Chatbots for Business

Chatbots for Business: Leveraging AI to Benefit Business

Chatbots for business are becoming increasingly common, and can offer a variety of benefits to both the customer and the company. You’ve probably noticed them pop up on retail websites, map pages, and in mobile apps about everything from travel to nutrition.

Chatbots provide interactive communication between a business and its consumers using software developed to imitate human conversation. Today’s bots now leverage artificial intelligence to assist customers with questions about products and services, making them more effective than ever.

A computer scientist at MIT gets credit for the first talking bot, named ELIZA, back in 1966. ELIZA used pattern-recognition in speech for its conversation. Then, throughout the second half of the 20th century, chatbots became increasingly more complex and intelligent – and useful. In today’s world, chatbots comprise no small part of the growing tech space with Gartner estimating that more than 85% of all customer support services will use chatbots by 2020.

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App Integration

App Integration: Building Apps that Interface with Others

App integration, in a general sense, is the process of bringing resources or capabilities from one application to another. As the world of apps continues to evolve, app integration is becoming expected in many contexts. For example, if you’ve ever used your Facebook credentials to login to another app, you’ve taken advantage of an app integration. The developer of the second application spared you the hassle of providing personal details by integrating their authentication process with Facebook.

Not only can the creation of your app benefit from your developer leveraging app integrations, but you can also create your app in a way that allows it to be integrated into other apps. This could either lead to a revenue opportunity for you or help to broaden the reach of your app or platform.

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Discovery Phase of App Development

The Discovery Phase of App Development: Key for Success

We believe the discovery phase of the app development process is key to the success of your mobile app. Those of you new to app development might wonder what on earth we are “discovering,” so we’re going to devote this post to a deep dive into what’s involved.

Comparable in some ways to strategy development, the discovery phase aims to create a shared understanding of your product vision and objectives through detailed research, discussion, and analysis of your idea. The end goal is visualization of the entire scope of the app, defining a feature set that will drive app goals and create real value for users. Discovery is the first part of the app development process, and it lays the foundation for the design, development, and deployment that follows.

Most mobile app development companies utilize a workshop style meeting to get to the heart of (or “discover”) your idea. While this is a critical piece of the discovery phase, there is important work that needs to be done prior to the discovery workshop to make the time most effective.

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Augmented Reality (AR)

How Augmented Reality (AR) Can Benefit Business

Augmented Reality (AR) applications have grown significantly in recent years, and if you are in business leadership, this emerging technology should definitely be on your radar. It has the potential to revolutionize the way many companies operate.

To understand how augmented reality works, it’s helpful to take a step back and think about how we understand “reality.” In many ways, your senses define your physical reality. What you see, what you hear, what you touch and smell and taste, all combine to create your perception of what is in your world. In the case of sight, you make sense of what is in front of you by comparing what you see with what you’ve seen before. You know what a tree is, what a person is. You can tell an adult from a child. You know that stores sell things. But is a certain store you’ve happened upon open right now? You don’t know, not without more information.

What if, while looking at that store from your car, your reality included their store hours? If you saw in clear text (or a clock face) the time they open or close, hovering over the building? It wouldn’t be real in the physical sense, but as part of your perception it would be real information you can act on. With that addition made, we could say that your reality has been augmented. You would have experienced AR.

Augmented Reality is technology that adds new information to what your senses perceive. While there is some audible AR tech, today’s augmented reality technology is mostly focused on the visual. It enhances or expands real life by superimposing computer images on top of your view of reality. It’s important to note that this is distinct from Virtual Reality (VR) which replaces your world with a computer generated one.

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Top Leadership Books for 2019

Top Leadership Books to Read in 2019

From office politics and communication to ethical business practices and technology, the last few years offer us numerous titles claiming to be the top leadership books to read in 2019. A basic internet search pulls up an overwhelming lineup of options, which can make choosing your reading list an exhaustive research exercise.

Heading into the new year, we selected a sampling of books for every leader. Although writing about leadership claims a rich, millennia-long history, our choices reflect some of the newer thoughts that have been emerging within the last several years. We sought to address what makes a good leader from multiple perspectives. These books teach through anecdotes, apply modern psychology and philosophy, and hone in on the most important indicators of successful leadership in an ever-evolving business world.

We welcome your comments on which of these top leadership books to read in 2019 you plan to add to your reading list — and please share with us any other eye-opening titles you have found beneficial to your leadership practices.

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Coding Bootcamps

Do Coding Bootcamps Deliver on Jobs?

Coding bootcamps made their debut around 2011 and these intensive software training programs are still running strong. This likely comes as no surprise, as code related jobs remain on the rise, and the industry needs more developers. Software developer jobs offer individuals exciting career opportunities and, in some cases, the potential to earn high starting salaries.

If you’re interested in joining the developer ranks, does it matter where and how you pick up coding skills? Computer Science degrees from four-year universities offer an obvious path to breaking into tech, but not everyone has the time or resources to pursue a four year degree – especially if you’ve already got one in another field. But are coding bootcamps worth it? Can they deliver the same promises of employment as universities? Read More

Cost to Develop an App

The Cost to Develop an App

Whether you are an entrepreneur with a new business idea or a CEO looking to increase productivity with a mobile app, a top concern on your mind is undoubtedly the cost to develop an app. Starting around $25,000 for a simple standalone app, and running to over $1,000,000 for a complex app with numerous integrations and features, app development costs depend on a series of factors.

What determines the ballpark cost to develop an app? As you would expect, app development cost is heavily influenced by the app’s features and functionality. A complex feature set requires additional up front work to understand the user experience needs, and also lends to increased complexity in visual interface design. Coding those features obviously requires time, and each piece of functionality must undergo it’s own quality assurance testing.

While an app’s features and functionality play a significant role in determining the cost to develop an app, there are other factors that impact the bill. These include things like the development platform, user interface, server requirements, and even the type of agency hired. We’ll review some of these factors before talking about typical app development costs. Read More

Dark UX Design

Dark UX Design – Leveraging User Research to Mislead

As app developers we talk often of the importance User Experience (UX) design, but in this post our hope is to make you aware of its less noble counterpart called Dark UX Design. Dark UX design, or dark patterns, are features of interface design crafted to trick users into doing something they might not want to do, but which benefit the business in question.

As a refresher, UX design at its best anticipates users’ needs and objectives, as well as their assumptions and behaviors, in order to increase the usability, accessibility, and enjoyment of a product. Typically, creating such benefits for the user also ultimately benefits the company as the product is often more successful as a result.

Dark UX design also seeks to understand the the user, and make intentional, well crafted design decisions. Unfortunately, as noted, the aim of these decisions is often to persuade, mislead, or otherwise encourage the user to partake in the company’s objectives, perhaps to the detriment of their own.

As the rules of an ever-changing technology industry continue to evolve, we are seeing consumers push back against such design choices, essentially asking designers to hold to high ethical standards. They are demanding transparency and accountability – the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a perfect example of this, with its emphasis on privacy by design. Read More

GDPR Impacts App Development

How GDPR Impacts App Development

With the implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) last month, many clients are wondering how GDPR impacts app development stateside. While there is, of course, no simple answer, this post will review some key implications of GDPR at a high level so you know where you might need to dig deeper. Read More

Top Tech Innovations 2018

Top Tech Innovations that Will Impact 2018

As anyone who has attended CES can attest, tech innovations for 2018 abound. Since none of us can predict the future, it’s hard to know for certain which technologies will truly take off. Nonetheless, there is something to be said for looking ahead to the coming year and seeking to identify and leverage key technologies that could propel your business forward.

Below we’ve compiled a few tech innovations that have grabbed our attention and seem to show lots of promise. Most are not new concepts, but are ones that have the potential to be more fully realized in everyday life this coming year. Read More

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