Wearable tech will arrive for real in 2015

It is already shaping up to be an interesting year for wearable technology. By several accounts, wearable tech will make increased appearances in both personal and professional settings. According to Reuters contributor Katrina Hamlin, things like fitness trackers are “just the beginning,” especially when it comes to healthcare. Wearable devices are likely to totally revolutionize the way that many tasks are completed.

“Wearables are still mostly in the ‘pre-iPhone’ stage and to keep the momentum and support behind this new wave of computing growing it is important that everyone understands where we are going,” wrote BetaKit contributor Tom Emrich. “But what is happening is that we are hearing about wearables concepts, research projects, crowdfunding ideas and launched devices in the same breath, and this ends up confusing the consumer, and more importantly, sets unrealistic expectations for purchased devices that cannot (yet) be met.”

Part of delivering on wearable expectations will be ensuring that the applications supporting them are developed effectively. For enterprises, this means abandoning the idea that pre-designed programs are going to be capable of considering a given organizations specific nuances. Custom software solutions are already the best way to make certain that smartphones and tablets reach their fullest potential, and the same can be said about the impending rise of the wearable device.

Welcome to the wearable revolution
According to ITProPortal contributor Marco Veremis, wearables are “set to go global in 2015.” The highly-anticipated Apple Watch is set to be released in the coming months to wide adoption, meaning that offices will likely experience a surge of employee-owned devices much in the same way that the iPhone came on the scene in 2007. It’s likely that other companies will follow suit and continue to push their own similar solutions.

“[T]he opportunity is clear and with major players entering the market this year competition in these developing markets could be fierce,” Veremis wrote. “The brand that wins when it comes to wearable will be the one that is able to not only meet the technological and price needs for these markets, but also deliver services to consumer in the right way.”

Workplace use cases are expected to appear specifically in areas like medicine. Wearables are not only able to track patient information in real time and transmit it to healthcare facilities that need it, but they also offer doctors the opportunity to enjoy hands-free interfaces. Voice-controlled examination rooms will be easy to create when smartwatches provide a constant microphone connection to a custom software solution.

This will help physicians to remain more engaged and prevent the spread of disease at the same time. Machines like Google Glass will offer similar advantages – doctors will be able to maintain eye contact with their patients while calling up information on their headsets. X-rays, for instance, can be used in augmented reality scenarios and laid over the person through the display. Developments like these lead Emrich to believe that 2015 will be a huge year for wearables in healthcare.

“From a medical standpoint, we can also expect wearables to be used as tools by doctors and hospitals that are willing to experiment with them, especially devices like smart glasses that improve productivity,” Emrich wrote. “But I do not expect doctors to officially use biometric data collected by wearables of their patients for diagnosis. I do believe that the relationship between the doctor and patient will continue to change in 2015 as consumers begin to understand their body better, putting them on a different footing when they enter their doctor’s office at their next appointment.”

The evolution of wearables will take an interesting turn this year, and not just in healthcare. There is massive potential for innovation to occur in all industries thanks to mobile technology’s ability to streamline basic and complicated tasks alike. Starting now on software that will help to find a place for wearables is going to be essential for those organizations that are trying to stay ahead of the competition.

Effective applications of the utmost importance
While the devices themselves will be critical to have, they are not the only part of the equation. Custom software development is going to be the cornerstone of any mobility initiative in 2015. Regardless of if the programs in question are employee-facing or aimed at consumers, applications have to be designed with particular devices, people and uses in mind. Because there is not much precedent for wearables, however, there will need to be some serious time and dedication made toward considering possible issues that can arise down the road.

“Wearable hardware and software makers will need to communicate clearly to their users what data they are collecting, who owns it, and how it will be used in order to calm concerns,” Emrich wrote. “Those that take an opt-in first approach will win out. I expect to see the beginnings of standards and regulations be put together within enterprise and perhaps even on the regulatory level next year to tackle these concerns.”

Enterprises need to get serious about mobility in 2015. This will mean investing in custom mobile app development that considers wearable tech and how it will be used in the workplace. Avoiding the subject is not an option, as mobile devices have already proven to be popular means of productivity.

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Enterprise Mobility takes center stage in 2015

Enterprise Mobility

It should be no surprise that mobility is of vital importance to enterprise. Regardless of if an application is customer- or employee-facing in nature, it is essential to develop effective applications that help to streamline the user experience.

With this in mind, the next year is going to be a make or break moment for many companies that have yet to deploy custom software solutions. According to Insurance Networking contributor Beth Bacheldor, it will be an especially big deal for professionals to be supplied with effective mobile apps.

“The ‘mobility mismatch’ between employers and employees will persist, even as enterprise IT departments become more accustomed to consumerization,” she said, citing a recent report from the researchers at Ovum. “For example, the rate of BYOD behavior continues to grow, but it is not being embraced by IT at nearly the same rate.”

Enterprises need to get serious in 2015 about mobility if they have not already. Now that more people understand what is possible to accomplish with their smartphones and tablets, they expect to be supported as employees and patrons by the organizations they interact with. The only way to accomplish this effectively will be to invest in custom software development.

Wearables will need to be considered
With the holiday season approaching fast, it’s likely that a great deal of people will be getting wearable devices as gifts this year. There has been a significant amount of excitement built up around these tools in the consumer sphere, and businesses are going to need to figure out how best to embrace them.

But while a great deal of adoptions will likely come in personal forms, wearables will find their most practical uses in the workplace.

“If 2014 was the year wearable technologies learned to walk, then 2015 is the year they’ll run,” wrote InformationWeek contributor Shane O’Neill. “And it’s inside the enterprise where wearables will pick up speed.”

O’Neill cites recent research from Forrester regarding the level of focus that organizations are planning to have on wearables in the coming year. Worldwide, 68 percent of companies view wearables as “a priority”. More than half of respondents that fell into this category went so far as to classify it as a “moderate, high or critical priority.”

These are the businesses that will help to set the tone in the new year. Wearables are expected to follow a much similar path that smartphones did, and being prepared this time around will help to circumvent many of the headaches that came with the first wave of IT consumerization. This will mean building wearable considerations into existing or impending custom mobile app development strategies.

2015 will be a proving ground
It’s hard to imagine a lack of mobile support being acceptable in a year’s time. This means that 2015 may be the last possible moment to get with the times and enable proper applications for consumers and employees. This will, on one level, mean making sure that wearables are a serious consideration.

But regardless of what the task or who the audience is, it will be essential to have custom software solutions that are built for the company in question.

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Resolve for enterprise mobility in the new year

Businesses are already expected to have an interesting 2015. The rise of mobile devices in the workplace has totally redefined enterprise operations, and the coming year is anticipated to be a proving ground for organizations that have yet to figure out just how best to embrace change.

Enterprise Mobility

“Despite the fact that the iPhone was first released in 2007, and virtually every employee today carries a smartphone, many companies have only scratched the surface of mobile app development,” wrote TechCrunch contributor Ron Miller. “Big businesses with big bucks still often crudely force enterprise applications into a mobile package with little thought. Fewer still have developed imaginative custom apps that take advantage of the device, or designed a coherent mobile strategy for the organization.”

Software-fueled innovation is going to be critical in 2015. Businesses need to examine their operations and find ways in which software can be developed to streamline common practices. This will generally require an investment in custom software development, as pre-constructed solutions are rarely able to consider the nuances of individual offices.

Mobile applications on the rise
According to IT-Online, recent research shows that the new year will be loaded with enterprise mobility resolutions. A study conducted by IDC found that at least 25 percent of software budgets within any given organization will be allocated for mobile development specifically. Much of this has to do with the agility that smartphone and tablet apps can provide for the companies that use them. Decision-makers are beginning to understand that the key to success in the mobile age is not reliant on allowing personal devices in the workplace, but outfitting them with the right programs for the job.

New Year’s is the perfect time to step back and evaluate what need to happen in order to stay ahead of the competition. In 2015, this will mean seeking out custom mobile app development.

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Wearable tech to appear increasingly in healthcare

Given that some of the first wearables to take off dealt with exercise, it only makes sense that healthcare would be one of the first fields to begin enjoying success with mobile devices. As 2015 draws closer, medical professionals and companies are looking at ways in which these tools can further be used to streamline healthcare and make it easier to obtain.

“In 2014, wearable devices became the rage, many collecting data on everything from calories burned to hours slept to blood pressure,” wrote International Business Times contributor Luke Villapaz. “In 2015, technology companies and health care providers are looking to put that information to good use. With hundreds of wearable devices and connected health tools on the market, users can track almost any aspect of their health without even having to think about it. One thing the tools haven’t done: eliminate the need to visit a doctor’s office for a professional opinion. But a number of companies … are looking to change that.”

The devices are not the key to success in this area, however. There is going to be a need for those in the health industry to invest in custom software solutions that work with wearables to provide an immersive user experience. As wearable devices become more common, it will be essential to integrate health programs with them in order to provide modern care for patients.

‘Hearables’ expected to make waves
Believe it or not, there is one piece of wearable technology that has been around for a long time – headphones. According to CNBC contributor Nyshka Chandran, the earbud is expected to see some major advancements in the near future. This will help to garner a greater deal of support from those who are turned off by the appearance of wearable – or in this case, hearable – technology.

“One key advantage hearables have over other wearable peers is their discretion,” Chandran wrote. “Ear devices can be small in nature, thus giving its users greater discretion, as opposed to bulky smartwatches or the unavoidable Google Glass.”

But like other wearables, these tools are going to need the right kind of applications to be of any worth. The smartphone serves as the interface for many of the devices that people will begin to wear on their bodies. Making sure that existing custom mobile app development considers how new machines will be leveraged with them will be major. In the case of hearables and healthcare, this may mean building an app that can be used to improve hearing for millions of people while it monitors other vital signs.

mHealth becoming lucrative market
According to CIO contributor Jen Miller, a recent study from research2guidance found that mobile health is on the rise. By 2017, it is expected that the market value for this technology will be $26 billion. What started with sensors that simply tracked things like heart​ rate and the number of steps taken in a day is evolving into a new way to deliver healthcare.

“Wearables dominated the headlines last year, enabling users to track their heart rates and other aspects of their health,” Villapaz wrote. “While they’re expected to be out in full force this year, the clinical use of those technologies will also be a big focus … And as more wearables and monitoring devices become connected to the Web, doctors and health facilities are looking for new ways to remotely track their patients’ vitals.”

While the specifics may change between organizations, there is one thing that will remain constant – custom software development is going to be the key to success. Apps will need to be created that have a specific institution and patient base in mind in order to provide the best possible service and care.

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Mobile Development: Preparing for 2015 and beyond

As 2014 draws to a close, smartphones in the workplace should be old news. As professionals become more skilled at operating their consumer devices, it’s only natural that they will want to use them in the office. More companies are realizing that this is not something to be avoided – it’s something to be embraced.

“The fundamental premise of mobile technology is that it works everywhere and at any time,” wrote Business 2 Community {provide link to source} contributor Chuck Ganapathi. “All these apps that you rely on everyday share something in common: they sync data locally on the phone which enables them to work offline, even when the data connection is lost.”

According to Network​ World contributor Tom Kaneshige, the past year has been a “rollercoaster” for bring-your-own-device programs in the enterprise. But it’s likely that 2015 will be the year that a majority of companies will start to get a handle on how best to handle BYOD. The pace that business moves at is increasing every day, and organizations have to start implementing serious mobility initiatives. Regardless of what happens, custom software solutions are going to be essential for all companies to invest in.

The dangers of shadow IT
If there is one enterprise trend that doesn’t belong in 2015, it’s shadow IT. Employees that feel they are not supported in the ways they need to be tend to seek out their own solutions in order to remain productive in modern ways.

“As we’ve gotten used to downloading apps from the App Store to improve our daily lives, we are beginning to do the same in our work lives,” Ganapathi stated. “Seven out of 10 employees use technologies not provided by their companies to do their jobs more efficiently. End users are no longer waiting for their IT departments to shrink wrap enterprise applications for their mobile devices. They are finding solutions themselves.”

While this sounds harmless, it’s far from it. Rogue IT operations like this can put company data in danger. There are no guarantees that employees will always select applications that are properly designed – not to mention free of malware. This is why businesses have to have a hand in the design of custom software solutions. By guiding the process and ensuring effective deployment, there will be little standing in the way of unlocking mobility.

Custom mobile app development is non-negotiable
While it might sound like a good idea to implement free software, remember: You get what you pay for. Not only that, but letting staffers roam free on the mobile landscape could mean that organizations are missing out on the advantages that come with a unified platform. There has to be a single program that improves the user experience for the entire office in an innovative way.

“Originally it was the promise of IT and mobile development platform players that would bring mobility to businesses,” Ganapathi stated. “But they failed because they weren’t thinking about the user first. Instead, their strategy was to take legacy cloud apps and shrink them to mobile devices when what users actually want and expect is a completely different experience.”

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The coming year will demand ‘true mobility’

Mobile Device Management

There are probably some business out there that believe they are mobile. This may be because a great deal of staffers own and leverage their own smartphones for their jobs. Or they have some sort of Mobile Device Management (MDM). But according to TMCnet contributor Michelle Amodio, having the devices is only one part of “true mobility.”

“Employees can now become productive in a netbook or phone while staying in a coffee shop as how you were doing back in the downtown office where they normally work. Work styles are now changing, and even the corporate culture is starting to go with the flow,” Amodio wrote.

The way to truly enable this is to provide custom software solutions to professionals in the enterprise. Employees have to have the right tools for the job, and that means applications designed for the companies that are going to be using them. Having the right mobile program for any given situation means that professionals can be prepared in any instance to overcome adversity and streamline their productivity.

It is more than likely that 2015 is going to be a big year for business mobility, meaning that the time is now to invest in modern programs. As a greater number of businesses realize the steps they have to take in order to succeed, their peers and competitors will need to take note and follow suit.

Enterprise mobility driving evolution, adoption
According to Amodio, recent research from Ovum found that mobility will be one of the popular initiatives in business for 2015. This is so much so the case that enterprise use is expected to make the same kind of impact that the consumer market has in the past. Unfortunately, this will also lead to a discrepancy between demand in the workplace and the response of IT departments.

“Up until recently, mobility has been propelled by the consumer market, especially as employees demand to use their own devices within the work place,” Amodio wrote. “Among Ovum’s predictions are that this will continue to lead to a ‘mobility mismatch’ where employee demand isn’t matched by IT department’s ability to deliver.”

Companies need to get serious about enabling mobility. Shadow IT is still a very real threat, and it symbolizes the changing requirements that modern professionals have of their employers. In order to truly embrace new assets and forms of productivity, custom mobile app development will be critical.

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What is the Bottom Line for Mobile? – INFOGRAPHIC

Measuring the ROI of custom mobile apps

There are a multitude of investments that any given business needs to make. These days, spending in this sense will reflect changes in enterprise technology. As the average employee has become more apt in performing basic IT operations, the possibilities for innovation within a company have exploded. As such, more organizations are looking to invest in the tools their staff members need.

One area that is seeing increased interest is custom mobile app development. Smartphones quickly made their way from status symbol to commonly-leveraged tool, and as a result, people are more readily-able to use them in professional settings – even outside of the office. This is pushing a larger number of businesses to invest in apps that are geared specifically toward the company.

As mobility becomes a greater necessity, organizations must supplement the devices of their workers with sanctioned software developed for their specific needs. This may sound unnecessary, given that there are so many consumer-grade solutions out there that are available for free. But when examining the actualreturn on investment that custom software development can provide, the plan of action is obvious. Businesses have to invest in the proper tools in order to find success.

Determining an app’s ROI

There are several things that need to be considered when plotting out the return on investment for custom programs. One thing to consider is just how important mobility is to the modern employee. Now that people are able to work from home as easily as they can from the office, having powerful smartphone assets is a must.

“These days, it’s increasingly rare that ‘work’ is exclusively done at a traditional desk, in a traditional office on a traditional desktop computer,” wrote ZDNet contributor Charles McLellan. “Of course plenty of people still operate in this way, but many also want or need to be able to perform a range of business tasks on the most convenient device they can lay their hands on, wherever they may be.”

This is one of the areas where custom software solutions can deliver significant ROI. By ensuring that mobile apps are effective in a company-specific way, organizations can increase productivity and employee satisfaction. This should not, however, be confused with allowing workers to select their own solutions. These tools are rarely checked for security and could potentially breach sensitive information to unintended recipients. Additionally, the use of several different programs by multiple employees to complete a single task can create a disconnect among workers. For mobile initiatives to return the greatest investment, having a unified interface for all employees will be essential.

Apps can also be of great value when deployed for customer use. Think about it – loyal consumers can download a direct connection to a business, where they provide a great deal of information regarding things like spending habits and responses to marketing. By leveraging this data and using it to drive growth and alter strategies, organizations can save a considerable amount of money and have hard facts regarding what works and what doesn’t.

Getting with the times

As it stands, there is an incredible number of businesses that are embracing custom software development. Many organizations that have already built these kinds of apps are reporting an average revenue growth of 44 percent and a profit increase of 34 percent. Similarly, companies have reported a 30 percent increase in sales efficiency when using mobile apps designed for their offices specifically. If there is one thing for certain, it is that mobility is a new essential, but the only way to approach it properly is through custom software development.

Mobile development costs

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How to successfully manage a mobile app project – INFOGRAPHIC

Successfully managing a mobile app project

Few things are as necessary – or as difficult – as to successfully manage a mobile app project. While it has been accepted that custom software solutions are the only effective way to engage a target audience, there is still some confusion regarding just how to go about building one. Often times, these projects can stall out if not started correctly. According to Kii contributor Yuan Weigel, recent studies have found that 87 percent of developers experience delays in the production schedule. These issues can be caused by any number of issues – foreseeable or otherwise.

In order to have the smoothest development and deployment possible, it will be necessary to have a firm strategy in place that accounts for several important aspects. Here are the steps to successfully managing a mobile app project:

1) Know your user

Who is the app being designed for? Will this program be intended for customers or employees? Regardless of who is going to be using it, the target audience will generally need to be polled and consulted in order to build the best possible program.

2) Find your architecture

Another important question to ask is in regard not only to who will be using the app, but on what platform. Mobile development means one of three things – designing for iOS, Android or both. Native applications can be incredibly effective if a company is sure that only one kind of device is going to use them. Other organizations that plan on their target audience using both Apple iOS and Android OS​es may want to consider using languages like HTML5 that can account for more than one system.

3) Create a schedule

Scheduling is the best way to make sure that a project is completed on time. But sticking with the plan can be difficult when trying to meet a deadline. It is important to make sure that time is allotted for important aspects of the process like testing. Skimping in areas such as this will ultimately be detrimental to the project and the finished product.

4) Staff smartly

One of the most important aspects of custom mobile app development is making sure the right help is in place. Whether this means bringing in new professionals who can be exclusively tasked with development procedures or turning to a trusted development company, progress depends on qualified staff.

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3 ways smartphones are changing daily life

The limit to what mobile technology can do seems to be changing every day. People and companies are innovating with smartphones and software in order to improve the way that common tasks are completed. No doubt, smartphones are changing daily life. Some of these endeavors are meant to help customers, while others assist with on-the-job matters. Regardless of what the goal is, one thing is for sure: Nothing is possible without effective software. Custom mobile app development will be essential for success.

Here are some of the ways that mobile devices are streamlining life and work for millions of people:

1) Driver’s licenses
People generally use their wallets to hold onto two things: Money and identification. But just like Apple Pay is hoping to upset the use of cash and cards, the state of Iowa may soon make the wallet irrelevant altogether when they begin putting drivers licenses on smartphones, according to Network World.

“The mobile app will supplement the traditional plastic ID cards, rather than replace them,” stated Network World. “Iowa’s DOT Director Paul Trombino said at a budget hearing on Monday that drivers will be able to present either form of identification when prompted by police officers and even during security screening at the state’s airports. … Trombino also suggested that the state could extend the app to other forms of state identification in the future.”

2) Television
Plenty of people stream services like Netflix to their mobile devices. Yet the TV still remains a staple of living rooms everywhere. According to ITProPortal contributor Jamie Hinks, the U.K. is seeing record numbers of people abandon television for their smartphones and tablets. Hinks cites a Vodaphone survey where respondents indicated they planned on watching 15 hours of TV over the holidays season via touchscreen platforms. This viewing occurs in the home, rather than on the go.

3) In-flight service
While the use of smartphones on airplanes has been hotly debated for a number of different reasons. But it seems like mobile technology in the travel industry is a natural fit. This might be why American Airlines is choosing to outfit it’s flight attendants with iPhone 6 Pluses, according to InformationWeek contributor Eric Zem​an. These tools will be used to help with in-flight transactions and may possibly replace the printed version of the in-flight safety manual.

None of these innovative concepts will be possible, however, without custom software solutions. Programs will have to built for the specific companies that will be using them. This will be the only way to get the most out of mobile initiatives.

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Mobility no longer a question of ‘if’

Smartphones haven’t always been part of the enterprise landscape. These devices arrived rather unceremoniously in the workplace, leveraged by well-meaning employees who were not aware of the delicate nature of business information technology. Some organizations felt that the best way to handle this was to ban these tools altogether, but they quickly learned that the consumerization of IT had equipped modern professionals with enough know-how to circumvent any company policy that might be put into place. Mobile devices have limitless potential. Rather than trying to ignore the requests of employees, businesses need to find ways in which they can make smartphones and tablets work for the good of the organization.

Additionally, more customers than ever are demanding mobile support. Consumers expect the ability to connect with the businesses they frequent via their smartphones. Increasingly, it’s being discovered that apps are the best way to go about this.

In this sense, mobility is no longer a choice – it’s a requirement. According to CloudTweaks contributor Owen Andrew, “mobile is taking over the world.” This is especially important to remember in terms of marketing initiatives.

“Regardless of your current perspective on mobile marketing and the enterprise usage of the cloud, they both are here to stay,” Andrew wrote. “So take advantage of these technologies, stay current with the latest trends, and most importantly educate yourself and your team about how mobile marketing and the associated need for using the cloud are dominating the market in the present and the future.”

There needs to be an increased push for enterprise mobility. The engagement of customers and employees alike depends on it. This is why the mobile Web should be passed over when looking to embrace touchscreen endpoints. The most effective way to truly immerse a user in a new experience is to leverage custom software development.

Enterprise mobility on the rise
One would be hard-pressed to find an office these days that has never been touched by smartphones or other mobile devices. The growing number of these machines is putting pressure on businesses to find ways to effectively leverage these assets.

“Enterprise mobility, which was once a tentative strategy at enterprises, is now a priority at organizations which want to convert market changes into business opportunities,” wrote CRN contributor Sonal Desai.

The answer to these developments is both simple and complicated. Applications should be at the center of enterprise mobility strategies, but they can’t just be any programs. Custom software development will be tantamount to mobile success in the business world. This is something that may or may not be easier said than done, however. While there are probably some IT staffers in-house that are experienced on this front, piling a greater number of responsibilities on them can have adverse effects on daily operations. Modern IT departments should not be seen so much as the people who will build the program as they should the innovators who will help find new uses for it. This is why many companies choose to outsource custom mobile app development.

But other organizations need to start building an internal team that can be called upon at a moment’s notice to build and troubleshoot software. Turning to a staff augmentation company that can help provide new talent is also a viable option to get an business on the fast track to mobility.

Keeping up with the times
Mobile technology is a relatively recent development, but it’s kind of old news at this point. Mobile initiatives are ongoing and occasionally complicated to handle, which is why they need to be created and worked out now while there is still some time.

“It is a careful balance between building productivity and giving your employees – and your customers – relative freedom to interact with the various mobile apps and other tech that you utilize from the device of their choice, and protecting your company’s best interests in regard to customer service and information security as well,” Andrew stated.

With this in mind, organizations need to get a handle enterprise mobility. While many companies believe that all they need is a mobile website in order to keep their customers and employees satiated. But in order to create strong bonds and immersive experiences, custom software solutions are going to be critical to obtain.

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