Category Archives: blog

Developing a Payment App in .Net Core 2

The mobile payment industry is quickly catching up to the users who make businesses focused on payment app development using .net technology. It’s a well-known fact that sending and receiving payments via mobile phones is becoming increasingly common throughout the globe. Not only can users browse the Internet and chat on the go, they also can move to cashless payments through the use of mobile devices.

Based on a recent survey, the usage of mobile payments among millennials will continue to increase and is expected to reach $503 billion by 2020. In addition, 75% of all financial transactions will be cashless by 2025. Sounds impressive, right?

That’s why companies need to start developing and implementing a mobile payment system that doesn’t require much infrastructure or technical knowledge on part of the user. Once users install a payment app on their smartphones they should no longer have the need to carry a credit card with them to make a purchase. There is a lot of information about how to develop an Android or iOS payment app, so here we’ve decided to provide an overview on how to create a peer-to-peer payment app using .net technology. Let’s delve into the details below:
PayPal mobile payment volume is $227 bln.

What exactly is a peer-to-peer payment app?

A peer-to-peer payment app, also known as P2P, is an app that users install on their smartphones to make transactions via a linked bank account or credit card. It’s key characteristics are:
— built for personal use and can be utilized between friends, relatives, etc.
— transaction time can range from a couple of days to a few minutes
— funding requirements or transaction fees depend on the bank account, debit/credit card, etc.

How to build a P2P payment app

Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide on how to develop a payment app.

#1: Choose the P2P app type

If you are going to create a P2P payment application, you should know what types of payment apps there are and choose the most suitable one.
Standalone: Offers person-to-person or company-to-business payments online that include or exclude the use of checking accounts, debit/credit cards. It provides a wallet feature to send, receive, or store money in a range of currencies. Among the most popular examples are PayPal, Venmo, Airfox, Alipay, M-Pesa, etc.
Social media-centric: Doesn’t require a strong authentication solution to make transactions, and provides a frictionless process of sending frequent payments. For instance, Facebook Messenger, Kik, and G Pay Send are the most common.
Bank-centric: Involves a bank that acts as a middleman, deposits directly into bank accounts instead of a stored currency account. ExcheQ, Zelle, People Pay, and Popmoney are the most popular.

#2: Identify key features of the app and set up work process flows

At this step, you should document the details of your app or use a wireframing tool. It is also imperative to think of the features you would like to develop, define how the user will navigate the app, and set up the flow. Not only does it help the mobile dev team to clearly understand your expectations, but they can meet the requirements as well. Now let’s take a look at the key features of payment apps:

  • Notification: Keeps users informed about sent or received payments, and notifies the user of any wallet activity, bill due dates, or bookings.
  • Billing and invoicing: Enables users to scan the bill and generate invoices.
  • Transaction history: Users can view summary information that includes the date, amount, positions, and status of each transaction made through the app.
  • Chatbot: Allows customers to ask questions and get answers quickly within an app.
  • Fingerprint security: Relies on a person’s actual thumbprint and ensures secure access to their account.
  • Cryptocurrency: Allows users to safely buy and sell cryptocurrencies.

#3: Focus on the right technology

There is a lot of information on how to develop a payment application in Java or Swift. However, there is another technology for creating a payment app that’s worth mentioning — .NET Core 2. Designed by Microsoft, this technology is an open-source, server-side web app framework. It’s also worth pointing out that this technology requires less configuration and setup in comparison to other web platforms. In addition, asp.net-powered payment apps can utilize the following databases — MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Postgres, MongoDB, CouchDB, all of which are in great demand. Not only can you use .Net for small applications and MVPs. Sounds impressive, right? Let’s find out the most significant benefits:

  • Provides a cloud-ready, environment-based configuration system
  • Includes a lightweight, high-performance, and modular HTTP request pipeline
  • .Net Core 2’s code is easy to maintain and update
  • Building and running on Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems offer great support systems with a huge developer community
  • Scalability is easy to enable
  • Easy to integrate with out-of-the-box and custom solutions, as well as host on Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Heroku using IIS, Nginx, Apache, Docker, etc.
  • Excellent code analysis support and comprehensive editors/IDEs.

Also, it should be mentioned that .NET Core 2 is bringing positive changes in developing high-quality enterprise web applications.

Revolutionizing one-touch by PayPal

#4: Focus on security

The truth is that security is a must for the payment apps. Only by providing secure payment services can you keep users engaged. That’s why you should design the architecture concentrating on security and reliability. With that in mind, make no doubt that your payment service will be reputable in the app market and give peace of mind to end-users.

For example, Venmo uses bank-level security and data encryption to protect users against unauthorized transactions.

#5: Choose the monetization model

There’s a good revenue model behind every successful app. Below you can find out what revenue model to choose in order to boost revenue and drive growth:
Transaction fees allow you to typically charge a percentage of every in-app transaction.
Ads are a user-focused business model that allows you to get paid by ad-owners for each click when displaying ads.
Paid subscription packages provide exclusive features for an additional cost.

How much to build a mobile app or what is the cost of developing a payment app

Now that you know the revenue options, let’s get down to brass tacks. Average costs when it comes to app development start from $50,000 and depends on the factors such as features and functionality, dev team extension model, and its location. Above all, whenever you hire mobile app developers make sure you have discussed all the questions and are on the same page about app design and development.

The benefits of developing a payment app for your business in .Net Core 2

A great number of businesses are taking full advantage of today’s modern financial software. However, the market is still growing and there’s plenty of room to launch more P2P apps:

— Provide your users with the value they need
— Build the recognition of your company and increase the customer base
— Improve customer service experience and create engagement
— Generate more income to drive business growth.

Aionys has a team of .Net Core developers who have successfully launched a number of projects. Medical Care Platform offers solutions for both patients and caregivers. The medical billing software is built-in along with time-tracking and task-management systems.

Bottom line: Are you equipped with a P2P app?

P2P payment apps are there for users to send and receive money with a single one click only, along with simplifying transactions and keeping track of finances. That’s why payment apps are a great solution to boost any brand and connect with customers by delivering successful payment services. The bottom line is simple — concentrate on payment app design and development. If you know how to develop a mobile app from scratch, unlock the enormous potential of mobile payment applications to increase productivity, improve user experience, and drive growth. If you have an idea that you’d like to see become a reality, feel free to let us know and we can help.

How IoT in the Logistic Industry Changes the World

IoT in the logistic industry is a win-win trend. Companies get full control of goods and fleet, while customers get lower prices.
IoT in logistics has opened a wealth of business opportunities
Credit: cegoh/pixabay.com

Mankind has lived through several industrial revolutions. From the steam engines and the telegraph to the rise of electronics, science has made tremendous progress over the span of just a few centuries.

The advent of the Internet brought about the fourth industrial revolution, which has dramatically transformed our economies and everyday lives. It all started with computers and continued with smartphones. Now, almost any physical object can be connected to the global network to receive and transmit data. This technology is known as the Internet of Things or IoT.

While every industry can take advantage of IoT, its benefits are particularly tangible in the fields of logistics and transportation. Read on to learn what gains IoT can bring to both delivery companies and their customers.

IoT: Invisible Threads Connecting Everything

IoT on the logistic industry is widely used
Credit: Gerd Altann/pixabay.com
First, let’s dive into some technical aspects so that you know exactly what is IoT and what underlying technologies it employs.

IoT Defined

IoT has penetrated both earch and space
Credit: TheoLeo/pixabay.com

There’s nothing fancy about the concept of the Internet of Things. It simply implies all devices connected to the Internet and capable of receiving or transmitting data to a centralized platform or to another object within the IoT network. What’s particularly valuable is that all these objects do their jobs without human intervention.

The first person who used the term “Internet of Things” was Kevin Ashton in 1999. However, it was not until around ten years later that the term was universally adopted.

Along with IoT, other words were initially used to describe various objects that could send and receive data over a network. For example, “blogjects” or “ubicomp”. In the end, it was IoT that celebrated the victory.

Can we call every Internet-connected data-receiving or data-sending object an IoT device? No. An IoT device is something that normally has no access to the Internet, such as a hair dryer or microwave oven. For that reason, laptops, tablets, smartphones, or PCs don’t belong to the IoT cast.

What makes IoT devices really powerful is not their functionality but their connection to an IoT platform, where they can send and obtain data or perform power-intensive calculations.

Categories of IoT Devices

We can divide IoT devices into three broad categories:

  1. Those that monitor an environment and send data to a remote source. It’s all kinds of sensors, starting from air quality monitoring sensors and ending with temperature sensors.
  2. Those that receive data and do something with it. Example: an IoT-powered bulb that automatically turns on when someone walks past the lamp post.
  3. Those that serve both as data transmitters and data receptors. These are IoT devices capable of evaluating data they obtain and performing appropriate actions based on it. Example: a self-driving car that changes its route once it learns about a traffic jam ahead over the Internet.

It’s the last category that makes IoT especially desirable for businesses and individual consumers, giving them almost unlimited possibilities.

Technologies Behind IoT

Several important innovations have contributed to the development of the IoT industry.

  • Connectivity technologies. There’s a bunch of options for various IoT devices to connect and exchange data with one another:
    Bluetooth Low Energy
    Wi-fi
    LTE
    Ethernet
    Satellite
  • 5G Networks. This high-speed mobile network makes it possible to use a huge number of IoT devices within a limited space (up to one million to a square kilometer).
  • RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags. These are chips attached to various objects like machinery. They consume little energy and require no wires to transmit data.
  • IPv6. Using this Internet protocol, we can obtain an almost unlimited number of IP addresses for each and every IoT device on the planet.
  • AI. Artificial Intelligence technology is capable of “digesting” huge volumes of data that IoT devices collect and transmit. After processing this information, AI systems can make predictions regarding various industrial processes.

Popularity of IoT

Experts predict a huge growth of IoT. IDC forecasts the global spending on the Internet of Things to equal $745 billion in 2019. According to Statista, the worldwide expenditures for the Internet of Things will reach the 1 trillion dollars mark in 2022.
Many industries have introduced IoT into their business processes including the following:

  • Defense
  • Agriculture
  • Healthcare
  • Retail
  • Oil, gas, and mining
  • Infrastructure
  • Hospitality

One of the sectors where the Internet of Things is also widely used is logistics. Let’s review the main applications of this technology in the logistics industry and discuss the benefits it provides for delivery companies and their customers.

IoT in Logistics

Sensors are great tools enabling the Internet of things
Credit: AG88/pixabay.com

The logistics industry is the economy’s locomotive. Manufacturers need their products to be delivered at the optimal price, at the exact time, and in the necessary quantity and condition.

A logistics company will most certainly fail if…

  • it can’t manage its inventory efficiently
  • its warehouse is a mess
  • its internal processes are not automated
  • it can’t deliver goods fast enough
  • it can’t ensure that goods will be delivered to customers safely and their quality will be perfect.

The Internet of Things addresses all of those challenges, bringing the logistics up to a completely new level. Here are the main benefits of IoT for delivery firms.

  1. More Efficient Management of Vehicles
    Different logistics companies have variously-sized fleets of delivery trucks. Even with a small number of cars, though, it’s often hard to track their location and condition on the road. IoT simplifies and streamlines this process:

    • It uses GPS or similar location-detection technologies to collect data about the exact place and maneuvers of a vehicle as it’s moving from point 1 to point 2.
    • It automatically sends a push notification to a manager once a vehicle arrives at the destination. This helps the manager plan deliveries more accurately and promptly.
    • It enables trucks to exchange information about their locations in real time. Thus, they can move in groups, adjusting their speed and keeping the optimal distance between themselves.
      As such, more road space is available to other vehicles. It also reduces the amount of exhaust gases and contributes to more efficient fuel consumption. Business Insider predicts that 98% of all new cars will have an Internet connection by 2020.
    • IoT devices installed inside vehicles notify technicians of any problems with the engine or other parts even before those occur. Thus, managers can immediately react to all kinds of issues to avoid or significantly reduce downtimes.
  2. Better Inventory and Warehouse Administration
    supply chain management and warehousing are promising spheres for IoT use
    Credit: icondigital/pixabay.comEfficient warehouse and inventory management is of paramount importance to any logistics company. The number of goods could be huge. Tracking them manually is prone to numerous errors that may cost too much in the end.IoT has made the life of warehouse administrators much easier. By attaching minute, cheap sensors to the stored items, managers can monitor the availability of goods and quickly find them.Information about the stock is sent to the cloud. Managers can retrieve it at any given moment wherever they are and use it for accurate planning. As a result, there’s no shortage of popular goods, while losing items is almost excluded.
  3. Better Quality of Delivered Products
    IoT devices can also ensure that the conditions inside vehicles that transport delicate or perishable products such as fruit, vegetables, or flowers are optimal throughout the route. That reduces the amount of wastage and contributes to higher customer satisfaction.
  4. Property Theft Prevention
    Stealing freight is not a rare occurrence in the United States. According to a report from Statista, in 2017 U.S. transport companies lost cargo worth almost $2.6 million due to theft. IoT can effectively prevent stealing property. One example: the SmarSensor solution from DHL. It can detect any temperature fluctuations, changes in the light intensity, or register any abnormal events during a trip. That helps managers immediately react to the alarm and avoid the loss of goods.
    It’s also good from the insurance perspective. Thanks to IoT, logistics companies can exactly identify the time and location of the theft. That simplifies recovering costs through insurance policies.

Benefits of IoT for Consumers

The new technology is advantageous not only for logistics companies themselves. It also contributes to higher customer satisfaction.

Real-Time Tracking

Customers can follow the entire path of their goods from the warehouse to the final destination. They can do it via one of the numerous tracking apps such as this to know when to expect their goods precisely.

Reduced Costs

IoT devices enable drivers of delivery vehicles to find the best routes. The data about the traffic situation, road condition, and relief is stored in the cloud and can be used by all other vehicles moving in the same direction. That contributes to lower fuel consumption. Customers pay less than they did before.

No Lost Merchandise

Thanks to the sensors that control the temperature, light, and humidity inside delivery trucks, customers get all their merchandise without wastage.

Real World Examples of IoT Usage in Logistics

SmarTrucking is IoT-based solution DHL introduced to the business processes
Credit: skeeze/pixabay.com

A huge number of shipping companies have already believed in the advantages of IoT for their businesses. Here are a couple of examples to illustrate this.

Maersk

The company from Scandinavia is one of the largest shippers on the planet. Around 7 years ago Maersk struck a partnership with Ericsson for the installation of satellite and mobile equipment to track the gigantic fleet of its containers on the move.

Ericsson’s devices send data about all parameters (current position, temperature, humidity, etc.) to the servers, where it’s analyzed by managers.

DHL

In 2018, the largest logistics and mail company on Earth introduced the IoT-based solution SmarTrucking to its business processes. The sensors installed inside DHL’s trucks now allow managers to determine the best routes and track deliveries in real time. Since then, transit times have decreased by half, while the movement of goods can be tracked with nearly 100% precision.

Conclusion

The future of the logistics industry belongs to IoT. Companies can track the movement of goods in real time, predict problems with vehicles, prevent property theft, and reduce fuel consumption. The customers’ main benefit is a lower price they have to pay for the shipment of their goods. So, if you’re still doing your business the old-fashioned way, it’s time to try out the new technology.

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

MS SQL Deadlocks Series

Deadlock

Aionys series on deadlocks is a step-by-step guideline for developers specializing in database programming. Find out what they are, why you have them, and what you should do to unlock and, ideally, prevent them.

Let’s start.

MS SQL Deadlocks: What are they to Block the Flow

There is no guideline to implement deadlocks. You see them popping up when least expected. I believe you know how it feels when the deadlines are approaching, too fast. And here you are – stuck with deadlocks, the issue you really don’t have time and energy to investigate and, most important, solve. And the priority is critical. Got a performance issue? You might be as well kissing your peace of mind goodbye. 

Most developers are lucky enough to have heard the buzzword only. And haven’t actually dealt with the issue. 

Things are different at Aionys. Having several projects in development and some of them with huge databases, we have experience in handling them. And we aim to share our challenges and solutions with you. So let’s get to the root of deadlocks starting with what the heck they are.

What are deadlocks?

Deadlock is a big issue of relational databases. It is about several processes blocking one another when necessary resources get locked.

The processes wait infinitely for resources (row, table, etc.) to get unlocked. As a result, a server kills one of them. 

Deadlocks not only slow down the system but also bring it to a halt. They most often surface when data gets changed – updated/ inserted/ deleted – and database servers are under high load. The DB size doesn’t matter that much as even the smallest one can get deadlocks. Most devs believe that the more create/update/delete requests, the more deadlocks. 

The project in focus

A recent project where we faced deadlocks is for healthcare. It has a huge database of patient records, appointments, and hospital lodging details. And it also has a long history. We started it three years ago. And over time, it has grown immensely with an increased amount of data handled. 

Initially, the project was delivered to optimize process management at a medical center, including time and attendance systems for staff and patients. Later, new features were added 

  • payment processing
  • billing and invoicing solutions
  • management of doctor offices, and wards, etc.

For the first few releases, when the number of users was limited, the system worked smoothly. The issues appeared when more medical units were added. Interestingly, when doing our testing we didn’t have them.

 Team A first-hand experience

At Aionys, we work with MS SQL. When we first faced the deadlocks at the project, we turned to the team lead developer with over 10 years of experience in developing custom software. Good or bad, he hadn’t had such serious issues. For him, logs were just: deadlocks happen. 

So our development team started digging into the issue. The info we came up with was focused on multiple threads. Miraculously, they did wonders but not with MS SQL server requests. 

Deadlock interview

Next, we set out on asking around, especially guys with more experience in MS SQL. They recommended taking the following steps

  • change the isolation level of the transaction 
  • remove huge transactions
  • split large transactions into smaller ones. 

Fortunately, 90% of deadlocks were solved. Unfortunately, performance decreased. Meanwhile, requirements advanced with database queries getting more complicated. 

We turned to asynchronization to increase performance. It didn’t take much time to understand that the more async requests, the more side issues. For example, updating/inserting/deleting data caused serious problems for the server. 

It looked like we were running in circles. In the end, we came up with a solution. Our next Unlock MS SQL Deadlocks post will shed light on it.

Google I/O Speaks Innovation

 

Google I/O 2019

 

The spring is in the air
I’ll see Googlers everywhere I fall in love with the I/O
Android Q will have a go

(original lyrics by BZN)
May is a busy tech season and with good reason. The digital pioneer is hitting top gear stealing all the tech spotlight.

Google: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Founded in 1998 by Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google has a long history of achievements building a big name and a worldwide reputation. Originating as a research project, it evolved into a search engine based on the developed technology PageRank which analyzed websites relationships instead of counting frequency of search terms. Over the years, hundreds of web-based products, desktop, and mobile applications, dev tools, OS and hardware have been developed.
Long passed the time of Google as a search engine. Now the multinational giant is rated one of the Big Four tech companies, along with Amazon, Apple, and Facebook. With the most popular mobile OS – Android – and the most visited website – Google.com, the company focuses on building driverless cars and delivery drones, implementing AI, AR and other innovations into products and services. Google is ubiquitous these days.
Have a look at the map of Android and iOS use all over the world by Device Atlas in 2018.

 

Google I/O: Celebrating Innovations

In May, the annual developer conference takes place in Mountain Dew, CA, also known as the Googleplex. There, Googlers share their vision for tomorrow fully mirroring various interpretations of I/O – Input/Output, Innovation in the Open, or well-known binary 0 and 1. The first event was organized in 2008. Ever since, the company has been making more headway every year. No wonder, the whole tech community holds breath in anticipation of groundbreaking products and services.

Kaleidoscope of all the I/O Events

Google stats

2008

  • Android OS was launched

2009

  • Chrome was inaugurated
  • Google Web Toolkit got developed.

2010

  • Chrome Web Store on offer
  • Google App Engine was upgraded
  • Video codec VP8 and WebM video format were introduced
  • Google TV combined Web everlasting entertainment and comfortable screens for eyes RESTful cloud service of Google Storage for Developers welcomed
  • APIs (Prediction, Buzz, Moderator) were a real hit.

2011

  • Android featured Google Music, upgrading Honeycomb up to v. 3.1 and getting Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Chrome and Google Chrome OS got loaded with browse-to-buy Chrome Web Store and web version of Angry Birds
  • Samsung and Acer Chromebook laptops were rolled out.

2012

  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean starting with Project Butter made graphics smoother when scrolling and swiping, along with easier touchscreen input recognition.
  • Nexus 7 was marketed as a 7-inch screen tablet designed with Asus and running on Jelly Bean.
  • Google Docs was updated for offline text editing with later synching the changes to the cloud (when online).
  • Google Drive App opened up storage services for Apple’s iOS. iOS-friendly Chrome was unveiled.
  • Nexus Q streaming media player offered access to cloud-based tunes of Google Music, YouTube videos, and Google Play movies and TV episodes.

2013

  • Android Studio of IDE built was released for Android developers.
  • Google Maps featured a simplified UI and presented info of interest on screen.
  • Glass units were showed off with photo-taking and call-making features.
  • Hangouts was ambitiously launched for messaging.
  • Google+ got redesigned with some new features.

2014

  • L Developer Preview (tools for bespoke typography, grid and color changes), Android Wear (smartwatch with the “Ok Google” prompt and app sync), Android Auto (a voice-enabled solution for connected devices when behind the wheel), and Android TV (to watch live TV or stream content enhanced with cast info and related clips from YouTube) were released.
  • Google Cloud improvements got demoed with a suite of tools, e.g Save, Monitoring, Trace, and Debugger.
  • Google Fit (multi-OS API) was announced to collect fitness data into one place.

2015

  • Android M got power optimization, new services, and apps interaction changes (less alarming app permission requests).
  • Google Photos was introduced as a photo app to organize and back photos up (free).
  • Google Maps went offline for places with poor connectivity by loading fewer images and saving pages for non-online use.
  • Android Wear got a smoother platform with an always-on screen, simpler and quicker app launching, and even Uber calling.
  • Android Pay went public for app purchases, offline shopping by tapping an NFC sensor, and authenticating payments for phone supported fingerprint sensors.
  • Virtual Reality got its own zone with Expeditions, an education tool, and VR camera rig.
Google Home

2016

  • Google Assistant became a hit by using a more human voice to answer queries and weaving its way into AI-powered Allo messenger with high standards of privacy and Google Home speaker with always-listening microphones built into a wide array of services to reply to questions and follow commands.
  • Daydream, a mobile VR platform, created a complete ecosystem to enjoy games in.
  • Duo kicked off by focusing on Android and iOS video-only communication, where the person you want to get in touch with is shown your fresh image which is updated each time you launch the app.
  • Android N won users over with split-screen multitasking, battery optimization, Vulkan API, quick settings buttons, and extra fun emojis.

2017

  • Google Assistant remained a wow, another year in a row. Using a smartphone camera and Google Lens, it could analyze surroundings to bring relevant info on the screen. Plus, it became a standalone iOS-friendly app.
  • Google Home grew into a phone with a private number.
  • Google Photos got Suggested and Sharing features to recognize people in the shot and share photos, Shared Libraries for family/group access, and Books of pictures.
  • VR headsets were announced to track virtual space AR Tango system.
  • Android O went beta.
  • Android Go was released as a mobile OS for entry-level devices along with a slew of updated apps with the requirements of less storage, memory, and data.

2018

  • Google Assistant could speak in six different voices and follow several commands in one phrase, run a pick-up and delivery scheme, as well as introduce smart displays.
  • Google Duplex managed reservation phone calls with back-and-forth Q&A in a human-sounding voice with inactive online booking making a huge leap to humans dealing with AI.
  • Waymo self-driving Jaguar I-Pace looked down-to-earth and mass-market.
  • Smart Compose of Gmail offered to make and finish sentences for you.
  • Number one helper in plotting your fastest routes on screen and navigating your way through unknown areas, Google Maps got upgraded with Google Lens for a clear understanding of the blue dot destination.
  • Not limited to Google-branded phones only as also supported by Nokia, Xiaomi, Sony, Android P is more device (better battery life conservation) and user-friendly (Dashboard, fixed volume slider, and screen rotation).

Looking back on the wide range of achievements starting with Android launch in 2008, building up steam with VR, AR, and AI along the way, Google has been moving onwards and upwards, innovating technologies and coming up with more and more groundbreaking results year by year. Google goodies of the previous events have really piqued curiosity to anticipate 2019 surprises in store.

Google I/O 2019 Focus

With a promising tendency of growing the tech industry in leaps and bounds, it’s a little surprise this year conference brought forward numerous eye candies for developers and users. Despite plentiful predictions and sneak peeks, May 7 was a much-awaited event around the world with worthy surprises up the sleeve. In fact, even F8 held from April 30 to May 1 couldn’t take the edge off tech anxiety.
Setting off on a tech discovery journey, Google pointed out that today more than 2.5 billion Android devices are in active use. That was one impressive start.
Let’s have a look at the Google I/O 2019 highlights:

    • Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL of 5.6 and 6-inch displays were number one hardware announcements. Featuring the top-of-the-line Google Pixel 3 camera specs of Night Shift and Super Res Zoom, they are only half the price – $399 for the 3a and $479 – the XL, which naturally created a boost. Plus, new smartphones got a headphones jack (unlike the big brother Pixel 3).
Google Home
  • Nest Hub Max smart speaker of a 10-inch screen and security camera got on hardware radar as well. This updated Home Hub (under this name until 2019) uses the camera for both security and calls keeping even a speaker on the move always in the center. However, it can be easily disabled for those who don’t want to be Google followed.
  • Android Q beta 3 debuted with the highlights of Dark Theme to suit personal preferences and save the battery for OLED screens, along with new gesture navigation options (no more back buttons).
  • Live Caption generates subtitles for any video, including video chats, which can be a great help for people with hearing impairments. Interestingly, Project Euphoria is also underway for people with speech impairments to get the voice back.
  • Google Assistant weaves the magic of processing voice commands now with 500MB of storage space (up 100GB previously) which makes the gadget up to 10 times faster.
  • Google Duplex now can fill in website forms, e.g. reservation info, hire car and more. All you need is to confirm the inputted details.
  • Google Search is getting AR visuals. From now on, 3D representations of search results are available.
  • Google Lens goes on recognizing images and objects. It got restaurant clever by suggesting dishes from a menu and bill-tip splitting. Even more, by pointing your camera at a written recipe, you get video tutorials.
  • Kotlin is going to be pioneering in Android development and at the developer keynote Google notes that it’s going to be a recommended programming language.
  • Google Stadia got off the ground with triple-A game streaming potential for just internet access paired with the Chrome web browser. It hit the mark with a feature of device switching to have games on the go.

One more grand 2019 event is over. Despite all the hype, Google keeps working even harder and more creatively to launch the products planned in 2019 and make strong technological impressions next year. Get your own first-hand experience of the event. Enjoy the official Google keynote at the Youtube channel or the 13-minute version of the Verge both led by by Sundar Pichai.

 

 

User Research to Fall in Love with Your Products

Looking back on the product analysis, network-centered approaches were regarded as benchmarks. Today, it’s users who is in the driver’s seat for business sustained success. No wonder, looking into their experience is paramount.

Convincing Stats: Users are the Center of Business Universe

User Research

Making user experience mistakes puts company reputation and revenues on the line. According to Customer Think, 80% of companies talk big about exceptional customer services, while only 8% of customers actually agree on the quality.
A negative customer service experience leads to no more business operations in 82% of cases. Plus, there are word-of-mouth recommendations that do work. Bad news travels fast – about 50% of customers with a negative service experience share it with a dozen more people, who are ten to one will become new users.
Nielsen Norman Group had a study on how usability testing impacts return on investment for both commercial and non-commercial projects. Following developed e-commerce UX guidelines results in doubling sales, conversion rates, and other important metrics. They had a research – The Quest for Convenience – that proves convenience is the driving force behind user choices. Time-saving solutions simplify hectic lifestyles of consumers and grant their acknowledgment.

Hints to Start a Study

The IEEE (the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) stresses that conducting early-stage UX design researches is fundamental as fixing post-development errors is 100 times more expensive in comparison with those detected and solved before product release.
Understanding the importance of user researches, it is key to be in the know of the best time to conduct them. So, it’s high time to get the ball rolling when you want to:

  • bring into focus and analyze how intuitive and functional your product is
  • adapt the product by putting to test the scope of decisions
  • have a complete picture of both market data specifics and users’ intentions.

Besides, unpredictable market changes and upcoming product modifications, e.g. entering an international market, are good points to have user researches as well. For different types of companies, there is a varying time to win, e.g. outsource companies – pre-sales, product ones – development, startups – early stages.

User Research

However, some businesses believe that using general niche statistics can solve their users’ challenges. They have even come up with a list of excuses, just not to run a study. Here are alternative solutions.
On the other hand, there are well-known cases of UX and UI researches playing a crucial role in winning over the market.
Instagram rolled out a product to find out the most sought-after features. They were sharing images, making comments, and liking. As a result, a new cut-down version was launched with over 100,000 downloads in less than 7 days and over 7,000,000 users registered in 9 months.
Next, UX designs meeting user requirements influence customer retention and leads. A 5% growth in the former can result in a 125% increase in profits, due to CustomerThink. Lots of companies have had brilliant examples of making a difference after investing in user research, e.g. Amazon, Samsung, etc. To drive the point home, analyze the following UX magic examples:

  • Airbnb reported doubling weekly profits after changing poor-quality photos of apartments with professional ones.
  • Bing increased the annual revenue by $80 million after choosing a certain blue hue.
  • ESPN.com had a 35% revenue increase after redesigning the homepage following users’ suggestions.

That said, getting into the weeds is definitely worthy for building on-the-same-page-with-users approaches.

User Research Steps
    1. Build a research framework. Focus on available data, specify main and secondary goals, as well as expected outcomes, choose suitable methods and approaches. Integrating qualitative and quantitative studies is informative results. The former examine what-issues, e.g. what features, why sales go down, etc., while the latter focus on numeric specifics, e.g. how many/much, etc.
      Qualitative Methods
      Quantitative Methods
      User Research
      User Research

      Combine qualitative and quantitative methods to fit your requirements and get results.
      Another critical point to do studies most effectively is to zero in on the team from different departments (marketing, sales, finances, etc.) to advocate and ensure buy-in participation as a common language leads to common goals.

      In fact, Google and Yahoo created diverse teams devoted to usability and had their efforts paid off. No wonder, McKinsey has come up with the braided approach bringing together efforts of design, strategy, and technology to promote a design-driven culture.

      It’s also possible to hire UX consultants to provide the service if there are no in-house pros.

 

  • Plan and get ready.

 

    1. Creating a framework should be followed by screening participants, adjusting both the timeline and methods, and piloting the study. On average, the most hot-button issue at the stage is defining the number of participants, ranging from a pair to dozen. 5 seems to be the magic number.

NNG

    1. argues, though, that bigger budgets are better to be invested into the wider scope of research methods rather than increasing the number of participants involved.

 

  • Execute.

 

    Make sure to take detailed notes and document all findings. Summarize and draw conclusions on a regular basis, preferably daily.

  1. Analyze and bring to life research results. Interpreting results unbiasedly is necessary to make impact-oriented decisions. There are numerous tools to do the analysis of results, with visual representation being quite popular. Next comes turning findings into life. For example, MailChimp posted user persona portraits in the office to create user visualization. A proof of concept (POC) runs a certain design idea up the flagpole to prove functionality. Whether it’s A/B testing or beta versions, they are to flag up future business value of the offered changes. Another alternative is making prototypes that show how features can be developed. Mozilla Firefox managed to drop the number of questions at the support forum down to 70% by building the product on user-tested prototypes.

Research Tips

Prioritize points of interest, e.g. user portraits, behavior, environment, reactions, etc.
Planning is crucial for carrying out user researches. Make sure you have Plan B and even Plan C. Plus, include a time gap into the schedule not to exceed set time limits.
Stay alert and don’t get lost doing field studies or dealing with difficult-to-understand research participants.
Proactive attitude creates a perfect atmosphere to open up. Psychologists prove that the longer you stay in touch, the more to the point info gets revealed, which leads to more meaningful insights.
To top it all, it takes time and effort to get user researches going smoothly but they definitely do the trick. They work brilliantly for well-informed decisions Build your products from a user-centric perspective to have a head start in the market.

 

Top 10 Logistics Startups in 2018

Supply chains and logistics companies play the market smartly exploiting digital solutions. Startups delivering cutting-edge transportation management systems streamline business processes by targeting areas of need. They wield the power and potential of technology platforms for thorough visibility, real-time tracking, rock-bottom supply costs, and more predictable delivery times.

 

Logistics Startups in 2018

Multi-million investments in logistics worldwide propel annually. In 2014, a twofold increase from $7 billion to $14 billion was reported, while by 2023 there is a predicted global rise to $15.5 trillion.
As a result, more and more startups focus on developing route planning and fleet management software encouraged by global giants’ interest, e.g. Tyson Foods Inc. made a $19.5 million investment in FoodLogiQ, a food traceability company.

 

1. Flexport is a freight forwarding software company with a vision of digitizing shipment processes. They believe in efficient trading and provide high-quality end-to-end services. In 2019, the company got a $1 billion investment from the SoftBank Vision Fund to further business initiatives.

2. Nuro is a US-based developer of autonomous delivery vehicles. In 2018 it introduced the R1, an electric driverless local commerce delivery vehicle. The company partnered with Kroger, the largest American grocery retailer by revenue, to put to test self-driving last-mile grocery delivery in June 2018. In 2019, the company got financial backing of $940 million from SoftBank Group.

3. C3IoT has built a reputation for manufacturing tracking sensors and asset tagging. The range of C3 products is based on artificial intelligence principles and IoT technologies to increase delivery speed, monitor IoT sensor health and predict failures (C3 Sensor Health), optimize inventories (C3 Inventory Optimization), etc. The company also specializes in predictive analytics and cloud computing that pay off impressively – Microsoft partnership and a colossal $243 million investment in 2018.

4. Apeel Sciences has made a name after creating a special coating to extend the shelf life of edible products. It’s natural (made from plant extracts) and is used for cutting down on fresh produce waste. Microsoft supported the green vision of the company, contributing to the total investment of $110 million. In 2018, Apeel brought better efficiency to Costco when avocados were made to last longer than usual and Harps stores reported 10% sales increase.

5. With $47 million investment in 2018 and backing from Canaan and Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (freight railroad), Cargomatic is passionate about connecting shippers with customers. The real-time tracking platform centers on trucking marketplace and fleet management. Available on iOS and Android, the app features GPS tracking. The startup specializes in drayage services at ports, as well as full truckload and less-than-truckload services.

Logistics Startups in 2018
With Uber Technologies Inc. as a real hit in the US ride-hailing industry and self-driving truck pioneer, solving autonomous trucking challenges was at heart of numerous startups. Founded in 2018, Kodiak Robotics focuses 100% efforts and finances ($40 million) on autonomous technology for trucking.

 

6. ShipChain is number one blockchain logistics startup of 2018 with $30 million investment. Blockchain technologies are applied to make a coordinated solution for transparency and trust, secure shipping and smart transportation environment. Along with the blockchain documentation system which minimizes fraud and loss risks, they’ve delivered The Track and Trace platform aimed at inside-chain-all-carriers tracking.

7. In the robotized era, Commonsense Robotics makes warehousing digitized in rhyme with motto Get Fresh Faster. Creating robots for micro-fulfillment centers, the Israeli company builds up delivery to online customers efficiency within an hour. The product is perfect for urban areas (there is a contract with Israeli discount grocer Rami Levy for 12 fulfillment sites) and got a $26 million investment.

8. AI-powered, ClearMetal set the foot into the logistics market to track order shipments around the globe with an option of choosing carriers with the most dependable and timely services, as well as delay estimations. The aim is to provide supply chain and logistics analytics with organized, easy-to-access and efficient-to-predict data and has already won Panalpina over as a partner. The total investment in 2018 was $12 million.

9. Based in Spain, Nextail Labs offer hot-button automated solutions for optimizing commercial inventory management. They advertise their product as a unique end-to-end store transfers solution for agile retailing and smart allocation decisions. The funding raise was $10 million in 2018.

 

Logistics and transportation startups are game-changing innovators that bring to life principles of safety and sustainability, transparency and efficiency, accountability and risk management. Gaining traction, they rock the industry by perfecting freight management, route optimization, and vehicle tracking solutions.

Aionys offers logistics software development to shape your ideas to top-notch businesses.

 

 

 

 

Violation Of HIPAA Security Policy: Causes And Consequences

How important is it for you to stay out of jail? If you are hard working citizen then going to jail is not even an option in your mind, just like it is not for me. However, you will be surprised, how easy it is to end up in a 2×4 cell for something as simple as viewing confidential information outside of law. Maybe you heard that in 2010 former employee of UCLA Medical Center in LA – Huping Zhou – was prosecuted and sentenced to 4 months incarceration as well as fined $2,000. After he was let go he continued to search the medical office database for patients’ confidential information illegally. Besides that, he even looked up information on celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Hanks, Drew Barrymore and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Yes, I know, you don’t want to know how healthy or unhealthy Hollywood stars are, but be careful – Office for Civil Rights never sleeps! They conduct multiple investigations and penalize violators yearly. Watch out! You and I may become their next target, if not acting in accordance with HIPAA!

Violation of HIPAA fines standards

There are certain standards for calculation HIPAA fines. The amount can range from $100 to $50,000 per violation. At the same time, the penalty amount may increase to $1,500,000 for each violation per year.

The penalty extent is regulated by tiers. There are four tiers:

  • An entity does not know and has no reasonable information about breach – $100 – $50,000 per incident;
  • An entity knew of the violation, but did not act with its intentional breach – $1,000 – $50,000 per incident;
  • An entity acted with a deliberate breach, but fixed the problem within 30 days of lapses – $10,000 to $50,000 per incident;
  • An entity acted with a deliberate breach and did not make a timely correction of the problem – $50,000 per incident.

Once again, we emphasize that, in special cases, the level of the fine may increase to $1,500,000 for each breach per year.

Thus, the level of responsibility for breaches is very high. Because of this, patient personal information is confidential and must be kept well secured, and consequently their interests must be protected.

Examples of company penalties

Despite the legality of compliance with the act, it was repeatedly violated by various companies. Here are the examples of the violation fines for HIPAA in 2017:

  • Memorial Healthcare Systems – $ 5,500,000 for accessing confidential information of 115,143 patients
  • Children’s Medical Center of Dallas – $ 3,200,000 for failing to protect patients’ personal data and not complying with OCR’s policy
  • CardioNet – $ 2,500,000 for potential non-compliance with HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules
  • Memorial Hermann Health System (MHHS) – $ 2,400,000 for failure to timely resolve possible HIPAA violations

If only medical companies paid more attention to ensuring data security and confidential interaction with patients, fines could easily be avoided. Unfortunately, the mentioned institutions did not show any initiative and paid substantial fines for this.

Practical steps to avoid penalties

All Healthcare company owners want to avoid the loss and illegal use of patients’ information as it is punishable by act. It is important not just dodge these fines, but to  eliminate the probability of their occurrence altogether.

So, what needs to be done? The answer is obvious – to make sure that the patient’s’ personal data is completely safe and processed correctly in the timely manner. The following questions need to be answered to analyze the current state of affairs within the given company’s internal processes:

  • Where and how is the information is stored?
  • How is this information used?
  • Who is responsible for the use of information?
  • Are there any risks of violation of patients’ personal data safety?

Given the modern technologies, information, for the most part, is stored on electronic devices. However, it is important to understand that E-stored information must be kept protected from hacking – external and internal. External hacking implies the possibility of stealing personal information and illegal entry into the databases, and internal – implies the same by any unqualified employee. With regard to paper files, they must also be kept in a secure place.

The patients personal information can be used exclusively for the intended purpose – to care for them. This may seem absolutely obvious, but it is important to mention. Any non-targeted action with customer data is unacceptable. All company operations, if possible, should be recorded by automated systems.

The obligation for storing and using personal data of patients should be distributed evenly, between a supervisor and an employee. In case of violation or loss of data, the responsibility will be absorbed by both parties. Such policies will ensure safety and, furthermore, will be in the best interest of all staff.

It is essential the assessment of potential risks of violation of patients’ rights. Risk assessment can be done by comparing the degree of compliance of employees’ work with HIPAA standards. You need to review all the requirements of this act and check whether it is complied with? It’s fairly simple.

Summary

To sum it all up, the loss and illegal use of patients personal data is unacceptable point-blank. That HIPAA act was adopted in 1996 to prevent the above mentioned cases.

Complying with this act will not only avoid penalties, but also enhance the reputation of the company. All violators of this act will have a negative reputation as a company. As you know, customers prefer reliable and stable companies.

Compliance with this act is not problematic. Its rules are absolute and clear – all that is required from the owners of the company is to bring their work activity in line with these requirements. Even if some spending is needed, it is necessary.

From our experience to prevent such violations the use of specific software solutions are a must. The use of 2-step authentication, anti-phishing addons, protocol analyzers are perfect examples of these solutions. And this is the list of information that needs to stay confidential:

  • Patient personal data
  • Custom reporting
  • Electronic signatures
  • General accounting

Our main goal is to create a solution that will not only help you obey HIPAA act, but also the following:

Furthermore, the use of our solutions significantly improves the working process of any company, which certainly affects customers satisfaction.

So, HIPAA violations present how conscious and responsible Healthcare organizations conduct all confidential activities for their patients. Precautions are essentially paid for themselves, and you can take not costs for them as useless!

2-Step Verification: A Huge Step To Personal Data Security

For every company theft of personal information is a horrible nightmare to deal with. After all, any fraud puts the reputation of the company on the line, since it causes considerable damage and stress to customers. One loss event can lead to a collapse of even a stable company. Therefore, it’s very important to pay attention to data security and privacy.

Despite the fact that it is 2018, a lot of companies don’t use modern technologies to keep the data of their customers protected. Hackers are always looking for suitable opportunity to steal personal data and to use it for criminal purposes.

For an example, in April of 2018 it became known that 87 million Facebook users’ account information was leaked to Cambridge Analytica. Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed this information as well as appeared in court because of it. The stolen data was supposed to be used to manipulate public opinion during 2016 US presidential election campaign.

This information was stolen by using an unknown third-party application. Despite the fact that the management of Facebook has promised to take measures to prevent similar situations in the future, the incident caused a significant damage to the reputation of this social network.

Thus, these threats are not only domestic, but international is well. If large corporations are valuable, what could be said about small or medium-sized organizations? You are correct in your assumption, they don’t have the financial means to keep their databases secure. However with the rapid grows IT-technologies there are numerous have the opportunity to keep themselves and their clients protected.

Fines that could be prevented

Let’s mention few examples of penalties that could be faced because of these incidents. Samsung was fined $400,000 in 2013. This happened as a result of improper storage and processing of personal data by PlayStation Network gamers. Once your personal data is on the internet, you are automatically open for fraud.

In 2015 the Hilton hotel chain was fined $700,000 because they lost 350,000 customers’ personal data. This caused a small dent in their multibillion dollar income. However this is a significant blow to their reputation. Moreover, in 2018 EU GDPR law has changed and if this happened again, the company would pay $420,000,000.

Bithumb, South Korea exchange operator, was penalized 55$ in 2017 for their negligent behavior towards the storage of their clients’ data.

These are just a few examples of how businesses lose significant funds by violating privacy laws and trying to save a dollar on data storage safety.

What is two factor authentication?

One of the technologies allowing to ensure the safety of customer significantly reduces the risks of stealing customers information by scammers. It is very user friendly and simple use, and to login a customer needs to:

  1. Enter login and password;
  2. Enter a one-time code that will be sent via mobile (by phone call) or to the hardware token;
  3. Authenticate.

Everything is pretty simple, but very effective. This way of logging into an account will make the level of data protection more effective than using a login form on your browser only. Currently, two-stage authentication is used by Google and other various financial institutions (in particular, banks).

Is it guaranteed a 100%?

We talked about the fact that two-stage authentication provides a high level of security for personal data. However, does it give you 100% protection? No, it gives you a 99% chance of privacy. As hackers have learned to partially bypass this method of protection.

However, 2fa is gradually altering and updating along with new technologies. These are the choices available to you right now:

  • Password + sms
  • Password + call
  • Password + security key

As one of our clients from Insight Memory Care Center shared with us, his company pays special attention to the security and customer’s data. That’s why his company uses the capabilities of 2-step verification:

“At the end of the day, there are so many rules and regulations that need to be followed and we rely HEAVILY on our providers and our IT folks to be able to manage and monitor that stuff. We are the caregivers. But the one thing I can say is that when you have that sense of security and know that your providers and IT folks are on top of things, it gives you the peace of mind. One less thing to keep you up at night!”

Joel Bednoski, Executive Director

We absolutely agree with Joel, and encourage a wider use of 2fa to ensure security of personal data for people around the world.

It is important to note, 2fa technology does not stand still. By autumn 2018 an authentication with password through text messaging will be eliminated. Furthermore, by 2020 authentication via password through phone calls will no longer be available. Right now HIPAA requires a 2fa use such as phone call or text messages codes confirmation. Taking into account this development tendency, by 2023 the verification with the help of a password and a token might be eliminated as well and clients’ fingerprint or an eye scan will take its place.  

How much does it cost?

So, how much will it cost to implement 2fa? Note that the development and implementation of new technologies was, is and always will be quite expensive. Nevertheless, there are options that are quite acceptable even for small companies.

For an example, it costs around $3000 to hire a development team of 3 for 2 weeks to develop, implement and configure 2fa. With the increase in demand, the cost might also increase.

However, having spent even a considerable amount of money, you will make your business much more stable. I do not know about you, but my personal data is very important for me.  We all want to keep our private life as private as possible, and in this we are alike.

The security of your customers’ data is the security of your business!

Why Do You Need System Integration?

All Healthcare Organizations use a different variety of accounting and management systems in their work. There are numerous systems since a lot of data has to be processed. These companies use software for recruiting, managing profiles, tracking staff work time, CRM, tracking visits, etc. The use of such products by companies must keep tediously detailed history reports.

In some cases companies choose one program for the hiring process when they start up, as they grow in size they might choose another one for the client database and when they are proficient may pick recruting or any other tool to track nurses clock in/out time. Based on our vast knowledge, separate departments in the same company might need different products. The reality is, when implementing these in a different manner these solutions become headaches that are complex and are not inconvenient.

Using separate these Healthcare services usually lead to confusion in the workflow, time-consuming and cost double or merely create problems with the cross-application data transfer.

Last time we dealt with a company that needed to update their clients information daily. It took more than two employees to transfer data from one system to the other. It was fairly expensive and took us a while to complete. To exclude such clutter, optimize the workflow and obtain the necessary information, it is essential to integrate all systems into one.

What are the advantages of system integration?

To be more clear in our narrative, let’s take a closer look at the advantages of implementing system integration. Through the implementation, you can achieve the following results:

Eliminate manual work

Saving time and money

An uninterrupted and ongoing processes

Increase working satisfaction

Improving department work

Working with the latest information

Copy/Paste data is a repetitive task which is ineffective and unprofitable. These routine jobs are hard to fill as they are tedious and dull. For example, one of the clients we had the pleasure to work with, had an extensive 10,000 patients and medical specialists list that obtained other crucial information and updated on nightly basis.

Searching for data has never been this quick and easy as the information collected automatically in the corresponding place and correct format. An automatic update allows specialists and other staff members to be able to instantly find any piece of information in any department without leaving one screen of their PC.

Potential objects of the association

Now let’s look at what elements can uniform under Healthcare software. We have an experience integrate following components:

  • Recruiting;
  • Billings;
  • Reporting;
  • Referrals;
  • Physicians;
  • Clients;
  • Electronic documents.

Implementing our proposals will help make your company’s work processes more efficient and more comfortable to perform. This will affect the quality of your services and, as a result, the satisfaction of your customers.

According to our experience, we would say that following system is easy to integrate into:

Now there is a possibility to integrate other domain areas to manage the company’s work processes. There are no limitations to the number of software that can be unified.

In the next blog, we will talk more about these systems and their possibilities. You will be able to see specific examples of how the integration of these or other systems allows the company to have a better workflow and run efficiently from all standpoints.

All integration goals will be implemented dead on to your needs and interests.

What are the problems?

These integrations are not flawless, here is a list of obstacles you might run into:

  • Hard to predict and estimate;
  • Low-level support of the integrated system;
  • There are times when it is not possible to achieve a specific function required.

Based on our experience our results are good. Sometimes we may need to ask for credentials and other security data. When the company does not want to share that type of information, there is nothing we can, however that rarely happens. It’s one of the difficulties that you come across in web API, and unfortunately, we have stories upon stories of these types of incidents.

We are still at it because of the positive impact we make every day. Our team is not just a bunch of suits (robots, developers, that are in the office by 8 and our by 5), we are friends, whose life was touched by Healthcare by one way or the other. We want to make a difference in the world by the only way we know how and that is to deliver fast and quality service.