The fast-paced evolution of technology brought us a number of wonders; one of which being Artificial Intelligence. Many global industries have been experimenting with AI to enhance their business processes and garner unparalleled competitive advantages. Even with its proliferation, AI is still considered to be in its infancy, and everything we see now is just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s most common use case is for personalization. For instance, Netflix – a popular streaming service features an AI-powered algorithm tracking the preferences of its users. This is why you get great content recommendations – videos that you likely want to watch the next time you launch the application. AI is also how Amazon recommends products that users end up buying eventually – all based on the users’ purchase history and browsing behavior.

AI in SMarketing

For modern businesses, Sales & Marketing aren’t two separate departments. It’s all SMarketing now, where teams from each departments collaborate to increase brand exposure, brand reputation, sales figures, and consequently business revenue.

Marketers of such businesses that are willing to go an extra mile are already leveraging Artificial Intelligence to enable accelerated business growth, improved revenue, and personalized customer experiences.

The business’ target audience thus gets curated content delivered to them at the right time featuring carefully crafted messages and curated recommendations. This typically ends up in a purchase if the content triggers an immediate interest. And such tactics are only an option thanks to AI.

Artificial Intelligence is expected to essentially align sales and marketing in a healthy pipeline that delivers the best results.

That said, let’s check out the AI trends that are significantly influencing sales this year.

1) Advanced Analytics

The key to winning new customers and satisfying existing ones is analytics. Proper analytics involves implementing test cases, measuring results, uncovering patterns and deciphering insights.

That was the story till AI came into the picture. Modern businesses now utilize advanced analytics powered by AI algorithms to get deeper, more accurate reports and forecasts. Savvy marketers are investing in AI-driven predictive analytics for more rewarding human interactions and for mitigating risks that impede faster business growth.

2) Voice-enabled Smart Apps

Chatbot Assistant is the next big thing in the business realm. AI-powered chatbot assistants go up a notch when it comes to offering recommendations to a business’ customers, helping them with their queries, and even encouraging them to make purchases with personalized offers.

Voice Assistants don’t have human limitations. They can be of service to customers 24/7, and can be controlled via voice commands from authorized users. The possibilities are many and the scope is vast. AI-augmented voice assistants are certainly proving to be worthy assets for businesses to invest in.

3) Predictive Lead Scoring

Spending time nurturing leads with little to no growth potential can do a lot of damage to an organization – missed targets, demotivated sales teams, dwindling revenue etc. This issue can be sorted out with AI integration. Augmented with Machine Learning capabilities, an AI solution can efficiently analyze leads and offer predictive lead scoring.

As the data increase, the accuracy of predictions also increases. This would make it easier for the sales team to identify leads that are more likely to convert and those that are less likely to convert.

4) Improved Sales Forecasts

Back in the days, it was humans who came up with sales forecasts. Now it’s an AI element, and one of the main reasons why many businesses invest heavily in AI technologies. With AI, businesses can make use of the tremendous amounts of data they generate by transforming them in meaningful insights that in turn deliver accurate sales forecasts for maximum profit.

Sales forecasts aren’t based on hunches and customer emotions anymore. Instead it’s driven by a data-oriented rationale which we will be seeing a lot more amongst businesses in the coming months.

5) Personalized User Experiences

Probably, no organization in our world does it better than Google. The search engine giant so far is one of the biggest investors in AI technology, and is among the most successful organizations when it comes to leveraging Artificial Intelligence to serve people.

With Rankbrain, a Machine Learning program, Google constantly monitors and analyzes user engagement to continuously provide better search results to users regardless of the search query. This way every kind of information would simply be a Google search away. The organization’s personalization features have a lot to do with their use of AI. AI is also a core element behind Google Ads.

Businesses can apply this technique on their own operations to personalize their content and offers to customers; both new and existing, resulting in a greater number of conversions and generating more leads than ever. This trend isn’t relatively new but it only gained traction recently.

A great example would be to offer discounts to a visitor who left a website after adding an item to the online shopping cart so that he completes the purchase. The offer can be personalized based on that particular individual’s purchase history on the website and even the purchase frequency. Mind you that this entire process can be automated with AI leaving the business’ sales team free to tackle bigger challenges.

Conclusion

For modern businesses, the stakes are higher than ever when it comes ‘SMarketing’ in dynamic, highly competitive markets. The smallest mistake could end up breaking the business and the smallest detail could speed up the business’ growth and revenue. For businesses that are looking forward to a stable and economically feasible future, AI should be an integral part of their sales, marketing and operations.

The AI trends mentioned in this blog aren’t all new but are slowly becoming an industry standard for businesses willing to invest in retaining their competency during changing times. As a matter of fact, many businesses vouch for AI’s potential when it comes to improving the quality of leads, delivering personalized content to the right people at the right time, and even in devising profitable business strategies on competitive markets.

If your business is ready to jump on the AI bandwagon, AOT can help you make that leap in the best way possible. Get in touch with AOT’s AI experts to start off on the right foot.

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Software development companies have finally started to realize that to thrive in today’s competitive world, a business has to ensure connectivity and collaboration between their development and operations team. So they adopt DevOps practices that ensure a shorter software development life cycle, faster time-to-market, faster resolution of issues, and enhance overall quality of the product.

But for DevOps to deliver those results, it should be implemented effectively first. And for that, you need an efficient toolchain – a set of tools meant for proper implementation of DevOps. An organization can have more than one toolchain, and the toolchains would depend on the needs of the organization and the objectives of the DevOps ecosystem they are implementing.

No matter how qualified the DevOps team is or no matter how best it’s implemented, a DevOps environment cannot deliver on its promises if the right sets of tools aren’t involved to manage every step of a software development project – right from requirements specification and development to testing, delivery and maintenance.

That said, let’s take a look at a few of the best open source tools that are widely used for DevOps implementation.

Selenium

Selenium is hugely popular for its automation capabilities, and is primarily leveraged for the automation of web-based apps – both for testing and for performing administrative tasks. Selenium is a favorite of many companies including tech giants like Google and IBM.

Selenium allows:

  • Creation of browser-based regression automation tests and suites
  • Creation of multi-language test scripts
  • Usage of same script across many environments

Docker

Those who are familiar with DevOps might have heard of Docker – a container-based platform designed to support continuous integration and continuous deployment. This can be done across a number of infrastructures. Additionally, Docker also simplifies packaging of the final product.

Key features and benefits include:

  • Windows and Linux OS compatibility
  • Deployable on any application stack
  • Capability to deploy up to 20000 containers
  • End-to-end security

Chef

Chef is a cloud-based suite of tools aimed at ensuring and enhancing the stability and scalability of the infrastructure. It’s mainly used in DevOps ecosystems to create robust software development environments.

Key features and benefits include:

  • Capability to make configurations testable and automated
  • Consistent configuration assurance
  • Customizable codes depending on requirements
  • Easy migration
  • Compatibility with popular third-party platforms like AIX and FreeBSD

Jenkins

A very popular open source tool, Jenkins is one of the best continuous integration server software available in the market today. It’s deployed on the server that handles the software development activities. Written in Java, Jenkins is also known for being highly customizable regardless of the size and complexity of the project. Furthermore, there are a plethora of plugins and add-ons available making Jenkins a potent tool that delivers the best out of a DevOps environment. Big firms like Capgemini and LinkedIn use Jenkins.

Key features and benefits include:

  • Ease-of-use for DevOps beginners
  • Capability to create scripts that facilitate integration of multiple workflows into one pipeline
  • Support of over 1000 unique plugins
  • Multiple interfaces like CLI, Rest API, and web-based GUI

Puppet

Puppet is a great tool that is designed primarily for rapid inspection, management, and maintenance of infrastructure. It grew in popularity because of its capability to deploy changes within a short time. Puppet is also primarily preferred as a configuration management tool through the software development lifecycle regardless of the platform involved. Tech giants like Microsoft, Accenture, and Google reportedly use Puppet.

Key features and benefits include:

  • Complete infrastructure automation
  • Rapid deployment
  • Real-time context reporting
  • Conflict detection and resolution

Splunk

Splunk can be effective as a log comparison tool that allows the DevOps team to compare logs generated by multiple sources in a DevOps ecosystem that spans the complete IT infrastructure of an organization. In addition to collecting logs and facilitating comparison, Splunk also comes with powerful data collection and analyses capabilities; providing organizations with meaningful insights to make strategic decisions. Furthermore, it also helps with seamless IoT integration.

Key features and benefits of the multi-faceted Splunk include:

  • Storage, management, and analysis of data
  • Business analytics
  • Multiple data formats compatibility
  • Log monitoring to detect issues and conflicts

Ansible

This is a great tool for automating development, testing and deployment, and to manage software development operation’s performance in a DevOps ecosystem. Ansible comes with a number of modules that supports a wide variety of applications. But its truly great feature is its capability to significantly reduce complexity at all stages of the lifecycle.

Key features and benefits include:

  • Push configuration
  • Agentless configuration
  • Faster development process
  • Faster deployment
  • Easier management of complex deployments

Nagios

Nagios is more like a security guard that keeps watch over the entire system and infrastructure. With Nagios, the DevOps team can monitor databases, applications, networks, logs, and even protocols. Infrastructure issues won’t be a concern anymore with Nagios as they will likely be identified before the risks become threats. Despite being open source, Nagios is entirely secure, reliable, and highly recommended. Renowned companies like Philips, Airbnb etc. use Nagios.

Key features and benefits include:

  • Better monitoring, analysis, and threat detection of mission-critical network infrastructure
  • Management, analysis, and archival of log data
  • Network traffic monitoring
  • Optimized bandwidth utilization
  • Easy log searching
  • Automatic resolution of various issues post detection
  • Facilitates better infrastructure upgrade
  • Streamlines infrastructure maintenance schedules

Conclusion

This list is not a ranking. All 8 tools mentioned above are open source, and have a successful streak when it comes to helping organizations implement an efficient DevOps ecosystem. However, choosing the right set of tools, from this list and from among the many others available, is a different matter entirely. That depends on a number of factors including the teams involved, the infrastructure of the organization, the budget, and even the work culture.

Any DevOps expert would recommend adopting a toolchain that combines several potent features to set up a secure, thriving DevOps ecosystem. And obviously, expertise matters also when it comes to wielding such a toolchain.

If your organization is prepared to go the DevOps route, AOT can offer our expertise to ensure that you implement DevOps the right way. Get in touch with our experts today.


For businesses to measure success, they should first be able to successfully measure the efficiency of their investments. This is why Return on Investment (ROI) is a key metric for every type of business there is. ROI is how businesses determine what is working for them and what isn’t.

ROI for App Development

This is evidently the age of m-Commerce. People make purchases through their mobile devices conveniently. Businesses with mobile applications can reach out to potential customers directly on their personal devices, and entice them to make purchases. The trend caught the attention of businesses worldwide paving for the enterprise mobility revolution.

But even with this being the case, many businesses are still reluctant to invest in mobile apps. One main reason for this is the uncertainty surrounding the ROI for mobile apps. Not all mobile apps can succeed in a competitive marketplace. Considering the fact that app development can be quite costly, many businesses are unwilling to risk believing in the success of the app they develop.

But that’s a different story. For now, we will explore how a business can determine the ROI of their mobile apps.

Measuring the ROI of Mobile Apps

Defining objectives

The first step to doing this is to define the objectives of the app i.e. what your business wants to achieve with the app. The app developers should be aware of the app’s business objectives and the key metrics at all stages of development.

Paying attention to the cost

This is how a business can ensure that it’s keeping within the confines of its app development budget, and not using any additional or unnecessary resources in the development process. Development costs generally include implementation costs, hardware costs, support and integration costs. Auditing these costs is important as it should be measured against the key performance indicators (KPIs) later.

Defining and measuring KPIs

A Key Performance Indicator is a metric that businesses use in order to evaluate factors that they believe would directly impact the organization’s success. As such, KPIs differ from one business to another. When it comes to a mobile app, the KPIs chosen would also be closely tied to the app’s objectives.

For instance, if the objective of the business is to interact with customers more via their mobile app, the interaction is considered a KPI. To measure it, all they need to do is to compare the cost of their mobile efforts with their efforts via other channels. This way, KPIs can give businesses a measure of how effective their campaigns are.

Estimating the app’s overall value

With measurable KPIs in place, a business can measure the value of their app. By weighing their KPI measurements against the development cost, they can determine the app’s value. But the business should keep the app’s lifespan in mind i.e. for how long they intend to maintain and use the app.

Additionally, they will also need to calculate CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) – the revenue expected from customer over the course of his/her association with the mobile app. With a projected CLV, measurable KPIs, and overall development cost, the app’s Return on Investment can be estimated.

Conclusion

Calculating the ROI of a mobile app, which is a worthy investment, would help organizations not only to maximize profitable outcomes but also to grow in the direction they want.

If your business requires a mobile app that delivers high ROI, get in touch with AOT’s app developers who’ve been at it for a long while now.

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The increasing number of smartphones and mobile devices accelerated the already phenomenal growth of mobile apps and the mobile app development industry. But even with the dominance of mobile apps, web applications still retain their role in generating more traffic for online businesses.

Web apps are still there

The proliferation of mobile devices led to a widespread development of mobile web apps. And mobile web apps succeeded even while regular mobile apps increased in numbers.

Back in 2015, a report by SimilarWeb on the State of Mobile Web US found that 56% of traffic to big websites is from mobile devices.

Over the next couple of years, mobile browsing grew exponentially subsequently increasing the demand for mobile web apps.

The fact that mobile app development can be quite costly brings up many questions, and one among them is regarding the cost of developing a mobile web app which is different from a standard mobile app.

The Cost of Web App Development

The cost of web app development depends on a number of factors.

  • Type of App & Platform of Choice: The nature of the app and its purpose should be enough for a capable web app development company to determine its complexity, development time and effort. Basic web apps with simple features are quite affordable. But enterprise-grade web apps can be expensive. The cost may vary depending on the complexity of the app and the platform it is built for.
  • Features: The choice of features also influence the cost of development. In a nutshell, the more complex the app, the more the features. The more the features, the more the development cost.
  • Web Development Partner: Choosing the right development partner is one of the biggest decisions of a business ready to invest in web application development. This factor significantly influences the development cost. As a matter of fact, the geographic location of the web development partner itself is a major factor. Greater cost savings is why many companies outsource software development to Asian countries.
  • Pricing Model: A web app development company normally provides two pricing model options to choose from, after carefully considering the project scope and requirements – Fixed Price model & Hourly Rates model. Before making a choice, a business should take into account their needs for the web app, the development time frame and the budget.
  • Post-Development Support: Many businesses have a wrong notion that a successful and timely launch of the application marks the end of a project. On the contrary, the app would most likely lose its momentum without adequate post-development support. The app may need an update or a fix while it operates online catering to many customers. In addition, the business owning the app would also incur infrastructure costs in the form of domain name registration, web hosting server and more.

Conclusion

All said and done, it should also be noted that it’s not easy to accurately estimate the development cost of a web application. A leading, experienced web application developer would be charging considerably more than a comparatively less-experienced developer. Many factors other than the ones in this blog may influence the development cost. Either way, extensive research would certainly help with the estimation of development costs.

If you are planning to build a web application, talk to the experts here at AOT and we will come up with a solution that fits your budget.

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In an age where big, video game consoles are all the rage among Millennials, it may seem near impossible for mobile games to gain some traction. But in reality, mobile gaming apps have contributed significantly in the video game industry thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices and the advancement of smartphone technologies.

Evidently, mobile gaming is a big deal right now with an increasing number of mobile gamers and mobile gaming YouTubers. This means, visualizing the right mobile gaming idea can make the developer rich in no time. That said, building an enjoyable mobile gaming app isn’t rocket science but is still a challenging feat. Unlike regular mobile apps, gaming apps are meant to consistently entertain and engage.

A perfect mobile game has a few major ingredients that directly tie into its success starting with…

A Game Artist

A great movie can never be a reality without a great director. It’s the same for a mobile game. The involvement of a capable game artist is directly tied to the success of the game post launch. A game artist is essentially the director of the game – the person with the vision and capable of conceptualizing the core of the game. They may not always be technically sound, and will require developers to bring their ideas into reality.

Engagement Factors

Engagement factors are the crux of a mobile game. Unlike PC and console games, mobile games run on devices with smaller screens which means it will be harder to keep gamers engaged. This is where engagement factors come in. These elements are hand-picked to make the game enjoyable enough for users so they will spend more time on the game. Engagement factors can be anything from an environment setup inside the game to flashy, gratifying in-game elements.

Challenge

As they say in the gaming community – if it’s easy to beat, it’s not a game. If it’s made to be that easy, it’d only qualify as a learning program for children. A game needs to be challenging i.e. the players should put in some amount of effort to achieve something in-game. On the other hand, if the game is too challenging right from the beginning itself, it may frustrate players even forcing them to quit playing the game. The trick is to go for an unsophisticated AI and a simple interface that players can easily figure out complemented by a slightly challenging yet fun gameplay.

Scoring and Rewards

A game obviously needs to simulate a sensation of victory on the gamer. Most games reward players with scores for their performance. But it’s important to maintain a standard that induces competition and keeps players engaged. The reward system should be enticing enough to bring back players who have not used the app for a while.

Coders

Last but not the least is the team of coders behind the game. The coders should collaborate extensively with the creative team to develop a game that meets modern mobile gaming expectations.

To conclude, building a mobile gaming app is somewhat different from building a business app. Without the right ingredients in the right proportions, the mobile game would seem dull and soon fade away.

The developers here at AOT are not just passionate about creating enterprise-grade apps. They can also get creative when it comes to mobile games that can turn heads. Give us a call to learn more.

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