Category Archives: Cloud Computing

THE APP ENGAGEMENT REPORT: The tools and tactics brands, marketers, and app makers can use to keep users invested and maximize value

bii user time spent in apps 2016

Mobile-app makers and content creators are vying for consumer attention in a crowded and noisy market.

Even if an app can stand out enough to prompt a consumer to download it from among a list of millions, it then faces the challenge of enticing him or her to use it enough times to recuperate development, maintenance, and marketing costs. To make matters worse, those marketing costs have hit record-high levels over the past year as discoverability has become more challenging.

And while consumers are spending more time in apps, most of that time is spent in a few favorites. Consumers spend almost three-quarters of their total smartphone app time in just their three favorite apps, according to comScore. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom: There are numerous tools at a publisher’s disposal to engage and re-engage consumers, and there are new products and solutions coming to market that can help alleviate some of the issues around this app engagement crisis.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we explore the current state of the app market, the issues around engaging consumers, and the tools at a publisher’s disposal. We then identify best practices for the implementation of some app engagement tools, and present the pitfalls that some publishers fall into in this pursuit. 

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • The app market today is challenging and volatile. It’s difficult to stand out, and most apps have to be offered for free in order to entice consumers who have too much supply to choose from. This puts greater emphasis on engaging consumers after they’ve downloaded an app in order to recoup costs. 
  • Consumers are more difficult to engage today, as most have dozens of apps installed on their devices yet spend most of their time in just a select handful of favorites. 
  • There are numerous solutions at hand for mobile app publishers and content creators seeking to engage consumers. Push notifications, in-app messaging, and app message centers with badges are three tools publishers can use to engage consumers. 
  • While many publishers mistakenly rely solely on push notifications for app engagements, this is a poor practice because many consumers don’t allow push notifications and those that do can easily be overwhelmed when they receive too many. 
  • The best solution often includes leveraging two or three of these tools to engage consumers with the right message at the right time. The technology in this market has grown increasingly sophisticated, and publishers that don’t diversify their approach run the risk of annoying their consumers to the point of abandonment. 
  • There are emerging engagement technologies that will change the current app engagement norms and present new ways for app publishers to communicate with users. The mobile ecosystem is changing quickly as technology improves and consumers become more comfortable conducting more activities on mobile devices.

In full, the report:

  • Identifies the major challenges in today’s app market and explains why employing good app engagement practices is more important than ever before.
  • Presents the major app engagement tools currently available.
  • Examines the pros and cons of each app engagement tool while outlining some pitfalls that publishers encounter in implementing them. 
  • Prescribes best practices for adopting various app engagement tools or strategies. 
  • Assesses how the market will likely change over the next five years as emerging technologies change both consumer behavior with mobile devices and introduce new tools with which to engage consumers. 

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you’ll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. » Learn More Now
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. » Purchase & Download Now

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Toyota reveals important clues about the future of driving

toyota tril concept teaser

While most automakers are pumping out SUVs, Toyota is looking to go smaller.

The Japanese automaker unveiled its i-TRIL concept car at the Geneva Motor Show that ran March 9-19. The futuristic two-seater is meant to showcase a “viable alternative” to traditional segment cars for people who typically drive in urban environments, Toyota said at the time.

Toyota doesn’t have any current plans to produce a version of the i-TRIL, but the concept shows how it’s researching different transport options for city dwellers. Scroll down for a closer look:

SEE ALSO: Land Rover created an SUV that can launch a drone from its roof for search and rescue missions

Toyota’s i-TRIL concept is a compact electric car that seats two. It features butterfly doors and Toyota’s Active Lean technology, which is designed to improve maneuverability.

Toyota first showcased its Active Lean technology in its i-ROAD concept in 2014, another compact electric vehicle. Toyota’s Active Lean allows the car to slant at an angle of 10 degrees by automatically moving the wheels up and down during turns.

Toyota says the car’s leaning ability improves stability and grip while decreasing the risk of car sickness.

Toyota trialled its i-ROAD concept in Tokyo and Grenoble, France in 2014 to test its Active Lean Technology and get a sense of how people responded to using a compact electric vehicle in a car-sharing setting.


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Google Maps will soon let you share your real-time location — here's how it works

If you’re the type of person who texts your friends “I just left, I’ll be there soon” when you’re really about to step into the shower, you’re not going to like this news: Google is updating its popular Maps app with new features to let friends view each other’s location in real-time.

The location-sharing feature only works if you decide to share your current location with a specific person, and you can limit how long a friend sees your location. Ideally, this will provide Google Maps users with a handy way to let their friends know how close, or far away, they are from a rendez-vous — and just how late they really will be.

Here’s a look at how it works:

The new feature looks simple enough to use, requiring only that you tap the blue dot that indicates your location and then select “share my location.”

You can share your location with anyone in your Google Contacts list, regardless of whether they are on iOS, Android or on a computer. You will also have the option to bypass Google Contacts and copy a link to send to any recipient.

Google Maps

You will be able to set a time limit on how long you are sharing your location, and the app will notify you that your location is being shared whenever you are in it, so that you don’t inadvertently forget.

And if you’re using Google Maps for driving directions, the update will allow you to share your location and route with whoever you want, providing them with an up-to-date ETA.

Google said the update is coming “soon,” though it did provide an exact release date. 

These features come on the heels of a Maps update that makes sure you never forget where you parked your car again. Interestingly enough, Google envisions these updates being most useful when planning a surprise birthday party. Take a look:

 

SEE ALSO: This iPhone 8 concept design is the best we’ve seen yet — check it out

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NOW WATCH: Tesla will begin selling its Solar Roof this year — here’s everything you need to know

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iPhone, Mac owners: How to stymie hackers extorting Apple, threatening to wipe devices

Hackers claiming to have hundreds of millions of iCloud credentials have threatened to wipe date from iPhones, iPads and Macs if Apple does not fork over $150,000 within two weeks.

“This group is known for getting accounts and credentials, they have gotten credentials in the past,” said Lamar Bailey, director of security research and development at Tripwire, of the purported hackers. “But whether they have that many … who knows?”

There’s another reason for not panicking, Bailey said: People can quickly make their accounts more secure, assuming the criminals have only collected, not actually compromised the iCloud accounts by changing millions of passwords.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

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Hackers threaten to wipe millions of Apple devices, demand ransom

A group of hackers is threatening to wipe data from millions of Apple devices in two weeks if the company doesn’t pay them $150,000.

The group, which calls itself Turkish Crime Family, claims to have login credentials for more than 627 million icloud.com, me.com and mac.com email addresses. These are email domains that Apple has allowed for users creating iCloud accounts over the years.

Even though the Turkish Crime Family hasn’t been in the media spotlight before, its members claim that they’ve been involved in selling stolen online databases in private circles for the past few years.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

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New Year, New Dev – Windows IoT Core

To wrap up the “New Year, New Dev” blog series, we’ll go into using Windows 10 IoT Core and show how easy it is to start developing applications to deploy on IoT devices such as the Raspberry Pi 3. If you haven’t had a chance to read the first two posts in this series, you can find them here:

  1. New Year, New Dev: Sharpen your C# Skills
  2. New Year, New Dev: Developing your idea into a UWP app

Let’s begin by explaining what Windows 10 IoT Core actually is.

Windows 10 IoT Core is a version of Windows 10 that is optimized to run on smaller IoT devices, with or without a display, that allows you to build apps using the rich Universal Windows Platform (UWP). In fact, one of the goals for UWP was to enable the same application to run on PC, Xbox, HoloLens, Surface Hub or IoT Core devices. This enables you, as the developer, to create a core application with custom, adaptive user experiences appropriate for these devices.

In UWP there are extension APIs available to do things that are specific to your platform or device. For example, there are extension SDKs that give you access to unique features in Windows Mobile and on Surface Hubs. The extension SDKs for Windows IoT give you access to the APIs that can manage things like lights, sensors, motors, buses and much more.

Windows IoT Core supports a wide range of devices. Here are some examples:

Out of the box, you can use the UWP programming language you’re most comfortable with to build apps for IoT Core; these languages support both apps with or without a User Interface (aka “background applications”) and are shipped with Visual Studio by default.

  • C#
  • C++
  • JavaScript
  • Visual Basic

Alternatively, you can use one of the following IoT-focused languages; these languages can only be Background Applications.

  • C/C++ with Arduino wiring
  • js
  • Python

To use one of the “IoT focused” languages, you’ll need to install the Windows IoT Core Project Templates Visual Studio Extension. You can download these right from Visual Studio by going to Tools > Extensions and Updates. Or, you can install it separately by downloading it (go here for VS2015 or here for VS 2017).

For the purposes of today’s post, we will show how to install Windows 10 IoT on a device, how to install the tools you’ll need, and share several sample applications to get you started.

Getting started

The IoT Core team has made it very easy to get started by providing a flow-based Get Started page on the Windows IoT Core web page. Let me take you through the steps:

Step 1:

Go to the Get Started page here and you’ll be greeted with Step 1: Select Your Hardware. Choose the device you’re using, for this post, I’ll pick Raspberry Pi 3:

Step 2:

Select the route you want to install Windows 10 IoT Core. The most common option is to install it directly to a blank microSD Card:

Step 3:

Next, you’ll get to pick what version of Windows 10 IoT Core you want to use.

Important Note: Normally, you’d choose the non-insider version. Only choose the Insider Preview if you have the Insider Preview UWP SDK installed in Visual Studio 2017. The SDK version has to match the OS version on the device in order to deploy to it.

Step 4:

You’re done! Now click the Next button to navigate to the next phase of the setup process, getting the tools.

Installing the tools

During this phase of Getting Started, you’ll go through four high level steps. At the last step, you’ll be running an application on your IoT device! Here are the steps:

  1. Get the Tools
  2. Set up your device
  3. Set up Visual Studio
  4. Write your first app

1 – Get the Tools

In this step, you’ll download and install an amazing tool, the Windows 10 IoT Core Dashboard (approx. 54MB). This tool has a lot of features that makes using Windows 10 IoT core much easier than it has ever been. Once you’ve installed it, find it in your Start Menu’s apps list or search for “IoT Dashboard.”

You should now see a Start page like the following:

2 – Set up your device

With the Dashboard running, you can now set up your device by clicking the “Set up a new device” button. This makes the installation process very easy, just a few selections and a click of the button.

Here’s a screenshot of the “Set up a new device” page. Take note of the version of Windows IoT Core you’re installing. The current version is 14393, otherwise known as the Anniversary Update.

Once this is done, you’re good to go! Just remove the microSD card from your PC and insert it into the Raspberry Pi and boot it up.

Note: The first time boot-up will take longer than normal because it is performing an initial configuration. Be patient and do not power down during this. If you have any trouble and it doesn’t boot, just repeat the setup again to get a fresh start.

3 – Setup Visual Studio

Now let’s review what you have installed for tools.

If you do not have Visual Studio 2017 installed

You can download and install Visual Studio 2017 Community edition, for free, from here. This is not a “express” version, the Community edition is a feature-rich version of Visual Studio with all the tools you need to develop UWP applications and much more.

When running the installer, make sure you check off the Windows Platform Apps workload to get the Tools and SDK. Here’s what the installer looks like:

If you already have Visual Studio 2017 installed

If you already installed Visual Studio, then let’s check if you have the UWP tools installed. In Visual Studio, drop down the Help menu and select “About Visual Studio.” You’ll see a modal window pop out, inside the “Installed Products” are you can scroll down to check for “Visual Studio Tools for Universal Windows Apps”:

If you do not have them installed, you can use the standalone SDK installer to install them (see UWP SDK paragraph below) or rerun the Visual Studio 2017 installer and select the “Universal Windows Platform development” workload to install it.

Note: You can use Visual Studio 2015, just make sure you’re on Update 3 in addition to having the UWP SDK installed.

UWP SDK Version

Now that you have Visual Studio 2017 and the UWP tools installed, you’ll want to have the UWP SDK version that matches the Windows 10 IoT Core version you installed. As I mentioned earlier, the current version is 14393.

If you just installed Visual Studio, this would be the SDK version you have installed already. However, if you do need the 14393 SDK, you can get the standalone installer from here (note: if you’ve take the Windows IoT Core Insider Preview option, you can get the Insider Preview SDK from here).

TIP: Install the IoT Core Project templates

At this point, you can build and deploy to an IoT device simply because you have the UWP SDK installed. However, you can get a productivity boost by installing the IoT Core project templates. The templates contain project types such as: Background Application, Console Application and Arduino Wiring application. Download and install the templates from here.

Write your first app

At this point, your device and your developer environment is set up. Now it’s time to start writing apps! You may be familiar with the “Hello World” app as being the first application you build when trying a new language or platform. In the world of IoT, these are known as “Hello Blinky” apps.

There are several excellent Hello Blinky sample applications (when we say headless we mean with no user interface; you can still have a display connected to the system if you wish) to help you get a jump-start:

There are even more Microsoft authored samples located at our Windows IoT Dev Center.

You can also check out what the community has built on websites such as Hackster.io where developers open source their Windows 10 IoT Core projects, build specs and source code. There are hundreds of projects available; a few examples are:

There are unlimited possibilities with Window 10 IoT core, from home automation to industrial robotics or even environmental monitoring. Your app doesn’t have to be a complex system, you can build a UWP app to build a smart mirror, turn your hallway lights when motion is sensed, or use a light sensor to open your shades at dawn and close them at sunset!  We look forward to seeing what you build with Windows 10 IoT Core; send us a tweet @WindowsDev and share your creations with us!

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Google Duo adds supports for audio-only calls because why not

 Google’s standalone video-calling app Duo is no longer just for video calls. The company announced today it’s adding support for audio-only calls – a feature aimed at increasing the app’s adoption in emerging markets, where a strong, high-bandwidth network connection isn’t always available. The option is first rolling out to users in Brazil, with an expansion to… Read More

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Universe, a mobile-only website builder, lets you create pages in ‘under a minute’

 The world platforms for developing websites and publishing online is a crowded one, with established players like WordPress, Wix, Zoho, Weebly, Duda Mobile and Squarespace competing against newer entrants like Medium and the likes of LinkedIn. Now make way for Universe, another startup that hopes its mobile-first approach for building “light” websites on mobile — the pitch… Read More

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Google Maps will let you share your location with friends and family for a specific period of time

 Google Maps has today announced a new feature to allow you to share your location with others. While that might seem creepy, it’s not the first to add this type of functionality. Facebook tells you when a friend is nearby – it even lets you “wave” at them and gives you the option to send a message if they holler back. Foursquare’s Swarm lets you check in wherever… Read More

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There are 69 new emoji candidates — and we've ranked them all

Emoji

Rejoice: New emoji are on the way! 

Unicode, the consortium responsible for choosing the new emoji across all platforms, has been working on the latest emoji for months and they’re almost ready for the their June 2017 launch. 

Now, Emojipedia has the 69 new emoji candidates on its site, rendered in an “Apple-like style” so we can see what they could one day look like in iMessage. 

To be clear: These are not the final drafts of the new emoji; these current iterations may still undergo further changes before getting released in a few months. Plus, once they’re actually out, users probably won’t get them until this coming fall. 

Still, it’s always fun to get a sneak peek, so we’ve compiled all the emoji contenders and ranked them from worst to best. The criteria for the ranking was pretty subjective — mainly, how they made us feel and whether we can actually see people using them in real life. There aren’t detailed explanations for most of the rankings, but we do offer a more in-depth analysis for the top 10 on this list.

Take a look:

SEE ALSO: 22 emojis you’re probably using wrong

69. Bowl With Spoon

68. Canned Food

67. Billed Cap

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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