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Technology advancements have made our lives so easy that we can easily find solutions to our different problems with a mere touch or swipe of our smartphones. The same holds true for mobile app developers as well.

Owing to ongoing technological advancements, app development no longer requires developers to toil hard at building different versions of a native mobile app just to ensure that it works seamlessly on different mobile platforms (Android and iOS). Developers can use a single codebase to build superior-quality apps for Android and iOS instead.

Writing different codebases to build different versions of a mobile app is not just laborious, but very time consuming and expensive as well. Thanks to the advent of cross-platform mobile app development tools (like React Native, Xamarin, NativeScript, etc.) for empowering developers to build native apps that feel equally at home on different mobile platforms.

When we talk about cross-platform app development tools, Facebook’s React Native comes at the top. However, in this post, I am going to throw light on a new entrant from Google called Flutter, an open-source software development kit (SDK) to build native apps for Android and iOS. Flutter was launched in 2017 and saw its first stable release come out in the market in December 2018. Although very new, Flutter has already started to gain traction and become a recent trend among native app developers. Let’s catch the grasp of, why?

What all makes Google Flutter a Highly Promising Cross-Platform Tool?

Fast Development

Flutter enables fast and dynamic UI development via its rich UI set, called widgets (Material Design for Android and Cupertino for Apple). UI development with Xamarin is very time consuming, which is not the case with Flutter. Flutter provides Hot Reload feature, similar to React Native, which allows developers to make changes in the code and see them right away (in milliseconds) in the app. So, using Flutter, developers can easily and quickly add features, fix bugs and experiment with the app’s look without having to restart the app and wait for long to check the effects.

Easy Learning Curve

Flutter uses the Dart language, unlike React Native that uses Javascript. Yes, developers would have to learn Dart to use Flutter, but the relief comes in the ease of learning. Any developer with experience in Object-oriented programming (OOP) languages, such as C++ and Java, can easily learn Dart and start using it.

High Performance and Speed

Flutter apps are compiled “ahead-of-Time” (AOT) into native code for multiple platforms, which helps improve overall performance and eliminate issues that arise because of the need for a JavaScript bridge. Since Dart doesn’t rely on Javascript bridge, it greatly reduces the app startup times as well. Dart also uses Just-in-Time (JIT) compilation which supports the Hot Reload (a feature discussed above) capacity of Flutter to expedite the development workflow. So, Flutter provides the advantages of reactive views without relying on a JavaScript bridge.

Custom Designs

The beauty of Flutter is that it allows you to add new widgets and customize the existing ones as per your wants and needs to delight users. So, you can easily try a different look or feel that you think your users will love or to match your company’s brand. Custom designs have become a trend in mobile app development in the past few years, making Flutter a very interesting framework to use for cross-platform mobile app development.

Perfect for an MVP

Flutter is perfect to build an MVP due to its fast development process for both Android and iOS. Start-ups can quickly build a product using Flutter and show it to users and investors to test their assumptions and figure out if they’re on the right track. Testing time is also less since developers are required to write automated tests only once for one codebase. Flutter also saves the costs of developing and testing two separate apps.

Architecture on Reactive Programming

Similar to React Native, Flutter’s architecture is based on reactive programming. In a nutshell, Flutter apps react to user input by changing variables/properties (in simple words, the ‘state’ of the screen or view), and the re-rendering of the UI takes place based on the new state.

Compatibility with Older Devices

Flutter apps have the same look even on old versions of Android and iOS. There’s no requirement for compat libraries as the widgets and the renderer for those widgets are the part of your app. All Flutter apps run on Android Jelly Bean or newer, as well as iOS 8 or newer.

Documentation & Toolkit

Flutter scores higher than React Native when it comes to facilitating the documentation. Developers can use them while documenting their applications, which adds ease to their work life. Besides, Flutter offers extensive IDEs and tools along with React Native support. Flutter is also compatible with Visual Studio Code and Android Studio, which makes the framework a top choice to use for creating beautiful and efficient native apps.

More and more businesses are now embracing Flutter with both arms to build native apps that take less coding time and deliver supreme performance. Reduction in app development cost, increased productivity, faster market reach, code reusability, ease of implementation, etc., are other important factors that make Flutter a very good choice for native app development. Some of the established players that use Flutter are Alibaba, Birch Finance and Google AdWords.

React Native is already seeing Flutter as a close competitor. Yes, since Flutter is still very new, businesses could be wary of using it due to stability and reliability issues. But then, it’s Google that’s behind Flutter, so we could expect the framework to become even more stable and reliable with further iterations in the near future.

Evon Technologies has an expert team of developers who have demonstrable experience of using React Native and can efficiently adapt to Flutter for creating attractive cross-platform apps. Whether you’re a start-up looking forward to creating an MVP or an existing business looking forward to shifting to Flutter, contact Evon Technologies, we promise to get back to you shortly to get you started.

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A customer relationship management (CRM) software is a basic necessity of every business of today to manage client relationships, achieve business goals, enhance sales pipeline, generate leads and get a competitive edge. Salesforce, needs no introduction though, is the most popular CRM being used by businesses of all types and sizes all over the world. You perhaps already know that if you are using Salesforce as the CRM for your business.

However, the bigger question is, is an off-the-shelf Salesforce CRM effectively serving to your business needs? The reason I raised this question is that every business is different and has different requirements, workflows, and processes. To which, a basic Salesforce solution might not be a perfect fit as it might not suit your way of doing business and specific requirements.

For instance,

The limited numbers of fields being offered by an off-the-shelf Salesforce CRM may not be enough to enhance your sales pipeline and manage current and future clients? Also, you may not want your Salesforce platform to work in isolation and it would be much better if you can integrate Salesforce with existing and new third-party systems?

Another important point to consider is that people are increasingly using mobile phones and tablets to access the Internet. So, to expand customer reach, almost every business now wants to have their Salesforce apps be mobile friendly and have a consistent look and feel as well, regardless of the screen sizes.

Besides, you may also want your CRM to apply machine learning and deep learning to help your sales and marketing team get access to detailed and updated views of customers and sales prospects. And, what if you also want to create brand value through your Salesforce app?

Well, answer to all these problem statements is Salesforce customization. Let’s take a grasp of where Evon helps you with Salesforce customization to empower Sales Process, Customer Relationships and Gain Competitive Advantage.

Where Evon Helps Businesses with Salesforce Customization

Salesforce Consulting

Evon will help you optimize your Salesforce implementation to fully utilize Salesforce Platforms. We collaborate with you to understand your business standards & needs and plan how to implement Salesforce in your business the right way.

Custom Mobile App Development

Evon has expertise in using Salesforce1 Platform (now known as App Cloud) to build Salesforce mobile apps. Our experts use Salesforce1 works in conjunction with the Lightning platform to build dynamic, responsive and mobile friendly Salesforce web apps. Evon designs, develops and deploys on AppExchange for your Salesforce1 mobile apps.

Custom UI/UX Designing

Evon will extend your brand look and the feel of your Salesforce1™ mobile instance through custom UI and UX. Evon helps you use own app name, business logo, and colors so that customers can relate to your app and recognize your business.

Third-Party System Integration

Evon has AppExchange experts who integrate Salesforce with different systems, like email platforms Outlook or Gmail, existing sales and marketing automation tools like Hubspot, and even non CRM tools and services like accounting software. After integrating Salesforce with Outlook, your team can view Salesforce data directly in Microsoft Outlook. Our experts also integrate social media platforms like Linkedin and Twitter.

Visualforce

Evon will extend your Visualforce pages to Salesforce1™ platform. We are experts in lightning and custom UI. Using Visualforce, Evon creates dynamic, reusable interfaces and controls what elements appear and how they appear on the page. We also help you define what happens when users interact with the page, like when a user clicks a button.

AI Implementation to make Intelligent Decisions

Personalization has become the key to success in the business world. Our experts in Salesforce Einstein helps your Salesforce CRM learn from customer data, interactions, etc to make prudent predictions and recommendations. The AI platform also empowers your sales team by predicting which hot leads are most likely to turn into customers and who among them will become loyal customers. Besides, you get the added ability to figure out the reasons behind why a particular customer is not satisfied with your products or services so that you can work out on enhancing user experience.

Sales cloud

Evon will help you with Contact Management, Opportunity Management, Lead Management, Contracts, Reports and Dashboards, Mobile, Email Integration and, Sales Forecasting.

Service Cloud

Experts at Evon are able to do Case Management, Telephony Integration, Workflow and Approvals, Einstein Service Analytics, Video Chat, Social Customer Service and many more.

Marketing cloud

Evon does Email, Mobile, and Web Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Advertising, B2B Marketing Automation.

Process Automation

Using Salesforce Lightning, our experts automate your business processes, like sending an email, updating records, creating tasks, submitting approval requests, and many more.

Force.com

Evon also automates business logic with Force.com-based mobile and web applications. It includes development, integration, and migration.

Appexchange

Evon provides salesforce Appexchange development services. Our experts can do Appexchange apps that are salesforce1 compatible and lightning ready.

The opportunities to customize Salesforce CRM are endless. Your business is unlike others, even if it is among those in the same industry and targeting the same customers, so you will still be required to keep evolving your Salesforce CRM as per constantly changing requirements of your business. Customizing Salesforce has become very common for businesses to increase profitability and beat competition. However, To customize Salesforce, coding knowledge of markup languages like JavaScript and HTML is a must. If you are not technically proficient, approaching an expert and experienced software development company like Evon is always a good idea.

Contact us, if you are also looking forward to customizing your existing Salesforce application or want to get an all-new customized Salesforce solution. We promise to get back to you shortly.

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It was my friend’s birthday and I wanted to order muffins and a smart fitness watch for him. I picked up my mobile phone and opened Google to search for muffins first. The very next moment, Google search results displayed muffins almost all over my phone’s screen. I clicked on one of those and the next thing I saw was a popup, prompting me to install an Android application for a far better experience of ordering muffins.

I was now wondering in frustration why I would need to install the app from Play Store just to order muffins. All that I wanted was to order muffins from a website and get it delivered on that special day. Anyway, I refused to install the app and tried to scroll down for more options. But then, scrolling down became a challenge with the flaky UI and installation popup sitting at the bottom of the mobile screen, hogging one-fourth of the space. I literally had a very hard time ordering muffins, but somehow managed in the end.

The stark difference between hassles and convenience is what progressive web apps (PWAs) all about.

After the mind-boggling experience of ordering muffins, the next test of patience was to order a smart fitness watch. So, I jumped to Google yet again and clicked on the first link. I couldn’t believe what I saw next. The UI and all the content perfectly fitted my mobile screen and scrolling was so smooth that I almost felt as if I was using a native app. The best part was that I was able to see the content even during a moment when Internet connectivity problem cropped up. I faced no problem at all while ordering the smartwatch, the smooth and pleasing experience took me by surprise instead and it was all made possible by the power of Progressive Web App (PWA).

What is PWA and its Advantages over Mobile Websites and Native Apps

Mobile websites are easy to get to, but the user experience is not that smooth as native apps due to issues like page load error in slow internet connections, slow loading speed, less responsive UI experience, etc. Native apps are reliable and facilitate silky smooth user experience, but then you need to download and regularly update them. Besides, native apps occupy a lot of space in your phone memory which becomes problematic when you need to download several native apps for your different needs.

A PWA is the middle ground that addresses the problems associated with responsive mobile websites and native apps. You don’t need to download and install them from the respective app store. They are always up to date and you need not to make any extra efforts to update them for a smooth experience always like native apps.

PWA, in a nutshell, is a web app that runs through the phone’s browser and feels very much like native apps. PWAs are built using modern web technologies, like Service Workers, Fetch API, Cache API, Push notifications, Web App Manifest. It is much more convenient to simply click on a link for your needs than to download and install an app from the respective app store, isn’t it?

Little data storage, option to add home screen icon, get notifications and even work offline or when Internet connectivity is slow are other factors that make PWAs highly engaging and much better than mobile websites and native apps. PWAs store previous responses keyed by request in the cache memory of your device which enables PWAs to load content instantly from cache and give rise to a very similar experience of native apps. Also, since PWAs operate on browsers, they carry the advantage of being indexed and crawled by major search engines, provided the SEO is done just right.

Why Businesses Need to Adopt PWAs to Stay Ahead of Competition

As per official Google statements, more than 60% of search queries globally now come from mobile. It means that business owners must make efforts to enhance user experience on mobile. With more and more people relying on mobiles for their day-to-day needs, the time is not far when good PWAs will be used way more than a company’s mobile site, its native app and even its desktop site. PWAs are also much less expensive to build than native apps. Unlike native apps that require a different app structure for Android, Apple and Windows devices, just one version of the PWA is good enough to work seamlessly and identically on all devices.

Twitter, Starbucks, Flipkart and Pinterest are among the first players who were quick to realize the importance of PWAs to increase user engagement and ROI in return. Tinder has also made it official that load times have been cut in half compared to its native app. It’s high time now for businesses to optimize user experience on mobile phones to stay competent and increase business sales. And PWAs, without a doubt, are the best of both worlds of mobile websites and native apps.

Evon Technologies, a leading web development company in India for more than 10 years, has realized that PWA is the future of online business and offers high-quality PWA development services to clients across the globe. Evon collaborates with clients at every step to bring out smart progressive web apps that work smoothly across all devices without having to rely on the high-speed internet every time.

Your business has a mobile presence, but you now want the transition into PWAs for better ROI? Contact us, and we will get back to you shortly to get you started on what is going to be inevitable.

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You’re in the office and it’s natural for you to feel hunger pangs at 1 in the afternoon. So, it’s a routine task to grab your smartphone around 12:30 pm every day and order your lunch using a food app. So, you first open the app, choose a restaurant and an item on the menu, select your delivery address, and then finally pay to get the food delivered for satiation. But, spending 10 minutes in the same mundane process every day no longer feels to be a pleasing experience.

How Artificial Intelligence (AI) reshapes the Way You Interact with Mobile Apps

Now imagine, you get a new food app that can copy your intelligence and learn from your food ordering behavior for 10 days, so much so that it can take action on its own to fulfill your intent. The app learns that you order a salad on Monday from Hale and Hearty, sandwiches and burgers on Tuesday and Wednesday from McDonald's, Pizza on Thursday from Domino’s and chicken on Friday from KFC. At sharp 12:30 Wednesday, you get a notification “order burger from McDonald’s”. And then pops up another notification “30% discount on Double Bacon Smokehouse Burger”. You simply click or use your voice command “place order” and your order gets delivered.

The food app handled your delivery address, payment and everything on its own... you just thanked your app for scraping the rigmarole and treating you as an individual with own set of preferences like everybody else.

Well, this is the level of personalization mobile app users are now looking for to which AI is certainly the key. So, are we are already there? The answer is a yes, thanks to big advancements and hefty investments already being made in AI to bring an all-new level of in-depth and predictive mobile app performance. We can’t think of AI without having a mention of Apple’s Siri and Cortana, Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, making it possible for users to even go touchless to answer questions, track down information, send messages, launch services, and more.

Now arises a bigger question, what all it takes to build robust AI that mimics human intelligence?

We first must understand that AI is a polymorphous concept and it learns from user demographics, inputs and behavior patterns to deduce user intent and respond accordingly. Which means AI apps gather piles of user data and make big data, machine learning (ML), natural language processing, machine vision, knowledge management and problem-solving pivotal to their success.

Machine learning and predictive AI algorithms are being increasingly integrated into shopping apps now to predict what a customer is likely to buy based on their previous buying and browse history. So, you get suggestions based on your preferred choices, not serving you the plate of somebody else that doesn’t suit your palate. So, throwing the same content to everybody will soon become the thing of the past with content delivery becoming more personalized, sensible and logical with AI.

For instance, Recent News is an AI-powered app that analyzes your reading habits to show you only those articles and news that you love. So, AI makes content delivery go free of a scattershot approach, keeping it intact to your choices.

Among other AI app examples that use machine learning are Socratic and Microsoft Pix. The former is a tutor app that helps students find answers to questions related to Biology, Algebra, Chemistry, English Grammar, History, Economics and more. By using cutting-edge computer vision technologies, the app deciphers questions from images and provides explanations and videos for step-by-step help.

Microsoft Pix is a photo app that uses AI to give you the best shot. It captures 10 frames with every click and uses AI to choose the best three shots and delete the rest. AI in the lens analyzes scene and lighting between each shutter click and adjusts accordingly between each shot. It’s a kind of photographer in the camera that automatically optimizes capture settings to give you the best shot.

AI is the way forward for mobile app businesses to retain users by facilitating highly interactive, engaging and personalized experiences. More and more IT and app development companies are moving towards AI technology and the time is not far when devices will respond more actively than humans. You may soon wake up one day with your phone tracking your health and telling you if you’re ill or not. If ill, the phone will make a doctor appointment, share your medical data, make a note of your prescription and send it to pharmacy to get the medication delivered.

How Evon can help build Your AI App Startup

Evon Technologies has the competency in the AI space to help shape your AI app idea into a reality. Highly capable and proficient developers at Evon use cognitive APIs, machine learning algorithms, deep learning techniques, and big data analytics to guarantee top-level reasoning and exact fulfillment of the users’ intent. Contact us if you have an AI app idea and we will collaborate with you at every step to bring it to the market fast and meet the changing demands of today’s app users.

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If you have been part of a team that needs to work simultaneously on a spreadsheet which is stored in a cloud environment, then you will not find it difficult to understand what a blockchain is. A blockchain is a kind of ledger that is remotely stored but accessible to all users simultaneously. Anyone who is part of the blockchain network can access it and update it in real time. The intriguing part is that it is not stored anywhere at a single location, therefore cannot be compromised by a single hacker. What we get is a shared database which is continuously updated in real time.

To get back to the spreadsheet example used earlier, many of you might feel that you have already used such kind of a shared document at work. But the way that works is slightly different. Say A, B, and C are three members in a team, and they want to work on the same document. At a very basic level, A would work on the file, save it as v1, and pass it on to B, who would save it as v2 after making the required changes, and pass it on to C. This would result in newer versions created every time some member of the team worked on it.

A slightly evolved way of doing it would be if the file was shared and stored in the cloud. But in the traditional way, the file would be locked for all others as soon as someone started editing it. Once that person finished editing, it would again be opened for anyone else to edit. So, it can’t be called editing in real time. Blockchain is a more evolved version of shared work, and additionally it has the advantage of security.


How Blockchain Works

The interesting thing about blockchain is that it is not a new technology. It actually brought together three existing technologies. We, by now recognize networks as large numbers of computers and servers (also referred to as nodes), and blockchain also utilized a network. The security was added on to the network with the help of private key cryptography. Cryptography is widely used in applications like e-commerce. The two entities wanting to carry out a transaction over the internet hold two keys each – private and public. The correct combination of these keys can open the network to either of the two entities. The correct combination of the keys gives a digital signature. This digital signature is combined with a date and time stamp and other relevant information to create what is called a block. As soon as one block is validated, a new entry is created, which is connected to the previous block. So at any point of time, the whole chain of transactions is visible, but not editable.

The strongest feature of blockchain is the decentralization of computation power and control over the network and its transactions. The control, administration, and updates of the shared ledger can be done by any of the nodes. This decentralization makes it perfect for implementation anywhere where simultaneous multiple real-time updations could be required. That is why blockchain implementation is being envisaged in a large number of applications. Let us look at two of them.


Application of Blockchain in Finance

The genesis of Blockchain was to facilitate secured transactions of the cryptocurrency called bitcoin. But cryptocurrency is not the only aspect of Finance where blockchain can be useful. We are seeing the growth of fintech solutions and peer to peer banking, which are expanding the landscape above and beyond the traditional banks. Peer to Peer (P2P) lending would need robust security systems to ensure the sanctity of the lender and borrower data. This is the reason blockchain is also being used for credit appraisal. The blockchain can help in checking credit scores and ratings. The reason for this is that all transactions are recorded on a single chain of blocks, and those blocks are visible to all the nodes of the network. One more reason why blockchain is a popular choice for financial transactions is that the settlements are immediate, instead of in traditional platforms where there is a lag time.

Blockchain is set to bring in major disruptions in the financial sector because it does away with all kinds of intermediaries in the investment lifecycle. Because the transactions are automated, therefore the investor does not need to depend on anyone either for advisory services or for transactional support. Apart from the credit assessment we spoke about above, one area of financial services where blockchain is making big inroads is in risk assessment. Blockchain can enable decentralized risk management and advisory services that can help investors and promoters alike. In the world of wealth advisory, the risks associated with different derivative products would allow investors to easily hedge themselves against different kinds of investment risks.

Let us look at a few examples of companies which are using blockchain in providing financial products and services. We don’t need the first and most obvious example of cryptocurrency like bitcoin, because blockchain was actually created as a vehicle for transacting in bitcoins, seeing which the world woke up to the tremendous possibilities of the blockchain. Some of the more well-known names in traditional banking, like Credit Suisse and Citibank, are actively researching ways in which blockchain can be incorporated into their architecture. There are companies like Circle, BitPesa, and Abra, which have already started to use blockchain for their international money transfer services. They allow the transactions to be between peers or between businesses, and they ensure that the remittance goes into the bank account directly. Mycelium is a startup which has successfully incorporated blockchain into its payment systems. The mobile wallet and bank card of the customer can both be used to make the payment, which goes through the blockchain in a secured manner. This model’s use of digital tokens would really render the traditional banking system obsolete. In Australia, the trading of securities has been mandated by the regulatory authorities to be done through a system based on blockchain, especially for the clearance cycles at the end of the settlement periods.


Application of blockchain in healthcare

Another area with immense possibilities is healthcare. Today, healthcare does not only refer to a good doctor and caregivers. The complete delivery of medical services is referred to when we talk about healthcare. The efficient delivery of healthcare services as per patient’s requirements is what sets a good healthcare service apart.

Blockchain is making huge inroads into the billing and claims segment of the healthcare industry. The use of blockchain not only helps in more secured processing, and easy retrieval of past records, but also does all of that in much faster time. Not only the time, but healthcare companies would also cut down the costs in processing of claims, by doing away with the intermediaries.

The major issue with medical care is that the patient’s medical histories need to be at one place and easily available to the medical practitioner. This is very important when the patient moves from one location to the other. It becomes even more important in the case of medical tourism, where the patient and doctor are from two different countries, and the patient is visiting just for medical treatment. Blockchain makes this possible. The doctor can quickly retrieve the entire medical history of the patient, including the results of recent tests done on the patient. This helps avoid repetitive tests.

Another area of healthcare which has inefficiencies is that there are multiple stakeholders and service providers. So, even if the medical records are collated into a single place, all the stakeholders need to get easy access to the data. This needs to be done in a secured manner so that others are not able to get access to a patient’s health records.

Let us look at a few examples of real-life implementation of blockchain in healthcare. IBM was one of the pioneers in genome sequencing. But the next level in this field of research was taken by Illumina who have come up with a very efficient machine for carrying out DNA sequencing. And they have used blockchain to ensure the sanctity of the data. Iryo is a company in Slovenia which is coming up with a complete healthcare ecosystem. This will help it build a data repository of health records which would be neutral to the different systems used to store records in. In Atlanta, Patientory has developed an app using blockchain which helps the users of the app store and access patient’s health data, and also all details of immunizations, prescriptions, insurance premiums, history of meetings with doctors etc.


Blockchain – The Way Forward

We already spoke of two important areas where blockchain has already begun to be used in. For blockchain to go on to the higher levels of acceptance and use, one of the biggest hurdles that must be closed is the often conflicting regulations of different countries. Every country will need to come up with specific guidelines that will help the adoption of blockchain, and the different guidelines of different countries need to be aligned. Not only countries, but different operators who provide blockchain for use need to work on interoperability irrespective of the business it is being used in. We can expect to see blockchain applications spread to other areas other than healthcare and financial services. The security measures would need to become more and more robust as newer use cases of blockchain are developed. We have already seen the phenomenal opportunities blockchain provides, and the coming years can only see blockchain become more exciting.

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Automation in healthcare has been a kind of tardy affair when banking and retail have been fast to catch the digital wave. Nevertheless, healthcare is now quickly moving towards automation to handle the influx of patients being created in the current era of Medicare, Affordable Care Act, etc. Besides, providing personalized care to every patient by keeping uninterrupted connectivity between all platforms (hospitals, clinics, and healthcare offices) and removing human errors are also among top priorities that healthcare is striving to address through automation. However, with automation, it’s important to ensure that personal data of patients is not compromised to which HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance is a must.

Evon has a sound track record of building HIPAA compliant healthcare solutions that provide top care to patients while keeping their personally identifiable information safe. Below are some healthcare solutions that Evon has built in recent times.

  1. Automated Pharmacy

  2. Automated Healthcare Solution for Nursing Homes

  3. A Smartphone Photoscreening App to Detect Eye Disorder

Pharmacy Operations Automation

Pharmacy automation aims at eliminating medication errors, reducing medication cost, ensuring faster delivery and enhancing control over pharmacy inventory. Evon has built the software for an automated medication-verification device that leaves no room for any goof up while adding prescribed drugs to the bag. Besides, “Will Call” tags help deliver the right package of drugs to the right patient without having to wait for long. There’s also a device to ensure that right pills are administered to patients every time. Evon’s development of automated technologies in pharmacy operations has transformed pharmacies into wellness centers, ensuring each patient receives the right drug, the right dose, in the right quantity and from the right manufacturer. Every single time.

Automated Healthcare Solution for Nursing Homes

Another healthcare solution that Evon has built is for nursing homes where patients need long-term care. Generally, doctors don’t visit nursing homes every day, so a startup idea clicked to a healthcare entrepreneur to build an online platform that connects nurses to doctors.

The modus operandi of patient care starts from the nurse who keys in patient’s symptoms in a system. This automated system is an intelligent database built by a reputed team of doctors to automatically generate a report as to which tests need to be conducted based on patient’s symptoms.

The doctor automatically receives the report to confirm whether that tests really need to be conducted or the patient needs more tests. The nurse gets the tests conducted and the automated system sends over the results to the doctor to analyze and prescribe appropriate medication. So, this way doctors provide fast care to patients at nursing homes where less-frequent visits of doctors could have adverse impacts on patient health.

A Smartphone Photoscreening App to Detect Amblyopia

Evon built a photoscreening app to detect an eye disease Amblyopia, also called lazy eye, in children aged 1-6. The app is simple to use and produces immediate results. Both parents and pediatric optometrists can use it to detect Amblyopia in children too young for a visual acuity test. The photoscreening app now also offers options to detect Myopia, Hyperopia, and Anisometropia.

In addition to development, AI integration and writing algorithms for evidence-based photoscreening, Evon also provided testing services to ensure flawless functionality. This app has already protected 500K plus children from blindness, and over 2,500 pediatricians and over 35 health systems use this painless solution now. Besides, this screening is also not very onerous compared to other types of screening.

Note: Evon built the above healthcare solutions in accordance with HIPAA guidelines to ensure full compliance and to avoid data security breach. The team also separated personally identifiable information from electronic protected health information (ePHI). For example, lab attendants don’t get access to the personal details of patients, like house address, email ID, phone number, social security number, etc., as they don’t need such details of patients for conducting tests.

Healthcare automation is on the rise to provide quality healthcare and remove human errors. Besides, automation saves a lot of time that goes in repetitive but mandatory paperwork. Of course, data security is a concern with piles of personal information of patients lying in digital systems, but that’s where Evon is trusted for building HIPAA compliant healthcare solutions.

Contact us for any query related to healthcare automation, and we will get back to you shortly.

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Introduction

Two ardent cricket fans were interested in developing a fantasy cricket platform targeted for India. They conceived the idea and came prepared with the basics of the game algorithm. The clients wanted to develop a web and mobile application to allow users (primarily in India) to play fantasy cricket on their platform. Evon helped them with developing the applications and reach out to market in a short time period of six months.

Challenges

  • Scope preparation – The client came with the concept and the game idea, but not a definitive specification. Our Business Analyst worked with the client in converting the idea into a tangible scope for the MVP. Our BA also worked with the client on finalizing the approaches to various algorithms, iterating and testing the viability of these algorithms.

  • Cricket API – The core match data of the cricket matches was the key input for the application. Various third parties were investigated for the same and CricketAPI was finalized. The team faced challenges throughout the development, integrating these APIs. At times, there were problems, errors that were faced in responses from these APIs. But the team worked closely with CricketAPI support to iron out the issues.

  • Key algorithms – The application had some core algorithms that were first created on paper by the client and BA, implemented by the team and sometimes iterated for optimal results based on testing. Some of the key algorithms were:

  • Player rating algorithm

  • Reward algorithm

  • Real-time game engine – Game engine is the core of the application. This gets match data from the Cricket API in real-time during the match for each ball. It processes the ball-by-ball updates based on the contest parameters and scoring matrix and converts them into points earned by each player on each ball and then updates the user apps in real-time. The sheer magnitude of the amount of processing and potential high number of users posed a performance challenge.

  • Testing – This was an application that required testing in the Live conditions with Live matches. Hence testing the accuracy of game engine and performance of the application was a big challenge. The application was tested for the entire duration of IPL 2018 before the platform was taken live.

  • Limited Time Frame – The project started in January 2018 and had a hard deadline to be ready in three months before the start of IPL 2018, because of the testing requirements.

How Evon Helped

Evontech setup an offshore team to handle areas ranging from Scope definition to Designing, Architecting, Development, and Testing of the complete application. Evon helped the client choose right technologies to build the platform. Following diagram depicts the high-level architecture of the fantasy cricket platform.

The provided solution covered the following different applications:

  • Public Website – Public website with marketing pages and collateral

  • User application

  • Responsive web application

  • iOS mobile application

  • Android mobile application

  • Admin web application

Technologies Used:

  • Web front-end application – Angular 4.7.7

  • Android application – Java 8

  • iOS application – Swift 4.0

  • Game engine – Loopback 3.0, Node.js, Socket.io

  • Backend application – PHP 5.6, CakePHP 2.8.1, MySQL 5.7.23, Apache 2.4.18

  • API – Restful using JSON

  • Third party integrations

Outcome for the Client

When the client came to us with the idea, the race for fantasy cricket platforms was already on (largely because of the overwhelming popularity of cricket in India). So, time-to-market in this case was of paramount importance to get ahead of the competition. Evon’s team ensured that the client set a foot in the market as early as six months and quickly get to the next level. The startup is on the fast track to success now and has already become a challenge for existing and future competition.

Currently, Evon is providing a dedicated post-production support for the fantasy cricket platform with a team of 1 support engineer. Along with that, from time to time we undertake short-term enhancements for development tasks as per client needs.

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Two men in San Francisco couldn’t afford to pay rent for their loft apartment. To avoid eviction and make a few bucks, they rent out three air mattresses in their living room.

And, Voila! They soon get three paying guests (two men and one woman), who pay $80 each for bed and breakfast.

Ever since then, the idea was no longer limited to just help pay their rent, but become a billion-dollar behemoth in the sharing economy.

The two men I am talking about are Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, and the startup they built from the scratch is Airbnb. An unstoppable juggernaut now, Airbnb is currently valued at a staggering $38bn and has already been hailed as one of the most valuable startups in the US.

But, the bigger question is, how did they do it.

They Tested The Market by Launching an MVP

Brian and Joe realized that travelers who came to San Francisco in 2007 to attend the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) Conference faced the crunch for hotel rooms as they had been overbooked.

So, they decided to target the conference attendees by launching an MVP, a simple website based on a single idea. They simply didn’t think of building hundreds of features first and then launch as it could have taken months or years to build. To target just the attendees and test their idea, they didn’t need to build options to select multiple dates, locations or prices. They built a simple interface that got them three paying guests.

In fact, the first versions of Airbnb were a far cry from what it is today.

Going forward, they needed to confirm whether or not other hosts would let strangers pay to share their residence. So, they added a feature to allow other hosts to list their houses on the platform. Renters were now able to view on a map which locations were available and for what price.

The modus operandi was to identify and build only the most basic features at the earliest stages to put across the core value of the product. The MVP launch helped Airbnb founders bring their product to market fast and continuously improve based on their learnings and customer feedback. In fact, Airbnb eventually became a whale in the sharing economy because of its unwavering focus on the user experience.

How Evon helps Startups Achieve the Same

In a decade of working with 600+ startups, Evon has helped many aspiring entrepreneurs convert their problem-solving ideas into a profitable business. Let me share one such tech startup success story that Evon built an MVP for and handled all necessary tech requirements along the journey, from becoming sustainable to profitable with increasing cash flows. Let’s start with what problem this startup wanted to solve and what approach was taken to build the product.

Problem Identification and the Fix

A problem area that three would-be entrepreneurs identified was the struggle of most parents to get to grips with their childcare responsibilities. So, they thought of building an online solution that would allow parents to unearth the best their city has to offer for their kids, in and around the neighborhood, ranging from kids’ events, fun family outings, discounts & offers to a comprehensive listing of products and services for their children.

But, yet again, not all things all at once. So, Evon brainstormed with the founders to figure out what to build and what not to build for the MVP, and identified two most important key features: A search option to allow parents to uncover various kids activities taking place in their city and an option to allow organizers to create kids events that parents can see.

Evon built the Tech for the MVP

Evon built and launched the two key features in two months, providing first customers a workable software to get the essence of the product. We didn’t go overboard with the design and colors at the MVP stage, and it was quite ok! The major focus was on user experience so that the minimum key features could work as intended, without any technical glitches.

The key features of an MVP are differentiators and vary from product to product. So, it’s important to question what minimum features reflect the core value of a product and ignore the ones that don’t at the MVP stage.

For example, it was decided to target only one city to test the idea instead of going all-in across the country. So, it was not necessary to build an option to select a particular city among several cities from the drop-down (which would happen later once the idea caught-on and reached other cities, which it did).

The product now lists various categories ranging from pregnancy to baby, kids, beauty & fashion, mums life, travel & living, recipes, health, videos and many more. But, it didn’t happen overnight. Even the tech giants, like Facebook, Instagram, and Uber, started with an MVP and kept adding more features from their learnings along the journey.

The Takeaway

Based on the above two cases and many more in the startup industry in general, the success mantra seems to be this: Start small and build fast. This approach helps quickly validate a startup idea and learn at very early stages what to build going forward. The desire to pack hundreds of features into a first-version product is a dangerous approach as it could end up in a costly, feature-rich failure. If a startup is to fail, it’s better to fail fast so that founders can learn fast and readjust fast, instead of stumbling on the same lesson after spending a ton of time and money.

Why choose Evon Tech for your MVP?

Every product has different requirements, which is why Evon, with over a decade worth of experience of building hundreds of startups, suggests technologies that are the best fit and stable. Choosing a technology just because it’s in trend or every developer next door using it could be an invitation to more harm than good. Think of technology as tools, a hammer can’t serve the purpose of an axe. It’s simply not designed to do that.

Startups are not missiles but aircraft that need some momentum to take off. And, one of the best ways to gain that momentum is to launch an MVP. Evon, as the developer of your website or app, will take you through every step and work with you so that you can bring your product to market sooner, test it fast and improve it in further development rounds.

If you also have a startup idea and want to give your product the best chance by launching an MVP, get in touch with us, we will get back to you shortly.

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Offshoring risks are real and could land your startup in a more-harm-than-good situation if not mitigated well.

Before taking the decision of whether to go for an offshoring partner for your startup, there might be a few questions or risks on your mind. In this blog, I'll be addressing those on the basis of how Evon, in its decade worth of experience of working with hundreds of Startups, has been handling those risks.

For a little background, Evon has worked with 600+ Startups ranging from the ones started by established enterprises to solve bigger consumer and institutional problems, to individuals who built their ideas block by block and eventually created runaway revenue generator machines. There are successful Startups now in the market whom Evon has helped build and scale from scratch to $2.5MM/Q profit businesses.

Now, without further ado, let's dive into the offshoring risks that a Startup might perceive and mitigations that Evon has in place.


Evon’s Take On Offshoring Risks and Mitigation

#1 Risk: No Prior Offshore Recruitment Experience or Don’t Know How to Establish if You’re Hiring Right People

Description: Setting up an offshore team is a first time experience for most startups. Of course, some degree of trust is required while building a team with an offshore partner, but no transparency in the hiring process could prove detrimental to your product expansion plans.

Mitigation: Transparent Hiring Model

Description: Evon understands your fear of being thrown off the scent, and therefore offers complete transparency in the hiring process. Be it one-on-one interview or running test series for gauging the required skill-set, you can do all that helps you make a confident decision about Evon’s development and testing & QA services. You can even further evaluate by giving some real project tasks for two or three days, and hire after being completely satisfied with the effort and skills.

#2 Risk: Cost of Evaluation

Description: Waiting for five to six weeks to get something from developers just to evaluate whether or not it’s worth continuing with them involves cost for the effort made during that time. It could be really frustrating for clients to look for another offshore team after six weeks because the previous one couldn’t meet their expectations. It’s just not loss of time but money as well for the unused effort.

Evon’s Take: Start Small , Build Fast.

Description: Evon’s strategy to effectively mitigate the cost-of-evaluation risk is to start small and build fast. It’s in fact not necessary to work on multiple modules for six long weeks and then send it across for evaluation when a small weekly or biweekly release is good enough for the evaluation purpose, be it code quality, bug fixes or the team’s overall understanding of your product.

Such an approach enables clients to become decisive much earlier than usual. Short release cycles also help test early, give feedback for user acceptance and market fast. For those who are concerned about the evaluation cost, Evon is ready to share the cost for the first two to three weeks. Contact us to know more.

#3 Risk: IP (Intellectual Property) Security and Data Confidentiality

Description: Data security has become one of the biggest concerns of today, be it personally identifiable information or IP of an organization. Your product’s source code, or any product info for that matter, is confidential information that you obviously don’t want your offshore partner to share with third parties. But, how would you ensure that?

Evon’s Take: Legal Framework and Different Levels of Security Confidentiality

Description: As a data security standard, Evon signs non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with all its clients. There’s often a fear among clients that the offshore agency may use their unique idea, source code, or any other product related info to start a similar business of their own or may share it with competitors or third parties for unethical financial gains. To leave no room for such fears, Evon is also ready to enter into a non-compete agreement. Evon also follows latest security protocols for data transmission and sharing.

#4 Risk: Working with Remote Teams in a Different Time Zone may lead to Communication Gap and Delays.

Description: One of the major pitfalls of offshoring is occurence of communication loops while working with remote teams located in a different time zone. How would clients/project managers prioritize requirements, track progress, review and be on the same page without proper communication and collaboration?

Mitigation: Daily/Weekly Meetings and Flexible Work Hours

Description: Daily/weekly meetings with clients/project managers at a time that suits them is Evon’s way of ensuring that time-zone-difference is never a hurdle to communication. Evon also offers flexibility in work hours to all those clients who want their offshore teams to work in their time zone.

Evon also provides a dedicated account manager to do regular Pulse Check twice a month to ensure if you’re happy with the way things are going or if there are concerns to be addressed. Besides, every Evon client knows what exactly their offshore team’s hierarchy is, therefore they correctly use the chain of escalation and know who to reach to get their concerns addressed.

#5 Risk: Ramping Up Team Size in the Future

Description: More often than not, project requirements keep on changing and you may need to increase the team size in the future. Hiring resources from different locations for staff augmentation not just increases cost due to managing two remote teams now, but also drains all your energies in making the two far-off teams coordinating well with each other.

Mitigation: Provide Skilled Resources on Need Basis

Description: Being in software offshoring business for over a decade now, Evon has grown a large base of skilled and passionate techies to keep all sort of requirements fully covered on need basis.

As a matter of fact, there’s a big pool of English speaking, skilled, talented and experienced workforce available in India. This also works well in Evon’s favor to provide you all the required resources at one place. So, partnering with Evon enables you to work on your product for 100 hours when your competition is working for 40 hours, that too without any hassles and without taking too long. Reduced time to market is the key to stand out competition, which Evon makes it possible for you.

#6 Risk: Resource Monitoring, Progress Tracking and Work Hours Spent

Description: Managing a team from a different corner of the world becomes a risky affair when there’s no solid means of monitoring resources and tracking their efficiency. Also, not being able to verify work hours spent on particular tasks and who is actually working on your project could lead to extended deadline and cost hike.

Evon’s Take: Real-Time Reporting and Tracking with our Project Management Tool FindNerd

Description: Evon has its own real-time reporting tool FindNerd which sports slick features for task creation, scheduling, monitoring, bug tracking, activity updates, and analytics. Clients can ensure complete transparency and veracity of the tasks worked on and the effort spent via sprints, session tracker and desktop screenshots of developers’ systems.

Although Evon’s tech leads and SMEs do code review before creating a test instance for clients, FindNerd helps ensure user acceptance by enabling clients to be in complete control of processes and management all the time through. Grab a good look at the features FindNerd offers and how it is distinct and better from others.

Last but not the Least

There is no denying that IT outsourcing has to offer many benefits to a business. But, one must not make the mistake of underestimating the risks associated with it. Evon analyzes all the risks associated with offshoring and makes efforts to mitigate them to ensure not only quality product delivery, but good client-vendor relationship as well.

The relationship between the Business organization and the Outsourcing partner are sustainable when there is openness in communication and sharing of concerns to resolve the issues. With time the trust is built and it becomes a mutually beneficial association. However, it is also essential that there is total commitment from the Business organization, at all levels, to support the outsourcing decision once made after considering all the tradeoffs, rather than one or more champions of the cause trying to push a reluctant organization.

Are you looking for an offshore IT consultant to help you take your business or product idea on the right path? Are you feeling the need to scale up your team to expand your product and add new features to it? Get in touch with us and fill the form, we promise to get back to you soon and get your offshoring journey started on a positive note.

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In the previous blog, we got a reasonable understanding of how a technology partner helps non-tech entrepreneurs build a successful tech startup. But, the quest to find a good tech partner that fits the purpose is often very tricky and requires to answer some critical questions. So, moving ahead, I am writing this blog to offer insight into what all important things a non-tech entrepreneur must consider before partnering with a technology service provider to make their startup a success. Let’s begin!!!

Looking for a Technology Partner: Here’s What to Consider

What are Your Technology Goals

Before you start looking for a technology service provider, you should draft what exactly needs to be developed and what the deliverable should be at each step of the process. Defining your goals helps the technology partner establish if your goals are realistic and can be achieved without having you to make any false promise to your customers. An honest tech partner won’t shy away from saying no if your requirements are not feasible for the real world.

It’s better to be too specific from the outset rather than facing a situation at a later stage where misunderstanding leads to redoing of the code over and over again to meet your expectations. The more details you provide about your needs and requirements, the easier it gets for a technology partner to do business analysis and be on the same page.

Do they have Expertise and Passion for Technology

For tech startups, it’s paramount to go for a technology partner that holds good experience in providing technology solutions and enjoys what they do. Some sort of research is required at your end to deduce how long and how well they have been faring in the technology market providing solutions similar to your requirements.

Also, you should look for solutions your competitors are providing to customers and what additional features you can provide to create solutions to their pain points. It’s a good idea to conduct a direct meeting with a technology service provider over Skype or face to face, if possible, to know what technology stack they have been using and how fast they adopt new technologies to keep pace with ever changing tech market.

Ask for Demo Product

Well, trusting an independent software vendor blindly could land you in big trouble. Therefore, before entering into a contract with a tech service provider you can ask for a prototype of your app/website. This helps you test and verify their skills and expertise to ensure they are the right fit for your dream project.

Project Management

Since requirements are likely to change with changing times, it becomes very difficult to make changes in a product that was completely developed at once. Therefore, you should go for a technology partner that follows Agile or DevOps approach as they enable developing a product in small iterations and have a working software ready at a very early stage of development. Besides, you can market a feature much faster and continuously build on customer feedback to meet their expectations.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Having a service level agreement (SLA) leaves no room for confusion. Both the service provider and receiver know what their responsibilities are and what exactly has to be developed and delivered while maintaining minimum quality levels laid out in the SLA. Metrics for SLA should cover the volume and minimum quality of work, speed, responsiveness and efficiency. Besides, an SLA should define mean time between failures (MTBF) or mean time to recovery, response, or resolution (MTTR).

Duration and Cost

A technology service provider just not shares the technology burden of your startup, but also helps reduce cost and time significantly. However, if you don’t lay out in the agreement the estimate cost and time to build your product, you may get charged higher that you thought or your budget allowed. So, make sure the agreement has the cost and time mentioned along with a provision for negotiating changes in the expected period of time. Read the contract between you and your service provider carefully to avoid any hidden costs.

Do they Test

Having different vendors for development and testing often exceeds the deadline. So, the better option is to choose a tech service provider that can do both product development and testing. When the development and the testing team are at the same place, they coordinate better and make iterations much faster. As a result, you can market your product faster and stay ahead of the competition.

Communication Skills

No matter how technically strong your service vendor is, they would simply not be able to align with your requirements if they failed to understand you. So, communication skills must not be trivialized while looking for a tech partner. The project manager and the team must have excellent communication skills to get a fair idea of even the finest details you share with them, be it spoken or written. They must also be able to raise queries and ask for information in clear terms to avoid delays in decision making.

Location of Technology Service Provider

Apart from skills and expertise, you should also take into consideration the location of your technology service provider. Since different locations have different government regulations, facilities, business environment, availability of resources, etc., you should go for the one that best suits your business. Countries, like India, have already become very popular for partnering with a technology service provider owing to the ease of cross-border business, abundance of resources and the ability to effectively adapt to different cultures.

After Sales Support

A software vendor that offers after sales support is always a better option since you may require to make changes or improvements after the release. So, post-production support should be in your list while looking for a tech partner.

Data Security Regulations and Intellectual property

Personal data security has become a big concern across the globe. So, choose a technology service provider that agrees to comply with the existing personal data regulations, like GDPR for European Union members. Also, agreeing a vendor upon signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) ensures to keep your confidential information/data safe. An ideal technology service provider uses the latest security protocols for data transmission and sharing, and codes the solutions using the latest security standards.

Conclusion

There are myriad of choices available when it comes to finding a technology service provider for a tech startup. Still, choosing the right technology partner is very tricky and confusing for non-tech entrepreneurs. However, if you carefully consider the tips I have discussed in the blog, you can protect yourself from making a wrong decision and adversely impacting your business. A right technology partner means time and cost saving while getting a top notch product developed to shape your dream idea into a reality.

Why Evon

Evon Technologies has over 10 years of experience in IT consulting, app development, web development, QA and testing, custom development, enterprise integration, offshore product engineering, application migration and application maintenance. Evon was a startup itself when incepted, therefore understands the pain points and struggles of a startup. Our expertise and passion for technology drive us to provide innovative technology solutions to all our startup clients, with the sole intention of bringing them desired growth and high ROI.

If you are looking for an offshore technology service provider for your startup, get in touch with us. Trust us, we won’t disappoint you. You can even test and try Evon before going into complete development and testing of your product.

What else, apart from already discussed, do you think one needs to consider before going for a tech partner? Which country is your preferred choice for finding a tech partner and why? We value your views, please share them in the comment box below.

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Gone are the days when only tech entrepreneurs were able to build a tech startup, followed by a lucrative business. The last decade has witnessed a host of non-tech entrepreneurs bringing out-of-the-box startup ideas to fruition and making hundreds of millions of dollars or even more annually. Airbnb, Uber, Alibaba, and Tinder are some of the most successful tech startups that came from non-technical entrepreneurs.

However, the most important question to ponder over here is how a low tech geek can turn their tech-startup vision into reality?

If you’re a non-technical entrepreneur looking forward to build a tech startup, you should be prepared to overcome various technology barriers from the outset. The most common technology challenges that non-tech entrepreneurs face include:

  • No knowledge of coding and no clarity over where to start from and how

  • Not aware of what new and trending technologies fit your dream startup

  • Confusion over what all features the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) should have

  • High cost of hiring and training an in-house team of experts to cover all technology requirements of your bootstrapped startup

  • Challenge to meet the deadline so the product can be marketed faster

  • Keep pace with changing market requirements to stay ahead of the competition

  • How to mitigate risks

However, there’s a way a non-technical entrepreneur can effectively overcome all these technology challenges. And that is, going for a technology partner or technology service provider. Let’s see, how?

How a Technology Partner helps Non-Tech Entrepreneurs bridge Technology Gaps

Hiring Techies

Finding the right talent is indeed the trickiest and the toughest part of a startup journey for non-tech entrepreneurs. Besides, a lot of time goes in the process of hiring and training, which often proves to be a bottleneck for a bootstrapped startup. This is where a technology provider proves to be a big help by providing top resources for your project in quick time and getting things started much sooner. So, a technology partner keeps you from scraping the bottom of the barrel and from getting your startup out of kilter.

Product Idea Viability Test via Proof of Concept

Most technology partners create a Proof of Concept (PoC) before starting to code in order to test viability and usability of your product idea. PoC helps determine whether a software idea can be implemented in the real world, what technology solutions should be used during the development phase, and what are the chances that users will adopt your product. Having the PoC is also a great means of convincing stakeholders that your startup idea is worth investing in and raise funds needed to strengthen the core business model.

Building a Successful MVP

Developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is the first attempt to take your tech startup off the ground. An MVP helps solve the most important and basic problems and include the most essential functions to capture and engage early adopters. But, creating an MVP is not as easy as it may sound and requires great technical expertise. If you’re an entrepreneur without a strong technical background, you should choose a technology service provider for converting your ideas and vision into an interactive product that has sufficient features to attract initial users and investors.

Reduced Operational and Infrastructural Cost

Since wages vary across the globe, the cost of hiring a technical workforce overseas with the desired expertise is much lower than that of hiring an in-house team. For example, offshore technology partners in India provide technical experts at a much lower cost than you would get in Western Europe or North America (The US and Canada). A technology partner also saves infrastructural costs for you as you don’t need to invest in expensive IT architecture and systems.

Nimble Product Development and Faster Time to Market

Increased speed to market (STM) has become a key to success for any startup. A technology partner saves you months of time that goes in hiring and building a team of developers before you start building your product. Many technology partners use Agile methodology for project management to quickly produce a basic version of the software product, tested after several successful iterations. Always remember, the faster your product reaches the marketplace, the higher the chances of your startup to become a success and stay ahead of competition.

Increased Focus on Core Business Goals

One of the major benefits of hiring a technology partner is that it frees your energies from the operation and lets you focus more on your core business tasks, such as sales and marketing strategy, meeting other vendors, growing your network of potential investors, better client relation, product feature initiatives, value added services, etc.

Better Risk Mitigation

Technology partners manage risks that come up during the development process much better than non-tech entrepreneurs, as it’s a part of their core business. They also supplement operations with disaster recovery mechanisms and detailed backup plans in order to quickly and effectively respond to situations such as natural calamities, accidents, market fluctuations or technical crises.

Quick & Effective Migration to new Technology

Technology service providers work on several different projects and keep updating themselves with latest technologies, such as cloud computing. As a result, they help you easily migrate to newer technologies with minimum downtime and without hampering productivity. Technology migration allows to have a high performing system that is scalable and easy to maintain at low cost.

Conclusion

Being inefficient at IT skills is no longer a roadblock for non-tech entrepreneurs to shape their innovative business ideas into successful startups. They can always go for a technology partner that believes in their idea and treats it like their own. The benefits are quality code, high productivity, reduced cost, access to specialized IT professionals, latest technologies, timely development, increased speed to market and many more. However, there are certain things to keep in mind while choosing a technology partner for successful product development, which I will be explaining in the next blog.

How Evon Can Help

Evon has 10 plus years of experience in software product development and consulting. At Evon, we are committed to provide expert level technical assistance to entrepreneurs with disruptive startup ideas. Feel free to get in touch with us if you have a creative startup idea and looking for a technology partner to turn your vision into reality. We will be glad to address any concerns that you have related to your product idea and to get your software project started in the right direction from the outset.

What would you prefer for your tech startup, a technology service provider or an in-house development team, and why? Do you agree with the statement that emerging technologies are making technology service providers even more important for non-tech entrepreneurs to build tech startups of modern day? We value your views, please share them in the comment box below.

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The European Union (EU) rolled out the General Data Protection Regulation- (GDPR) on May 25, 2018, bringing stringent reforms in data protection policy for residents of the European Union (EU). The goal of the GDPR is to provide individuals with robust data rights so that they are aware of and have control over how companies are collecting, storing and processing their personal data.

Why the EU adopted the GDPR?

The EU had the 1995 data protection directive in place, but it was before social media existed and before the Internet became a second home for people. The EU adopted the GDPR in April 2016 to supersede the obsolete directive that failed to address today’s public concerns over data security and had negligible non-compliance fines.

What Key Changes the GDPR brings to Protect Privacy and Data Breaches ?

Increased Data Security via Pseudonymization and Anonymization

The GDPR aims at safeguarding individuals (formally called as data subjects in the GDPR) against cybercrimes, like data loss, theft and unauthorized access. Under the GDPR, data controllers and processors have a mandatory obligation to use pseudonymization or complete data anonymization for stored data of people in the EU, so that no unwanted person/organization can track your personally identifiable information.

Explicit Consent before Processing your Data

The GDPR requires all organizations, except law enforcement and national security agencies, to seek explicit consent before collecting and processing personal information of data subjects. As per the new data protection framework, silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity will no longer be acceptable to constitute consent. Besides, the language in the consent form has to be plain and intelligible. Data subjects are also enabled to withdraw consent at any time they want.

Right to Data Access and Data Portability

The new data protection law improves data transparency and empowers data subjects by providing the right to data access. Data subjects can ask companies what personal data they hold on them and whether or not that data has been processed. If yes, then where, for what purpose, how it was processed and who gets to see it.

Data controllers and processors are required to provide a detailed copy of the actual data with other details in a structured, commonly used and machine readable form. Data subjects also have the right to data portability, meaning they can transmit their personal data for free to another controller, wherever relevant, in a simple and plain language.

Breach Notification

In the event of a data breach that poses high risk to the rights of data subjects, data controllers are required to notify their supervisory authority and the data subjects about the data breach within 72 hours. The GDPR exempts data controllers from the breach disclosure requirement only if a data breach is unlikely to have a high risk to data rights. But, they are still required to document the data breach internally, so that they can produce it whenever their data protection authority (DPA) asks for it.

Extended GDPR Jurisdiction

Extra-territorial GDPR applicability is one of the biggest changes in the new data protection law. So, no matter your company is established inside or outside the EU, if your business collects and processes data of EU data subjects or monitors them, you have to be GDPR compliant.

Right to Data Erasure and Rectification

EU data subjects are also enabled to have their personal data completely erased when withdrawing consent for reasons, like data being obtained unlawfully or not being relevant or not being used for the original purpose. The GDPR also provides data subjects the right to get their incomplete or inaccurate personal data rectified.

Hefty Penalties for GDPR Compliance Violations

Under the GDPR, any business catering to EU residents will become a subject to supersized fines if it fails to show full compliance with the GDPR as of May 25, 2018. A GDPR breach can cost a company up to 4% of it annual global turnover or €20 Million, whichever is greater. Hefty penalties for non compliance are highly likely to deter businesses from not adhering to the GDPR requirements.

With the GDPR coming into force, we can assume that data privacy breaches, like the recent Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, will not surface again, at least for the EU now. However, as with every policy, the GDPR is also not untouched by loopholes, which could still help unscrupulous companies to circumvent the GDPR. At this moment, we could only hope that the GDPR helps improve data security exactly the way it was intended for and eventually benefits the whole world, not just the EU.

Do you think that the GDPR has all that was required to stop privacy and data breaches? Do you foresee the GDPR spillover to the other parts of the world in near future? As always, your views are vital for us, please share them in the comment box below.


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DevOps has taken a center stage in software development in recent years, with more and more software-powered organizations embracing it to outperform competition and stay ahead of the growth curve.

DevOps is not a job or title or profession, but a cultural shift to unify development team (Dev) and IT operations team (Ops) to accelerate the delivery of a quality software, market it faster and maintain almost 100% up time. The software engineering culture of every company is different, and so does its way of adopting DevOps culture. However, no matter what DevOps strategy you adopt for your business, it must enable you to look at a bigger picture to keep pace with fast changing customer demands, provide innovative customer experiences and quickly respond to requests.

How DevOps goes a Step Further from Agile

Agile methodology is very well known in the software development world for making the software development process much faster and adapting to the changing customer needs much easier than Waterfall. Agile methodology brought the concept of building a software in small iterations, and eliminated the need of extensive pre-planned specifications.

However, one important thing that Agile largely missed was to bridge a gap between the Development team and the Operations team. Simply put, Agile provided the agility to development, but lost on operations, which still delayed the development process and releases.

DevOps was born out of this need to bring software development (Dev) and software operations (Ops) on the same page. As both the teams work in sync and think from each other’s point of view, they have a common goal to achieve: the success of the entire project, not just of their part.

The DevOps Software Development Cycle looks like Something Showed Below.

In order to develop a quality software fast and ensure successful deployment, DevOps involves processes such as automated build, test automation, continuous integration, continuous delivery, continuous improvement, continuous monitoring, configuration management, application and infrastructure monitoring, virtualization and containerization.

To perform these processes, DevOps heavily relies on automation tools, and without them, it becomes like a boat without oars. No matter however skilled the oarsmen are and however collaborative efforts they can make, they just won’t be able to move the boat without oars, right? The automation tools are the oars of your software boat here.

Key Advantages of DevOps Culture Adoption

As per the 2017 State of DevOps report by Puppet, high performing DevOps have achieved.

  • 46 times more frequent code deployments

  • 440 times faster lead time from commit to deploy

  • 96 times faster mean time to recover from downtime

  • 5 times lower change failure rate (changes are 1/5 as likely to fail)

Short Development Cycle

DevOps engineers build a software and test it in short cycles. Also, as developers and IT operations work in tandem with increased collaboration and communication, the small batches of engineered code is quickly moved to production. Besides, an automated technique of building and testing of code called continuous integration (CI) helps quickly push updates to customers.

CI lets developers to merge code changes in a central repository, after which automated builds and test runs takes place. This makes it possible to catch bugs much earlier, and therefore saves lot of time in moving the code to production. CI refers to the build stage of software development release and ensures that customers get the value they desire.

Fast Releases

Since software is developed in short cycles, deployment happens at a much faster rate. So, the release time that usually takes 3-6 months is significantly reduced to a daily release build cycle. A new feature that customer needs can be marketed much faster as a direct result. Continuous delivery (CD) is a software development practice that automates the release process so that customers get new updates in a quick and reliable manner. Besides, developers deploy code changes as early as possible by releasing small batches to production. Therefore, it significantly cuts down the time it takes to validate and release new software updates.

More Stable Software Deployment

Having to work with the development team much before software deployment makes the operations team have a stronger understanding of the database and system architecture. This leads to more stable deployments. Infrastructure as Code (IaC), which means writing code to manage configurations and automate provisioning of infrastructure, allows better testing and quality control, more efficient and predictable deployments, and decreased recovery times. IaC also simplifies the Cloud migration process while ensuring security and efficiency.

Meets Client Expectations

As customers get to interact with QAs and see some form of working software at the end of and during each iteration, they provide quick and valuable feedback. The QA team then communicates with the development team to work on client feedback. As a result, the development team easily makes necessary changes along with bug fixes in the next release, and therefore meets customer expectations and keeps them satisfied with the product.

Innovative Customer Experiences

As software development teams collaborate with product owners and customers as well, they have a clear understanding of their needs. Therefore, they feel encouraged to experiment and find innovative solutions to address those specific customer needs. Also, as most of the tasks are automated, team members get more time to identify areas where products and services can be improved. DevOps culture makes a big difference when it comes to end-user experience.

Responsiveness to Change

One of the top virtues of DevOps approach is that it allows to constantly adapt to a rapidly changing market environment. Since what is popular today might become obsolete tomorrow and it’s also not possible to define all the requirements at the very time a new idea is brought up, having the ability to adapt to a change becomes paramount to stay relevant and ahead of your competition.

DevOps model enables developers to introduce a change at any given point of time, even after the product is completely developed.

Reduced Failure Rates

No software is free of failures. But Continuous Improvement Process (CIP) in DevOps plays an important role in reducing failure rates. As all team members continuously assess and iterate to enhance products and services, chances of failures become slim. Besides, unlike previous models, short release cycles ensure that not hundreds of changes go in one big release, which greatly reduces the chances of failure. A continuous aim to identify issues and make changes to resolve them makes DevOps culture a big success in software development business.

Makes Employees more Productive and Happier

Automation plays a big role in increasing productivity of DevOps engineers. The time that is saved from performing manual tasks is used by developers to produce higher quality code faster. They also get time to use their creative minds to find interesting solutions to customer-side problems, and help improve the app/software sometimes even beyond customer’s expectations.

Happier employees is also a gift of DevOps culture. As different teams don’t do a handoff job and increasingly communicate and collaborate with each other, no contention related to their different roles occurs during the software development and delivery process. They think and work from each other’s perspective to reduce bottlenecks and focus on developing a great product that keeps everyone including all team members and customers happy.

There is no denying that DevOps is the future of software development. A cultural shift that encourages collaboration and communication between teams and automates the development and deployment tools is certainly a big stepping stone towards achieving a lot in a short span of time and satisfying all customer needs. However, to make DevOps a success for your business, you need to figure out effective ways to implement it, as DevOps is not a job but a culture that is personal for every team.

For any queries related to DevOps and agile software production, leave your comments in the comment box below.

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Application requirements have changed drastically in recent years. For any application to succeed in this era of cloud computing, big data and IoT, going reactive is increasingly becoming a norm.

Today’s users embrace applications that have milliseconds of response time, 100% uptime, lower latency, higher throughput and scalability. However, these features are nearly impossible to achieve by using yesterday’s software architecture that enabled applications having tens of servers, long response time, hours of offline maintenance and gigabytes of data. There’s now a need for systems that are built for distributed environment, and which can deal effectively with petabyte of data and cloud-based clusters running thousands of multi-core processors.

This is a major reason why many businesses are adopting Reactive Systems for building applications that provide high-end user-experience and help beat the competition.

Let’s get into details of what Reactive Systems bring on the table for your application and how they work.

Top Four Traits of Reactive Systems:

Responsiveness

If an application user doesn’t get timely response, they will go somewhere else because they are not getting the value they expect from your application. Having a reactive System prevents that by responding in real-time. Besides, such systems are capable of detecting errors quickly and fixing them effectively. Being able to provide consistent response times helps comply with tighter SLAs of today, grow confidence in end users and make your app highly interactive.

Responsiveness heavily relies on two other aspects of Reactive Systems: Resilience and Elasticity. Let’s see how.

Resilience

If a system is not resilient, it will not be able to respond under failure, making responsiveness a lost feature of your app. By using replication, isolation and delegation, you can have a Reactive System that is resilient and responsive even under failure. When components are isolated from each other, they can fail and recover without leading to the failure of the system as a whole. Delegation allows another (external) component to take the responsibility of recovery of each component, whereas replication ensures high-availability whenever required.

Elasticity

As workload can vary from time to time, your application should have the ability to stay responsive even under high workload. According to Reactive Manifesto, “Reactive Systems can react to changes in the input rate by increasing or decreasing the resources allocated to service these inputs.”

Isolation of components from each other and no sharing of resources pave the way for replication. Which translates into running multiple instances of a component at once and splitting the inputs between them. The inputs become asynchronous messages, allowing instances to independently receive different messages. All the instances only deal with the messages they receive, and do not show concern for ordering of a message in relation to other messages. Also, there’s no need to care about how other instances are dealing with their messages.

As a result, it becomes possible to scale up or scale down as many or as few instances of a component running at once as required. This property of growing or shrinking as needed is referred to as “elasticity”.

Message-Driven

Reactive systems are message-driven and use asynchronous message-passing to create a boundary between components. This brings the much-needed loose coupling, isolation and location transparency in the systems. With a boundary established between components, failures go as messages.

Due to this message-driven nature, the system responds in a sensible way when any component comes under stress. The component can’t fail, so it sends a message to the system, telling the fact that it needs other components to reduce its load. This feature is called back-pressure. Message queue monitoring and action-taking ability makes the system capable of managing load, elasticity, and flow control.

How Loose Coupling boosts Performance of Reactive Applications?

Going reactive means using a set of design principles to create cohesive pieces of software that solve individual problems efficiently through “separation of concerns” and “loose coupling”. The architecture of Reactive Systems is so designed that multiple individual components of the software conflate as a single unit and react to changes.

To better understand, let’s take an example. A software that has tightly coupled components would look something like this.

It might be your hard work, but it will not be able deal effectively with a change. All of them would probably fall if anyone of them moves out of the place. So, if your software does not have components that are independent of each other, they won’t be able to work properly in the absence of others.

Now, look at this.

Well, this is made of small reusable components that can be arranged in different ways to solve different problems.

But, think about the effort and the cost that will take for converting it into something showed below.

Besides high cost and time, this might also prove to be a headache for your technical team.

The Takeaway: even if your software architecture has small, reusable pieces, it’s not enough to effectively deal with a change, as new requirements may demand a complete rewrite of huge parts of your system.

Now, look at this.

The picture says it all about how easy it is to change from one shape to another. All you need is to add some toothpicks and balls or remove them to create a different shape. Since the balls are totally decoupled from each other, they can be easily linked with any other through a common interface (the toothpick).

Such a software architecture design makes it possible to effectively react to a change and solve different problems through resilience, elasticity and responsiveness. The picture has its limits and just serves as an example to make it easier to understand what do we mean by decoupling or loose coupling.

What Reactive Programming holds for Reactive Systems?

Reactive Programming is a popular method of writing codes to create components and compose workflows in Reactive Systems. The programming method is event-driven and helps increase utilization of computing resources on multicore and multi-CPU hardware. Besides, developers using Reactive Programming find it easy to deal with asynchronous and nonblocking I/O. What makes Reactive Programming a good fit for developing Reactive Systems is the removal of explicit coordination between active components.

Below are some links to case studies of businesses going reactive, and thereby boosting growth

How America’s largest telecommunications provider Verizon is drawing benefits from going reactive

UK’s online gaming leader invests big on reactive to drive personalization

Walmart sees 20% hike in conversion rates after going reactive

Wix.com user base grows from 5 to 50 million after going reactive

The idea of going reactive is not new as dates back to 1970s. However, it’s only been in the past few years that the emergence of new tools and technologies have helped developers turn the idea into reality by composing complex tasks with ease. Going by the context of multicore, Cloud and Mobile architectures, the future of modern web is reactive. Business giants, like Netflix, Slack, Microsoft and Facebook, have already started to power themselves by going reactive, with many more businesses awaited to jump on what has now become the bandwagon.

For any queries related to Reactive Systems and Reactive Programming, get in touch with us using the comment box below.

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The world of finance is set for a big change. Two disruptive innovations, Cognitive Computing and Blockchain, have attracted some serious attention in the finance world for the potential they have showed to revolutionize finance industry. There’s also pressure mounting on financial institutions to adopt new technologies for more competence, new customer experiences and efficiency savings.

Dutch bank ING, Dubai-based Emirates NBD and Deutsche Bank are among some financial services leaders which have already earmarked hefty amounts for strengthening their digital capabilities by using the power of cognitive computing and blockchain. The IBM Watson Platform has also created a lot of buzz to help remove the complexity of financial system by providing an “insight as a service.”

How Cognitive Computing and Blockchain are Shaping the Future of Financial Services?

Cognitive Computing, a term coined by IBM, simulates the functioning of human brain in a computerized model. The goal of cognitive computing is to use self-learning algorithms that use data mining, predictive analytics, pattern recognition and natural language processing that mimic human-like intelligence.

Deep learning algorithms and neural networks play a crucial role in development of cognitive systems that can acquire knowledge from the data they are exposed to by mining data for information. The system learns more and become more accurate as it gets exposed to more data over time.

Implications of Cognitive Computing for finance industry

Financial institutions have very large sets of data at their disposal, but they have not been able to take full advantage of them for years. “We all have mounds and mounds of data, but getting data to produce insight, that is the holy grail", said Cathy Bessant, chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America Corp, during the Fintech Ideas Festival.

Banks cater to millions of customers of different income, age, location and needs. However, customers often get fed up with financial institutions targeting them with products that don’t suit their requirements. Cognitive computing could play a big role here to end such stereotypical approaches for targeting customers.

Using cognitive technology, financial institutions can unlock the power of unstructured data, understand different requirements of customers and treat them as individuals, not faceless entities. Relationship building is another strong advantage that banks can pull using cognitive technology.

Cognitive computing provides a way to determine an individual's personality via historical data and analysis. Therefore, financial institutions can tell an advisor the type of engagement strategy they need to devise to interact and build relationship with a particular customer.

Having such an ability increases the chances by many folds to sell right products to different customers and drive value out of the relationship. Besides, cognitive systems do not require human efforts to interact, engage and advise customers on the investment options that are most likely to bring them good returns.

What Blockchain Holds for Finance Industry?

Blockchain is another revolutionary technology that could see high adoption rate across various sectors, not just financial services, in coming years. Blockchain was used to create the first ever cryptocurrency, called Bitcoin. It’s now widely believed that Blockchain will become the future of transaction processing in financial services.

Click here to learn how Blockchain works

Blockchain is a decentralized ledger of transactions that are cryptographically secured. Every transaction is stored in a block and each block is linked to the preceding one using advanced cryptography. As new transactions happen, new blocks are generated and linked to preceding ones in a chain of blocks that can’t be reversed or deleted.

“Blockchain is so profound it will do for trusted transactions what the internet did for information,” said IBM Corp's president and chief executive Ginni Rometty. Rometty also described blockchain as one of the most transformative technologies for finance.

Use cases of Blockchain in Financial Services

Cross border payment is currently an expensive and slow process. Blockchain has a great potential to expedite the international money transfer process and significantly cut remittance costs, from 5-20% to 2-3%.

Smart contract is another most promising application of Blockchain technology, allowing to execute commercial transactions and agreements automatically. Also, there’s no need to pay a middleman to provide products such as Letters of Credit and enforce the obligations of all parties in a contract. Smart contracts provide exciting opportunities for trade finance as well.

Blockchain also gives rise to identity management, removing the complex know-your-customer verification approach that banks follow to identify their customers. Currently, official identity documents and some form of face-to-face checking is required to avail a loan, buy a house, settle a car insurance claim, etc.

Once identity management moves to Blockchain, users will be able to choose how they identify themselves and and have a control over who all can see their identity.

User registration still needs to be done though to create a digital identity, but only for once. The user will not have to register again for every service provider who is also connected to the Blockchain. Digital identity saves a lot time and cost that goes into information and document exchange between multiple parties.

Narrowing down the gap between finance and technology has become the need of the hour for financial institutions to stay competitive and meet increasing demands of customers. Many financial institutions have already started to ramp up investments in Cognitive Computing and Blockchain technology development to offer innovative and effective solutions to customers. That said, it’s right to say that the finance industry of today will look very different by 2030.

Do you really think that the advent of Blockchain and Cognitive Computing will reshape the future of finance industry? Is there any fear associated with the adoption of the two disruptive technologies in financial services? As always, your views are vital for us, please share them in the comment box below.

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The Internet has revolutionized our lives in every possible and positive way we can think of. Although the Internet has become an inextricable part of our life, making it much convenient for us to shop online, renew car insurance, hunt for a job, or research for things that matter to us, there’s a dark side attached to it as well, i.e. loss of private information.

Do we really need to worry about our personal information that rests precariously on the Internet?

If you are a regular Internet user, you must have come across several websites asking for your personal information, like date of birth, email address, phone number, marital status, residential address, etc., before providing you the access to their content and offerings.

However, have you ever pondered over the fact that many of them don’t need your personal information to do business with you, but they still ask for it. And in many cases, users provide their personal information, thinking that their private information is safe as such websites strictly adhere to their privacy policy.

But in reality, your personal information, including bank details or credit card numbers that many people use to shop online on retail sites or mobile apps, is still subject to data leak or data hack. Whatever we do on the Internet, we leave a digital trail that can be exploited by data hackers or data miners. There’s also no denying the possibility of your data being sold by unscrupulous websites to book their profit.

We take emails as safe as the message content is protected by encryption technique. However, no encryption is used for the “metadata” that goes with the message as it’s required by the internet routing system. The metadata can reveal vital part of our private information we share through emails.

The big reason we need to worry about data security breach and hack attack is that our confidential information could go in wrong hands, putting us at the risk of fraud, identity theft, unsolicited selling and marketing, blackmail, etc. Since mobile is increasingly becoming the central medium of accessing the Internet, it’s also important to highlight the repercussions attached to it in terms of personal data extraction and misuse.

How do Mobile Apps get Access to Your Personal Data?

If you have ever installed an app from Google Play Store, you must have agreed to its endless “Terms and Conditions” before starting using it. Chances are high that you have never read them in full, like many of us who prefer to skip the long list of permissions Google Play apps, before accepting them.

By agreeing to “Terms and Conditions”, you actually allow those apps to get inadvertent access to your confidential information like contacts, messages (including bank transactions and one time passwords), photo/media files, device and app history, etc. It becomes important here to understand whether free apps are attempting to make money from in-app purchases or selling your data.

Think about a picture editing app that asks for permission to access your phone camera and media files. Well, it makes sense as the app requires the access to your mobile camera and media files in order to edit pictures saved in your mobile or to click a new picture it can edit. However, aren’t permissions required by a photo editing app to access unnecessary content, like contacts, messages or phone call details, enigmatic? There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be wary of such apps, right?

Many app developers also integrate third-party libraries that allow push ads and other content of external entities on their apps. Since attackers can easily exploit poorly written code of an app or third party libraries, chances of your personal data to be compromised increase by many folds.

Lesson Learnt: Several app developers or data miners can easily access and misuse your private information on the pretext of fulfilling app functionality and providing good mobile experience.

Measures Internet Users must take to Safeguard Privacy and Security Online:

  • Always use an effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software on a computer for entering account or other sensitive information, like bank details.

  • Before revealing your private information to a particular website, read the privacy policy carefully. And, if the site agrees to not share your data with external parties in exchange of money or any other benefit, then only give them your personal details.

  • Never enter confidential information on sites that do not have “https” in the beginning of their URLs. “S” means secure. Also, you should log out from secured sites after finishing your transaction.

  • Never use free hotspots for online banking or online shopping. Free, public wi-fi is too luring to ignore, but you never know who else is watching and tracking your online activity.

  • Cloud storage is also quickly picking pace, but it’s important to go for vendors that provide full protection and data backup against hack attacks.

  • Beware of unknown downloads as websites like torrent downloaders and streaming sites could pose a data-leak threat via ‘drive-by’ downloads. Without your knowledge, such websites download sniffers and keyloggers in the background that act as malware and track your keystrokes. To block such downloads, use an antivirus solution with a firewall.

  • For safe Internet browsing, keep deleting cookies from time to time. Using a virtual private network (VPN) is also a good measure to keep your IP address and user data protected by routing all your data through a proxy server.

  • Update privacy settings on social media sites and search sites, like Facebook and Google. As per default privacy settings, your information is shared publicly. You can allow your personal information to be seen by fewer people or those you trust by making changes under a “settings” menu option.

  • Use strong passwords and regularly change them. Never reveal your passwords or other confidential information on texts, emails or phone.

  • Phishing attacks have become common. So, if an email appears to be suspicious and asks for your personal details, check the company details before furnishing it with the information it’s asking for. It could be an attempt to divulge your personal information for misuse. Also, never use your work email address for personal use.

  • If you often make purchases online, don’t save your payment information for future purchases.

Data broking is a fast growing industry and generates approximately $200-billion per year now. It’s true that we value the convenience the Internet has added to our lives. But, it’s also true that the Internet has become a double-edged sword now and could hurt us if not handled with care.

What according to you Internet users can do more to avoid their personal data being misused or hacked? How big do you think data security breach threat is? Your views are highly welcome, please add them in the comment box below.

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We would all agree that learning is pivotal to achieving any goal in the world. However, the set goal could only be achieved fully if the learning is interesting, engaging and motivating. Textbook learning is gradually losing its ground as learners find it boring, offering them no to little visual element to be able to actually see what they are learning. Many studies have also proved that we remember less of what we read and more of what we see.

Now, think of how quickly and effectively we all had started learning playing games, like Hopscotch, Four Square, Jump Rope, Badminton, and many more. Not did only we learn those games well, but enjoyed and had loads of fun too. Having agreed upon this, we could say that gaming is one of the best ways not just to learn something, but improve concentration, cognition and participation rather than merely reading out a book.

This is one of the top reasons why Gamification is quickly turning out to be a paradigm shift in learning space now. Gamification is a technique that uses game mechanics for even non-gaming activities, like elearning. Game-based learning products are becoming more and more popular everyday among e-learners because they are interactive, engaging, motivating, and have the fun element involved, which learners widely miss in traditional page-turner courses.

Let’s gain insight into crucial factors that make gamification a boon to elearning.

How Gamification Aids e-learning

#1 Makes e-learning Interactive and Entertaining

Image source: eLearning Industry

For a learner, it’s very important to feel excited about what they are learning, which is often not the case with traditional e-learning methods. Gamified e-learning scores big here by bringing in fun and interactive elements.

Learners feel excited to take up new tasks and perform them successfully without getting bored or feeling demotivated. When learning becomes fun and exciting, learners get the feeling of immersion, which also gives them the ownership of their learning.

KnowRe is one such gamification tool that lets middle and high school students learn mathematics in a fun-filled environment. The math program also has interactive learning map to show the students’ performance and motivate them to reach their full potential.

#2 Gives a Sense of Achievement

Image Source: Christening - WordPress.com

Having successfully passed a level in a game fills players with a feel-good-factor, which further motivates them to keep playing and making new achievements. Likewise, gamification in e-learning also helps learners get a sense of achievement after passing a level, which impels them to score more points and move to a higher level, thereby making gamified learning engaging and captivating.

Ribbon Hero, a game developed by Microsoft, lets people to learn MS Office by completing short and relevant tasks, like formatting or inserting graphs. Since tasks are short, it doesn’t take learners too long to complete them, which gives them a sense of achievement related to their learning progress and fuels their motivation to reach and pass higher levels.

#3 Better Learning Experience

Gamification gives learners the freedom to learn without having to worry about failure. If they fail to pass a level, they have the option to try again without any negative aura of having previously failed surrounding them. Therefore, game-based e-learning provides a positive learning environment where learners feel enthusiastic and interested.

Image Source:Opiskelijankaupunki

To cite an example, Duolingo lets people to learn a language by taking challenges related to speaking, listening and translation. Since learners are not experts, they are highly likely to fail at some level. However, the interesting point is that they can always start over and try again without having the feeling of being a failure or looser. Such a learning environment keeps the learners positive and motivated to keep trying and succeed in their bid to learn a language.

#4 Gives Rise to Microlearning

Learners find it difficult to grasp complex concepts through one entire course. Gamification comes handy here as it divides e-learning courses in small segments that usually take learners about 3-5 min to complete. So, learning becomes a step-by-step process wherein learners feel motivated to fulfill prerequisites that are required to unlock new learning segment. Gamified rewards, like badges, points, etc, nicely connect learning paths to help complete the learning process in a much easier and effective way.

Image Source: GSV Capital

For example, curious.com has nearly 25,000 lessons on virtually any topic. Based on your area of interest, it sends you mini lessons on daily basis to help you achieve your monthly learning goals. Learners get to build their Curiosity Quotient (CQ) by taking up micro lessons everyday for 30 minutes or 15 minutes or even five minutes.

#5 Provides Feedback to Keep Track of Learning Progress

Gamified learning helps learners keep the track of their learning progress by providing them feedback. As a result, learners quickly learn from their mistakes and complete their learning journey much earlier than traditional elearning. Feedback is a very important factor in any field to let learners figure out what’s going wrong with their efforts, and quickly find a fix to improve and perform better.

Image Source: SlideShare

Salesforce with Nitro/Bunchball is a tool that provides real-time feedback to employees to have better product knowledge and deliver strong performance. Immediate feedback on employee behavior also helps employees make the best of their targeted campaigns.

#6 Long-term Knowledge Retention

Image Source: Capytech

Use of work role simulation or life-like situations in gamified e-learning allows learners not just to effectively acquire new knowledge, but fit it in the long-term memory as well. Findings of a research conducted by Professor Traci Sitzmann, at the University of Colorado Denver Business School, have also showed that playing video games helped players acquire 11% higher factual knowledge level, 9% higher retention rate and 14% higher skill-based knowledge level.

Having gained knowledge imprinted in long-term memory makes gamified e-learning way better and effective than traditional page-turner courses.

Image Source: Pinterest

MCDONALDS: TILL TRAINING GAME is designed to use a simulation of the new till system. The game features a realistic setup which contains restaurants, characters resembling customers and a narrative to take orders and deal with different customers. The game has proved to significantly improve the long-term knowledge retention rate of employees by allowing them to deliver customer experience in an environment that seems real.

#7 Causes Positive Behavioral Changes

Gamification can also be used to encourage behavioral change and instil the desired attitude in learners. Gamified e-learning appreciates and rewards learners for their good behavior via reward points, certification badges, etc. Behavior is one of the major factors for any person to grow and become successful in their respective fields, which could be effectively attained through gamified learning.

Image Source: EnGaming - WordPress.com

ClassRealm is a gamification tool that allows teachers to encourage better behavior patterns and creativity. Students get to learn positive behavior by helping out their classmates, and get rewarded for exhibiting the desired behavior.

Major Factors Driving Growth in Game-Based Learning Market

  • More positivity in corporate sector towards gamified learning has been driving the adoption rate up for sometime now.

  • University and college students are finding edugames as an excellent platform to learn complex things effectively in a fun-filled and motivational environment.

  • Increasing popularity of language learning apps, predominantly English and Chinese.

  • High demand for early childhood game-based learning.

  • Widespread popularity of brain trainer games.

  • Decline in legacy learning technology and upsurge in modern learning technologies like gamified learning.

Different Types of Game-Based Learning Products

  • Social games

  • E-learning courseware

  • Online audio and video content

  • Mobile games

  • Wearables for Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality or Mixed Reality-based e-learning

A new report by Metaari, a commercial analysis firm that tracks advanced learning technology, gives figures to understand how the game-based learning market is faring worldwide and how much it is expected to grow in coming years. Check below.

Game-Based Learning Products Market and Forecast

  • The current global growth rate of game-based learning products is 20.2%.

  • Revenue generated from the sales of game-based learning products touched the $3 billion mark in 2017.

  • Global revenue to be generated through the sales of game-based digital learning products will surge to $8.1 billion by 2022.

Gamified e-learning is radically transforming the learning landscape and firmly setting to become the learning technology of the future. Furthermore, the emergence of new technologies, like Artificial Intelligence, Virtual & Augmented Reality, Machine Learning and Cloud Computing, looks promising to rapidly lift up the adoption rate of game-based learning products in near future. At this juncture, it won’t be a hyperbole to say that integration of game mechanics and new technologies could bring gamified elearning to the mainstream in the next 10 years.

Would you like to gamify your e-learning course to bring out the best in your employees? What according to you is the most fascinating benefit of gamified e-learning? Your views are vital for all our readers, please share them in the comment box below.

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Blockchain is one of the most discussed buzzwords among tech entrepreneurs of today. Although the concept of blockchain was first introduced in 1991 by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta, the tech community started to realize its incredible potential after it gave birth to the first cryptocurrency and digital payment system, called Bitcoin, in 2009.

What led to Bitcoin’s success the most was a digital decentralized system that made peer-to-peer transactions possible without requiring an intermediary, such as a bank, for verification. Each Bitcoin transaction is verified by network nodes (members on the network) to prevent double-spend and added to a chain of blocks, called a public distributed ledger. The so-called Blockchain is nothing but this immutable growing chain of encrypted blocks.

For the better readability and navigation, here's a summary of what industries or applications we'll cover in this article. You can choose and jump to a topic of your interest or simply keep scrolling down the whole article as you read:



How Does Blockchain Work?

Image source: Red Piranha

Once a block is generated after grouping transactions in it, miners compete against each other to find a hash that is accurate for that particular set of transactions. Once the correct hash is found, the miner distributes it, along with the hash of the previous block, throughout the network. After consensus of other members, the block is added to the most recent block of the block chain.

Each block in the blockchain is linked to the previous block and can’t be deleted or edited once added. Even a slight change in the block that was already verified and added will change the hash of the block, which the network will identify as duplicate and prevent the attempt to double spend. The blockchain has a complete record of transactions right from the genesis block to the most recent one, which makes it transparent and highly secured.

Two types of Blockchain: Public Blockchain and Private Blockchain

Both public blockchain and private blockchain have similar functionality, except the fact that the identity of participants remains anonymous on a public blockchain. Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ethereum Gold are the examples of public blockchain where users can perform transactions without revealing their real identity.

Private blockchain, on the other hand, allows access only after identifying and knowing the identity of users. Private blockchain are of more use to banks and payment services as it enables them to retain some degree of control and revenue potential. For example, NASDAQ uses private blockchain.

Blockchain technology was initially predominant in financial sector, but imaginative entrepreneurs are now developing more blockchain applications besides the currency. This blog attempts to explore areas other than cryptocurrency where we are likely to see possible uses of blockchain technology in coming years.

Blockchain Applications Apart from Cryptocurrency

Energy

Blockchain is a very promising technology for the energy sector, as it removes a centralized authority for delivering energy transactions across a distributed network.

Using a blockchain platform like Ethereum or Ethereum Gold, a “smart contract” can be easily created between energy buyers and sellers to autonomously and securely regulate both supply and payment. If the customer fails to make a payment for energy consumed, the smart contract will automatically stop the power supply until the payment has been made.

Smart contracts are also capable of balancing supply and demand to effectively manage microgrids, virtual power plants, storage, etc. For example, the Brooklyn MicroGrid project by LO3 Inc. provides a blockchain-based decentralized system to energy providers to sell locally-produced electricity to their neighbours who don’t have solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. The project creates a local, neighborhood-powered grid that can be operated parallely to the main grid.

So, even if the main grid goes down, the microgrid will keep providing electricity to homes. It’s like turning homes into connected power stations. Besides, real-time metering of energy generation and consumption, and sending data across the network via Internet of Things (IoT) lead to collective and effective energy management.

Blockchain projects are also happening in European Oil and gas sector for faster transactions with reduced costs. Energimine is another blockchain initiative that aims at reducing global energy consumption by allowing individuals to buy and sell #Energy through its peer-to-peer marketplace using green energy tokens.

Distributed Cloud Storage

Another blockchain application that will help businesses is Distributed Cloud Storage. Cloud services, such as Dropbox, Amazon, and Google drive, are currently being offered as a centralized solution, which means that you have to trust a single party to keep your data safely. However, blockchain technology gives rise to distributed cloud storage, which makes it possible to keep your data with multiple parties, not just one. It also allows to rent out excess hard drive space, which will increase the currently available size of cloud storage by many folds and reduce the cost to store data.

Storj is a company that provides blockchain-based, end-to-end encrypted, distributed storage. It first encrypts your data, and then sends out to a network, as a measure to prevent data breach issues. Only you have the access to your data.

Blockchain technology also supports the concept of decentralized applications (Dapps), which can communicate with multiple servers or devices on the same network from any geographical location. Dapps can run concurrently on both the client side and within a blockchain based distributed network. The client side of Dapps is connected to the front-end and user credentials, whereas the blockchain network takes care of the processing and storage requirements.

Smart Property

Image source: Lets Talk Payments

Blockchain technology also facilitates the creation of “Smart Property”, which tells who is the actual owner of a property, like car, phone, etc., without requiring a verification from any central authority. So, if an authority questions the ownership of your physical or non-physical property, you can simply show them numbers of blockchain confirmations that you are the rightful owner.

Blockchain is currently more feasible for electronic property, like computers, as they can be designed to respond only to their blockchain-designated owners. Autonomous cars can also be designed to respond only to their rightful owners, not strangers or thieves. Only the holder of the correct cryptographic token can activate the car’s engine.

Blockchain technology and IoT will have to go hand-in-hand to make the concept of smart property a reality. If a report by Cisco is to believed, nearly 50 billion devices will come online by 2020, which if turns out to be true will make the role of blockchain technology very crucial in recording transactions and increasing coordination between devices.

Blockchain Internet of Things (IoT) Use Cases:

  • Connected Vehicles

  • Smart Appliances

  • Supply Chain Sensors

Healthcare

Blockchain technology holds great promises to revolutionize healthcare sector. Health industry has been long facing health data management challenges, like patient consents, data siloes, data ownership, information governance and conflicts arising from changes made by multiple sources. Distributed ledger technology can address those concerns by making patients’ data fully secured and providing them full control over their sensitive information, such as mental health data.

Blockchain could resolve Medical Woes

A decentralized system makes it possible to exchange a patient’s medical history, like blood group or a disease that the patient was earlier diagnosed with, with every health organization in a secured manner. So, if a patient was rushed to a hospital they didn’t have a previous relationship, a lot of time will be saved in understanding what disease the patient is suffering with and what type of care they need, which in most cases proves to be life-saving. Patients can also restrict their medical information to only a few members of the blockchain.

Blockchain technology also provides a fix for removing discrepancies and errors from active medication lists, a problem that is rife worldwide. If a patient has been prescribed a new medicine that they have discontinued as advised by another member of the care team, the blockchain provides the power to the patient to not let the edit to be added to the chain.

Also, if a patient has been prescribed a medicine that it identical to the medicine recommended by another doctor, the blockchain will recognize it as duplicate and prevent the patient from taking the same medicine. If a patient wants to discontinue a medication, a notification to a primary care will spark a discussion over the potential health issues the patient can face due to removing the medication from the health record, which could keep the patient from discontinuing the medication.

Since blockchain makes it possible to keep individuals and their records together, issues related to misidentification of patients can also be dealt deftly. Blockchain has numerous positive implications for health sector to ensure cooperative and long-term management of patients across multiple care settings. IBM Watson Health and the FDA have already collaborated to understand how blockchain technology could help the health IT infrastructure to grow and become more advanced.

Machine Learning

Image source: Google Sites

Machine learning (ML) refers to algorithms that make computers capable of learning from data to make predictions or take actions. Businesses are now increasingly feeling the need of automating their systems using machine learning AI. However, the major roadblock to achieve so is the requirement of tremendous computational power. This is where blockchain fits nicely by providing distributed computational power to solve machine learning computations.

TensorBit is a good example of how blockchain technology could be used to solve machine learning problems. Unlike Bitcoin where miners solve hash functions, TensorBit encourages miners to solve machine learning problems and artificial intelligence computations that many companies are looking for.

Besides, it’s API notifies companies about the amount of computational power that is being used to solve their machine learning problems. So, you only pay for the computational power that is required to solve your machine learning problem.

The Proof of Work Concept

TensorBit ensures that the work is not fake and does not have more work than required for a particular machine learning problem by using the proof of work concept. Such an initiative helps find quick solutions for machine learning problems without having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to set up isolated high performance machines. Therefore, it could bring down the time to build actionable machine learning models, like training a self-driving car, from days to hours to seconds.

Currently, ML based batch data analytics takes place in the cloud, which is a centralized architecture. Fog computing has also become popular among IoT networks as it improves performance by a big extent. However, these architectures face challenges of accurate content distribution at every node. Blockchain could be the key here as it allows to create one trusted copy of the database to every participating node. Every entry in the blockchain database has to pass a consensus protocol and can’t be modified once added, which makes every copy trustworthy.

Digital Identity

Image source: SlideShare

Blockchain technology also has use cases for digital identity creation, which provides individuals greater control over who accesses their information and how. Blockchain technology could also remove the complex know-your-customer verification approach that banks follow to identify their customers. It makes it possible to prove your identity to anyone in the world by showing them your list of digital identity transactions.

There is no risk of lost identity as the decentralized model keeps your ID everywhere in the network, therefore the failure of one element will not break the entire chain.

Travel

Image source: TravelCarma Blog

Blockchain technology could also prove to be a boon for the travel industry by allowing seamless management of flight, accommodation, transportation, and tour reservations through a smart contract-based DAO (distributed autonomous organization). Smart contracts make it possible for travelers to always stay on top of their travel plans by easily tracking, orchestrating, and updating changes in travel details.

Travelers are often concerned with document security in a foreign country. Using a blockchain based decentralized storage, travelers can store their important documents that are required during their travel in a secured way. Besides, they can make payments using a cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, or exchange it with any of the fiat currencies without a hassle.

Blockchain also addresses the issue of double bookings as every transaction in the blockchain is recorded using timestamping after a consensus from the members in the network, and they can’t be reversed or edited once recorded.

Mitrav is one blockchain-based travel app which makes it easier for travelers to find like-minded people to travel with and easily book hotels, restaurants using cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. The app aims at reducing the culture and communication gap by providing multiple language support. A smart contract-based chat feature in the app also allows to reach an agreement with other travelers and agents. You can also send payments using the chat feature without worrying about currency exchange and rates.

German airline giant Lufthansa has also partnered with “Winding Tree”, a Swiss blockchain travel startup, which provides a decentralized, public, B2B blockchain marketplace for the air travel space, enabling blockchain-based travel booking transactions. Travelers get direct access to travel service providers without requiring an intermediary, like Expedia or Booking.com, making the travel cheaper and efficient. Many more blockchain-based travels apps are slated for the future to make traveling a different experience altogether.

Digital Notary or Proof of Existence

Image source: blocknotary.com

Another interesting application of blockchain could be digital notary, which means a decentralized system that obviates the requirement of a central authority to certify documents. A user can simply upload a document and get a cryptographic proof for existence. Blockchain has the timestamp feature which allows users to prove the existence of something at a stated time. As blockchain is a distributed database, it certifies your document after a sort of consensus from other nodes in the network.

“Basically, by inserting the cryptographic hash of the document in a transaction, when that transaction is mined into a block, the block timestamp becomes the record’s timestamp”, says Manuel Aráoz, a Buenos Aires, Argentina-based developer, who built Proof of Existence as a decentralized method of verification, a kind of cryptographic notary service.

There seems to be no end to the applications of blockchain technology, with many more lined up as commodities, gaming, gambling, E-voting, job market, media & content management, real estate, social networks, ridesharing services and many more. More on more tech startups are now accelerating on this disruptive technology to create new business models and bring new possibilities to their businesses. A lot still needs to be done though in the next few years to bring blockchain to the mainstream.

Which application of blockchain technology would you like to see in the future? Do you want to add more to the discussion? Please share your views in the comment box below.

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Digital marketing has long surpassed the advantages of traditional marketing, and it’s not an overstatement to say that digital marketers will have complete control over the customer experience in coming years. The rise of digital marketing is highly attributable to increasing use of mobile devices across the globe, currently driving nearly half of all the web traffic.

Our digital marketers offer personalized experiences to users to enhance engagement and turn them into loyal customers. Digital marketing is not about just pushing customers to buy your products or services, but offering them content that helps them solve their problems. It also involves using techniques that increase a brand’s visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). Without a doubt, digital marketing is a great means of identifying prospective customers who exist on the Internet, like social media.

Techniques our digital marketers use to help your business touch new heights:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO helps improve your site’s rankings on major search engines, like Google, Yahoo, Bing. SEO is divided into two categories Off-page SEO and Onpage SEO.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO means working on your website to help it rank as high as possible on SERPs. On-page SEO involves:


Keyword listing, Meta Descriptions, Meta Tags, URL Structure, Body Tags (H1, H2, H3, H4, etc.), Keyword Density, Image SEO and Internal Linking.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO means working off your website to help improve ranking of your site. Off-page SEO involves link building via guest posting on reputed and high domain authority (DA) websites.

App Store Optimization (ASO)

Like SEO, ASO is for app stores. A plethora of apps comes to app stores, like Google Play or iOS App Store, on daily basis. Without ASO, chances are high that your app will be lost somewhere way down without downloads. ASO helps move up you app in app stores so that users can find them easily.

Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising

Pay-per-click means running ads and you pay only when your ad is clicked. PPC helps target particular audience when they enter specific search terms. They see your ad as “sponsored result” on the top or side of a search engine results page (SERP).

Email Marketing

Email marketing is the quickest way to reach customers with your offerings. We create engaging, relevant, informative, and entertaining email marketing campaigns to produce fruitful results.

Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing has become pivotal to digital marketing as people are increasingly using mobile devices. Mobile marketing involves SMS, MMS, in-app marketing, etc.

Social Media Marketing

Social media has become an integral part of our lives. Most of us now can’t imagine our lives without Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Social media is a great platform to market content as it significantly helps increase brand awareness, drive traffic, and generate leads.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation refers to the using tools to automate marketing actions. Our marketing team uses cutting-edge tools to automate repetitive marketing tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions.

This article is a part of the Evon Technologies: Startup Accelerator series. For our other service offerings, please choose any of the below:

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DevOps were largely brought to the fore in IT departments after the success of agile software development and the advent of cloud computing. DevOps bridge the gap between software development and software operations by enhancing communication and collaboration between development team and IT operations team. The reasons DevOps are high in demand now are that they help increase software development speed and facilitate greater business agility.

Our DevOps break software development into smaller development cycles, which leads to faster development. We use tools such as Git and SVN for maintaining the different versions of the code. We also use tools like Ant, Maven, Gradle in order to build/package the code into an executable file good to go for testing.

Different Stages of DevOps are:

  • Plan (JIRA, HipChat, Slack, Confluence, iRise)

  • Code (Microsoft Visual Studio, Bitbucket, GitHub, Electric Cloud, SVN, Eclipse)

  • Build (Grunt, Microsoft Visual Studio, Maven, Gradle)

  • Test (Selenium, TestNG, JUnit)

  • Release (AWS, Azure, Jenkins, Docker containers, Puppet, BMC Software)

  • Deploy (AWS, TFS)

  • Operate/Configure (Splunk, New Relic, Ansible, Chef, Salt, Otter)

  • Monitor (BigPanda, Ganglia, New Relic, Wireshark)

Our DevOps ensure that clients get instant updates as and when they happen, with high quality delivery. Clients get competitive advantages, like reduction in time to market, quick response to change and automation of advanced processes and tools.

This article is a part of the Evon Technologies: Startup Accelerator series. For our other service offerings, please choose any of the below:

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