Google I/O Conference 2017

Big Announcements from Google I/O 2017 Conference

Google I/O, held last week in Mountain View, CA, is the tech giant’s annual event that features “experiential learning, Google’s latest developer products, and talks from Google Product Managers and Engineers.” We tuned in to the conference because we expected some of our favorite topics would be highlighted, including the updated Android operating system (OS) and virtual reality (VR).

We weren’t disappointed! Not only did Google I/O cover the topics we anticipated, it also highlighted new tech and other exciting news. Google CEO Sundar Pichai kicked off the conference by sharing about the impressive growth of Android; the OS now powers 2 billion devices, from phones to tablets to wearables. Here are a few key announcements, whether you be a developer or consumer: Read More

Mobile Device Security iOS and Android

Mobile Device Security: Data Protection on iOS and Android

Mobile device security is an important consideration in the digital age, given the high amount of time many of us spend using phones and tablets to conduct personal and corporate business. Android and iOS devices employ various security measures to keep data safe. In this post we compare two security methods used on both devices: data encryption and data accessibility. We’ll wrap up with recommendations for steps you can take to protect your data and improve your mobile device security. Read More

Privacy in the Digital Age

Personal Privacy in the Digital Age

Personal privacy has become a complex topic in the digital age, with reverberations in every sphere of life from government and politics to healthcare and commerce. People spend an incredible amount of time online, and in doing so, generate the ability for others to learn a significant amount about them by tracking their digital activity and communications.

Such tracking occurs in spades, by everyone from our online service providers to shopping sites, news providers, and social media outlets. These organizations gather volumes of personal information behind the scenes, capturing our internet search terms, purchasing habits, and even IP location.

Beyond this data tracking that we don’t often consciously note, we are regularly prompted to provide personal information to execute transactions, browse certain sites, or share online. We ourselves even choose to add to this volume of digital information by proactively sharing our pictures, videos, and personal stories on a range of social media sites. Read More

Speech Recognition Technology

Speech Recognition Technology in Business

The use of speech recognition technology is increasing and your business could benefit. Do you remember the first time you heard an automated voice recite, “press or say one” when you called a service center? How about the first time you used the little microphone icon on your phone to dictate a text? The option to speak instead of press or type was novel and exciting. Today, speech recognition technology has advanced so significantly that the software can “comprehend” complete sentences, not just a simple number or word. In this blog post, we review what speech recognition is, software options, and current uses. We wrap up with some ideas about the future of speech recognition. Read More

Impact of OS Updates

How Do OS Updates Impact Apps?

Operating System (OS) updates are a regular part of the computing world, but they often have implications on the software that rides on top of them. Apple unveiled iOS 10, its latest operating system for iPhones and iPads in mid-June this year, with the public release occurring on September 13th. Similarly, Google released their beta build of Android 7 called Nougat in mid-March, with a release to the public on August 22nd. These new mobile OS releases are much-anticipated around here, bringing fresh features that our developers look forward to using.

In addition to the excitement that comes with new tech, the new releases also bring some questions. Many of our clients rightly ask whether or not an update will impact the functionality of an app they built on a previous OS. The answer is generally “It might!” It’s always a wise idea to take a look at existing code to ensure it will function as well on a new OS as it did when it was first written. Our Android and iOS developers share a few of the challenges created by a new OS version. Read More

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Digital Assistants: The Quest for Artificial Intelligence

This month Apple signaled its commitment to advance the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in its products with the acquisition of tech startup Turi, a machine learning platform for developers. The move follows a growing trend by major tech companies such as IBM and Google to create and implement more advanced technology in the growing Chatbot industry.

For those new to the term, a ‘bot’ is simply software that’s been designed to automate tasks. Chatbots (from Chatter + Robot) take this to next level by simulating human conversation, making it seem as though you are talking with a human as you use the bot. While programs that recognize and respond to language have been around for decades, they have become a standard offering in consumer devices in more recent years. These programs use natural language processing, the ability to understand and use human conversational phrases, to interact with humans on simple tasks. Nearly all users of smartphones or messaging apps have experienced this technology, the most well-known being Siri by Apple, Alexa by Amazon, and Cortana by Microsoft. Read More

iOS or Android: Which First?

iOS or Android: Which platform first?

A common question we receive is whether we recommend building both iOS and Android versions of an app at the same time or just one at a time. And if they are built at different times, should iOS or Android app development come first? We touch on this question in Chapter 3 of our book Inspiring Apps: A Business Perspective on Building Mobile Apps, but will provide more insight on this debated topic here.

Read More

Keeping App Users Engaged

Keeping Users Engaged with Your App

We’ve talked a lot in recent months about developing an app and the basics of app marketing, but launching your app is really just the beginning. There are many things to do to keep your app users engaged, and to keep your app running smoothly, after the first version hits the app stores. Here are some things to consider post v1.

Stay Relevant
While it may seem obvious, make sure your app stays relevant to your users. They purchased your app because it met a need. As their needs evolve, make sure your app does too. Staying relevant could include everything from keeping content fresh, to adding new features, to offering special promotions throughout the year. Paying attention to what features your top users employ can help give insights into areas you want to continue to grow. Read More

Chat with the Google Small Business Community

Brad led a lively online discussion with the Google Small Business community, fielding questions ranging in topic from the “app graveyard” to a frequently asked question about the cost to build an app.

It was a first for InspiringApps to participate in this type of forum and we had a lot of fun with it. The Google moderator, Berrak, started the discussion off with a question to distinguish between a mobile app and a mobile website and we kept rolling from there. Participation from the community included questions about the Upbeat Workouts app to “going big” with your app right out of the gate.

Thank you to all who participated and to our Google moderator, Berrak Sarikaya. You can read the full hour’s worth of discussion here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/cenmae20j1522psnqvifhs2idd0

Mobile Apps 101 with Google

Need to learn some basics about app development and whether it makes sense for your company? Our CEO will be speaking with the Google Small Business Community on Wednesday, June 17 at 2:00 MDT.  Google has numerous community forums, and this one was created to help small businesses get the help they need to succeed on the web by connecting with experts and each other. They provide ongoing training, compelling discussions, and insider tips.

The group describes the upcoming event this way: “The average smartphone user has 33 apps installed on their device. Should your business be their next download? During our June #Mobile #OfficeHours, we’ll be discussing the differences between mobile websites and mobile apps, and the potential value a mobile app could bring to your small business. Join us as we speak with Brad Weber from InspiringApps, a mobile app developer for small businesses.”

We’re looking forward to the discussion around the topics that arise during this hour and encourage you to join in. Check out the event here.

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