As you may have realized by now, desktop internet users have dwindled over the years. People now use their mobile devices to quickly and conveniently get information on something they are interested in. This has important implications for businesses as well as web design and development teams. Welcoming a mobile user to a business website that delivers only a desktop experience can have dire consequences for the brand.

To serve mobile users better, a business should invest in designing and developing a responsive website or app. A responsive website or application has certain characteristics that make it a worthy investment for enterprises.

Here are a few things that should tell you whether your website or app is responsive or not.

Uncluttered design

This doesn’t make a website any more responsive, and has more to do with user experience. The idea is to not design the website or app to have a lot of options or buttons as they can overwhelm visitors. An uncluttered design would have streamlined content i.e. the content will only have the most necessary information that is presented in a logical manner. In addition, only those buttons are included in the design that users are most likely to interact with.

Convenient tasks

The tasks that websites or apps require visitors to do should be made more convenient for them considering the fact that they are browsing via their mobile devices. For instance, if visitors of a website are required to fill and submit a form, the form shouldn’t be too long. People used to fill long forms back in the day when they relied on desktops to browse the internet.

But today, the whole point of using mobile devices to access the internet is convenience and ease of use. If tasks like form-filling or making payments for a purchase are tedious, it’d defeat the purpose of using mobile devices for convenience. On the other hand, if there is an ‘autocomplete’ feature when it comes to filling forms, users are more likely to convert. People don’t like to wait. A responsive website or app won’t force people to wait.

Mindful of errors

One way or the other something will always go wrong at some point. This applies to response websites and apps as well. Mobile users might tap on certain combinations of elements in the app that would mess up the system, they might lose their internet connection while updating a database or something else may occur that can result in an error. Any type of error can annoy mobile users but if they are informed that the developers are aware of it and are diligently working to prevent it from ever occurring again, they may let the incident pass.

The key is to provide as much as information as possible when an error occurs so mobile users can easily get back on track. It’s also important to let the users know what went wrong and how the problem can be fixed.

Video content are mostly avoided

Video content is of course the type of content that’s most consumed by internet users. It has the greatest conversion potential as well. However, it may not always be the best option for a responsive website or app. Many mobile devices may fail to play videos in a mobile-responsive website. Even if the device is capable of handling the video, the internet connection may not be enough.

It’s best to go for a more mobile-friendly alternative like an image that conveys the same thing as the video it replaces to ensure a better overall experience. Videos should be included only if they are absolutely necessary or specifically requested by the mobile user.

Buttons look like buttons

With UX being prioritized by many designers, it’s not surprising if the designers actively attempt to create a fresh, creative element for a website or app. For instance, they may modify the looks of a button that users can tap to something big or eye-catching.

The intention is understandable but reinvention may not be a good idea every time especially in a responsive website or app. Buttons should look like buttons because if they don’t, it may force mobile users to think and understand what it is while interacting with the app. When the app or website wants them to think about how they engage with it, they are likely to not engage at all and move on to a more convenient option where things look and perform in ways familiar to them.

Endnote

Responsive websites and apps are meant to make things much easier for people while making good use of their mobile devices’ features and functionalities. But they should still work the same way across different devices. Consistent design is the key. At AOT, we believe in building digital solutions that serve a purpose while providing the best possible experience to end-users regardless of the platform they are built on. Give us a ring to understand how we make responsive websites and apps.

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To thrive in today’s marketplace, organizations need to wield the right tools and technologies. Technology can certainly make all the difference for a growing business, enabling it to establish a strong digital presence all the while enhancing its capability to handle a number of business challenges and large volumes of data to begin with.

For modern businesses, websites aren’t just their online identities. A website is essentially a web portal that offers a wide range of information pertaining to the business from a number of credible, authoritative sources in addition to having pages that detail the services/products offered by the business. Web portal development isn’t simple however. For the web portal to serve its purpose and catapult a business to new heights, it should be built by experts who are aware of the latest tech and development trends.

That said, here are a few such trends that would drive innovation in web projects.

AI and Machine Learning

The website of a business will potentially generate data that hide critical insights. A modern advanced web portal will have a neural network backing it that trains itself on the tremendous amounts of data generated thereby becoming capable of performing complex analyses and make predictions that could help with decision-making. Companies are willing to invest in machine learning algorithms to do this and more.

Such algorithms can be instrumental in processing large datasets and estimating conversions. For content-sharing web portals, such algorithms can even recommend efficient and smart ad-placing for the best results.

As we speak, intelligent AI-based solutions are already making a difference for businesses worldwide – understanding performance history, analyzing uncovered insights, compiling forecasts, designing marketing/promotional campaigns, and even tailoring the best possible user experience.

Computer Vision

Though Computer Vision is still considered a scientific discipline rather than a usable technology, its potential spells major changes across various sectors including web development. Web apps can be imbued with the capability to extract critical data from images, videos, or real-world environments. This can be particularly beneficial to large businesses in the retail sector. Computer Vision can be combined with other trends like Augmented Reality, and can further enhance the potential of modern-day biometrics.

Imagine a web portal that allows authorized visitors to upload images that are then analyzed to tailor the visitors’ experience on the website later in more ways than one.

Cloud Service Management

With more enterprises shifting to the cloud, the growth of the cloud services industry has been exponential. Enterprises can choose from a wide array of services that enhance everything from operations and problem-solving to security and performance analytics. The challenge here is to monitor the usage of various cloud services and assess how they are billed.

A web portal gets augmented capabilities like withstanding massive traffic spikes and guaranteeing maximum performance thanks to the cloud. But this approach requires a reliable cloud services management methodology that helps control the spend on cloud services and tailor the size and scalability of the enterprise’s cloud strategies.

Blockchain

Sophisticated enterprise-grade platforms aren’t devoid of vulnerabilities especially when it comes to security. This is where blockchain is going to make a difference. With blockchain technology, enterprise systems support multi-tier interactions, and are granted unparalleled security and transparency. Blockchain can be particularly effective in fully integrated web portals that privately store something of great value or trade cryptocurrencies across various user accounts.

In addition, websites or portals integrated with blockchain technology can theoretically read visitors’ blockchain to show the most relevant information on the website for quick conversion. Blockchain also presents opportunities for web designers to design interactive experiences that will dynamically change based on visitor preferences.

AWS and Microsoft Azure offer blockchain as a service which is a testament to the fact that it’s a technology worth investing in and deserves to be treated as a valuable component that can secure large companies in the future.

AR and VR

This list wouldn’t be complete without Augmented and Virtual Reality – two of the hottest technologies today. AR and VR experience is what many businesses are aiming for in their websites and mobile apps. The technologies allow businesses to leverage immersive 3D content and engage users with unique experiences that they won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

Endnote

There are many more trends worth mentioning but we thought we should go with the ones that generated huge hype in a short time instead of simply taking benefits and service potential into account. AOT Technologies is an accomplished website and web portal development company with ample expertise in leveraging new-gen technologies like AI, AR/VR, IoT and Blockchain. Get in touch with us and let us show you how your website should look like to thrive in a super competitive, tech-dominated future.

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DevOps is seen as a set of practices that combines development and operations behind the development processes to result in a shorter development cycle. But we say it’s something more.

DevOps is a culture that brings equal attention to both the development of the product and the behind-the-scenes operations that facilitate the development of the product covering every aspect of the development lifecycle including development, deployment, testing, and post-launch support.

The culture essentially comes with a great many benefits including but not limited to higher development ROI and greater coding efficiency and quality. Additionally, it also becomes easier for project managers or product leaders to formulate a road map to get the product delivered on time while meeting client expectations.

A Proven Strategy

Before DevOps took the business world by storm, development teams were instructed to focus primarily on product features and timely product delivery. This approach often ignores the importance of operational processes behind the development, and may result in delayed deliveries, unexpected surprises, reworks incurring additional expenses etc.

DevOps teams, however, are able to avoid such scenarios provided DevOps practices are implemented effectively with the team ultimately becoming exponentially faster than they were in their pre-DevOps environment.

Implementing DevOps Practices

For DevOps to deliver the benefits it promises, proper implementation is pivotal. Here’s where things get tricky. DevOps doesn’t work the same for every organization. Many companies don’t take this fact into account while implementing DevOps. They invest in DevOps mostly because of the hype surrounding it only to regret it later.

For DevOps to be effective, it should be complemented by some DevOps best practices that can improve development workflows which leads to greater efficiency and a better quality product. There are many practices that organizations can choose.

Here are three that can ensure a project’s success in a DevOps ecosystem.

Multiple code environments – As projects often have a lot of developers working on it, many companies set up multiple coding environments to prevent conflicts between codes. The developers can work on various sets of code in tandem without overriding each other’s work. This approach also resolves merge conflicts and streamlines the code testing phase.

Common environments include:

  • Local: This environment is where the individual workstations of the developers are. The code developed in ‘local’ is not integrated into the project yet. Coding is done in isolation so as to perform certain specific functionality.
  • Sandbox: This environment helps determine where untested codes should perform and how they should perform. Additionally, code quality assessment is also a prime objective of sandbox environments.
  • QA: This environment is to test the system’s functionality and also to ensure that new code or changes wouldn’t negatively impact the existing product version.
  • Staging: This environment is to ensure that upgrades to the production environment will be done without errors.
  • Production: This stage is where the ‘live’ version of the product that end-users would be directly interacting with will be fully completed.

Versioning – This is a DevOps best practice that ensures the reliability of all technologies within a product. During development, software needs to be routinely updated to reflect database changes or to include more features.

Version control makes this process easier, efficient, and effective i.e. it doesn’t impact the existing, functioning product negatively in any way. In the off chance that it does, the software can be easily reverted back to its functioning state. So essentially, versioning or version control enables accurate updates and ensures compatibility with new technologies. The added benefit is that developers won’t need to spend time fixing mistakes while end users have a better experience without compatibility issues.

Automation – Automation is a critical component of DevOps covering various aspects including systems, pipelines, and even the infrastructure that facilitates software development. Back in the day, manual deployment was the only option and the approach came with many risks; mainly data corruption or loss.

With automation, the team can work faster without having to spend time doing repetitive, manual processes like code deployment for instance. The approach facilitates easier iterations letting the development team focus more on mission-critical tasks. If done right, the best benefit of automation would be a significant increase in development ROI.

The following is a list of practices and principles that we recommend for automation in a DevOps ecosystem for the best results.

  • Unit testing
  • Behavior-driven testing
  • Production & staging servers
  • Deployment from production to staging (if re-works are needed)

By now, you may have realized the care that should be given while implementing DevOps and DevOps best practices in an organization. At AOT, we build our solutions in a DevOps ecosystem. We have ample expertise to help you get started with DevOps as well. Let us know your queries.


If you are reading this, chances are that your business has finally decided to shift to the cloud. We won’t say you are late because there are so many businesses out there still reluctant to migrate to possibly the only technology that can assuredly secure their future – the cloud.

Stats show that organizations that have already invested in the cloud is likely to increase their use of it in the next few years.

Last year, Forbes forecasted that 80% of all IT budget would be spent on cloud solutions by the summer of 2018.

Though the present stats aren’t out yet, we suppose it’s safe to assume that Forbes was right for such is the momentum of the cloud today.

Though companies have generally seen a lot of blog posts and articles about the benefits of the cloud, they still might find it challenging to determine what cloud service they should use in their organization. For many organizations, this choice comes down to three of the biggest cloud platforms in the world – Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and the Google Cloud Platform.

Comparing the three to find the best of the bunch is rather pointless. All three are popular and widely adopted for more than one reason. They all have their fair share of pros and cons. The truth is that it’s the organization that needs to choose the right kind of cloud service that matches their business strategy and goals.

To make it easier for you, this blog will explore the characteristics of these 3 cloud platforms.

But before we begin, here are a few things to keep in mind.

The cloud provider should understand your business and its objectives – The cloud service provider that’s right for you should understand your business, its objectives, and what it aims to achieve with the cloud.

Your current architecture – Your business architecture should be compatible with your cloud provider’s. Their architecture needs to be integrated into your workflows. So compatibility should be given top priority. For instance, if your business already uses Microsoft tools, Microsoft Azure is the way to go. At the end of the day, you want seamless, hassle-free integration.

Data center locations – This factor is important if the app your business is going to host on the cloud is sensitive when it comes to data centers and their locations. For a great user experience, the geographical location of the data center hosting the app is pivotal especially if the business has branches across the globe. Your service provider should have data centers in various locations that are far from each other ideally.

With that, let’s get down to the main topic at hand starting with…

Compute services

Microsoft Azure – Azure is widely preferred for its ‘Virtual Machines’ service. Its key offers include excellent security, an array of hybrid cloud capabilities, and support for Windows Server, IBM, Oracle, SAP, Linux, and SQL Server. Azure also features instances optimized for AI & ML.

AWS – AWS’ main service is the Elastic Compute Cloud with a plethora of options including auto-scaling, Windows & Linux support, high-performance computing, bare metal instances etc. AWS’s container services support Docker and Kubernetes as well as the Fargate service.

Google Cloud – Though Google Cloud’s compute services don’t come close to its two biggest competitors, its Compute Engine is still turning heads with its support for Windows and Linux, pre-defined/custom machine types, and per-second billing. Google’s role in the Kubernetes project and considering the fact that Kubernetes adoption is increasing rapidly gives the Google Cloud an edge over others when it comes to container deployment.

Cloud tools

Microsoft Azure – Microsoft’s heavy investment in AI reflects on Azure as the platform provides impressive machine learning and bot services. Other major Azure cognitive services include Text Analytics API, Computer vision API, Face API, Custom vision API etc. Azure also offers various analytics and management services for IoT.

AWS – AWS competes with acclaimed services like the Lex conversational interface for Alexa, Greengrass IoT messaging service, SageMaker service for ML, Lambda serverless computing service etc. Amazon also unveiled AI-related services like DeepLens and Gluon.

Google Cloud – The services and tools for Google Cloud seem to mainly focus on AI and ML. We can also assume that since Google developed TensorFlow – a huge open source library to develop ML apps, the Google Cloud has a slight edge over its rivals when it comes to AI and ML. Other great features include natural-language APIs, translation APIs, speech APIs, IoT services etc.

Making the choice

Though all three are dominant in the cloud services industry, Google Cloud still seems to be trailing behind the other two. But the tech giant’s partnership with Cisco, the company’s hefty investment in cloud-computing services, and focus on machine learning may give the Google Cloud more traction very soon.

Microsoft Azure, on the other hand, initially lagged behind AWS but is now considered the most dominant cloud service provider in the world. If your business relies on Microsoft platforms and tools, it’s going to pair well with Azure. But Azure’s focus on Microsoft’s own Windows puts Linux on the backseat despite Azure’s compatibility with the open source OS. So if your business is associated with Linux, DevOps, or bare metal, Azure may not be a safe bet.

This leaves us with AWS. With its massive scale and a broad array of services and tools, AWS can easily give Azure a run for their money. Though Microsoft’s efforts are starting to pay off catapulting Azure to new heights, AWS is consistently growing every year. However, if your business is looking for a personal relationship with your cloud provider and expecting an attentive service, you may find AWS disappointing. Amazon’s massive size itself makes offering such a service practically impossible.

Conclusion

These providers can help your business with pretty much every type of digital service it needs to stay ahead of the curve in today’s dynamic market conditions. If you think these providers don’t match your business objectives, you can still seek assistance from smaller boutique cloud providers. The bottom-line is that modern businesses are going to need the cloud backing them to efficiently adapt to a technologically advanced future.  If you require assistance regarding cloud adoption and migration, the experts here at AOT can help make it easier for you. Give us a ring to learn more.

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A recent Cisco survey found that IoT projects in organizations are delayed almost 60% of the time when it comes to development and deployment. This can be attributed to the fact that IoT still is considered a relatively new technology at its infancy. But there’s no question on IoT’s potential, however. If successfully deployed, IoT projects can potentially grant huge benefits.

The biggest step…

Despite the challenges and concerns, IoT application development only seems to be gaining momentum. As IoT requires various business and operational units to work harmoniously, it can be overwhelmingly challenging to design and deploy appropriate IoT strategies compared to carrying out most other software initiatives. Executing an effective IoT strategy is the biggest step towards succeeding with IoT.

Such a strategy will need to take various factors into account including collaboration among teams, interoperability, planning, adherence to business goals etc. Ironically, in many cases, considering all these factors and more to devise the perfect IoT strategy would make the IoT project cumbersome for organizations. Organizations investing in IoT are walking a thin line at this point.

Treading lightly…

There are things that companies can plan and execute that would subsequently help them with the successful deployment of their IoT projects.

Here is a list of useful tips for your enterprise to succeed with IoT project deployment.

Extensive research

The most obvious thing to do when undertaking an IT project is to define problem statements. It may sound surprising but many organizations simply don’t put an effort into understanding problems and defining problem statements clearly. This can end up causing a lot of problems for organizations developing IoT applications.

For a great beginning, every decision-maker in an organization should set measurable and attainable goals while identifying key success metrics to achieve those goals. This in turn calls for lots of research into understanding the idea behind the development of the IoT app and the impact of the app in terms of productivity, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. Good research can even cut development costs.

Understand scope for scaling IoT systems

The Internet of Things is all about connected devices and systems. If anything, an IoT ecosystem should be scalable. So it’s important to understand the scope of scaling IoT systems and services. It’s also important to ensure that once the IoT app is delivered, all components involved are working together in sync without impacting scalability in any way.

Understand hardware-software integration requirements

As mentioned before, IoT is all about components harmoniously working in a controlled, secure ecosystem. To make this possible, efficient integration of the components involved in the development process is vital not to mention feasible.

With IoT being a complicated concept, ensuring feasible integration of software and hardware components may require organizations to partner with equipment manufacturers and IoT specialists. Identifying such requirements and needs in earlier stages enables organizations to clearly comprehend the IoT application’s capabilities and its shortcomings. The information from this phase can be used to fix those areas that need more attention.

A clear scope of the project

Any IT project, be it IoT app development or something else, needs to have a properly defined project scope lacking which the project may deliver end results totally different from what was expected. Before commencing the project, it’s important to define what the project is expected to deliver as well as the steps to be taken for the project to deliver them. One great approach to do all this is to develop a project roadmap.

A project roadmap gives stakeholders an overview of the project which includes everything from the project’s timelines to expected outcomes and expected progress milestones. An added benefit to this approach is that it limits project risks. When it comes to enterprise IoT app development, a roadmap can also be useful to the development team to measure their progress and check their achievements during the development lifecycle.

Determine important metrics

As there will be a lot of connected devices in an IoT ecosystem, the data obtained from these devices will be very large. The presence of multiple data points means there will potentially be copious amounts of big data sets. Some of these data hide priceless insights that could potentially contribute to a faster growth for the organization.

This is why real-time big data analytics is trending amongst enterprises. Provided an enterprise is willing to invest in big data tools and approaches, they will be able to translate those volumes of data into useful metrics.

Prioritize intuitive user experience

A great user experience is a critical aspect of an enterprise-grade IoT application. The user experience should be based on the types of users. A typical enterprise mobile application features a UI layer built for manager-level personnel of the enterprise as well as its decision makers.  

In an IoT environment, on the other hand, there would be a ‘Supervisors’ group – people who send commands, control actuators, and monitor the connected devices. They are responsible for ensuring the harmony of the connected devices. Then there are other groups namely analysts, technical support, and decision-makers – each serving different purposes. The app’s UX should be tailored to each of them.

Determining use cases

The IoT project’s success also depends on whether the project was based on well-defined use cases. The use cases should be defined while taking into account the product’s potential to drive revenue & adoption, reduce costs, and solve a problem that bothers the targeted user base.

The usefulness of use cases can be ensured via a methodology that encourages an iterative cycle of releasing prototypes, testing them in the market, detecting flaws, and rectifying them.

Conclusion

At present, leveraging IoT for enterprise benefits requires great proficiency combined with deep knowledge. The technology is susceptible to many vulnerabilities and security issues which require focused attention more so than many enterprises presume. IoT is nevertheless a worthy investment. If your enterprise is willing to invest in IoT but lacks the expertise, we can help you out. Partner with AOT to maximize benefits from your IoT investment. Contact us for a deeper, more educative discussion.

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