An AR Case Study – NS804’s First AR Venture

Takeaways From NS804’s First AR Venture – An AR Case Study

Augmented reality (AR), is still being mastered by tech and software professionals alike. While there have been bounds and leaps made in the pursuit of developing more complex and more robust AR technology. These advances support the delivery of more immersive, realistic, and functional AR applications. NS804’s introduction to building an AR application came a few years ago and was mostly accomplished using the antiquated AR Kit 2. While there have been major advances in the software available to building AR, a lot of the core-concepts NS804 learned through this build apply, and will continue to apply to all AR applications now and in the future. This AR case study will evaluate and address some of the issues and complications that arose through the duration of this AR project. Then, the AR case study will detail some of the main lessons and takeaways from the project.

The Ask

The client in this instance was asking for an AR application that would relay data from machinery and equipment to a collector, without the need for the collector to ever come within eyesight of physical contact of the machine from which they’re pulling data. This data refers to the ‘vitals’ of the machinery and included aspects like temperature, pressure, load capacity, and other integral information regarding the machines maintenance and operational efficiency. This was a complicated project because it involved using coordinates and GPS navigation to pinpoint the equipment location, and feed that information into the AR apps map.

The Obstacles

In approaching this complication there were multiple hurdles that needed to be addressed. Firstly, there was an issue with accuracy. As even the most powerful satellite mapping can only provide an accuracy of five meters, give or take, pinpointing the exact location of the machinery became difficult. What added to this difficulty was the equipments proximity to itself. Oftentimes, different machines would be less than 100 yards away from one another. This accentuates the accuracy issue, providing another obstacle NS804 needed to work around.

In addition to the accuracy being an issue for the machines themselves and their placement on the AR interface, the tags that were required to populate also ran into a proximity issue. The tags would populate overlaying one another, or start to flicker instead of hold solid when appearing in AR.

Another complication occurred in building the perspective of the AR interface. Since there is a specific aspect to positioning in AR, and since AR was still brand new at the time; there was a lot of learning and trial by error conducted. Luckily for you, NS804 has done the work of pioneering, so they’re in a position to help design, consult, and guide on the most sophisticated and robust AR apps on the market.

Solutions

The solutions for the main obstacles above were all integrated and related. The first aspect of the comprehensive solution to these problems revolving around positioning and placement had to do with orientation. In AR, everything has to be oriented to true north – it’s how the position of virtually everything is calculated. This anchors the AR interface which was the first step to solving these issues.

Once the app was oriented toward true north, the next step was creating a more user-friendly perspective. In the first iterations, the perspective was delivered through a sort of cone-view. This was disorienting and hard to use. Instead, the app was designed to place the user in the middle of area they were surveying. This allowed the user to then use the AR app as a sort of lens, and as they moved it along their survey-area, different tags would populate.

This leads to the next issue that NS804 needed to address in order to deliver a functional, and user-friendly experience to the client. As the user viewed their survey area, and information tags began to populate; the info-tags would begin to flicker in and out. It was soon discovered that these info-tags would flicker if they were set to the same depth. Setting the tags to varying depths solved this issue, making it possible to keep the tags from overlapping and flickering in and out.

All-in-all the bulk of the complications that arose during this build were involved with the visual aspect and perspective in one way or another. NS804 was able to successfully deliver the client-ready version in about 60 days and after around 25 iterations. Being at the onset of the AR-era, NS804 could build an app of similar capability today in 2-3 weeks and more than half the iterations. This is massive jump in efficiency stems from more advanced and more robust AR design software available, as well as the experience involved in building this AR app and learning a lot of the core theories of AR design.

Key Takeaways From the AR Case Study

This AR case study should highlight a variety of important lessons regarding the development of AR applications, the trial-and-error process, and knowledge that comes with experiencing an AR design and build firsthand.

True North: In designing an AR application NS804’s first big-lesson was in orientation. Orienting everything that renders within the AR universe to true-north is how the entirety of an AR application locates everything. This enables other functionality of the AR like mapping, and positional population – as was necessary in this design.

Centered Perspective: This was another positional setting that NS804 learned in regards to creating AR applications. Centering the user perspective within the AR universe allows an expanded and more user-friendly visual field. Rather than viewing the world through a distorted “cone-view”, centering the user allows for a more comfortable user experience, plus it’s less straining on the eyes.

Layering: The third lesson related to positioning and orientation, as well as the visual experience – had to do with layering the environment successfully. This involved placing information-tags that carried the sought-after data at different depths within the AR environment. This eliminated the issues that were posed by overlapping tags that had a bad habit of flickering.

Prepared to Pivot: The final takeaway from this client project was be flexible and capable of pivots. After the successful delivery of this build; the client immediately began discovering additional uses for the software that would require additional builds and versions. These future visions revolved around converting the AR application into a marketing and sales tool. While these iterations have yet to be realized, the ability to adapt, evolve, and improve should always be the foremost priority of software developers and mobile app designers.

This AR case study illuminated a lot of knowledge into AR design for NS804, and it’s our hope that it acts as a good guide for other industry professionals looking for documentation on developing an AR application.

A similar project undertaken by NS804, today, could be accomplished in a fraction of the time. Rather than a two-month turnaround with over 25 reiterations, and a prolonged testing period, NS804 could deliver the same level of an AR application in a 2-week-timeframe. This is capable today because of learned knowledge from the original project, an upgrade in AR building software available, and more accessible and comprehensive information regarding AR that is also available.

NS804 is dedicated to making mobile app development services of any scale, available to anybody. Armed with years of experience across industries, softwares, and platforms NS804 is an excellent choice for appreneurs looking for assistance designing their next mobile-app venture. Get in touch with NS804 today to start the design-discussion, and receive expert-level guidance on your mobile-app venture.

How COVID-19 is Improving Efficiency

COVID-19 is Improving Efficiency, Surprisingly

As COVID-19 completely changed the working landscape, many businesses and industries were forced to scale back their operations in 2020. Slowing down operations and scaling back can actually be beneficial for business executives and upper management in gaining a better understanding of their systems and procedures in place. This can highlight inefficiencies in processes and procedures set in place within organizations. Even with many company’s feeling a strong negative impact from the pandemic, COVID-19 is improving efficiency in surprising ways.

Understanding where these inefficiencies exist grants better insight which can then be leveraged to optimize these processes and procedures and eliminate organizational waste. Staffing has always been a crucial organizational function. Getting the right people in the right roles is integral for the mainstream transition to work-from-home practices, remote operations, and remote work environments in general.

Business productivity and overall operations may have slowed since the onset of COVID-19, however individuals within organizations have seen an increase in production and individual efficiency. This is important to note because it marks an encouraging trend for businesses looking to ramp up operations in the near future, while maintaining a remote environment for employees.

The Uptick in Individual Performance

The increase in individual performance is the result many COVID-19 related factors. The general shift to the work-from-home environment has freed up employee time by eliminating certain aspects of the daily routine like the commute to and from work. This shift also inspired many businesses to integrate more technology into their operations in order to streamline processes and procedures that were common.

One mobile-app that’s making waves in the sense of streamlining internal operations is an app that scans documents into pdfs. This has traditionally been accomplished with a large, expensive, and complicated piece of machinery. Transitioning from this outdated practice to a more modern approach, with the use of a mobile-app is just one example of how remote professionals are managing to keep up with in-office practices and increase their individual production on a variety of tasks.

In 42 surveyed businesses, over 60% reported an increase in individual efficiency and production since the onset of COVID-19, and the integration of remote business environments. Simultaneously, only 10% of companies reported that COVID-19 didn’t impact individual productivity at all. This shows one of the ways that COVID-19 is improving efficiency on a granular scale, while overall company production may still present a downturn.

As businesses rebound from COVID-19, and more companies transition to a full time work-from-home basis, building efficiency into an organization is vital to staying competitive in 2020. Efficiency goes hand-in-hand with developing a culture of continual-improvement which drives important business metrics like employee and customer satisfaction. These are important elements to building a valuable book of business full of repeat customers.

NS804 is dedicated to making expert-level mobile-app development and design services available to anyone and everyone with a great, and innovative idea. Through years of experience across a wide variety of mobile-app market segments, NS804 provides clients comprehensive mobile-app design services from start to finish. Get in touch with NS804 today to start the conversation about developing your mobile app.

App Privacy During COVID-19

Personal security and app privacy have been growing concerns after the birth of massive companies like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google. Websites all over the online marketplace track data, and mine personal information for targeted and personalized marketing, or even worse, for sale, and in the darkest of cases, for the purpose of fraud. As COVID-19 has the entire economy operating almost entirely online and remotely; the stress on personal security, company-accessible sensitive information, and privacy concerns is greater than it’s ever been before.

There were some recent updates to website security, and tracking laws, in order to try and combat the malicious or hidden collection of personal data, and shed light on some of the shady business practices that have been previously overlooked or skirted under the rug. Especially from a business perspective, with so many companies opting to operate online, with file-share tech, cloud-based tech, and communication software like Zoom; companies that are privy to private consumer information are open to increased cyber-threats and need to prioritize the security of consumer information.

Similarly, companies need to protect their own private information and do their best to fortify cyber-security efforts in a preventative measure.

Privacy Takeaways

In mobile app design, it’s not only beneficial to pay attention to the competition, but necessary. Despite reaching over 300 million daily users at the end of last month, Zoom is withstanding serious back-lash from a security lapse that left 500,000 Zoom account credentials in the hands of the highest bidder.

While the account credentials were not accessed from a Zoom breach directly, and rather a series of work-around tactics hackers employed; the event raised awareness on cyber-threats and privacy concerns, and brought a landslide of bad press to Zoom. That said, time has proven once again that there’s really no such thing as bad press, as Zoom continues to surge during the pandemic, and acts as the #1 communication software available to businesses.

Zoom was fortunate in proving resilient to the backlash from the security lapse; though the communication company benefited from the fact that the account information was made available through alternative hacking methods rather than a direct system-invasion. That said though, other companies that have suffered a breach in security, were not so easily forgiven.

“60 Percent of Small Businesses Fold Within 6 Months of a Cyber Attack.”
INC.COM

Considering the study above by INC, building a multi-layered security system into mobile-apps should rise to the top of the priority-list. It’s becoming increasingly important to provide users with a comfortable in-app experience without the thought of their personal information being sold even crossing their mind.

The mobile app market is absolutely buzzing, and there’s an excellent window of opportunity for those willing and brave enough to invest in the current climate, but anyone looking to develop a mobile app should be realistic to the necessity of robust and fortified security systems to protect consumers and company stake-holders alike.

NS804 is dedicated to bringing mobile app development to the average person with a great idea; as such we preach safety and security in app-design, and are here to help make sure users and partners alike can rest assured your app is secure.

Software Companies and The Work From Home Wave

Why More and More Software Companies Will Offer Work From Home

The global pandemic has forced business owners, entrepreneurs, and full corporations to make massive pivots in the way they conduct business. While social-distancing becomes the norm; so too does the request to work from home. While some industries are struggling with making the transition, software companies have a leg up in this department. Due to the technical and computer-based nature of software development companies; employees are often able to perform the full spectrum of their jobs from remote locations. A massive benefit in the unprecedented times of today.

Work from home accomodations used to be reserved for the highest level employees such as upper management, and those who have “earned their salt” so to speak. However, with the life-threatening reality of COVID-19; companies are making work from home accomodations much more widely available. A responsible decision that prioritizes the health and wellness of their employees, rather than the bureaucracy of working in an office just because that’s the norm.

Software companies and tech companies alike are aware of the long-lasting impact that this pandemic is going to cause. In response, some are offering work from home accommodations far past the expected “reopening” dates.

Industry Leaders Pave the Path Forward

Rich Barton, who founded the Microsoft spinoff company, Expedia and is the co-founder and CEO of Zillow has actually gone as far as extending these accommodations to his employees through the end of 2020.

Rich Barton and Zillow aren’t the only companies offering extended work from home accomodations. They’re joined by the ranks of other tech giants and software development companies like Microsoft who is allowing work from home through the end of October. Slack, the popular instant messaging platform that enables robust internal communication is offering their employees the option to work from their homes through September.

As these industry-leading companies pave the way forward in terms of how the future software development and tech industries will operate, more and more companies will follow suit. Considering most software development can be conducted from anywhere around the world as long as there’s strong internet access is reasoning enough to allow development teams to work from the comfort of their home.

Allowing software development teams and tech professionals the ability to work from home, shows employees dedication to their health and safety above all else. This in turn leads to a higher rate of employee satisfaction, which contributes to a harder working, and more dedicated staff. All in all, the pandemic has taught society a lot about the way the market functions; and the software development industry has remained relatively unscathed through and through. Luckily, the work from home transition for software companies is loads easier than it has been for other industries.

NS804 is dedicated to bringing mobile app development services to the common person with a good idea, visit our website to get started on your mobile app development journey today!

Internal Communication Solutions

Communication is arguably the most important aspect of any company. The ability to collaborate, delegate, inform, and present are just a few of the common functions internal communication enables. Being able to communicate across teams and between departments is absolutely essential to the survivability of companies and the success of projects. Especially in today’s volatile economy dominated by work-from-home roles, and remote operations. Communication software is vital to ensuring that teams can continue to function, and deliver on expectations. Mobile apps offer a versatile and robust internal communication solution to companies that need to stay up-to-date with constantly shifting deadlines without hindering a busy professional’s ability to stay focused and efficient.

Most communication software designed today has some integrated productivity tracking functionality. This could include something as basic as a to-do list function. It could also be as robust as project-management software capable of generating complex production schedules, and designed specifically to improve efficiency and productivity. Designing innate productivity tools creates a more robust and comprehensive communication software, that allows business professionals to streamline activities, and keep communication focused.

Without strong communication channels enabled, customer requests can be ignored, projects can derail and productivity can come to a screeching halt. Both could spell disaster for a company striving to Consumers and customers both need reliable avenues to get in touch with knowledgeable support staff to handle any issues that may arise on the user-end of things. Consumers should also always, and without fail, have access to a sales-staff equipped to help them through any issues, and convert them into customers, or in the case of mobile apps: users.

Internal communication channels for personal connection, the development of company culture, and team building should also be made a priority during these unprecedented times. Building a robust and exciting company culture has been a mainstream focus for the better part of the past decade. As the workforce has become empowered with access more information than ever before employees no longer settle for hostile or subpar work cultures. Keeping this in mind, businesses need to emphasize personal connections in order to stay competitive and attract top talent. Especially during the global pandemic, it’s more important than it ever has been to make a palpable effort to support virtual-socialization in a time of almost pure isolation.

Effective Business Communication With Mobile Apps

Mobile apps can be life-saving for companies looking to pivot to remote operations and implement work-from-home roles. Working in tandem with desktop communication platforms like Slack and Zoom, companies can build an infrastructure of communication that competes with traditional in-person communication. One thing to note regarding Zoom and Slack is that they actually both offer their platforms in a mobile-app format; which gives companies a nice array of options when utilizing these platforms to supplement communication processes within an organization.

One of the strongest arguments for pivoting to mobile-app for business-communication solutions is that they are offer push-notifications. In the world of instant-gratification that we live in; smartphones have almost become an extension of our hands. Considering that the majority of workers have their cell phone within 3 feet of them at any given point during the day – the feature of a push-notification ensures that important communications are never missed.

Hipchat is another name in the internal-communication game. Offering a myriad of products that target internal communication, collaboration, and file-security. Hipchat is another player that provides both desktop and mobile app platforms and a nice suite of functionality that’s both user-friendly and corporate oriented. Enabling companies to communicate between departments and individuals while also offering file-storing and file-sharing capabilities that boost efficiency and encourage collaboration.

Internal Communication and Team Building

The work-from-home trend isn’t going anywhere. Not any time soon. With that in mind, companies need to get creative when it comes to team building. The traditional after-hour happy-hours, company-wide pizza parties, and team-specific outings are quickly being phased out of company cultures due to the pandemic, social distancing, and the remote-operations craze. The disappearance of traditional team-building activities leaves a glaring void that needs to be filled. Regardless of industry or profession, top talent candidates still expect a certain standard of company culture that both rewards performance, and promotes socialization.

Instead of heading to the bar after work for a few drinks, managers and team-members are replacing these in-person experiences with virtual happy hours that still promote socialization and team building. While nothing can replace the experience of going to the local watering-hole with your co-workers. Virtual happy hours and virtual pizza-parties are swiftly becoming a relatively popular alternative in order to promote social distancing and employee safety, while also encouraging team-building and internal socialization to bring employees closer together.

As the popularity of mobile-app communication soars, there’s a wide breadth of opportunity for developers and mobile appreneurs. While the virtual happy hours and pizza parties discussed above certainly offer some sense of normalcy – there is an abundance of possibility for bolstering mobile-app communication as it relates to team building. Beyond video conferencing, and instant messaging; mobile apps are capable of delivering real-time experiences to c0-workers, like gaming, going head to head in problem solving activities, or any number of other functions that have yet to be widely implemented in corporate communication solutions.

With work-from-home accommodations, and remote operations becoming the norm for most companies during COVID-19, and likely into the foreseeable future, reliable and reputable communication capabilities are more than essential. The ability to collaborate, conference call, and conduct normal business activities from virtually anywhere is invaluable to companies. This trend in the workplace should continue to grow in popularity over the years to come. The integration of business activities, communication, team building and productivity tracking all into a single mobile app could be the next evolution in the mass-communication industry. This would empower companies, professionals, and individuals alike to maintain the same levels of productivity from anywhere around the globe. An all-in-one communication app would also significantly contribute to a work-teams ability to conduct team-building activities, offer personal connection, and deliver a sense of community in a time of severe isolation to the point that it’s nearly crippling to some.

With new adversity comes new challenges, and 2020 has been chalk-full of surprising new challenges that are universal in nature. The world may never be the same again, and as is natural, the burden of inventing and adjusting to our new normal falls on the shoulders of entrepreneurs. Once again it is the duty of early adaptors, appreneurs, entrepreneurs and pioneers to maintain a sense of curiosity and invention in these dark times so to pave the path ahead by taking the first steps forward.

Wait for the “right” opportunity, and spend a lifetime waiting. There has never been, and never will be a “right time” to take on a new venture, and the risk is all a part of the journey, but with COVID-19 keeping the majority of people confined to their houses, while most businesses remain closed to the public, consumers and companies alike are turning to mobile apps for communication solutions, entertainment, and much more.

Contact NS804 with a mobile app idea and get professional consultation from tech experts dedicated to making mobile app development accessible to the average person with a great idea.