Mobile Technologies:  Driving the Next Wave of App Innovation

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The mobile app and smartphone ecosystem have grown exponentially in the last seven years, mainly driven by user experience, technology and investment. Technological advancement on mobile platforms is still in full force. We are seeing new innovation with every OS update. These innovations can be the key to making your mobile apps stand out among millions of others just like them.

  1. Voice Recognition

Once limited to Siri and Google, voice recognition capabilities have taken a huge step forward with Apple’s Speech Recognition API launch for iOS 10, giving mobile apps voice recognition and voice assistant functionality. Google has also made its speech recognition function faster and more reliable.

Voice functions can add extraordinary value to mobile apps. Customers can control certain functions while driving, take advantage of voice-based search, schedule meetings with voice commands, dictate commands and take notes. It has become easier than ever to build apps that can convert voice to text and text to voice. Soon, voice commands could control every app.

2. Biometrics

Most smartphones already include fingerprint scanning, iris scanning and even facial recognition. While not all devices support biometrics yet, you can use biometric capabilities on mobile to build nearly foolproof personal identification for secure payments, certain location access, secure file and server authentication, and identity management. This will be a boon for enterprise customers, government agencies and other security-conscious organizations that can replace external biometric hardware with smartphone biometrics to reduce costs and seamlessly integrate it across appsBluetooth 4.0/5.0

We have seen so much advancement with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE 4.0) on mobile platforms. This year, BLE 5.0 will bring longer ranges, higher speed and less power consumption to the mobile ecosystem. According to Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), Bluetooth audio on smartphones (which still utilize Bluetooth classic technology) will also be able to transfer to BLE. BLE advancements will allow mobile apps to control your home, cars, computers, robots, drones, sensors and other external devices with longer ranges and more reliability. Improved BLE can create more app and product opportunities in IoT, beacons and hardware devices.

3. Augmented Reality

Pokemon GO came and went in 2016, but the way it capitalized on augmented reality in mobile devices sparked a tremendous interest in AR’s potential. Augmented reality, the ability to superimpose computer images and information over real-world views, has existed for years. Pokemon GO’s immense success is inspiring new AR-based apps. AR functionality can make apps more engaging, informative, entertaining and educational. It can be used not only to increase brand awareness but to educate users about products and store locations, giving you the availability to add a third dimension to the mobile user experience.

4. Home Automation

Apple launched a much-improved HomeKit in 2016. Developers are now using that software development kit (SDK) to build apps that can control multiple smart devices in your home, such as smart lights, speakers, thermostats, detectors, electrical outlets, blinds, locks and sensors.

The HomeKit makes it easier for apps to discover devices, connect to them and control them without writing any big code. This year, we will see a variety of home automation apps that allow activity-based control. For example, if a user walks out of a room, the lights will automatically turn off. Or if all occupants leave a house, alarms, locks and other security measures will be automatically implemented. Google’s Brillo, a home-automation platform announced earlier this year, will likewise increase the ease of developing home automation and IoT device control apps.

5. Virtual Reality

Google recently launched a virtual reality platform for developers that introduced an affordable VR device called “Google Cardboard.” Apple is also rumoured to be working on a VR project. Android allows developers to build VR apps with an immersive experience that can be used in a variety of industries, including gaming, entertainment, education and tourism.

While the education industry can use it to build apps that educate students on complex subjects like Einstein’s theories, the gaming industry can use VR to build interactive sets that require physical movement. The tourism industry can provide a 3D experience of a location thousands of miles away, and the entertainment industry can use it to deliver entertainment to your doorstep. Although still under wraps, VR has the potential to make the future even brighter for mobile app development.

These mobile technologies will play a big role for startups or enterprises that want to build apps to solve a problem. As the masses have become accustomed to existing mobile apps and features, these technologies will provide the needed impetus to innovate the mobile user experience. If you are planning to build a mobile app this year, consider implementing one or more of these features.

Mobile Phone Photo via Shutterstock

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#MACE16: January 2017 Trade Fair – [Photos]

It was thrilling being part of 1st Trade fair in 2017 which took place at Kingston Business School London. This was a great chance which we displayed and get on the spot answers right away about our prototype product. It was also an opportunity to engage with potential customers.

The Trade Fair also provided us opportunity to give consumers a first-hand experience of products; team members were on hand to showcase our product experiences and more.

 

 

#MACE16: 1st Dragons’ Den Presentation

Pitching our business idea to a panel of professional judges was nerve-racking. This might be due to the fact our product was still at the prototype stage. Nevertheless, the presentation was also an opportunity to test our business idea and gather as much feedback as possible.

Furthermore, our prototype product (chopstick trainer) accurately demonstrates the key features and functionality of the final product.

The team main objective is to let the judges quickly understand what we do and be excited about it with a well thought out presentation.

George Uka
Getting ready for our presentation, rehearsing for the last time

George Uka
George Uka with his team members pitching our business proposition to a judging panel mix of successful entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists.

Our product strategy from start has always been creating a product which is “simple”.

We took our time in class to work on the product value preposition. Its was imperative we clearly communicates the benefits of our product to a potential end users.  As  Chris Guillebeau once said in the $100 Startup, “a business ultimately succeeds because of the value it provides its end users, customers, or clients.”

During our presentation we were able to:

  • Describes the problems solved by our product.
  • We explain the benefits the end users will derived from our product.
  • Lastly, we categorically spell out how our product differs from the competition.

 

 

#MACE16 : The Art of Good Value Proposition Design

A truly god value proposition should paint a picture of your brand for prospects. It’s must describe the benefits customers can expect from your products and services. It literally tells your audience:

  • How your product or service solves/improves problems
  • What benefits customers can expect
  • Why customers should buy from you over your competitors
Image result for Value Proposition Design blog
Image Source: wileyasiablog.com

It should introduce you to prospective buyers and helps you make a strong first impression. for example, Apple is believed to have a great value proposition, one that is particularly impressive is its statement for the MacBook.

The company emphasises how lightweight its product is (its biggest differentiator), while also speaking how advanced its technology is.

 

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Image Source: http://www.apple.com/uk/macbook/

Finally,  a good design value proposition helps tackle the core challenge of every business — creating compelling products and services customers want to buy.

 

 

 

The Future According to Elon Musk

The Future According to Elon Musk

 

 Elon Musk is often labelled a dreamer, the closest we could get to a real-life Tony Stark. He is an innovative and motivational leader that uses his passion for technology to repeatedly deliver breathtaking results. Now, he is coalescing the various articulations of his business empire to create comprehensive solutions to climate issues and beyond.

The Frontline Against Climate Change

Upon completing a $2.6 billion acquisition of SolarCity, Musk secured a future where he can sell electric cars and solar roofs to customers under the Tesla brand. Although a few skeptics deemed this a risky move, his ‘dream big or go home’ attitude quickly silenced critics by unveiling an entire island run by solar power.

The island of Ta’u in American Samoa is more than 4,000 miles from the United States. Power outages are a regular occurrence in this remote location that heavily relies on diesel generators. It’s the perfect example of technology stepping in to improve the old way of doing things.

“Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, last twice as long, cost less and by the way generates electricity?” – Elon Musk

Tesla’s microgrid of solar panels will supply nearly 100 percent of the Ta’u’s 600 residents’ energy requirements. The 5,300 solar panels along with 60 Tesla Powerpack batteries illustrate how the future is already here.

These technological advancements will particularly have a positive impact in the developing world. We have already seen this happen with nations skipping telephones and computers by going straight to smartphones. This is another huge reason that mobile browsing has officially overtaken desktop recently.

Renewable energy is an economical solution that could transform developing nations from no power to solar micro-grids within a few years. Removing the dreaded expense that surrounds our current energy infrastructure seems to be where the biggest leap forward has been made.

Sure, Ta’u is an easy test case, with its perfect weather and relatively uncomplicated energy needs. But, it is undeniably a shining example of what is possible. For those who reject the science of climate change, Elon Musk presents an alternative incentive: money. This is a cheaper option that concurrently benefits the planet and consequently its people. How can you argue with savings, high-quality products, and public interest?

Let’s Charge Forward

Why are so many people still doubtful of Musk’s ideas? I don’t understand the pushback. Yes, he is radical, but he consistently proves naysayers wrong. There is something objectively exciting about lowering the carbon footprint on an island where the residents have experienced global warming first hand.

And there is something admirable about tackling a problem that the future administration of one of the world’s most powerful nations deems a fiction. He needs our support to continue his good work. Those of you who believe in the urgency of climate change should support him as one of the few companies championing this cause.

In Sum

The reality is that harkening to the past is good only for inspiration rather than re-creation. We cannot go back in time. We can build a brighter and better future by learning from our mistakes and continuing to evolve together with the public good in mind. To make America great again, we should strive to support those among us who champion the causes we believe in—whatever they may be.

If history has taught us anything at all, it’s that those who dare to throw caution to the wind to change the world are usually the ones who do. After proving that Tesla can power an island for three days without sunlight, it appears that Elon Musk has given us yet another reason to believe

 

This Article first Appeared here

#MACE16 : Role of Personas In Business Innovation

Hi, its me again.. have you ever wanted to understand patterns in behaviour of buyers of a product? are you looking to innovate (something new) or to improve an existing service?

Applying personas to design thinking process will help you take a step back and build empathy with users, helping  you to properly listen and walk in their shoes.

Personas are “not real people or average users but user models described in detail to have the key attributes, needs, values, lifestyle, culture and personal background of the group they represent” (Giulia Piu).

Alice Comi a Lecturer in Business Design in the School of Strategy, Marketing and Innovation at Kingston Business School, London categorically stated that ” Personas are not specific users but rather ideal types that are built upon observation of multiple users.” 

A persona shows attitude, behaviour, emotions and anything that will give more context to understand the personas behaviour.

Image Source: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/04-running-persona-opt.jpg

“Personas were informally developed by Alan Cooper in the early ’80s as a way to empathize with and internalise the mindset of people who would eventually use the software he was designing.”

How Are Personas Created?

Personas can be created in a myriad of ways, This includes;

  • Interview and/or observe an adequate number of people.
  • Find patterns in the interviewees’ responses and actions, and use those to group similar people together.
  • Create archetypical models of those groups, based on the patterns found.
  • Drawing from that understanding of users and the model of that understanding, create user-centered designs.

Conclusion

Designers don’t always know what is best — but sometimes users do and that is what personas are for: to stand up and represent real users, since real users can’t be there when the design process takes place.

 

Additional Resources