Tag Archives: Technology

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How the Revolutionary Mechanics of Blockchain Technology Could Serve Your Business

In the last entry in our cryptocurrency series, we explored how to secure your cryptocurrency with the right wallet. This week, we’ll take a look at the mechanics of the Blockchain across industries.

While the debate over whether Bitcoin will become the dominant cryptocurrency is far from over, the mechanics behind Bitcoin are unquestionably revolutionary. Blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt more than just currency, but industries ranging from healthcare to Wall Street.

The Blockchain is a secure ledger database shared by all parties participating in an established, distributed network of computers. The Blockchain decentralizes the process of validating transactions, allocating the duties to computers throughout the network.

Blockchain is revolutionary because it eliminates the need for a central authority, allowing for a real-time ledger that is not dependent on a single entity governing the transactions.

Imagine if in order to make changes to a text document, you had to email a colleague who would then update the document on Microsoft Word and send the updated file out to all relevant parties on the team. The updating of information would quickly become an inefficient process that is heavily dependent on the central entity (the colleague). Blockchain posits a workflow that is more like Google Docs in that it allows updates to be made in real time and shared across the network instantly without the need of a central authority. Blockchain enacts this principle by relying on computers within the network to independently validate transactions through cryptography. Thus, the validity of the ledger is determined by the many objective computers on the network rather than a single powerful entity.

The idea of decentralization can also be applied to WhatsApp, the popular messaging app that revolutionized texting and cut the cost of transactions globally. WhatsApp cut out the central authority of phone carrier companies by building the same functionality on a decentralized network (the Internet).

If you’re still confused about Blockchain, check out this awesome video by Wired breaking it down in 2 minutes:

Blockchain has already found usages in many different industries.

  • SMART CONTRACTS

Smart contracts are coded contracts embedded with the terms of an agreement. They are a method for businesses and individuals to exchange money, property, materials, or anything of value in a transparent way that avoids the services of a middleman (such as a lawyer). Smart contracts not only define the rules of an agreement, they automatically enforce the obligations provided in the terms of the contract.

Smart contracts have revolutionized the supply chain and threaten to eliminate the use of lawyers for enforcing contracts. Smart contracts and blockchain ensure data security that could also lead to the transferring of voting to an online system, potentially increasing voter turnout significantly.

  • HEALTHCARE

Within the healthcare industry, Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize data sharing between healthcare providers, resulting in more effective treatments and an overall improved ability for healthcare organizations to offer efficient care. A study from IBM showed that 56% of healthcare executives have a plan to implement a commercial blockchain solution by 2020.

  • SUPPLY CHAIN

Both within the Healthcare industry and elsewhere, blockchain is redefining supply chain management. Blockchain can provide a distributed ledger that tracks the transfer of goods and raw materials across wide-ranging geographical locations and stages. The public availability of the ledger makes it possible to trace the origin of the product down to the raw material used. For this reason, blockchain has also been applied to track organic produce supply chains.

The boon of the Internet of Things and smart objects means that blockchain technology can be extended to process data and manage smart contracts between individuals and their smart devices or even smart homes. Imagine a world where your refrigerator automatically orders eggs when it senses you are running low based on your egg eating habits. This world will be facilitated by a smart contract run on Blockchain technology embedded in an IoT device.

CONCLUSION

While the first blockchain was created for Bitcoin, applications for blockchain are constantly being implemented across industries. As Harvard Business Review smartly points out, the question in most industries is not whether blockchain will influence them, but when.

Many different cryptocurrencies are utilizing variations on Blockchain technology in order to process transactions—some of which are doing so in a more efficient manner than Bitcoin. Next week, we’ll explore the top cryptocurrencies on the market right now and which ones your business should accept.

Monetizing IoT: How the Internet of Things Builds Fortunes

A man sits in a restaurant and orders “The John Candy Burger” (a double cheeseburger with four strips of bacon and a fried egg) through a touch screen embedded into the table. As he gives the waiter his order, his smartwatch vibrates. He checks a push notification which tells him he should not order “The John Candy Burger” based on information gathered from a sensor in his body which has been monitoring his blood pressure and cholesterol among other notable health measurements in a constant stream of data for 15 years with infallible predictive capabilities. It tells him this specific cheeseburger from this specific restaurant will increase his risk of a heart attack on his daily run by 8%. He doesn’t understand how, but he accepts it the way one accepts that the earth is round and the Great Pyramid of Giza existed in 2540 BC.

In the above fictional example, the Internet of Things took the man’s order, evaluated the average nutritional content of the burger based on data gathered through sensors embedded into a smart grill, and transmitted it to the smartwatch where it analyzed nutritional content in the context of over 15 years of health data gathered on the man to inform him on the potential risk of his decision. The Internet of Things is bigger than money. It’s a new world where planes don’t crash and  smartphones can tell their users the location of the nearest empty parking spot to minimize travel time and ensure the city is maintaining optimum functionality. A pregnant wife is gently guided through a safe 9-month path to the newest addition to her family. The edges of the world are being smoothed out by data. The Internet of Things is leading the human race toward new levels of efficiency, productivity and effectiveness.

“Show me the money”

As a major technological evolution takes place, many businesses are looking to monetize it. Although the world has yet to see the full impact of the Internet of Things, it has already revolutionized process improvement for everything from manufacturing to health care, product enhancement, and safety. For the developer eager to enter a burgeoning field with infinite possibilities, here are some of the common techniques for monetizing IoT applications.

ONE-TIME PAY + FREE APP

The most basic monetization method entails creating a simple product with everyday applications, like Jawbone and the Phillips Hue Connected Bulb for example, and offering the equipment for purchase which works in conjunction with a connected app for iOS & Android. This method is most effective for products where the manufacturing cost to market ratio is kept low.

SUBSCRIPTION-BASED

One of the major issues with the IoT is the amount of data generated regularly by their devices. The amount of data and possibilities are so staggering, it’s vital to understand and decide upon relevant metrics and analysis tactics. For developers, it means that the cost of maintaining many IoT apps calls for a constant stream of revenue. Companies like Audi offer a hotspot subscription, ranging from 6 to 30 months, for Audi Connect, their hotspot navigation system utilizing Google Earth and Voice to offer real-time alerts, weather and traffic. In some applications, data plans will likely emerge as a another way of tiering subscription-based purchases.

WHITE LABEL SERVICES

Perhaps the most profitable and complex option, monetizing IoT applications through white label services entails having the foresight to identify the future of the technology and the necessary human & financial resources to act upon it effectively through the creation of a template offering which businesses can rebrand as their own. Jasper Technologies created the Connected Car Cloud as a cloud-based turnkey solution for developing smart-cars with real-time diagnostics, safety, security, and more.

Acquired by Cisco for about $1.4 billion in March, Jasper is one of the big success stories of IoT monetization and a model for future innovators looking to capitalize on the business opportunities brought about by the Internet of Things.

Learn more about IoT through this awesome article with advice from early adopters via Computer World.

Mobile Game Monetization Methods for Bartle Types: Make Bank off Killer Gameplay

The Mystic Media Blog is currently engaged in a series of articles examining each of the Bartle types and how to acquire, retain and monetize them according to their desires. Check out last week’s article on Explorers.

Bartle Types Taxonomy Via Extra Credits

The Killer is the wild card of the Bartle Types. While both Achievers and Killers are competitive,  Achievers compete with/through the game, whereas Killers compete with anyone or anything in their immediate vicinity. The Achiever wants to act upon the game according to the rules of gameplay, while the Killer just wants an immediate thrill. They derive pleasure from interfering with the functioning of the gameplay and/or the experience of other players. Like Internet “trolls”, Killers gleefully enact subversive behavior under the guise of their game persona. They aren’t interested in winning, socializing or exploring – they just want to provoke and impose themselves on the virtual world and its inhabitants.

Killers thrive on the experience of disrupting gameplay. Achievers represent the ultimate target since they are most antagonized by being killed. As a result, in multiplayer games, the more Achievers you have, the more Killers you’ll have, which may lead to a decrease in Achievers and overflow of Killers depending on the level of engagement of the gameplay. Explorers also represent easy prey for Killers, and if there are too many high level Killers, it may become hard for Explorers to explore. Socializers also make an appealing target for Killers in multiplayer games. Like Socializers, Killers are interested in interaction and influence. Some of the same retention tactics apply to both Bartle Types.

The best way to retain Killers is to give them opportunities to disrupt other players or the world of the game. In MMORPGs and shooters, it’s easy for them to find other players to kill. The challenge in single player games (especially single player mobile games) is how to appeal to a Bartle type that thrives on interaction. For one, Killers aren’t just into killing. Interfering with elements of the world will also appeal to them. For instance, if there are elements of the game world, such as crates or trees, which the user can crash into and destroy, it offers the same immediate thrill of interference as player elimination.

Games get creative to offer opportunities for world interaction. In The Legend of Zelda, beyond combat with enemies, Link can also famously antogonize “cuccos”, an element of the world. In Grand Theft Auto V, the ultimate game/franchise for Killers, users can not only kill civilians, but can bump into them for a humorous disruption. Offering cheat codes in single player games represents an opportunity for the Killer to expose and modify the game engine on the game developer’s terms. Pokemon GO employs battles in Pokegyms. Games like Candy Crush give Killers the thrill of destroying parts of the world. Killers love explosions. Giving them a tangible goal, like specific collectibles or targets that generate explosive reactions, will go a long way in retaining their interest.

In order for a Killer to spend money on a game, they must be engaged by the gameplay. Killers are looking for a specific type of satisfaction, a kind of schadenfreude. Retention methods are key since if a Killer doesn’t get satisfaction, they’ll move on quickly to something more immediate. Offering alternate game modes, such as low-gravity or disco mode, may entice Killers’ desire to subvert the game world. In multi-player games, extra weapons, stealth and any advantage in the killing department may tempt Killers to purchase if they are invested in the game.

As with appealing to any Bartle Type, everything begins with engaging gameplay. Thinking of these player types during the process of development will enrich your techniques and ultimately your final product.

Next week, in the final article of our series on Bartle Types, we’ll take a look at Socializers and the best methods for attaining, retaining and monetizing them.

Connect with Millennials Through Snapchat

Many questioned Snapchat’s staying power when the company launched in 2011, but unlike the ephemeral nature of the network’s content strategy, Snapchat has proven it’s here to stay. Statistics show Snapchat has over 100 million daily users that combined watch 7 billion videos per day and contribute 8,800 photos per second. In 5 short years, the company has evolved from fad to one of the fastest growing and most intriguing social media networks on the internet. In 2016, Snapchat is projecting $300-$350 million in revenue, over 600% growth from the company’s 2015 projection of $50 million.

Snapchat thrives on allowing users to focus on the moment rather than perfection. Users can send photos and videos which disappear after they have been viewed. They can also craft “Snap Stories” which remain up for 24 hours after they’ve been posted. Snap Stories created an avenue for major corporations to deliver content  to their followers. Media companies like Vice utilize Snap Stories to deliver the news to millennials, while retail companies like Grubhub have had major success creating promotions.

Here are some creative ways companies are utilizing Snapchat:

MARKETING PROMOTIONS

Since Snap Stories disappear after 24 hours, users are motivated to watch stories frequently or risk missing out on an awesome moment. As a company, offering exclusive discounts or deals through a Snap Story is the ultimate incentive to increase snap views. Grubhub gained acclaim for their #SnapHunt Scavenger Hunt, which awarded 10 winners $50 in free food for each challenge. The personal, one-to-one nature of Snapchat makes it ideal for marketing promotions, which in turn increases your daily views and following.

A LOOK BEHIND THE CURTAIN

Many companies utilize social media to take consumers behind the curtain of day-to-day  operations. The spontaneity of Snapchat provides the ultimate network for such interactions. Snap Stories don’t have to be perfect, they don’t have to be major, they can be casual. Some companies utilize Snapchat to broadcast live events. Small events like birthday parties and company outings can make for engaging content.

Musicians often utilize Snapchat to offer glimpses at their new music. Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors both have used Snapchat to preview their new lines.

BROADCAST MEDIA

TV Networks like CNN and Comedy Central utilize Snapchat to promote their shows with bite-sized snippets designed to tease the viewer. CNN targets younger audiences with news stories relevant to them through the Discover function. Coca-Cola realized their audience could detect advertising when the company repurposed their TV commercials for the network, at which point they began creating Snapchat-specific content. The change ultimately was received with a 54% increase in video completion rate.

MAXIMIZING INFLUENCER MARKETING

As any social media expert knows, influencer marketing is key to developing a following and gaining access to new audiences. Snapchat’s emphasis on shared, intimate experiences with the individual makes the format ideal for celebrities and other influencers. Social media stars and acclaimed artists like DJ Khaled can document their day-to-day lives, including the clothes they wear, the stores where they shop, and even bizarre instances of getting lost at sea on a WaveRunner. Celebrities use Snapchat to create a narrative of their daily lives, an unparalleled opportunity for companies to incorporate their product or service and acquire positive brand association.

In one of the best uses of influencer marketing, Ben Stiller & Owen Wilson reprised their roles as Derek Zoolander and Hansel during a Valentino show for Fashion Week in Paris.

While Snapchat provides a major opportunity to market promotions, sculpting public perception of your brand in Snapchat requires a large amount of content in order to compete and keep users satiated. Snapchat is still a burgeoning network with an unlimited amount of possibilities. For an amazing look at the potential future of Snapchat, check out this awesome article from TechCrunch.

Get Fluent in IoT: Top Programming Languages for the Internet of Things

As we explored in our previous blog, the Internet of Things is shaping our future. With Internet of Things development on the rise and potentially $11.1 trillion in economic value generated per year due to IoT, many companies are creating strategies to develop for the platform.

To all the decision-makers out there looking to develop for the loT platform, getting familiar with the programming languages and how they relate to the platform will have a major impact on the budget and quality of any given IoT project. IEEE, the largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for human benefit, recently ranked the top programming languages of 2015. Bearing in mind embedded devices present their own programming difficulties, here are the top programming languages for the IoT:

Java: James Gosling, Mike Sheridan, and Patrick Naughton began developing the Java language project in June 1991. Java has become the most popular programming language and many choose Java when developing for IoT. Java is an object-oriented language designed for portability. With few hardware dependencies, Java is a great choice from an economic standpoint. Java code can be transmitted to multiple platforms and hardware-support libraries give Java developers the ability to control specific pieces of hardware. Developing for Java can be deterred by the hardware-support libraries available for control functions.

Python: In December 1989, implementation of Python began. Designed by Guido van Rossum, Python is a multi-paradigm programming language which has become one of the go-to languages for web developers. Python’s flexibility and emphasis on readability have caused it to rise in the ranks of top languages used for embedded control and IoT. Readability increases workflow as programmers who have attempted to decipher other programmer’s optimized C code would know.

C: With development beginning in 1972 on the PDP-11 Unix system, C is one of the most popular programming languages. C has influenced many languages, including C++, Go, Java, JavaScript, & Python. Due to its long history, C functions as a common language for many software developers. C’s popularity and lack of built-in hardware bias toward a graphical interface make it a good choice for IoT development.

C++: Created in 1979 by Danish computer scientist Bjarne Stroustrup, C++ was designed as an object-oriented pre-processor for C, keeping the spare nature of the language but adding data abstraction, classes and objects. C++ is commonly used to write embedded and IoT code for Linux systems.

Assembler: Assembler is the simplest method intended to keep projects as compact as possible. Assembler is a low-level language which maintains a high correspondence between language and the hardware’s machine code instructions. Assembler minimizes overhead, making a popular choice despite how it doesn’t allow a safety net. Silly mistakes are easy to make and some hardcore programmers may be frustrated by its simplicity.

Go: Announced by Google in 2009, Go is an open-source, embedded-specific programming language gaining traction in the IoT world. Go supports concurrent input, output, and process different channels, an asset to gathering data from and sending data to separate sensors. Go was created in the tradition of C, but with specific changes to make it simpler, safer & more concise.

ParaSail: ParaSail was created in 2009 as an embedded-specific language. ParaSail stands for Parallel Specification and Implementation Language. ParaSail was created to support safe, secure, highly parallel applications which can be mapped to multicore, many core, heterogenous, or distributed architecture.

Choosing the right programming language will have a major impact on the budget and functionality of any IoT project. Doing the proper research on the subject will pay off in the long run. Stay tuned for more blogs on this subject and learn more about best IoT development practices via this awesome article by InformationWeek. 

Cashing Out the Smartphone: How Mobile Commerce Is Changing Retail

This week, we wrap up our five-part series on Top App Development Trends for 2016 with an article on mobile commerce! For a recap, take a moment to review our last four articles on cross-platform app development, cloud integration, mobile security and IoT.

Smartphones have brought about unparalleled convenience in our daily lives. We are constantly connected to our rolodex of contacts with a variety of methods of communication. We can access all the information available on the world wide web anytime. We can find the nearest store of choice anywhere we go. For businesses, the mobile platform represents not only a major avenue for advertising, but an opportunity to give customers the ultimate convenience when purchasing products.

According to Internet Retailer, mobile commerce represents 30% of all US e-commerce and rose by 38.7% from 2014 to 2015. According to The Mobile Playbook, the absence of a mobile presence is the financial equivalent of closing a store for one day a week. Suffice to say, mobile commerce is only on the rise in the coming years. Here are the top mobile commerce trends for 2016:

INTEGRATING PHYSICAL WITH DIGITAL

Although the digital world is virtually omnipresent in households, the appeal of immediately receiving one’s purchases remains attractive. Retailers are offering an increasing variety of online + in-store options. Apps like Curbside have partnered with Target & Kroger’s to enable customers to skip the line when picking up their purchases.

PERSONALIZED MOBILE PAYMENTS DRIVE LOYALTY

Although services such as Apple Pay and Android Pay were once hailed as the future, they have had a hard time receiving mass adoption. This hasn’t stopped the impact of the mobile wallet on commerce. Starbucks drives 16% of transactions through its mobile app. Walmart Pay arrived in December 2015, and now Target is next in line to develop their own payment app.

WEARABLES ON THE RISE

According to Arc, there will be a 61% growth in wearable ownership in 2016. App developers and retailers are still plotting on how to capitalize on wearables. Many anticipate a hands-free shopping experience in which one can simply walk out with their purchases and have automatic charges through wearable devices. Wearables represent a major avenue for retailers to create innovative strategies and dictate trends to come.

MOBILE WEB DRIVES PURCHASES

While about 85% of time spent on mobile devices occurs in apps, the mobile web has actually proven to be a more successful in driving website traffic. Consumers spend 80% of their app time on their top 3 apps. The mobile web drives twice the amount of site traffic than mobile apps. With 82% of smartphone users looking to their phones in stores when deciding what to buy, many anticipate the mobile web to surpass apps as the largest revenue driver in the next few years.

This concludes our five-part series on Top App Development Trends for 2016! Follow the Mystic Media Blog for more awesome articles on app development, website design, strategic marketing and more!

Smartphones to Smartworlds: How the Internet of Things Is Shaping Our Future

Our five-part series on the top Mobile App Development Trends for 2016 has now reached part 4, where we’ll be discussing how the Internet of Things, IoT, is changing the world as we know it.

In November 2015, Gartner (a leading research and advisory firm) predicted 6.4 billion connected “Things” will be in use in 2016, up 30% from 2015. By 2020, they expect the number to reach 20.8 billion. McKinsey Global Institute recently reported that $4 trillion to $11 trillion of economic value could be generated by IoT by 2025. IoT has been consistently hailed as one of the biggest technology trends in the world, yet many people are confused about what the IoT really is.

Top put it simply, the Internet of Things is the network of physical objects embedded with electronics, software and sensors which enable them to collect large amounts of data and communicate with other smart objects. Jamboxes, smart cars, TVs, homes, gyms, bridges and more have been implanted with sensors that allows them to communicate with other devices and objects seamlessly.

Technically, the Internet of Things was created before the World Wide Web. In 1991, researchers at University of Cambridge used a camera, a frame-grabbing card, and a Motorola 68000 series-based computer to create a networked sensor to show the state of their communal coffee pot. Two major shifts have helped evolve the “IOT” into a billion dollar, world-changing industry:  shrinking prices and sizes of computer processors and sensors, and the evolution of the cloud. Cloud-based applications interpret and send data coming from sensors, enabling IoT to exist.

IoT is a major disruptor in virtually every industry: from agriculture to healthcare, car manufacturing, disaster management and more. Businesses are leveraging the IoT to save money and prevent potential threats from becoming catastrophes. The speed with which crucial data can be processed will give mankind incomparable control over asset, resource and disaster management. For example, smart cars will be equipped with unparalleled diagnostic systems capable of learning exactly what problems are happening and how to solve them in seconds. As Google has demonstrated, we’re headed toward a world of self-driving cars.

Self-driving cars only scratch the surface of what this type of object-to-object communication can achieve. Homes equipped with sensors which connect to the web can optimize energy efficiency based on temperature and the GPS location of the owner. Bridges will soon be built with smart cement equipped with censors which will evaluate stresses, cracks and warpages in a way which will allow them to communicate with authorities to fix problems before they cause disasters. IoT will create a smart world in which risk has been decreased significantly.

In order to leverage IoT, businesses need to not only invest money in technology, they must invest brainpower in innovation. As a burgeoning disruptor, the ramifications of the IoT haven’t quite processed in all industries. Management and business model innovation are required for the IoT to fulfill its potential across many industries. Those capable of capitalizing on the IoT will dictate the trends and sail to the top of their industries.

Please continue to follow our blog for more interesting articles on app development, web design, strategic marketing, tech, and more.

Safety First: Mobile Security Is More Than Worth the Investment

Having established the top mobile app trends for 2016 with our blog App to the Future, the Mystic Media blog is currently exploring each of the top trends in greater detail with a five-part series. This week, in Part 3 of our Top Mobile App Development Trends series, we will be examining security.

2015 saw several major data breaches, including 87 million patient records from Anthem and 21.5 million security clearance apps from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. The European Union is currently crafting a General Data Protection Regulation designed to strengthen and unify data protection.

Gartner correctly predicted that over 75% of mobile applications would fail basic security tests in 2015. Many mobile companies are sacrificing security to attain quicker turn-around on smaller budgets, and the result has been disastrous for many. Even Apple hasn’t been safe from mobile app hacks.

Mobile application security is an integral part of the app development process worthy of the same level of attention as app creators give to design, marketing and functionality. With that in mind, here are some of the top app security trends for 2016:

DevOps Protocol on the Rise

In a recent RackSpace Survey of 700 IT manager and business leaders, 66% of respondents had implemented DevOps practices and 79% of those who had yet to implement DevOps planned to by the end of 2015.

DevOps is an approach to app development that emphasizes collaboration between software development, IT operations, security and quality assurance through all stages of the app development process under one automated umbrella. Utilizing a DevOps protocol improves app security by bringing the IT security team in at an early stage to guide the development process away from potential security threats. App Developers gravitate toward DevOps since it speeds up the time to market while increasing innovation. Like a conveyer belt, DevOps puts a system of checks and balances in place at all stages to ensure that the product will be sufficient for delivery.

By opening up the app development process, security team members can inject security into the code early in the development process and eliminate vulnerabilities before they become threats.

Security Risks In Wearable Tech

Wearable technology is on the rise not only in the marketplace, but as a major security vulnerability for businesses. With the technology in nascent stages, developers have been more concerned with creating a functional strategy for the wearable platform than they have been with improving security. Health and Fitness apps leave users the most vulnerable by constantly monitoring the user’s heartbeat, movement and location. With limited UI and an emphasis on usability, wearables severely lack in security features. App developers looking to create safe apps for this platform will have to innovate and dictate the trends in order to create apps that don’t put the user at risk.

IoT (Internet of Things) & BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device)

With the workplace increasingly becoming virtual, malicious hackers acting through the Internet of Things are targeting personal mobile devices in order to find vulnerabilities in businesses.

Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) has increased in popularity in work cultures, each of which represents a potential vulnerability . Smartphone owners generally don’t invest in security on their personal devices with the same thoroughness as a business would when issuing work devices. Due to the boon of mobile work apps, many app developers are cutting corners to meet demand by sacrificing security in service of quicker turnover.

Wise and experienced app developers know you can’t put a price on safety, and they take the necessary precautions to protect the integrity of the app for its users and the app owner.

Major organizations must understand IoT and how it can improve or threaten their business through their employees’ mobile devices. By encouraging a culture of collaboration and welcoming unique expertise into the app development process at an early stage, DevOps practices help ingrain necessary knowledge about IoT and mobile security into organizations.

That’s it for app security! Be on the lookout for part 4 of our series on the top mobile app development trends for 2016 next week when we explore the Internet of Things.

Crossing Over: Best Cross-Platform App Development For Your Business

Over the next month, the Mystic Media Blog will be delving into the top app development trends for 2016. Check out our master list in our blog App to the Future and be on the look out for next week’s blog when we explore Cloud Integration.

Since the dawn of the iPhone, smart devices have become omnipresent. With Apple, Google, Microsoft, and more jockeying for position in the device and operating system market, many app developers will be investing in cross-platform development tools in 2016 to ensure their apps function on all operating systems and thus reach the widest possible audience.

Cross-platform development offers an extremely fast, simple and cost-effective method of creating an app. By building apps on a common code which can be easily ported to fit any OS, developers can focus more on a single universal app rather than divide their attention over multiple native apps. Developers also reduce the amount of maintenance necessary since they only have to update one app.

We have previously tackled this subject in our 2013 blog Should Your Company Develop Native Apps or HTML-5-Based Apps?

It’s important to understand that cross-platform app development also comes at a price. Developing for multiple platforms prevents app developers from maximizing the capabilities of any individual OS. Some apps may be too advanced to develop using a cross-platform tool, in which case, developing native is the best and only option. Android and iOS have different design schemes for apps on their respective Operating Systems. Customizing app design to match iOS or Android aesthetics improves ASO in the Apple App Store and Google Play. Apps can also have trouble integrating with devices due to the variety of storage options available on devices. We recommend you always discuss the project with your app developer before committing to developing using a cross-platform tool.

Ultimately, it comes down to a matter of resources. Developing an app natively for iOS and/or Android will yield a better product optimized to the device. While any company would love to be Facebook and have the money to invest in completely different native applications for iOS and Android, some have to be pragmatic about their budget. Once the decision to build cross-platform is made, the all-important question of which app development tool to utilize arises. Here are some of the best cross-platform development tools on the market in 2016.

PHONEGAP 

Adobe PhoneGap is one of the most popular cross-platform development tools on the market. PhoneGap is based on the open source Apache Cordova project, making it free to use. Adobe also offers an enterprise version of PhoneGap – it integrates with Adobe Marketing Cloud to not only focus on app development, but to ensure apps reach their audience and experience success. PhoneGap not only creates apps for iOS and Android, but also BlackBerry and Windows, making it an extremely versatile tool.

XAMARIN

Xamarin recently attracted a great deal of attention when it raised $54 million in its Series C round of investments. Xamarin is utilized by over 20% of Fortune 500 companies. According to IDC, those developers will be delivering almost $5 billion to the marketplace in 2017. Xamarin separates itself from the pack by using native UI components from each platform, allowing users to create their app with the native look app for each platform.

APPCELERATOR TITANIUM

Appcelerator Titanium uses Javascript to create native iOS and Android apps while giving developers the ability to reuse from 60% to 90% of the same code for all apps. Appcelerator is a major time saver. It’s also an open-source tool, meaning hundreds of developers are constantly adding to it and improving its functionality. In January 2016, Appcelerator was acquired by Axway, a software and services company. Axway plans on making it easy to integrate Appcelerator with their existing digital business enablement solutions.

For more great cross-platform development tools, check out these great curated lists by AppIndex and TechBeacon.

App to the Future: Top 5 App Development Trends for 2016

Over the next five weeks, the Mystic Media Blog will be launching a series exploring the top app development trends for 2016 and featuring apps that demonstrate the ways in which each trend can be creatively applied. While this article will introduce you to each of the top trends, be on the lookout in the coming weeks for our in-depth expansion upon each individual trend.

With apps having amassed significant popularity over the past few years, many businesses are looking to enter the arena and develop their own app. Some apps are designed to generate revenue on their own, while others are built to support internal or eCommerce business processes. One would be hard-pressed to find a business which wouldn’t receive a boost by a well-developed app.

As we embark on 2016, it’s vital to consider the future of app development when investing in the creation of an app. Here are the top app development trends to look out for in 2016:

1. Cross-Platform Development

A business cannot control the devices which its customers and employees utilize. Between smartphones, tablets, computers, and now wearable devices, it’s vital to create apps with cross-platform functionality to ensure they are accessible by the widest range of users.

2. Cloud Integration

The cloud represents a major technological advancement over the past few years. With Apple, Google, and Amazon all monetizing clouds for consumer use, expect cloud integration to rise in popularity in 2016. The cloud will allow apps to sync data from various devices, making them a major tool to aid cross-platform development.

3. Emphasis on Security

In 2015, several massive data thefts took place, including 87 million patient records from Anthem and 21.5 million security clearance apps from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. The European Union is currently crafting a General Data Protection Regulation designed to strengthen and unify data protection. Security will be a major concern for app development in 2016, especially for large businesses and government agencies.

4. Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) has gained traction with the advent of wearable devices. IoT attracts value on a case-by-case basis with specific IoT components designed to solve a specific problem. For those unfamiliar with IoT, here’s an awesome introductory video by Intel:

IoT has emerged as a major area of growth in the tech world which will only continue to expand in 2016. One study by IDC shows IoT spending will reach $1.7 trillion in 2020.

5. M-Commerce

With Paypal facing competition from Venmo, Apple Pay, Android Pay, and more, mobile commerce has become the norm. As consumers seek easier payment methods, app developers in 2016 will be working toward designing apps with safer, faster, easier transaction processing.

Mystic Media is an Android & iOS app development, web design and strategic marketing firm located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Contact us today by clicking here or by phone at 801.994.6815.