Blog

4
Oct

5 Ways How Blockchain is Affecting Insurance Industry

People just love to talk about blockchain technology these days and how it is impacting industries across the globe. Leading insurance companies are investing in blockchain, unlocking new ways to improve the quality of their products. Nobody had heard about the applications of blockchain in the insurance industry a few years ago.

However, the ongoing hype suggests that blockchain has the potential to completely transform the insurance sector, enabling greater competitive advantage, efficiency, and growth. Email automation was once a new thing for insurance companies and agencies and they were reluctant to try it out. Today, smart automation is an integral part of insurance marketing.

It is likely that the insurance industry wouldn’t take too long to fully focus and deploy blockchain technology. Those who are not taking this technology seriously might end up playing catch up with higher costs. Blockchain may not be generating enough benefits for insurers today. But it will play a key role in future growth. Here is how blockchain is disrupting the insurance industry:

1. Fraud detection

Did you know the total cost of insurance fraud in the US alone? According to the FBI, it is $40 billion a year. Surprisingly, there is no standard way to detect those frauds. Since blockchain facilitates improved data sharing by consolidating claims data across channels, insurers can use the technology to reduce fraud. Today, we see insurers gathering data from private companies or public domains to evaluate fraudulent activities.

The practice is helpful to a certain extent, but it lacks consistency because organizations hesitate to share sensitive information with other partners. While insurers are still exploring how emerging technology will stop fraud, it certainly has the potential to disrupt fraud detection.

Leanne Kemp, CEO Everledger, says, “When I saw what the fundamental principles of the blockchain provided, it was just patently obvious to me that it would make sense around reducing fraud-related instances of valuables.”

2. Property and casualty insurance (P&C)

P&C insurance is a massive industry, but it struggles to gather all the important data to process claims. A common person may think of insurance as a contract that outlines circumstances in which the insurer is liable for damages. This can be solved by hoarding all data in a single place, or by managing data to be easily accessible – yet protected. However, it’s a complicated process to verify that all the conditions for each policy are met. Blockchain technology can simplify things by automating the claim process through smart contracts that live on a blockchain. This could lead insurers to save more than $200 billion a year in costs.

3. Reinsurance

The prime function of insurance is to help people deal with risk and mitigate the impact of unexpected events. However, this could make things look really ugly for insurers during natural disasters like wildfires and hurricanes. This is where reinsurance helps insurers insulate themselves from the risk of a major event.

Blockchain technology can streamline the flow of information between reinsurers and insurers to upend current reinsurance processes. It will help update comprehensive information around premiums and losses on a reinsurer and insurer’s computer at the same time. Related topics would be all about how Blockchain accelerates insurance transformation.

4. Transparent processes

When someone files a life insurance claim, emerging technology can help simplify and automate the process. Right now, we see so many hurdles in a claim registration process involving hospitals, beneficiaries, funeral homes, insurers, etc. Blockchain can host all the stakeholders on one network, making the entire process transparent and readily accessible.

5. Record keeping

Blockchain technology can be leveraged to create, organize, and maintain company records in a single, dependable, and accessible repository. This will make life easier for everyone: employees, customers, insurers, etc. That is one of the main advantages of blockchain technology – keeping a track of the change in real-time. Once all interested parties are on the same page, it is easier to manage the insurance process.

Final Thoughts

The true potential of emerging technology is still to be explored. But we can already visualize some of the promising applications of blockchain across the insurance industry. Blockchain-powered smart contracts could provide insurers and customers with the means to manage claims in an irrefutable and transparent fashion. Insurance contracts are complex, no doubt about that because not everyone can understand the legal language used in those contracts. When something wrong happens, people have to go through a lengthy claim process. Emerging technology brings clarity and transparency between customers and insurers.

24
Aug

How to Boost Bottom Line Revenue by 60X with Blockchain

When I first met Bradley Lyons, the CEO of his namesake company, he told me he had a new idea that was going to save his business from the 2020 pandemic downturn. His company is a thriving mid-sized logistics business with a strong focus on engaging in the latest digital innovations. Bradley’s strategy is to always stay ahead of the curve where technology is concerned which has served him well as he grew from being a few men show to leading an international team of hundreds across 3 countries and 5 offices. 

The more we talked about it, the more excited I got about it too. Bradley was convinced this would be a game-changer for his company unlike so many others in their industry who were not as forward-thinking with their digital transformation strategies as they could have been. By solving delayed payments, lost shipments, and employee turnover, Bradly could boost their bottom line revenue by as much as 60x over the next few years.

The conversation quickly shifted to how blockchain could be the best solution for their immediate challenges. Blockchain is a secure, transparent ledger that anyone can see – but no one can change without permission. 

Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize every industry and business sector. As businesses across the world explore Blockchain, business leaders need to understand how Blockchain functions as it transforms from a technology that’s still in its infancy into core infrastructure for the digital age.

Most businesses today lose money due to procedural delays, human error, and fees paid to middlemen. Blockchain can be a cost-effective tool for businesses of all sizes, providing an easier way to hire better employees, make more efficient and faster payments globally, and increase marketing campaigns by knowing what customers want better than ever before.

In this article, we’ll dive into how Blockchain can help boost your bottom line revenues and what you need to do in order to get started today!

Get Paid Faster

Smart contracts, a Blockchain application, are a way to make sure that the person who promised to pay you does it. If they don’t, then you get your goods back. That means parties can settle disputes without the need for lawyers. This alone has the potential to save big companies billions in legal and other costs.

A smart contract is a self-executing program that exists on the blockchain network and ensures all parties in the agreement do what they are supposed to. Blockchain allows for the creation of smart contracts that execute themselves and help reduce the cost of transactions as well as speed up payments.

Build Better Teams

“The cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary.” – reports Gallup.

U.S. businesses can save $1 trillion by reducing employee turnover if they can hire for skills as well as cultural fit. However, businesses in need of employees are at a disadvantage when trustworthy data is unavailable, as they must rely on traditional verification methods. Having trustworthy data that is readily available helps you find the right people to improve your business. If you find a candidate with impressive qualifications, you can quickly confirm the authenticity of those credentials and hire them on the spot. 

Blockchain technology also allows for the verification of soft skills, as well as extracurricular activities, which can help employers hire employees that present a better cultural fit for the team.

Sell More Stuff

Businesses can use Blockchain to learn more about customers to build stronger customer relations. Blockchain facilitates reliable identity management. Your customers and your employees have digital IDs that make it easy to verify their identities. If this information is stored on a blockchain network, you can increase revenue by reducing the risk of cybercrime such as fraud, theft, money laundering, etc

The blockchain is a digital ledger of transactions that can’t be tampered with, meaning the person is in control of their own data. With complete transaction records, you and your customers have a better understanding of how it has progressed over time. Blockchain technology offers new opportunities for businesses to learn more about their customers, increase loyalty and achieve growth.

Safeguard Your Data

According to an IBM study, the average cost involved in resolving a data security breach can be significant; $7.97M per incident on average for larger companies. The impact of downtime varies wildly – from minor disruption to a total shutdown of every business function. Increasing safety levels is a key component of every industry’s bottom line, and blockchain cybersecurity is at the forefront.

Blockchain provides an inherent level of security as it is decentralized, making it the perfect technology for cybersecurity. Blockchain has a vast array of applications in data sharing and encryption across industries that use data – that is essentially every industry. Blockchain is a decentralized ledger that records transactions. Blockchain ensures data security, with encrypted blocks of information stored across multiple servers so it’s not vulnerable to hackers or other cyberattacks. A blockchain database can be used for storing all sorts of digital assets and transaction types.

Run Better Marketing Campaigns

More and more companies need to find a way to cut through the noise when it comes to marketing. Even if you’ve already found success using known techniques, such as social media posts and TV advertisements, blockchain could lead to a better payoff.

Data from the blockchain can be used by marketers to keep track of customer information. With this data, skilled marketers can create good campaigns that get people to buy more things and make more money.

Changes made during development to a campaign or other media release can be easily identified on the blockchain. If you want to know who changed something at what time, look no further than this convenient technology.

Blockchain allows marketers to verify the legitimacy of their marketing campaigns. With less bot activity compromising the validity of your numbers, you get a higher yield for every dollar spent on marketing.

What do you think are the best uses for Blockchain in your business? 

Blockchain is a technology that has the potential to change many industries and sectors for good – as it did for Bradly and his logistics company. It’s more than just Bitcoin with wide-ranging applications from finance to healthcare, government, law enforcement, and supply chains. Forward-thinkers are building innovative products and services about blockchain applications while other mature companies are using blockchain to make their business run more efficiently and profitable. The world of blockchain digital transformation can be intimidating if you don’t have experience in it. 

Schedule an exploratory call with an expert so you know what your options are when exploring how this new tech could impact your company or industry.

 

25
Jul

Tech Startup Challenges You Can’t Ignore

Whether you are an inventor, entrepreneur, or enthusiast of starting up tech mobile applications, there are a few challenges of the industry that you should be aware of. While setbacks can be frustrating, they are rarely impossible to overcome. Here are a couple of the most common challenges that you’ll probably encounter as you launch a new application and how you can maneuver them.

 

Standing Out

When preparing to launch your new mobile app, it is important to take the appropriate measures so that your technology will stand out among the plethora of applications that saturate the field. While this can seem like an intimidating and unnecessary step, it is a challenge that you shouldn’t avoid. There are lots of different things that you can do to stand out from other apps. First of all, make sure that you title your app appropriately and that you use keywords in your descriptions that are related to the purpose of your app that users are likely to search for. For example, if you’re creating a scheduling app, create a name that is related to a calendar or schedule rather than naming it something like “Stay on Top.” This will ensure that your application is easy to find and navigate for users.

 

Hiring Top Talent

One of the best things that you can do for your startup mobile app is hire some of the most talented designers, coders, and employees in the field. This can seem nearly impossible, especially if your company is small and isn’t well known in the field for mobile technology. When interviewing employees, there are certain steps that you can take to snare some of the top talent in the business. Showing how your company makes a difference will help prospective employees find meaning and purpose in the job. If they truly believe that your company has an important mission, creative processes, and a successful plan, they’ll be persuaded to take the job, no matter how experienced they are.

 

Connect with Your Audience

Many people don’t think that it is necessary to know and connect with your audience as a tech startup company. While doing so can be difficult, it is also incredibly rewarding. Having a loyal following of fans and enthusiasts will help your app launch to be much more successful, since they will likely spread the word about the benefits of your technology. Additionally, if you know the needs and interests of your audience they’ll be more likely to respond to your updates, efforts, and business goals.

 

Even though it may seem like there are countless challenges that come up when you’re launching your startup tech company, remember that overcoming those challenges will bring you more success than you can imagine. Being innovative and creative in these difficult situations will lead you to even more successful ideas. Remember that your difficulties, such as learning to connect with your ideal audience, are always rewarding in the end.

 

Read this next: Augmented Reality Strategies and Tools to Use in Your Ecommerce

22
Jul

Top 10 Benefits of Blockchain Technology for Businesses

Last 2009, the launch of Bitcoin moved blockchain from theoretical use to real-world, indicating that it was working. Since then, businesses have also tested how blockchain technology works for them.

Blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger system that records every transaction without a financial intermediary such as a bank. Big companies, government agencies, and charity organizations are being used to enhance existing processes and allow new business models.

The benefit of blockchain comes from its ability to share data across organizations in a fast and secure manner – without requiring anyone entity to take responsibility for protecting the data or enabling the transactions.

Blockchain and its features can provide numerous benefits to businesses, whether they use a public blockchain network or private or permission blockchain-based apps.

Now, what are the benefits of blockchain technology? Let’s start with the top 10 blockchain benefits.

10 Benefits of Blockchain Technology for Businesses

1. Enhances transparency

One of the most well-known advantages of blockchain is its ability to provide transparency. This feature may seem to conflict with blockchain’s promise for privacy and security, but both of these benefits can function in tandem.

On a public blockchain, all transactions are searchable and traceable. Users can search a complete ledger of wallets that contain Dragons to see how they are being used.

The level of transparency may provide customers with complete information of the production and distribution cycles of purchases made at their local grocery store or from major online retailers such as Amazon.

2. Greater Trust

Blockchain builds trust amongst entities when trust is either lacking or unproven. As a result, these organizations can participate in business dealings, including transactions and data sharing that they would not have done otherwise or would have needed the assistance of an intermediary to do.

One of the most often mentioned benefits of blockchain is the improvement of trust. Its value is apparent in early blockchain use cases that enabled transactions between businesses that did not have direct relationships but need to share data or payments. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, in general, are iconic examples of how blockchain allows trust between people who do not know one other.

3. Improved the security and privacy

Another significant benefit of blockchain-enabled technologies is their computer system security. The enhanced protection provided by blockchain comes from how the technology works: blockchain provides an unchangeable record of transactions with end-to-end encryption, which prevents fraud and illegal activity.

Moreover, data on the blockchain is stored throughout the computer network, making it very difficult to hack data on servers, unlike conventional computer systems. Furthermore, blockchain can handle privacy issues better than conventional computer systems by encrypting data and requiring permission to limit access.

4. Reduced costs for business

The blockchain nature can also help businesses to save money. It improves transactional efficiency. It also minimizes manual activities like data aggregation and editing, as well as reporting and auditing. Experts emphasized the benefits that financial institutions experience when using blockchain, stating that blockchain’s capacity to expedite clearing and settlement immediately translates into process cost savings.

In general, blockchain helps businesses save money by removing the middlemen – suppliers and third-party providers – who have traditionally supplied the processing that blockchain can perform.

5. Speed Transactions

Blockchain can handle transactions quicker than traditional methods since it eliminates intermediaries and eliminates remaining manual transactions. In some cases, blockchain can process a transaction in minutes or less.

However, times may vary; how quickly blockchain-based transactions can process depends on various factors, such as the size of each data block and network traffic. Nevertheless, experts have concluded that blockchain generally beats other rapid procedures and technologies.

6. Decentralization

One of the main reasons Bitcoin’s popularity is growing is due to decentralization. In this case of Bitcoin, miners from all around the globe keep an eye on and protect the Bitcoin blockchain’s integrity. By performing cryptographic computations, they validate transactions on the Bitcoin network.

Since Bitcoin is decentralized, it is difficult for outside organizations such as governments to manipulate or inflate it. This decentralization provides:

  • Quicker and cheaper worldwide transactions.
  • A solid store of value.
  • Resistance to censorship.

An attacker would need to possess 51% of the Bitcoin network’s global hash power to compromise it, which is costly and not sustainable over time.

7. Traceability and Visibility

With the blockchain ledger, an audit trail is present to track where the products originated each time exchange of goods is recorded on a Blockchain. It can assist not only enhance security and fraud prevention in exchange-related companies and help verify the validity of exchanged assets. The supply chain is more transparent than ever before, thanks to blockchain. It can use in medicine to trace the supply chain from manufacturer to distributor or in the crafts to give irrefutable proof of ownership. Organizations can also benefit from blockchain traceability by adopting it in-house.

8. Increased Data Security

Point-to-point encryption helps in the security of data while it is in transit and storage. Transaction blockchains are a safe method to store transaction data and transaction ordering. A strong P2P distribution of identical copies of the blockchain over a cloud computing network provides a third layer of security. Distributed data storage is better than a single-point data storage design, which has a greater chance of data breach. Data files are broken down into encrypted pieces, stored on multiple nodes, perhaps throughout different countries.

9. Speed Disaster Recovery

When blockchain technology is used, a record of transactions is widely disseminated. A blockchain is so helpful because it is made public or distributed to many authorized users. The failure of a single network node does not affect the original stock of the blockchain.

While any node is offline, the other nodes continue to work and update the blockchain. Any network node that experiences a failure can quickly catch up to the current blockchain database state when the node comes back online based on the transactional record of the blockchain entries, particularly if they have a secure timestamp.

10. Cloud Computing with Hyperledger

Hyperledger is a blockchain technology created as open-source apps as part of a collaborative initiative funded by The Linux Foundation. Multiple copies of an identical blockchain record make illegal data processing exponentially more difficult. The use of peer-to-peer networks to decentralize record-keeping provides a complete audit trail. Unlike bitcoin, there is no need or desire for privacy among hyper ledger users. These records can share in the cloud through cloud computing, and different parties can store identical copies for audit verification. The benefit is that the national government knows and controls who all the authorized users are; nevertheless, it is the users, not the central power, who keep the hyper-ledger with their efforts.

Final Thoughts

Finally, this brings us to the end of our discussion of the main advantages of blockchain technology. Now that you understand the significance of blockchain technology, you can form an opinion about using it.

Blockchain is a game-changing technology that will have a significant effect on every sector. Our focus was limited to the essential sectors so that you could relate to and understand their benefits. But, in the end, the decision is entirely yours. Hopefully, this article will help you in making the best choice to boost your business.

Author Bio

Jennysis Lajom is an IT graduate, a chemist, an eCommerce business owner, and a Korean drama fan. Her passion for digital marketing led her to a career in graphic design, editing, and social media marketing. She is also one of the resident SEO writers in the Softvire US and Softvire Australia

2
Jul

Augmented Reality Strategies and Tools to Use in Your Ecommerce

Who’s not familiar with the fun stickers and backgrounds on Facebook and IG camera apps on Snapchat? Or the IKEA app which overlays pieces of furniture in their full-scale model on your house rooms? All these are examples of augmented reality technology and more companies are finally recognizing the benefits they bring to their business.

While Augmented Reality seems intimidating for startups, small businesses, and individual entrepreneurs, this technology can actually be affordable and easy to use for them. Many eCommerce sites are using simple AR techniques to capture the attention of web goers and generate bigger profits. Statista previously published an updated report on AR technology usage by businesses. Their projection showed how AR tech’s value will rise to over US$18 billion. Another Statista forecast also revealed the consumer spending on AR-embedded mobile applications to reach the whopping US $15.497 million by 2022.

These numbers only show that businesses are now ready to embrace AR in their operations. The eCommerce sector, of course, can likewise gain the same array of benefits as physical shops are enjoying. This is thanks mainly to mobile apps. But how else can eCommerce businesses leverage augmented reality?

We’ll find out below!

How eCommerce Can Use Augmented Reality

More than any other sector, eCommerce can apply augmented reality in so many ways. With the ongoing lockdowns, they are bound to win more customers and make higher profits using it than the physical stores. Depending on the products, eCommerce business owns can use these most common forms of augmented reality:

1. Augmented Item Placement

Online shopping has been the go-to of consumers for the past year. eCommerce sites are getting more traction today than pre-Covid years. But shoppers are still a bit skeptical about shopping everything online, most especially when it involves furniture and electronic appliances.

Just imagine buying a side-by-side fridge and when it’s finally delivered, you find out that it won’t fit through the door or on the space where you want it to stand. To resolve this common predicament, eCommerce business owners can use augmented reality mobile apps to give shoppers a preview of an item’s size and other physical features.

IKEA has been the trendsetter in AR home placement. Their IKEA Place mobile app was received well by people as it helped them decide on the right furniture and electronics to buy without going back and forth from their house to the retail shop and carry heavy items just to check whether they will fit a space or not. And apart from the convenience that the app brings to shoppers, it also boosted customer satisfaction and loyalty.

2. Augmented Item Fitting

Augmented reality has also made it possible for shoppers to fit clothes, accessories, and shoes as if they’re trying on the real thing. Although shoppers cannot compare the experience of actually fitting an item, advance augmented reality apps now come with intelligent sizing analyzers so they can tell a shopper how it will fit in actual.

One of the popular apps to use this kind of AR strategy is the Nike Fit app which allows shoppers to have a 360-degree view of shoes fitted on their feet.

Another is the luxury brand, Michael Kors. The brand partnered with Facebook in 2018 to launch an AR advertisement that coincided with National Sunglasses Day to promote their new aviator models. Fans and shoppers were able to try on a selection of MK sunglasses by borrowing FB’s camera filters and stickers. Uses were even amazed when the glasses moved with them, making it look like they’re really wearing an MK on them. The hype it created helped the brand sell tons during the launch of their new aviators with +14% conversions.

3. Virtual Shop Tour

One of the most popular and talked about invisible pop-up stores in the 2010s was Airwalk’s Invisible Pop Up Store where users simply run Airwalk’s AR app to launch an augmented store where they can virtually shop for sneakers. It was tagged as the future of marketing as it successfully captured the attention of shoe-lovers and gave its profit a lift. eCommerce sites can also follow this trend and bring their online shop to space where their customers are. This gives online shopping a fresher face and provides buyers with a more unique experience.

Augmented Reality Software and Services for Online Retailers

Augmented Reality is something eCommerce businesses should try to gain an edge over their competitors and to keep leads enticed then engaged and later, loyal.

If you are not sure how to start your augmented reality journey, here are three tools to start with:

1. ZapWorks

For those who are not proficient in coding and making apps, here’s a software you should use. ZapWorks is a user-friendly program that creates simple augmented reality apps for eCommerce businesses that lets their buyers virtually try on their items or pop up a shop in front of them.

The toolkits are offered in different plans to provide you with more advanced features and tools through ZapWorks Studio and an easy and quick drag-and-drop interface in ZapWorks Designer for beginners. ZapWorks plans start at $60 per month (billed annually).

2. Augment

Augment gives another kind of AR power to eCommerce. While ZapWorks gives you customization tools to create your very own AR app, Augment serves as a preview tool that sellers can use to give their buyers a real-life overview of their product.

Augment plans start at $89 per month (billed monthly) where users can leverage the AR Viewer. For other functions, users will have to pay additional fees, but the experience will be more enticing for your customers.

3. Marxent

If you are planning to up your game by creating 3D apps, 3D catalogs, and other 3D solutions, Marxent is the right software to use.

Marxent allows users to create a 360 degrees product preview and a 3D space designer, benefiting not just the eCommerce sector but also the trades industry.

Key Takeaways

Augmented reality is taking the eCommerce game to another level by changing the way shoppers preview products and walk through a shop. This technology makes online shopping more exciting and engaging, which we can see from the many customer feedbacks for eCommerce sites using augmented reality strategies. So, if you are an eCommerce retailer and you’re yet to discover the wonders of augmented reality, today is the right time to do so. Otherwise, you are missing another opportunity to grow your business.

AUTHOR BIO

Engineer turned Writer. Donna found a deeper interest in expressing her thoughts through words rather than numbers. With four years of experience, she has now mastered different writing styles. Writing Technology Blogs for the computer software shop Softvire Australia is her latest stint. After work, she morphs into an anime and TV series fan.

22
Jun

Why You Should Use Social Media to Market Your Tech

While social media marketing is starting to develop a strong reputation, some businesses are still hesitant to take advantage of what it has to offer. Brands across a huge variety of industries are seeing the benefits of social media marketing, and tech is no different. Using social media to market your tech can help you to grow your brand and your following so your business can continue to succeed.

Cultivation of Community

One of the best things social media can do for your tech brand is to help you to cultivate a sense of community with your followers. And, when you have that community, you will increase your brand loyalty. You can develop your community on social media by frequently interacting with followers and even composing posts that request interaction from customers themselves. The more you work on community building, the more access you will have to a strong follower base to purchase your products. 

Expand Your Reach

Social media marketing makes it easier than ever for your brand to be seen by more and more people. The number of smartphone users worldwide is projected to be 4 billion in 2021. And most of these users are also on social media platforms. Social media posts can be easily shared among your followers and by people who don’t even follow your company yet. That means that your tech will be seen by more eyes than through almost any other marketing method. By expanding your reach, you can help to secure your company as an important fixture in your industry.

Experiment with New Marketing Ideas

While you don’t want to create and post social media posts without a little bit of research, social media can give you a great opportunity to try out new things. You can also use social media as a way to research what other brands are doing and how it is working for them. Then you can try out new methods and see how they work for you. Some things may not work out, but others will be awesome, and you may never have tried them if you weren’t on social media.

Social media marketing can open your business up to a whole new collection of customers and give you a chance to make better connections. If you are consistent with your platform and use it well, you can grow your business. There is no better time for tech businesses to jump on social media than the present.

 Read this next: Is Digital Innovation or Evolution the Right Choice for Your Tech Startup?

3
Jun

Comparison Between Mobile App Building and Outsourcing (Pros, Cons, and Costs)

Mobile technology is now becoming the driving force for the digital era. The growing number of people owning a mobile gadget is increasing, and many are becoming more reliant on their mobile devices than their desktop or laptops. Thus building an app for your business is a wise move.

However, after you and your team have finally decided to come up with your app, many questions will surface. Who will build your app? How are you going to make it? Can your team members work on it? Are you going to outsource it? With the many questions that will come afloat in the air regarding your app development, you might face one of the most common dilemmas every business faces when they decide to build an app. Will you work it on your own, or have it outsourced from a third-party vendor?

It will be a critical decision to make as it will affect how your business app will perform. To help you decide, you can weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Option 1: In-House

Many businesses take the matter into their own hands when building their applications. While many established companies do this, it is good to weigh your pros and cons if you are inclined to have your team take care of the development process.

Advantages:

1. Your Team Knows Your Business Better

Leaning on internal workers building your business app means that they know what is needed in your app. Being with the company says they have a clear understanding of how the business operates and how an app can streamline processes for the benefits of your consumers. Your team knows your brand voice, your target audience, your vision as a company, and even your competitors.

Having all of these insights can help build an app that directly answers your customers’ needs. Though any app agencies can also learn these insights, it will still take time to get to know your brand more.

2. Faster Approval

Since the people working on your business app are staying in the same location as you, approval of any kind is faster and easier. It is also easier to orchestrate a review of the development of your mobile application. Instead of sending back and forth any design material, approval can be done instantly as your physical location permits you to do so. Communication is easily accessible, and discussion of any challenges met along the way can be discussed face-to-face.

3. Revision Flexibility

No app can come out ideally for the first time. Revisions are part of the process of anything that you have built from scratch. Working with your team can give flexibility over the number of changes you need to tweak and modify your business app. You can work on your app without the restrictions on the number of revisions allotted to you.

Disadvantages:

1. High Cost

When you are building your app with your in-house team, you need to start from scratch. It means additional training for your staff. If no one is eligible to create a decent app, you need to resort to hiring an extra employee. You also need to pay for licenses that are essentials in app-building.

2. Inexperienced Team

Since app building is not your forte, your in-house team also has a diverse background. While it can be done, working on your app can take a while, as some of your team members may still need to check further for references.

3. Additional Manpower

An app development team is composed of many professionals like designers, developers, analysts, project managers, team leads, and quality assurance engineers. If you only have quite a handful of these essential team members, you need to spend time, effort, and resources to fill in the gap for your team. You need to invest in the new workforce required to build your app.

Option 2: Outsource Companies

The trend for building an app these days includes leaning on outsourced companies. Many businesses and organizations lean on these third-party companies to come up with their mobile app.

If you want to outsource the building of your app but still think twice about this move, you can weigh on these advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages:

1. Cost-Effective

Outsourcing your app development process can help you with some money that you can use on other things essential in your business. Since you do not have to worry about licenses and even other infrastructure needed for any app development, you do not have to spend a significant amount to purchase it. Your third-party app development company will provide all the essential requirements.

2. Experts In The Field

Since you are tapping an outsource to do your business app, you are partnering with people who have years of experience under their belt. These people are considered experts in their field, and you will have peace of mind knowing that a team of professionals will handle and focus on your app development process. Instead of doing time to time check on the status of your app, you can spend your time on other tasks on your business.

3. Faster Time To Commence

An outsourcing company for any app-building already has a complete set of app builders in their team. It means that they do have to acquire additional time to look for a teammate who fills in the gap. They do not have to spend extra time learning from resources on how to build your desired app. Because of this, outsourcing ensures that your app will be started right away.

Disadvantages:

1. Communication Issues

Since you will be working with a different team from another company to build your app, you might be dealing with people in different time zones. This situation can result in communication issues while working on your app. However, if you are working with top-notch companies, they can adjust to your time zone.

2. Limited Revisions

Working with an agency to build your app means working on a budget that gives you limited restrictions. One of which is the number of revisions you can have on your app. It limits your feedback, and if ever you still want to have another set of reviews and changes, you have to increase your allotted project. Fortunately, most outsourced agencies these days adopt agile methodology where your projects will be divided into a set of modules that allows you to check and suggest changes along the way.

Conclusion: Should You Outsource or Build Your Own?

New normal business strategies require ingenuity and sensibility to thrive in these changing and challenging times. So you need to weigh your capacity and resources as a business before deciding to outsource or build your own app. The build is simply the beginning of your mobile app development. There are more expenses and maintenance costs that you would have to shell out in the future as you continue to improve your app, its services, User Experience (UX), features, and even community. Mobile apps make better business and outperform web apps significantly.

The battle on which option you will choose to build your app will all depend on you. It will depend on factors like time, resources, and the amount of risk you are willing to take. Whether you choose to build your app with your team or have decided to partner with third-party developers, you should always consider your business objective, long-term strategies, and the pool of resources. You should also note that what works for other companies or your competitors will not work for you.

Author Bio

Mayleen Meñez used to work in media before finding her true passion in NGO work, traveling the Philippines and Asia doing so. She homeschools 3 kids and loves reinventing Filipino dishes. She is a resident SEO writer for Softvire Australia and Softvire New Zealand.

11
May

Need to hire a Java developer? Look for these six must-have skills.

Despite the advent of new technologies like Python, Java continues to be the premier choice for building secure, scalable & robust web applications. The fact is that 7.1 million programmers use the Java language worldwide without any doubt. We can say that Java is a coding language with tremendous demand and Java developers are the most sought-after asset for IT companies around the world.

Java is stupendously used in every possible application software. Hence, it is essential to understand how important it is to achieve hands-on experience in the latest framework and libraries. Being a Java Developer requires effort and dedication, but this path is an investment. These invested skills will take your career to the next level time and again as you go.

Whether you are an aspiring Java developer seeking pro tips to improve Java skills or an experienced coder who hopes to bag their dream job in a big MNC, read this blog post to know the six must-have skills to achieve your goals.

#1 DevOps Tools

DevOps tools facilitate effective sharing and exchange of resources, mainly in the business sector. The tools make it easier by bringing in new flow and addressing critical aspects of your DevOps environment by automating the process chain using Build, Test, Deploy, and Release features.

DevOps’ knowledge of various tools such as Jenkins, Docker, and Kubernetes is a must for a modern Java coder. THESE DAYS, most IT companies check whether the interviewing candidate is familiar with the continuous integration & deployment of these tools.

Although a beginner in Java needs basic knowledge to crack the job interview, a senior Java developer must be familiar with the best coding practices, creating environments, guidelines, and building scripts.

It is profoundly recommended that a Java coder must learn the DevOps tools such as Kubernetes and AWS, along with Jenkins and Maven.

#2 Spring Framework

A Java developer must be familiar with the Spring Framework. Most IT companies prefer Spring Frameworks such as Spring Boot, Spring MVC & Spring Cloud for coding web applications and APIs.

Spring Framework is a critical requirement for modern-day software, makes web applications testable. It provides a comprehensive programming and configuration model for modern-day Java-based enterprise applications. The critical element of the Spring Framework is its infrastructural support at the application level. Spring makes programming Java quicker, easier, and safer for everybody. Its focus on speed, simplicity, and productivity has made it the world’s most popular Java framework. So indeed, every Java Developer must familiarise themselves with the Spring Framework.

If you are a fresher, start with a Java and Spring tutorial to learn the basics of this incredible framework. However, if you are familiar with the Spring framework, start exploring the advanced options like Spring Cloud and Spring Boot for developing feature-rich Java applications.

#3 JUnit and Mockito

What draws a fine line between an average Java developer and a good Java programmer is the unit testing skill. An experienced and talented Java coder writes unit tests for their code.

JUnit and Mockito are both open-source tools. JUnit is a programmer-oriented testing framework for Java made simple to write replaceable tests. JUnit is xUnit architecture for unit testing frames. Mockito is a mock testing framework applicable for unit tests in Java. It enables you to write clean and straightforward API (Application Program Interface).

Testing over the past decade has come a long way with many advanced tools for unit testing, automation testing & integration testing for Java developers.

For those new to Java, testing JUnit is the best library to begin. Then, you may move onto Mockito to strengthen your profile as a specialist Java programmer.

#4 Learn APIs and Libraries

If you ever spoke with a professional Java developer working in a top IT company, you probably notice their extensive knowledge of APIs and the Java ecosystem.

Java is the world’s most prominent programming language with tons of APIs and libraries for doing anything and everything. To be a better Java developer, you must be familiar with some of these key APIs, such as XML processing APIs, JSON processing APIs, and Unit Testing libraries.

#5 JVM Internals

If you want to be a serious Java programmer or developer, start learning the JVM intervals, their different parts, and their functionalities.

Java Virtual Machines(JVM) is a machine whose purpose is to execute other programs. As it is one of the skills a Java Developer must familiarise themselves, its functions are pretty primary. JVM functions to allow Java programs to run on any device or an operating system. The secondary function it holds is to manage and optimize program memory. JVM’s three aspects are considered to be specification, implementation, and instance.

If you are well-aware of the JVM Intervals, you can easily code high-performance and robust Java applications using them.

#6 Microservices

Microservices are primarily used in the development world. They are an architectural style that develops a single application as a small service set. Microservices like Ninja Web Framework, Play Framework, Restlet, and Spark Framework are examples that can be used to develop Java.

Developers require this skill to create more complex applications that are better developed and managed as a combination of small services that work tenaciously together for more application-wide functioning. Microservices resolves organizational issues. Many hyper-growth companies like Netflix and Twitter make use of Microservices. Hence, it makes an essential skill a Java Developer must know.

The Java architecture is continuously changing; IT companies worldwide are making a transition from monolithic applications to microservices. It is the right time to learn about the Microservices architecture and create Microservices to stay in line with the growing trend.

Let’s Wind Up

To crack the Java interview from a top MNC, you need to be confident first so that the interviewer can trust your skills and open the door of opportunity in front of you. Whether it is simply a software developer, you must showcase your abilities and skills with relevant certifications.

Author Bio

Viswanathan AG is a professional IT trainer with Edoxi Training Institute Dubai also extensive experience in programming. He is an expert in designing training courses with technical content and real-time examples. He is effective in imparting knowledge through superior verbal communication skills and an active listening style.

20
Apr

How To Secure The Integrity Of Your Mobile App

Mobile apps dominate the digital world, with over $935 billion expected sales by 2023. Just this year, there are 1.96 million iOS apps available for download on the Apple App Store, while around 2.87 million apps are available for download on Google’s Play Store.

Consumer’s dependency on mobile apps is staggering as well. Almost half of the mobile phone users open an app more than 11x in a day. In fact, one mobile phone user alone uses ten mobile apps in a day and around 30 mobile apps in total for a month.

Mobile phone users are now at 5.22 billion out of a 7.83 billion world population. Imagine how much money apps, especially the most famous ones, are making for every single download by all those consumers. Based on these figures alone, we can see that the mobile app and software development industry is thriving.

The Mobile App Industry Keeps Rising

There are apps for every skill set and interest level, preference, and purpose. You can play music at the click of a button or open an app for the latest recipe. You can ask an app to order groceries quicker or become a household DIY expert through DIY design apps.

As a result, the mobile app industry is burgeoning, and the possibilities are vast. In fact, the industry’s market size is close to $80 billion, with a forecast increase to $100 billion by 2022.

Mobile apps even became more in-demand during the rise of the pandemic. With so much growth in this industry and an explosion in customer demand, there could be a movement to bring an app from idea to retail marketplace in a matter of days, dodging the levels of safety and testing that can put an app and its potential users in a compromised security situation.

As a matter of fact, hackers and cyber thieves often attack mobile apps because it is easier to breach due to major bugs that make it vulnerable to an attack and user compromise.

To that end, even the fastest product development phase must include critical steps to ensure that the app is as reliable and as user-friendly as possible while being safe and data-protected.

How to Build Secure Mobile Apps

Below are some of the critical steps that a developer cannot afford to overlook when it comes to securing the integrity of mobile apps:

1. Use a Secure Code

Often attackers exploit code flaws and vulnerabilities to obtain access to an application. They will want to reverse engineer and tamper with your code, and all they need to do so is a public copy of your app. Malicious malware attacks more than 11.6 million mobile devices at any one time, which is concerning.

Consider the code’s security from the outset, and harden it to make it more difficult to hack. Code can be obfuscated and minified to prevent reverse engineering.

Testing should be repeated regularly, and vulnerabilities should be fixed when they are discovered. Create the code in such a manner that it can be easily upgraded and patched. Maintain your code’s agility to be modified at the user interface if there is a leak, and use code hardening and signing to your advantage.

2. Leveraging HTTPS Protocol

HTTPS is an abbreviation for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Safe. Web users can be used to having HTTP in front of their browser URL. However, the inclusion of the basic “S” is crucial.

Sites and applications built using this protocol are more stable than their competitors and, therefore, less resistant to a hacker attack. Any website that allows consumers to enter personal details, such as their name and address or credit card number, can do so over HTTPS.

HTTPS operates by encrypting the contact protocol with Transport Layer Encryption to protect all internet transfers and computer networks (TLS). It is a method that experienced developers might be more familiar with from its predecessor, Stable Socket Layer (SSL).

When activated, TLS encrypts data as it is transmitted between a single program and a larger server. It means that the credit card number, for example, is not sent verbatim. Instead, it is conveyed as a jumbled up and thus illegible code.

But why bother with this extra encryption step? Why not just leave the contact protocol alone? The solution is found in how conventional HTTP protocols distribute results.

Simply put, this unencrypted mechanism is invalid. As a result, there is little to prevent anyone of malicious intent from spying on data as it flows through the web or between networks.

When this arises, the hacker can intercept the information and adjust it for his or her benefit. At times, the hacker can entirely halt contact, prohibiting a user from accessing an application and vice versa.

TLS, on the other hand, employs X.509 public key certification, key encryption, and a two-way symmetric key protocol to keep data as secret and confidential as possible. The encryption key is needed for the decryption process, which converts the encrypted code back into legible details.

This protocol validates the server’s identity before sending data. Then, before submitting the files, it encrypts and preserves them. This process guarantees that messages are consistent and that data confidentiality is maintained in the production process.

Regardless of if the data is being used, it is still encrypted using HTTPS. As a result, developers also use it to help secure and preserve data in fields ranging from databases and emails, hard drives, and individual devices.

3. Utilize Data Encryption

Developers must encrypt all data exchanged through the app. Encryption is the process of scrambling plain text until it is nothing more than a jumbled incoherence to everyone except those who have the key. It ensures that even if data is compromised, hackers would be unable to read and use it.

As government organizations are revealed seeking permission to hack iPhones and decode WhatsApp texts, you can understand the importance of encryption. Hackers can’t get in unless they force their way in.

4. Cleaning and Clearing the Cache

Data storage, especially in the software creation realm, should be data secure. As a result, a cache can be a dangerous place for information to stay for an extended amount of time.

In a nutshell, this is a part of either hardware or software that acts as a data-keeping ground. When this data is cached, it is accessible locally, making it easier and faster to retrieve.

Anyone who has ever had trouble navigating a web page and then chooses to open the archived version will testify to the speed at which this content is available. It is essentially a replica of the existing data or a snapshot of a previously stored version.

In the case of smartphone applications, caches hold information that must be available in the future. For example, an app can save your login details or username, so you don’t have to type it each time you use the resource.

As a result, a user’s mobile device inevitably becomes a sort of storage place for a myriad of cached information, keeping this data close at hand if specific websites or apps are reaccessed.

It is in a user’s best interest to clear his or her cache regularly. It will not only free up precious space on your mobile computer but will also ensure that your private information, including passwords, is no longer open to surveillance.

It is particularly critical for those who use Android apps regularly, as they need to store massive amounts of data in smartphone caches. This data will become compromised as it lies, risking not only customer protection but also frustratingly long loading times and other web and device malfunctions.

5. Use Libraries with Caution

When using third-party libraries, exercise extreme caution and thoroughly validate the code before incorporating it into the program. Any repository, no matter how useful it is, can be extremely dangerous for your app.

For example, the GNU C Library had a security flaw that enabled attackers to execute malicious code and crash a computer remotely. And this oversight went unchecked for more than seven years.

Developers may use controlled internal libraries and enforce policy constraints during acquisition to protect their applications from library bugs.

6. Making Code Obscure

Obfuscating the coding of a specific project is the best idea for software developers to pursue. Simply put, this involves making it vague or even incomprehensible, making it difficult or practically impossible for hackers to understand.

You may use this move to make the intent of your code more ambiguous. Alternatively, you might be defending unique principles within the code that you need to keep secret.

Whatever the justification for undertaking this move, the good news is that app creator tools are available to help automate this process and the whole creation path. However, it is possible to do it manually as well.

Developers may use an obfuscator, a technique known in the industry, to translate standard, simple source code into a version that functions the same but looks somewhat different to the outside eye.

Developers may use various approaches depending on the size of the project and the level of protection. They can decide to exploit and obfuscate the entire source code or only a portion of it.

They may also choose to keep all of the metadata or delete it in sections and rename their class and variable labels to names devoid of context and consistency.

Although data extraction is an integral part of this method, bear in mind that there are many situations where a code’s obfuscation is strengthened by inserting needless and illegible lines into an app’s binary.

7. Do Not Use Unauthorized APIs

APIs that are not permitted and are incorrectly coded can unwittingly grant hacker privileges that will be heavily violated. Caching authorization knowledge locally, for example, enables programmers to reuse it when making API calls quickly. It also makes it easier for coders to use APIs, which makes their lives easier.

It does, however, provide attackers with a loophole from which they can steal privileges. APIs, according to researchers, should be accepted centrally for optimum defense.

8. Fortify Authentication

Since some of the most severe security breaches are caused by insufficient authentication, high-level authentication is becoming increasingly important.

Simply put, authentication refers to passwords and other personal identifiers used as entry barriers. Indeed, a large part of this is based on the application’s end-users, so as a developer, you can encourage your users to be more open to authentication.

The apps will be programmed to accept only solid alphanumeric passwords that must be refreshed every three to six months. Multi-factor authentication, which combines a static password with a dynamic OTP, is becoming more common. In the case of susceptible devices, biometric authentication such as eye scans and fingerprints may also be used.

9. Apply the Theory of Least Privilege

According to the theory of least privilege, a program should be run with only the permissions it needs. Your software does not need any extra permissions to function.

If you don’t need access to the user’s contacts, don’t ask for it. Disable any unnecessary network connections. The list goes on and on, and it is heavily dependent on the app’s data, so perform continuous threat modeling while you update the code.

10. Conduct Tests Regularly

The process of securing the app is never-ending. New threats emerge, necessitating the development of novel techniques. Invest in intrusion detection, vulnerability simulation, and emulators to periodically test glitches in programs. For each update, they are fixed, and updates are released if required.

The plethora of immense data breaches in the last few years alone is causing individuals, businesses, and organizations to heighten their cybersecurity practices. With mobile app development, security will become a vital and unique selling point for mobile phone users, more than usability and visual appeal.

Conduct regular testing, so you know your app is secure and does not compromise you, your business, and your consumers.

Conclusion: Secure Your Mobile App Users at All Cost

Data protection, transparency, and security should be a top-of-mind concern for mobile app developers. It provides a sense of security to consumers that improve an app’s trust rating. If trust ratings increase, sales will eventually follow, even exponentially.

Making a sale is essential, but it should not be the primary driving force you want to make an app. Make an app because you want to add value to consumer’s lives. Be a strong gatekeeper between your consumers and cyber attackers that want to exploit them.

Never sacrifice safety for sales. When your app compromises your consumers, you will lose those sales entirely, not just for one app but also for all apps you develop. Incurring a bad reputation as a mobile app developer is not good, of course.

Securing your app starts from its conception on paper and down to every stage of development. Good developers are proactive developers. They aim to be a step ahead in ensuring the data they collect is kept private and secure, adding layer upon layer of security just to make sure their consumers are protected.

After all, your mobile app’s integrity starts from your integrity as a mobile app owner and your mobile app developers’ integrity.

As for individual mobile app users, do not just rely on app developers for security. You need to have cybersecurity practices to ensure your data’s integrity as you use your mobile apps. Choose only to download apps that are verified and reputable. Look at peer reviews and user comments first before you download anything, and use security apps like antimalware apps and VPN (Virtual Private Network) apps to harden your mobile phone security.

In the end, cybersecurity is everybody’s business.

AUTHOR BIO

Mayleen Meñez used to work in media before finding her true passion in NGO work, traveling the Philippines and Asia doing so. She homeschools 3 kids and loves reinventing Filipino dishes. She is a resident SEO writer for Softvire Australia and Softvire New Zealand.

4
Apr

Is Digital Innovation or Evolution the Right Choice for Your Tech Startup?

Anthony, one of our long-time clients, wasn’t sure which direction would be best for his Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company. He came to me, and I explained the difference between Digital Innovation and Evolution. After some discussion with him, I recommended that he go ahead with an innovation strategy.

More often than not, the choice is not so simple.

This question has been asked by many entrepreneurs throughout history. For example, in the early 1800s, some would ask if a patent was more important than an invention and others were wondering which of those two paths should be taken with electric lighting as they searched for ways to make it practical when gas lamps were still dominant.

It IS a complicated question. It’s important for tech founders to fully understand the difference between the two because one path will lead you down a winding road that could potentially get lost while the other can provide some clarity right from day one.

Innovation is all about trying something new and potentially very different from what has been done before, but you might not know if it will work until the idea takes off. Evolution means building on existing knowledge or processes to make them better through time and experimentation – with less risk of failure than innovation would give because it builds upon previous successes instead of starting fresh without any guarantees that anything will happen at all!

Why is it needed?

One might ask, why do we always feel the need to change? Surely, it’s better to stick with what is already successful! 

Creativity and the drive to innovate have been fundamental traits of our society. Without them, there would be no internet-connected devices ubiquitous in modern life that allow us not only access to information but also to communicate more effectively with others around the world without ever leaving home. We wouldn’t have all the things we know today without them! But even with this knowledge, in light of the current economic downturn, it’s natural to question whether companies should stick with what’s already working.

The innovation and progressive change aspects for digital transformation are both crucial, but together they can be even more impactful. Innovation is a fundamental part of the current technological landscape while iterative changes clear out old ways to pave the way for new innovations that will happen with time.

The importance of innovation is often emphasized in the business world, especially with technology. When a company’s product has been stagnant for too long and customers are growing tired of it, sometimes they have to think outside the box and be innovative in order to stay afloat. 

What if evolution could also play an important role when looking at companies’ products as well; if there was one minor change that could make all the difference such as streamlining the user experience, or adding highly desired features on top of what already exists, then why not give this option some consideration before doing anything drastic and risky.

Which one to choose?

So how do we know which way will benefit us most? As always I say “It depends.” 

A business can make a decision on what path they want their product line to take, either with radical changes that result in innovative products or incremental improvements as an evolutionary process. These two approaches may seem very similar but are both actually quite different; there is no single right way forwards when it comes down to choosing between them because each has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on the industry sector you work within, how conservative your customers might be (or not), among other factors such as climate change which could impact supply chains etcetera.

Generally speaking, Innovation is the right path for industries that are rapidly changing. While evolution is the right path for industries where change happens at a slower pace. Innovation is the best way to go if you want to create something new and different; Evolution is better for improving what already exists or making minor adjustments.

Here are five questions to ask yourself when considering whether innovation or evolution is the right approach for your company.

  1. Is my product a good fit for my target market? Does my company need an innovative product that will be different from what’s on the market?  
  2. Do we have a revolutionary idea, but our current technology isn’t up to date enough yet? 
  3. Are there any opportunities in our industry it would make sense for us to take advantage of before someone else does so first?
  4. Is my industry growing, or is it shrinking?
  5. What are the risks and rewards of taking each path?

Implementing a new strategy or innovation is not always as easy it may seem!

Conclusion

It’s important to have all the necessary resources and information before taking any steps. In order for your innovation to be successful, you need time-management skills, knowledge on how change happens in an organization (or even yourself), follow through with specific tasks, anticipate possible changes that could happen along the way like resistance from others about implementing something different than normal–and more importantly execute effectively what has been planned out so far.

In short, there really is no one answer but instead multiple points worth considering first which will ultimately lead up to decisions made by the individual(s) involved. As you build and scale your tech. startup, it’s important to consider the direction that you’re going in. Be sure to think about innovation and evolution when making a choice.