Augmented Reality (AR), as the name suggests, enables viewers to experience an augmented visual of real-life environments turning them into interactive digital interfaces with virtual objects, all in real-time. Unlike Virtual Reality (VR) which creates a completely artificial environment, AR overlays virtual objects on an existing environment in real-time facilitating a variety of unique, interactive experiences for the users.

The trend’s become a big deal now, and the advancements made it accessible through mobile devices consequently increasing the development of AR-driven mobile apps. AR apps can be used in various use case scenarios including workforce training, eCommerce applications, health care, public safety, tourism, marketing etc.

In this blog, we have compiled a list of 5 AR-powered apps that gave a fascinating experience to users.

Augment

The Augment app allows users to see products in 3D in real-time in a real-life environment through mobile devices. Such an app improves user engagement and experience, and certainly drives sales. The app can be used for eCommerce, Retail, Architecture etc. The app, available in iOS and Android, also connects retailers and manufacturers while enabling online buyers to see the product in 3D at home before making purchases. Big organizations like Coca Cola, Nokia, and Siemens etc. are a few of Augment’s customers.

ARGON4

ARGON4 is an AR browser that augments users’ camera display with information pertaining to the context. If the device is pointed to a building which is looked at through the app, the app will display information on the building which can include its history, its estimated value etc. ARGON4 is created with argon.js JavaScript framework, and is available for iOS and Android. Developers are also able to create their own custom views of reality into ARGON4.

AR GPS Compass Map 3D

The app comes with a 3D compass overlaying the camera image and shows the user’s current location from GPS on a separate map. The app is only available for Android as of now. The compass’s filtering algorithm uses values from the magnetic field sensor, the accelerometer, and the gyroscope to determine the location with great accuracy. The users are also able to define their waypoints, share their location, and the locations of waypoints to friends.

Pokémon Go

Possibly the world’s most popular AR app, Pokémon Go allowed users to ‘catch’ Pokémon (virtually of course) that are hidden throughout the real world. The app used real locations to encourage users to go out and walk far to discover Pokémon and catch them. The app is available on iOS and Android platforms.

Sun-Seeker

Sun-seeker is a unique AR app with a flat compass as well as a 3D view showing the solar path. The app also provides the solar path’s hour intervals, winter & summer solstice paths, equinox, sunrise & sunset times etc. The app runs on both Android and iOS platforms and has proven to be useful for photographers, architects, campers, real estate buyers etc.

Conclusion

The AR technology is bringing big changes to mobile apps and gaming, and is presenting enterprises with many opportunities to actively engage users with innovative and interactive virtual experiences. AR essentially simulates reality, which makes it a great technology to capitalize sooner rather than later. AR can make a significant difference to your business too. Contact us today to see how AR-powered apps from AoT helps businesses.

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Amazon’s growth over the years is magnificent, and still serves as a great example for what a combo of innovation and good technologies can do for eCommerce businesses. Back in the day, when a consumer wanted to purchase a product, he’d search for the product in Google, pick a good eCommerce website from the search results and proceed with an intent to purchase. Today, with Amazon available across multiple mobile platforms and as a website, consumers search goods directly on Amazon.

This gives us insights as to how Amazon caters to their customers. It has basically become a search engine for goods over the years. This example is also a testament to how successful eCommerce businesses innovate with technologies including voice search, chatbots, and AI solutions.

Gartner estimates that the largest eCommerce companies would be using voice and even visual product search in 2021. It’s mostly websites today that experiment with AI, analyzing and understanding consumer behavior better and then using the data to serve customers across other platforms.

Let’s delve deeper into why you should use AI in your business website.

Faster searches

Years ago, customers didn’t mind waiting a few minutes to get the results for their search queries. Today, that’s not the case. Technologies have advanced, and users allow websites to store their information for better service. They demand faster results now, and prefer more convenient and quick purchase processes.

This is one of the reasons why voice search is gaining popularity among millennials. Voice search option is considered one of the most innovative features in modern websites, and particularly appreciated in eCommerce websites and apps.

Better interaction with consumers

Chatbots are getting more refined as time passes. With AI, chatbots can now almost make consumers feel like they are talking to a human representative. Modern chatbots are designed to make shopping process easier for online buyers, by tapping into their data to provide suggestions, feedbacks, reviews etc. It’s like they are interacting with a smart, online salesperson.

Better overall customer experience

When a service caters to the user’s specific needs, taking into account his/her purchase interests and personal preferences, they tend to come back to do business again. Real-time learning capabilities driven by AI can be implemented to tailor customer experience on the go showing them what they would be interested in seeing, and making the buying process more convenient and easy for them.

The possibilities include altering prices of goods that customers recently looked at, product suggestions and recommendations while the customer looks through products, display personalized ads, serve content to take customers through the sales funnel etc.

More effective marketing

AI/ML technologies combined with big data analysis can provide valuable insights for a business, according to which they can tweak their marketing strategies. Marketers would be able to pinpoint goods that would potentially be bought by customers with certain specific preferences, the products that certain category of customers aren’t interested in, the channel or device through which customers access the website most, the price range that a customer would find appealing etc. The possibilities are many.

Conclusion

The facts above emphasize the need for powerful, intelligent AI-based solutions for eCommerce businesses, and how they can lead to a business’ success. But implementing these technologies require great expertise and knowledge. AoT has both, and could be the right place for you to craft an AI-powered website that can take your business higher. Feel free to share your thoughts with us.

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A decade ago, it was very challenging for enterprises to adopt to the mobile ecosystem. Mobile devices were only gaining prominence then. Fast forward to 2018, and we see enterprises competing to stay ahead in the mobile platform. Mobile apps are now the best medium for businesses to build a relationship with and influence their customers, which would subsequently increase sales and boost business growth. Mobile is not new anymore to anyone.

To stay ahead of competition in the mobile world, enterprises will have to keep tabs on hot trends and evolving new-gen technologies that can either add more features to an app or augment the existing ones. One particularly important factor today is the intelligence of the mobile app which would go on to define the future of mobile app development.

Mobile app intelligence

Machine learning and AI have undergone major improvements over the years. Though they are both still considered to be in their infancy, the technologies certainly are making a difference in user experience and how enterprises can serve customers better. For this purpose, mobile apps need to be intelligent; as in they should possess cognitive capabilities. This epiphany has opened up a new competitive ground for businesses.

Let’s see what we can surmise about the potential future of mobile app development in light of the growing influence of AI and ML.

Cognitive intelligence

Modern apps can automate certain tasks. But apps of the future should be smart enough to learn from the exercise with its own logic, and subsequently improve its capabilities to serve better. The advancement in big data and modern-day cloud’s ability to make efficient big data analysis possible makes the whole idea feasible. Future applications will be made smarter by implementing big data and AI technologies to strategically use data to improve customer experience throughout their purchase journey. This is the outcome that enterprises are striving for.

Omni-channel experience

Consumers use many communication channels today with multiple touchpoints including social media, chatbots, web apps and websites, review sites etc. If a business can synchronize the data from all channels, it can ensure a seamless experience for the customer across said channels i.e. a consumer would be able to start a potential purchase journey from one medium and seamlessly continue it in another medium. With mobile being one of those channels with the highest market potential, it can be the core that manages seamless omni-channel transactions. Omni-channel user experience would be an ideal feature for an app of the future.

Continuous improvement

Traditional IT infrastructure is no longer capable of meeting the changing market dynamics of the modern world. That’s where the cloud made a difference. Future-proofing for businesses today means they need to ensure continuous improvement of their IT systems and processes, and customer experience.

In the case of enterprise mobile apps, real-time insights on consumer behavior also provide the ideal path to evolve. The app should eventually be capable of adapting to dynamically changing consumer preferences, and serve them across different channels.

Conclusion

Enterprise apps are no longer a build and forget project. It’s grown beyond just a necessity into something that paves the road to futureproofing a business. With many other technologies like the cloud, IoT, AR, and VR retaining their ranks in the top trends lists, and businesses shifting focus to customer experience, mobile apps are heading for a terrific transformation.

AoT technologies has a comprehensive knowledge on the impact of new-gen technologies on software and mobility solutions. We could be the key to making the enterprise app that could give your business the edge it needs. Contact us to learn more.

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Every eCommerce business requires a thoroughly optimized, visually appealing online store. Most businesses settle for a well-designed website, doubting whether they need a mobile application as well that serves the same purpose as their website. Hopefully, the stats below would emphasize why they need a change in perspective.

Google’s research in 2016 showed that 58% of mobile users used their devices to monitor prices, offers, and discounts. They checked reviews and compared products before some of them actually ended up purchasing.

Now let’s take a look at what Statista found from their study last year.

Statista expects the number of smartphone users worldwide to cross 2.8 billion by 2020.

Both statistical surveys emphasize the significance of mobile devices for the average user. For an eCommerce business, this shares a great insight that potential customers are very likely to go online via their mobile devices seeking available offers before going back to desktops with purchase intent.

Then there would be a different question.

Isn’t a responsive website enough instead of a mobile app?

To be honest, it depends solely on the business. However, apps are more easily accessible for mobile users rather than launching a browser and navigating to the website. In addition, apps also provide a platform for the business to directly relay messages to users. For instance, an eCommerce business can personally notify the app user through the app when a product they have recently looked at is available at a special price; similar to sending a user an email but much more convenient to them as a notification that entices them to launch the app and check out the offer immediately.

That said, let’s explore the many benefits of having mobile apps for eCommerce businesses in detail.

Loyalty building and retention

Loyalty building is one of the biggest advantages of mobile apps. A few years back, Adobe found that 67% of online shoppers prefer mobile apps offered by their favorite brands and stores. 40% of sales on last year’s traditionally brick and mortar Black Friday came via mobile devices. Mobile apps seem to facilitate an obvious connection between online stores and customers. Smart businesses use this connection to build and retain loyalty among their customers by offering exclusive proposals or discounts.

Mobile apps, unlike websites, also load content faster. As a matter of fact, slow-loading websites can actually deter potential buyers who will then seek a fast-loading alternative. With respect to this particular aspect, mobile apps can provide a serious advantage over websites to eCommerce businesses. However, mobile apps still have to be designed to be fast. If the app takes too long to load, it won’t be any different from slow-loading websites.

Gamification elements or a reward system encourage users to keep coming back to apps to receive sizable discounts or a free item via redeemable points. The app can also be personalized based on information provided by customers so they will have a better experience in the store.

Increased conversion rates

A combination of impressive UX, intuitive navigation, and great usability of a mobile app lead to higher conversion rates. This was testified in a study, by Criteo, which discovered that apps in fact increase the percentage of users that complete a desired action compared to desktop as well as mobile websites.

Statistically, eCommerce app conversion rates are 3 times higher than that of mobile websites and 1.5 times higher than that of desktop sites.

User engagement with built-in device features

A mobile app lets an eCommerce business leverage a smartphone’s built-in features to drive user engagement. If properly designed, phone features can integrate with app features to innovatively increase customer engagement while simplifying navigation.

For instance, an app can use the GPS feature of the phone to pinpoint the user’s location and offer the user a deal for showing up in the nearest physical store with respect to the location. The app can also geotag customer address based on the customer’s location eliminating the need for the customer to input the information manually. Apps can also use this feature to let users know of the nearest physical store locations.

The smartphone’s mic can verbalize user searches simplifying the process. The camera feature is generally used for mobile marketing, enticing users to post pictures of them using the brand’s products on social media platforms via the app. Such campaigns serve as a promotion or recommendation and can potentially boost sales further.

Last but not the least…

eCommerce mobile apps generally feature a simplified checkout process which translates to lower shopping cart abandonment rates.

To conclude, mobile apps provide a plethora of benefits for an eCommerce organization – increasing conversions, marketing, building loyalty, customer acquisition and retention. If you think your eCommerce business is ready for a mobile app, let AoT technologies craft one for you. We specialize in building high-performance, innovative eCommerce apps that give your business the boost it deserves. Contact us today to explore your business’ future in a mobile-first world.

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Contrary to popular beliefs, app development is a complex project. Though it’s systematically done following various steps and by using efficient project management methodologies, each phase of development comes with its own fair share of challenges. Before the app development project begins, the features, functionality, budget, and project duration would be discussed and agreed upon by the project stakeholders. However, things may not always go as planned.

Uncertainties can become major roadblocks for developers making it difficult for them to achieve their goal in time. They would be left with two options in such scenarios – maintain speed by compromising quality or maintain quality by compromising speed. Choosing one of the two options still comes with costly consequences. This is one of the reasons why mobile app development is more complicated than web app development.

Ultimately, app development roadblocks spell trouble for the client who needs the app online urgently and the developers who are forced to complete the project in an impractical time frame.

Tackling such scenarios is still possible however. For starters, you can trim down the prolonged app development cycle. Here are a few ways how.

Low-fidelity wireframes

Framing a game plan before the development begins can make all the difference for the developers. It also helps them avoid a situation where they are trapped in the middle of development without knowing what to do next. Low-fidelity wireframes essentially present a roadmap of the app that needs to be developed.

The developers would be able to determine a specific architecture for the app, followed through from the design stage itself right till the deployment stage. The reason why low-fidelity wireframes are advised instead of high-fidelity ones is the simple fact that the latter takes up more time. In a nutshell, low-fidelity wireframing is a far-from-perfect sketch aimed at keeping designers, developers, and clients on the same page.

MVP

If coming up with the final product is nigh impossible, launch a trailer first or what developers would know as ‘Minimum Viable Product (MVP)’. The MVP should entice the users enough so they will wait for the robust, completely developed version of the app to show up in the market. The real merit of releasing a MVP first is that the developers would be able to gather early feedback with which they can improve the final product. However, the developers will have to plan a continuous cycle so as to release updates periodically; also keeping users in the loop.

Automated testing

Every app needs to be thoroughly tested before it hits the market. No matter how much time the developers spend on building the app, if the app ultimately fails to impress users or deliver what it promised, it’s all for naught. Testing ensures that this doesn’t happen.

However, manual testing can take a lot of time. Testing cannot be cut off in order to shorten the app development cycle. Instead, we can use cool new technologies to automate parts of testing making things easier for the testers. Repetitive testing tasks can be automated while testers can direct their focus on the critical features of the app. The advantage here is that automated testing delivers faster results, the same that can take manual testing a lot of time.

Hybrid app development platforms

Back in the day, native app development was the only option available. Today, we can choose from a plethora of mobile app development platforms such as React Native, Xamarin etc. just to name a few. The most popular app development platforms today are designed to get apps developed on the go with a shortened development cycle.

With such hybrid app development platforms, the developers won’t have to write separate code for various mobile operating systems which means the app won’t take long to develop. Cross-platform apps are trending in the present market, though many seem to be concerned about performance issues. But there’s an approach to tackle this as well.

Cross-platform apps can be quickly developed. Using such an app, a business can get a faster entry to market. The next step is to gradually replace the cross-platform app with a native app offering the best functionalities. This may sound like a hassle, but in the end, developers get to have a functional app released early into the market establish a good user base. They can then take their time slowly and consistently transforming the cross-platform app into a full native app with a much smoother performance.

Conclusion

You can try using any one of the four aforementioned solutions to check which one suits your project best. At the end of the day, each solution is meant to make shorten the development processes without compromising the app’s quality. It’s also important to find the balance between speed-to-market and product quality.

At AoT, we practice similar optimization principles when necessary while developing high-performance apps which gave us a great track record of timely project completion. If you are interested in learning more about how we craft innovative enterprise mobile apps here and how they helped businesses grow, get in touch with us today.

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