Supporting Water.org

water.org

I’ve been big a supporter of water.org going back to 2011 by donating the proceeds of my “Submarine Warriors” and “Mobile Strategies for Business” books.

The work that Gary White and Matt Damon have been doing to help end the water crisis that leaves nearly one billion people without access to clean drinking water or sanitation has been invaluable. The WaterCredit program to offer micro-loans to bring water and sanitation solutions into the household has been a great success.

I’m thrilled about the new WaterEquity program that allows investors to scale the availability and affordability of capital for water and sanitation micro-loans. This is really good stuff and I hope you’ll consider getting involved.

The Year Ahead in the Industrial IoT

Connected World

In 2016, we saw breathless growth in the industrial IoT market with a bewildering mix of solutions confronting the industrial operator.

Head on over to Peggy Smedley’s Connected World where I’ll give you my predictions for the IIoT market in 2017 to help you plan for the new year. Topics I cover include:

  • IoT security moving to the forefront after the DDoS attack
  • Predictive asset heath with machine learning
  • The Internet of Humans and Machines represented by Digital Twins
  • Which IoT platform players will make it and which ones won’t

Don’t miss it!

 

Mobile Apps Must be Instrumented Just Like IoT Devices

Quebec

Just like IoT devices, mobile apps should be instrumented to send usage, feedback, error and engagement telemetry to analytic systems.

Instrument everything!

While many developers have written code or used frameworks to log errors, they only scratched the surface when it comes to the amount and types of metrics an app should capture. Beyond data collection, apps must stream telemetry back to analytic systems to benefit marketers, product managers, the QA team and developers. This is all about gleaning insights and improving the app and user experience you’re delivering to your customers and employees.

Capture the following app metrics:

  • Runtime errors and fatal crashes to help developers find the root cause of bugs
  • User feedback and app ratings (stars)
  • Task completion rates
  • Passive sentiment via app engagement depth and duration
  • Sales conversions
  • App launch rates, usage patterns and where users are clicking
  • Underlying operating systems, devices, mobile operators, app versions, available memory, CPU usage and power management data

In addition to passively capturing metrics, actively engage users via push notifications to ask for feedback.

Improve user productivity through app instrumentation to create a feedback loop that continuously enhances the quality, usability and performance for customers and employees. Does the organization where you work instrument all its mobile apps?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

Accelerate Mobile Development with Cross-Platform Tools

Kelowna

Cross-platform tools allow developers to repurpose existing skills to accelerate native, multi-platform mobile development.

While many of your mobile, cross-platform goals can be accomplished with HTML5, you might be wondering if there’s a solution for pure native code. There are a growing number of options out there using popular programming languages and even no code at all.

Appcelerator provides an IDE and the Titanium SDK allowing developers to create cross-platform apps using JavaScript. Unlike Hybrid apps, the JavaScript is compiled to native code for better performance. APIs are included to ensure apps can take advantage of all platform features as well as native UI elements.

If you’re a .NET shop with developers comfortable with Visual Studio and skilled in the C# programming language, Xamarin is right for you. This development tool runs on its own or plugs into Visual Studio allowing you to build native iOS, Android and OSX apps. It also implements the native UI of each platform so users will never know the apps weren’t built in Objective-C, Swift or Java. Xamarin is a great way to leverage .NET investments across devices.

Zero-code or low-code solutions like AppArchitect, Alpha Anywhere, SkyGiraffe, Force.com, PowWow, WorkSimple, PowerApps, Reddo, MobileSmith, StarMobile and others are worth your due diligence to speed up development efforts as long as they don’t create a risk to your business platforms.

Reduce expenses by building apps for all mobile platforms with a single codebase and a smaller development team to get your product to market more quickly and pervasively. Has your company pivoted to cross-platform development tools?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

Mobile WebViews Close the Performance Gap with Native Apps

Chattanooga Skyline

New WebViews with the same performance as mobile browsers mean web skills are finally viable for building fast, cross-platform hybrid apps.

Back in 2012, Mark Zuckerberg admitted Facebook’s mobile strategy relied too much on HTML5 rather than native apps. While it was a great way to target multiple platforms from a single codebase, Facebook’s hybrid app suffered from poor performance. They used a WebView which is a web browser encapsulated in a software component that can be added to a native app. This allows HTML, JavaScript and CSS to run inside a native app container with access to platform APIs that browser-based apps don’t get, like the camera or push notifications. The problem was these WebViews didn’t share all the features or performance of the full web browsers.

Today, iOS 8+ includes a WKWebView API with access to the Nitro JavaScript JIT compiler and rendering performance equivalent to the Apple Safari browser. The Chromium WebView introduced in Android 4.4 KitKat takes advantage of the Google Chrome V8 JavaScript engine for dramatic gains. On Windows 10, the WebView based on the Edge browser is the ticket. All these WebView controls offer enhanced HTML5 and CSS3 feature support and significantly better performance to close the gap with native apps. If your corporate designers and developers have web skills, consider using Apache Cordova/PhoneGap or Kaonsoft to rapidly target multiple mobile platforms with a single codebase.

Reduce development expenses by building apps for all mobile platforms with a single codebase by a smaller development team using widely-available web skills that gets your apps to market more quickly and pervasively. Does your company have a hybrid web app strategy to reach more customers faster?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

Internet of Things Predictions for 2017

Hyperspace

When it comes to IoT predictions, 2017 will see solutions solving business pain points jump to hyperspace as VC funding dries up for many platform plays.

As we move into 2017, the marketplace will start to separate the “build it and they will come” crowd from IoT solutions that add compelling business value. When it comes to value creation, I anticipate we’ll finally see technologies that abstract machine learning algorithms plus data prep and cleansing to solve business problems for specific equipment. Think of this as an advanced analytics extension to existing digital twins. Vendors that seize upon this technology will see success in the $900M Industrial IoT market. On the other hand, the vendors promoting generic, often cloud-only platforms that try to be all things to all people will face a tough road ahead.

The IoT platforms set to take off are the ones tailored to specific industries and flexible enough to run on-premises, in hybrid mode and in the cloud as needed by customers. I’m not just talking about cloud offerings that work with edge gateways in the fog. I’m talking about solutions that are truly portable. On the security front, industrial customers will struggle to safely IoT-enable machines that aren’t securable and were never intended to be on the Internet. This will continue to be a problem until next generation versions of industrial equipment rolls off the assembly line with built-in compute, storage, IP networking and security. Expect lots of the industrial world to remain air-gapped and firmly in its M2M comfort zone.

Lastly, enterprises that can merge domain expertise, data science and machine learning will realize cost savings by stretching equipment maintenance cycles and avoiding downtime by predicting asset health. This represents the true value of IoT in business.

Mobile Apps Must be their own Fortress to Withstand Attacks from Hackers

Fort Knox

A mobile app must be its own fortress and never assume platforms are encrypted, authenticated, use VPN or require a PIN for security.

I guess developers can’t count on anything these days. How you deal with security is what separates consumer app developers from enterprise app developers. The best apps assume an insecure, unencrypted and completely compromised mobile platform. In a world of bring your own app (BYOA), this will differentiate consumer app developers from trusted enterprise app developers. Imagine the scenario where a logged-in device is left behind in a taxi and is stolen before device security kicks-in to log the device out. A window of time ranging from five to fifteen minutes of exposure is realistic.

So how does a mobile app take charge of its own security? On launch, it must prompt for enterprise credentials like a password, PIN, face or fingerprint before allowing a user inside the app. Eliminate the use of cached credentials and tokens or keep expiration times to a minimum. Next, the app must provide its own encryption for data at rest. This is accomplished through the use of a mobile platform’s crypto APIs. Oftentimes you can reuse login credentials as a password and salt value. Use this to encrypt all downloaded and user-entered data before saving to local storage. The app must use TLS or per-app VPN tunnels for all remote communication to secure data in transit. Lastly, trustworthy apps should never take dependencies on platform capabilities they don’t actually require.

Reduce risk to your business by insisting every enterprise app you build or buy provides its own comprehensive security capabilities. Is your company making app security a top priority?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

Mobile Apps Must Work Offline Because Wireless Connectivity isn’t Ubiquitous

Albuquerque

Intermittent wireless connectivity requires mobile apps to follow sync patterns using pre-fetched data via APIs and offline local storage.

If the network isn’t available, it’s pretty hard for your native app to call web APIs or for your web app to load new web pages. On the Ethernet connected desktops of the past, developers didn’t concern themselves with this issue. In our wireless connected mobile society, ignoring this issue leads to a poor user experience. Most of the time, devices are connected via 2G/3G/4G wireless data networks whose reliability is driven by cell tower density, the number of devices connected to a given tower, wireless frequencies, bandwidth and the number of buildings in the area.

Rather than assuming everything will “just work,” developers of successful apps assume “nothing works.” For starters, mobile apps must take advantage of platform APIs that detect the existence of network connectivity. Once this is established, an app must not only download the data it needs at that given moment but enough data to get through the day. Depending on the amount and complexity of this data, it should be stored locally on the device in a mobile database or as serialized files. From then on, the app should only use the local data to perform its tasks rather than reaching out to servers. Changes made by the user to this local data should be tracked so that only deltas are sent to backend systems when it’s time to upload. Extensive error handling and “sync retries” are needed to ensure reliability. Employees can work in airplane mode or when roaming internationally without using data.

Increase revenue and improve user productivity by using sync to create apps that keep working whether the Internet is available or not. App downtime on a sales call in front of a customer is not an option. Has your company made the move to apps that work offline?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

Give Smartphone Users Mobile Web Apps or Else!

Jacksonville

Replace heavyweight, desktop focused, bandwidth eating, Web 1.0 sites with lightweight Mobile Web apps using responsive web design.

Just like their native counterparts, many Web 1.0 apps were built with a particular screen resolution in mind where bigger was better on an endlessly scrolling screen. As time progressed throughout the late 90s, poor performing dial-up modems running at 28.8 kb/s gave way to 56 kb/s modems, followed by 128 kb/s ISDN and then true broadband with the introduction of digital subscriber line (DSL) and cable modem technologies. Web designers kept pace with this trend by loading up web pages with heavy graphics leading to slower load times and average page sizes of 2 MB.

Web apps must be designed for mobile first. This means they must load quickly, be cached for performance and use smaller JavaScript libraries and minimal graphics. Amazon says a 100ms increase in load time equates to 1% reduction in sales. Remember, nine out of ten mobile shoppers use the mobile web while in-store and 51% of that research has led to a purchase. Follow responsive web design (RWD) principles via CSS media queries to adapt to the screen size of any device. Hide navigation menus to keep layouts simple and don’t make users pinch, zoom or pan. Google reports over 70% of consumers access websites from their mobile devices while only 20% of companies have optimized their sites for mobile. Clearly, you can increase your company’s engagement with customers and employees alike via the mobile web that’s already in their hands.

Boost user productivity and revenue by delivering a fast web site that adapts itself to the device users are carrying allowing employees to complete tasks and customers to make purchasing decisions. Is your company doing everything it can to reach mobile users?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany