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Why Employee Training Software Works Magic for Your Business

Keeping your staff in the know and abreast of the latest developments in the sphere is among the crucial aspects of efficient management. Staff-upgrading efforts boost the efficiency of human resource management and make you – as an employer – more appealing to potential hires.

  • Weak on-boarding tends to result in losing up to a quarter of newcomers during their first year.
  • New personnel who receive good training boost their self-efficiency by 50%.
  • The employee turnover can be reduced by 70% if you put enough thought and effort into improving qualifications of your company’s workforce.

According to the Gallup, Inc. institution data, almost 60% of people from generation Y (which starts to comprise a major part of available labor resources) consider in-house corporate training a workplace benefit. The tendency to motivate staff to constantly improve professional skills continues to grow globally. 

There is a strong tendency for companies on the rise to pay closer attention to the advantages of online education. This convenient method optimizes coaching and rental expenses, and saves the time of both mentors and mentees. 

Why integrate employee training software

The integration of educational software with the existing business system is a crucial aspect, defining the overall efficiency of business. Putting some good effort into it you can expect to ultimately improve:

  • onboarding routine
  • compliance management
  • process automation
  • level of staff interaction
  • quality & expert depth of reporting.

How to develop employee training & development tracking software

Common digital training methods are much less costly as opposed to the live business coaches. Profiled employee training software allows creating and updating educational modules, conveniently assessing progress in studies, and providing feedback. The key stages of developing and implementing such methods include task setting, needs defining, integration, assessment, and of course motivation. 

Task setting

Before getting to the implementation of a Learning Management System (LMS), it’s crucial to indicate major strategic goals it has to meet. This is a defining stage for the whole e-learning system, so the requirements of all departments to be involved in your training efforts should be considered. 

Large volumes of initial data and requirements make this stage the most extensive and time-consuming in the whole process of developing the employee training software.

Needs

Defining business needs is fundamental in establishing training courses. Improvement of technical, financial or sales skills calls for basically different models and schemes of delivering the educational materials. It’s crucial that an employee thoroughly understands the gist and structure of all such efforts. 

In 2014, Cisco launched a program consisting of over 46 personnel training courses. The system was so incomprehensible, however, that most people simply didn’t know where to begin. By subdividing all courses into three global levels of qualification and into numerous smaller sub-levels, the company managed to successfully finish over 46 thousand courses by 2018. This is an explicit effect of a properly structured learning strategy.

Contractors

Competent planning and analysis aren’t worth too much if a concept remains a concept. Thus, a responsible approach to finding contractors is important unless in-house personnel is competent enough to be in charge of outlining course syllabus, skill-building processes, progress assessing techniques, etc.  

For an advanced product, most companies bring in experienced professionals to cut down business expenses and involved employee time. A thorough review of a contractor’s portfolio and related feedback are the key to the success of building an efficient e-learning system.

After undergoing the training, employees must achieve the set business tasks as well as meet personal efficiency criteria. 

employee training and development

Integration

Proper integration of the training software with the existing system that manages human resources, analytics, and personal data allows to significantly reduce the data duplication rates. At the same time, the employee training tracking software allows to get more comprehensive and integral information about the quality of education as well as status of training, enabling focus on knowledge gaps and drawing attention to promising employees. 

Assessment

The development and implementation of the assessment scale is a key performance and relevance indicator in terms of the established strategy. It allows to both closely monitor the results of corporate efforts and define the potential of every employee. 

When developing corporate training tracking software for employees, it’s necessary for departments that personnel will be trained to follow development process and provide regular feedback on software intuitiveness and educational material clarity so that eventual monitoring capabilities are most efficiently implemented. 

Motivation

A technically well-executed solution wouldn’t lead to any worthy effect if an employee neglects training or undergoes it without enthusiasm. Acknowledging training achievements and factually increasing business productivity allow to boost employee performance and grow competence  as well.

Off-the-shelf platforms vs custom made software

Now the market of online educational services grows as rapidly as never before. According to the expert analyses, whose initial revenue estimations for 2015 were $107 bln and turned out to be true, by 2025 the e-learning revenue will grow to $325 bln. 

Unfortunately, not all companies by far can afford to invest the required funds into developing their own educational software solutions. And that’s where specialized readymade platforms come on the scene. 

What is an education platform?

There are lots of definitions, but in Aionys we consider education platform software a set of tools that combine theory, practice, and related content. Various additional applications can be integrated with the platforms. Let’s take a look at the main advantages of the platform-based training. 

The demand for developing staff has been clear to American business giants. Verizon, MasterCard and WalMart are already using virtual reality to improve soft skills of employees and provide multitude trainings, including crisis situations, store operations, etc. So far, 1 million of WalMart associates take VR training in the U.S. 

Updating

Maintenance and support of a software product within an organization calls for some significant systematic expenses. Otherwise, the moral aging of information will affect the whole training process most negatively. 

A learning management platform is a project that should necessarily contain relevant data, including the latest developments. It is dedicated experts’ responsibility to bring up to date readymade platforms. 

Training apps to empower your business

Fliplet interface

Multi-purposefulness

Common platforms are SaaS products in nature that are available in public or private cloud services. They don’t require time-consuming development and analysis, allowing to start training with the least budget and time losses. 

Updating custom training software is a responsibility of a company itself unless you hire an outsourced professional who has control of the updates.  

Top providers of e-learning services

When it comes to designing your own educational platform, it’s worth taking into account the features of widely known online platforms. 

Best online learning platforms

  1. Kitaboo Insight. A cloud-based platform with an accessible and adaptive interface that can be enriched with audio, video, image, hyperlink, rating, and simulation elements. Offline mode is available for mobile devices. Currently, it educates over 1 million students from 55 countries.
  2. Litmos. The customizable interface combines in-depth reporting with education monitoring. It can be integrated with WordPress, Shopify and other eCommerce platforms, which makes it a great educational tool both for learners and administrators.
  3. Docebo. An AI-powered employee learning platform makes it possible to create individualized interfaces as well as authentic themes and mockups. Plus, it not only supports online education but also helps to organize live training sessions.
  4. Bridge. This solution focuses on adjusting interaction between an employer and an employee. The materials can be taken either from the online library or from the course administrator, which stimulates engagement in the process for all involved.
  5. SkillShare. The e-learning platform boasts a huge number of courses on various topics. With over 24,000 lessons and 4,000,000 students, it provides complex educational and experience sharing options.
  6. Treehouse. A certified Microsoft, IBM, and Google Developers partner, this resource includes over 300 courses on coding. 
  7. LinkedIn Learning. The famous business platform counts over 1,000 courses on digital marketing, web development, and project management. 

Improvement & socialization

Cloud-based learning aids communication between the rookies outside of corporate walls. And when representatives of different companies are involved with platforms, one can better assess the real level of an employee’s knowledge by juxtaposing it with other experts’ skill levels in the same niche.

Drawbacks of platform-based learning management systems for employee training

With all the advantages considered, cloud-based training systems still have some significant drawbacks business owners have to take into account. 

Template nature

Despite the flexibility and ability to make adjustments, a public product remains public. It doesn’t adhere to the specifics of a certain business and can be seldomly used for narrow specialized and non-standard spheres. 

Compliance training software

Sharing any corporate data like development plans, regulations, and employee info always involves risks. Custom safety training software is a counter-measure of data leaks.

Integration capabilities

Software integration is an important requirement for e-learning tools. Despite numerous build-in options, businesses often choose tailored software development for better results. 

Aionys has a successful case of building in medical staff educational program at Medical Care platform.

The importance of professional development – summary

Employee training is one of the main driving forces in corporate development. It helps you save resources while boosting the efficiency of performance. In modern business conditions, many workers prefer the guarantee of professional growth over the size of compensation. 

Such tendencies push the growth of online courses market further, both with the help of individually designed apps and those based on complex platforms. Make your choice of employee training software to be in tune with niche developments. 

How to Benefit from Staff Management Software

Companies holding out for great outcomes have healthy workforce relations at the core of corporate policies. In turn, fair treatment of employees leads to stronger performance. The stats prove that the happier workers, the heftier profits. They actually report 31% higher productivity and 37% higher sales.

So what takes your employees to cloud nine? Speakap reports that it’s respect and fairness that comes first for 39% of respondents, while 23% note that trust and integrity are important as well. 

If you want to stimulate workforce engagement and make sure your company enjoy growth, staff management software is just what you need. All in all, it always pays off to put in your people.  

What is a staff management system?

Also known as an employee management system, it is human resource software aimed at simplifying workforce managerial processes. Generally, it consists of   

  • task distribution, scheduling, and reporting
  • appraisal management
  • payroll management
  • attendance and leave management, including shifts, clock-ins and clock-outs, leave requests, etc.

Dealing with personal, professional, and financial information, staff management systems ensure data security. What’s more, they optimize workload and streamline administrative tasks.

Why do you need staff management software? 

Bringing flexibility into workplaces and ensuring employee productivity are the challenges most growing businesses face. It’s a well-known fact that lack of managerial control leads to goofing off at work.  In turn, it brings about the downturn in customer services. As a result, the company suffers financial losses. The bigger the company is, the more serious managerial hurdles it has to tackle. 

building a staff management system is a leap forward

The basis of delegating tasks is control. Micromanagement takes too much time and effort so that’s when management systems come in handy. They tackle such everyday functions as scheduling and monitoring employee performance. In addition, they help you make operations more efficient and plan ahead, cut down costs and up staff productivity, eliminate human errors and boost communication.

It’s important for employers to keep track of performance – of the whole company and of each employee. Let’s put it simply, you as an employer want to monitor the time everyone starts and finishes work. What’s more important, you take into account the amount and difficulty of tasks everyone is responsible for. The bottom line is, the more efficient and productive your staff, the higher chances for your company to succeed.  

Employee management system by Aionys

Just like Henry Ford made an assembly line for manufacturing cars, Aionys developed a system that keeps track of how much time a person works and how many tasks get covered.

It keeps track of each activity, its start and end time, calculates the average duration as well as offers analytical tools to compare efficiency of different workers. The system of controlling low-level personnel is the alpha and omega of any company. It works everywhere and for every occupation – taxi-drivers, maids, cleaners, etc. 

For example, when launching our platform for hotel management we found out that the average time of cleaning a hotel room when a guest is still staying was 10-15 minutes, while for the checked-out standards maids needed 45 minutes and about an hour for suites and VIP rooms. Analyzing maid routine, the hotel manager defined staff who had higher productivity as well as pinpointed bottlenecks of both hotel rooms which had maintenance issues and guests who left serious mess behind.

Client feedback

When a staff management platform is developed for businesses dealing with clients, it is vital to use feedback to automate promotions and rewards for more efficient personnel. The businesses applying manual evaluations are likely to get biased results because humans are subjective. You know, it takes just a few smiles and small talks for personal preferences to rule decision-making. However, staff management programs operate on data only stimulating more diligent workers and pinpointing those who take their duties lightly.

It is both employers and employees who value feedback. Over 60% of personnel report that daily or weekly feedback is valuable, while 69% believe that effort recognition encourages harder work. 

When it comes to compensation, it should depend on efficiency and customer satisfaction. Employees working five times more efficiently and generating higher customer satisfaction just cannot get the same compensation as those doing the average amount of tasks with so-so feedback, can they?

Understanding the importance of feedback, Team A made a point of integrating it to create a fair working environment. According to stats, unfair performance reviews, lack of appreciation, and inadequate advancement opportunities are top reasons for job changes.  

Top features

Management systems should be tailored depending on the industry they are to be used in. There are a number of basic factors, though. They are about either task or time and of course work quality. As for work quality, it varies from business to business. In the hospitality industry, it can be customer satisfaction ratings, feedback, the number of served clients/cleaned rooms/cooked meals, etc. 

MaxiE is AI powered staff management system

So how did we create the system? For starters, Team A analyzed all the factors to later interweave them in the system. There can be different factors for various companies starting from primitive work start/end to more complex – the number of tasks/turndowns/faulty products, customer satisfaction rate, etc. On the factor basis, we made a platform with the feature of generating reports on the number of spent hours/carried out tasks/customer satisfaction, etc. It is you who determines the factors to consider. 

Another feature is recommending employees for perks and pay rise. Unlike financial instruments, there are also moral and ethical gains. Team A has experience in integrating a gamification model. For mentoring trainees, giving talks at conferences, improving soft skills and developing professionally, employees get cool gift certificates for climbing, motor racing, boxing, etc.   

Benefits of staff management software 

Workforce management tools are used for planning ahead, scheduling shifts, checking working routines, etc. Artificial intelligence analyzing data gathered with the tools can predict an optimal time needed for carrying out tasks in order to minimize downtime as well as choose the most suitable and best qualified candidate to do it

The main issues that staff management software tackles are  

  • control
  • progress and result tracking
  • transparency
  • efficiency ratio, etc.

They allow to track what task was carried out and how much time it took, what feedback it got, as well as generate reports on a regular basis to optimize processes and stimulate business growth. All in all, staff management platforms are great motivation tools to strengthen corporate competition and cooperation.

How to Make Your Hotel Mobile App Successful

Developing a high-quality mobile app is a necessary step for your hotel business. This will increase your customer base, because you will be giving potential visitors practicality and convenience. Those can only be achieved with a good mobile application. Mobile apps forecasts are promising with expected revenue of $189 billion in 2020.

Hotel Mobile App Development Recommendations

Top tech trends for hotel apps

First of all, your app needs a logical and simple layout. You don’t need big words and complicated functions: the simpler the app, the more convenient it is for your visitors and employees. It’s a good idea to have the app design resemble the visual style of your hotel. 

After that you will need to fill your layout with the functions that you provide at your hotel. For example, the “order room service” or “call maid” buttons. You also need to create a gallery with photos of the rooms and staff. Having photographs of hotel room details for a mobile application is necessary. 

Secondly, your application needs the “book a room” function. A simple booking form is preferable.

Thirdly, mobile check-in allows the built-in calendar to calculate the days of stay at the hotel, similar to short-term rental services.

And of course, your application must have a “leave feedback” function. This way, your future customers will be able to form an opinion about your hotel, and you will be able to improve the weak points, if there are any.

What is a hotel mobile app used for?

Wondering what is a hotel property management system (PMS) for your business? First of all, it is a good marketing move. 

For the customer, a hotel’s mobile application is a real opportunity to quickly book a room without leaving their home or car. In the modern world, when everyone is glued to their smartphones, people are not used to making calls anymore. 

It’s easier for visitors to just download your application and select the room they need.

Here are the main benefits of using a hotel mobile app for your business:

  • Staff management and task scheduling.
  • Price management.
  • Your guests will be able to see their room in advance. Providing your customers with choices is the key to success!
  • The guests can order room service without making any unnecessary old-fashioned calls. 
  • The guests can also call the maid, staff or private security when needed.
  • You will be able to read reviews left by your visitors, correct possible issues and improve your services. This will take your hotel to a new level.

As you can see, your hotel application is a direct reflection of your ability to take care of your guests.

Hotel booking app development

Developing an app is not done in a single day. This will be the face of your business, and you will need to engage the PR department, business analysts, and a team of people who can work out the exact strategy for supporting the application in the future. This is the only way your application will be successful with potential visitors.

Commercial property management systems must be perfectly built, otherwise the hotel business will only suffer losses. To prevent this, you need powerful hotel management software that will help you establish your hotel business and reach a new level of professionalism.

Which hotel booking app is the best?

Here is a list of the top hotel applications that can be used as an example to base your app on: 

  • Trip.com
  • Booking.com
  • Hotels.com
  • Agoda
  • Hotellok
  • OneTwoTrip
  • AccorHotels, etc.

Most of these  reliable and time-tested applications are available for both iOS and Android users. They have a lot of traffic and a large number of positive reviews. What’s even more important – customers trust them.

Hotel apps enrich yser experience

What is last-minute booking?

Even the most reputable hotels around the world offer last minute packages: large discounts for booking rooms on short notice.

Last minute booking is beneficial not only for your clients! As long as people think they are saving, the hotel makes big profits. After all, the lower the price, the more customers will be interested.

This is your chance to not only attract your target audience with reasonable prices but also keep them coming back by offering high-quality services. Convert them into regular hotel guests who will be ready to pay the full price knowing that your team are reliable!

Tips for Using Your Hotel Management System

Implementing the right technology and database is only half the battle. Knowing the right business processes, organizational resources and performance indicators is the key to success. There are two main recommendations for you:

Focus on data analysis and business intelligence

Analytical tools are becoming more complex and serve as the core function of next-generation commercial PMS.

The resulting insights can have such advantages: improving the effectiveness of marketing, sales and customer service. Key stakeholders can track hotel occupancy trends, guest demographics, market position, and hotel revenue.

Create an accurate management strategy 

Without this, your business will not succeed. If you are a good hotelier you can create a smart strategy that will bring pleasure to guests and profit for the hotel. 

To get the most out of your hotel business, you need predictive analytics. They help to calculate the potential demographics of your guests and their approximate number.

And, of course, if you want to create a reliable mobile application for your hotel, then you must have a strict privacy policy. Your company should ensure your guests’ safety and the security of their data. 

Power your hotel with an app

Make an App to Move Forward

Nowadays, if your hotel does not have its own application, no one will know about it. 

Running the hotel property management system is a difficult task that only real professionals can handle. If you want to conduct your business in a modern way, provide high quality services for guests and ensure comfortable working conditions for your staff, you need a high-quality app.

Our team of experts has experience in delivering hotel solutions – Guestable– and can help you develop powerful software and provide you with assistance to make your hotel business prosper.

Technologies Powering Hospitality App Development

Did you know that the growing Alpha generation, a generation more than familiar with using smartphones right from the cradle, tends to travel about three times a year on average? Previously, when there were no such hospitality services available like Booking.com, for instance, one could only dream about affordable travel opportunities. 

Nowadays, traveling has become a lifestyle for many and a keen hobby for others. This is possible due, in part, to mobile applications (e.g., those that provide a wide range of profitable last-minute hotel deals) and other software solutions that serve as trusty virtual guides anywhere in the world. In this article, the focus is a few tech niceties that will be changing the world of hospitality and travel software in the very near future. It might even give you ideas on developing your own hospitality app.

traveling makes life brighter and travel apps make planning smoother

Types of Software for the Hospitality Industry

For starters, let’s figure out what kinds of apps can be implemented through a hospitality app development system:

  • Personal assistant – Such apps provide hotel guests with self-serving capabilities as well as minimize the need for live communication with service personnel. If you are interested in how it looks in practice, take a look at the capabilities provided by VirtualHotel
  • Hotel booking application -. The most common type of apps in the field of hospitality. These help users find the best offer in the area and book a hotel room with only a few clicks. A particular example of such solutions is Hotels.com.
  • Revenue management app This type of software is basically your handy expense calculator. The most thought-out development companies tend to launch complex solutions, such as the KittySplit mobile app, which helps to manage debts. 
  • Food and catering app -. Regardless of how great of a hotel you have that provides all-inclusive services, travelers still take great interest in the local cuisine. Applications like Yelp help travelers find available restaurant options and book a cozy table.
  • Controller-app – This type of mobile software may help manage smart home systems within hotel rooms. The most commonplace example here is stayConnect (a regular TV remote controller made as a mobile app).
  • Car/taxi booking app – When you’re in an unfamiliar town in a foreign country, it may be a challenge to find a good taxi service. Have a look at Uber or similar car-booking apps that open up a world of rides.
trends to consider for hospitality apps
  • Property management systems Such tools come in handy for those planning to rent a place (which, by the way, can be much more cost-efficient than booking a hotel room, especially, in the long run). For example, there’s the Guesty service. 
  • Boat booking platform Yet another useful kind of software that will certainly serve fans of water activities and sports quite well. Boataround offers a wide range of functionality. 

The Top 10 Features of Hospitality App Development

Take a look and find out which hospitality industry trends will be common in the years to come. 

  • Electronic key card – It is mainstream to make check-ins and check-outs as convenient as possible. Electronic key cards hit it big time. Currently, every other user can single-handedly book a room, get to the hotel, and open the door with a  key card generated in the specialized hotel mobile app. From the technical perspective, NFC or QR code scanning come in handy here. 
  • Voice assistantsVirtual voice assistants have covered practically every existing business niche since the impeccable success of Siri. The hotel business and, in particular, hospitality app development solutions aren’t an exception. Thus, hotel voice assistants make hotel stays as convenient as possible. Let software take care of setting an alarm clock, handling air-conditioning, and doing other tasks – for your users’ comfort. 
  • Augmented reality (AR)Pokemon Go made AR popular worldwide. Going way beyond the entertainment industry, augmented reality helps increase customer satisfaction in hospitality with advanced personal assistant solutions.
  • Blockchain – Considering the fact that the blockchain acquired most of its popularity due to bitcoin, the technology as a whole has an ambiguous reputation (cryptocurrencies continue to rapidly fall in price and there are loads of scam projects with blockchain at the core). Nevertheless, the technology itself is pretty viable. Moreover, its potential can be fruitfully fulfilled in terms of the travel agencies’ workflow. In particular, with the help of a blockchain-based platform, you’ll secure your customers’ transactions, eliminating additional verifications along with the respective time expenses. 
  • Autonomous shippingDrones are not mere hi-tech toys. They provide cheap and rapid shipping (for food and drinks, for instance). With autonomous shipping options, hotels receive a cost-efficient way to service guests while also avoiding many human-caused risks. Not only can such automated devices perform staff duties, they can also become an attractive feature of the establishment.
  • Smart rooms – IoT takes the hospitality industry to a new level of service. In the US and EU, there are modernized hotels using all the benefits of smart home. In terms of travel application development, we can clearly see that in the years ahead, the industry of travel and tourism won’t be able to avoid the custom solution of remote control via smartphone (something similar was already created by the developers of the Mi Remote Controller, a device only compatible with TVs). 
  • GeolocationThis feature helps users to easily locate lodging options in the area. This is very beneficial for travel mobile app development, allowing users to effortlessly find a place to stay nearby. Couchsurfing apps are gaining traction as budget tourism is becoming trendy right now.
  • Mobile eCommerce solutions – Hotel booking app development creates time-efficient and effort-saving experiences. You can go for hospitality-related mobile commerce and create a vacation rental app that would cover both the hotel reservation and payment.
  • SIP-DECT – Now, this is a solution that doesn’t wholly belong to the field of hospitality app development. However, the technology can come in handy both for hotel guests and personnel. It basically provides the ability to move throughout the territory of the hotel using the radio phone of the DECT standard. SIP-DECT implies the availability of several basic stations. It is roaming-based and allows guests to stay in contact with the guide at all times. Plus, it’s an excellent alternative to stationary phones in rooms.
  • Integration with social networks & public opinion – People have always trusted social proofs over empty company promises and this goes well for the hotel industry, too (91% of 18-34-year-old users tend to trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations). Travelers take a close look at hospitality app reviews before booking, which is precisely why solutions of travel portal development call for feedback, ratings, and social media sharing. Note that both complaints and suggestions are on.

Hospitality and Travel Software Development: Summary

As you can see, the hotel and accommodation industry is ripe for sweeping digitization. Take advantage of the ten mentioned features and add your own ideas about how to develop a travel management software solution that end-users would fall in love with. If you have any questions, we’d be glad to offer our expertise and experience in this niche.

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 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.

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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

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.

monitor user experiences

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.

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.lved.

  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. 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.

  2. Plan and get ready. 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 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.
  3. Execute. Make sure to take detailed notes and document all findings. Summarize and draw conclusions on a regular basis, preferably daily.
  4. 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.