Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Continuously Provide Convenience

Convenience – Todays consumers weigh this factor heavily when becoming loyal customers. Technology has increased the methods to provide the convenience factor, and businesses that leverage the technology from the beginning and continuously update it, stay ahead. Businesses that don’t continue…  well look at what happened to Blockbuster.

Not looking into the intricate details, but just the broad lesson learned, reference Blockbuster vs Redbox. Blockbuster was popular, but Redbox’s business model offered convenience by providing a 24/7 hour kiosks, cheaper movie rentals, and ability to return the movie to any kiosk. The location of the kiosks also helped Redbox's success. By placing them where their consumers frequently visited including gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, etc, it allowed the adoption of the new way of renting movies become effortless and easy. Shortly after Blockbuster stores were closing many of their locations, and the once popular company was left behind to play catch up to a new company. 

Not suggesting that you have to make a game changing innovation, but understanding the convenience factor and where to provide it, can keep your business thriving.

Going Mobile

According to results of the 2013 Consumer Mobile Insights Study, released by Jumio, Inc, consumers want to leverage the convenience that the smart device platform provides (and interestingly chose convenience over security.) Leveraging a platform that consumers want to use for convenience seems like a no brainer. But there are still certain industries hesitant to provide a smart device application, one of the reasons being that they don’t believe their customers would adopt it.

A recent study by the Business Insider provides statistics to ease that fear.

  • PC sales are declining, and smart device sales have increased
  • People spend more time on apps than mobile web, and the usage of apps continue to increase.
  • “The growth of mobile = more usage, new apps”
  • Smart phones are being used to consume content: purchasing, retail, travel services, lifestyle, etc.

Provide convenience to your customers on a platform they are currently using, a mobile device. Understanding your consumer wants, and where they want it, can keep you far away from being the Blockbuster in your industry. 

Businesses Providing a Mobile App

Howard Orloff Imports - Automotive service
Carissima - Salon & Spa
Parsons Brinckerhoff - Planning, Engineering, & Construction Management Organization
MaddenCo - Software Warehouse for Tire Industry 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

American Planning Association 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Technology is being used for community outreach at the planning and development conference held by the American Planning Association. One of which came in form of a mobile application called the Chicago Planning Tour app, which was developed by GeneXus USA and sponsored by Parsons Brinckerhoff. Parsons Brinckerhoff works with GeneXus USA to offer innovation in form of a tailored mobile application to meet project needs. The Chicago Planning Tour app is one of many apps developed by this team, and is currently being used at the APA 2013 conference.

Chicago Planning Tour App downloads have reached over 800 at the moment and will continue to grow. For me, that in itself shows the interest and usability a mobile app facilitates for the development and planning industry. The app isn’t the mainstream conference app with meeting times and hotel information, etc. The reason attendees downloaded the Chicago Planning Tour App is to view sites of development and planning projects in the Chicago area. The app is a showcase for what these individuals have gathered to discuss, share and learn about: planning and development.

On Saturday, a non-planner – me, explored the conference exhibits at the Exhibitor Meet & Great Reception sponsored by our partners Parsons Brinckerhoff. The exhibits I visited were showing off their tools to create a better plan or project, all of which were in the forms of an application platform.

What interested me the most was the community engagements platforms, to help people- like me- a non planner, voice their opinions on the development of their city.

At one of the exhibits a startup called sMap caught my eye, the presentations gave off the angle of a fun engagement tool for citizens in the community. This tool would give planners and developers the insight of who they are planning for, and the community. I travel along the Chicago city roads countless times, to get to work, meet up with friends, and to reach a certain destination. 

Chicago is a fast paced city, there is no time to stop and pounder, but during my journey to a destination I do look at the street, signs, or building and have an internal conversation of how that particular road could have a better transition, and as I reach my destination I quickly dismiss my thoughts and carry on about my day. sMap provides an easy tool for my internal thoughts to be heard.

What I wonder is, how the usability will transfer, to me, the common citizen? I don’t think ill go home to log onto their website to rant about my already forgotten thoughts. I am sure that planning buffs will adopt quickly, but how are they getting the word out to the rest of the community, and will the common citizen like me use it? This company is in the beginning stages of launching, and I think its a pretty cool idea. I am interested to see how they adopt users. 

The message was clear, during my exploration of the exhibits, exhibitors wanted the community to become engaged. I believe that there is no better way than to provide it on a mobile device. In just five days the Chicago Planning Tour App received over 800 downloads, and the conference has yet to come to an end. 

Hats off to the APA conference, and the involvement and innovative ideas that will be used while continuing to manage and develop a better community!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Windows 8 & Android Development

My first impression with Windows 8
By: Gustavo Carriquiry

I installed a “machine” with Windows 8 and then I started playing  around with it. Aside from being able to accomplish what I wanted (to install GX, and execute an application like I would  in my Windows 7, etc). I cannot tell you exactly what thrilled me about this activity, but I found it be a fun experience

Within that enjoyable experience, I did find a not so enjoyable issue with the installation of the Andriod’s SDK. I did not find a reasonable explanation to this issue, but I will explain what I did find, in case that helps.

The problem that I had when  installing  the SDK (note: this issue may also happen with windows 7  64bites) was that the SDK’s  installer did not detect that Java was installed:

I did however have it. In fact, Java.exe existed where I was trying to look for it. I though the issue had to do with the  “casing” therefore I tried many tips with JAVA _Home, path, by pressing on previous/next, etc with no result.

Finally, I renamed java.exe as java2.exe and it worked. That’s how I was able to successfully install the SDK without any problems. Everything seems to work now. I hope that this explanation is useful to GeneXus users.

In fact, if I tried once again to name it java.exe but SDK manager doesn’t respond, an error message pops out.

This is just an issue that comes with the job and It did not prevent me from having a overall enjoyable experience with W8. Which, I found to be very good.

Next step: to try the GeneXus Tilo generator for Windows 8

Monday, November 26, 2012

Enterprise Mobility: Mobile Application Development Seminar

Enterprise Mobility: Mobile Application Development Seminar took place at the Union League Club. From my view, it was a great turn out. Incredible presentations, that provided technology executives with suggestions and tips on taking their company mobile. The presentations had a general theme, past, present, and future. What follows is a highlight of what I found interesting.

John Gavilin VP and CTO of Bridgepoint Technologies covered the adoption of mobile technologies. “Apps are here to stay,” he said, and sees the future market holding either a hybrid device and/ or tablet. His first suggestion was to build a mobile strategy, one step was to choose the app development road map keeping in mind that enterprise users expectations are now high. Complicated interfaces are no longer accepted. Users are now expecting the full package, design and features needs to be highly considered when developing the road map.

Doug Wilson Co-founder of Breakthrough Technologies captured the audience by bringing us back to history. “The dawn of an enlighten period –a period of unprecedented change. “ He compared that age to today where we are forced to change the way we do things. I couldn’t agree more, there is a  “penetration of software into all aspects of our personal and business lives.” Mr. Wilson believed that “Frameworks are important” and choosing to either develop multiplatform or native apps can help in planning your strategy. He also suggested to make a strategy to get from point a to b, it doesn’t matter if you are right or wrong, just don’t be left behind!  

J Schwan founder of Solstice Mobile took the audience through a mobile time capsule, highlighting the past, when mobile technology first arrived, and fast-forwarding to a couple years from now. The previous presentations mentioned to go mobile first, and desktop second, and Mr. Schwan didn’t fail at mentioning it too! Third times a charm, its engrained in my brain: mobile first, desktop second everyone. Bringing it full circle to why going mobile is important is the blatant fact, everyone is already doing it. Using our smart phones for transactions is becoming just as natural as swiping our cards. From standing in line at Starbucks to purchasing groceries in South Korea by using a QR code in the subway station. The most memorable part of the presentation and which really had me left with a dumfounded awe expression was the Google Glasses ad video. Watching the sunset with your significant other has taken new lengths. Wait for it . Awe.

Kudos to Technology Executives Club for keeping this event informative! "Apps and mobile devices are not going anywhere," was the prediction of the day, and the technology executives could now leave this seminar with a bases of how to start their a to b plan.

GeneXus USA Sponsorship Booth
Enterprises are definitely going mobile, heck, people are already going mobile in their own homes, I spoke to a new dad, who was showing me the camera he had set up in his kids room, that he can view from his iPhone! That, is incredibly innovative, fast forward 15 years from now, those teenagers wont get away with anything, there’s my prediction!

            GeneXus USA
            Breakthrough Technologies
            Compuware Corporation
            Solistice Mobile
            Motorola Solutions
            Project Leadership Association
            Softweb Solutions

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Smart & Simple Mobile Security

Smart & Simple Mobile Security 

Mobile security is an interesting subject because it has really pushed the boundaries of what security means in the computing world. Originally security meant the prevention of data loss and malfunction and to a lesser degree identity. Phishing, malware, viruses, and so on were the primary culprits that security tools tried to prohibit, however more and more people are using their mobile phones, tablets and other personal devices in lieu of their computers and this poses a series of different challenges. A phone for example is the primary conduit of information exchange. Its value ranges from the data the phone stores-- from their contacts, business information, financial information (1 click shopping? yep), to the physical phone itself. The data that’s on that phone is valuable to people looking to use someone’s identity, marketers trying to understand their audience, or hooligans trying to mess with someone. Regardless when we think of mobile security, we have to think more broadly:

1) 'Soft Protection'- Malware, phishing, viruses. These are all still prevalent. Although Apple does a rigorous background check on many of the apps they allow on the App Market some bad apps still make it out. It’s even easier on Android phones to install non-approved market apps.

2) Data Backup- A mobile device is a source of a lot of data, including but not limited to photos, videos, or music. This data aside from its sentimental value, can be worth something to others. What people need is a way to backup this information, and keep it safe if they have it on their phone. Does click to cloud help with this? I would presume so!

3) Phone Recovery- Ways of tracking your phone (and your data) are imperative, especially since it’s so easy for such a device to go missing. Apple has built-in tracking like the Find my iPad/iPhone feature and Android phones have 3rd party utilities like Prey. However none of these are ever fool proof.

As with any aspect of mobile security, being aware and having a good sense for how you use your phone is required.

This general view of mobile security could include these few don’ts: Don't go to shady sites, make sure your passwords not just for your phone, but for all your applications are secure, and of course and don't lose your phone. The last I have trouble doing myself, so no judgment there!

Watch GeneXus USA's Webinar, and view how to create a secure and full featured apps!