Mobile Apps and the New Convenience Store Shopping Experience

The Retail Industry is making changes to adapt to the purchase habits of its customers, by using technology to bridge the gap. Adding automation technologies in the retail industries checkout process is creating a new seamless experience without the long wait at checkout lines, this is providing a unique shopping experience for shoppers that are on the go.

Amazon has been working to completely automate the convenience store experience with a no checkout required system. The check out free shopping experience is made possible by incorporating a number of different technologies to track the products added to the shopper’s cart to their Amazon Go App.

The Amazon Go convenience stores offer ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options made fresh daily by their on-site chefs and favorite local kitchens and bakeries. The selection of grocery essentials ranges from staples like bread and milk to artisan cheeses and locally made chocolates etc, they are even offering well-known brands to these stores.

Mobile Apps and the New Convenience Store Shopping Experience

Amazon Go’s vision is to create a shopping experience that will push the boundaries of computing and machine learning to where customer don’t have to deal with the hassles of long checkout lines. Amazon is taking the self-checkout concept to another level, in the self-checkout at major stores customers need to scan their items and either pay with cash or credit using a POS systems that handle the transactions.

Amazon Go uses their mobile app to track groceries and process the payments once the customer leaves the store. Mobile apps are playing a major role along with other Sensing Technologies to accurately account for the checkout process and assure that the sold good are accounted for.

Although there are a lot of different technologies that are making this shopping experience seamless, mobile apps plays a big role in the payment transactions, by tracking the customer entering the stores, tracking what products they have in their carts, accounting for the store’s inventory through transactions and many other activities to make this store a success.

Mobile Apps and Smartphones are a big part in revolutionizing the retail industry. The Grab and Go concept has been predicted to be the future of the retail industries for years, we are now seeing that come to life. Developing smart mobile applications that can handle the communications that are needed to make this happen are vital to this change.

Vensi, Inc is on the cutting edge of technology and has been developing mobile application solutions for our partners over a decade, we understanding the technical requirements and the client’s and with our expertise bring the best solutions to the market faster. If you’re looking for innovative mobile application development then contact us for more information at vensi.com/contact_us

Location Based Services are Playing a Crucial role in Mobile App Development

Location-based services have seen an increase in demand, in the few couple years, we see this demand will grow as more and more companies are taking advantage of this data to enhance their relationships with their customers.

Wikipedia defines Location Bases Services as…A location-based service (LBS) is a software-level service that uses location data to control features. As such LBS is an information service and has a number of uses in social networking today as information, in entertainment or security, which is accessible with mobile devices through the mobile network and which uses information on the geographical position of the mobile device.

Location Bases Services are critical to many businesses as well as governmental organizations to drive real insight from data tied to a specific location where activities take place. The geographical patterns that location-related data and services can provide are one of its most powerful and useful aspect where the location is a common denominator in all of these activities and can be leveraged to better understand patterns and relationships.

Location Based Services are Playing a Crucial role in Mobile App Development

We first saw location-based apps with companies like Foursquare and Gowalla, we also have seen that all social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have incorporated (LBS) into their apps. This app usually uses GPS to identify the location.

Now we are seeing more and more GPS, Wifi and Beacon apps used to identify people’s location for various reason, including to find coupons and discounts, to identify what’s around you, sharing current locations through social media, to find destinations, getting to the desired location (using Uber & Lyft), dating and remembering location based events.

GPS apps are a great way to find a destination and get directions with the fastest route taking into consideration traffic, road constructions or accidents in the path of your destination. Once arriving at that destination and being able to establish your location, and your surrounding, to find the closest gas station, restaurant or ATM is very useful when you’re in an area that you’re not familiar with. Google Maps does a great job of guiding users to their destinations.

Wifi is a more useful for indoor applications with its networking capabilities, allow computer, smartphones, and tablets to connect to the internet, it’s also a great tool in industrial, retail, home and most commercial applications to identify the location of not only people but assets.

Beacons are a great solution that many industries are using to transmit data with people in close proximity to the establishments. Beacons are being used in 100’s of applications like Retail, Hospitals, Tourism, Education, Entertainment and many others including Smart cities. These relatively low-cost hardware are assisting with the growth and adoption of the Internet of Things and are providing new ways of getting people more engaged.

Vensi, Inc has developed Location Based Applications for many companies in different industries using GPS, Wifi, and Beacons. As part of the BlueApp platform which focuses on the Internet of Things, which is taking advantage of (LBS) to connect and identify the location of different devices and systems. If you are planning a project with (LBS) and are looking for a good partner to work side by side with your team. For more information contact us at vensi.com/contact_us.

How Cloud Technologies are Enabling Mobile Application Development

The App development world is taking advantage of cloud technologies to develop mobile applications. With the advancement of recent technologies like Cloud Computing, which is very significant in enabling mobile app development and is playing a major role by helping developers provide a better user experience.

Cloud Technologies are being used by developers worldwide, which is adding to the increase in mobile application deployment and an increase in multiple devices deployed. Using HTML5 is giving app developers the ability to provide uninterrupted service levels, providing network reception is good. Cloud Computing technologies are also reducing custom application development cost, by reducing building testing and deployment of these apps, managing servers are one example of a burden to developers that is now reduced with Cloud Computing.

How Cloud Technologies are Enabling Mobile Application Development

Cloud Computing Technologies is an Internet-based computing technology that provides and shares information, files and data to the users in a wide range through online sources. We can access the data anywhere from the world. The Shared information will be secure, reliable and ease to access. Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure are some of the cloud service providers frequently used by developers for sharing information for Mobile App Development.

A huge benefit to using cloud technologies for mobile app development is that cloud technologies offer scalability, the server-less architecture of the cloud allows developers to scale up or down as needed. These solutions are used to integrate data analytics and other advanced technologies, all of this is apart of the Internet of Things.

Features that cloud technologies are enabling:

Moving the apps and the data to the cloud, that were once stored on the device, reaches to a wider audience because the apps can be run on multiple operating systems, with added functionality.

Vensi, Inc has specialized in developing cloud computing solutions for mobile applications using HTML5 as a framework and has a great technical team with great experience, for more information contact us at vensi.com/contact_us

Why Building Mobile Apps with API’s is a Great Approach

Mobile applications are a huge part of everyday life for most of us, whether you’re a business person needing to respond to a client’s email, a student having to check homework assignment online, or a mom who is using her mobile phone to shop for groceries. Using a mobile device is the first choice to perform these and many other functions on what used to be relegated to strictly laptops and desktops. Mobile apps and smartphones are used in many ways and are the preferred choice of people who own them to conduct different tasks while on the go.

For these mobile applications to function flawlessly, there are a lot of things that need to come together to make things work so that users see a seamless and fluid transition from screen to screen. One of the most important aspects of mobile app development is API’s. Most of us don’t know what they are, but if developers didn’t implement these well, mobile apps would not be as user-friendly.

Why Building Mobile Apps with API’s is a Great Approach

What is an API and why is it so important in mobile application development, Wikipedia defines API’s below.

Application program interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. An API specifies how software components should interact. Additionally, APIs are used when programming graphical user interface (GUI) components. A good API makes it easier to develop a program by providing all the building blocks. A programmer then puts the blocks together.

Mobile apps built with API’s allow for multi-platform development, not only for iOS and Android but also for web apps, this development strategy is enabling companies to add more mobile apps within their budgets.

Benefits of API Services:

  • Eliminates redundant stack setup for each app.
  • Eliminates boilerplate code.
  • All within one model.

These benefits help developers to build apps faster, but also helps them link their software and applications to cloud-based storage, developers also like this API strategy for building apps because it eliminates redundant stack setup and repeated code.

Vensi Inc uses API Services in their Mobile App Development & provides user-friendly, easily accessible apps for its clients & partners. For more information contact us at www.vensi.com/contactus.

Web Payment API allows Chrome to make mobile payments easier

chrome mobile payment api

People despise filling out web forms on PC’s as well as mobile devices, Chrome introduced an Autofill feature for their browser to make this easier for users by auto-completing the fields in the web forms based on a chrome user Autofill profile.

Google recently introduced two new APIs for the smartphone version of Chrome. Credential Management API makes it easier to keep track of multiple login information from Chrome’s mobile browser. Though Chrome’s app has had password-management features for some time, the new tool makes logging in even simpler. This chrome API enables chrome users to sign in with just one tap. When a user signs into Chrome, chrome can sync the user’s passwords across devices and synced passwords can also be shared with any Android apps.

Buying products on the mobile web can be a frustrating experience for every user. Different websites have different flows and validation rules, that requires users to manually type the same set of information again and again. At the same time, it is also a difficult and time-consuming process for developers to create user-friendly checkout flows for different and multiple websites.

A new Web Payment API allows a browser to act as an intermediary between the web store and online buyers and also the payment method or bank, users can complete the checkout process with just one touch. Bank credentials are always necessary to process and confirm a transaction and to process the payment method. So, the buyer can confirm and authorize the payment flow via a browser, and auto-fill their payments and shipping information while in the checkout process from multiple websites.

When the user initiates a payment process while buying a product from a web page, that web page immediately creates a “PaymentRequest API” to make a payment. If a user starts an interaction for the payment request, some kind of user interface will be presented to the user to facilitate the payment request. Here, the Web Payment API allows the chrome browser to exchange information with the “PaymentRequest API”. If the user accepts the payment request, browser approved and returned the required fields, that includes payment method, shipping details, payer email address, and phone number. If above details were already set in the browser, the payment options get passed to the “PaymentRequest API”, then the browser interaction will be complete and the payment process will be processed. If the user does not accept the payment request within the allowed time period, then the request will be aborted.

The mission of the Web Payment API is to make mobile payments easier and more secure on the web browser and provide an intellectual interface between a web page and a Payment method to facilitate a payment transaction, this is expected to streamline the checkout process, reduce shopping cart abandonments and make new payment methods easier on the Web.

Big Data Trends in 2016

Due to all the new technologies we as a society are creating, there has been a huge soar in data being kept online. This may be in cloud format or other ways, but overall, the amount of data is rising. This is where big data comes into play. With all this data, we need a way to keep track of this data and be able to look back at it quickly. We have written about big data in the past if you want to take a look at that information here.

Big Data Trends

Big data is essential for many companies business plans these days. The way we store and analyze data is going to make a huge difference in this tech filled world we now live in.

Big data is changing and here are some big data trends we will see this year:

Companies Will Choose Solutions That Stay Constant
Organizations will no longer choose big data solutions that are constantly changes. They will chose a secure options. This is because nowadays, a company’s ability to use data will make or break the company. If a big data solution is constantly changing causing users to learn a new system often, it is a waste of valuable time.

A New Approach: It use to be that the best way to keep track of data was to keep it separate from the business process. This is now changing to become a new converged approach. Now, companies and developers are making solutions that integrate business practices with big data solutions making it one system rather than two. Converging the two makes it easier to process data and saves time.

More Storage: We are seeing advances in memory, especially in terms of Flash. With these improvements, the cost goes down and big data flash solutions will also be seen more often. Eventually we will start to see more flash big data solutions which combine fast solutions with a large amount of data.

Distributed Data: For the longest time, big data was build around centralized data which reduced data duplication along with simplified management. However, distributed data will be used more to address multiple devices. Distributed data is used to store information on more than one node, often in a replicated fashion.This is especially the case due to the increase in IoT devices.

Big data is becoming more and more popular as the years go on. We are producing more data online than we have ever before and big data solutions are the way to keep track of all of this data so it doesn’t go to waste.

With BlueApp’s online dashboard, keeping track of all of the data you system produces is made much easier. With our dashboards, you are able to create custom reports in order to make better business decisions. When more data is being collecting and much of it to the cloud, BlueApp is the perfect solution to keep your data in one place with a powerful solution to track your data.

Perspectives on Mobile Computing

As a self acknowledged gadget freak and lifelong computer engineer, I’ve always been fascinated by the latest and greatest developments in technology. For those same reasons, however, I’ve often been a skeptic of the utility of mobile devices in particular and the spread of mobile computing in general. In almost every instance I’ve been proven wrong, so I view the future of mobile computing with my skeptic’s blinders removed.

Since I first used the Internet 40 years ago, I’ve seen communications technology improve in unimagined ways. Since using punched cards for input and line printers for output, I’ve seen the user interaction models evolve beyond my wildest imagination-and I have a fairly active imagination. Ten years ago or so ago I was involved in some projects looking to put applications on very early versions of smart phones. I was firmly convinced that, even if the screen size grew to match the size of the device, that it would be very difficult to create a user model that would be at all functional-especially as a browser for the Internet. I also doubted that cellular networks and other broadband protocols would ever be sufficiently ubiquitous or fast enough to be practical-although I expected significant evolution in communications. Well, I was clearly wrong in ways that I never imagined. More than most, I do understand the ever popular saying that there is more computing technology in my iPhone than was on board the Apollo moon missions.

With all this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the more interesting current developments and challenges in mobile computing. First, is the proliferation of ultraportable devices beyond smart phones. I was an early user of tablet computers since I’m not a particularly good typist and I felt that, if handwriting recognition could become adequate, I could be freed from my hunt and peck ways. They were actually quite useful but no more, and in some cases less, portable than other notebook computers. And, handwriting recognition never quite did the trick. The operative word in mobile computing is “mobile”. With the advent of the iPad and its android brethren, tablet devices have become very mobile and more than adequate substitutes for notebook and desktop computers (although I still wish I could type faster-I’m a big fan of voice recognition).

Next, the capabilities embedded in these mobile devices, have opened up a whole range of unimagined applications. I no longer have to bring a digital still camera and video camera to capture my children’s sporting events. My phone is more than up to the task. While my cars have GPS capabilities, I often find it easier to simply touch on an address and have my phone automatically locate it on a map and tell me how to get there-even if I’m walking. Augmented reality will allow me to simply point my phone or tablet at a scene and access all kinds of location relevant information. A whole host of business applications are also possible such as real-time delivery tracking. The range of applications in healthcare is too long for a short blog.

This opportunity, however, comes with challenges. As far as we’ve come, new user models will have to be explored. Can we make it easy enough for a physician to switch to writing on a tablet instead of paper records they’re used to? How will, at the moment heterogeneous, communications protocols evolve? Wi-Fi is becoming so ubiquitous, that I rarely find my traditional notebook computer to be without access. Will WiMAX challenge cellular networks? How will firms manage the rapidly blurring distinction between personal and enterprise applications and usage?

Finally, privacy and security become issues in ways we’ve never imagined. How much easier is it to gain unauthorized access to data over today’s variety of wireless networks than it used to be over private wired networks? How do individuals, corporations, and perhaps, most important, government security agencies protect their data? As society becomes more dependent on these technologies we become far more vulnerable. Denial of service attacks, electromagnetic pulses and other sources of deliberate or accidental system wide failures could cause disasters ranging from serious economic distortions to loss of life.

These issues, however, have been with us through every technological transition. New transportation modes (trains, automobiles, airplanes) all brought with them new risks. In each of these cases we’ve believed the good outweighed the bad and we’ve managed to adapt very successfully. I have no doubt, although I won’t be presumptuous enough to predict how, that we will successfully adapt to all of the new risks and opportunities afforded us by developments in mobile computing.

A Merger Made in the Cloud

The last several years have witnessed two remarkable revolutions: the broad adoption of cloud-based computing by businesses and the explosive growth of mobile technology, smartphones and their accompanying applications. It’s only natural that mobile and cloud would someday find each other. Well, they have. And at that intersection is a host of exciting new capabilities for businesses, their employees, and consumers.

We talked to you about cloud computing just a few months ago. In its simplest form, cloud computing offers your business a way to host data and applications over a shared resource.. Rather than running a full IT shop in your physical location, you simply plug into a service — akin to a utility — like Google Apps for Business, Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS). As a matter of fact, our very own Nediso runs on AWS.

We’re keeping abreast of how the platforms continue to merge so that we can provide effective and secure solutions to our clients. At Vensi, we are marrying cloud and mobile technology in useful and creative ways. For example, we’re currently building or planning to build mobile solutions that leverage  cloud technology in the education, logistics, service, entertainment, retail, and food industries. With the massive adoption of smartphones, and now tablets, it’s become a mobile world… Even the mobile app world is moving at break-neck speeds thanks to the new capabilities of cloud computing.

Once upon a time, employees could count mostly on synching their mobile devices with the company’s email, calendar, and contacts. But with the collision of mobile and cloud computing, your end users can take advantage of all the applications you run from the cloud — your sales, timekeeping, accounting, HR, CRM and any of your custom-built business applications.

It’s the ultimate BYOD (bring your own device), and it’s responsive to the growing desire of the workforce to be able to fully function in a location-independent manner on the devices where users keep the rest of their “lives.”

Mobile cloud is essentially the next chapter in the cloud computing and mobile revolutions. Value will come from many fronts. Besides making apps and data accessible on any device, we believe the mobile–cloud union will soon intersect with near-field communications (NFC). This allows your business to conduct commerce with buyers passing their smartphone near an RFID receptor, which coincidentally can be another smartphone. And the whole transaction can be managed by your e-commerce solution — hosted in the cloud. You’re officially untethered from your server room, endless upgrades and costly maintenance.

According to Juniper Research, the mobile cloud market is poised for explosive growth, more than 88 percent each year between now and 2014. It estimates that by then, the total cloud-based mobile application market will be grossing $9.5 billion, up substantially from its respectable $400 million in 2009.

ABI Research adds that by 2014, there will be close to 1 billion mobile cloud users, noting that mobile cloud computing stands to become the leading mobile application development and deployment strategy. In other words, traditional native download-and-install mobile applications — could soon be on the verge of extinction. Vensi has stayed ahead of curve by identifying these trends early and developing business and consumer apps/solutions that sit in the cloud and make use of NFC.  Our mission is torovide leadership and assist businesses make the transition and to fully realize the potential these seismic changes represent.

Adrift in a Cloud of Data

Information portability and user mobility has become an integral part of life and the modern workplace.  Just as important, is the portability of the hardware it’s accessed on. While smartphones are getting smaller and smarter, the sheer amount of information users want to access is growing exponentially.

Enter the cloud.

Cloud computing is not a brand new concept (one can hardly watch an hour of television without some commercial referencing the cloud), but it’s also not a fad technology. Used properly, the cloud can solve data portability and performance issues, all without increasing security concerns.

Because the cloud enables users to access information from any web-enabled mobile device or wherever a data connection exists, it is the ideal tool for accessing multi-user data stores. The externally-based storage that the cloud provides means devices with limited memory can save local memory for more robust and memory-intensive applications.  Another important benefit is that there is a much smaller risk of losing data by having it stored exclusively on hardware that is designed to be taken out into the world. The amount of data that can be stored in the cloud is entirely unrelated to the limitations of mobile devices; you can easily upgrade your database or file servers without any upgrades to your work-force’s smartphones.  Choosing to store data on a cloud also means that developers can focus their resources on the application itself, and not have to worry about complicated memory-saving routines, saving hours (and dollars) in a development life-cycle.

These benefits make for great reading to an IT Director, but their impact is felt and matters well outside the confines of the IT department. Using a cloud system along with mobile technology can make an entire workforce mobile – managers can orchestrate work-flow and resources, salespeople can access the CRM and billing systems, technicians can access job systems and tech specs, designers can contribute and collaborate on creative projects, and all of these things happen from wherever the person happens to be.

Of course, all of that data floating around in the seemingly-uncontrolled ether is frightening to some people, especially in the wake of several well-documented data thefts from companies like Sony. The cloud is not, by itself, a security concern though. Poor implementation of security measures, however, can be a real issue, and that’s why informed decisions need to be made at the beginning of a project.

Cloud security doesn’t just begin and end with secure data. User activity should be controlled through a device ID which adds an additional security layer. An individual user’s credentials are linked to the mobile device they use via a device ID (similar to a MAC address on a network). Implementing this security layer means that you can be more comfortable that the person who is accessing the cloud truly is the person to whom those credentials are assigned. You have the flexibility to allow credentials to be used only on certain devices, or even only from certain regions.

It is even more important than in traditional client/server models, that data should be stored on the cloud servers in an encrypted format. The NSA (National Security Agency) endorses the AES methodology (and in fact, it is the first publicly accessible and open cipher approved for top secret information). The standard comprises three block ciphers, AES-128, AES-192 and AES-256, adopted from a larger collection originally published as Rijndael. Each of these ciphers has a 128-bit block size, with key sizes of 128, 192 and 256 bits, respectively. The AES ciphers have been analyzed extensively and are now used worldwide.

Ultimately, the cloud is here and here to stay. It’s important that businesses creating mobile applications take advantage of the unrestricted mobility that it grants, but it is just as important that they make careful security decisions at the outset.