Zero User Interface to No User Interface

When we discuss Zero UI (user interface) the mind normally turns towards the increasing use of voice or gesture controls.

As the likes of Alexa become common features in the home, we will start to see less use for common input methods such as our trusted mouse and keyboard or touch screens.

However moving to voice does not in reality lead to Zero UI, but an evolution (or revolution) of user interface designing. One that moves from visual design to acoustic design and will open up a whole new field.

The reality is that while we may not move to Zero UI, there are thousands of examples where the UI is being removed entirely.

This quiet revolution has been happening in the area of connectivity and the internet of things.

A great example is the world of utility meters. 10 years ago it was not uncommon for electricity and gas meter readings to be recorded in pen and paper to be later input when the meter reader sent his paperwork onto the office. Fast forward a few years and the interface for input became tablet applications so the data was captured and transmitted at the point of the meter reading.

With the advent of smart meters the entire requirement for data input (and therefore a user interface) has been removed. Service providers now automatically transmit the data from your meter to their back-end systems – measuring, analysing and reporting along the way.

Across industries or sectors we are seeing devices with direct internet connectivity that removes the need for middle processes and the interfaces we needed either to collect or input data. This is a world where hardware developments (sensors, smart batteries and connected products) is merged with accessible software solutions.

This is not just limited to physical items but the increasing trend for connectivity is further promoted in new software development where open API’s are now considered the norm.

Gone are the days where you extracted data from your CMS to then import it into a CRM. We now expect seamless integration even when the products are not part of the same platform.

Moreover, the introduction of an even faster always on internet service through 5G, enables more powerful interconnected devices collecting and processing data, without any user interaction. 

Zero UI maybe the dream, but no UI is fast becoming a reality as the march of connectivity and integration picks up pace.If you would like to discuss more about our offering in connected services contacts us at info@imobisoft.co.uk

With the recent trials and tribulations of Bitcoin making international news, the subject of cryptocurrencies is hotter than it has ever been.

However, it’s the technology behind cryptocurrencies that really excites us.

The concept of the blockchain is by no means new. Neither is Bitcoin for that matter. Cryptocurrencies have existed about a decade. It’s only recently that many people have become aware of them as an alternative to regular currencies.

But with that awareness comes a newfound curiosity. With this article, we aim to help you understand blockchain technology and why it’s important to more industries than just the financial markets.

The Basics

The blockchain technology was invented alongside Bitcoin in 2008. Let’s discuss blockchains in relation to how they work with cryptocurrencies.

Each cryptocurrency has a blockchain behind it. This chain is a record of every transaction that takes place using that cryptocurrency.

With cryptocurrency, this usually means that a new block gets created whenever somebody trades a unit of their currency somewhere else. For example, somebody may exchange a Bitcoin for United States dollars. This creates a block.

These blocks stack on top of each other. The first block is the first transaction that took place. The final one is the last transaction that took place. In between is every transaction that has ever taken place, in order.

If you have a cryptocurrency, you have the key to that currency’s position on the blockchain. You’ll keep this private key in an account. You also have a public account that others use to transfer to you.

Your private key is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it ensures that nobody else could ever possibly have access to your cryptocurrency. On the other hand, losing your key means losing the address of your block. Because nobody else has the key, that block ends up being lost forever.

How it Helps with Security

We mentioned how your private key ensures that nobody else could possibly have access to your block.

This isn’t strictly true. Everybody can see your block. But it’s only you who has any control over it. Nobody else can do anything with it.

That brings us to one of the key concepts behind the blockchain – it’s a decentralised technology. Technically, everybody has access to it. Everybody can see the block and thus see every transaction that has taken place on it. Everybody can also get involved with the blockchain.

In terms of cryptocurrencies, this adds an extra layer of security to your transaction. Others can’t see who you are or who you transferred currency to or from. However, they can see a record of the transaction taking place. This goes for every transaction because they all create a new block on the blockchain.

As a result, you don’t need a bank or other institution to verify the transaction. Cutting out this middleman, combined with your private key, practically eliminates the possibility of fraud. No other person can make a transaction using your currency. Moreover, the decentralised nature of the blockchain means it’s impossible the information to get lost.

Check Back Soon

Those are the basics of how a blockchain works. Next time, we’ll look at look at some of the ways it can be used in industries beyond financial.

We live in an ubiquitous time of mobile devices.  How often do you see someone who does not possess a cell phone, or a smart phone for the matter?  Today people carry around everything from eReaders like the Kindle, to tablets like the Ipad, and even advanced PDA’s.  These mobile devices contain an unprecedented amount of computing power but have different operating systems from the standard computer (such as Google’s Android operating system).  As the prevalence of mobile technology is fairly recent it falls on Mobile App developers to design applications for these mobile devices.  These applications include everything from expanding a business’s online presence to the mobile world, to creating entirely new business ventures that exist only on mobile devices, to simple games to help bored travelers pass time.

 

Mobile Apps are one of the fastest growing industries in the world right now, and with good reason.  56% of American adults own a smartphone.  According to one survey, 75% of them bring their phone to the bathroom with them.  This is a remarkable statistic.  The amount people are hooked to their mobile devices is unlike anything ever seen before.  In 2013 mobile devices accounted for 12% of all American’s media consumption.  That is triple what it was in 2009, and it promises to continue growing at a high rate.  Businesses wishing to maintain their market share have to make themselves available on mobile devices, and the industry shows it.  In the 28 nations that compose the EU there is an estimated 529,000 direct App Economy jobs!  60% of those are mobile app developers.

 

A business that decides it desires a mobile app has a few options.  First they can develop the app in house by hiring on developers.  However this can be expensive and even risky if only a few developers have problems with the application.  Many choose to hire an App Development firm that meets their needs.  The firms can offer competitive rates for the service due to the way they are structured for efficiency.  Someone looking to hire a firm should do research into the firm’s portfolio and know what the terms of their NDA’s cover.  Before coming to any agreement make sure all parties know exactly what it is that is wanted: exactly how the app should look, what devices it should run on, how is it going to be maintained, does it need to be expandable, and so on.  Keep localizations in mind as well; if you are developing a UK Mobile App you might turn off some clients if the app uses American English.

 

Often it’s a good idea to hire local, especially if what you are doing is going to require many updates in the future or frequent maintenance.  For example, someone who needs a Mobile App in Birmingham might look into software development company imobisoft.  However you decide to meet your Mobile App Development needs just remember that the industry is constantly evolving.  Be prepared to evolve with it or lose a portion of your market share.

As many SEO analysts and professionals predicted, Google has announced that it will be blocking access to paid search keyword data in order to keep users’ searches secure. In an announcement published by Google’s Paul Feng on the company blog he announced the following:

Today we are extending our efforts to keep search secure by removing the query from the refer on ad clicks originating from SSL searches on Google.com.Posted by Paul Feng, Product Management Director, Google AdWords on 9th April 2014.

 

So what does this mean?

Basically this means that Google has started to encrypt paid search keyword referral data. This means that those utilising PPC ads can no longer see what terms people have used to arrive on their landing pages when they have clicked on an Adwords ad. Instead of seeing the strings of keywords, the reports will now show ‘not provided’ or ‘unavailable.’

Google has made this move in a bid to make search engine users’ searchers “safer” and more private. Remember at the end of the day, Google is there to meet the needs and requirements of its users. Google say that their users want secure searches, therefore secure searches is what they will inevitably get.

 

How will it affect paid search campaigns?

Despite Google blocking access to paid search keyword data, they claim that advertisers will continue to have access to useful data, which they can use to optimise and improve their PPC campaigns and landing pages. Detailed information can be found in the AdWords search terms report and the Google Webmaster Tools Search Queries report.

It’s also important to remember that this change will not impact the Google Adwords API; this will continue to work as it was before.

Whilst there have been some complaints about Google’s latest move, it is not as if advertisers will be flying completely blind. In fact, those who do not use third party management tools are unlikely to even notice any kind of difference. Google would not be naïve enough to eliminate keyword data all together as they know the price and usage of their ads would significantly drop. If this were to happen advertisers would simply lose confidence in the keywords they bid on due to having little knowledge of where their site was gaining traffic.

 

Third party management tools for PPC campaigns

Google have stated that they will cease from supplying third party management tool providers with paid search query data. Whereas some third party management tools rely on this information to map keywords and facilitate improved performance, others make greater use of AdWords data and therefore will find the impact of Google’s latest move minimal. In fact many analysts are speculating the change is partially fuelled by Google’s desire for increased use of their own tools and related technology.

Before you panic about the blocked access to paid search keyword data, it is important to remember that whilst search query data is related to keyword data, the two are actually separate entities. Therefore if you use keyword data for bidding, reporting, tracking and campaign management, you will be unaffected by Google’s decision to no longer provide search query data to its paid search API partners.

by SEO Birmingham agency

There are growing number of businesses who are understanding the need of using mobile Apps in their day to day activities. Lot of our clients are open to the idea of using Mobile Apps for certain tasks in their business as they can see the increase in efficiency, easy to use and more over cost saving. We recently developed a product for field sales and maintenance companies which is undergoing pilot trial with one of our client who has the need for this kind of Mobile application. In short mobile app is a great way to streamline business operations.

Why Mobile Apps ?

Mobile applications are becoming increasingly popular in today’s market place thanks to the rapid emergence of smart phones, such as the iPhone and Androids , coupled with the increasing popularity of tablet computers and similar devices. Such devices are not only easy to carry and mobile, but also allow for a level of convenience that has not previously been available to business owners.

What’s the Market?

According to recent reports over 50 % of people over the age of 16 in the UK alone have a smartphone with internet access as their main mobile phone. This number is ever increasing as smartphones of various types become the norm, meaning that the market is ripe for mobile applications for this new market of potential consumers.

During the course of 2013,  millions of mobile applications were downloaded by smartphone users, generating a download revenue of  over a billion . This number is only set to increase as the technological wave continues to carry smartphones and related devices to the forefront.

How can it Benefit my Business?

Mobile apps can benefit businesses in any number of ways. If you have a product to sell, a mobile compatible website with related e-commerce functionality allows people to buy your products on the move. Should you wish to develop an app to be sold, this can be done and placed onto the relevant mobile market, where it will continue to generate profit for you.

Additionally private mobile applications for use within a business can help reduce the amount of paperwork a company needs to undertake. Systems can be created to track orders, email invoices and ensure all documentation is in place. This replaces the archaic paper based system that many companies still use and allows for lower costs.

Are they easy to use?

The beauty of mobile applications is that they are developed with user accessibility in mind. We live in a fast-paced world that is constantly looking for increased levels of convenience and a good mobile application can provide this. User friendliness is key so all mobile applications developed by iMobisoft are simple on the front end. All the complexity of the software is hidden form the user.

Anything Else?

Of course. Another massive advantage of a mobile application is that, once uploaded to the relevant market, they are available all over the world. If you have an application with potential global appeal, such as a game, you have a ready-made, constantly increasing market that can find your product instantly.

 

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