Criticism of mobile apps receives rebuttal

As the apps vs. Web debate continues to rage on, there are many mobile browser supporters who have come out against applications. One of the biggest criticisms – and one that could have potentially proven app-lovers wrong – was that applications cannot link to other programs like websites can with one another. Links are what essentially drive the Internet, allowing people to jump from page to page just by clicking on a set of highlighted words. Mobile redirects often take users right back to the Web, so what’s the point of leaving it in the first place?

The saving grace of applications thus far has been how much easier they are to use. This is one of the reasons that there are already over 2 million of them available, with at least 1 million of them belonging to the Apple App Store. But opponents of the “apps over pages” mentality still look back to the issue of links as a potential reason to drive touchscreen software out of the market altogether.

In actuality, it was only a matter of time before apps caught up in terms of links. According to InformationWeek contributor Chris Sell, more enterprises are starting to figure out how to enable their applications with effective means of deep linking. This makes mobile software much easier to navigate while simultaneously allowing for apps to be interconnected in more meaningful ways.

Mobile apps still on track to surpass mobile Web
The argument for the mobile Web is a weak one, inherently. Because browsers came so long before mobile devices, they can frequently feel unnatural to use on smartphones or tablets. Given how much technology has already progressed, it almost seems silly to assume that linking between apps is not possible.

“Once deep linking is enabled in applications across smartphones, tablets, and other devices, the march to a trillion links will begin,” Sell wrote. “It will look similar to the development of linking between pages on the web. Blogs, magazines, and newspapers will put deep links in articles. Affiliate apps will deep link to a seller’s app. Marketers will use them in ad, social, and email channels.”

Businesses should still be investing in custom software solutions for mobile endpoints rather than on smartphone-accessible websites. The work that gets put in now will mean much more down the road when naysayers are still struggling to use their touchscreen browsers for basic tasks.

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Apps increasingly preferred over mobile Web

The Internet as it has been traditionally been known is undergoing a period of change. As more people use their smartphones for many of their online activities, interactions, mobile browsers are having trouble meeting all of users’ expectations. While desktop browsers have the benefit of mice and keyboards, along with larger-sized screens, mobile devices are subject to smaller displays that must also serve as the main tool of navigation.

As a result, more people are turning to Internet-connected apps rather than to the mobile Web. This is redefining the common perception of the Internet as something that can only be explored through a traditional browser. According to TechCrunch contributor Danny Crichton, this means letting go of assets that are rapidly showing their age.

“Like the expansion of the United States to the West, the Web started as a world with an open mindset and local, flexible rules,” he wrote. “Over time, fences appeared, property was divvied up, and society became more process-driven to protect the property people already had rather than to ensure the best possible development of the future. For the Internet to evolve, we need to move away from the technologies that are slowly degrading and infantilizing our experience, and strike a new path toward a world where the Internet once again is open and free.”

Browsers are out, apps are in
It is important to note that these developments are not speculation, they are very much a reality. According to FierceMobileIT senior editor Fred Donovan, most mobile device users seek out apps over the mobile Web because of the extra value apps offer. The Web itself, noted Crichton, is failing to stack up as a means of accessing the Internet “despite incredible optimization efforts.” As a disruptive technology, mobile provides a much more streamlined Internet experience through the use of applications.

For businesses, this means that less time needs to be focused on maintaining mobile Web pages. Instead, organizations should seek out custom software solutions that can be leveraged on smartphones and tablets. These programs are easier to navigate and will increase online presence in ways that touchscreen browsers have yet to accomplish.

In order to remain completive and visible, enterprises need to invest in custom applications. As mobile continues to evolve, the time frame in which mobile Web sites are viable options will likely shrink, threatening to leave behind those who have not kept up.

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Growth of mobile malware drives home need for secure custom software solutions

There is a tendency among some companies to blame personal smartphones and tablets for their problems. Bring-your-own-device has had a powerful impact on the workplace, and as such many IT professionals have tried to pin problems on the users and their machines. But managers and tech staffers who do not accept BYOD as a logical extension of IT’s consumerization in business may be missing the point entirely.

“There are still those in IT who refuse to realize that technology is part of most everyone’s work and that many users need access to information from multiple locations and device types to do their jobs,” wrote InfoWorld contributor Galen Gruman. “IT’s job – more complicated, to be sure – is to figure out how to facilitate that. There are now solid methods to follow for BYOD (which really indicates heterogeneous computing and access, not who pays for it), so the challenge today is more about deployment and education than figuring out a core strategy.”

One of the best assets that any company can possess on this quest is a custom software solution specifically designed for employees and their mobile devices. As app stores continue to be plagued by malware, the only way to ensure safe and productive work is to ensure that staff members have the proper tools for success right off of the bat.

Malware numbers hit 2 million
Unapproved application usage has thrown a wrench into more than one enterprise operation. Employees want the apps that will help them accomplish their tasks. If they are not presented with them by the company itself, then it stands to reason that they will seek them out elsewhere.

But free, consumer-geared apps are generally far from safe to use, as they often contain malicious programming that will steal sensitive information. Malicious software can easily end up on an employee’s device and creep into the network.

Recent research conducted by Internet security company Trend Micro found that mobile malware and other high-risk applications have reached 2 million in volume. That means that a huge percentage of the programs available on a number of app store stand significant risk of harming the user’s device and obtaining privileged data.

This is why enterprises need to investigate custom software development in order to secure their mobile-minded businesses. For as resourceful as modern employees are, they do not always realize that they are making risky decisions. This is why they must have effective solutions available.

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BYOD fueling growth in productivity app market

The consumerization of IT has taught the business world a couple of things about mobility. One of the most important takeaways is that employees armed with smartphones and tablets are not going to heed requests not to use personal devices in the workplace. Simply put, users almost always prioritize their own comfort and convenience over company security memos and policies.

As a result, many companies are realizing that, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. In the spirit of that saying, more organizations are pushing to find the best possible apps for enterprise use. This allows staff members to work effectively without management worrying about the use of unapproved software.

“Taking advantage of employee-owned devices allows for organizations to increase productivity and efficiency while also driving down costs,” wrote Telecom Reseller contributor Sam Ganga. “However, if not done properly, BYOD could produce the opposite results and create headaches for the organization.”

In an age in which apps are the new go-to solution for countless business issues, more enterprises are finding that they need custom software solutions in order to keep up with the times in a safe way. As this phenomenon evolves, the market value of tailored applications will continue to grow.

Business use having direct effect on custom app creation

The smartphone was bound to break out of its personal use boundaries at one point or another. Despite being marketed as personal devices, smartphones and tablets found an instant place in the quest to improve enterprise productivity. Organizations realized that these tools have incredible applications in the workplace, but only if used correctly. As a result, custom software development is growing exponentially.

According to Daze Info contributor Anshul Srivastava, the market for applications of this caliber is enjoying a significant growth. As more companies find themselves in need of effective digital assets, there is an acceptance that is beginning to take hold regarding what kinds of solutions are appropriate for enterprise. More often than not, consumer-grade solutions obtained for free through an app store are going to contain flaws in their coding that can leak sensitive information. Even worse, many of these applications knowingly contain malware and viruses that can bring entire companies to their knees.

Moving forward, it will be important for businesses to explore how custom software solutions can best be applied within their organizations. In order to stay competitive, they need to develop initiatives to maximize the mobile potential of employees.

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World on the edge of a wearable technology revolution

There has been a lot of talk about where the mobile landscape will head next. Smartphones and tablets, for as much as they have accomplished, still lack a certain kind of innate functionality that many people are interested in exploring. Touchscreens, after all, do have their own limitations in terms of what is possible.

The answer to this big question seems to be answered with the oncoming arrival of wearable technology. Wearables – generally speaking, watches and head gear – have generated a significant amount of excitement. Even though some of the most buzzed-about devices are still not widely available, there has been an incredible amount of interest shown in discovering the possibilities of these assets.

As such, businesses interested in moving torward increased mobility should examine what these tools could mean for their operations. Are workers expected to bring them into the office in the same way that they brought their smartphones? How will customers interact with a company though these machines? These questions – and more – will be answered as wearable technology evolves, and chances are that the solutions will involve custom software development.

Wearables are poised to make an enormous splash for both the tech industry and enterprises in general, according to ABI Research. Attaining a high ROI could be a challenge, but could help set a company apart from the pack.

Google Glass may already be in the office

One of the most-hyped wearables to enter the public consciousness is an offering from Google. Google Glass, despite not yet being commercially available, has still managed to become more talked-about than many of the wearables that have already been released.

But while it may seem like a far-off development, Glass is going to arrive sooner than one might think. In fact, it is already popping up in offices all over. For some time, Glass has been a part of what Google calls the Explorer Program, which is essentially a beta field test of the device. According to ZDNet, however, Google recently broadened the Explorer Program so that anyone living within the United States is eligible to try one out. This means that there is a significantly greater chance of Glass showing up in the workplace before the product’s official launch.

Wearables, by many accounts, are already here – even if they are technically not. Businesses will need to investigate what these tools mean for both user and customer experience design in mobile apps.

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Breaking down the common platforms for custom mobile app development

Merely having a functional website used to be the ultimate online presence. Initially, just being able to point to a page on the Internet with a few blurbs and some contact info was considered forward thinking and innovative.

But times change, and so do the technologies that inhabit them. As more people move from traditional PCs to smartphones and tablets for a large amount of their online surfing, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the Web does not always play well on mobile interfaces. Using standard websites on an iPhone can be tricky and cumbersome, essentially negating the natural feel that made handheld devices the device – and others like it – so popular in the first place.

While that may sound like an intimidating statement, all it means is that custom mobile app development is at a critical decision stage. There will have to be considerations made when deciding how to build an app, but they are relatively painless to examine, and will ultimately maximize the potential of any company’s mobile presence.

1) Native applications
If a business finds that its patrons are overwhelmingly iOS users or consistently choose Android devices, it might be a good idea to concentrate on custom mobile app development specifically intended for the most popular operating system.

Native applications are designed to run on only one operating system. Apps purchased for Android, for example, cannot be accessed by iOS users. Ultimately, native design is meant to create strong, single-platform apps with focused performance prioritized over interoperability.

2) Cross platform app development
For a large percentage of companies, there is a good chance that their customers are using iOS and Android at a fairly equal rate. Not only that, but there are plenty of people out there who switch devices but don’t want to lose their favorite apps in the transition. Simply put, there is no cut and dry way to predict who will be using what kind of device at any given time. This is why cross platform development is ultimately the best choice for custom software solutions.

Programming languages like HTML5 allow organizations to develop an app that looks great on a number of devices without alienating a large portion of the target audience, according to Tech Cocktail. By designing apps that can be leveraged on multiple mobile endpoints, organizations are able to save time and money that might have been spent designing two separate applications to meet demands.

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Secure custom software solutions increasingly sought for mobile

As mobile devices reach ubiquity, mobile apps are in high demand. Business apps, in particular, have become something of a requirement in enterprise. Major organizations are absolutely expected to make custom software solutions for mobile devices available, and smaller businesses are also under pressure to embrace touchscreen technology in a meaningful way.

But a growing number of reported security breaches and an all-too-common attitude regarding leaks as inevitable means it’s not enough to just have an app, even if it’s expertlydesigned. There is a greater push toward making sure that mobile application development involves building well-defended programs.

“Not only are businesses replacing third-party and mobile apps with secure alternatives, they are also investing heavily in custom app development,” wrote CIO Today contributor Seth Fitzgerald. “The combination of these industry-wide changes has made businesses better able to ward off potential security risks.”

Now that more people are starting to understand mobile technology better there is more widespread comprehension regarding what constitutes a good enterprise application. As more organizations hold their software development to higher standards, it will be essential for other companies who have not yet done so to follow suit.

Security requirements not always universal
Despite the fact that mobile security considerations should be common knowledge, it’s not yet observable in practice. Part of this, however, can be attributed to the varying appraisals of what constitutes “standard protection.” What might be seen as authoritarian in some industries may be seen as not stringent enough in others.

Banks, for example, have to make considerations that might feel like overkill in other instances.

“Mobile payment apps are made with utmost care because it’s a holder of money transactions performed by millions of people on a daily basis,” wrote WhaTech contributor Jay Patel. “An environment of mobile payment app can meet with some failures which results into several security issues, harm to the name of brand, breaking trust of customers and much more.”

While the specifics may be different, one thing is for sure – security measures must be embedded into the app itself. While many mobile devices have their own security measures, relying on them solely to protect sensitive information is a risky move to take. Even if this was not the case, it is still a good idea to place as many barriers between hackers and data as possible.

In-house development not always feasible
Plenty of businesses have enough resources to create their own programs. For a majority of companies, however, IT resources stretched to the limit or a lack of employees with the correct qualifications can prove to be obstacles.

“It takes a lot more than a static analysis tool, a web scanning service, and a few paid hackers to make your mobile development lifecycle, team, and eventually, your applications secure,” wrote Tyler Shields of Forrester Research. “Finding flaws in an individual mobile application is easy (assuming you have the right technical skill set). What is a lot harder is actually stopping the creation of mobile application security flaws in the first place.”

When multiplied by the limited amount of time that organizations might have on their side, these issues may be too much a barrier for in-house custom software development to occur in a feasible way.

This is why it helps to seek out assistance from experienced developers like the kind at On3. On3 has a myriad of programmers with unique skill sets and experience with the most effective coding structures in existence today.

While there is growing understanding of the importance of secure application development, Shields wrote that actually achieving full protection is a “lofty goal.” For companies that need the right solution without the associated hassle, services like On3 can go a long way toward meeting mission-critical objectives.

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Mobile Web losing ground to apps

If anything is certain, it is that change is inevitable. The introduction of mobile touchscreen technology on a large scale proved to be a catalyst for a shifting relationship between people and digital devices. More people began migrating away from landline phones and using their portable devices in order to be immediately reachable. This is part of the reason that copper connections are starting to fall by the wayside.

But mobile machines are redefining more than just phone service. Apps were a major selling point for these tools when they first started to appear, so much so that many companies started creating exclusive customer engagement platforms that could be used in place of a mobile browser. Browsers, for as much as they have done for the evolution of the Internet, failed to translate as on-the-go portals to mobile cyberspace.

This is, perhaps, one of the biggest reasons why people are moving away from using the mobile Web. According to a study by Flurry Analytics, there was a 6 percent increase in time spent using apps instead of  mobile websites between 2013 and 2014. Overall, 86 percent of all time spent on mobile devices is now devoted to apps.

Mobile Web coming up short
As mobile users leave browsers behind, a browser-centric mobile design strategy is becoming obsolete.  Cross platform app development can be much less time-consuming and create stronger results because there are fewer factors to worry about. That is to say, developers only have to worry about the operating systems of the major players like Apple and Google.

Mobile Web development is an entirely different story. Not only do operating systems have to be taken into account, but also the browsers themselves. All browsers do not interpret a website in the same way. Simply put, the mobile Web offers a much less cohesive experience.

Web is not dying, only being redefined
Venture capitalist Chris Dixon believes that mobile is the way of the future, but the use of software over websites is creating interesting tensions.

“What wins mobile, wins the Internet,” he wrote. “Right now, apps are winning and the Web is losing.”

But that does not mean that the Web is dying out. Rather, it is being adapted for a new generation of users. The rapid pace of technology demands change, and it is more than likely that apps will become the new face of the Internet in the near future.

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Advanced security required for custom software solutions

As a younger generation of employees enters the workforce, mobile devices are becoming an unavoidable enterprise reality. While smartphones once might have been considered a luxury personal item, they are rapidly gaining a position as the de facto endpoint for many enterprise tasks.

“For the ever growing young population entering the workplace – 24×7 connectivity and instantaneous updates are the norm rather than the exception,” wrote B&T contributor Bill Hicks. “There is clearly a need for business apps to move with the times and use mobile to harness the productivity and business efficiency of this young demographic.”

It is important to realize that modern employees are more enabled than ever to leverage the machines at their disposal. The consumerization of IT has not only caused yielded an influx of personal mobile devices in offices, but also a plague of unapproved applications.

People are going to seek out and utilize the apps that they feel are best for whatever job they need to handle. In order to prevent any legal or financial repercussions that could occur as a result of rogue IT operations, providing effective custom software solutions for employees at all levels of the enterprise is imperative.

Consumer-grade apps not up to snuff
Unfortunately, many of the programs that are available in consumer-geared app stores cannot be brought safely into the workplace. Much of this software is improperly designed, and can even contain malware – knowingly or otherwise. But not all staff members are aware of this. If their organization has not supplied them with appropriate alternatives, illegitimate app usage – which can lead to malware, network infiltration and data loss – stands to occur.

This is why enterprise apps not only must to have a strong user interface design, but they also need to possess proper protection methods. Generally, a good business-grade app will require some defenses beyond what is contained in the coding itself. A popular means of accomplishing this comes through app wrapping or containerization. By segregating company information on the app away from the rest of the device, there is a far less significant chance of a breach occurring or data being obtained maliciously.

App choices based on needs
According to Forbes contributor Jason Baptiste, people are discovering software in a much different way than they ever have previously. It is easy to search for and obtain apps just by knowing what needs to be accomplished.

“Mobile apps are primarily utility based pieces of software as opposed to content driven experiences that dominated the web,” Baptiste wrote. “We access and utilize them based upon verbiage — bring me a private car, track my weight, order me food, book me a hotel tonight, and much more. We aren’t looking for singular pieces of content like we did with web search, we’re looking for verb driven software.”

This kind of discovery can be a curse for businesses that  have not sought out custom software development for their staff members. By supplying proper applications for their employees, companies can ensure that staff members leverage tools that are not inherently harmful to the organization.

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