As a new member of the marketing team, I enjoy keeping up with the latest technology trends such as mobility devices, cloud technology, and social media. In my free time, I like to play racket sports, enjoy different food cuisines, and travel to places that I have never been to.
The topic of Enterprise Mobility Applications (EMA) got a boost last month due to a partnership announcement between two giant tech companies: Apple and SAP. This new partnership aims toward making Apple’s key products, the iPhone and iPad, more favorable to enterprise customers through SAP’s HANA cloud platform to deliver live and secured data. There will also be a new iOS software development kit (SDK) and training academy to help developers and enterprises’ in-house teams with building native iOS mobile apps based on business needs.
It’s not the first attempt to make legacy business applications more compatible with mobile technology. Zco Corporation itself is partnered with enosiX, an SAP framework that has helped over 100 companies mobilize their SAP apps. The collaboration offers low cost Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) integration with rapid turnaround time on custom mobile app development services. This enables us to quickly create, deploy, and maintain native apps that mobilize business processes and make them more competitive.
Collaborations like these are essential to creating enterprise apps that are useful to employees and companies alike.
The progress of EMA has been more measured than some predicted. According John Jackson, VP at IDC, an average of 3.5 apps were used by workers in an average size company (1,000 employees) in 2013 and 2014. Jackson told eWEEK that this “shockingly low” number was similar to the number of apps on Blackberry users’ phones back in 2006. Even though this number was expected to double in 2015, IDC reported only 5.8 apps were used per worker then.
According to a survey from Apperian with 100 decision makers on EMA adoption from medium-large sized companies, 48% of respondents agreed that the complexity of mobile structure is the biggest challenge for EMA adoption. The number of mobile devices on the market, running different versions of operating systems made developing apps everyone could use difficult.
Source: Apperian 2016 Executive Enterprise Mobility Report
This brings us to the second challenge, which is the lack of budget. According to a 2014 report from Kinvey that surveyed 200 CIOs and mobile leaders in North America, 56% of respondents said that it takes 7 months or more to develop one. In addition, 18% reported spending between $500,000 to over $1,000,000 per app, with an average of $270,000 per app. The cost of EMA development varies based on the level of complexity, compatibility, user experiences, and especially security to ensure corporate confidential data is protected.
Security has always been a top concern when it comes to adopting EMA. Apperian reported 64% of mobile leaders think that mobile-based threats to internal networks and infrastructure are the top IT security risk. Since smartphone and tablets are in the same “mobile” category as laptop, the two share similar security risk. The most simple but common threat is that users with corporate data might lose their devices to theft. Other threats that make mobile device vulnerable include unauthorized and malicious apps, as well as legitimate apps with security vulnerabilities.
Another threat is compromised mobile devices, such as “jailbroken” Apple iOS devices and “rooted” Android devices. By altering these devices from original manufacturer settings, users expose their devices to security risks through removing integral security protections. Apperian reported that 60% of respondents were concerned about compromised devices.
Other security worries include data corruption, compliance with corporate standards, and deploying secure apps onto managed and personal devices.
Unlike consumer apps, which aim to get mobile users to pay or view advertising, EMAs must bring productivity improvements by helping employees work more effectively. It’s not enough for employees to like the app; it must be truly useful.
User experience is another key factor that encourages employees to fully exploit a new mobile solution. However, many companies fail to bring that factor into the table by just translating web-based or paper-based equivalents into software solution. Users expect polish and quality from apps designed for mobile devices.
Despite the challenges that top executives and enterprise consumers are facing, the majority agrees that having native EMA will bring positive impacts to overall performances. In the survey with Apperian, 30% of respondents said that their primary goal for deploying EMA is to improve business process, 23% to improve productivity and 20% to gain competitive advantage.
What types of custom enterprise apps are most worthwhile? Productivity apps such as note taking and office apps were favored by 56% of respondents, with 50% also giving a nod to field service apps for maintenance workers and inventory management. Selling tools are third on the list with apps to provide sales collateral and order processing.
To learn more about our custom mobile app development services for enterprises and businesses of all sizes, email us or give us a call at 603.881.9200.
In 2013, Google released the first version of its Integrated Development Environment (IDE), Android Studio. It aimed to provide an all-in-one development experience that was faster and smoother than the de facto standard for Android coders at the time, Eclipse.
After three years, Android developers got the first major update to the official IDE earlier this month with the release of Android Studio 2.0, followed quickly by a 2.1 update. Built-in tools include the obvious code editor, code analysis functionality and a fully configurable emulator.
Google says Android Studio 2.1 is the fastest way to build apps with higher quality and better performance for all Android devices: phones and tablets, Android Auto, Android Wear, and Android TV. The update comes with new features such as Instant Run and Cloud Test Lab integration.
Instant Run allows developers to code and run their apps continuously to see the changes they make during programing. The Instant Run button analyzes the changes and determines how it can deploy the new code in the fastest way, updating the emulator.
Android Emulator on Android Studio 2.1 is about three times faster compared to the old version. Android Debug Bridge (ADB), communicates with the emulator 10 times faster than with an attached physical device. The new emulator also comes with Google Play Services built in and new management features for calls, battery, network, and more.
Cloud Test Lab Integration allows developers to code and test-run an app across a wide range of Android devices for compatibility purpose. The Cloud Test Lab itself isn’t free, but it alleviates the need to run many different emulators locally.
App Indexing Code Generation helps to improve the visibility of app content in Google Search by adding auto-generated URL links into the app code. Developers can then test and validate the app’s indxing code in Android Studio.
GPU Debugger Preview helps diagnose and debug graphics rendering problems. Developers can go through an Open GL ES game or app frame by frame to pin down issues.
Android Studio 2.1 is available on Windows, Mac and Linux. Developers already using Android Studio can get the newest update in the program menu or download from the Android Studio site.
Google’s development team released Android Studio 2.1 on April 26. This first update focuses on fixing bugs and improving Instant Run with new tweaks to increase performance.
In addition, Android Studio 2.1 supports Android N Developer Preview, a pre-release edition of the next Android version. Android N is still under development but available for beta testers as Android N preview until the final release, which is projected in Q3 of 2016.
Once released to the public, Android N will introduce new features such as multi-window support, notification enhancements, a mobile data saver, Android TV recording, and network security.
Have questions about app development for Android or other mobile platforms? Email us or call 603.881.9200.
The new Apple TV’s gaming capability could affect the game console industry, but what about other categories in the App Store? After all, Apple’s intention of reinventing its streaming box is not just about disrupting the gaming industry.
The introduction of the App Store on the Apple TV 4 streaming box gives Apple a living room foothold in categories such as education, health & fitness, lifestyle, news, and sports. Not to mention self-promotion; just today, a new “Apple Events” app appeared ahead of the company’s Monday “Let Us Loop You In” announcement.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the new App Store so that we have a better idea of its progress after a few months.
As a new platform, Apple TV discourages developers from using ads to generate revenue. Currently, developers can either charge an amount upfront to purchase an app or offer it for free with in-app purchases.
According to data from Appfigures, more than 2,500 apps were available in the Apple TV app store as of December, just a month after the device’s launch. Free apps accounted for 61.4% of total apps. Just like on mobile devices, charging users upfront can discourage them from even trying out apps. Allowing users to download apps with basic functionalities will result in a higher number of downloads and reaching more audiences.
Paid apps’ pricing on the new Apple TV is similar to that on iPhone and iPad. The majority of paid apps are between $0.99 and $4.99, with a few exceptions that range between $9.99 and $59.99.
With a little over 1,000 apps developed, the Games category is clearly dominant on the Apple TV App Store, followed by Entertainment (streaming video and movies). Still, the company isn’t expecting to unseat the likes of Xbox and Playstation, but is targeting more casual gamers.
During an interview with BuzzFeed News, Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet Software and Services at Apple, shared his thoughts about Apple’s strategy for the new streaming box as a gaming device: “Hardcore gaming isn’t exactly the ecosystem we’re after with the Apple TV,” Cue said. “What we’re seeing with the new Apple TV is to me very similar to what happened with gaming on the iPhone. When we first announced the iPhone, we didn’t tout it as a gaming device. But games became a huge part of iPhone, because it turns out that a lot more people than just hardcore gamers love games. We expanded the market.”
It is obvious that Apple is trying to bring its success in the game category from iOS to the new streaming box, being a device for casual audiences. Apple TV 4 owners can play some of the most popular mobile games on the bigger screen, such as Minion Rush, Jetpack, and Crossy Road without having to use airplay mode.
Although games seem to be favored by developers, it is not the most downloaded category. According to Appfigures, more than half of the top 50 downloaded apps were in the Entertainment category, made up of popular streaming services and cable channels such as Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Now.
Games came in a distant second, followed by News and Sports apps.
Software updates are already adding more features to Apple TV. An iPhone Remote app made text entry and navigation easier, Podcasts were added in in tvOS 9.1.1, and in the tvOS 9.2 Beta 6 released to developers on March 10, new capabilities included:
What apps would you like to see on Apple TV? Let us know in the comments!
Ever since Apple announced the release of the new Apple TV on September 9, people have been talking about its new gaming capability. Some say that this will be Apple’s first step to “innovate” the gaming console market; others believe this will just be another gaming device with insignificant impact.
After going though Apple TV’s App Store, here are some of my favorite games so far:
If you like a combination of music and sports, this is the game for you. Players are able to play familiar sport games such as tennis, volleyball, and golf using the new Siri remote, a linked iPhone, or optional game controller. The game is not just about reflex but also being able to listen to the music for timing. The multiplayer mode allows up to four players to compete with each other. $9.99.
Fans of car racing games will enjoy this fast-paced game with gorgeous graphics. Similar to its mobile version, the game allows players to get all crazy on the road with luxury performance cars using the Siri remote controller. Although it will take some time to adjust to the new controller, players should be able to showcase their skills after practicing with the remote or purchasing the optional game controller. Free.
With the introduction of the Siri remote, Ubisoft has taken the traditional “runners” Rayman game and transformed it into an adventure game. Players can now freely control the direction of the character to explore the environment and collect hidden items, in addition to the traditional hit, run, and jump actions. This will be a fun time-wasting game that fans cannot miss. Free.
Featured in Apple’s announcement event on September 9, Crossy Road is a runner-pocket game that challenges players to go on an endless journey across roads, rivers, grass, and train tracks. This game shares some similarity with Flappy Bird, through simple graphics but addictive gameplay. Multiplayer mode allows friends and families to play with each other competitively or cooperatively. Free.
Okay, technically it’s not a game, but it’s really fun. Sing! turns your Apple TV into a karaoke machine with over 100,000 songs in its library. The mobile app already has over 25 million users worldwide so you will be able to show your talent and listen to other users singing your favorite songs. Users can turn their iPhone into a microphone so you don’t have to worry about buying one. Most songs are free for limited time; users can purchase songs individually or pay subscription fees weekly, monthly, or annually.
At the moment, Apple TV is still far away from being a new threat in the premium gaming console industry. But if you don’t own a gaming console and just want an entry device for home entertainment, Apple TV is perfect for it. It has lots of potential with the release of a dedicated app store and tvOS developer kits. Thus, most games on Apple TV will range from $0.99 to $9.99, a lot cheaper than games on XBox, PS4 and Wii.
For developers, Apple TV offers a chance to reach new customers. Apple TV will make an inexpensive alternative to gaming consoles for users that want to focus on having fun with families and friends – and not having to pay $50 for each title.
Zco Corporation is a custom software company with headquarters in Nashua, New Hampshire, USA specializing in mobile app development, enterprise software, and 3D animation.
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