What is Decentralized Finance (DeFi) and its Future?
12 May 2023
Hey, it’s the products that your potential customer abandoned in their cart. Again. For business owners, especially those who offer products and services online via eCommerce shops and subscription-based websites, this scenario may be a common pain point. Surely offering products or services at a discounted rate means that your business is losing out on profit? Quite the contrary. Offering vouchers can be the push a business needs to convert potential online customers from window shoppers to loyal and returning regulars. In this article, we will dive into why vouchers are so good at growing businesses by looking at their key types, aspects, benefits, and development. Vouchers (sometimes referred to as coupons) are a very effective way of increasing sales on your eCommerce shop, subscription-based website, or SaaS (Software as a Service) platform. For merchants, it’s an effective way to promote your brand and sell more products or services which ultimately results in increased revenue, while for shoppers, it’s an easy way to purchase products or services at a discounted rate. Vouchers are not a new concept and most people are familiar with how they work. In fact, vouchers have been used for decades, way before the Internet was even conceived. Though the concept of vouchers tends to be simple, there are a few complexities in how they are generated combined with how and when they can be redeemed. While the underlying mechanics, intricacies, and functionality of how the entire voucher system works both from a generation and consumption perspective, can get quite complex, the actual concept of vouchers is quite simple. The basic principle is that a merchant (company selling a product or service online) has the ability to generate vouchers. There are many different types of vouchers that we will explore further down in this article. The generation is typically done in a secure web portal that is only accessible by the webmaster, sometimes referred to as an admin portal or a “back end”. Each voucher has a unique voucher code and some sort of discount applied to it. Now that the vouchers have been generated, the merchant distributes them to their prospective customers in whichever way they see most suitable, examples include in their newsletter or on a social media post. Many new businesses can offer a voucher for an eCommerce shop to first-time shoppers. Prospective customers get these vouchers and feel obliged to use this voucher, sometimes the deals are too good to miss out on! So, they head on down to the merchant’s website, where they are able to either shop for various products and services or subscribe to some sort of online solution by adding them to their shopping cart. At the checkout stage on the website or web application, prior to being asked to make payment, they will have a step in the purchasing process or a section as part of the checkout process, whereby they are able to enter a voucher code. Once entered, the system will cross-check if that voucher code exists, if it does, further checks are done to ensure that the voucher is valid and can be used in this transaction. If the voucher code passes that second test, then the discount associated with that voucher is applied. What this means is that the total amount of the cart or subscription is reduced by the voucher amount. The shopper can then proceed to make payment and the journey is then complete. Each voucher is essentially a representation of a discounted value, which can be either an actual monetary amount or a percentage (%) discount amount. Each voucher typically has a voucher code that identifies the voucher. You may be wondering how these vouchers are created. There are two distinct ways that these are generated: bulk uploaded or system generated. BULK UPLOADED Bulk uploading of vouchers is achieved by allowing a user to upload an Excel or CSV file that has predefined formatting to state what each column contains. What this means is that the vouchers are generated outside of the web platform and are imported into the system via this bulk upload facility. This typically happens when there are a high number of vouchers that need to be added to the website. SYSTEM GENERATED An alternative method to creating vouchers is to have them generated by the system. What this means is that the user (typically an administrator) that generates the vouchers defines certain parameters and then leaves the rest up to the system. By system, we mean the web application. This web-based platform is programmed so that it can dynamically generate vouchers and then serve these to the user. This is where the secret sauce lies as there are various coding tricks to generating these vouchers, such as using randomization algorithms. Once the system has generated the vouchers, they are available to the user to be distributed in whichever way possible. You’d be surprised to find out that there are actually quite a few different types of vouchers, each with its own distinguished rules of how they are generated and how they are redeemed. 1. AMOUNT-BASED How it's generated Quite simply, the voucher has a discount amount that is associated with it. For example, each voucher allows a consumer to get R50 off their purchase. How it's consumed When a consumer is checking out and has inserted the voucher number, the discount amount is subtracted from the total purchase amount. 2. PERCENTAGE-BASED How it's generated This is similar to the amount-based voucher with the main difference being that the discount amount is a percentage figure and not an actual amount. For example, each voucher allows a consumer to get 10% off their purchase. How it's consumed During the purchase and checkout process (depending on the type of website), the voucher number is entered and the percentage discount is applied to the total purchase amount. 1. TIME LIMITATIONS What it does When generating vouchers, it’s always important to create some sort of urgency for users to use the voucher, as this entices the user to make use of the voucher or lose out entirely on the potential savings. Time limitations allow for the specification of when the voucher can be used, in most cases this is when the voucher expires, however, it’s also possible to define when the voucher is valid. For example, a voucher may be available from 1 October to 31 October. During the purchase process and once a voucher has been inserted, the system checks that the voucher is valid and can be used at the time of purchase. 2. PRICE LIMITATIONS Minimum purchase amount Vouchers, interestingly enough, can have even more options and limitations when it comes to what consumers can do with them. A minimum purchase amount can be set for a voucher, meaning that if the total purchase amount doesn’t exceed the minimum purchase amount requirement, then the voucher cannot be used. For example, if a voucher has a 10% discount and a minimum of R2000 purchase amount, if a consumer were to purchase products or subscriptions worth R1500 and attempt to use the voucher, this would be invalid and the consumer would not receive the discount nor process the voucher. MAXIMUM DISCOUNT AMOUNT This option typically is used in conjunction with percentage-based discount vouchers. How this works is that the vouchers specify a maximum discount amount that the consumer may receive for their voucher. This is done to limit the total discount monetary amount that that consumer can receive and is especially relevant when there are high ticket items being purchased. By means of an example, let’s say a voucher has a 20% discount associated with it, together with a maximum discount amount of R2000. Therefore if a user had to purchase products or subscriptions for R12000, the discount amount would in theory be R2400, however, due to the maximum discount amount being set at R2000, the consumer would only be eligible for the R2000 discount. SINGLE VS MULTIPLE USE Another option that can be set for vouchers is whether the voucher can be used once or be used multiple times. A single-use voucher can only be used once, therefore once it has been successfully redeemed, it can no longer be used. Multiple-use vouchers allow a voucher to be used over and over again, by the same consumer or other consumers. USER-SPECIFIC These types of vouchers are slightly more complicated and work with web platforms that allow consumers to have an account and log in to their profile. In this instance, when a voucher is created, there is an option to specify which consumer or consumers the voucher is allocated to. Therefore, when it comes to the redemption of the voucher, the user needs to be logged into their account, so that the system can validate who they are and if the voucher has been allocated to their profile. LOYALTY-BASED Loyalty systems or programs offer different types of vouchers or rewards based on the loyalty level or ranking of the consumer. If the consumer shops frequently and spends a lot at a shop or eCommerce shop, they could have a high ranking in a loyalty program. Loyalty programs may work in different tiers: bronze, silver, and gold. The merchant may specify how much or how frequently a consumer must shop from them to be eligible for the different tiers in the program. When vouchers are generated by administrators, they are able to specify which loyalty level the vouchers are allocated to. This allows for different types of vouchers to be created for each loyalty level. Similar to the user-specific vouchers, consumers would need to be logged into their profile and their loyalty level needs to be checked at the time of the voucher being redeemed, to validate that they are at the correct loyalty level and that they are in fact eligible to redeem the voucher. BRAND-SPECIFIC This scenario applies mostly to online shops, where there are typically many brands being sold. Vouchers can be created and allocated to a specific brand. For example a R500 voucher for the Nike brand. This works by generating a unique voucher code that can only be redeemed for the selected brand’s products. This is a clever tool that the brand can use to drive sales and make its brand stand out in comparison to other similar products available on the platform. If a shopper is looking for athleisure on a platform that offers the products of many brands, they may be spoiled for choice. Offering a voucher on products bought from a specific brand like Nike would perhaps persuade them to purchase the new Nike running shoes that have a voucher code for 20% off the listed price than to purchase an Adidas pair of shoes at full price. Vouchers can dramatically increase engagement and sales by creating a sense of hype and urgency. When shoppers can redeem a voucher to purchase a product at a discounted rate, they may feel more compelled to buy it than to weigh out options. Vouchers help in completing purchases for customers who still might be on the fence about buying a product since a voucher can have a limited time in which it can be redeemed. Vouchers can be used in conjunction with loyalty programs to offer rewards to frequent, valuable customers. This can motivate customers to spend even more to get to the next level of their loyalty program. Vouchers can be an excellent marketing tool. If a brand has limited visibility compared to other brands, especially on a shopping platform that sells various products from different brands, offering a voucher on products from a specific brand may be some consumers’ first purchase of that brand. They could turn into returning customers regardless of whether a voucher is offered in their next purchase or if they are satisfied with their products. Vouchers are simple but powerful mechanisms that brands can use in their marketing, customer engagement, and sales strategy. Vouchers are quite customizable by the merchant and are popular among consumers already due to their benefits. Any business can offer any type of voucher for their products or services. With so many types of websites, web apps, and subscription platforms available, there are multiple easily developed voucher options businesses can offer. Who knows! The next voucher you offer may lead long-term and returning customers to your business! Elemental has nearly two decades of experience in building state-of-the-art eCommerce shops, web platforms, and subscription-based services. We are excited about helping any business achieve its web development needs and potentially excel in its sales by incorporating features like voucher options into its bespoke web platform. You can reach out to us to find out more about our services and strategies that could help your business succeed.
24 February 2023
In the client-server model, when establishing communication between two clients, you are forced to put up with a delay that appears until the data frame from client 1 reaches the server and then client 2. To eliminate this delay, peer-to-peer (P2P) connections are suitable, where clients communicate (transfer data) to each other directly. We are going to use this repository in our article. Don’t forget to leave a ⭐️ there. GitHub - flutterwtf/Flutter-WebRTC WebRTC is an open source project that allows you to directly exchange P2P without installing additional programs or plugins. Supported by all popular browsers today it is built on the basis of UDP. It makes no sense for us to delve into the stack, we are more interested in the process of installing and using such a connection. To establish a P2P connection, we must know companion’s IP address so we can exchange data with him and he must know our IP. The STUN protocol (Session Traversal Utilities for NAT) will help us with this. We will not dwell on it in detail, but in short, STUN servers allow you to determine your public IP address and port, by which you can be reached from the external network. In Flutter, we provide STUN servers when trying to create an RTCPeerConnection: A connection cannot be established without the exchange of special configurations (RTCSessionDescription objects), so such an exchange is performed with a server help. In our case, for a quick start and simplicity, we will use Firebase tools. (you can find code explanation below this table) Handlers description: All done, now both users know about each other and have fully configured RTCPeerConnection objects. When RTCPeerConnection receives MediaStreamTrack object onTrack handler adds this track to the existing MediaStream that, in it’s turn, could be used as a source for RTCVideoRenderer. Add the following lines to ios/Runner/Info.plist: Then add features and permissions to android/app/src/main/AndroidManifest.xml: Add flutter_webrtc as a dependency in your pubspec.yaml file. Declare and initialize two objects, one for the local user and one for the remote one: The RTCVideoRenderer lets us play video frames obtained from the WebRTC video track. Depending on the video track source, it can play videos from a local peer or a remote one. Initialize RTCPeerConnection object (step 1 from table): Create offer from peerConnection object and send it to Firestore (step 2 from table): Add local stream tracks to peerConnection: Initialize RTCPeerConnectionobject, set event handlers, add local stream tracks and set remote session description (steps 7 - 9 from table): Create answer from peerConnection object, send it to Firestore and set is as local description for peerConnection (step 10 - 11 from table): Now both users have local and remote streams, and somehow we need to set sources for our RTCVideoRenderer objects. It can be made in state listener like this: To display these streams in UI check out RTCVideoView widget. That’s it! You are ready to create videochat in your app. Big thanks Ivan for being co-author of this article.
12 September 2022
In recent years Supercharge’s design team has been helping healthcare experts turn their vision of the future into products that change lives. We learned that for introducing radical changes in one’s health regime, good health practitioners are often not enough on their own. They can point out the path, but it’s the patient who has to walk it. In prevention and treatment alike, results are profoundly affected by patient behavior. This is especially true as focus shifts from treatment to prevention, and boundaries between well-being, fitness, and healthcare become ever more blurred. This is the trend that prompted us to dedicate this report to the topic of influencing behavior through digital products. While we attempted to provide a glimpse into significant results of behavioral science, ultimately what we wanted was to give you a hefty collection of practical techniques that you can apply to help users make better choices and adopt healthier habits. Our report covers three extensive topics. First, we talk about the frail nature of human decision-making and show how Nudges may remedy our built-in biases. Then we discuss how to help users adopt new habits to improve the quality of their lives. Finally, we examine how to leverage one of the most ancient sources of joy – games – to keep up motivation. We believe that these three topics are deeply interconnected and together they offer a wide array of tools. With these in hand, it’s possible to create effective digital products that can solve unique problems. To read the full report, visit our blog!
29 December 2022
Think about where you are in your current adventure of electronic commerce. Regardless of your situation, everyone gets to where the marketing of e-commerce becomes a huge factor: to see our other posts with the best marketing tips from the 50 best online stores. Electronic commerce marketing is a difficult topic because it is difficult to find all the advice in one place. 1. Create a strategy for content marketing before starting Nothing good begins without building a plan. Make the opportunity to check this strategy every week or month, evaluating how the process of creating and spreading content is going on. Short note: we try the approach with the content with the new online store called Matcha Tea. 2. Create an email marketing campaign that is automated Electronic marketing is the basis for effective strategies for electronic commerce marketing because it is still one of the best methods of influencing your customers and convincing them more. Not to mention that consumers, as you know, open emails, even if they include simple advertising. We also show a web comparison site called WebappMeister, where you can find the best email marketing software for your specific needs. 3. In social networks, consider the possibility of diversification of your platforms Social networks are always difficult for electronic commerce companies since it is difficult to understand which platforms work best in certain markets. It’s the same as investing in shares. Who knows? 4. Insert a personalization strategy into action Personalization is the best new form of marketing because no one wants to spend money on faceless companies. Contact people with their names in your emails, send the video and images of your employees and show how your products are produced. CRM, such as Hubspot, is especially useful for this since they allow you to organize and track the information of your customers so that you can better adapt your interaction with them. 5. Make your own original content Nothing establishes a solid connection with your clients as original content. Many companies use content drawn from the Internet in their SEO electronic commerce strategies to free time for other business tasks. Original content, such as video, blog messages, audio segments and e-books, help you create your own website of e-commerce as a knowledge base for those who are interested in learning more about your market. 6. Arrange this using contextual marketing Contextual marketing has various values, but we mean the use of your marketing in the formats that are associated with your demography and placing messages in the right places at the right time. An excellent example of contextual marketing is the famous Twit Oreos Super Bowl, where they played the problem of lighting the Super Bowl XLVII stadium to show that "you can still plunge in the dark." 7. Select content generated by the user The content created by the user is a wonderful way to create interaction with your customers, while you do not need to invest a lot of money or time in the campaign. This makes Doritos fans get excited, and Doritos ends with advertising growth on the air. 8. Implement the loyalty program The program of continuous loyalty returns people to your store, and this makes them feel valued for spending money on your company. 9. Automate your social networks Not all social content requires automation, but you will find that planning your social strategy frees up time for other tasks in your business. For example, when you schedule a month of Facebook posts, you no longer need to think about it until the end of the month. 10. Address customers in their native language E-commerce stores usually sell products to people around the world. Reach out to foreign customers by providing translation functionality on your online store. 11. A/B testing the checkout process The people behind SimCity have been known to constantly review their checkout process which results in increased sales because they know exactly what types of buttons and words convince people to make a purchase. An eCommerce marketing plan without A/B testing is sailing blind, so it's important to test throughout the checkout process. 12. Optimized for the mobile world This has nothing to do with building an app or mobile site. Consider implementing a responsive interface so that your e-commerce website morphs for devices like tablets and smartphones. 13. Consider mobile advertising Mobile advertising combines geolocation and mobile advertising to connect your customers to your store while they're on the train or in the doctor's office. 14. Start targeting wearable technology All major tech companies produce wearable devices such as watches and even glasses. 15. Hire someone to create long content Long content is a good way to stand out from regular blog posts. 16. Use PSAs to Create the Perfect Testing Atmosphere Social ads are engaging because you rarely have to spend a dime testing them. Once you identify successful posts, you can spend some money and use those same posts as advertisements. 17. Reveal the identities of your authors One way to get around the "one vote" dilemma is to reveal the identities of your authors. This develops your personalization strategy and shows who is behind the scenes. We hope this list will help you in your eCommerce marketing. Write to us at email@example.com and we will do our best.
24 May 2022
If we try to pick the most influential Microsoft product so far, it would probably be the Microsoft Excel. Well, we can argue that the operating system is a prerequisite for spreadsheets (and therefore Windows is the most important one), but other than that it’s definitely Excel. Most of our data today is stored in Excel files – our healthcare records, our financial and insurance information, even our taxes are calculated with Excel. So it’s really good to know Excel when you’re planning to analyze any data. But what you should do after is transfer the important data somewhere else – the bigger your company, the more urgent the need is. Here are some reasons why. If your team needs to work on shared datasets and there is a need to often change the data, Excel is probably not the best solution to manage the data. There are many tools to prevent unwanted changes, but it is not really flexible. Also, you always risk that there will be too many local copies to find the information or – even worse – in case of differency, to establish which information is true. And that’s really bad – according to some estimates, around 88% of spreadsheets contain errors. Shared Excel documents are used for many different tasks. As a CRM, to store clients’ data, for task management (really!), for planning. There are different software tools that can replace spreadsheets and save your time – especially the time you would spend to search for information that has been lost if you were using Excel. You can say that every application has its limitations. But with Excel you can’t change them by yourself. And when you operate on large amounts of data, this is getting serious. First of all, the limit of rows and columns – you can’t work with data larger than one million rows (1 048 576 to be exact) and 16 000 columns. But that’s not all – even if you have less data than that, you’d have to have a really powerful computer to comfortably work with it. Each formula and each additional bit of information is slowing down your work. So even a relatively small company will have some problems with Excel files at some point. Excel is not a big data tool not only because of the limit of amount of data you can calculate. It’s also how the connections with external sources work. Excel is designed for manual work, not the automatic updates from many different sources, and the data engineering part of the job can be really problematic. So if you want to have a tool that works (almost) real-time, Excel is not the solution you should go with. Let’s say this again: Excel is great if we’re talking about doing quick analyses on relatively small amounts of data. If you need to crunch the numbers for a PowerPoint presentation that starts in an hour, there is no better tool. But if you meet any problems listed above, you should reconsider. If you really need to use Excel to source the data, the best solution to share information across the company is to use a PowerBI dashboard. PowerBI is easy to use for Excel users, so switching to PowerBI as a data analysis tool would not be a problem. First of all, PowerBI allows you to analyze large amounts of data a lot quicker than Excel. it works with various sources better than Excel (e.g. cloud solutions), allowing you to analyze the data in real-time. But the list of advantages doesn’t end there. If someone has access to a certain Excel file, they also have access to all data in it. That’s it. If we are talking about sensitive data (e.g. healthcare records or even payroll data), it’s really difficult to limit the access for different groups or individuals within a workbook. With a business intelligence tool, such as PowerBI, you can easily manage permissions of certain users – which information they are allowed to see. This also resolves the problem with collaborative work – many people can work on one dashboard without interfering with others’ work. (Have you tried to filter a table in Excel when other people are trying to do the same? Right.) Communication. Copying data from Excel to PowerPoint is a reality of many analysts. It is really boring work and can be done with VBA only to a certain extent. Clients expect good looking visuals that can help them to make business decisions. Business intelligence tools are the answer to that – they were created as visualisation tools, not just analytical tools. It’s not just a matter of look, but the whole system of filters that allow you to comfortably work with your charts. That can easily replace a system of creating presentations with hundreds of slides – if you try using a dashboard on a business meeting once, you will never go back to PowerPoint.
9 August 2022
👍🏻Magento is the trusted solution in the e-commerce world. While Magento's requirements are nothing out of the ordinary, not every web hosting provider can run a Magento installation equally well.Security 🔐Make sure your Magento hosting plan has its own security features. Basically, your hosting provider needs to make sure the server has the latest software.Speed 🏎In addition, speed is of the utmost importance. It would be nice to check the connection with the IP address of the server in question or trace it.Compatibility 🔸Be sure to read the Magento hosting requirements and compare them with the specifications offered by your web hosting provider. Check PCI compliance before going any further to make sure your Magento store is not facing any unwanted compliance issues. It is also wiser to look to the future.Technical Support 🔸The Internet does not go on holidays. Likewise, technical support, because oftentimes something goes wrong when you least expect it. Thus, while sales and billing support can wait, technical support should be available even after hours.❓What type of Magento hosting do you need?🔸Shared HostingWhen it comes to Magento hosting, shared hosting is rarely successful. This is because, unlike WordPress, which can work seamlessly in a shared environment, Magento stores can often outgrow shared memory allocation in a short amount of time.🔸Dedicated ServersA dedicated hosting server, as the name suggests, offers all the resources of your account. In other words, you get access to the entire server and can allocate resources according to your needs. Such hosting solutions are often only used by very busy or high-performing Magento websites.🔸Virtual Private ServersA virtual Private Server is not a separate dedicated server. Instead, it's a hosting setup that includes a virtualization layer that allows sysadmins to decouple one user's resources from another's. In other words, by creating virtual servers on a server, a web hosting provider can provide you with better resources than a shared hosting environment.🔸Managed Hosting or Unmanaged Magento HostingThe word "management" here, to be clear, does not refer to managing your Magento installation or store per se. Instead, it refers to the actual software that runs on a given web hosting setup. Let's say you are using a VPS with CloudLinux and cPanel for your Magento hosting needs. What web hosting do you use for your Magento hosting? Share your opinion in the comments below! ⬇️#stellarsoft#stellarsoftdevelopment#magento#magento2#magentodevelopment#ecommerce#magentoecommerce#magentoframework#ecommerceframework#hosting
9 December 2021
Industry leaders are rapidly realizing the advantages of Internet of Things in business in every sector. In fact, according to projections by Business Insider, the number of IoT devices in use in the industry will reach 55 billion by 2025. IoT allows organizations to replace their manual asset tracking systems with automated sensors. These sensors connect to the internet with centralized systems for real-time monitoring of company assets. Moreover, IoT shows great promise for taking customer satisfaction to the next level. For some businesses, the benefits of the Internet of things are so significant that they have started outsourcing these development projects. Outsourced developer companies like we (Arkbauer) use advanced software development techniques to provide quick and cost-effective IoT solutions to their clients. Business benefits of Internet of Things include: One of the major benefits organizations get from using IoT in their business model is efficient tracking and monitoring of their assets. In addition, you can use these sensors in transportation vehicles or at remote locations to keep track of changing events. Hence, IoT organizations keep a check on their equipment’s health to ensure their proper functioning at all times. Companies use IoT to acquire useful insights from literally every corner of their business. For companies operating in time-sensitive or life-threatening situations every bit of data counts. In order to avoid any serious consequences companies install remote sensors at sensitive sites such as oil wells. These sensors are connected directly to the company’s headquarters through cellular networks allowing it to: Using IoT, organizations are able to reduce their turn-around-times and also the number of resources required to manage their assets. Amazon is a great example of an organization that has used IoT to increase their level of customer satisfaction. The use of IoT at Amazon involves: Smart homes and office spaces of the future will use IoT to interconnect local appliances such as lighting, and air-conditioning devices. These smart locations will be able to automatically regulate temperature and lighting levels to create personalized ambience for room occupants. The future of IoT has great potential in the automotive industry as well. Automotive manufacturers have started designing self-driving cars that communicate with each other and their internal devices. Such technology has great potential for transport services like Uber. Apart from reducing labour costs, this interconnection of devices will create fuel efficiency in cars as well. Some organizations employ Big Data to maximize the use of all information gathered through the Internet of Things. This data can be used as input for artificially intelligent machines to learn from past experiences and predict future incidents before they occur. According to Statista, a reputable statistical research website, last year almost 1.66 billion people purchased goods online. In addition, IoT plays a major role in streamlining processes in this heavily utilized e-commerce industry. Benefits of the Internet of Things for e-commerce include: How will the Internet of Things affect businesses depends on how quickly they are able to adapt to this innovative technology. Organizations are investing heavily in smart and interconnected devices to optimize their operations. A major challenge remains whether to develop these solutions in-house or outsource it to companies like us (Arkbauer). Here is how an outsourced software development company can deploy an IoT solution at your workplace: To build an IoT solution that will have a major positive impact on your business, an outsourced software developer needs to: An outsourced development company will then prepare a conceptual model for the business. This is done to ensure that the requirements of all stakeholders are captured in the proposed IT solution. Once you define the scope of an IoT solution, it is time to design and build the actual solution. The most important aspect of this phase is the software architecture your outsourced developer uses. Companies like ours tend to use the Agile system development methodology owing to its high rate of success. Once we successfully design and develop an IoT system, an outsourced development team will deliver the product at your workplace. This may include installing applications at users’ workstations and placing hardware on site. The development team will work closely with your company to test the final product to ensure product quality. In addition, maintenance is part of outsourced software development. Moreover, the team will continue to work with you even after system implementation. For businesses to survive in this competitive and price conscious marketplace, they need to make the best use of IoT. Moreover, the advantages of Internet of Things in business make it an obvious choice for any customer-centric organization.
Metaverse Development Company
22 February 2022
If we had to pick the most popular word of 2022, it would probably be “Metaverse”. The buzz around this term began in 2021 with Mark Zuckerberg’s hour-long presentation and renaming of his company to Meta. Judging by the billions of dollars that companies and startups are investing in it, this topic is worth a look for any business. If you are interested in the options for building your own company metaverse, we’ve got you covered. This article will go over everything you need to get started in this field or recruit help from a metaverse development company. The second biggest question for business owners (after learning what the Metaverse is) pertains to what it does – how can it help their business? Well, we’ve already seen some early benefits and use cases appear, and many more are currently in the works. Let’s look at some potential uses and benefits: As a virtual world, the metaverse will be a place where people can meet, work, come up with new ideas, and carry on with most of the activities they do regularly in their professional lives. Virtual reality technology used in metaverse solutions allows users to experience things up close and with an incredible level of immersion and realism. This is a game-changer for learning programs, presentations, and brainstorming. The simulation capabilities of the metaverse can eliminate or cut many business costs, including personnel (virtual assistants will fill in roles), building rent and maintenance (physical office presences can be reduced), and equipment. The metaverse is a hot topic, and consumers and businesses alike are eager to see how far it can be taken. Thus, if you craft a solution in this niche, it is bound to attract plenty of attention and present your company as modern and innovative. If you are considering your own metaverse solution, now is the perfect time to get started. Though the metaverse has been embraced by practically all major industries, the list of companies operating in this niche is still relatively small, so there is plenty of room to join and dominate the field. Below are some of the current metaverse pioneers and leaders from different industries: Automotive Energy Manufacturing Entertainment Retail Healthcare Before undertaking any project in the Metaverse space, you should have a good understanding of what it will take. Hopefully, the list below gives you a good idea of the things you’ll need. Please note: If you lack anything from the list, a development partner can help and fill in any gaps.Learn more Building a metaverse solution will take multiple specialists, whose quantity and level of expertise should be determined by the scope of the project. For example: Apart from people, you will need to collect a set of tools, materials, and items crucial to the development process: Hardware Software Here, we are talking about concrete ideas of what your metaverse will contain and what you want to accomplish. The companies at the helm of the metaverse movement are saying that it will be a whole digital world that unites people, places, and companies. However, until this global and universal platform is accessible, businesses are free to develop their own metaverse (within the confines of a single company or brand), with the perspective of integrating it into the larger product later. Thus, we want to discuss how you can build this self-contained type of metaverse for your business. Step 1 – Creating the core platform Virtual locations are the first pillar that will support your metaverse. After all, if you want people to interact and partake in some activities, they will need spaces where to do this. For example, you can build virtual conference rooms, cubicles, break rooms, and any other spaces that will support planned activities. Similarly, you will want to give the users some form of representation, such as 3D avatars.We suggest using Unity or Unreal for these core elements and functionality because they are the most comprehensive and versatile tools currently available for the task. They also support a wide range of plugins and utilities that will speed up development and design. Step 2 – Integrating your product/service Once the overall virtual world is created and people are able to visit it, you can start filling it with digital items, features, and content relevant to your business. For example, if you want employees to train how to work with company equipment, this will entail integrating an accurate 3D model of the machinery and building the interactive options/animations for the training regimes.If you want users to fill orders or manage some computer system in VR, you might create a special interface linked to the systems via the internet that users will control with hand gestures and finger presses. It is up to you to figure out how you want everyone to contribute to your business in this digital world and provide them with the tools to do so. Step 3 – Engaging your employees, clients, partners One of the amazing things about a metaverse is how much room there is to grow and expand. Thus, even after you implement the main ideas you have in mind, you will probably see countless opportunities to expand. For example, as your employees start spending time in these virtual spaces, they might come up with dozens of ideas on how their work/activities can be improved.And doing it is so much simpler than in a physical office. You have great freedom to extend the metaverse to clients and partners. This might be in another layer of the software or in virtual spaces directly connected to those your employees visit and work with. This way, the setting becomes something you can actually make money from, provide services, and make cooperation/trade with partners much more convenient. We have talked a bit about finding business cases for your metaverse and selecting key functionality. Well, you may find it helpful to look at some of the popular features companies are already implementing into their metaverse platforms: Virtual reality is a great place to be creative, so you may implement a drawing board or 3D design tool that users will use as an outlet for their ideas – no physical materials necessary. You can use your digital space as a place to trade real or digital items. For example, integration of NFT galleries and custom crypto tokens is a popular way of engaging users in your digital economy. If we assume that people will be spending many hours and days in the metaverse, it stands to reason that they will experience many funny, exciting, and memorable moments, which are worth capturing with a built-in tool, similar to the way we make screenshots and screen recordings. This one is pretty self-explanatory. To avoid getting lost in an immersive world and getting distracted, you can implement clocks, timers, and other organizational tools for better productivity. VR is the perfect place to undergo training, assess user knowledge, and analyze reactions to certain situations, so you can implement a range of learning courses and simulations. Even if your company has in-house developers and 3D modelers, there is no doubt that creating a metaverse is a huge challenge that could take years. Especially if your developers and designers have no previous VR experience and have not built any application ecosystems similar in scale. With this in mind, many companies are choosing to work with partners for this type of need. This way, the work gets done faster and your internal staff is free to work on other pursuits. Not to mention that development partners often have much stronger experience and technical abilities than anyone you host. Among the numerous VR development companies operating today, Program-Ace is perhaps one of the best suited for building metaverses. We have a huge team of experienced specialists, a rich portfolio of complex projects, and nearly a decade of experience in creating immersive solutions – in VR/AR/MR. Thus, if you want to know what cooperation between our companies might look like and how we can make your metaverse dream a reality, just contact us.
14 March 2022
One of the most essential properties of digital currencies is decentralization. This means they are spread among a large number of computers, networks, and nodes rather than being controlled by a single entity such as a government or central bank. In many cases, virtual currencies take advantage of their decentralized nature to reach levels of anonymity and security that regular currencies and transactions cannot match. One of the most essential properties of digital currencies is decentralization. This means they are spread among a large number of computers, networks, and nodes rather than being controlled by a single entity such as a government or central bank. In many cases, virtual currencies take advantage of their decentralized nature to reach levels of anonymity and security that regular currencies and transactions cannot match. The decentralization of cryptocurrencies spurred a group of developers to create the notion of a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO, in 2016. The DAO was created to be a decentralized and automated organization. The DAO was unaffiliated with any nation-state to be decentralized, even though it used the Ethereum network. What is the point of forming an organization like the DAO? By putting decision-making power in the hands of an automated system and a crowdsourced process, the DAO’s creators hoped to minimize human mistakes and manipulation of investor funds. DAOs are a strong and secure way for like-minded people all around the world to collaborate. Consider them an internet-native company that its members own and run jointly. They come with built-in treasuries to which no one can have access without the approval of the group. To make decisions and proposals, voting is employed, ensuring that everyone in the firm has a say. Everything is on display, and the DAO’s spending constraints are written into its code. Starting a business with someone that involves money and funding needs a high level of trust in the people with whom you’re collaborating. However, trusting someone with whom you’ve only ever interacted on the internet is challenging. When it comes to DAOs, you don’t have to trust anyone else in the group; all you have to trust is the DAO’s code, which is fully visible and verifiable by anyone. This opens up a slew of new avenues for international cooperation and coordination. The contract specifies the organization’s standards and protects the money of the organization. If someone tries to do something that isn’t covered by the rules and logic of the code, it will fail. Because the smart contract also specifies the treasury, no one can spend the money without the organization’s approval. In DAOs, this eliminates the need for a central authority. Instead, the group makes decisions together, and when votes are passed, payments are automatically permitted. Each DAO is unique, but when you join one, you normally agree to follow the existing code. It’s not easy to update the code, and the majority of modifications require a vote among the members. To obtain voting power or membership in a DAO, you usually buy governance tokens, which are cryptocurrencies related to a certain project. Governance tokens are only available through organized investment rounds in some DAOs, and supply can sometimes surpass demand. By owning these tokens, members can often own shares in the DAO and help define their fate. Developers must first know the governance issue before constructing DAOs. To design a viable smart contract that will serve as the foundation for the DAO in question, developers should study the governance issue they want to codify. In the second level, the developers must define tokenomics in the governance model. To strike the right balance between rewards and penalties for bad behavior, developers must build monetization precedents in DAOs. Developers frequently hold the same token stakes as the remaining stakeholders when the DAO blockchain is activated. As a result, DAOs can solve any power imbalance concerns. Developers, on the other hand, usually sell their network stakes over time. The concept of a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) establishes a new benchmark for how modern businesses should be run. By encouraging collaboration and openness among team members, DAOs can open up new paths for productivity. DAOs, which have a lot of potential, should also be considered as an underlying component in crypto enterprises.
Introducing rx_bloc: Part 2
2 February 2023
State management is and will continue to be one of the hottest topics in the Flutter community. Even though Flutter comes with built-in Stateful Widgets, this is not enough for building an app that follows the SOLID principles. If you want the app you are building to be robust, scalable, and maintainable, you need to somehow separate the data layer from the business layer and then the business layer from the UI layer, right? Based on your engineering experience and the needs of your project, you have the freedom to choose among a variety of state management solutions such as rx_bloc, redux, bloc, mobx, and many more. As decision-makers and mobile architects, we need to be aware of all pros and cons of the solutions so we can pick the right tool for the job. With all that being said, let’s see what motivated us to build the rx_bloc ecosystem and what it includes so you can decide whether this is the right tool for your project. If you are working on a complex project you might be challenged to build a highly interactive UI or a heavy business logic in a combination with the consumption of various data sources such as REST APIs, Web Socket, Secured Storage, Shared Preferences, etc. To achieve this, you might need a tool that facilitates your work during product development. Fortunately, in Flutter there is rxdart, which brings the Dart Streams and StreamControllers to an entirely new level by adding functionality from the reactive extensions specification on top of them. In fact, today we can see reactive programming everywhere. In Front-end web development there is rx.js, which is the core of Angular. In Back-end Development we see libraries such as Project Reactor, in the native iOS development there is RxSwift, and RxJava/RxKotlin we see in Android development. So, since rxdart boosts async programming, we thought about why not combine it with the well-known BloC pattern and develop a set of packages that will help developers build robust, scalable, and maintainable solutions faster and more easily. Thus, we developed the following set of tools: The most efficient way of getting familiar with something new as quickly as possible is to see how it works in action, right? So check out this video to see what the Counter app we want to build looks like. In the following articles, we will see how you can build a more advanced version of the world-famous Counter sample which will be more challenging and interesting as it will be communicating with an API and it will be handling the following states: Using Flutter for Front-end and Back-end development enables teams to create applications for both iOs and Android. Ultimately, by combining rxdart and BloC pattern, developers are able to quickly build streamlined, scalable, and maintainable solutions for both systems. Interested to learn how Prime Holding can help bring your innovations to life via Flutter? Schedule a consultation with our team of experts and let's begin!
5 October 2021
The term “global village” has been extensively used recently. Advancements in technology have made it easier for companies to have global teams, now more than ever. Businesses and companies are now able to hire people despite their geographical locations. Especially in the case of IT companies, the onset of the pandemic was just the push required to switch to global teams and remote working. But managing a team that resides all over the world comes with its own challenges. When the team is spread across different time zones, speaks different primary languages, and follows different work ethics, it might be hard to get collaborative work done. Keeping people motivated and connected is also quite tricky. Here are a few tips to manage international teams. With a global team, it might seem difficult to build trust with the stakeholders. By maintaining transparency about work hours, each person’s contribution towards the project, clear deadlines, comprehensive reports, etc., you can create a trusting environment among developers, project managers, investors, and any other stakeholders. For example, during product demo meetings, developers could showcase the features they worked on in the particular sprint. Companies like Softnauts use specific software (Softnauts Operating System Client) that tracks hours spent on each project. Because of the time zone difference, it’s quite possible that not everyone is able to attend a meeting. Create meeting summaries to share with everyone after the meeting. You can also record the meetings so that people can watch them at a later time. With a global team, there can be a lot of cultural differences among team members. One can use this as an opportunity to learn about different cultures. Sharing viewpoints, ideas, etc. can give you some new insights into how things are done in different parts of the world. A virtual office can make it easy to forget that there are actual humans on the other side of the screen. Don’t forget basic interpersonal skills like being respectful to each other, being polite in emails, etc. Also, be mindful of time zone differences. Just because you’re awake on your side of the world doesn’t mean that someone else is available to work. Effectively managing a global team can take a lot of practice. But this also builds new skills and you’ll get to learn quite a lot. So don’t be afraid to onboard more people from diverse geographical backgrounds.
6 June 2022
3 February 2022
As a young and starry-eyed developer, I’ve come to form a passion for tinkering with Linux distributions. Be it small and tedious visual tweaks or embracing a completely different packaging philosophy, curiosity and restlessness have driven me towards changing my main distro at a frankly ridiculous rate. And partly because of this chaos, I’ve come to form a couple of rather strong opinions concerning options like update cycles, desktop environments, and package managers. Here’s my general overview of a “perfect” software development Linux setup. This is probably the one deciding factor when it comes to choosing your main distribution. Whilst desktop environments/window managers can be changed and package manager limitations can be circumvented, you can’t force a Linux distro’s developers to release a new version. Still, most distributions fall within the following two categories: Stable release distros will have a new version released based on predictable cycles (Ubuntu has a new one every two years, Debian has one around every 5 years, etc.). The changes included in the release pass through what is usually very rigorous testing before being made available to the larger public, making them generally more stable and polished. There is however a drawback: what do you do if say NVidia releases new drivers, but your favorite distro just had a new release? Well, you have to wait for the next release cycle to be able to use it, which can be problematic if you’re running the latest hardware but can’t use it to its fullest capacity. Rolling release distros take the exact opposite approach: there are no release cycles, packages are tested individually and then made available to the public as soon as possible. While this can turn chaotic really easily (ever tried managing Python packages without virtual environments? ), issues can be remedied pretty quickly by maintainers and fellow developers. Even so, be prepared for the occasional unexplained bug or, God forbid, failure. My two cents: If you’re a Linux enthusiast or are not afraid of scrolling through forums and release notes, you should definitely pick a Rolling release distro. Failures can happen, but I found them to be rare and easily fixable. But if you aren’t the patient digger type, there’s no reason to force yourself. A stable release will do its job just as fine in most cases. So many choices… so little time… Choosing a visual layout for your setup can make you feel like a kid in a candy store. The options and combinations are literally endless, so this is where your artistic sense can really shine. But there are a couple of shortcuts for those of us that just want something that looks nice but doesn’t require blood and sweat. Listing the options would be tedious and unwarranted and thus I will talk about my favorite option: the Gnome Desktop Environment. Anyone who’s got even a passing familiarity with the Linux world has certainly heard about Gnome. It’s probably the most widely adopted layouting scheme out there, and for good reason! Its graphical interface is modern and intuitive, its community and support are great and its customizability through extensions is nothing to sneeze at. Another advantage Gnome has is the sensible and intuitive default shortcuts that allow “power users” to navigate through their system blazingly fast without cutting their teeth through system settings (I’m looking at you, KDE). Another thing that Gnome does really well is that it manages to find a good balance between being progressive by taking advantage of the newest technologies and having applications that just work, using tried and tested methods. The main area where this shines through is their push towards adopting Wayland and turning the venerable X11 into a legacy. Whilst this push is hard, noticeably removing the widely used System Tray from their latest release for its usage of Xorg, it is not meant to stifle open-source developers whose adoption of Wayland is more gradual and slow. My two cents: Unless you REALLY enjoy having each and every single portion of your visual setup be exactly the way you want it, Gnome is definitely the way to go. Its massive user base and wide adoption within corporate-backed distros will ensure you will have support not easily found in the open-source world. Did art beget the artist or was it the other way around? I intend to conclude this article by listing a couple of distributions that I found to be really easy to get into and productive while also not being very “mainstream”. So, here it goes: Whilst not exactly one of the big boys, calling Solus not mainstream can be a bit misleading, as it is actually very popular and it is continuously attracting more attention. It is “independently developed”, meaning it was built from scratch without being based on the common choices of Debian or Arch. This has led to the development of its own package manager, which is fast, stable, and has a surprising amount of apps available in its official repository. 2. Endeavour OS Probably one of if not the best Arch Linux derivate, Endeavour OS is always an excellent choice for a new Linux installation, as it is stable, comes with a great assortment of tools, and has access to the absolutely massive AUR. It also brands itself as “terminal centric” which is a fancy way of saying that all of its configurations can be done directly from the terminal, without needing to use a GUI. Even so, it is kind enough to offer a graphic interface for those that don’t like the terminal to that extent. 3. Zorin OS This one’s probably THE distribution to show someone who claims Linux is unpolished and “nerdy”. This (admittedly corporate-backed) distro is incredibly polished and offers a really nice and professional experience directly out of the box. It also has a PRO version, if you want on-demand support and extra layouts, and a Lite version, for people looking to bring life to older machines. Whichever you pick, Zorin is all-around easy and fun to use, accessible to both beginners and Linux connoisseurs.
12 December 2022
It would definitely be a wonder if someone could help us know any field that didn’t change thanks to technology’s impact. That’s what significant role technology plays, starting from an individual’s life to the entire functioning of a company. However, imagine a company with the best workflow and workforce. With management, required machinery, financial stability. With everything needed for a successful business, except the crucial part – the customers. Well, could all that we already have, help us in attaining the purpose of the business? You know the answer very well. Customers are gained. And the experience they are offered is what makes them decide if they further want to be YOUR customers or not. And its significance is observed to increase with every passing day. To the extent where the experience overtakes the price too. But the concern has always been – how to improve the customer experience? Starting from the importance of CX, and followed by the technology’s impact on CX, as well as a gist on the future of CX, let us move ahead step-by-step. Customer experience, also known as CX, has gained a lot of importance in the past years. Businesses have begun to consider the behavior, needs, and wants to make sure that the customers are happy and satisfied. But however, there are certain undeniable reasons for businesses to be considerate towards CX. Picture 1. Customer Experience Management Software can help you with revenue Businesses, understand the importance of the 3 fundamental benefits CX could offer. They have started working on formulating strategies for the same. Apart from the ones mentioned in the image, the other objectives for prioritizing customer experience are: If, through one strategy, a business could achieve the listed objectives, why not go for it? More than 62% of the businesses have realized the need for a CX strategy. And they are beginning to look at it as the one to contribute to a competitive edge. Gartner’s study states that in the next two years, companies are most probably to compete based on cx. About 22% of them think that their strategies have exceeded the expectations of the customers. Technology has been invading and revamping almost every field of business. From recruiting, financial management, online payroll solution, travel management, production management, packaging, sales, and whatnot? Customer relationship management is no exception. With the various developments of technology, its impact on customer management has been significant! One of the most significant technology impact is the possibility of making payments digitally. This possibility has empowered the customers to an unimaginable extent. Until a few years ago, the use of either debit and credit cards was observed to be effective. But however, the development of technology in this regard didn’t end there. Instead, it has given an even better solution. The multi-dimensional characteristics available on smartphones have enabled the customers to clear the payments most seamlessly. And today, it is the most preferred mode of payment. Also, it’s proved to be more effective than debit and credit cards. 56% of the customers state that the overall enjoyment of the purchase experience matters the most in the very decision of procurement. And in the whole process of purchasing, payment too has an important role. The ease of payment through mobile phones is said to add to the better experience of clients. Technology indeed has a significant impact on the experience of the customers. Picture 2. Digital payment has evolved very fast The big technology impact was in the field of communication. The way that technology has enhanced communication is tremendous. Businesses are not about just creating customers, but their major concern is maintaining a relationship with them. And one of the primary aspects that contributes to such a good relationship is communication. Say about 50 years ago, even to think of communicating instantly was far from reality. But definitely not anymore with the arrival of technology. It is important to note that, as much as it’s essential, how we communicate matters a lot too. For example, repeating the same query multiple times and not receiving the right answer is frustrating. Not just the customer but anyone for that matter. Another aspect of communication that technology has saved us from is availability. Communication is possible despite where we are and what the time is! There is where omnichannel platforms can help! Stay in touch with your customers and let them know they can rely on you- every day of the week. To provide a great customer experience you have to do just that- be great! Read Customer Experience Guide: How to Put your Customers First? Gone are the days where customers used to wait to talk to the customer service agent. Now, with the availability of chatbots and other related tools, the experience of customers is enhanced highly. This can indeed add to the company’s reputation! About 64% of clients recommend a brand even if it offers even a simple but good experience. Many eCommerce retailers who understand the need for effective interactions have already begun to offer the most advanced solutions to clients. They are improving their brand by providing an unexpected level of service for a better customer experience. Picture 3. Communicate with your customers! Be available to help them! Personalization is something that everyone looks for. Especially when it comes to customer experience! Personalization helps in contributing to the customer’s satisfaction, loyalty, and retention. And this is fulfilled with the help of technology. The various tools of technology are basically designed to enable and enhance UX as well as UI. Imagine that a store has a regular customer who never misses buying a particular product whenever he visits the store. During any celebration or festivity, the store offered a compensatory product to the customer along with the other product bought. This strategy was tried with a few and has now become one of the critical strategies that have increased personalized services. Customer experience also increases as they feel valued. Another aspect of personalization is brought forth by big data. Companies have begun to collect the feedback of the customers regularly. But imagine a vast amount of data that is collected to be analyzed, categorized, and used to identify the behavior of the customers; it’s a little tricky. Nevertheless, that’s where big data plays an important role. And these analyzed data are used to address the clients in the desired way and thereby creating a good customer relationship. Many businessmen state that maintaining a good relationship with the clients is even more challenging than creating customers and keeping them engaged with the company. Entrepreneurs are more than ever concerned about how to make engagement possible. However, technology is playing the role of rescuer even in this case. Be it the interactions with the customers, staying connected with personalized or automated messages, etc. Technology has paved the way for customer engagement despite the hurdles like distance or language. One primary instance is where most of the interactions are happening with the devices, as per the wants of the customer. And the sudden pandemic has increased the need for such interactions to stay engaged and connected virtually or through instant messages. This scenario has proved the following statistical prediction. However, Gartner predicts that by 2022, customer interactions for about 70% of them will take place through other emerging technologies. This percentage is indeed a tremendous rise from 15% in the year 2018. Moreover, the seamless access to the internet and social media has provided an opportunity for businesses to keep the customers updated with their products and services. In addition, certain companies have taken a step ahead in enquiring and wishing the clients for their well-being during the time of crisis like the unexpected pandemic. As a result of this, formal as well as informal engagement with the customers has convinced about 67% of them to even spend more for the experience and satisfaction they receive in return. When it comes to technology, there is always room for surprises and excitement without fail. For instance, about 87% of businesses are confident that customer experience is extremely important for them. But the majority believe that this will be achieved through technology alone. However, there has been a fall in the customer’s trust in 2020 compared to the year 2019. It has become even more important to address the right strategies to overcome the loss of client’s trust in the coming years with such changes. Therefore, what to expect in the future has popped up in many minds. The pace at which technology is developing each day is tremendous. Technology impact is more noticeable every day! The more the demand is increasing, the more is the tech’s offering, exceeding the expectations. And moreover, the majority of the clients currently are millennials who are tech-savvy and driven by the need for automation of tasks. The pandemic, in a way, forced some businesses who were resistant to adapt to the new changes. Many of them are now willing and open to new experiments along with the change in the customer’s behaviors. As discussed earlier, personalization is crucial. 2 out of 5 customers have given up on purchasing from a company for the sake of a better experience. And thus, it will undoubtedly spur the need for new trends and progress in the coming years, especially in terms of personalization. Thus, one of the major outlooks into the customer’s experience will be an increased need for more advanced technologies such as omnichannel. And no doubt, the speed at which we can actually use them would be sooner than any of us could think of. Picture 4. Treat the customer as they want to be treated! Although technology is fulfilling most of the human desires and improved ways of interaction through machines, men have understood the emerging isolation too. This has led the companies to redefine the way they connect with the customers. The expectation will be concerning both! Technology enhances the experience as well as the need for a human’s actions. Thus, whether the companies handle the customers through personalized phone calls or employ AI or ML to address the need, the human factor will remain forever. And for this reason, technologies may develop in such a way that it doesn’t wholly eradicate humans but augments man’s capabilities. Technology’s impact is a big one. Tech has created such an impact on every individual’s life that there’s no way to live without its aid. However, we know for sure that our ancestors lived without any of the privileges we enjoy today. And yet, there’s no way back. There is a wide range of opportunities for more improved technological tools to be invented. They would enhance the way we deal with customers and help with providing better cx. But none would prefer to think of the traditional ways. The various events of the past have proved to us that strategies that were temporarily undertaken have now become established. Businesses are left with no option but to embrace them. This was very evident in the case of technology and its use in engaging with the customers. These changes have opened the doors wider for customer experience on an unimagined level. And thus, it is clear that the new normal is more of ‘next to normal’ than going back to the normal.
9 September 2021
Digital product agencies (DPAs) and other developers can help you build your app if you can’t or won’t do it yourself. Agencies are particularly valuable because of the wide range of professionals with different skills they have on hand and their depth of experience. But what if you’ve never worked with developers before? The upside of a solid working relationship can be a reliable application that gets the job done for your users. But to make the most of this opportunity there are some key insights you need to know (or you risk losing time, money, and even your project’s viability). Read on to learn how to work with your developers and, with a little luck, get your app built right the first time. Do I need a programmer, developer, or engineer? Many experienced business professionals who get into the tech sector for the first time as entrepreneurs or startup founders are unsure of some of the terminology, so there’s no shame in it. As such, you may find yourself wondering “Do I need to hire a programmer, a developer, or an engineer? And are these even important differences in the first place?” Unlike job titles most people are familiar with such as 'doctor', 'firefighter', or 'grocer', there's a surprising amount of ambiguity for most members of the public around what to call someone who writes code. Short answer: they’re the same. Programmers, developers, and engineers are all people who write code. For most people, that’s enough. Some organizations have preferred terms for their developers, ‘or devs’, favoring one of these labels over the others. However, if that’s not sufficient detail for you, Alan Skorkin has a great blog post in which he lays out the more nuanced, technical distinctions between the various kinds of coders. Of course, rather than hiring individual developers, you may engage the services of a digital product agency (DPA) like Develocraft. If you’re not sure if you need to hire just one or two devs, if you’re looking for freelancers, or if a DPA is right for your situation, you can check out our post on finding developers to work with: How to find an app developer. Once you’ve found the developer (or developers) for you, it’s time to consider how best to work with them effectively, which brings us onto our next section. Understanding how engineers think Software developers and engineers are people too. That said, many developers share a core set of personality traits that can influence how they interact with others in the workplace. Your archetypal software engineer / dev is extremely analytical and comfortable thinking about solutions to complex technical problems. However, this tendency to focus on a narrowly defined problem or task can sometimes lead to a loss of broader perspective. As with many professions, programming tends to attract people with certain kinds of personality. It's not a hard rule by any means, but it's worth taking into account. As any competent project manager knows, each distinct task is but one link in the chain (or several chains) leading to a desired final outcome. As the owner, CEO, or other responsible person at your startup, that outcome is not simply an elegantly written piece of software that fits with the potentially idiosyncratic coding preferences of your devs. It’s a successful business that succeeds in part because of a piece of software. Within the development process, it’s your role to be an advocate for the interests of your business. While individual developers may be highly skilled at what they do, they’re usually not project managers or executives taking a broader view of the context of their software. This leads us onto our next point: Be clear at all times Developers often regard themselves as problem solvers. What problems do they solve? Finding creative solutions through their mastery of programming languages to bring about the results specified by their clients. As with all complex projects, if the objectives and preferred methods are not made explicit in the briefing, it’s possible or even likely that a gap between the unexpressed expectations of the client and the software delivered will emerge. This can be particularly dangerous to a young startup or one short on funds, which may not have sufficient funding to make changes after the mistake has been made, leading to the failure of the venture with no path to raising revenue with an incomplete or incorrect product. Even for well financed startups, there can be significant costs associated with unclear or poorly defined expectations. While the money may be on hand to correct the mistakes, no cash-rich investor can buy back wasted time. The consequences of delays can be extremely harmful and, crucially, irreversible. In the tech industry, being the first to release an innovative digital product is often the best way to ensure long-term success. In a world where capturing market share is the main priority and - particularly in some circles - investor cash is readily available, the temptation can be to ‘move fast and break things’, as per the mantra of Facebook. Being the first company to release a particular kind of novel technological solution that catches on can lead to the public identifying every subsequent version of that solution with your own product. Emerging competitors may struggle to be seen as anything other than second best and imitations of your product, even if their product is superior in certain areas. Time may be of the essence, which is why you want to get every step in the process right the first time whenever possible. That means making sure all your key assumptions and expectations are properly communicated. Consider the ingrained habit of using Google as the default search engine of choice for much of the western world - though there are other markets with distinctive characteristics such as China where this is not the case. Google’s early dominance in market share has proven remarkably challenging for competitors, even remarkably well-heeled ones, to challenge. However, it’s worth remembering that when companies such as Google or Facebook launched they were able to grow their market share rapidly in part because they had a product that satisfied their user base and connected well with their market. While speed can mean ‘being first’ at the expense of your competitors, if the perceived urgency of getting a product out fast means that care isn’t taken at every stage, your competitors will thank you for actually slowing down your development process by introducing so many flaws that you have to delay your launch. As such, excessive speed can lead to lack of care in documenting the exact requirements of your product to your developers, leading to delays and wasting the opportunity to capture market share early. An experienced developer or digital product agency will request that you complete a product requirements document (PRD) that lays out all of your needs in detail, helping you to avoid confusion, get to market with a great product on time, and ultimately grow your business into a success on the back of your code. To learn more about how to complete a PRD, you can check out out guide to the subject: The Product Requirements Document (PRD): How to decide what features your app needs. So far, we’ve considered the importance of understanding how developers think and being clear about your expectations when working with them - but there’s one step you can take that will all but ensure that your goals are aligned with those of your developers. Include developers in your planning process No matter how good your PRD is, it’s a set of instructions on the preparation of a complex product requiring considerable technical expertise. As you spell out each additional technical requirement, you’re just as likely to raise more questions as you are to answer them. The way many startups initially envision the process is to write the PRD document and then send it to the developers, who will then create the software described in the PRD. In such a scenario, it’s highly likely that the developers would come back with a multitude of technical questions which, depending on the technical knowledge of the people who prepared the document, may mean revisions are necessary. Involving your devs in the planning process can bring potential stumbling blocks to light early on and help you address them early on. This process can take extra time and effort which, as we’ve already pointed out, can bring its own disadvantages. To avoid being slowed down by a stream of questions and potential obstacles, involve developers in the planning process as early as you can. Regardless of the type of project you’re running, having the developers who will be writing your code present at an early kickoff meeting can help them understand your needs, get questions and clarifications out of the way quickly, and help them understand what your intentions are. Having this understanding of the context of their work and being able to question the various aspects of the project also gives your developers the opportunity to make helpful suggestions which may ultimately improve the quality of your digital product and accelerate development. This means you can start capturing market share sooner and more effectively. But what about the actual management of the development project itself? How will you interact with the development team and how will tasks be organized? That’s the subject of our next section. The development process In an ideal situation, each member of a development team has a well defined role. Each role is generally situated within a sub-team, such as quality assurance (QA), product, and engineering. And in most digital product agencies, the teams will carry out their work within a project management framework, like the Agile Scrum process. This framework is used to manage the performance of tasks and monitor progress while keeping the overall project on track despite the inevitable roadblocks that will emerge in most development cycles. Here’s a quick primer on the role of each type of team member within the flow of this framework. In the first stage of this (idealized) process, project managers take the lead: Stage 1: project (or sometimes ‘product’) managers: Stage 2: developers and QA pros attempt to complete their assigned tasks: Stage 3: all parties cycle back to review and regroup before the next development cycle begins Remember; this is an idealized version of the workflow. In emergency situations, the process may have to be sidestepped. It’s also worth noting that - particularly in small teams - the same person may have multiple roles. For example, a senior engineer might also serve as the project or product manager. They may also be involved in quality assurance. Above all, the biggest piece of advice from this section when it comes to working with developers is to make sure everyone is clear on their role within the process (rather than simply assigning job titles). Clear roles and clear processes lead to clear results. Don't neglect organizational arrangments. The responsibilities of each individual should be as clear as possible and everyone should understand how each of their tasks fits into the wider project. To help with this:
28 October 2022
Nearly one-fifth of U.S. adults use apps to manage their health, generating more than $250 million in global revenue for app developers, according to Statista. But, with intensifying competition, it's more important than ever to provide a robust user experience and integrate with the most popular mobile devices and smart accessories.Let's look at what makes a good user experience, some examples in action, and resources you can use. UX design is critically important in the health and wellness space, but these principles and tools can help you stand out. The best user experience differs depending on the application and target audience. However, some principles and guidelines can help differentiate between a good and bad user experience. Through usability testing and other techniques, you can use these guidelines to evaluate how well your product helps users solve problems and achieve their goals. Peter Morville’s User Experience Honeycomb. Source: Semantic StudiosPeter Morville's User Experience Honeycomb provides an excellent list of core principles for building a great user experience: For example, the Fitbit wearable device helps users achieve a specific goal (10,000 steps per day) and automates the entire process, making it incredibly easy to use. At the same time, users can invite their friends to competitions, which can help motivate them to reach those goals. As a result, it checks nearly all of Morville's boxes. Most health and wellness apps focus on engagement, trust, and emotion to address Morville's User Experience Honeycomb. For example, gamification is a popular way to keep users returning, personalization is essential to gain confidence, and UI design should ensure that users feel the right emotions along the way. Headspace provides audio-guided meditations to promote calmness and relaxation. After opening the app, it's easy to see how it brings every element together to achieve these goals. For instance, the brown, yellow, and white color scheme provides a non-stimulating environment, while the progress page shows streaks and other motivational statistics. Zombies, Run! is a smart watch-compatible fitness app that makes running fun. Rather than building a run-of-the-mill mile-tracker, the app gamifies the experience by chasing users with virtual zombies. Runners can also collect in-game items and move through a compelling storyline, motivating them to run further and faster than they would otherwise. Stronglifts 5x5 is an app that makes it easier to stick with a weightlifting routine. While it's hard to build something for everybody, the app successfully guides users through the construction of customized workout sessions using a simple and intuitive template. The interface also conveys a lot of information without overwhelming the user. Top-notch UX designs require a combination of user research and design skills. Before designing UI components, companies should build detailed personas and conduct user research to understand their target customers. They should also research the competition and platforms to understand the common patterns that users expect. Some essential tools and resources include: A handful of blogs can also provide ongoing insights to help level up user experience design skills: UX design is critically important for health and wellness apps as the space becomes more competitive. Fortunately, if you're armed with the right information and best practices, there are a growing number of resources that you can use to build optimal user experiences. If you're optimizing UX design, Intent can help you with everything from user research to building a minimum viable product.
8 July 2022
What makes #Azure superior to #AWS? In fact, they are competitors who imitate one another. They both have very similar functionality and pricing policies. So, what makes Azure so appealing?Reasonable pricingAssume you've been using Microsoft products for a long time and have extensive knowledge of their suite. In that case, Azure is unquestionably the best option. If you have an Enterprise Agreement, Azure offers cost savings over other clouds by providing discounts on Azure licensing.When migrating to Azure, you can also use your existing Windows Server and SQL Server licenses with Software Assurance to pay a lower rate.Azure also enables businesses to get more out of their existing #Microsoft investments by fully integrating with Office 365 and Active Directory. Microsoft offers extended security updates included in the cost for businesses moving their Windows Server to the cloud.Compatibility with .NETOne of the most valuable features of Azure is the complete harmony with the .NET programming language, which gives Microsoft a clear advantage over AWS and the rest of the competitors.SecurityMicrosoft is well-known for providing the most contemporary security practices. Azure was created with the Security Development Lifecycle in mind, an industry-leading assurance process. Azure also offers more than 90 compliance services and is the cloud of choice for US government agencies.FlexibilityAzure is ideal for organizations taking a hybrid cloud approach. Azure provides hybrid cloud services, making it an excellent choice if your organization uses both on-premises and cloud services or both public and private cloud. Azure has a unified identity platform and a cohesive approach to security that covers all types of cloud.
12 October 2021
Until the beginning of 2020, having an in-house team of software developers was the norm in most companies across the globe. Companies would recruit the most qualified staff for the job and the team would work together in a designated location to get the job done. For more geographically independent businesses, remote work was a better solution as they could hire the best resources from any corner of the world. The Covid-19 situation has compelled companies globally to embrace remote work. This practice has transformed the way we work, and most people would prefer to continue it even after the pandemic. So how should companies prepare for this? Outsourcing and outstaffing of work seems like the ideal way for global businesses. Especially for IT roles, hiring people to work remotely who probably live in cheaper cities or locations can be a boon. By investing well in remote development, companies can truly boost their revenue. Apart from hiring a remote team, you can also outsource or outstaff services if you don’t have the necessary resources. Some services that outsourcing companies provide are: Most leading industry sectors like IT and Communication, Finance, Logistics and Transportation, Medical and Health, eCommerce and Retail, etc already get a lot of their work done by outsourcing and outstaffing. Outsourcing is when an organization hires a third-party vendor to completely handle a project or part of a project for them. The organization provides the vendor with the necessary information such as requirements, features, budget, etc. and the vendor creates a quote accordingly. Outsourcing can come in handy when a project needs certain resources or time that the organization may not have at the moment. Rather than having to hire more people and pay salaries and manage workspaces, etc., outsourcing can be a simpler way to get the project completed. For startups, outsourcing can be a great way to get multiple developmental projects completed in parallel, while the team focuses on the business aspect. Project-based outsourcing is most effective for companies that have small, short-term projects with well-defined requirements. It is also beneficial when the company might not have the time or resources to manage the progress of the project. In the case of outstaffing, a company can hire people from another organization for a short-term. These people can be then assigned to critical projects temporarily based on priorities. This can be helpful when you might already have a full in-house team but lack the expertise in a particular technology/role. Such resources can then be hired from outstaffing companies on a temporary basis. In the case of outstaffing, the employees hired will have to work in close collaboration with the in-house team. So they will work as per the company’s work schedule and on the company premises if required. Outstaffing is mostly recommended for companies that have larger products to work on, want complete control of the project, or need flexibility with project requirements. If your company doesn’t have an in-house team, you can also outstaff a dedicated development team for the project at hand and work closely with them. With such a rise in remote work, remote development is no longer just the new normal. In fact, being able to continue with remote work can give you a competitive edge when other companies resume on-premise work. If you’re struggling to find a remote development vendor, we at DevCom are happy to help. We can provide you with the optimal outsourcing or outstaffing solution based on your requirements.
14 November 2022
Cloud technology is a revolutionary way to store and manage data. Numerous businesses have it already as a commonplace feature. Cloud computing is a key pillar of the digital transformation technology ecosystem. Cloud is the platform that enables agile application development, and it allows organizations to scale infrastructure at the same pace as the changing business priorities, while it reduces the risks of wasted resources. Some companies find it difficult to have a successful digital transformation, which is not surprising because digital transformations are harder than more traditional ones to get right. Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business. It leads to fundamental changes in the way a company works (this includes workflows, systems, processes, etc.). This transformation brings together data across multiple areas to work together better. Digital transformation is essential because it fuels growth. Companies need it to make improvements, drive change and embrace the digital age. Digital transformation enhances efficiency, generates opportunities to grow revenue, increases customer value and more. Digital transformation depends on a well-strategized IT infrastructure. There is a journey to digital transformation, and it includes the flexibility to build and manage apps quicker in the cloud, measure results with data analytics, collaboration among teams, agility and embracing new ideas and new insights about the market’s demands. Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services (databases, servers, software, etc.), on the Internet (on the cloud). The data is not saved on physical devices, but on the cloud, and it has several business uses, such as cost optimization, enhancement of the customer’s digital experience, process management. As all the available information indicates, cloud computing is essential for the modern world. Businesses that focus their investments can enable increased revenues and improved margins because the value the cloud generates comes from innovation and increased agility. A traditional infrastructure will be a challenge for companies that want to tap into new opportunities. When dealing with digital disruptions, businesses face critical choices: should they build a new business model, or transform their existing one, or which areas will need more investment in digital initiatives? Cloud computing and digital transformation allow organizations to serve more customers and provide better customer support. All in all, the future of computing will rely on the cloud, which means that companies from all industries will have to re-think their IT strategies if they want to take advantage of the benefits.
18 October 2022
There are an abundance of content management systems (CMS) available: each serving different audiences, content, and purposes. You can build a modern website, eCommerce store, or customer experience using anything from a lightweight and free solution to a complex and increasingly expensive solution, but not every option will fit your requirements. Think of the tech landscape like an ocean – from yachts to tankers, to rafts, all seafaring vessels serve different purposes and navigate the water in different ways. While, in theory, you can modify your raft to haul cargo – doesn’t it make more sense to find a better fitting solution? In this article, we’re going to run through some common types of CMS solutions, what kind of boat we think they resemble, and how you could fall into the trap of using a small boat to haul cargo over rough waters. In previous years, large corporations built massive, heavy, powerful websites to deliver vast amounts of content to international audiences. As far as technology went, this was the accepted solution. In the past, the web was more homogeneous. There was less need to connect pieces within organizations, and connections to functionalities outside of organizations were a rarity. Think about the checkout process or partner portals on websites. Previously, you would most likely navigate away from the site to use these functionalities. Handling lots of media and images/video can become very complicated. In the past, because website functionalities weren’t so feature-rich, it made sense to build a solid machine with lots of moving parts to enable content delivery. However, this was also before companies started developing well-defined APIs that allowed them to connect various underlying solutions (such as a headless content or commerce solution, a DAM, or a CRM) to one seamless user experience for the end user. The content management solutions (aka “Digital Experience Platforms”) from the likes of Adobe, Oracle, or OpenText (to name just a few) often promise smooth implementation and sell themselves as a popular choice among other large companies. But these promises, in our experience, don’t reflect reality, and these products are often far from the best solution for your project. The issue with these platforms is the generic way that they try to solve problems, in combination with the issues generated by legacy support (features that can no longer be adjusted or removed). “One size fits all” solutions are becoming less and less valid for many organizations – requirements are becoming more specific, and specialized solutions are constantly setting a higher bar for performance. Whereas Monolithic CMS tend to offer countless generic out-of-the-box features (many of which you won’t even need), modern CMS find a more user-friendly, focused way of tackling a limited but more focused feature set. You may need to select and integrate more than one vendor (we’ll cover this later), but you get a highly effective solution for your specific needs from each vendor you work with. Small finicky details can snare up development, and it can be expensive work to get things back on track. Everything needs lots of maintenance and configuration, and permission structures are very granular and inefficient to update. Because of their complex nature, changing a single component of a monolith can be detrimental to the structural integrity of the entire website. Plus, it often is not possible to switch out a single piece. Tankers are great for a specific purpose: moving stably in a single direction. The problem with modern requirements is that a custom feature can be tricky to handle: making implementations less smooth than advertised – and any change is likely painfully slow to implement, in the same way, a tanker is slow to change course. If building a tanker is overkill or over-budget, you could always try a dinghy. Open-source applications like Wordpress are free, quick to launch, simple to use, and easy to modify. With WordPress, you can change direction quickly and easily by using plugins. Thanks to templates and intuitive compose features, your small projects can launch fast with minimal coding knowledge or outside help. If you run into problems, WordPress developers are abundant and can often put you back on the right course. What makes a dinghy like Wordpress so appealing is also its affliction. It is simply... simple. As you tack on plugins and extensions to adapt your site to changing requirements, it can start to get weighed down. The most popular plugins tend to be overextended to satisfy demands. They are also rarely built to consider other plugins you may use: this means they may not always work well together, and updates can cause them to break other plugins on your site. As your website expands and requires more plugins, security becomes a nightmare, load times increase, and a growing editorial team is guaranteed to start stepping on each other's toes. Picture a small boat with rafts and additional functions fastened to it. How many more passengers (or content creators) can you add, and how many more parts can you strap to it before you can’t steer anymore and it finally starts to sink? This isn’t to say that you can’t build a functional site with WordPress. But you should keep in mind that every additional solution and plugin needs to be thoroughly evaluated, considering the functions of the rest of the site. As your site expands, this can become increasingly complex. For a small project, with few editors and no need for a complicated array of plugins and functions, dinghies can be a great fit. But at a certain point, you might decide you need something a bit sturdier. This is the boat that’s been in your family for generations. It’s quirky – you must jiggle a switch just right to get it to run. Your uncle is the only one who knows how to get the heater to work. As your requirements shifted, someone built custom parts for you, and now out of convenience or stubborn adherence to tradition, you’re locked in. Outdated open-source CMS technologies like Typo3 have worked well enough for a long time, but in the sea of modern CMS, well enough doesn’t cut it anymore. Old-school out-of-the-box functionality doesn’t always line up with modern requirements. A custom coding language may have seemed like a good idea at the time of development, but now causes many of the problems Typo3 faces. Because it doesn’t follow the efficient, accepted, open standards that other coding languages do, it can be tricky to use. Additionally, because of its custom coding language and proprietary nature, Typo3 developers need to build in a specific and strange way to help it keep up with modern demands. Because of the custom additions, the custom code, and the strange structural nature of some open-source CMS, you tend to become dependent on the systems that made your application. If you want to maintain the status quo, you’ll find yourself bound to the agency or developer who built your website for you. Other developers simply won’t be able to parse the spaghetti code making things run. Like with the dinghy, the problem stems from the same source. As usage increases, both vessels force you to extend your website in nonstandard ways, making it difficult to update and maintain. While open-source CMS like Typo3 were once popular internationally, most of the development community has moved on to more easy-to-use, agile, or powerful technology that doesn’t get bogged down by strange functionality. Familiarity is not a good enough reason to hold on to an old proprietary way of building web applications. WordPress and Typo3 are both open-source projects, and just because we think your website could do better does not mean we don’t like open source. We simply see a line between the open source that makes up programming languages, tooling, and component libraries – and open-source products. Open source works particularly well for generic components of software and technical problems – that’s why many paid solutions contain some open-source parts: and most rely on openly available web languages and frameworks. However, while (free) open-source productized solutions can start out being driven by intelligent, motivated people – to stay innovative, they need a dedicated (paid) team eventually. Without product ownership, there is less motivation for it to be cutting edge and up to date. There are often no objective reviews of extensions and plugins, and the chaotic nature of these large productized open-source solutions tends to make them impractical. (Partially) because of this, we don’t think WordPress and Typo3 suit when trying to develop something cutting edge – or even something that can keep up with modern solutions. So if big complex machines don’t do the trick, and small and super custom gets bogged down – what’s the solution? Yachts. And no, we don’t necessarily mean €1B superyachts. We mean an oceangoing vessel built for its intended purpose. And fortunately, an enterprise-grade solution won’t cost you as much as a real boat. Plus, by finally convincing yourself to pay for an effective software solution, you save yourself the money and headaches that come with trying to patch together a flawed solution. Think of a headless CMS like a fleet of yachts. Instead of using a hard maneuver tanker to deliver your website content, you now have several nimble, adaptable vessels. By piecing together solutions from different providers, you don’t build a dependency on a product that may not be a fit down the line – if a solution can’t keep up or no longer meets your requirements, you can simply sell it or swap it out. Your interconnected fleet can be tailored to your precise needs – for big problems, bigger yachts – for tiny problems, smaller sailboats. Platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS) help you scale your fleet at the pace of demand and can be easily paired with products like Contentful, Storyblok, or Cloudinary for content and media delivery. eCommerce solutions from Shopify, Optimizely, BigCommerce or Stripe can be implemented for checkout and payment, and you can tack on products like Piwik Pro for consent management and analytics. Building your website with a fleet of products suited to their niche allows you to increase your performance and reduce your dependencies. We understand why you might not be using an elegant solution yet. In the early days of the web, Tankers from software vendors like Oracle and Adobe made the most sense. A dinghy like Wordpress is still the best choice for a small blog or a quick and cheap landing page. If you’ve inherited a proprietary ship built using Typo3, breaking dependencies and developing something better can be financially challenging. But some people just get it wrong. They needed a yacht to meet complex requirements and navigate rougher seas, but they built a small boat; maybe because they got bad advice, weren’t thinking about scalability, or were simply unwilling to pay for the adequate solution. You need to carefully evaluate your website's current and future needs. Take time to think strategically about what the best fit for you is. In our experience, for enterprise-grade websites, it makes the most sense to pay for the solution from software rather than dedicate resources to patching and fixing something that simply doesn’t make sense anymore. When you buy your business a yacht, you get a solid foundation on which you can continuously build out and extend state-of-the-art user experiences, attract new users, and meet contemporary user expectations and performance standards. Plus you can finally stop roping rafts to dinghies.