Monday, 4 December 2017

3 Mobile Technologies that Will Make a Big Impact in 2018

Out of all of the technologies, you can think of, mobile technology has had one of the biggest impacts on our lives. Why? Because it’s mobile and we can go anywhere with it. Today, more people than ever have smartphones, and with it comes near limitless possibilities.
Let’s look at what the future of mobile technology will look like in 2018.

1: Wireless Charging

It’s been a long time since Nikola Tesla walked on Earth, but we finally have something he could only dream about: wireless charging (AKA inductive charging). Wires? No, thank you. I would much rather simply set my phone down on top of a charging pad and let the energy flow. The thing about wires is that they’re the past; they’re obsolete. We have wireless speakers, wireless earphones, and now we have wireless charging. Wires had their heyday, and it’s time for them to step aside.
Imagine coming home a bit inebriated after a night out with friends. You get back, you’re tired, thirsty, and all you want to do is take your clothes off and go to sleep. You put your phone down and head to bed. Which of the following scenarios would you prefer?
You start nodding off when you realize that your phone is completely out of battery. Darn it, now you have to get up, find the charging cable, and do that little dance where you try to plug your phone in as few tries as possible. Ahh, finally, fifth time’s the charm — time to head back to bed.
You start nodding off and you fall asleep knowing that your phone started charging the second you put it down on top of the charging pad.
If I were you, I would opt for the second scenario.

2: Augmented Reality


Augmented reality has been with us for a while now, but we didn’t really start talking about it and mobile technology in the same sentence until Pok√©mon GO came into the scene in the summer of 2016. It’s had its ups and downs, but many people now realize what AR can do, and many organizations are taking heed and are adding it to their own strategies.
In fact, Amazon recently released AR View, a wonderful mobile app that goes above and beyond what other AR apps can do. With it, you can go through their catalogue, choose something that you’re interested in, and then superimpose it onto your actual surroundings. That’s not all though, after all, there are plenty apps that already do that. The beauty of this app is that it has more of a mixed reality feel by allowing to ‘interact’ with the product. Not interact as in touch, but once you place an object somewhere, you can walk around and see it from different angles, just as if it were actually there. So whereas other apps have the object sit there, Amazon actually lets you treat it as an actual thing.

3: Translators


As artificial intelligence improves, we’re seeing more and more improvements in translators. And by this, I’m not referring to dear old text translators, but instead, those that translate as you speak. In other words, you can have a complete and cohesive conversation with someone who speaks a completely different language than you, without waiting for the machine to register what you say and then translate. I’m talking real-time language translation.

A Second Look at the Future of Mobile Technology

Let’s whet our mobile technology appetites by taking a second look at what 2018 will bring:
1. Wireless charging that will make our lives much easier
2. Augmented reality to merge the real and virtual world
3. Translators that can break down language barriers in real-time
Enjoy the future of mobile technology!

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Top 7 Programming Languages for Mobile App Development

With the release of the iPhone X, smartphones continue to be one of the hottest and most trending topics online. We all have them, we all love them, and we all think we can come up with the latest and greatest mobile apps that will take the world by storm. The problem is unless we’re familiar with one, two, or a few programming languages, we’re left without a paddle.

One avenue of recourse is to team up with a developer or digital agency with mobile app development skills, but that might come with a hefty price tag. Instead, take a proactive approach; learn some programming languages and start coding some mobile apps. The hard part of learning is up to you, but here’s your first step: choosing from these top 7 programming languages ripe for mobile app development.

1: Swift

Swift is a powerful and intuitive programming language for macOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Released by Apple specifically for iOS and supporting systems, this programming language is a must if you plan to develop mobile apps for Apple users. It’s quite intuitive and easy to learn, and its popularity has been steadily increasing in recent years. If you want a language that makes coding fun, you can’t go wrong with Swift.

2: Objective-C

Before Swift, there was Objective-C, Apple’s language of choice for years. It’s one of the most popular programming languages for mobile app development, so consider learning it and Swift congruently for a well-rounded approach. It’s simple to use, pretty robust and scalable, and as it’s a C-language superset, it has a decent amount of functions geared toward graphics and display functions.

3: C++

C++ (pronounced C plus plus) is the language for you if you’re planning on entering the Android and Windows mobile app landscape. It’s one of the most powerful programming languages and is also very good for developing cross-platform mobile apps. Speaking of, C++ works with Objective-C libraries in iOS app development, so definitely consider adding it to your repertoire. No matter what type of app you’re thinking of, C++ can definitely help you out.

4: Java

With 5 million students studying it, 10 million developers using it, and 15 billion devices running on it, Java is the language of possibilities. It’s an object-oriented language that’s very easy to learn and use, which is probably why many introductory computer science courses use it as a starter language. As such, it’s also one of the most popular programming languages in the world (overall), especially for Android mobile app development. Not to say that you can’t use it for cross-platform app development — it’s actually one of the most suited languages for app development in general.

5: Python

Python is a programming language that lets you work quickly and integrate systems more effectively. It’s a high-level language perfect for a variety of projects, and one of its most appealing features is that it is excellent at readability. Because of its syntax, Python is also very good at writing fast code, as it helps programmers achieve results in fewer steps than other languages like Java or C++.

6: C#

Just like Swift is Apple’s brainchild, C# is Microsoft’s. As such, if you want to develop a Windows phone app, definitely consider C#. It’s a very versatile language and, with support from Xamarin and Unity, you can build everything from server and enterprise apps to games.

7: Javascript + HTML5

HTML5 is the fifth version of HTML, and while not a mobile app development language in and of itself, by pairing it with Javascript, it most definitely becomes one (Javascript can also be paired with CSS and AJAX for mobile apps). Therefore, it’s good for hybrid app developers who are not used to the mobile app landscape.

Final Thoughts

Take your pick of one or all of these languages — you can’t go wrong with either. Here they are all over again:
1. Swift
2. Objective-C
3. C++
4. Java
5. Python
6. C#
7. Javascript + HTML5

Good luck learning and coding!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

10 Tips to Increase Mobile App Engagement

There are about 2.8M mobile apps in the Google Play Store, 2.2M in the Apple App Store, 669K in the Windows Store, and 600K in the Amazon App Store. In other words, the mobile app landscape is extremely competitive and developers are popping up left and right with new apps every day. For example, one year ago there were around 12 million people trying their hand in mobile application development, and about 149.3 billion applications were downloaded in that same year.

The point is that there are a lot of mobile apps out there, and if you’re a developer who wants to increase mobile app engagement, you’ll have a hard time competing with everyone else. After all, the last thing you want is for your app to finally get downloaded only to collect digital dust as it sits on your user’s phone day in and day out.

And now we arrive at the gist of our conversation today: 10 tips that’ll help you increase mobile app engagement.

1: Create a Great First Impression

Just like any other relationship, your mobile app has to make a good first impression from the start. If people don’t like it from the get-go, they’ll delete it right then and there and out goes another user. That’s not what you want. You want to create an easy onboarding experience that’s marked by few, simple steps to get started, a splash screen that keeps users entertained as the app loads, and most importantly, a fast interface.

2: Leverage Analytics

One of the more important tips on this list, leverage your app’s analytics to get a better understanding of who your users are. By doing so, you’ll gain valuable insights into user behavior; you’ll know what’s working and what your users are responding to. From here, you can optimize your app and create an experience that everyone — or at least a majority — will like.

3: Use Push Notifications

More specific than other tips on this list for engagement, use push notifications to keep your app on your user’s mind. As long as your notifications serve a purpose and are beneficial, and aren’t generic ones akin to junk mail, your app will be a constant presence in your user’s mind, thereby increasing engagement. For example, reach out with personalized content that’ll make them feel wanted.

4: Utilize Location-Based Content

Location-specific notifications go a long way in enhancing engagement with your app because they’re contextual. By sending real-time information as a user enters or exits a geofence, they’ll be prompted to take an action through your app in that very moment. Like push notifications, make sure that they’ll benefit from them, otherwise they’ll get annoyed and may delete the app.

5: Offer Personalization

We’re all different and we’re all particular about what we like. What Jack likes may not be liked by Jill, and what Bonnie likes may not be liked by Clyde. By offering in-app personalization, you’ll enhance user experience (UX), guaranteeing that engagement with your app will increase as well.

6: Gamify Your App with Incentives

Everyone likes games and everyone likes rewards. Want to increase user engagement with your app? Gamify it and offer incentives like a loyalty program that’ll keep them coming back. For example, offering daily rewards that compound as users check in on consecutive days will guarantee that your users become daily users. If you have a game, offer in-game tokens that give them bonuses. If you have an eCommerce app, offer them promo codes or discounts. As long as you make it worthwhile, people will keep coming back.

7: Optimize Battery Consumption

A very important task in the mobile application development stage, optimize for battery consumption. Unless your app is a game, don’t make it too graphic intensive. Not only will this drastically increase battery usage, but it’ll also slow down the app, effectively lowering UX.

8: Integrate Social Media

Practically everyone’s on social media. Whether a youngster or a retiree, chances are good that they’ll have an account in one of the many social media platforms out there. If you offer social media integration, you’ll give your users a chance to share any information they want their friends and followers. You’ll essentially open an avenue for them to share their experiences, which will function to attract even more people to your app.

9: Offer a Free Trial

Is your mobile app a paid app? If so, consider offering a free trial that’ll give them a taste before they buy. The thing is, people may not be hooked from your app’s description alone and they’ll be hard-pressed to purchase it without knowing what’s in store for them. By offering a trial period, you’ll metaphorically dangle a carrot before them, increasing the chances of a download. And because we’re human, we tend to like things more if we have to pay for them.

10: Listen to Your Users

And finally, listen to what your users have to say. More often than not, someone writes a review for one of two reasons: if they had a good experience or not. If your users actually take the time out of their busy day to write a review for your app, you can bet they want to be heard. Listen to them and see what’s working and what’s not. Once you have this information, you can make any updates and create a better experience for everyone.

Final Thoughts

There are about 2.32 billion smartphone owners today and mobile apps for just about everything. We have some for eCommerce, others for social media, and even some that tell us when a planet is in retrograde. And yet, with all these apps, it’s still very difficult to increase mobile app engagement with your users. Do yourself a favor and use the following tips to increase mobile app engagement:
1. Create a great first impression that won’t turn users away
2. Use analytics to get to know your users better
3. Use push notifications to stay in your user’s mind
4. Utilize location-based content to stay contextual
5. Offer personalization to keep things interesting
6. Gamify your app with incentives to keep users coming back
7. Optimize battery consumption and keep your users happy
8. Integrate social media to keep current
9. Offer a free trial to get users hooked
10. Listen to your users through their reviews

Best of luck with your mobile application development!

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

The Future of Mobile Apps

The Current Mobile Application Scene

149.3 billion mobile apps were downloaded in 2016 and, by 2020, they’re forecasted to generate about $189 billion in revenue via app stores and in-app advertising. In other words, the mobile application industry is booming and, if you want to get a piece of the cake, you better jump into the mobile application development scene.

Rewinding a bit, the rise of mobile apps is due to the huge explosion in popularity of the smartphone. Whereas they were a luxury reserved for the elite in the early 2000s, now that they’re cheaper and much more affordable they’ve become a necessity for pretty much everyone, from top execs and CEOs to primary school teachers and entry-level workers.

When you boil it down, it comes to utility. Why buy a phone and a computer when you can have both in the same device? Not only will it usually be the cheaper option, but its size greatly accentuates its utility, allowing you to have a literal computer with you at all times. This is especially true when you add mobile Internet into the equation, which allows many apps to be used anywhere — as long as there’s a signal.

The Future of Mobile Apps

When discussing mobile Internet, the ubiquitous Cloud comes to mind, which allows developers to deploy apps anywhere and end-users to similarly sync and access their data anywhere. Best of all, the Cloud is behind many of the different aspects we’ll soon see that are influencing the future of mobile apps.


First up comes utility and the benefits that mobile apps provide. Aggregator apps, for example, are greatly increasing in popularity because of their ability to pull content from a variety of online sources, compile it in one interface, and present it to users. Not only does this save time, but also money when you consider that time is money. More importantly though, these types of apps eliminate the need to download multiple applications, as one can have the function of many.

We’re also seeing the rise of the mobile wallet, or the ability to store important data, like credit card information, on your phone. Essentially, this means that you have no worries if you forget your wallet at home. Most shops and restaurants accept Apple Pay or a similar form of payment, and if you want to order food or make a purchase online, all you need to do is select your desired credit/debit card and use it.

One final point we’ll touch on today regarding utility, improvements in mobile CPUs and graphics, paired with an Internet connection, have turned mobile devices into gaming systems that can fit in your bag. Similarly, these features that allow users to play games also allow them to take pictures with quality that rivals many high-end cameras.

The Internet of Things 

Next comes the Internet of Things (IoT), or the connectivity of physical objects through WiFi and the Internet. With its ability to streamline our lives with virtual control over our homes and devices has seen a drastic increase in popularity in recent years, it’s a given that the IoT has a place in the future of mobile apps.



Last but not least comes revenue. Monetization through in-app ads and in-app purchases are incentivising many people to jump into the app game, and further, developer kits and low-code/no-code platforms are making it easier for would-be developers to create apps. In essence, this allows people with little or no coding experience to develop apps that they would have otherwise been unable to.

Final Thoughts and TL;DR

A big factor contributing to the growing popularity of mobile apps is that many aren’t tied down to a single platform anymore. As a matter of fact, we’re seeing more and more cross-platform applications that work on all mobile operating systems. Adding to this is the ability to start a journey on one device and end it on a completely different one, all within the same mobile application.
For example, imagine that you want to buy a television. You start your purchase journey on your phone as you browse the many options out there, then take it to your laptop later on when you actually decide which to buy, and finally, when you receive a notification that your TV has shipped on your smartwatch, your journey is finished.

In case your schedule is tightly packed and you don’t have time for the full piece, here’s the tl;dr version:

We’re seeing a huge increase in the popularity of both smartphones and mobile apps, with the former bolstering the latter
The Cloud and its benefits is also spurring their popularity further
Mobile apps offer huge benefits in terms of utility
One of the biggest incentives to enter mobile application development is the monetization of applications
Developer kits and low-code/no-code platforms are making it easier to create apps
Good luck navigating through all the app stores out there!

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

How Mobile App Development is Changing the IT Job Landscape

As our tendency to reach into our pockets for our phones increases, so does the need to develop the mobile apps that are powering our obsession. The thing is, as our mobile usage grows, ripples are created that effect everything they touch. For example, marketers now have to account for mobile SEO when they develop websites and create content, business owners have to make sure that their websites are mobile-friendly and accessible to all users, and the crux of the matter today, mobile app developers are facing an evolving workplace.

The Changing IT Job Landscape

On the face of it, it seems like all is good for developers. After all, more demand for mobile apps means more demand for the people creating the apps, right? Yes and no; yes, there’s more demand for mobile application development, but this isn’t necessarily creating more developer jobs.

When asked on the changing developer landscape, John Carione, Product and Corporate Marketing Leader at QuickBase Inc., said that:

In 2017, we'll see hiring managers redefine the term developers and developer job roles, and start thinking outside the box to help fill their organizations' development needs. This will be fueled by the continuing shortage of skilled developers, an increase in popularity of tools that allow for the development of software with little to no code and greater familiarity with these tools among job candidates.”

Let’s focus on the last part, the ‘increase in popularity of tools that allow for the development of software with little to no code and greater familiarity with these tools among job candidates.’ These tools fall under no-code/low-code (NCLC) platforms, which are mobile application development platforms that let anyone with minimal coding experience develop apps.


These NCLC platforms are, in turn, giving rise to a new class of developers, a class exemplified by the ‘citizen developer.’ These developers are assisted by tools that make the mobile application development process somewhat less technical and more visual. Think of it as a drag and drop or lego building process in which the developer builds up UI (user interface) components to complete the application.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning


Similar to no-code/low-code’s impact, artificial intelligence is also making waves in the IT job landscape. Take DeepCoder, for instance. Researchers at the University of Cambridge and Microsoft teamed up to create a system called DeepCoder that uses machine learning and program synthesis to write its own code. Essentially, DeepCoder uses lines of code from existing software to create brand new programs.

So far DeepCoder can only write a couple of lines of code, but the implication for the future is that anyone can code their own programs by giving DeepCoder an outline of what they want, and then letting it do all the heavy-lifting.

The Future

Talk of NCLC and AI makes it seem like developers have an expiration date. This is not so. Coding, of course, is still vital, but now we have tools that are opening the doors to people with little or no formal training to do what previously only developers could do.
What is actually happening is an amalgamation in which the less coding-intensive work is done by developers with less experience, and the more intensive and challenging projects are handled by those that can take them on. In a similar vein, so called citizen developers can start the project and build its foundation, and then hand the reins to higher-level developers.

Final Thoughts

With the changing IT job landscape, seasoned and citizen developers are benefiting with tools that are making their jobs easier, and consumers are benefiting from an influx of new mobile apps. More than more apps, these automation and AI tools are opening the avenue for better apps that place the focus on UI.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

7 Tips to Improve Your Mobile App’s Security


As smartphones continue to engrain and integrate themselves into our lives, we’ve come to depend on them more and more as information strongholds.
When we want to make an appointment, we schedule it on our phone.
When we meet someone new, we store their contact information on our phone.
When we want to get in touch with someone, we message them with our phone.
When we want to make eCommerce easier, we store our banking information (credit/debit card information) on our phone.
When we are always on the go, we store our business data on our phone.

Security for Mobile Apps: Why You Need It

Our point today being that our smartphones are a one-stop-shop for all of our information. The problem with this is that we tend to indiscriminately download apps from both authorized app stores such as Apple App Store, Google Play and Amazon Appstore, and unauthorized app stores that have no security requirements.

This is a problem because rogue apps from unauthorized stores may contain malware that steals your information. This problem is furthered by the fact that even apps from authorized app stores can also fall prey to those seeking our data.

Before going forward, it’s important to understand that there are millions of apps available for download, and the developers behind them range in expertise and security concerns. While some may place great value in privacy and security, others may simply want to create apps and don’t think twice about security. This is often seen as a trade-off in the app’s security and the service it provides.
Even worse, some developers link third-party programs like maps or the camera without fully understanding how they’re using their users’ data or whether there may be issues with security. To bypass and alleviate these issues, consider employing the following tips to improve your mobile app’s security.

1: Use Threat Modeling Analysis

Threat modeling is “the process of identifying potential threats and enacting countermeasures to prevent or mitigate them.” Understandably this is is very important, as it offers you the opportunity to analyze your app and see where it’s most vulnerable. The problem lies in the act itself. Many are not familiar with it, others mistakenly do it incorrectly, and yet some don’t even bother because of the intricacies involved.

The thing is, if your app has a security issue and users are not using or downloading it because of said issue, you’re still going to have to go ‘under the hood’ and fix the problem.  The difference is that in one scenario you could have put in the effort in the beginning of the mobile application development process and prevented any problem down the line, and in the other you still have to put in the effort, but this time you’ve also added downtime to your app while you fix it.

2: Implement a Password or Another Authentication Process

Authentication processes are vital for anything that stores sensitive information. Thankfully for you and I, there are a lot of ways you can go to authenticate users. There’s the basic, a password that serves as first level security, and more protective measures like mobile phone authentication at login. As a side note, phone authentication is a good measure for password resets, rather than using the standard ‘mother’s maiden name’ or ‘the name of your first pet’ questions that can be easily hacked.

3: Ask for Permission

As we covered earlier, mobile apps frequently link to third-party apps/programs to carry out specific tasks that they can’t on their own. For example, you may have a photo editing app that needs to link with your photo library or camera for images, or an eCommerce app that links with you virtual wallet. In these situations, those in which your app needs to integrate another app to perform a function, the user should always be asked for permission to connect. Just remember not to ask for more than they’ll be willing to give.

4: Keep Your App Updated with the Latest Operating Systems

It’s vital that your app is always up to date with the latest operating systems available for the platform it resides in (Android, iOS, etc.). Because these updates regularly include security patches that were found in the time period between then and the previous update, not updating regularly places your app at risk.

5: Use Static Analyzers

There’s no doubting that coding is tedious, and even a small error can result in the whole program crashing. Because of this, many security issues encountered by mobile apps are caused by careless errors that slipped through the cracks. To counter, consider performing a static code analysis to catch anything that you may have missed. If you’re unfamiliar, these static analyzers debug your code by examining it without executing it. In other words, you’re getting an overview of the code structure to make sure that everything is working well together.

6: After Static Analyzers, Perform a Code Audit

Static code analysis is excellent, but sometimes you have to go deeper. This is where a code audit comes into place. While code audits should actually be performed regularly to ensure continually smooth performance, opting for one to catch any bugs is a must. Keep in mind that code audits require more technical security knowledge than the average coder has, so hiring outside help can be useful if you’re not up for the task.

7: Test Your App in the Real World

Finally and when you’ve done with everything related to mobile application development and security, the only recourse left is to test your app in the real world. When it comes down to it, lab tests can do a lot, but they also have their limitations. These alternate ‘field tests’ are perfect for finding issues that your actual users may find because you’re using the app the way they would.
Final Thoughts

If there’s a single thing that you should take from this, it’s that security should be implemented early in the mobile application development process, not as an afterthought. A lot can go wrong from start to finish, and if you’re not vigilant every step of the way, your app can be targeted by those with nefarious intentions. For your benefit, here’s what we covered today and what you should be doing:

1. Implement a password or another authentication process
2. Ask for permission
3. Keep your app updated with the latest operating systems
4. Use static analyzers
5. After static analyzers, perform a code audit
6. Use thread modeling analysis
7. Test your app in the Real World

Best of luck and remember to stay secure!

Friday, 2 June 2017

5 Reasons Mcommerce is Important for Enterprises

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Nowadays you can’t leave your home without seeing a smartphone somewhere. If one’s not in your own hand, you can bet that you’ll see one as you’re out and about; maybe with the person walking in front of you, the toddler sitting next to you, even with your Uber driver.
The fact is that we’re using mobile devices with such voracity that it seems impossible that smartphones were reserved for the elite a mere 10 years ago. As a matter of fact, mobile usage actually exceeded desktop usage a couple of years ago, and that gap has only widened since.

From Ecommerce to Mcommerce

The rise of mobile has been anything but subtle. Like a stone creating ripples on a pond, mobile usage affects everything it touches. For instance, the impact it’s had on business activities has prompted many enterprises to embark on mobile application development in hopes of snagging extra customers. To be exact, 80% of eCommerce retailers with at least $50 million in annual sales either currently offer or plan to offer mCommerce (mobile commerce) soon.
But what actually is mCommerce? As you might’ve guessed, it’s a subgroup of eCommerce that involves the use of smartphones and tablets (wireless handheld devices) for online shopping instead of desktops and laptops. That being said, why should enterprises adopt a mobile strategy revolving around mCommerce? Well, here are 5 reasons why.

1: More People Are on Mobile Devices Than Ever Before

Let’s use an analogy to illustrate this point. Imagine that you operate a food truck and have the option of parking in front of a busy construction site or next to a random road. Where would you park? If you’re like most people, you’d park in front of the construction site because there are more opportunities to make money there than next to a random road. The same goes for mobile versus normal eCommerce. The latter offers more business opportunities, so why not go with it?

2: Mobile-Friendly is Good for All, Mobile-Unfriendly is Bad for Business

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We already covered that more and more people are using mobile devices than ever before. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of eCommerce retailers that haven’t caught up with the times and still have unoptimized, mobile-unfriendly sites. Okay, but why is this bad? For many reasons, actually.

First and foremost, mobile-unfriendliness can hurt your bottom line and help your competition. No matter what you sell, if someone on a mobile device is on your site and can’t navigate properly, you can bet they’re clicking out and going to your competition. Even if they weren’t planning on making a purchase at that moment, the fact that they couldn’t properly view your products made them go somewhere else. And whenever they do get around to making the purchase, who do you think they’re going to buy from?

Second but still as important, not being optimized for mobile will negatively affect your normal site in search engine rankings. Google made it clear a while ago that they’re using mobile sites for indexing purposes. So if you’re not on mobile and your competition is they’ll benefit and rise through Google’s SERPs while you plummet into nonexistence.

3: Mobile Sales Are on the Rise

In 2014, mCommerce made up 11.6% of the $303 billion US eCommerce total, and estimates by Business Insider suggest that by 2020 it will reach $284 billion, or 45% of the total online market. Similar to more people flocking to mobile, if a metaphorical bigger slice of the pie is available through mobile devices, why wouldn’t you try and get your share? And as we’ll soon see, buying through mobile is so easy that all you need is a fingerprint.

4: Mobile Wallets and the Ease of Purchasing

My last mobile purchase consisted of tapping a button that read, “Finalize Purchase” and then pressing my thumb to my iPhone’s home button. That simple. Mobile wallets are making science fiction a reality. By storing card information on our phones, we can seamlessly pay for anything from a jacket online to a burger on the street. This purchasing option is not only easy, but also optimal for those who don’t have the time to complete the checkout by painstakingly typing a bunch of numbers.

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5: Mobile Helps Traditional Brick and Mortar Businesses Too

Being online is already a huge step up from sticking to a brick and mortar store because you’re opening up a secondary revenue channel. By virtue being online, you can bypass normal store hours and sell at any time. Mobile takes things to the next level and allows for purchases anytime, anywhere.

This alternative revenue source is helpful for enterprises of any size because it allows for sales without incurring the extra costs associated with having an in-person sales representative. In other words, you’re serving your audience on two separate fronts that combine for a multi-platform strategy.

Now or Later, the Choice is Yours

Apart from the vast mobile preference that most people show, there are also mobile-only demographics whose only means of accessing the Internet is through their phones. The fact of the matter is that if you’re not selling through mobile now, you will either have to start soon or end up closing shop.

If you’re still not convinced, take everything we’ve covered into consideration. More and more people are on mobile devices today than ever before, and with increased usage and the ease of shopping through a phone comes increased sales. Not only that, but mobile will also help your physical location (if you have one) and doing otherwise will actually help your competition.
Make the right choice and optimize your site, get in touch with mobile application development specialists, and of course, best of luck.

Monday, 1 May 2017

What You Need to Know About Developing an App in the Cloud

Cloud computing is quickly revolutionizing the enterprise with the many competitive advantages it offers, especially when dealing with mobile application development. From the risks and benefits to the actual development, here’s what you need to know to develop an app in the cloud.

Do I Need to Adopt Cloud Computing?

Before we go into specifics, let’s focus on what cloud computing actually is. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), from the US Department of Commerce, defines cloud computing as consisting of five characteristics, summarized below:

1. On-demand Self-service: consumers can unilaterally provision computing capabilities automatically, without requiring human interaction
2. Broad Network Access: computing capabilities are available over a network and can be accessed through standard mechanisms, such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, etc.
3. Resource Pooling: the provider’s computing resources (e.g., storage, processing, memory and network bandwidth) are pooled to serve multiple consumers
4. Rapid Elasticity: computing capabilities can be scaled rapidly outward and inward, in some cases automatically, commensurated with demand
5. Measured Service: cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use, which can be monitored, controlled and reported, providing transparency for both the provider and consumer

The topic in question now becomes, should you adopt cloud computing for your enterprise? In short, yes. As a matter of fact, estimates by the International Data Corporation (IDC) suggest that spending on public cloud computing will increase by 24.4% in 2017. Here’s why:

Benefits of Cloud Adoption

Developing and maintaining mobile apps in the cloud offers the advantages needed to survive and thrive in the competitive enterprise environment. Our focus being mobile applications, let’s start with mobility, and similarly, availability.
Because of its ubiquitous nature, information stored on the cloud can be accessed anywhere and at any time. This results in greatly increased productivity, as the limitations of time and space are eliminated and replaced with the ability for an enterprise’s employees to work even when not at work, as long as there’s an Internet connection.

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Also due to its ubiquitousness, the cloud offers the much needed flexibility to quickly respond to market changes and deploy and maintain mobile apps almost instantly. If a problem arises within your mobile apps, you can quickly asses the issue, make an update, and deploy them to all your employees, quickly and efficiently.

One final benefit we’ll discuss today is the scalability to adapt to any changes in demand, whether positive or negative. As an enterprise, one of your goals is to grow. As such, you want to access the resources you need, when you need them. And thanks to the cloud, you can do just that.

Risks of Cloud Adoption

We can’t discuss the benefits of cloud adoption without touching on the risks (even if small). Far and wide, the biggest and most expressed risk is security. Partly due to the lack of control over the physical infrastructure that houses the actual information on the cloud, security breaches are a real concern, especially when dealing with public cloud services.

A second risk posed by the cloud is unplanned downtime. The fact is that nothing is perfect, not even the cloud, and unexpected outages can happen in the most inopportune times. Depending on the industry and business, this can be as benign as not being able to load a picture, or as detrimental as losing money if you’re running an ecommerce business. This is why you have to plan for outages. Come up with multiple plans, test them out, and modify them as you go.

Mobile Application Development in the Cloud

Now for the actual development. Brought to you by Cloud Technology Partners and the Doppler, and summarized below, here are five steps to build a cloud-ready application architecture:

1: Design the Application as a Collection of Services
APIs (application programming interface) are resources or tools used to develop applications, and when it comes to the cloud, it’s best to deploy applications as a collections of APIs.

2: Decouple the Data
As opposed to tightly coupled data, decoupled data is better suited for the cloud because you can store and process it on any public or private cloud instance.

3: Consider Communications Between Application Components
When designing your application, make sure to optimize communication so that your application’s components aren’t constantly communicating, as this is not desirable and can lead to poor performance and delays.

4: Model and Design for Performance and Scaling
This one’s quite evident because we briefly discussed the scalability that’s enabled by the cloud. Elaborating, make sure to design your application so that it can handle unexpected heavy loads in traffic.

5: Make Security Systemic within the Application
Given the importance of security, it’s best to design and build the application’s security directly into its architecture.

Concluding Thoughts

Although embarking on cloud-based mobile application development has its share of pros and cons, in the long run, the cons are effectively negligent when compared to the opportunity costs of doing otherwise. Do your research, plan everything out, and good luck!

Monday, 3 April 2017

10 Things to Consider When Creating an Ecommerce Mobile App

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One of the best things of living in the 21st century is that you can be a business owner without owning an actual business — a brick and mortar business, that is. Unfortunately, the benefit of being able to do business without a physical location also creates the problem of low customer visibility. That’s where a mobile app comes in. One of the many benefits of mobile apps is that they give your business the much-needed mobile presence it needs in our mobile-first world. Take a look below for
10 things to consider when creating an ecommerce mobile app:

1: App Store Optimization (ASO)

A natural first on this list is app store optimization (ASO). If you’re familiar with search engine optimization (SEO), you have the foundation for what ASO is. The goal with ASO is to optimize your app to make it rank higher in the app store, whether it’s the Apple App Store, Google Play, Amazon App Store, or any variation out there. This means analyzing your app’s keywords, description, in-app screenshots, the works.

Remember, higher ranking means more discoverability, which translates to more downloads. Hence, ASO is a must.

2: Competition

Some items in this list go hand-in-hand by nature. One such example is ASO and your competition. To clarify, this means analyzing your competition to see what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong. Regarding ASO, look for ecommerce apps at the top of app store search results and take everything in. What keywords are they using, and similarly, what does their description say? What do their in-app screenshots look like?
Unrelated to ASO but still important, download some of your competitor apps and test them out. What you want here is to create a checklist of what works and what doesn’t. When you create your app, improve what works and fix what doesn’t.

3: User Interface (UI)

User interface (UI) guides the user’s experience throughout the app’s interface, and describes how elements in your app function. It’s an ecommerce mobile app, so don’t present it like a desktop ecommerce site. Begin the design process with a mobile user in mind and go from there.

4: User Experience (UX)

Out of UI comes UX. UX is all about creating a seamless experience throughout your app. It’s the sequence of actions, thoughts and impressions that your users generate as they maneuver through the app. A UX optimized design focuses on usability and ease of use. It takes into account how users will interact with your app and how that interaction can be improved.

5: Scalable Infrastructure

Your ecommerce app’s scalability is of utmost importance if you plan on growing in the future. Imagine a spike in downloads because your app was mentioned in a popular blog. You want to be able to accommodate for the extra traffic and unexpected loads. Start with a stable API foundation that’s easy to scale. As an example, a lot startups nowadays are developing apps in the cloud with services that allow you to pay only for what you use. This allows you to minimize expenditures while leaving an open avenue for growth.

6: Customer Service

One of the easiest considerations to look over in mobile application development, good customer service is vital for ecommerce mobile apps. It’s where your customers turn whenever they come across an issue with your app or services, and can make the difference between a customer and a dropped cart. As such, you need to make sure that your users always have a good customer service experience.

7: Incentives for Sharing

Incentivizing users to share your app creates a whole new marketing channel. If 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, imagine what you can do with actual recommendations in the form of shares? For example, you can offer discounts for users who share the app with their friends and family (higher discounts if third-party becomes a customer).

8: Checkout Process

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Arguably one of the most important things on this list, you need to make the checkout process as simple and user-friendly as possible. The fewer steps the better (aim for a maximum of three), so do all that you can to facilitate the journey from cart to checkout. Some things you can do (besides making the ‘Add to Cart’ button as prominent as possible without being obtrusive) are:

Store customer information
Enable automatic reordering
Eliminate multi-page sign-ups

9: Repeat Purchases

If your app ends with the checkout process, you’re doing something wrong. Give your customers a reason to return to your app and make more purchases to generate residual income. You can offer discounts for repeat customers, loyalty programs that encourage multiple visits, or memberships for limited items. As an ecommerce app, one of your goals is to not only create customers, but also retain them.

10: Analytics

Rounding off this list are your ecommerce app’s analytics. These include tracking your users, both new and returning, your app’s most popular features/items, etc. The point of tracking analytics is to get an understanding of how your users are interacting with your app so that you can improve their experience. Accentuate what users like and fix what they don’t. Is there a certain point within your app in which an abnormally large number of users are logging of? If so, you might have some issues to deal with that’s causing high abandonment rates. Go through everything until you have a seamless journey from launch to checkout.

Wrapping Up

There are many benefits of mobile apps that come with pairing one with your ecommerce business, and hopefully by now you’re ready to tackle your next ecommerce mobile application development project. If that’s you, here’s a roundup of what we covered today:

1. App Store Optimization (AOS)
2. Competition
3. User Interface (UI)
4. User Experience (UX)
5. Scalable Infrastructure
6. Customer Service
7. Incentives for Sharing
8. Checkout Process
9. Repeat Purchases
10. Analytics

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Investors, Here's What You Need to Know About Mobile App Development

Mobile Applications

It’s 2017 and mobile is as big as ever. In fact, there’s a very good chance you’ve already heard that we live in a mobile-first world in which mobile users exceed desktop users. Go to any restaurant, from McDonald’s to a Michelin-starred restaurant, and you’ll see countless patrons eating with their mobile phone nestled by their plate. You might even see some preferring their phone’s company to that of their dining companion. Keep that image in mind as you mull over these statistics:
52% of time spent on digital media is spent in mobile apps
The Apple App Store has about 2 million apps; Google Play has over 2.2 million
People between the ages of 18 and 24 use more mobile apps than any other age group

Internal and External Mobile Apps

Mobile app development has quickly become the cornerstone of many business’ growth strategy. There are two routes to take with this plan of action: internal and external apps. Internal apps are those used by the business itself, and external apps are client-facing. We’re going to focus on external apps today, but before we do that, let’s get acquainted with internal apps.

Internal Mobile Applications

Choosing to go internal with a mobile app development strategy has its benefits. For one, they can automate tasks and streamline work. And because they’re made internally, they can be tailored for anything. If it can be coded, it can be programmed. Let’s say you have a business with open positions that require training. You can always have someone train new employees, but that takes time and money away from what they would be doing otherwise. If, instead, you developed an app that can serve as a training tool, you would be able to use it time and time again at no additional cost (apart from the initial development costs).

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Now imagine that you’re an enterprise with an environmentally conscious mission statement and like-minded clients.  Sticking with your mission statement, you can develop a carpooling app that conserves fuel and limits harmful emissions. Better yet, you can keep your clients happy by offering them the app.

Benefits of Mobile Apps

Now we shift the focus to external apps. These apps are excellent for increasing brand awareness, fostering customer loyalty, and keeping ahead of the competition. Because they’re client-facing, it’s very important to think like a consumer.

Customer Convenience

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One of the easiest ways to improve customer convenience is through customer service. If you have deep pockets, you can opt for an app with a chatbot that provides 24/7 service. Whenever your customers have a question, they can open the app and ask away. Another way is to include a loyalty program within an ecommerce app. For starters, the app is convenient because they can shop at all times from any location. Apart from that, loyalty programs allow shoppers to build up points for rewards, further incentivizing them to give you their business.

Customer Engagement

Increasing customer engagement has the added benefit of increasing your own revenue. Why? The more engaged they are with your brand, the more likely your customers are to turn to you. An interesting way of increasing engagement is by doing what the Home Depot did and make use of real-time data and geo-location. They customized display ads to reach target consumers within a 15 mile radius of a Home Depot store, effectively earning 8X in-store ROI. Switch display ads for an app and you have your plan. The goal here is to combine real-time location, customer history and push-notifications. Step one is to program location-tracking and push-notifications into the app. The next step is to make use of your customer’s information, namely their browsing and shopping history.

Now let’s paint a scene: your customer has your app on their phone and they’re walking by or in your store. If they’re outside you can send them a notification with a sale or promotion that will draw them in. If they’re already inside you can utilize the Internet of Things and program sensors inside the store to send them notifications about specific items that match their preferences. Do this and you’ll provide them with a personalized experience that is sure to increase engagement.

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Are You Investing in Mobile Apps?

There are many benefits of mobile apps that we didn’t cover today. That being said, what we did cover should definitely whet you appetite for mobile application development. Don’t let the cost of developing an app turn you away either; there are always cheaper options. One such alternative is to utilize an app template that will greatly reduce the overall development cost. But it done correctly, you’ll more than make up for the cost of getting an app.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Mobile App

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It used to be the case that mobile apps were restricted to businesses that had extra time and money to invest into their development. Not anymore. Nowadays, a mobile presence is a necessity and one that can pay for itself in the long run. With 80% of Internet users owning a smartphone and people spending more time on mobile devices than desktop, the smart move is to take note and adapt to the changing environment. It’s also the case that going mobile with responsive sites isn’t enough, especially when there’s been a preference for app use (89%) vs. mobile web use (11%), with a 98% growth in mobile app usage between 2015 and 2016.

The Many Benefits of Mobile Apps for Businesses

It seems that people everywhere are attached to their smartphones and consider them as extensions of the self. Because of this, apps are becoming key marketing tools that allow for increased engagement and visibility, higher revenue, faster growth and more. Take a look at these statistics from PR Newswire that outline some benefits of utilizing mobile applications:
● Shoppers using mobile applications browse 286% more products than mobile web shoppers, contributing to an add-to-cart rate 90% higher than mobile web
● Overall conversion rates on apps is 120% higher than mobile web
● 40% of eCommerce transactions involve multiple devices along the path to purchase
● Mobile commerce accounts for 35% of retail eCommerce sales worldwide and 50% in the US
Still not convinced that your business should embark in mobile application development? Check out these five reasons that prove otherwise.

1. Stand out from Your Competition

Having a mobile app for your business is a good way to stand out from your competition. For starters, if they have one and you don’t, you’re already behind and definitely need to catch up. If neither you nor your competition has one, then you need to distinguish yourself and use this as an opportunity to get ahead.

2. Increase Your Revenue

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Every hour almost 160,000 products are purchased from mobile devices on Amazon. Translation? People are shopping on mobile devices with increased frequency. This presents a wonderful opportunity to penetrate a previously untapped market and drastically increase your revenue. In simplest terms, mobile applications equate to increased sales because you’re offering customers an easier and more convenient way to shop. Not only can you facilitate the checkout process and make it faster, but you’re also making it so that customers can reach your store anytime, anywhere.

3. Build Brand Recognition

Similar to standing out from your competition, mobile application development for your business allows you to mold your brand to your own standards and specifications. Not only that, but branding also adds a recognition factor to your business that presents it as more reliable and evokes a sense of trust. In other words, when people know your business they’re more likely to come to you and see you as a source of information.

4.  Improve Customer Service

One of the top benefits of mobile apps is that they improve the customer service experience and increase your business’ connectivity and reach. Attaching a mobile app to your business means that you’re available 24/7, and can therefore engage with customers at all times because apps are convenient, accessible and improve our standard of life. You become a constant presence on your customers’ phones accelerate their contact with your brand. Moreover, you can further improve your customer service by adding a chatbot feature to your app for true 24/7 service.

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5. Create a Marketing Channel

Last but not least, mobile applications can also function as a direct marketing channel that attracts and engages customers, and provides further incentives for retention. To begin with, you can learn a lot about your customers from your app’s analytics and can tailor specific products and recommendations for them. This not only increases the odds of a sale, but it also personalizes the app for them and makes it more user-friendly. Adding a loyalty program that rewards certain behaviors is also a good way to retain customers. Offering special discounts or promotions keeps them coming back and the addition of a referral program can serve as further incentive for them while attracting new customers to you. To top things off, utilizing push notifications ensures that you’re never too far from you customer’s reach and that they’re up to date and with any new and relevant information.

Are You Considering Mobile Application Development?

By now, you’ve seen some of the many benefits of mobile apps and can make an informed decision as to whether or not you should add one as your business’ next venture. A mobile app for your business lets you stand out from your competition and provides an avenue for branding, can increase your revenue by creating a whole new marketing channel, and improves your customer service experience to ensure that your customers are happy. If you do decide to develop an app (as you really should), make sure it’s easy to use with a friendly user interface, appealing designs and easy navigation, and that it provides useful content that keeps customers coming back.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

7 Factors to Consider Before Launching a Mobile Application

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Did you know that worldwide app downloads are forecasted to reach nearly 270 billion in 2017? Or that the average app user in the US downloaded 8.8 apps per month in 2014? There are many apps out there and many more to come. These apps are filtered into categories that range from entertainment to communication. They’re used by children, teens, adults, and are now being made by businesses for businesses.

Mobile Applications For Your Business

Considering that 90% of consumers’ mobile time is spent using apps, incorporating mobile apps in your business plan is a smart marketing move in the mobile-first world we live in. You can:

●   Improve the customer service experience by making use of AI and including a chatbot function that allows you to service many customers at the same time 

●   Provide more value to your customers and increase repeated visits by including coupons, promotions, or loyalty reward programs as an app feature 

●   Increase engagement by adding geo-location during the mobile application development process and sending special offers to customers who are in your vicinity
Before adding features, though, you need to consider seven factors that will help you out as you develop and launch your app.

What Should I Consider?

1. Market Research

Your first objective is to research the market. Get a feel for the atmosphere and see where you fit. How will your app change the way people live their day? Make sure that your app provides a benefit for people to use. Follow trends and discover who your competitors are. What are they doing? Build on what they’re doing right and improve on they’re doing wrong.

2. Marketing to Your Users

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You’ll have an idea of who your ideal user is after conducting market research. Use this information and market to them. How can you improve their lives and their interactions with your brand? Everyone’s needs are different and you need to know who you’re trying to help.

3. Platforms

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In a perfect world you have unlimited resources and can develop an application on all platforms from the get-go. With a finite amount of money you have to decide in which platform your app will perform better. If you’re thinking of going with an enterprise app, iOS is a more secure option. Apple has an iOS Developer Enterprise Program and recently announced a partnership with IBM for mobile enterprise apps. If you want more access to the software, Android is best. It has an open source operating system that allows for modifications. You also have to consider programming languages. iOS uses Objective-C, Android uses Java, Windows Mobile uses C++, and web apps use a combination of JavaScript, HTML 5, CSS3, and so on.

4. Native vs. Mobile Web

Before debating which platform you want your app to target, you have to decide if you want to create a native or mobile web app. Native apps can use device-specific hardware such as the camera, accelerometer and flashlight, and are installed directly in the device itself. They’re essentially developed for one particular platform and need the app store’s approval before being distributed. It’s a long process, but results in safer, more secure apps. Mobile web apps, on the other hand, are internet-enabled apps that are accessible through the device’s web browser. They’re easier to maintain and require no prior approval before distribution, a combination that results in less spending. They can also access a limited amount of the device’s hardware. If you’re undecided you can always go for a hybrid app that’s built with a combination of technologies like JavaScript, HTML and CSS. They’re hosted inside of a native app that uses a mobile device’s browser to display content and can be made to target multiple platforms.

5. User Interface (UI) Design

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UI design involves the elements that are used to interact with mobile apps. It’s how they function. It’s the tangible part of the app and includes the screens, buttons, and any other component that guides the user’s experience. If we’re using a vehicular analogy it would be the engine, the seats, the stereo, and anything else that contributes to the car’s structure.

6. User Experience (UX) Design

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If UI is the engine and seats, UX would be the experience of driving the car. It’s more conceptual and focuses on the user’s journey as they navigate through the app. Don Norman, the cognitive scientist who coined the term, said that "user experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.” It’s the process as a whole; the sequence of actions, thoughts, and impressions a user goes through as they interact with you app.

7. Testing

Testing is essential with mobile application development. With proper feedback you can fix potential bugs before they becomes a bigger issue. Who’s your ideal user? If you have a targeted audience, you’ll benefit from a private beta launch in which a select few will be able to test the app before launching. If, instead, your audience is broad and diverse, you’ll do best with an open beta launch. You can also use services like Apple’s TestFlight that send mobile apps to internal or external beta testers for feedback.

When you finish testing you’ll have an idea on where you’re with the whole mobile application development process. You might encounter bugs that need patching or feedback that pushes you to revamp the app’s interface. But before you do any of this, do your research, find a target audience, choose a platform and the design you want to use, and be sure to create a memorable experience for your app’s users.