Machine Learning And Artificial Intelligence In Apps

It’s hardly possible to have a conversation about tech nowadays without mentioning machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). In a way, tech companies and the media have been responsible for pushing AI & ML into the mainstream consciousness for at least a decade. And one could say that they have been overwhelmingly successful in achieving this goal.

But why should developers care about machine learning and artificial intelligence? After all, we’ve done fine with apps and games that had no or only limited implementations of AI for several decades. So what gives — why the sudden interest in AI & ML? And how could rudimentary apps benefit from AI & ML — wouldn’t this drive up development costs and utilize additional compute power? 

Let’s give you the short answer first? No, most simple apps won’t need an AI or ML implementation. While your to-do list app or ‘Frogger’ clone will benefit from an AI implementation, you’ll likely roll out a basic logic system or finite state machine (FSM). And if necessary, you could integrate AI agents into your FSM if you’re building a more complex game, simulation, or AR/VR app. 

But as a general rule, you’ll want to rely on simpler systems for most of your apps. However, if you’re creating something like a photo editing app that autocorrects imagery, you’ll want to tap into the power AI & ML brings to the table. Below, we go into greater detail about what this means for your app development endeavors!

What Is Machine Learning?

Before we begin, we need to explain what machine learning is and how it differs from artificial intelligence. Machine learning attempts to emulate the way humans learn. And similarly to humans, learning is an iterative process where accuracy improves gradually. 

But how would ML help improve an app? Consider a game where enemies and non-player characters (NPCs) need to respond like real humans. Or self-driving vehicles that need to respond to varying traffic conditions in real-time. 

A solution based only on AI would rely heavily on pre-determined behaviors, which isn’t ideal. We’d effectively have a situation where some enemy characters respond the same when trying to dodge the player’s bullets. And self-driving vehicles would run into problems when encountering any non-predefined obstacles.   

Ideally, we’d want the AI to mimic human behavior as closely as possible. That means we don’t only want pattern recognition but also the ability to distinguish the slightest nuances in those patterns. Something humans are very good at doing, as our brains can analyze all surrounding visible objects accurately and rapidly. We can quickly determine the distance, color, shape, size, and texture of one object when compared to another.

However, computer systems are only good at rudimentary pattern recognition. At least, that was the case until the introduction of machine learning. And that’s why it’s making inroads in the fields of data science, customer service, and even stock trading.

How Does Machine Learning Work?

Machine learning relies on the following processes to work effectively:

  • The first phase consists of the decision-making process that ingests input data. This data could either be labeled or unlabeled, and the ML algorithm will compute an estimation of the patterns detected in the data. 
  • Then, an error function will compare and evaluate any predictive models and assess their accuracy. 
  • Once done, the model optimization process will kick off. These predictive models will undergo weight adjustments to fit with existing data sets. These data sets come from the training sets, which contain the most accurate example of what the ML algorithm should achieve. Furthermore, the algorithm will repeat this process and update the weights automatically until it reaches the desired accuracy threshold.

What Types Of Apps Benefit From Machine Learning? 

As we mentioned earlier, machine learning isn’t necessary for most apps. But given that more users and businesses require features that automate specific processes, AI & ML implementations have become indispensable. And that’s certainly true for the following kinds of apps:

  • Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR): Most mobile devices come with apps that recognize human speech, such as Google Assistant and Siri. And the most common uses include voice search and speech-to-text functionality. But even third-party apps can benefit from natural language processing (NLP) to deliver optimal speech recognition.
  • Chatbots & virtual assistants: There’s a greater need for chatbots in customer service. And that’s because they can serve customers around the clock and in multiple zones concurrently. Moreover, they’re a low-cost solution to employing human agents. 
  • Imaging technologies: AI & ML implementations work great for applications that use or manipulate images. Many modern applications need to collect and analyze data from digital photos, videos, and visual inputs. Furthermore, they can enhance these photos and videos with limited or no input from the user. 
  • Recommendation engines: Many e-commerce and mobile apps feature recommendation engines to help users make the right choices. AI algorithms and past behavior data help the app place the most adequate information in front of the user.
  • Crypto & stock trading: More investors and day traders utilize their mobile phones to trade cryptocurrencies and other financial instruments. But AI-powered platforms allow users to engage in high-frequency trading while on the go.

Implementing Artificial Intelligence In Mobile Games 

It’s not necessary to implement machine learning in mobile games. And the reason for this is that older mobile devices don’t have CPUs and GPUs powerful enough to handle intense ML workloads. And that’s not taking into account the GPU processing budget for the graphics and additional overhead the underlying game engine brings forth. 

But it’s still possible to implement AI algorithms that make NPCs and enemy characters convincing enough. And since most mobile games tend to be simpler experiences than PC and console games, it’s unnecessary to implement complex AI algorithms that may cause high CPU usage. 

And the good news is that it’s a relatively simple process to implement algorithms such as A* pathfinding, Alpha Beta search, Minimax, and Monte Carlo tree search, without stressing the CPU. These work remarkably well in action, arcade, puzzle, strategy, and mobile board games. 

If you’re developing a role-playing game (RPG), you’ll rely heavily on a custom-made database to store character and enemy variables. And to manipulate any of these variables, you’ll rely mostly on formulas. You’ll find that these formulas resemble those found in Excel spreadsheets.

However, you’ll need to implement AI for your NPCs and battle scenes. But how complex your AI will end up largely depends on the realism of NPC behavior and the intricacy of your battle systems. And if you’re planning on adding epic boss fights, implementing convincing AI will prove challenging. Your team members will need to put their engineering caps on to deal with convoluted behavior trees.

In Conclusion

Machine learning and artificial intelligence help make apps a lot smarter. And these apps often feel like they have human-like intelligence, even though it’s a bunch of cleverly-crafted algorithms running in the background. 

As mobile app development matures, AI & ML implementations will be standard practice. And that’s because tools and frameworks are getting better, and system-on-a-chip (SoC) vendors are implementing neural processing for ML applications. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you develop apps powered by advanced AI & ML.

Is An App Really Worth The Investment?

How do you know if your upcoming app project is worth the investment? Well, there are no easy answers if you don’t know what indicators reveal the potential success of your app project. And given the propensity for media hype to center on the most popular apps, this only muddies the waters.

One way to test whether your app idea will hit the mark is by creating a minimum viable product (MVP). But this isn’t always a feasible option, especially if you’ve already started developing a fully featured app. 

Or you may already have released an app that was languishing in the app marketplace. Then you decided to update it and noticed an uptick in downloads and user reviews. However, you’re still unsure whether this updated app warrants further investment. Below, we reveal several of the most pertinent reasons for whether an app is worth the investment

Invest In An App To Stay On Brand

If you’re trying to promote the company brand or an appreneur that develops apps for brands, an app is worth the investment. And that’s because you’re trying to reach customers in as many avenues as possible. Furthermore, you want your brand identity and messaging to be uniform across the board. 

But how would you stay on brand with an app? Well, it’s likely that your company already has a website. It’s also likely that the graphic design, photography, and user interface (UI) reflect the identity of the company brand. 

So, when you decide to develop an app, you’ve already got a blueprint of the design language. The colors, gradients, fonts, icons, user experience (UX), and art assets should follow a standardized format. Once you release your app, customers already familiar with your website will have an easy time navigating your app.

Apps With High Retention Rates Are Worth The Investment

We may have entered the post-COVID-19 phase of the pandemic, but the work-from-home trend continues. That means that many workers won’t be going back to the office or have little desire to return. And that’s a good thing for appreneurs, as having millions of people working from home opens up many opportunities.

Not only that, business, education, and fitness apps boast the highest retention rates. And if you’re targeting any of these market segments and solving a real need, your app may be worth the investment. Moreover, since users will spend significant time with your app, it’s yet another opportunity to promote your brand and stay on brand.

Take Advantage Of New Hardware Features

Smartphones and tablets constantly evolve, especially when manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung release their premium models. Users of these devices expect developers to take advantage of their additional features and innovations. 

And it’s now possible to deliver content and experiences that wouldn’t seem out of place on a powerful desktop PC. So, if you’re a boutique software developer specializing in specific app niches, consider if these are a good fit for premium devices. 

For example, you could be developing an illustration app that takes advantage of the 120Hz refresh rates of these devices. The higher refresh rate allows for smoother drawing when using a stylus, which isn’t possible on 60Hz screens found on lower-end models. Such an application would attract and satisfy professional users willing to pay for using your app.

The Bottom Line

Companies that invest in apps can further increase the stature of their brand across the web and mobile. And new hardware and the work-from-home movement offer appreneurs many opportunities to spread their wings and develop apps that truly are worth the investment. Contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you develop apps that will excite and satisfy your users!

iOS Vs. Android: Which To Use?

When choosing the ideal mobile platform, we often jump into the common iOS Vs. Android debate. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as we should attempt to weigh the pros and cons of these two leading platforms.

But we know what some of you may be thinking: it’s a done deal, iOS is the better platform, and we should move on. After all, it’s no secret that iOS is the slicker and more user-friendly platform with many satisfied users worldwide. However, it’s wise not to rush to conclusions without investigating the Android platform rigorously.

Due to the open nature of the Android platform and the need to support devices from different manufacturers, the user experience isn’t as polished as on iOS. But Android presents developers and users with a few advantages unique to the platform. 

The ability to distribute and sideload apps on Android outside of Google Play is a boon for enterprises and open-source developers. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about iOS, as Apple prohibits sideloading and app distribution outside the App Store.

Another benefit of Android is the sheer size of its global market share, which stands at 69.74% as of January 2022. And that’s not surprising considering the wide availability of cheap Android devices that appeal to users in developing countries. So, it’s an important platform that no developer that wants to target a global audience can ignore.

But there are many more considerations in the iOS Vs. Android debate that we need to look at in more detail. Below, we reveal what those are and how they may impact your choices as an app developer.

iOS Vs. Android: Don’t Allow Fanboyism To Influence You

We all have biases, and these often influence our choices in life. But these biases may prove detrimental, especially when making crucial business decisions. As an appreneur, developer, or business leader, you need to think clearly about the types of apps you plan to make and what platforms you wish to target. 

In most cases, the answer is simple: you will likely target both Android and iOS. But there are situations where you should target a single mobile platform. And the mobile platform that you ultimately choose should align strictly with your business goals.  

So what does this mean exactly? Ideally, you want to maximize the reach of your app by targeting the platform where it will likely find its target audience. 

Thus, your decision-making process should consist of reliable mobile platform statistics and rigorous research of your target audience. This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s well worth the effort to maximize your app’s success.   

And the last thing you should ever do is base your decision on platform fanboyism. Perhaps, you love Apple and all its products and can’t wait to develop an app for iOS. Or you’re the proud owner of high-end Samsung Galaxy smartphones and only want to target Android.

No matter how much you love a brand or product line, don’t allow this to cloud your judgment. Instead, put the interests of your business and users first!

1. Foldable Devices

The introduction of Microsoft’s Surface Duo and Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip & Fold devices have revolutionized the smartphone space. And that’s because the additional screen real estate helps enhance productivity. 

Consider how much better apps such as Office 365 or Trello work on foldable phones than they do on standard smartphones. Users now have additional workspace to get work done far more efficiently. And that’s because they won’t need to scroll as much as they would on non-foldable devices.

So if you’re developing a productivity app that targets foldable devices, you’ve only got one choice — Android. Currently, Apple hasn’t released any foldable iOS devices, but they have announced the iPhone Flip. But there’s no set release date yet, though it’s speculated for a 2023 or 2024 launch.

2. Hardcore Gaming

Both Android and iOS are excellent platforms for gaming, especially for casual pick-up-play titles. But in recent years, there’s been an emergence of hardcore mobile games and gaming smartphones. 

Manufacturers such as Razer have been instrumental in pushing forward powerful devices that utilize high-end components. And that’s resulted in their devices featuring impressive GPUs and high refresh rates reaching 120Hz and beyond. Given their proficiency in manufacturing powerful PC gaming laptops, much of that know-how has gone into their Android devices. 

But what does all this mean for mobile gaming? Firstly, this shows that the mobile gaming market has matured significantly, as users crave experiences close to those found on PCs and consoles. And secondly, it’s the Android platform leading the way in hardcore gaming device choice and titles. 

However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t release a hardcore game on iOS. But you’ll need to target Apple’s flagship smartphones, as these have the specs capable of powering intensive games. And that’s a limited market segment given the high cost of these flagship devices.

3. Marketplace Diversity

When it comes to iOS, there’s no marketplace diversity as users can only download apps from the App Store. And from a user’s point of view, it’s great to have one convenient and secure place to get hold of apps. 

But things are different on the Android platform. Users can download from several stores, such as Google Play, Amazon Appstore, APKPure, Aptoide, and F-Droid. Furthermore, Huawei AppGallery and Samsung Galaxy Store cater to those using devices from the respective manufacturers. 

And given that it’s a relatively simple process to sideload apps on Android, there’s no need for an app store. Any developer can distribute their Android apps directly from their website or another channel.

The freedom to distribute apps in such a manner should appeal to developers that create custom apps for enterprises. Or even enterprises that want to install their in-house apps on employee phones without relying on any app store.  

4. Security Considerations

If you’re developing an app that needs to be on a more secure platform, then iOS is a good choice. Due to the closed nature and tight integration of iOS, it’s an operating system that offers higher security than Android. However, this doesn’t mean that iOS is hack-proof or not susceptible to malware and viruses. 

And given that Google and Samsung have gone to great strides to improve security, the gap between iOS and specific Android devices isn’t as wide as it used to be. But iOS still has an edge in the security department for the time being.

5. User Demographics And Engagement

Android enthusiasts may not like to hear this, but the hard truth is that iOS users are a lot more valuable. And that’s because iPhone users fall in a higher income bracket and spend more on apps. Not only that, but they also engage more with apps, especially in the entertainment and games categories. 

However, Google Play is where most new apps get discovered and downloaded at a higher rate. And generally, Android users prefer to download and engage with social apps such as TikTok. 

If you’re planning on developing mobile games or paid apps, iOS should be your first port of call. But if you’re launching a social app, you’ll find your audience on Android.

The Bottom Line

When we deliberate the iOS Vs. Android question, we’re often looking for an easy answer. We covered several of the most critical factors when deciding on a platform. And we pointed out where one outshines the other and where they’re almost equal. Therefore, you’ll need to consider all these factors and how they’ll line up with your upcoming app project. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you create stunning apps on either iOS or Android. 

Augmented Reality Vs. Virtual Reality: What Are The Differences?

With recent tech developments, it’s common to get involved in heated augmented reality vs. virtual reality debates with peers. After all, both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have made significant strides in recent years. And you’ll often come across those that have picked their favorite between the two.

But is one truly better than the other, or is media hype affecting our opinions? The hard truth is that neither technology is better than the other. And while they may seem similar on the surface, they have entirely different use cases.

A user that puts on a pair of AR glasses has completely different needs and expectations than someone that dons VR goggles. Even the technologies themselves have specific features and limitations that set them apart. The keen observer will discover many benefits of augmented reality, which are missing in virtual reality. On the flip side, an avid gamer may become one of the VR faithful due to the abundance of virtual reality games

Therefore, we decided to point out the most significant differences between augmented reality vs. virtual reality in this handy guide. Here, you’ll learn what each technology brings to the table and where and when you should choose one over the other.

Augmented Reality Vs. Virtual Reality: A Brief History Lesson

The first known example of augmented reality dates back to 1957. Morton Heilig — a cinematographer — created the Sensorama, capable of delivering visuals, sounds, smells, and even vibrations. Computers were very bulky and expensive during that period, so the Senosrama didn’t use them at all. Instead, it offered viewers a rudimentary analog experience. 

But over the next few decades, this type of technology evolved considerably. In 1975, the American computer scientist; Myron Krueger created the first interface that allowed users to interact with virtual objects in real-time. And in 1980, the Canadian engineer and transhumanist; Steve Mann invented wearable computing devices, such as the EyeTap Digital Eye Glass, Smartwatch, and the Sequential Wave Imprinting Machine (SWIM). 

In contrast, the first example of virtual reality dates back to the early part of the 1800s. And that’s not surprising, as this was a period when photography was gaining traction. Inventions such as the stereoscope, which used twin mirrors to create a single image, captured peoples’ imaginations back in 1838. 

Then, the stereoscope was developed further and became the View-Master. It was patented in 1939 and became a popular kid’s toy due to how well it displayed 3D images.

And in the mid-1980s, former Atari employee and VPL Research founder; Jaron Lanier coined the term “virtual reality”. His company was also the first to sell VR goggles and the accompanying wired gloves. 

However, Virtuality Group was the first company to bring VR to the masses in 1991. They produced various products like the Virtuality 1000 series, powered by an Amiga 3000 computer and capable of delivering virtual reality games. These Virtuality machines made their way to arcades, expos, techno raves, and shopping malls during the ‘90s.

Which Companies Are Involved In AR & VR?

Several big players, startups, and studios understand the benefits of augmented reality and are actively involved in bringing forth AR experiences and technologies. These include Apple, Facebook, Gravity Jack, Groove Jones, Google, Microsoft, Next/Now, Niantic, and VironIT, to name a few. And many of the same entities are also involved in VR.

But it’s not out of the ordinary for studios to offer AR, VR, and even mobile app development services, similarly to NS804. And that makes sense since development methodologies, technologies, and skill sets overlap comfortably on both AR & VR projects. 

And then, there’s Valve Corporation, the famous game developer and owner of the PC digital megastore — Steam. For a while, Valve seemed to focus more on the VR side of things with their Valve Index headset, even though it’s more than capable of doubling up as an AR system. But in 2021, a Valve patent revealed that the company plans to bring a unique AR technology to PC gamers.

What Are The Differences Between AR And VR Headsets? 

One of the benefits of augmented reality is that users don’t need to wear headsets for specific applications. Many popular mobile apps and games utilize the phone camera to display the outside world to viewers — but with a twist! Instead of the same mundane world that users see in real life, they see a more colorful and imaginative world on their phones. 

AR development studios utilize striking user interfaces (UIs) and graphics, which they overlay on the imagery feeding through the camera. Now, users can interact with the onscreen UI and graphical assets, enjoying unique experiences that were not possible before the advent of AR. 

Of course, some users may prefer to wear AR glasses, as these enhance immersion. But their view is not obstructed like would happen if they were wearing VR goggles. 

And on the subject of VR goggles, they’re essential for enjoying any virtual reality experience. The user is closed off from the surrounding environment and has no view of the outside world. For some, this may seem like a scary, claustrophobic, or even downright anti-social technology.

But it’s worth overcoming these concerns and fears, as nothing matches the immersion that VR offers. Furthermore, the design choices of modern VR goggles account for the comfort, health, and safety of users. 

In a nutshell, AR glasses or headsets closely resemble ordinary reading glasses. And VR goggles still retain some bulkiness and wiring, mainstays from yesteryear’s Virtuality headsets. But as VR technology evolves and matures, we can expect headsets to get lighter and smaller in size.

What Do Users Expect From AR And VR Experiences? 

AR users feel more comfortable interacting with the outside world. Moreover, they’re avid smartphone users and utilize a variety of helpful apps for their daily tasks. So, an AR user that travels regularly will use an app such as World Around Me to pinpoint landmarks and tourist attractions. 

Another way such a user would utilize an AR app is when deciding on future purchases. For example, they may use the IKEA Place app to see what a true-to-scale wall unit from IKEA looks like in their apartment. And with more clothing brands releasing AR apps, it’s a convenient way to try out those nice pair of jeans without having to go near a changing room.

Alternatively, VR users feel more comfortable with bleeding-edge technology. These users crave the VR experiences promised by cyberpunk movies, novels, and video games over the past four decades. They want to feel like one of the protagonists in a William Gibson novel or Neo from the Matrix films. 

Many VR users also own powerful custom-built PCs to run the latest and most graphically demanding virtual reality games. They’re the epitome of the power user that always stays ahead of the curve. 

However, VR does not only benefit gaming. It also plays a role in architecture and design, medical training, military training, and real estate tours, as just a few noteworthy examples. So, VR brings forth several tangible real-world solutions to any market or discipline that requires a powerful simulation tool.

In Conclusion

Hopefully, we’ve addressed the most crucial augmented reality vs. virtual reality differences and arguments. Both AR and VR are continuously evolving, and we’ve yet to see their true potential.

In the case of AR, it’s the more approachable technology since there’s no need to purchase an expensive headset, and it doesn’t shut off the user from the outside world. But VR is the more bleeding-edge and immersive technology and ideal for gaming and simulations. 

But one thing’s for sure, the tech industry’s big players and forward-thinking studios are heavily involved in both AR & VR.

Contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you create phenomenal AR & VR apps that will amaze your users. We have offices in Charlotte, NC, Richmond, VA, and Denver, CO to assist you in building the app you need.

Mobile App Development Best Practices

The rising adoption of mobile apps has been driven partly by changing consumer lifestyles. The accelerated uptake of mobile applications is due to the increased need by consumers to shop, bank, communicate, and socialize on social platforms. Thus, mobile apps will continue to have diverse applications in many users’ lives.

There’s no doubt that as the world continues to move faster, business people, from frontline staff to executives, will want to draw insight into their business processes. That’s why NS804 launched mobile app development for individuals and businesses, putting the power of AI-driven and search analytics in the hands of executives and employees.

The global mobile app market was estimated to be $154.05 billion in 2019, and it’s projected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 11% from 2020 to 2027. The demand for mobile apps will grow mainly due to internet infiltration, smartphone proliferation, and emerging technologies such as; artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the cloud.

Although the global app market is expected to grow, generating millions of revenues to companies and reaching out to millions of new users, experts predict that not all apps will meet the evolving demand for new apps. That is why 80% of apps developed nowadays fail.

Below, we look at mobile app development best practices:

Mobile App Development Best Practices

1. Unique Value Proposition

Many individuals and start-ups fail to establish an original idea for a mobile application and copy their competitors. Without a unique value proposition, your app is likely to fail and get lost in a myriad of apps out there.

2. User Experience

According to research by Intechnic, users abandon downloaded apps after three or fewer attempts if they find the app problematic. The reason users have a poor app experience is due to unintuitive navigation, long loading times, low latency, and a long registration process. It’s advisable to blend intuitive and useful experiences in the following ways:

  • Reduce the effort required by users to get what they want
  • Break large chunks into smaller manageable portions
  • Offload tasks by setting smart defaults
  • Allow users to save actions and re-engage later. Users expected to continue the browsing journey after leaving the app for a while
  • Focus on user goals but avoid overwhelming users with too many actions
  • Home the pinboard setup – ensure simple walkthroughs, faster email setups followed by onboarding.

A superior user experience leads to higher conversions and retention.

3. User Interface

Make app content the interface and remove unnecessary elements that do not support user tasks. Cards are considered great elements to display actionable content. And it’s advisable to keep the app interfaces light. Remember that the most successful apps are focused on a limited set of features. So, limit your feature set and prioritize what’s important, and cut off the clutter.

Another way of improving the user interface is by using a typeface that works perfectly well in different sizes to maintain usability, functionality, and readability in every endpoint. In addition, use adequate contrast for text because insufficient contrast makes the text blend with the app’s background. Strive for a minimum contrast of 4:5:1 for image text and body text to achieve sufficient contrast.

Other tips for making interfaces invisible include:

  • Use content prioritization to improve the UX and simplify the UI
  • Use direct and simple language for clarity
  • Use legible font size

The user interface is the browsing surface of any mobile application and the lifeblood of any user engagement and user retention.

4. Problem Solving

Most businesses fail to define a specific user problem and thus do not solve a specific demand. If you design an app that’s fully functional and provides a superior user experience but fails to solve a problem, your app cannot be successful. A well-defined problem may sound something like this, “I am a young professional who’s focused on my career and professional development. I work long hours and do not have time to prepare healthy meals. I want to eat better and to pursue a healthier lifestyle.”

5. Monetization Strategy

Businesses conduct thorough market and consumer research, define their goals, prioritize their strategies and build an app that solves users’ problems. However, they still fail to make money off their app development efforts. That is due to the lack of a good monetization strategy. By launching it, you might attract and retain users but still fail to monetize the app.

6. Prioritize Security

It may not seem like a pressing concern right now, especially at the nascent development stages. However, when you critically think about your app for a minute, you realize it will have tons of sensitive information and data. The app will hold information about the company and its stakeholders – customers, employees, suppliers, and partners.

Depending on what your app is used for, you could be collecting sensitive payment information such as credit cards. You’ll have access to information such as phone numbers, email addresses, and everything else provided. It’s your responsibility as the app owner to protect your data. That’s why you need to prioritize security from the onset.

Users may hesitate to provide you with their information if your app is insecure. If security gets breached, it will have far-reaching implications by damaging your brand and making it impossible to recover. One best practice for mobile app development is to use encryption like the two-factor authentication TFA to protect sensitive data.

7. Test and Test Again!

Tests need to be run throughout the app development process. Don’t wait until the end to test the app’s performance, that’s too late to notice any anomalies. It’s much harder to identify and solve problems if tests are not run periodically. One best way to test your app development is with beta testers.

You can try using online resources and tools from the Beta Family to put you in contact with superior testers. You can identify crashes, bugs, and even error reports with beta testers. If you cannot run diagnostic tests yourself, outsourced mobile app developers can assist you with your app development process to ensure a smooth and successful delivery.

8. Simple, Discoverable Navigation

Navigation should inspire users to interact and engage with the content. The navigation should be implemented in a way that supports the structure of the app without bringing attention to itself. The navigation should be accessible and discoverable without occupying too much screen space. Indeed, navigation should accommodate the needs of the app users.

To make navigation simple and discoverable, assign priority levels to common user tasks. Give prominence in the user interface to destinations and paths with frequent use and high priority levels. Ensure that navigation is available at all times, not just when users anticipate using the app. Minimize the user’s memory load by making features available and ready to use.

Other ways to make navigation simple include:

  • Communicate location using location indicators
  • Icon and graphics elements must help users understand menu options
  • Make interaction easy
  • Hidden navigation affects engagement, slows down exploration, and confuses users.
  • Reduce search efforts. For instance, if “search” is a primary function, it should be in front of people. You can display the “search” icon at the top or have a reference that activates search mode anytime and anywhere.

Simple navigation with labels and icons helps with user experience, interaction, and retention.

NS804 – Accelerating Your Mobile App Adoption

NS804 provides superior mobile app development solutions. As a partner from concept to completion, NS804 works with individuals, businesses, and market leaders to identify and optimize market opportunities with innovative app solutions. With specialties in IOS, android app development, minimum viable product MVP, and app optimization, NS804 can help you bridge any development gaps.

Contact NS804 for superior, best-in-class app development solutions.

9 Signs Your Business Is Ready for a Custom App

Most enterprises see a paradigm shift in their success when they build a website and provide more information and tools for their customers. However, some businesses may even see more success if they create a mobile app.

The adoption of mobile apps has accelerated business development in several frontiers – customer service, employee performance, operational efficiency, and productivity. The rising adoption of mobile apps by enterprises is due to the increasing smartphone ownership and higher internet penetration rates.

But how can you determine whether your business is ripe for a custom mobile app? And once you decide whether you’re ready for an app, how do you figure out what to put in the app? Below, NS804 lends its expertise to discuss clear signs that your business is ready for a custom app.

1. Business Development

If your business is facing declines, it’s a clear indication that you’re not engaging with your customers right and adapting to new trends. Businesses must consider adopting an app but only if it adds substantial business value. Today, mobile apps are being used to increase employee performance and productivity by optimizing business processes to improve outcomes and productivity. The business app empowers workers, enabling them to stay connected and obtain real-time insight in and outside the office. Business apps increase engagement, boost loyalty, retention, leading to improvements in business process development.

2. Competition is Adopting Apps

When your competitors are increasingly adopting apps, it indicates that times are changing and so should you. Look around at your competitors and you’ll realize that they more likely have an app. Customers and normal folks are becoming connected, underscoring the importance of a mobile app for your business. However, before developing a custom app for your business, ensure that it links to your website, has push notifications, and supports contact information.

3. Slow, Manual Processes

Humans are slow being with a limited capacity to collect and store information. However, machines present classic opportunities to run several tasks simultaneously and store huge chunks of information datasets in one place. If a company lacks resources to automate manual processes, it’s a clear sign it needs a mobile app. In addition, if the business keeps relying on outdated, archaic machines, equipment, and systems, it’s a clear sign it’s lagging in technology adoption. Businesses and organizations that still rely on outdated systems show a desire and the need for a custom mobile app.

4. Customers Struggle Accessing Your Brand

If a mobile app would give your customers greater access to your brand, then you need to invest in a custom app solution. An app is created to provide customers access to a portal for personalized services, at any place and time. An app translates to greater communication between the business and its prospects. So, if your business struggles connecting with prospective clients and customers, it’s a fool-proof sign that you need a custom mobile app.

5. Customers Would Benefit from Offline Access

Mobile apps have the benefit of being accessible even without an internet connection. That ensures they are functional even in situations where there’s simply no internet connection. Offline access is an essential element in giving users a better experience, and ensuring that users download and use your app. So, if your customers benefit from accessing the tools that you offer, information, profiles, content, and shopping, it’s a sign that you’re ready for a custom app.

Here are some customers who may benefit from an app that’s available offline:

  • Customers who are using your app for traveling purposes, such as traveling itinerary or looking for directions to a remote camping location
  • Impatient users who don’t want to depend on slow and unreliable internet connections to reap fast apps
  • Consumers and users based in rural and regional locations would highly benefit from offline apps because these locations have poor internet connections.
  • If your app is precise and offers a few target features or specifications, offline accessibility would be an easy model to deploy to customers. This means that customers would access every feature in your app without an internet connection.
  • Consumers who want to access diverse content such as blogs, eBooks, videos, music, and podcasts in transit. Spotify is an ideal app that can be accessed offline. In addition to how much internet streaming for long hours, it would take, think about internet connectivity on highways. Offline access makes sense where there’s a demand for internet streaming for prolonged hours.

Your business is ready for a custom app if your customers would benefit from offline access!

6. Market Gap to Fill

There are over 10 million apps in the market right now. So, with a staggering amount of digital resources available to consumers, it’s crucial to think about what your app idea can do that other apps cannot do. If there’s a market gap your business could fill with a custom app, it’s a sign that your business needs an app.

Case in point, following the Covid-19 pandemic, Walmart reinforced its e-commerce capabilities with a robust app model. This transformation was intended to overhaul the traditional e-commerce experience with a more modern, high-tech retail experience.

Walmart mobile app for iPhone and Android lets users browse products, search and buy merchandise in different locations. Walmart has achieved massive cost savings and optimized retail opportunities amid a crisis. So, if there’s a market gap you can bridge, it’s an indicator that your business needs a custom mobile app.

7. Siloed Information

Today, data is being used to optimize business processes and to provide the best use. Connected IoT devices offer the possibility for collecting harnessed data, processing, and drawing insight from stored data. However, traditional organizations have information stored in central databases that are managed by authorized personnel.

If you find yourself relying on centralized data points, it’s an indicator that your enterprise has not evolved with time, and you’re still relying on siloed information. Mobile apps extend the possibility of collecting information from different sources and distributing this information to several users. The interoperability (interconnectedness) of devices and systems ensures easier and faster information transfer, promoting collaboration and improving productivity.

8. Fewer Sales Channels

This is one of the reasons companies give for integrating mobile apps into their business models. Undoubtedly, mobile apps provide additional sales channels that companies can use to bolster their revenues. Mobile apps simplify the task of buying or acquiring customers. For instance, if a mobile app offers the possibility of paying for products without ordering or going out to the store, it can become an efficient solution for the sales channel.

9. Inefficient Communication with Customers

Traditional communication applications like Skype, WhatsApp, and Hangouts have been nifty for companies. However, sometimes transferring important information like reports and files to multiple users and managing minutes can be difficult with traditional applications. Not only is internal communication solved by mobile apps, but communication with customers and prospects is also made agile and faster. For instance, the ticket system can respond to incidents to avoid communication problems.

NS804 – Accelerating Your Mobile App Adoption

At NS804, we believe that knowing the difference between “necessary” and “useful” will enable you to decide whether you need to hire an app development company to simplify your process, or whether you want to do it alone. Identifying signs like manual processes, system upgrades, inaccessible information, and inefficient procurement methods indicate that your business needs a custom app.

You can contact NS804 for inquiries and solutions in custom mobile app development solutions.

Mobile Apps: Does Your Business Really Need One?

In 1997, Nokia designed a built-in version of the arcade Snake Game that many consider the first app. Over the years, the app market has grown extensively to capture different apps – for gaming, shopping, banking, and many other purposes. Mobile apps are widely being adopted to provide the best use in business process development.

However, it’s worth mentioning that most people perceive mobile apps as a reserve for large enterprises. Most think that mobile apps apply only to established, reputable brands that have a reputation to protect.

Well, if you think mobile apps are for big-boy enterprises like Amazon and Walmart, you’re mistaken. More and more small businesses are adopting mobile apps after understanding that an effective digital strategy transcends beyond simply having a mobile-friendly website.

Undoubtedly, e-commerce has been phased out by mobile commerce, as evidenced by the accelerated adoption of mobile solutions by retail establishments. Today, more than ever, you’ll realize that most enterprises you interact with have a custom app – be it a spa downtown or a corner coffee shop. If you’re not sure whether your business needs a mobile app, here’s what to look out for.

Nine reasons your business needs a mobile app:

1. Customer Visibility

Customer relationship management is taking a new turn with exciting developments in custom mobile apps. The growth of mobile apps allows businesses to connect and reignite touches with their most loyal customers, reinforcing trust, loyalty, and retention.

Statistics show that the average American spends two to four hours a day on their mobile devices. While only a handful of apps make up a bulk of this usage, it doesn’t change the fact that every user has to unlock their phones and scan for apps. Being “available” with a custom business app can be an advantage because it requires a user to spot your brand and their mind subconsciously records your business.

2. Marketing Channel

A custom app can translate into an excellent sales channel, especially if used with diligence and tact. Apps serve diverse functions. They can provide information, store data, process trends, and report insights. One of the biggest advantages of having a custom mobile app is that all the information you’d like to convey to your customers is right at their fingertips.

You’re getting closer to reinforcing your interactions with your customers through features like push notifications. You can remind customers about your services and products. Thus, there’s no doubt that mobile apps are transforming outreach by reigniting touches with clients and maintaining relationships.

3. Customer Connectivity

Smartphones are one of the most personal things; they harbor our personal information – email addresses, credit card numbers, and addresses. Statista reports that 90% of the time spent on a smartphone is spent on downloaded applications.

With mobile apps, businesses can connect with clients on the go. Some offline apps don’t need an internet connection which means that users can constantly check new updates, access notifications, and interact with other users. So, if you find a pressing need to connect with clients on the go, a custom mobile app can be an ideal solution for your business growth.

Industries and companies that can connect with clients on the go include:

  • Transport and logistics. Railway, airline, and sea transport companies can use mobile apps to connect with passengers and allow them to book tickets and do in-app purchases.
  • Travel and tour. Travel and tour enterprises can reinforce their relationships with clients. These firms can use mobile apps to; advertise destinations, arrange bookings, and launch virtual tours.
  • Mining. FIFO jobs present opportunities for professionals and technicians who want to work away from home. Thus, mobile apps that enable FIFO workers to connect with their families directly while reporting and tracking progress remotely is a win.

With the above examples, it’s clear how mobile apps can bridge gaps in multiple sectors and industries.

4. Building Brand Recognition

A custom mobile app can immensely contribute to your business and brand awareness. Below we break down brand recognition into two separate parts to understand how mobile apps can help strengthen your brand.

  • Brand. A mobile app is like a blank paper, an empty signboard. You can make it fun, stylish, entertaining, functional, or informative. But what you want is to create an app that has features your customers will like; an app that’s well-designed and beautifully branded.
  • Recognition. The more often you engage users with your app, the higher their likelihood of interacting with your products or services. Higher app interaction translates to brand awareness and leads to purchases. In advertising, this aspect is called effective frequency. Essentially, seeing or hearing your brand about twenty times is what makes it recognizable or truly noticed.

So, mobile apps are classic channels for fuelling brand recognition.

5. Customer Engagement

Customer engagement is an essential aspect of positive customer relationships. Signs of poor customer engagement include slow welcome, unfriendly gestures, keeping customers waiting, and inflexible appointment times.

Whether you’re selling insurance or renting out gym floor spaces, your customers need a way of reaching you, anytime and anywhere. Having a helpdesk or a messaging feature in your app can make a difference in how you handle customer communications.

For instance, OpenTable designed its business model around customer engagement. Instead of calling restaurants or fast-food chains for a table, OpenTable’s management made it easy for customers to book online on their mobile app. Now, if you think about it, you’ll realize most customers prefer to speak to you via text instead of the phone.

6. Market Competition

Many businesses are gradually adopting mobile apps to streamline their processes: performance, customer engagement, procurement, and spend management. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to note that business apps are still at their nascent adoption stages these days. And this is where you can leap ahead of your competitors. It’s advisable to offer a custom app for your small business and exemplify your forward-thinking approach.

7. Customer Loyalty

Shifts in customer shopping behavior are clear indicators that your business is ready for a custom app. The most important reason you should consider investing in a custom mobile app is customer loyalty. With all the melee and noise out there – billboards, Facebook ads, road sign banners, flyers, flashing signs, coupons, and newspaper ads, we slowly lose our impact on clients because they’re overwhelmed by immense advertising.

Now, it’s time to go back and make a sincere connection with your customers by making them loyal lovers of your product. While a mobile app may not save your business, it’s a way of coming closer to your customers and being just a finger away from your prospects. Custom business apps provide a way of connecting customers with support providers and strengthening client bonds. So, if you’re looking forward to transforming positive customer relationships into lasting value, look no further: custom mobile apps provide lasting solutions.

8. Business Process Optimization

Having a mobile app gives you the option of developing an app for any purpose. For instance, you can have an app that facilitates interactions within the workspace. Alternatively, you can create an app that supports the exchange of files, aggregates statistics, monitors and manages processes.

The significance of mobile apps is that they can effectively be used for the organization and automation of business processes. The creation of products for internal use by the organization is a common practice. With a custom mobile app, you can ensure employee interaction regardless of location. Changing work cultures and emerging “work-at-home” patterns underscore the need for mobile apps.

9. Smart Analytics

Data is the backbone of most business processes because data-driven decisions inform business processes. With a business app, you can collect vast volumes of data for further analysis. For instance, you can collect data that enables you to understand shifting customer preferences, shopping habits, and app usage patterns. Mobile apps can help you know what areas and functions of your business are most important and which ones are least important.

NS804 – Powering Business Transformation with Custom App Solutions

Not all enterprises optimize the power of their websites, let alone custom mobile apps. If you happen to be among the first to adopt mobile app solutions, you can confidently reinforce your market position and edge out the competition. Mobile app solutions provide immense benefits and stand to transform your enterprise’s growth efforts.

You can contact NS804 for inquiries and solutions on mobile app development.

 

Remote Work And Apps: 5 Reasons Why You Need One

The remote work revolution is well underway as we enter the post-COVID-19 era. Small businesses, massive enterprises, and government institutions realize that the old way of doing business is no longer feasible. With a shift towards environmental sustainability and more employees preferring to work from home — remote work is here to stay!

Furthermore, all organizations benefit from reducing their floor space, which inevitably reduces rental and energy costs. And as they streamline their operations, they can tap into a vast talent pool. With the right kinds of apps, it’s possible to work effectively with employees, contractors, and freelancers spread across the country or the globe. 

Below, we unveil why you need remote work apps and how your business can benefit from these.

1. Remote Work Apps Help Your Team Stay Organized

It may seem challenging to keep your team organized when they’re in different locations and time zones, right? That may have been a problem over a decade ago, but that’s no longer the case. Take Trello as an example, a web-based application ideal for managing projects and facilitating collaboration between team members.

The app’s easy-to-learn Kanban-style list-making features and intuitive Trello boards and cards help get everyone on the same page. And while it’s not suitable for massive projects, it’s ideal for smaller projects and organizations. Furthermore, Trello is also available as a mobile app for Android and iOS devices.

2. Video Conferencing Apps Keep Your Team Connected

All remote work teams need reliable video conferencing apps. After all, it’s necessary to have those face-to-face conversations and meetings at a regular cadence. Fortunately, there are many good video conferencing platforms available. One could even say that there are too many options in this space. 

Apps such as BlueJeans, Google Meet, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Slack, Webex by Cisco, and Whereby are only a few of the options available. On top of that, the privacy-respecting browser Brave has introduced Brave Talk, which is a viable video conferencing alternative.

3. Email Remains Essential For Remote Work 

No organization can run effectively without email. It’s the ultimate tool for communicating with on-site staff, remote workers, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. And considering the speed, reliability, and relative security offered by email protocols, it’s no wonder that email remains so popular today. 

And there are also many excellent email clients and platforms available such as Gmail, iOS Mail, K-9 Mail, Microsoft Outlook, ProtonMail, Spark, and TypeApp mail.

4. Cloud Storage Services Improve Workflow

As with email, no organization can function effectively without cloud storage and file-sharing services. If you’ve ever wondered why services such as Dropbox and Google Drive are so popular, it’s because there’s hardly an organization that doesn’t need to store and share digital files on the cloud. 

Moreover, these services make it incredibly easy and quick for remote work teams to share and update almost any type of file in real-time. And that helps keep teams in sync since they don’t have to wait long durations to access mission-critical files. 

5. The Code Repository Has Become Indispensable 

Tech companies and developers use code repositories daily. And that makes sense, as it’s an effective way to keep source code and the associated documentation safe. Furthermore, it simplifies the collaborative process between remote development teams and tracking any code changes.

But even non-tech companies that need to maintain and update code also need to use repositories. And in this area, there are several good options available such as Apache Subversion, BitBucket, GitHub, GitLab, and SourceForge.

In Conclusion

With the plethora of excellent remote work apps in the marketplace, there’s no reason for any organization to be left behind. And while most organizations will use web-based apps, Android and iOS versions are available for remote workers that rely on their mobile devices. Contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you build powerful apps to empower remote work teams worldwide!

2022 Mobile App Development Trends

The global mobile app market is on a rising trajectory and will continue to boom in the years to come. According to Statista, global revenues from mobile applications will reach $613 billion before 2025, up from $316 billion in 2020.

With this development and projected growth comes plenty of opportunities for developers to optimize their app development efforts by delivering the best to the end-users. As 2022 unfolds, it’s critical to look at trends that will dominate the app development marketplace.

Why Cast Sight into the Future?

Software development personnel play a central role in driving revenues for their companies. Apps that fulfill a specific need, are unique in fulfilling particular goals, and extend a superior user experience will see the highest levels of adoption and retention. Simply, the more the users, the more the revenues.

You need to understand and adopt the latest trends in mobile app development to ensure your app ticks these boxes of usability, adoption, and retention. The better you translate these app trends into your app, the more users your app can attract.

2022 Mobile App Development Trends

2020 is undoubtedly the year that the more fringe applications will become more mainstream – artificial intelligence, 5G, augmented reality, virtual reality VR, and machine learning will see increased adoption to meet the evolving needs of the modern consumer.

As peoples’ lives become increasingly sophisticated, this complexity extends to how they shop, communicate, and access information. Below, we discuss crucial trends that will define the mobile app marketplace in 2022.

1. 5G Technology

5G technology is on track to becoming the gold standard for mobile communication, even though it’s not presently mainstream. The 5G technology market is poised to reach $620 billion by 2030. And with user-friendly benefits like low latency, faster data transfer, and increased performance speeds, the time for your app to support 5G is now. The 5G technology will change the way we build and use apps, efficiency and speed will substantially improve, and here are a few more things to expect:

  • 5G will be up 100 times faster than 4G
  • Latency will reduce from 50 milliseconds to 1 millisecond
  • With less latency, higher resolution, and superior performance – video apps will improve significantly.
  • Data transfer between devices will be faster and more fulfilling
  • 5G will allow developers to build superior features
  • Mobile payments will be more secure because of the faster processing of biometric data

Overall, 5G will make apps smoother, faster, and more efficient in their operation.

2. IoT and Cloud Technology

Mobile-connected endpoint devices and the internet of things (IoT) technology have been there for years, but their market is projected to grow to $1 trillion by 2023. The biggest drivers behind cloud and IoT adoption are security and increased concerns of business continuity processes. Indeed, with over $120 billion spent on IT security in 2019 alone, it’s easy to see why enterprises are looking for cloud and IoT as alternative security solutions. Cloud and IoT have other benefits including; improved efficiency, operational efficiency, and interoperability.

3. Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology has emerged as a powerful force in protecting and safeguarding information, data, and resources. Blockchain is a digitally distributed and decentralized ledger located across a network. Blockchain is immutable, decentralized, and consensual, which means it can achieve faster settlements with enhanced security.

What makes blockchain a forerunner this year is that there has always been a security concern and misuse of data among app developers. Fortunately, blockchain solves security problems with its powerful characteristics – immutability, decentralization, and distribution.

Blockchain allows enterprises and organizations to create decentralized databases; which means that these databases do not need a company or a service provider to act as a gatekeeper. Blockchain solves a long-standing culture of data bureaucracy by bringing data control to the hands of users.

4. Augmented Reality AR and Virtual Reality VR

Pokémon Go was short-lived but it propelled the adoption of AR in mobile app development. Pokémon Go showed the world that we could use virtual reality to offer an immersive experience to viewers.

Today, there are several scenarios of brands using AR and VR to enhance user experience:

  • L’Oréal make-up app allows users to see their make-ups before purchase
  • IKEA uses augmented reality to let users see how furniture will look in their homes before purchasing
  • Lenskart lets buyers virtually experiment with glasses before purchasing them

This year, we will see AR and VR dominating the mobile app market in ways we can never imagine. The AR and VR market will rise from $25 billion in 2018 to $210 billion in 2022. Brands and businesses are expected to see a spike in VR and AR this year.

5. Artificial Intelligence AI and Machine Learning ML

In efforts to deliver personalized experiences to the end users, AI that utilizes predictive analytics algorithms will be an important element to consider. AI is important for speech recognition, navigation, and natural language processing. In addition, behavioral algorithms can improve security by analyzing user behavior and detecting fraud and information breaches.

6. PWAs and Instant Apps

Progressive web apps PWAs are becoming popular because they bridge the gap left by native web pages and apps. Benefits like faster loading time, reduced dependency on internet connections, and automatic updates make PWAs a darling to both consumers and brands.

In addition, instant apps are gaining popularity because they allow users to test the app before downloading it. While it appears that designing a simple app experience may reduce users’ app loyalty, it appears the opposite is true. Instant apps have a higher conversion rate and different testing requirements than native apps.

7. Mobile Commerce

Years ago, platforms like eBay and Amazon took precedence in the mobile commerce marketplace. But with exciting developments, the e-commerce trend has been phased out and substituted by mobile commerce.

As more shoppers prefer online shopping, retailers are adopting progressive web apps PWA (native apps) to improve user experiences. The mobile commerce marketplace is projected to hit $23 billion by the end of 2022 simply because many B2C and B2B companies have seen an increase in user engagement, revenue growth, and conversion rates after building an app for their business.

8. Wearable App Integration

According to Statista, there will be 1.1 billion wearables by 2022, and the most common connections made using connected wearable devices. Wearable app integration is another way to bring convenience to users, with users receiving updates, notifications, and messages about their health and wellbeing.

According to research, the ability to receive messages and notifications is the highest-ranking function of wearables in the United States. In the wearable market, fitness tracking has seen remarkable growth with the rise in health wellness among the general population. So, wearable app integration is likely to dominate most mobile applications as 2022 unfolds.

9. Beacon Technology

Since its inception in 2013, Beacons are gaining relevance among retailers and wholesalers alike. For consumers, Beacon transmitters connect and transmit data to connected devices, making interaction and location-based searching faster and more accurate. The convenience of mobile apps has accelerated the adoption of Beacon technology, making it a win-win for consumers and retailers. For businesses, beacon technology allows them to understand shopping habits – turning this data into a personalized shopping experience.

NS804 – Spearheading Your Mobile App Transformation

With the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating the need for consumers to move online, there is a new demand to deliver personalized and intuitive user experiences to customers. The 2022 mobile app development trends reflect this trajectory and increasingly focus on user satisfaction. Incorporating these trends in your mobile app roadmap will enable you to succeed now and beyond.