responsive. That is, websites should fit to any browser size without losing any of its property distortion of content. This can be achieved easily using PHP script. It can specify coordinates to the plane of image and scale them automatically to any browser.

  • Is Default Responsive Web Designing a Good Practice?

    Web designing has undergone much progress in recent times. It has evolved from a stubborn page that looked more like a scanned page of paper to really dynamic and responsive websites that dispenses a 3D feel. This new era of web development has achieved the gratuity of technology and coding developments like Java Scripts, J query, PHP, which are latest on the show.

    Dynamic websites

    Responsive website designing has become so popular today, that web developers are observed to use this tempting method by default. However, this is not a very popular practice that proved to be useful while managing a client. In fact, many clients are in reality annoyed by the complex visualization of contents in their websites. Here it is necessary to note down that the very websites of high end technology like J query or PHP do not use much visual stand ups. Also, the websites of IT giants like Microsoft are quite simple to look at.

     

    One of the many reasons which makes a responsive web design less popular is the complexity. Responsive and dynamic websites does look like general websites that interacts with user displaying contents in a straight forward manner. In Dynamic websites, the user interaction is quite superb with sensitive clicks and buttons that surprises them. However, if the contents of the website are not displayed in a proper and in an easily accessible manner, there is a possibility that users might not find what they were looking for.Problems in responsive design

     

     

    Also, another problem with dynamic pages is there scaling in small screen devices like mobile phones and I-pads. Responsive layouts are especially designed to be fluid designs so that they adjust themselves to browser size. This is one of the reasons Google recommended responsive layout. However, while using dynamic responsive layouts, if the design is not planned out in a right direction, it could be a mess when displayed on smaller screens. The content layout may overflow or take entirely different shapes or contents may even not be displayed. Therefore, while developing such a website the responsive scaling must be looked into carefully.

     

    One of the important reasons many clients do not choose a responsive website is because of limited browser compatibility. The term “limited browser compatibility” is not entirely correct for dynamic websites, but it is true to some extend. The only way to tackle this problem is to modify the codes in such a way that it is compatible with most of the browsers.

    client satisfaction in website design

     

    Therefore, the best practice is to ask clients about their requirement rather than a default inclusion of responsive design. It is better, when they are asked directly if they want responsive layout and dynamic design for their layout or not. They should be made known of its positive and negative aspects clearly before they take a decision.