A few years ago, only big corporations with a focused objective of rapid growth invested in augmenting themselves from the inside out to thrive in a potentially highly competitive future. But today, even SMBs are coming forward to invest in business transformation approaches that involve capitalizing on powerful new digital technologies and trends.

Modern businesses need to operate more efficiently and establish themselves in new markets faster than before. Additionally, many businesses are also focusing on improving customer experiences in order to improve business outcomes. It’s safe to say that business transformations will be gaining even more momentum this year.

However, achieving such a transformation is a big challenge in itself. As a first step, IT teams should devise a digital strategy that addresses all the limitations of the business including legacy technology limitations, and make the most of all the strengths of the business.

Here are a few important trends that could help a business succeed in transforming itself efficiently.

Focusing on one digital approach

A recent DXC Technology report found that companies tend to invest in a single digital approach to accelerate business transformation. There certainly will be a lot of big strategic commitments involved. Another surprise is the fact that many organizations are actually avoiding hybrid traditional digital strategies and going for an approach that can essentially unify their business without compromising its integrity and security.

Leveraging next-generation IoT platforms

As new IoT platforms pop up, businesses are exploring new opportunities to merge their traditional data sources to new ones, obtain more accurate data inputs, enhance existing real-time data analytics capabilities etc.

Cloud & AI for a smarter IT infrastructure

Businesses are closing in on realizing the idea of a smarter IT infrastructure. To make it happen, many businesses rely primarily on the cloud and Artificial Intelligence. An effective combination of the cloud and AI can help build an ecosystem driven by AI-powered applications with nigh unlimited resources. Such applications grant more power to users while also offering lower reaction time and better, more localized analytics.

Improving services with better decision-making capabilities

Companies have realized that data is the key to a faster growth. They now mine tremendous amount of data to uncover valuable information that will help them make informed decisions. This trend has led to an increasing demand for AI & ML-based tools and big data analytics capabilities. Making more educated decisions subsequently improve the services an organization offers.

Shutting down enterprise data centers

Data centers are slowly going obsolete, and it is evident this year. The proliferation of the cloud led companies to shift their workloads onto the cloud. Many companies move their mainframe workloads to specialized data centers while most others are shutting down their data centers. Traditional data centers are running out of steam. But the bright side is that companies can serve distributed customers better and access higher bandwidths to improve functionalities.

Conclusion

Business transformation is the initiative enterprises are most keen on taking this year. They adopt different approaches for the purpose but often fail to realize that sometimes it’s the little things that could have the biggest impact. The trends mentioned in this blog should help an enterprise in its venture to trigger a transformation to thrive in a competitive world. If your enterprise is on the lookout for next-generation digital solutions that can facilitate digital transformation, AOT can help you build one instead. Talk to our experts to learn more.

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to transform a great many things after the world finally realized its technological merits and vast potential. Apparently, IoT has already started doing its thing transforming not only the way businesses operate but also how people live. IoT’s most recent evolution was triggered by the advancements in various technologies including the cloud, edge, AI, analytics etc. As of now, it is still considered to be in its infancy which makes it a gamble that many enterprises are reluctant to consider.

Forrester however sees great things in store for enterprises that are willing to invest in IoT. According to the famous research company, owing to the presence and influence of IoT, enterprises are on course for a major overhaul in 2019.

Here are 5 predictions from Forrester on how IoT will remodel enterprises next year.

Enterprises will make a big move to motivate the consumer market

Enterprises pitch IoT for the average consumer as a vision of a centralized, interconnected ‘smart’ home. But so far the response is lukewarm at best. Consumers are not just there yet and are exploring options for the so-called ‘smart home’ by buying one app-enabled device at a time. If it’s allowed to go this way, things will remain the same next year as well.

This is why Forrester predicts that enterprises would make a big move next year, most likely by bundling IoT services together and presenting them with discount offers to motivate the consumer market.

The focus will be more on use cases

At present, the Internet of Things is more of a hazy jargon for people – something that’s hyped to do big things in due course. Michele Pelino, the Principal Analyst of Infrastructure & Operations Professionals at Forrester, told TechRepublic that in 2019, the buzz around IoT will focus more on the actual use of the technology.

The conversations would be about the many use cases of IoT, the solutions, the applications etc. The world will be more aware of IoT’s true potential of combining different kinds of solutions in a secure, analytics-driven ecosystem to solve a problem.

More IoT platform partnerships and competition

IoT platform vendors will be targeting specific use cases next year according to the Forrester report. Business professionals won’t be looking for one single platform for managing various business processes in an organization, and would instead seek platforms with specific specialties.

The approach is already commonly practiced by organizations who did their fair share of research on IoT and the cloud. It’s safe to assume that major platform vendors would be putting in an effort to appeal to more people and outpace increasing competition by specializing in more use cases of the Internet of Things. We can certainly expect the birth of more IoT platform partnerships next year.

Managed IoT services market will flourish

With IoT expected to considerably influence how enterprises operate next year, many organizations with IoT expertise will attempt to capitalize by establishing a managed IoT services market. They will be focusing on helping companies manage their fragmented IoT assets.

The whole idea of managing the lifecycle of interconnected devices will be given more importance as more connected products are made available in the market. This would subsequently lead to more managed services opportunities. As the trend gains momentum, IoT will get some extra boost next year to go mainstream faster.

Cybercriminals will get more opportunities to cause damage

Cities have started becoming smarter by using connected devices to implement various ‘smart’ actions like smart traffic controls, smart lighting, smart transportation etc. Such an ecosystem with a variety of connected devices will most certainly have security vulnerabilities that can be exploited. This has always been one of the major concerns associated with the Internet of Things.

Forrester analysts expect targeted ransomware attacks next year by cybercriminals exploiting the vulnerabilities in successful smart city or smart neighborhood implementations. The attack can push back the growth of IoT and might give consumers second thoughts about using IoT devices. There will also be some disruption to services. The repercussions of cybercriminals exploiting security vulnerabilities of an IoT ecosystem will force the public to seek better security, while organizations invest more in beefing up security and minimizing the risk of cyber attacks.

Conclusion

IoT will be turning a lot of heads next year, and we will see enterprises not only competing to meet consumer demands but also teaming up to specialize in specific use cases and be more marketable in the process. IoT waves will also impact several other industries including mobile app development. For the connected devices to do what they are designed to do, an app should be overseeing them. IoT app makers have their work cut out for them.

AOT Technologies have been preparing for this scenario for a while now, slowly yet steadily polishing our skills with IoT and a number of other ‘new-gen’ technologies. Feel free to talk to us to learn more about IoT and IoT apps.

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Are businesses getting to grip with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning?

AI and ML have been creating a lot of buzz in the tech realm for the last couple of years. However, many businesses still aren’t clear about the long-term benefits of these technologies.

According to a new report by Microsoft named ‘Maximizing the AI Opportunity’, nearly two-thirds of business leaders lack clarity when it comes to potential returns from artificial intelligence.

The report surveyed 1000 business leaders in the UK. It may seem surprising but there are a lot of companies out there that still consider AI as an unjustifiable expense with more limitations than benefits. Many industry experts point out that AI shows promise but adopting it in now in its present state may lead to unpleasant surprises.

That said, businesses that have invested in AI in return for something did see tangible benefits. Many organizations don’t even realize that they are using AI in some form. As a matter of fact, getting started with AI is rather simple really.

This blog includes a few best practices enterprises can follow to get started with AI in the right manner.

Identify business problems

Before investing in AI, an enterprise should make sure that they have identified and individually assessed each of their business problems. This way it will be easier for them to determine if a specific business problem can be solved efficiently with AI. The problem can be anything from handling a lot of online customer chats to freeing up employees’ time so they can focus on core tasks; AI can solve pretty much all of it.

Assess enterprise readiness to adopt AI/ML

Once the enterprise identifies the problems that they can solve using AI, the next step is to assess the enterprise itself for its readiness to build and manage AI or ML-based systems.

Major cloud service providers like Microsoft Azure and AWS offer on-demand ML services for a number of purposes including image processing and speech recognition. In addition, tools and ML-centric software frameworks are also available for the enterprise itself to build custom ML models or in-house AI-based systems. For any of these systems to work, data play a crucial role.

The main question to ask here is whether the enterprise generates and captures the right kind of data to train predictive ML models to deliver the right results. Even if it collects the right kind of data, there should be copious amounts of them for the AI system to process. Both quantity and quality of data matter when AI-based analytics is involved.

Assess in-house skills to handle AI

Before getting started with AI, enterprises should make sure they have the right talents to manage their AI systems. It’d be a wise approach to assess in-house skills to handle the AI project. This way the enterprise would also be able to identify missing skills that they will need in their mid to long-term run with AI systems.

Microsoft’s report also found that many business leaders are not sure as to how they can provide employees with the skills needed to adapt to and manage the disruption caused by AI. There’s also the fact that employee roles might change once AI starts doing its job. This requires the organization to put considerable effort into training employees when needed and retain sufficient skills for stable functioning of the AI ecosystem.

Experiment with AI

AI’s only started being of use to businesses. As such employees may be hesitant to engage with it. It’s up to the organization to foster a work culture where employees can experiment with the implemented AI systems. The employees can start small, get familiar with the technology, learn how it works, and then tinker with it to get an idea of what it can and can’t do. The company can gather feedback from them and scale up to leverage AI better.

Ensure ethical handling of AI

At the end of the day, data-driven AI/ML systems are only as good as the data fed to them. Invalid, biased, or wrong data will drive an ML algorithm to deliver useless results. Many companies make this mistake of feeding flawed data into the system leading to poor results and ROI.

All factors considered, it’s a great practice for a business to use an AI/ML manifesto to ensure that the technology is used ethically and securely. The manifesto should lay out specific guidelines to overseers and everyone else in the company using the AI-system.

Conclusion

AI and ML tech are at their infancy even now and demands diligent human oversight. The technology should be nurtured to deliver unbiased, responsible outcomes that can give businesses a great edge in the market and trigger disruption. If the company is ill-equipped to leverage AI but is willing to invest nevertheless, it’s better to seek service from an established AI expert.

That said, it’d be a pleasure for AOT to provide you with assistance when it comes to new-gen technologies like AI, ML, and IoT. Feel free to dial us up to learn more about AI for businesses.

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Though having a mobile app is very important for modern businesses, the sheer number of options presents them with a tough challenge when it comes to choosing the right development approach. Many developers make it easier for clients to understand by giving them 3 options – web, native, and hybrid apps.

This blog will be focusing on native mobile app development and why they are important for many businesses across multiple industries today.

Native mobile app development

A native mobile app is basically an app built to run specifically on one mobile operating system. Users download them from the platform-specific app store. The programming languages used for development will also be different; Objective-C or Swift for iOS apps and Java or Kotlin for Android apps.

Both Apple and Google can arm developers with their own unique development tools, SDKs, and other app elements. The only roadblock for businesses comes when they are required to choose the platform for their mobile app.

To choose the right platform, they need to be able to communicate.

Regardless, the common factor here is that enterprises tend to invest more in a native app than hybrid app, though the latter is slowly and consistently gaining momentum.

Why native?

For its many benefits, of course.

The best performance – Because the app is designed for a specific platform, it’d be highly optimized to demonstrate impressively high performance. Native apps are generally faster and more responsive compared to the alternatives. Basically, the app performs the way its platform wants it to, and while leveraging the device’s processing power. This means faster navigation and load speed, and overall a higher efficiency.

Smoother & secure – Native apps offer a richer, smoother experience to users as it leverages the mobile device’s features and hardware capabilities efficiently than any other types of apps. The superior UX of native apps are attributed to the apps sticking to platform-specific UI standards and effectively utilizing device features like camera, GPS, sensors, mic etc.

They are made accessible by their respective app stores after being tested and approved by the app store team, which is a testament to the apps’ reliability and security.

Fewer bugs during development – Hybrid app development relies on updated cross-platform development tools, and the developers will have to wait for the tool to support new features when a new version of the OS comes out. Native apps have fewer dependencies, and the developers will have faster access to official SDKs with the most recent features from platform providers. So there would be fewer bugs during development, leading to faster release of a fully functional app.

Conclusion

Native apps come with a lot of benefits that businesses would want from their investments. However, the initial cost of developing one is typically higher compared to hybrid app development. Nevertheless, the business would end up raking in impressive ROI in the long run while the business’ customers would be delighted with the personalized user experience and performance of native apps.

So conclusively, higher conversion rates and increased customer loyalty.

If you are thinking about getting a native app for your business, talk to the experts at AoT. We can help make the platform choice easier, and deliver one solid native app that’s going to make all the difference for your business.

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Though many parts of the world haven’t started seeing IoT around them much, the technology seems to have started going mainstream albeit slowly. It has already made its presence known across a number of industries including healthcare, business, media/entertainment, retail etc.

Last year, McKinsey estimated that by 2020, there would be about 20-30 billion connected devices in the world, with a total worth of around $17 billion.

The statistics are a testament to the increasing adoption of IoT in various industries. In this blog, we will be taking a look at the growth of the Retail industry under the influence of IoT. Retail businesses have to constantly come up with some strategy not only to stay ahead of the competition but also to provide unique shopping experiences to customers.

Where exactly does IoT fit here?

IoT – A Brief Overview

The Internet of Things is basically Machine-to-Machine synchronized connectivity by using uniquely configured hardware devices and sensors. The technology is made available in various devices of different shapes and sizes serving different purposes. These IoT devices are integrated into home appliances like ovens, refrigerators, air conditioners etc.

When it comes to the retail industry, one of the greatest benefits of IoT is that they enable businesses to track customer behavior efficiently. The data collected by IoT devices of a retail business can be analyzed to uncover insights that’d subsequently improve decision-making.

More than 75% of retail early adopters of IoT see the technology as an effective way to change customer experience.

Here is how IoT influences retail.

Digital signs to reach consumers

Online shopping is the norm now. Many retail businesses have realized that people tend to look for information via their mobile devices. MCommerce is how a business can provide that info and subsequently boost sales. There is also a notion that goods are offered online at smaller price tags than in brick-and-mortar stores. This is true to an extent. A digital store makes it easier for a customer to compare products and make a purchase.

So essentially businesses have to provide consumers with the right kind of information at the right time to guide them through the sales funnel. In the real world, they can use signs and billboards for this. Now with IoT, they can do the same with digital signs.

These IoT-powered digital signs can connect with social networks and customer feedback to present customers in the physical store with attractive offers for goods they’ve previously shown interest in or goods that complement their most recent purchases. Essentially, the IoT devices in a store can display notifications on a consumer’s mobile device when they walk by the store enticing them to take a look at the offers. Opportunities are many.

Making it easier to locate goods

For modern day retailers, the best way to get a consumer to visit again is to give them attractive deals coupled with a comfortable and convenient shopping experience. In a physical store, retailers will have staff employed to assist customers in locating the goods they want to look at and guide them to make a purchase.

This would be a bit harder for a consumer if the store is a huge, multistoried supermarket that has a variety of goods on different floors. This would demand customers to spend more time looking for goods. IoT addresses this inconvenience by assisting sales person and customers to locate an item via sensors placed inside the store at various points. These sensors can also be used to show customers the product description, product benefits, product expiry date etc.

IoT combined with smart transportation apps

Figuring out an efficient approach to moving merchandise from one place to another has always been a challenge for retail organizations. Smart digital applications proved to be a great solution for this problem. When IoT came into the picture, there were even more positive changes. IoT now makes a difference in the maintenance of transport, item tracking, and transport route optimization.

Until now, GPS was the lifesaver for retail transporters. IoT devices combined with GPS and smart apps offer a greater degree of accuracy on the transit and arrival of the merchandise to its destination.

Conclusion

It’s not just the retail enterprise that’d be reaping the benefits. IoT also presents many opportunities for consumers as well. The support they will receive will make shopping easier and more convenient than ever, while the retailers build their brand’s reputation for quality service and grows revenue. The important thing is to leverage the technology the right way.

AoT can help with that. We have qualified experts who know their way around IoT and how it can be wielded via mobile apps. Let us know your queries.

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