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Enterprise mobility in 2015

What does it mean to be mobile? This is not a very easy question for enterprises to answer. Workplaces have, for several years now, been at odds with employee devices. Should they be embraced or shunned? Allowed or actually supported? It has become increasingly clear that not only isn’t there anything stopping professionals from bringing their own smartphones, tablets and laptops into the office, but companies need to figure out how these tools fit into the overall picture of daily operations.

We’re only a little way into 2015 this point, and it’s expected that this year will be make or break for a significant number of businesses that haven’t yet gotten a handle on mobility. Accepting mobile devices in the workplace is one thing, but embracing them is another strategy entirely.

Challenges expected in the year ahead
Of course, mobile devices are a relatively new phenomenon. While cellphones have been around for quite some time, the smartphone has only been in the public eye within the last eight years or so. People seemed to quickly realize that their new tools had clear worth as professional assets and started using them in the office – something that IT teams were not prepared for, according to IT News Africa contributor Brendan Mc Aravey.

“When a business leader talks about ramping up an offshore workforce overnight, or providing access to a bank’s financial systems from iPads in the hands of roaming employees, or attracting top talent with a more consumer-style work experience, they should be able to take it for granted that the answer from IT will be ‘yes,'” Mc Aravey wrote. “But most organizations aren’t quite there yet.”

One of the biggest obstacles keeping enterprise IT back is security. According to Mc Aravey, things were a lot simpler when IT controlled every aspect of the devices that other employees used around the office. But now that staffers are using one device for both their personal and professional needs, management has gotten a little more complicated. Enterprises need to make sure that they are invested in mobile strategies that are aware of the need for separation between what the company owns and what’s none of its business.

Innovation must be front of mind
Mobility has something to offer every enterprise. The biggest question to answer here is how could an application streamline an existing process or practice? Smartphones have created a level of convenience never thought possible. The key to success is capitalizing off the improved user experiences that are possible through mobile interfaces.

This extends past new applications and means focusing on existing ones, as well. According to Information Age contributor Ben Rossi, part of the struggle with mobility comes from trying to look forward without losing sight of legacy programs. Chances are, software that’s currently in use is going to need some serious updates so that it can be most useful to the modern workforce.

“Mobile application platforms act as a conduit that can connect massive enterprise datasets directly to users, improving employee productivity and enriching the customer experience,” Rossi wrote. “However, most enterprise back-end systems were never designed to connect to mobile devices in this way.”

This is one of the biggest issues that companies will need to face in 2015. It will be important to make sure that existing assets are updated in ways that will allow them to be useful in the modern world.

Software investments will make all the difference
At the end of the day, most people in any given office are already going to have a device that they can use for work. The secret is finding the right mix of software that will help to maximize their effectiveness. Generally, these solutions are not going to be found ready-made, but must be built around the companies that need them.

Custom software solutions are the only way to go for mobile enterprises. Decision-makers have to understand that the definition of secure, useful programs is not the same in every instance. It will take a lot of planning and strategizing to ensure that custom software development is applied in the ways that make the most sense for a company that has its eye on success.

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Recent Apple news grabs for attention in automotive, virtual reality fields

From the look of it, Apple wants to be a central figure in the mobile lives of its users. It all started with the iPhone, a device that exceeded expectations in many ways – namely as an enterprise tool. The iPad followed a similar path to acceptance. Soon, Apple Watches are going to be everywhere. It seems like Apple has every aspect of the mobile market cornered, but recent patents approved for the company show that their plans are just beginning.

According to ITProPortal contributor Sead Fadilpašić, Apple will soon make a jump into virtual reality with a headset meant to hold the iPhone in such a way that it becomes a VR display. Given that this patent was filed back in 2008 and only just recently approved, it would appear that these plans have been in the works for quite some time. But VR isn’t the only thing Apple is focusing its attention on – Constellation Research analyst Ray Wang stated on ZDNet that a smart car is the next ambitious move being made by Cupertino’s resident tech giant.

Businesses have already learned that Apple products have significant potential as workplace assets. The functionality of smartphones and tablets has been well-documented, and wearables have already been discussed as the next potential game-changer. But what about VR and the connected car? How will these developments alter the course of enterprise?

Apple’s newest patents and information leaks signify the beginning of even more office disruption. Virtual reality and smart​ cars, while not at all common now, will one day play a huge role for businesses. The kind of improved user experiences that will undoubtedly accompany these evolving technologies will be able to enhance life for customers and employees alike. Besides both areas receiving investment and attention from Apple, there is one other common theme between VR and connected vehicles – they will both require custom software solutions in order to be of true value to organizations.

Virtual reality, augmented reality and the trouble with headsets
Wearables have generated a considerable amount of conversation. This is primarily thanks to the promise of hands-free interfaces that can be used to provide assistance in ways that smartphones and tablets cannot. For many people, the natural conclusion for wearables is the headset. The opinion over whether or not this is a good thing, however, is hotly debated.

Google was one of the first companies to push for some form of smartglasses. Google Glass was embraced by early-adopters and tech enthusiasts, but a generally poor reception led the company to shelve the project until further notice. It is widely accepted that the failing here was in trying to replicate the usefulness of the smartphone in a hands-free device. Creating that kind of power while trying to make Glass as unobtrusive as possible ultimately proved to be too much. According to InformationWeek contributor Thomas Claburn, Sony’s recent release of the SmartEyeglass Developer Edition is likely fated for a similar failure.

While it’s not likely that Google Glass will be playing a role in the enterprise anytime soon, there is still a lot to be said about virtual and augmented reality. In the case of Apple’s option, it’s likely that VR will play a prominent role in things like customer engagement. The release of the device as an add-on to the iPhone rather than a siloed machine – like the Oculus Rift – also increases the chances of popularity and adoption.

You know that immersive experience that every consumer seems to be craving? Imagine enabling it through the use of VR. Creating interactive worlds for people to explore and connect with a brand will be powerful in terms of attracting and retaining business. Similar things can be said about employees. Enterprise communications have been going increasingly mobile, and the idea of pairing VR with company telecom assets could take video conferencing to an entirely new level.

Project Titan and the connected car
It seems as though people are making great strides in trying to connect as many things to the Internet as possible these days. One of the most interesting areas of discussion as of late is the idea of the smart​ car, a vehicle that runs apps and can connect to the Internet. Clearly, Apple is interested in this concept. While the recent patent for Apple Electric Car Inc. that’s making the news turned out to be a coincidence, it started enough of a conversation to dredge up some sparse details about the actual Apple’s automotive intentions – including the company’s rumored pursuit of electric car company Tesla Motors, according to U.S. News contributor Tom Risen.

According to Wang, this speaks volumes about how Apple views its place in the world – not to mention its future ambitions.

“The focus on continuity of experience is at the heart and soul of Apple,” Wang wrote. “This is the foundation behind Health Kit, Home Kit, Watch Kit, and Car Play. Apple is focused on delivering its ubiquitous experience from walking outside, checking your wrist, to hopping in the car, making a payment, to the in-home experience. The car puts Apple’s OS in the proverbial driver’s seat.”

While the attention is there, it could be several years before an Apple car appears on the road – if at all. But the fact that the project is in motion tells a lot about the potential for an electric smart car. Industries like shipping and transportation stand to gain a significant amount of functionality from this sort of technology, even if the “self-driving car” never comes into fruition. Being able to treat a vehicle as a device has an untold number of applications. From integrating GPS features with the car itself for improved positioning to the control of media via a smart dashboard, there is potential here.

The importance of programs
At the end of the day, the device is not the center of the equation. Machines serve as the catalysts for change, certainly, but they are not going to be of much use without the right programs in place. No matter if it’s a phone, headset or car, smart devices and wearables must be supported by custom software development.

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Wearable warfare: What makes the second try any different?

Wearables have received a lot of mixed receptions. Some people herald them as a major step forward for personal technology. Others view them as frivolous and not likely to experience the same adoption rates of other devices with similar hype. These detractors are likely to point out that the concepts behind many incoming machines like Apple Watch and HoloLens have been tried before – and failed spectacularly – to generate excitement.

Many people believe that Apple Watch is doomed to the same fate as Android Wear. These same people also think that HoloLens will be destined for the shelf in the same way Google Glass was pulled. But there are many differences between new and old wearables that give them much more of a leg-up than their predecessors of similar nature.

Businesses have to start getting ready for wearables. Apple Watch and HoloLens, unlike the devices that came before them, are expected to start appearing in enterprises all over the world upon their release. Companies must figure out how to use them to their advantage, and the only way to do so is to invest in custom software solutions.

Apple Watch generating optimism
Smartwatches are not a new thing at this point. Even before Apple announced its foray into this segment of the tech market, there were other companies trying to figure out how these devices could be best used in relation to the smartphone.

One of the biggest attempts came in the form of Android Wear, which of course was the effort made by Google to beat Apple to the punch. But Android Wear did not sell as well as expected. According to research firm Canalys, the device shipped 720,000 units out of 4.6 million smartbands total in 2014. This means that Android Wear was outperformed by Pebble, a company that focuses solely on fitness wearables rather than being a multi-function assistant.

So what happened? Why did Android Wear fall flat?

According to NetworkWorld contributor Colin Neagle, one of the biggest complaints about Android Wear was battery life. Smartwatches represent a very limited space in which to include energy reserves. Apple has already made it a point to discuss its efforts to maximize battery life, and success on this front could allow the smartwatch market at-large to officially take off – something that will be sure to quell those that still see no potential for the device. According to Neagle, analysts for J.P. Morgan Chase believe that Apple will succeed and its stock will increase, as a result.

HoloLens isn’t trying to be Google Glass
Microsoft announced the HoloLens within one week of Google canning the Glass Explorer program. To some, this was a bold move – one that generated a lot of questions about Microsoft’s work. The memory of Glass was still fresh and it turned many people off of the idea of wearables ​altogether. What does HoloLens have that Google Glass doesn’t?

Microsoft is going with a different strategy altogether with the HoloLens. Rather than being something that the user wears during all hours of the day, HoloLens aims to be a task-based augmented reality headset that’s worn only during use. By taking this route, Microsoft was able to be more liberal with the design and permit for a larger device. Google sacrificed a lot of capability in order to make Glass as unobtrusive as possible and still found that it drew far too much attention. This not only made the people wearing Glass uncomfortable, but everyone else around them as well. Nobody likes feeling like they’re secretly being filmed, and the front-mounted camera on Glass led to many an accusation.

Because it is not meant to be worn constantly, HoloLens is able to be used as a wearable computer. Devices like smartwatches are supposed to be used in tandem with another tool like a smartphone or tablet. HoloLens is a self-contained device, therefore giving it a wider range of potential. According to Network World contributor Jonathan Hassell, this will give it a huge advantage in the enterprise. While gaming was one of the more obvious applications, office life is likely to change in significant ways.

“This device can be used in business collaboration settings,” Hassell wrote. “Imagine an interactive business review, where you literally move numbers around on a page. Imagine an earnings presentation where you can actually transform bar and pie charts to answer questions and derive insight. Even consider an analytics angle: What if you can take a virtual walking tour of all of your New York customers’ buying habits in a certain Brooklyn location?”

The first big step in portable computing was the laptop. Today, it could very well be the HoloLens.

Unlocking the power of new wearable devices
While it’s possible that an organization’s first taste of HoloLens and Apple Watch could be through employee-owned devices, businesses have to get serious about strategies now. There is no doubt that people will try bringing these devices into the office, so even if a company sees no use for them on the surface, they may have to dig a little deeper. In what ways could Apple Watch and HoloLens help to streamline or simplify an essential operation? This will be the major question at the forefront of all successful wearables strategies.

But just as important as planning is execution. Allowing workers to select what software they’ll run on these devices in conjunction with company-owned data can have disastrous results. Either apps will be poorly designed and prone to security breaches or there will exist a lack of cohesion between colleagues who are using several different programs to complete one specific task.

This is why enterprises that wish to succeed with wearables have to invest in custom software development that considers them. Businesses need to provide their staffers with the ability to succeed, and that means taking a special interest in the tools that they use. Apple, Android and Microsoft devices are trustworthy and powerful in the workplace, but the software to make these attributes a reality may not be readily available. Providing custom mobile app development will be the key to staying out ahead of the wearable revolution.

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The future – and present – of retail is mobile

Online shopping is still a relatively new concept in the grand scheme of things. Chances are that a great deal of people who buy goods and services on the Internet these days have some sort of memory from a time when this wasn’t viable, let alone possible. But as the capabilities of mobile devices have improved over the years, shoppers are finding themselves interacting over smartphones more often than not – even when they are in a store’s physical location.

Smartphones and tablets are more than just mobile devices. They are tools that can help to improve a user’s experience. It’s not just about being able to make calls while on the go anymore – it’s about possessing an asset that is used to streamline activities and tasks while ultimately providing a stronger outcome in any given situation. The retail industry is one area in particular that’s seen the potential for mobile engagement, and the companies that understand how to unlock it will help to drive device trends through the next couple of years, at least.

There is one thing to remember when attempting to improve customer engagement through mobile devices – it can’t be done without custom software solutions. Retailers need to get serious about providing their clients with specialized applications meant to enhance their existing experiences. It is getting to the point where if a business does not enable this sort of functionality, consumers are likely to move on to a competitor that does.

Making clients part of the process
Patrons of any given enterprise like to feel connected to the organizations they support. According to Constellation Research principal analyst and vice president Guy Courtin, more companies are seeing the value in making customers feel more involved. There has to be more effort made to foster business relationships with consumers.

“These trends all revolve around the continuing amplification of the consumer voice in the retail supply chain,” Courtin wrote for ZDNet. “As consumers gain more influence within the retail supply chain, retailers will continue to focus on areas that allow for greater cooperation among all entities. Savvy retailers realize they can no longer expect to dominate the relationship but instead should allow for an atmosphere of cooperation.”

Generally, the kind of actions described by Courtin are not possible to obtain through the use of a mobile website. These interfaces are often clunky and poorly executed, leaving much to be desired and often failing to meet basic expectations. It’s this sort of thing that drives customers away, and the biggest reason why custom mobile app development is the way to go when trying to engage smartphone and tablet users. Not only are these apps normally much easier to operate than their website counterparts, but they are more focused in their engagement – users are not able to navigate away from the brand without leaving the app. Additionally, mobile software is able to tap into the abilities of the device itself. GPS positioning, for example, can show a shopper where the closest physical stores are from where they are standing at any given moment.

Getting serious about the mobile experience
While there has been incredible demand from consumers for improved engagement, there are still a great number of companies that have not optimized their mobile experiences. Protecting the brand is important, and in the present day, that means optimizing consumer-facing applications, according to TMCnet contributor Steve Anderson. Anderson wrote that one of the biggest reasons mobile software falls off the priority list has to do with budgeting.

It’s possible that this has to do with one of two things: Either a company is behind on the times or it believes that an existing solution is cutting it as-is and further investments aren’t needed. But the only thing worse than not having a mobile app is possessing one that doesn’t work. Mobile development is an ongoing process. Even when custom software solutions are cleared for release, there will always be changes or fixes to make as merited. To beat an old phrase to death, making sure that customers are actually satisfied with the interfaces they are provided with is not a destination, but a journey.

In order to best satisfy the modern consumer, there has to be an investment made in custom software development. Prepackaged solutions often lack the personalized touch of a customer portal that is constructed with the user in mind and don’t do much in the way of brand awareness. Retail organizations, especially, have to make sure that mobile engagement is occurring both in and out of the actual store. The only way to ensure this is to build an app that meets their specific needs as well as the expectations held by patrons.

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What role will fashion play in wearable adoption?

Will wearables be successful? This is not an easy question to answer. While there are a number of different people out there who are both for and against wearable technology, its ultimate place in society can’t be assured. One of the biggest arguments against smartwatches, visors and even fitness trackers is that they’re generally lacking in aesthetic appeal. But how true is this statement? Right now, there are various companies involved with wearables, and many of them are likely trying to find the right balance between fashion and function.

Wearables are likely to be embraced in significant ways as more devices of this caliber are made available to the general public. While the look of a machine is generally going to be important, a device’s value as a fashion accessory is ultimately going to depend on where and how it will be used. What is certain, however, is that in order for enterprises to best connect with the users of these devices, there will have to be an investment made in custom software development. Being able to have a specialized portal for employees or customers will increase the value of the relationships these apps foster.

Apple Watch now the center of discussion
Detractors of wearable technology have frequently turned to the physical appeal of a device as a make-or-break factor in its eventual adoption rates. This is most likely one of the reasons that Apple Watch has been designed in the way that it has. Swappable bands and a gold “Luxury” edition mean that Apple recognizes the importance of aethetics in its wearable offerings.

So if a tech company is making a watch, why can’t a watch company make a piece of tech? This is most likely the rationale behind the announcement that longtime watch company Swatch will be coming out with a competing device at the same time Apple releases its watch, according to PC Magazine.

Use will outweigh looks – in some cases
There are plenty of devices out there that we use every day, but only some of them are meant to be taken everywhere. Smartphones and laptops, for example, are meant to allow people freedom while computing. They have the same goals as many wearables, but there’s a big social difference between sitting on the train across from someone on a laptop versus someone with Google Glass strapped to their head. Part of the public’s problem with Glass was that it was too obtrusive. This was despite being designed to be as discrete as possible without sacrificing functionality. The Glass project has since been shelved for these reasons.

The uneven reception to Glass left some people wondering why Microsoft would move forward with a headset of their own that promises many of the same uses. HoloLens is decidedly bulkier than Glass and covers both eyes with a visor, which in theory would make it less likely than Glass to succeed. But the secret to Microsoft’s strategy lies in how frequently one is supposed to wear the HoloLens. Promotional material has show people walking through 3D environments in their homes and offices and taking the device off when it’s not in use.

Wearables like HoloLens, which are not designed to be constant personal assistants, have a strong likelihood of succeeding. It could be that HoloLens will be what ultimately warms the general public up to the idea of a device like Glass, but functionality is likely to be more important than how a device looks and how frequently it is worn when it comes to a headset – at least for the time being.

The ultimate purpose of fashion in wearable tech
Few people want to walk around looking like they are strapped to a computer. While wearable devices serve incredible purposes, they are not likely to experience significant adoption if they actually look like wearables. This is the idea behind both Apple and Swatch’s smartwatch strategies – rather than build something totally new, take a look at what works and figure out how to add functionality.

Essentially, wearables have to be invisible in order to be of the most value. Devices must blend with and, in a way, become part of the user. A broader acceptance of this truth will lead to less-visible devices that do not interfere in the experiences they are trying to improve.

“Whether smart watches, smart glasses or some other device becomes the indispensable wearable over the next five years, eventually the technology behind wearables will be integrated into so many objects that people will no longer think of products as smart or not,” wrote TechRepublic contributor Bill Detwiler. “Many objects and clothes will be smart in some way.”

The importance of effective software
Of course, the devices themselves are not the only component of effective wearable tech. Like other machines, smartwatches must have software in place that will allow them to be used at their fullest potential. While there are countless pre-designed enterprise programs out there, it is generally accepted that investing in custom mobile app development is a more preferable solution. One-size-fits-all applications may be too generalized for the companies that need them and are ultimately ignorant of the nuances that exist between companies. Custom software development ensures that both employees and customers are able to get the most out of their experience and increases the likelihood that they will continue to use a program after its initial launch on their devices.

Few things in business should be left up to chance. Allowing workers to download their own solution or failing to provide consumers with a specialized portal represents some serious missed potential. With more wearables entering offices in the relatively near future, it will be essential to both update existing applications for new integration opportunities and invest in new programs that consider the modern user experience.

Fashion appeal is a major consideration for wearable tech – one that more major players are picking up. It’s incredibly likely that the better these devices start to look, the more they will begin to appear. Businesses need to take notes and prepare ahead of their explosive arrival.

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Enterprise mobility still considered an obstacle

The consumerization of IT has shaken things up significantly for enterprises. Now that countless professionals – not to mention the customers that they support – possess smartphones and tablets that are used on a daily basis, it could be argued that every company out there is inherently mobile. How good they are at recognizing and acting on this development, however, is an entirely different story.

A great deal of businesses still find themselves struggling with enterprise mobility. Some of them have seen low adoption rates of company-sponsored assets and have experienced misguided deployments. Others don’t even know where to start. If there is one thing that’s for sure, however, it’s that companies have to invest in custom software solutions in order to get the most out of their mobility initiatives.

Customer, employee experiences are critical
There is a simple truth that is common for all failed mobile strategies, and that is a lack of improved experiences. People download applications at work and in their personal lives because they perceive them as able to simplify or streamline a task in a significant way. These programs remain on the device in question if they are able to meet or exceed expectations. Unfortunately, a great number of applications fail in their attempt to do this.

According to Insurance Networking contributor Joe McKendrick, a lot of this has to do with companies rushing for a finished product.

“The problem is that mobile-enabled environments and apps have been designed in haste – a casualty of today’s hurry-up-and-push-it-out-the-door mentality,” McKendrick wrote. “So there have been apps rustled up by the IT department, or by marketing without IT’s awareness, and thrown out into the market.”

This lack of cohesion among workers will quickly take the steam out of any mobile deployment, no matter how well-meaning it may be. McKendrick cited a study conducted by Vanson Bourne that found that only 20 percent of consumers to feel satisfied with the mobile experiences provided to them by organizations.

But VB also found that those organizations that are succeeding at mobility have found noticeable improvement in areas like revenue, customer satisfaction and employee productivity. This may have something to do with taking a holistic approach – 40 percent of companies have already adopted company-wide enterprise mobility initiatives, and they reported six times as many successful end user adoptions as their peers.

Planning is critical
The takeaway from these findings is that businesses need to be mobile-first in their thinking. But this requires significant strategizing on the part of the organization. Just telling employees and customers to use their smartphones is nowhere close to the level of effort that is required for a successful mobile initiative.

Part of any solid solution is custom software development for mobile applications. Programs that are expected to serve as a link between businesses, employees and consumers have to be built with a specific organization in mind. Choosing a catch-all, pre-designed solution will not result in the kind of engagement that modern companies require.

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3 professions being changed by mobility

Smartphone owners use apps every day. Whether for work or personal needs, mobile software is leveraged constantly. These tools are helping businesses – and the professionals that inhabit them – to better connect with the patrons that keep them running.

There are a number of different jobs that are being forever altered by the use of mobile applications. This is why companies are increasingly investing in custom software solutions. Enabling employees to increase their productivity via a smartphone app is one of the most powerful ways to stay ahead, but only when the program is built specifically for their needs.

Here are three industries where mobility is helping to empower the modern workforce:

1) Wine
Smartphones have helped so many people in interesting ways. Most recently, helping connoisseurs to find the wine they’re looking for falls into this category. According to a recent study by Lotus Growth, app recommendations drove winery awareness up by 63.4 percent. This represents a significant growth in potential sales and illustrates the power of mobile engagement.

2) Recruiting
Internet connectivity has changed how people procure the things that they need – including talent. Job recruiters have a friend in applications and services that replicate the feel of the social networks that have risen to prominence in the mobile era.

“A solid mobile recruiting strategy will help ensure your organization is best positioned to find and attract candidates on their own terms, and make the application process smoother and easier for both applicant and hiring company,” wrote Network​ World contributor Sharon Florentine.

3) Education
The relationship between parents and teachers has not always been the best. Miscommunication between guardians and instructors has caused more than one headache. But according to The Monitor contributor Danya Perez-Hernandez, school districts in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley are using apps to combat misunderstandings and help keep everyone on the same page. Schedules and assignments can easily be tracked along with a real-time standing of grade performance.

Custom software solutions are key
Regardless of how organizations find success with mobile apps, there is one thing to keep in mind: Custom software development is key. Programs have to be built with specific users in mind, rather than just be geared generally toward business customers. Applications must live up to the expectations that will ultimately drive their adoption, and the best way to ensure this is to take specific needs of workers into account.

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BYOD continues to maintain enterprise mobility supremacy

Enterprise mobility has undergone a tremendous change over the last few years. Tech workers used to supply other employees with all of the devices and programs that they would need to get through the day. But now that more people have their own personal devices, this has changed.

Bring your own device has become the status quo for businesses with mobility in mind. But while many workers believe that they are able to provide themselves with the right software, this is not always the case. Enterprises need to redirect their efforts toward allowing personal devices in the workplace to ensure that they are outfitted with company-approved programs. Increasingly, it is being discovered that custom software solutions are the best way to go about doing this.

BYOD popularity continues to rise
Of course, as more people begin to adopt personal smartphones they will start bringing them to work. Even if just for company email access, chances are that almost every professional has at some point used their own mobile devices to complete a business objective.

According to TechProResearch contributor Teena Hammond, the variety of devices that will have to be accounted for is only going to grow.

“Organizations are now faced with more complex choices regarding what outside devices – if any – to integrate within their environments, and how to get business value out of them,” Hammond wrote. “Wearable devices refer to portable electronics such as headsets, watches or even clothing which can interface with a smartphone or collect/measure data such as audio/video, heart rate and environmental details.”

Businesses must consider how every one of these devices may impact the organization as a whole. Could they potentially interact with company data? If so, software must be updated in order to accommodate change and maintain security.

The changing face of mobile device management
The days of company-owned and managed mobile machines is over. Because professionals require the use of their own devices, GCN contributor Patrick Marshall believes that management must be shifted from devices to the applications that they run.

But this software has to be provided by the company. This is the only way to make sure that it meets the needs of employees while also keeping organizational information secure. The most effective way to accomplish this is through custom software development. Programs have to be constructed from scratch in order to best enable workers.

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Could the smartphone replace the wallet?

For men and women all over the world, leaving home without one’s wallet is akin to being naked. Wallets have helped us manage a number of different things over the years, from business cards and identification to money and other payment options. But alongside wallets, smartphones have become one of those things that you just don’t leave home without. Much of this is because smartphones have become single source tools for many of life’s common tasks.

So if mobile devices are capable of simplifying common user experiences in so many powerful ways, how come they have yet to replace the wallet?

In the relatively near future, the wallet may be a thing of the past. As smartphone technology is able to replicate the secure functions of other essential assets, people will find themselves with less of a need to carry a billfold, clutch or other practical items.

As smartphones continue to move farther up in importance as a personal item, businesses will have to recognize the opportunities in front of them. Engaging customers in a mobile environment is considered one of the most effective ways to establish brand loyalty. In order to experience modern consumer relationships, enterprises will have to invest in custom software development.

Mobile payments reduce the need for cash, cards
Much like magnetic strips were a welcome alternative to carrying large amounts of physical money, contactless smartphone payments are removing the need for credit and debit cards. Services like Google Wallet and Apple Pay promise to make plastic payments a thing of the past. According to InformationWeek contributor Jonathan Camhi, the concept behind this sort of streamlining has gained significant attention thanks to the improved user experiences that services like Uber are able to offer.

“Mobile payments hold a lot of promise for both the consumer experience and merchant operations,” wrote VentureBeat contributor Puneet Mehta. “As adoption accelerates, it will be important for brands to not look at mobile payments as just an exchange of funds between a customer and a company. The ‘ability to pay’ via plastic or even phone has become a commodity, and brands need to instead consider payments as part of the overall customer journey.”

The movement toward mobile payments has been significant enough to attract the attention of state lawmakers. According to Payment​ Week contributor Steven Anderson, recently-proposed legislation in Missouri would make it so that those paying via mobile would be required to show some form of identification, like a driver’s license. But like debit and credit cards, the physical driver’s license may be on it’s way out the door, as well.

Several states pushing for mobile credentials
Smartphones are popular because they enable a significant level of convenience. They have been able to take many tasks that once required a siloed item or device and turn them into software-defined activities. This is the idea that makes it possible for the smartphone to replace the wallet.

But mobile payment only takes into account one aspect of wallet replacement. People will still have to carry around their identification, right? Not necessarily, if some states are able to make good on recent initiatives to digitize the driver’s license.

According to PC Magazine contributor Angela Moscaritolo, Delaware is currently exploring the idea of deploying a secure smartphone app for state citizens to access their driving credentials. In the event that someone needs to present identification, they will be able to pull up an app and present it to those who require it.

Similarly, Network​ World contributor Colin Neagle, Iowa is exploring a similar premise.

“Unless another state or federal program introduces a similar app sooner, Iowa’s digital driver licenses will be the first legally recognized form of identification that can live on a smartphone,” Neagle wrote. “This is an important, yet largely ignored, aspect of the ‘death of the wallet’ narrative that was resurrected with the launch of Apple Pay this October. Even those who have been using Apple Pay need to carry their IDs just to drive to the store to make these purchases.”

Contacts, business information and more
The only other thing besides ID and money that people generally carry in wallets is business cards. Social media sites like LinkedIn, however, have largely removed the need for some sort of official replacement. Keeping tabs on contacts and potential enterprise associates is simpler than ever thanks to the smartphone and increased use of online assets.

Whatever is being discussed, the death of the wallet is characterized by one major common thread: custom software development. Organizations – regardless of if they are financial in nature or part of the government – that wish to simplify a user experience must embrace mobility as a customer engagement platform.

“One of the most critical things for mobile actions is simplicity. On smaller screens, every ask from a brand must be completed in one or two taps,” Mehta stated. “Understanding consumer intolerance for hassle on mobile, retailers are working feverishly to automatically bring in all aspects of the transaction (offers, payment, loyalty)[.]”

The best way to accomplish this is to invest in custom mobile app development. The end of the wallet is likely to occur in the relatively near future. As smartphones become the only thing a person needs when they leave the house, it will be critical for businesses to engage them via custom software solutions.

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Mobile banking takes over

Some would say that people are addicted to their smartphones. Mobile devices have completely changed daily life in countless ways. There is a need for instant gratification as a result of these modern conveniences. Being able to complete tasks in a simple way from a variety of locations has helped people to accomplish more in less time.

“Smartphones are continuing to make our lives more and more mobile,” wrote TMCnet contributor Alexandra Duggan. “Users want the convenience of all things they need at their fingertips. People want instant communication, instant gratification and instant service.”

One industry that’s taken particular note of this need is banking. Financial organizations have found incredible success by creating secure applications that assist their customers in convenient ways. Some banks have even started to introduce features that remove the need to write checks or take out funding.

Banks are not the only businesses that can benefit from mobile self-service. Any industry where customers may require frequent assistance can take advantage of smartphones and tablets in order to better serve the people who support them. But the only way to unlock new levels of customer engagement is through custom software development.

Mobile banking occurring in growing numbers
Managing one’s finances is a full-time job. It’s important to make sure that checks clear and deposits are showing up when they need to. Perhaps this is why mobile banking has taken off in such large numbers. According to a recent study performed by Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group, 55 percent of Americans use their mobile banking applications between two and three times a week.

C&G found that common banking needs were the biggest reasons that people accessed these applications. This kind of software allows people to effortlessly check their balances, transfer funds and even pay their bills – all tasks that would have once required a trip to the bank, which is not always easy for everyone to make. People are more empowered by banking programs, and as such they will use them more frequently than personal visits may have occurred in the past.

This kind of improvement in the user experience is what all good applications are supposed to be capable of. According to Gartner, those programs that don’t meet the expectations of clients and consumers are working against businesses of all kinds.

“Weak mobile customer service is harming customer engagement,” Gartner stated in a release. “No rallying principle in the enterprise matters more than the creation of superior customer engagement and IT leaders will need to innovate in engaging customers on all channels and have the metrics to choose the right projects.”

A significant simplification of a necessary task is what drives people to adopt new software. Should a business of any kind discover a way in which programming can assist its clients, pursuing custom software solutions will enable it to improve customer relationships.

Mobile customer service should be a priority
As people become used to instantaneous assistance from the companies they support, organizations that don’t prioritize mobile are likely to fall behind. This is especially true as more millennials begin to acquire buying power and start to drive the economy. This generation in particular responds well to mobile engagement, and its members will gravitate toward organizations that focus on this growing component of business.

“Millennials are the current and future consumer, and more importantly, the ones who now consider their phones the most important thing in their life,” Duggan wrote. “They will be spending $10 trillion in the course of their lifespan – so now is the time to get them hooked on one brand. Creating a strong and reliable relationship now will lead to lifetime of loyal customers.”

What Duggan describes is what banks are starting to discover. In fact, Duggan cites a study from Bank of America that found millennials view their smartphones as being of the same importance as their “toothbrush, deodorant and even their car.” The financial institutions that recognize the potential for millennial engagement are focusing on making their mobile applications as effective as possible.

Custom software solutions are a requirement
The only way to ensure that programs are working at their highest potential is to invest in custom mobile app development. Software has to address the specific needs of a particular organization’s customers. Additionally, consumers need to feel like they are connecting with a brand, not an app. Building something from scratch allows for the ultimate level of customization and helps to remind the user of the purpose in mind.

The banking industry in particular has seen how effective these solutions can be. Simple interfaces that offer a variety of necessary assistance can help to keep customers satisfied and prone to sticking with a single organization. Mobile customer service is rapidly working its way up to the status quo – the 55 percent of Americans that depend on smartphone-based banking are clear evidence of this. According to Duggan​, poor customer service is a common frustration for countless people. While this is a problem that’s been around for generations, in modern times it may mean that there is an absence of mobile customer support.

“Marketing can only go so far to sell consumers on a brand – it is up to customer service to hone in and close the disconnect between service providers and mobile device users,” Duggan stated. “This can be done by implementing the most effective way to interaction with a customer whether it is through an app, or a mobile responsive support portal.”

The best way to accomplish this is through custom software development. Whether this means that new IT staffers are brought in to assist with programming or the process is outsourced, businesses have to get serious about engaging their clients via a mobile platform. As more millennials begin to support companies all over the world, making sure that they are supported on smartphones and tablets will be the best way to secure their loyalty.

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