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The Technological Future of Surgery

The future of surgery offers an amazing cooperation between humans and technology, which could elevate the level of precision and efficiency of surgeries so high we have never seen before.

 

Will we have Matrix-like small surgical robots? Will they pull in and out organs from patients’ bodies?

The scene is not impossible. It looks like we have come a long way from ancient Egypt, where doctors performed invasive surgeries as far back as 3,500 years ago. Only two years ago, Nasa teamed up with American medical company Virtual Incision to develop a robot that can be placed inside a patient’s body and then controlled remotely by a surgeon.

That’s the reason why I strongly believe surgeons have to reconsider their stance towards technology and the future of their profession.

 

Virtual Incision - Robot - Future of Surgery

 

Surgeons have to rethink their profession

Surgeons are at the top of the medical food chain. At least that’s the impression the general audience gets from popular medical drama series and their own experiences. No surprise there. Surgeons bear huge responsibilities: they might cause irreparable damages and medical miracles with one incision on the patient’s body. No wonder that with the rise of digital technologies, the Operating Rooms and surgeons are inundated with new devices aiming at making the least cuts possible.

We need to deal with these new surgical technologies in order to make everyone understood that they extend the capabilities of surgeons instead of replacing them.

Surgeons also tend to alienate themselves from patients. The human touch is not necessarily the quintessence of their work. However, as technological solutions find their way into their practice taking over part of their repetitive tasks, I would advise them to rethink their stance. Treating patients with empathy before and after surgery would ensure their services are irreplaceable also in the age of robotics and artificial intelligence.

As a first step, though, the society of surgeons has to familiarize with the current state of technology affecting the OR and their job. I talked about these future technologies with Dr. Rafael Grossmann, a Venezuelan surgeon who was part of the team performing the first live operation using medical VR and he was also the first doctor ever to use Google Glass live in surgery.

 

Future of Surgery

 

So, I collected the technologies that will have a huge impact on the future of surgery.

1) Virtual reality

For the first time in the history of medicine, in April 2016 Shafi Ahmed cancer surgeon performed an operation using a virtual reality camera at the Royal London hospital. It is a mind-blowingly huge step for surgery. Everyone could participate in the operation in real time through the Medical Realities website and the VR in OR app. No matter whether a promising medical student from Cape Town, an interested journalist from Seattle or a worried relative, everyone could follow through two 360 degree cameras how the surgeon removed a cancerous tissue from the bowel of the patient.

This opens new horizons for medical education as well as for the training of surgeons. VR could elevate the teaching and learning experience in medicine to a whole new level. Today, only a few students can peek over the shoulder of the surgeon during an operation. This way, it is challenging to learn the tricks of the trade. By using VR, surgeons can stream operations globally and allow medical students to actually be there in the OR using their VR goggles. The team of The Body VR is creating educational VR content as well as simulations aiding the process of traditional medical education for radiologists, surgeons, and physicians. I believe there will be more initiatives like that very soon!

 

 

2) Augmented reality

As there is a lot of confusion around VR and AR, let me make it clear: AR differs in two very important features from VR. The users of AR do not lose touch with reality, while AR puts information into eyesight as fast as possible. With these distinctive features, it has a huge potential in helping surgeons become more efficient at surgeries. Whether they are conducting a minimally invasive procedure or locating a tumor in liver, AR healthcare apps can help save lives and treat patients seamlessly.

As it could be expected, the AR market is buzzing. More and more players emerge in the field. Promising start-up, Atheer develops the Android-compatible wearable and complementary AiR cloud-based application to boost productivity, collaboration and output. The Medsights Tech company developed a software to test the feasibility of using augmented reality to create accurate 3-dimensional reconstructions of tumors. The complex image reconstructing technology basically empowers surgeons with X-ray views – without any radiation exposure, in real time. The True 3D medical visualization system of EchoPixel allows doctors to interact with patient-specific organs and tissue in an open 3D space. It enables doctors to immediately identify, evaluate, and dissect clinically significant structures.

 

Google Glass - Future of Surgery

 

Grossmann also told me that HoloAnatomy, which is using HoloLens to display real data-anatomical models, is a wonderful and rather intuitive use of AR having obvious advantages over traditional methods.

 

3) Surgical robotics

Surgical robots are the prodigies of surgery. According to market analysis, the industry is about to boom. By 2020, surgical robotics sales are expected to almost double to $6.4 billion.

The most commonly known surgical robot is the da Vinci Surgical System; and believe it or not, it was introduced already 15 years ago! It features a magnified 3D high-definition vision system and tiny wristed instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human hand. With the da Vinci Surgical System, surgeons operate through just a few small incisions. The surgeon is 100% in control of the robotic system at all times; and he or she is able to carry out more precise operations than previously thought possible.

Recently, Google has announced that it started working with the pharma giant Johnson&Johnson in creating a new surgical robot system. I’m excited to see the outcome of the cooperation soon. They are not the only competitors, though. With their AXSIS robot, Cambridge Consultants aim to overcome the limitations of the da Vinci, such as its large size and inability to work with highly detailed and fragile tissues. Their robot rather relies on flexible components and tiny, worm-like arms. The developers believe it can be used later in ophthalmology, e.g. in cataract surgery.

 

Da-Vinci-Surgical-Robot - Future of Surgery

 

4) Minimally Invasive Surgery

Throughout the history of surgery, the ultimate goal of medical professionals was to peak into the workings of the human body and to improve it with as small incisions and excisions as possible. By the end of the 18th century, after Edison produced his lightbulb, a Glasgow physician built a tiny bulb into a tube to be able to look around inside the body.

But it wasn’t until the second half of the 20th century when fiber-optic threads brought brighter light into the caverns of the body. And later, tiny computer chip cameras started sending images back out. At last, doctors could not only clearly see inside a person’s body without making a long incision, but could use tiny tools to perform surgery inside. One of the techniques revolutionizing surgery was the introduction of laparoscopes.

The medical device start-up, Levita aims to refine such procedures with its Magnetic Surgical System. It is an innovative technological platform utilizing magnetic retraction designed to grasp and retract the gallbladder during a laparoscopic surgery.

The FlexDex company introduced a new control mechanism for minimally invasive tools. It transmits movement from the wrist of the surgeon to the joint of the instrument entirely mechanically and it costs significantly less than surgical robots.

 

 

5) 3D Printing and simulations in pre-operative planning and education

Complicated and risky surgeries lasting hours need a lot of careful planning. Existing technologies such as 3D printing or various simulation techniques help a lot in reforming medical practice and learning methods as well as modelling and planning successfully complex surgical procedures.

In March 2016 in China, a team of experienced doctors decided to build a full-sized model of the heart of a small baby born with a heart defect. Their aim was to pre-plan an extremely complicated surgery on the tiny heart. This was the first time someone used this method in China. The team of medical professionals successfully completed the surgery. The little boy survived with little to no lasting ill-effects.

In December 2016, in the United Arab Emirates doctors have used 3D printing technology for the first time to help safely remove a cancerous tumour from a 42-year-old woman’s kidney. With the help of the personalized, 3D printed aid the team was able to carefully plan the operation as well as to reduce the procedure by an entire hour!

The technology started to get a foothold also in medical education. To provide surgeons and students with an alternative to a living human being to work on, a pair of physicians at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) have developed a way to use 3D printing to create artificial organs. They look, feel, and even bleed like the real thing. Truly amazing!

 

 

To widen the platform of available methods for effectively learning the tricks of the trade, Touch Surgery developed a simulation system. It is basically an app for practicing procedures ranging from heart surgery to carpal tunnel operations.

 

6) Live diagnostics

The intelligent surgical knife (iKnife) was developed by Zoltan Takats of Imperial College London. It works by using an old technology where an electrical current heats tissue to make incisions with minimal blood loss. With the iKnife, a mass spectrometer analyzes the vaporized smoke to detect the chemicals in the biological sample. This means it can identify whether the tissue is malignant real-time.

The technology is especially useful in detecting cancer in its early stages and thus shifting cancer treatment towards prevention.

 

Surgical iKnife - Future of Surgery

 

7) Artificial Intelligence will team up with surgical robotics

Catherine Mohr, vice president of strategy at Intuitive Surgical and expert in the field of surgical robotics believes surgery will take to the next level with the combination of surgical robotics and artificial intelligence. She is thrilled to see IBM Watson, Google Deepmind’s Alpha Go or machine learning algorithms to have a role in surgical procedures. She envisioned a tight partnership between humans and machines, with one making up for the weaknesses of the other.

In my view, AI such as the deep learning system, Enlitic, will soon be able to diagnose diseases and abnormalities. It will also give surgeons guidance over their – sometimes extremely – difficult surgical decisions.

Artificial Intelligence in Surgery - Future of Surgery

 

I agree with Dr. Mohr in as much as I truly believe the future of surgery, just as the future of medicine means a close cooperation between humans and medical technology. I also cannot stress enough times that robots and other products of the rapid technological development will not replace humans. The two will complement each other’s work in such a successful way that we had never seen nor dreamed about before. But only if we learn how. [The Medical Futurist]

January 18, 2017 / by / in , , , , , , , , ,
Algorithm Predicts What Happens Next in a Photo and Makes It Into a Video

Image Credit: MIT

 

Imagine if your favorite picture could automatically be converted into a short video and labeled. Sound like a fantasy? Maybe not for much longer.

Using a deep learning algorithm, MIT’s Carl Vondrick, Hamed Pirsiavash, and Antonio Torralba recently generated one second of predictive video based on a single still frame.

Called Scene Dynamics, the software has been taught with roughly two million unlabeled videos. After being fed a new image, the system runs two competing neural networks. The first generates the predictive video while the second discerns if the videos are real or fake. Beyond predicting an impressive number of frames based on assumed motion, the algorithm also classifies the specific action occurring. While clearly not perfect, the results are impressive already.

 

 

It’s notable the software learned from unlabeled videos. Deep learning programs are usually fed masses of meticulously labeled data (images, for example). This takes a lot of time and effort and limits learning to tailored experiences. The researchers hope their work will advance less laborious “unsupervised learning,” reducing the need for special data sets and allowing machines to learn from messier information.

Also, this isn’t the only project with the goal of predictive video.

Visual Dynamics is a similar project (also out of MIT) working to generate new frames of predictive video per source frame. The difference? Visual Dynamics predicts short snippets of what may theoretically happen next, while Scene Dynamics creates entirely new longer sequences of video that didn’t exist before. Also, Scene Dynamics can separate background from subjects and generate new content for each.

Predictive video from stills has a variety of immediate applications, most notably creating video “out of thin air.” And there might even be room for more creative endeavors down the road.

“I sort of fantasize about a machine creating a short movie or TV show,” lead author Carl Vondrick told Motherboard. “We’re generating just one second of video, but as we start scaling up maybe it can generate a few minutes of video where it actually tells a coherent story. We’re not near being able to do that, but I think we’re taking a first step.”

Beyond video creation, similar motion prediction capabilities might be integrated into computer vision systems, allowing robots to better guess how people and objects in front of them will move. Such powers might help them avoid damaging themselves or hurting others around them.

More speculatively, if software like this can predict motion, what else might it be trained to predict?

One possible use in the future could be predicting what blurry or distorted pixels in videos should look like if sharpened. Low-resolution, compressed, or artifact-laden video would then be automatically upgraded to high resolution.

According to the researchers, they also see use-cases for improved security tactics and self-driving technology. But the dark side of multimedia manipulation is clear too. We may eventually see it power propaganda or generate falsified evidence (assuming fakeness can’t be easily detected).

Thankfully, we still have quite a way to go before this concern is valid. But for better or worse, as media manipulation becomes more flexible and widespread, video as a medium will shift into something more fluid than static. Ultimately, how such technology is used will depend on the motivation of each user.

The code is already available on GitHub if anyone wants to start playing around today. And the original video data set is also available on the Scene Dynamics website. [SingularityHub]


 

January 18, 2017 / by / in , , , , , , , , ,
A Quick Guide to Enterprise App Marketing

 

Whether you’re creating a web app or a mobile app, there’s plenty of room in the B2B space for apps that solve the problems of business owners and managers.

In some respects, creating an enterprise application is a better model. Your customers are willing to spend money to simplify their process and save time, and they have revenue coming in the door to pay for your product.

But once you’ve built your product (or at least an early version of it), how do you market it? How do you put it in the hands of the right people?

B2B marketing is actually simple. Not easy, but simple. It requires constant product and customer development, creating supporting content, and targeting the right people.

Let’s dive in!

Continue iterating

No amount of marketing will make a poor product successful. Similarly, great products market themselves.

Jordan Stolper, CEO of StoryDesk, tells DMN: “The greatest misconception of app development is that once the software is built, the development ends.”

His point is that software should be continuously refined. You’re bound to make some mistakes. You need to monitor your analytics and speak with your customers to find ways to improve the application. What could be better? What should be removed? What new features should be added?

There are a million ways to iterate on your product. You probably have a million ideas on how to improve the product already. It’s not hard to come up insights. The trick is to prioritize your development (and avoid overdevelopment).

Alex Adamopoulos, founder and CEO of Emergn, believes that “one of the biggest differentiators between companies that thrive and those that fail is the ability to prioritize effectively.” (His article explains nine prioritization techniques, so check it out.)

This is important to keep in mind because many application owners fail to budget for ongoing development. They count their pennies right up until the app is published and wait for results.

Great products are shared organically. If your application is useful and performs well, your B2B customers will spread word of your tool throughout their industry in the spirit of making their friends and colleagues lives easier.

 

Focus on customer success

Your customers are looking for a solution to a problem. If they don’t realize value with your product (even due to their poor use), they’ll look elsewhere. And you can’t grow if you can’t retain your current customers.

Customer success is the practice of helping your customers find that value. Like product iteration, it helps you create a better application that markets itself. This is critical if you sell a monthly subscription SaaS.

This visual from For Entrepreneurs shows how happy customers send more leads into your sales pipeline. These leads are warmer and move through your sales process faster than typical leads.
 

 

The goal of a customer success manager is to onboard your users (not in a technical sense, but in a moment of first value sense) and make sure the product is continually serving their goals. Over time, this doesn’t just make the customer like your product – it makes them dependent on your product.

“Sales are important, but they shouldn’t be your focus when you need your current customers to pay you next month and every month thereafter,” says customer success consultant Nils Vinje. “Sales only begin the relationship. Customer success maintains the relationship for the long haul.”

 

Content, content, content

Content is one of the most effective ways to generate leads. Content on your website stays around forever, drawing traffic and either sending visitors to your sales pages or converting them to email subscribers (who are later sold on the product).

Content is especially useful in a B2B climate because people are constantly looking for solutions to make their jobs easier, complete difficult tasks, get more done in less time, and build automation into their process.

Ideally, your content should be the beginning of a marketing funnel that flows like this:

  • Content collects traffic.
  • Traffic joins your email list (now they are leads).
  • Leads are nurtured with additional content (perhaps a drip campaign that solves a particular problem or regular blog posts) over time.
  • Leads are targeted for sales.

For best results, segment your list as best you can based on characteristics that matter to your business, such as industry, company size, workflow, current solution, revenue, etc.

For instance, you might find that there are two types of people within your customers’ organizations who approach you: developers and project managers. A person who signed up in a blog post about high-level project planning would be tagged as “project manager.” You could send them targeted content and links to landing pages and sales pages that are relevant to their job.

If you want to see some great examples of content marketing, check out this article: 4 Apps Nailing Content Marketing (And How You Can Too)

 

Make a few videos

According to Google, 70% of B2B product buyers watch videos throughout the purchase journey. That claim and more are backed up in Tubular Insights’ 2015 B2B Video Content Marketing Survey:

  • 96% of B2B organizations create video content
  • 73% say video has positively impacted their marketing results
  • 41% plan to increase spending on video marketing in 2015

It’s also worth noting that Google’s search algorithm favors video content. Websites with videos see a 40% increase in traffic to pages with videos.

B2B marketing agency KoMarketing explains the value of video content well: “Video brings an immediacy, digestibility, context and personality that even the most clever of text-based business content struggles to achieve… at least in our instant gratification, device-ruled world.”

A great video should tell a story. It should be intriguing, but informative (remember, you aren’t entertaining). It uses a logical flow that starts by acknowledging the visitor’s problem, positioning the product as a solution and then compels the viewer to take action.

Most importantly, a video should feel genuine. The viewer should feel like you want to partner with them to solve the problem, not just transfer money from their pocket to yours.

 

Prospect hunting

Depending on your niche, mass marketing techniques might not be effective. If you’re selling a scheduling tool for dentist offices (but only ones large enough to afford it), you don’t have time for content or word-of-mouth to spread.

You have to get on the phone and sell. (Well, maybe by email.)

But first, you need a list of prospects who fit your ideal customer profile. (If you haven’t built a customer profile, use this link.)

First, start with social media. With 400 million members, LinkedIn has a tremendous pool of leads. 80.3% of all B2B leads generated through social media came from the social platform.

LinkedIn’s advanced search and Sales Navigator are excellent tools to find and approach people. Send personalized messaging that doesn’t sound like a template. Speak about benefits, not features. Wait a few days, then follow up.

You should also dive into some LinkedIn groups that relate to your business and industry. Engage with people regularly, but don’t be salesy. When you spot someone you can help, target them for selling.

After exhausting LinkedIn, try a lead finding tool like any one of these:

Finally, browse Quora for questions that relate to the problem you solve (not your product). When someone asks a question, you can swoop in and answer it, then reach out for a sale.

Use this list of B2B marketing tactics to start marketing right away.

Final thoughts

Here’s one final piece of advice: Listen to your customers. You need to know the precise problems they deal with every day and where they are searching for those solutions.

Speak to the people who are already paying for your product. Learn as much as you can from them. How do they prefer to use your product? Which features are necessary? What would make their lives easier? How do previous solutions compare?

Once you know what you customers (and potential customers) need and prefer, your marketing strategy will clarify. [Koombea]

January 17, 2017 / by / in , , , , ,
A Raspberry Pi-Powered, Alexa-Controlled Mirror

You’ve probably seen rumblings of ‘smart mirrors’ being vaguely available for sale in the future or to build now. If you’d like step-by-step instructions to make your own, look no further than Ben Eagan’s latest project.

 

 

According to his summary, it simply requires constructing a frame around a monitor, creating a two-way mirror, and setting up MagicMirror software on a Raspberry Pi.

Besides displaying information visually, Eagan added voice interaction to the mirror by installing Alexa software on his RPi. Now it can finally answer questions like, “How many kilometers to the sun,” or perhaps, “Who is the fairest of them all?”

Sound like a smart accessory you need in your bedroom or living room? Check out Eagan’s blog post to get started.

[Hackster.io]

January 17, 2017 / by / in , , , , ,
Five Highly Persuasive Digital Marketing Tactics

For their Christmas digital marketing push, Starbucks described a few lattes and mochas as, “Crafted by hand and heart. One sip will warm you up” and Apple discussed “the art of giving.” These campaigns sound natural because they immediately create an emotional connection, which as a byproduct creates not only a sale but a sustainable customer.

Both campaigns are intentional and rooted in the art of persuasive digital marketing. The power of persuasion is one of the most effective marketing tactics, but it must be done right. Above all, persuasive digital marketing efforts can’t be forceful; they need to naturally convey a company’s message, allowing customers to embrace the product or services while hopefully igniting some passion for your brand.

The following are five persuasive digital marketing tactics that my digital marketing agency uses not only for itself but for its clients.

 

Tell A Story

Storytelling has been and will always be the root of human interaction. A good story makes people feel connected, which is the ultimate persuasion factor. Use storytelling for not only a product or service push, but also for your brand.

When telling your story, keep these three tactics in mind: humanize the conversation, create an emotional connection, and offer value. Think of the Starbucks copy; it was not much in length but conveys a story that immediately humanizes the conversation and builds an emotional connection.

Speak in a voice that mirrors your brand’s voice and use all necessary jargon in your copy. For example, if you’re talking to an SEO audience, use language familiar to that audience, such as internal linking, title tags, keyword density, etc. Remember to keep simplicity in mind; some of the best stories say much with so little.

 

Use Trigger Words In Copy

Lingual psychologists have spent much time analyzing words that quickly engage people, which can lead to an actionable response, such as a conversion. Dr. Robert Cialdini’s classic book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” explains how some words trigger more than others. There are a few persuasive trigger words that should be used throughout your digital marketing copy, such as “you,” “because,” “new” and “free.”

By using “you,” you’re speaking directly to the customer and this psychologically develops a personal relationship with that customer, moving his or her attention to how they can work with you.

“Because” triggers reaction; always use this word in the beginning of your copy. It immediately triggers a reactive state and psychologically adds legitimacy to requests. If I was emailing someone about content creation, I would write “use our content creation services because we provide quality and relevancy while catering to search engines.” This immediately establishes a legit reason to what we provide and keeps people engaged for more.

The other two trigger words are “new” and “free.” Psychologically, new and free are attractive because it triggers the brain’s reward center.

 

Build Authority

Just as trigger words are used immediately, so should anything that builds authority, such as any form of recognition: awards, mentions in articles and content published at third-party resources, such as an article written by your company’s CEO or an infographic used in a story.

Brand authority naturally persuades customers, providing a secure feeling for your product or services; again, you’re catering to human emotions. Make sure to highlight any recognition that builds authority across all channels of your online presence: website, social media, newsletters and ads. At LSEO, we establish brand authority by listing awards and recognition, articles published on notable third-party publications, and my book on search engine optimization.

 

Offer Social Proof

Just as important as building brand authority is offering social proof. Instead of telling a potential customer/client what to do, show them what others did in that situation. The easiest route towards social proof is featuring case studies and online reviews. If you’re an agency, find your best customers and develop case studies about their success and how you helped them achieve that success. For those selling actual products, highlight customer reviews. Social proof is naturally persuasive.

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

Talk Benefits And How To Avoid Problems

Once you have established a human connection between your brand and audience with the tips outlined above, the next act of persuasion is based on your actual products or services. Highlight the benefits of your products and services and how they will help customers or clients avoid problems.

One thing that search engine algorithms like Google despise is thin and irrelevant content, so when discussing the benefits of using our agency over others, our content team notes that quality and relevance are at the forefront, along with the proper target keywords. This immediately informs the client that they can avoid the major problem of having online content discredited by search engines due to black hat SEO techniques such as keyword stuffing.

 

Concluding Thoughts

Persuasion is the ultimate route to a loyal customer base. But you can’t be forceful; rather, you must engage emotions and create customer loyalty to not only your product or service but also your brand. A persuasive digital marketing campaign that incorporates these tactics is sure to garner much more attention over a basic, in-your-face campaign. [Source: Forbes]

January 17, 2017 / by / in , , ,
Future of App Development – Native Apps or Web App?

progressive web app

 

Today all digital businesses is moving towards native mobile apps. Most of the companies are creating their platforms which are app only. And they have significant reasons for having app only platform over web based platforms:

Reasons Why Mobile Apps Have Become So Popular

1) Increased User Interest

When you develop an app, it gives you an easy way to showcase your products or services to your customers and prospective customers. Whenever they want, they can just use it as a one-stop point to get all the info they need.

2) Enhanced Engagement

Most shoppers cannot resist the temptation of a good deal or a great discount, especially when one stares at their face. And this is exactly what you can do with your mobile app.

3) Real Time Push Promotions

Suppose you have an apparel and accessories boutique at a central location. And you know that many prospective customers walk by your store every day. What if you design an app that lures them to your store when they are in the vicinity?

4) Quicker Support

While it is often a hassle to receive and respond to a customer support request, the same becomes easy when you have an appropriate app to do it. With a mobile app that can offer instructions and how-to’s, you are sure to win approval.

5) Ease of Use

Users today wish for a fuss-free experience, whether they access your site or your app, and whether they do it from their PC or their Smartphone. With a good plan and a clear vision, it becomes possible to deliver on their expectations.

6) Regular Usage & Personalization

If your target users are going to be using your app in a personalized fashion on a regular basis (think EverNote) then an app provides a great way to do that.

7) Native Functionality or Processing Required

Mobile web browsers are getting increasingly good at accessing certain mobile-specific functions such as click-to-call, SMS and GPS. However, if you need to access a user’s camera or processing power an app will still do that much more effectively.

8) No Connection Required

If you need to provide offline access to content or perform functions without a network/wireless connection then an app makes sense.

All the reasons look significant, and I must say they are proving their worth in the market, but one thing which makes all these things still useless is, you have to make customers download your app, which is the most challenging thing to do.

And I have seen most of the companies doing anything to make sure that their app is downloaded by their target user. They are giving huge discounts, doing a lot of advertisements, but I think you can’t force users to download a different app for each and every service they want.

 

Issues with apps

1) As I have mentioned, you have to make users to download your app, and that is not easy at all.

2) All mobile devices have limitations: memory, performance etc.

We need to take care of different mobile devices while developing an app which is a huge challenge for app developers to give same user experience on different mobile devices.

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The devices can have different platforms on which they are working, different specifications, different screen sizes etc.

3) If users have so many apps then your app will be lost in the pool of other apps.

 

How web apps will give all the features of a native app with the the simplicity of website?

This is a big and difficult question for web developers.

Let’s discuss first what are the benefits of having a web app then will try to find how they can be improved or how they are improving:

1) Immediacy — Mobile Websites Are Instantly Available

A mobile website is instantly accessible to users via a browser across a range of devices (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, etc). Apps on the other hand require the user to first download and install the app from an app marketplace before the content or application can be viewed — a significant barrier between initial engagement and action/conversion.

2) Compatibility — Mobile Websites are Compatible Across Devices

A single mobile website can reach users across many different types of mobile devices, whereas native apps require a separate version to be developed for each type of device. Furthermore, mobile website URLs are easily integrated within other mobile technologies such as SMS, QR Codes and near field communication (NFC).

3) Upgradability — Mobile Websites Can Be Updated Instantly

A mobile website is much more dynamic than an app in terms of pure flexibility to update content. If you want to change the design or content of a mobile website you simply publish the edit once and the changes are immediately visible; updating an app on the other hand requires the updates to be pushed to users, which then must be downloaded in order to update the app on each type of device.

4) Findability — Mobile Websites Can be Found Easily

Mobile websites are much easier for users to find because their pages can be displayed in search results and listed in industry-specific directories, making it easy for qualified visitors to find you. Most importantly, visitors to your regular website can be automatically sent to your mobile site when they are on a handheld (using device-detection). In contrast, the visibility of apps are largely restricted to manufacturer app stores.

5) Shareability — Mobile Websites Can be Shared Easily by Publishers, and Between Users

Mobile website URLs are easily shared between users via a simple link (e.g. within an email or text message, Facebook or Twitter post). Publishers can easily direct users to a mobile website from a blog or website, or even in print. An app simply cannot be shared in this fashion.

6) Reach — Mobile Websites Have Broader Reach

Because a mobile website is accessible across platforms and can be easily shared among users, as well as search engines, it has far greater reach capability than a native app.

7) LifeCycle — Mobile Websites Can’t Be Deleted

The average shelf-life of an app is pretty short, less than 30 days according to some research, so unless your app is something truly unique and/or useful (ideally, both), it’s questionable how long it will last on a user’s device. Mobile websites on the other hand are always available for users to return to them.

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8) A Mobile Website Can be an App

Just like a standard website, mobile websites can be developed as database-driven web applications that act very much like native apps. A mobile web application can be a practical alternative to native app development.

9) Support and Sustainability

The investment considerations of app vs website don’t end with the initial launch; properly supporting and developing an app (upgrades, testing, compatibility issues and ongoing development) is more much more expensive and involved than supporting a website over time.
So we have some answers for this , which are still looks like a hypothesis.

 

Now how to compete with native apps

Some recent innovations in the field of web app development:

1) Push Notifications for web interface

Push notification plays a vital role in advertisement, enhances the user engagement, and many other things.

2) Geo fencing on web

Today all the apps are personalised for you. They work according to your taste, your location etc.

So, for web to work like these we need Geo Fencing for Web.

3) Off-line Support for some features

Apps provide offline features, like Facebook allows you to update your status even when you are not connected to web, and when you are back in network they will update your status automatically.

So for all these things many web based companies are working and have launched new technologies to support all these features of a native app on web apps, even they have released beta versions of some of the features.

For Example:

1) Google’s material design on websites, we have Polymer which is still in early stage and not that many developers are familiar with it yet. But yes I guess in future developer community will use this platform or some other coming platforms to give web development a new face.

2) Bootstrap: Helping developers in making mobile friendly websites.

3) Service Builder, which will provide offline support for web apps.

4) Push Notification and Geo Fencing in latest version of Google Chrome for developers and in Mozilla Firefox.

And many more…

 

In Conclusion

As long as mobile remains a relatively new frontier, the “app vs web” question will remain a very real consideration for organizations seeking to establish a mobile presence. If your mobile goals are primarily marketing-driven, or if your aim is to deliver content and establish a broad mobile presence that can be easily shared between users and found on search engines, then the a mobile website is the logical choice. On the other hand, if your goal is interactive engagement with users, or to provide an application that needs to work more like a computer program than a website, then an app is probably going to be required.

Want to share some websites which are working on all these futuristic designs and technologies.

https://poly-mail.appspot.com/
http://foodtrack.de/
https://www.chromestatus.com/features/5047308127305728
http://1.daily-stock-forecast.appspot.com/favorite/
http://pubnub.github.io/paper-chat/
https://home-assistant.io/demo/

[iamwire]

January 17, 2017 / by / in , , , , ,
8 Useful Sales Automation Tools for Startups

Sales automation

 

By Alvin Tai, Founder, FastQS

If you’re a startup founder or the first sales hire at a startup, you know just how harsh the market is. Customers think your product is too immature, your brand has no reputation, your company is too young and your team is too unprofessional. The leverage you have in any deal is so minuscule, it’s almost laughable.

Ideally, you could build out a solid team of Sales Development Reps, Sales Engineers and Account Executives to get leads into the pipeline, qualify them and move each potential customer through the sales cycle. But since you’re the only sales person in the company, you’re doing everything. You need to get resourceful in order to get your foot in the door.

Here are the most useful sales automation tools for startups:

Clearbit: Clearbit is one of those solutions that really surprise you when you try it. It’s a little difficult to really see the value of their product just by looking at their website, but when you try it out, your eyebrows will perk up and you will silently mouth the word, “whoa!” While you can build very powerful internal tools with their APIs, I’ve mostly used the Google Sheets Integration and Clearbit Connect (Gmail Add-On), and they are incredible. Their Google Sheets Integration helps you populate companies and contacts, while ClearBit Connect is a must-have Gmail Add-On that helps you find email addresses and gives you insight into who you’re reaching out to.

 

 

Rapportive: Though Rapportive has been around for awhile, it’s still one of the best ways to (1) verify email addresses and (2) get quick LinkedIn information about the contact. It’s another Gmail Add-On that takes up space on the right side of your inbox and whenever you start an email or hover over an address, information about the person immediately pops up on the sidebar. It sometimes clashes with other sidebar Add-Ons (Clearbit Connect, Hubspot, etc.), but it’s still my favorite one to have in that location.

Similar Read:  How We Are Helping Fashion Brands By Driving Orders Through Our Own Portal

Yesware: Yesware used to have a free plan, but earlier this year, they switched to a paid-only model. But at $12/month, it’s not a huge cost. Out of all the “email tracking” apps out there (ie. Sidekick, Tout, BananaTag, etc.), I find Yesware to be the easiest and simplest one to use. It’s fast and has a no-frills attitude towards email automation.

 

 

Hubspot: If you don’t want to shell out money for Yesware, Hubspot Sales Tools (previously called SideKick), is the next best thing. It’s free and gives you most of the functionality that Yesware provides (email tracking, templates, etc.). However, as a caveat, you’ll also have to deal with all the other Hubspot marketing tools that you may not need or want. It’s a bit cluttered, but it’s still a good alternative to Yesware.

PersistIQ: This is a relatively new company that provides a simple cold email and follow-up email solution. When you connect it with your email account, you give it permission to start sending emails on your behalf. You can set 4 or 5 follow up emails that will automatically send over the course of a few days if you don’t get a response. Very handy if you’re cold emailing hundreds of people a day.

 

 

Mail Tester: You wouldn’t be the first one to laugh at the sight of this webpage, but I still use it for basic email verification when all other methods fail. It’s not a guarantee as it seems like more and more companies are figuring out ways to thwart this simple email check, but sometimes, it’s all you need to get the job done.

Similar Read:  How to Build Your Dream with a Remote Team

LinkedIn Premium: LinkedIn has become the de facto source for a person’s job title and employment history. It’s essentially an online resume for almost every professional out there. Over the last couple years, LinkedIn has been slowly limiting “commercial usage” by reducing the number of profiles you can view during a search and is very restrictive when it comes to building in-house scraper tools to generate lead lists. For better or for worse, the LinkedIn Premium plan has becomes a necessity for sales and recruiting teams alike. You have access to unlimited profiles and additional “InMail” messages.

Email Hunter: Use the Email Hunter LinkedIn plugin tool and you get an “Email Hunter” button that shows up on every LinkedIn profile view. Click it and it tries to “guess” the email address of the contact. It’s not totally accurate (I’d say maybe 60% of the time), but it saves you quite a bit of time if it works.

 

 

In a startup, you have to search for and use all the resources you can find to help you compete against larger sales teams. There are a lot of tools out there, but not all of them are right for startups. This is the setup that I’ve used and is proven to work.

January 17, 2017 / by / in , , , , ,
7 Ways for Growing Engagement in iOS Mobile Apps

mobile app engagement

 

 

By Jenna Erickson.

 

Mobile apps are no longer an extension of websites. There are plenty of companies which exist in a mobile only or a mobile first format. It is imperative for developers to follow the best practices, and stay up to day with the latest trends in app usage. In the same light, here are the ways for growing engagement on iOS apps. Some techniques are valid for Android apps as well.

1. Push & Local Notifications

2. Mobile App Deep Linking

3. Localization & Internationalization

4. Spotlight Indexing

5. SiriKit

6. App Analytics

7. Social Media Integration

 

1) Push + Local Notifications

One of the best ways to boost engagement and increase user retention is to utilize push notifications, and local notifications. These notification types allow the app to reach users (and perform small tasks) even when the app is not actively in use.

Push notifications can:

  • Display a short text message
  • Play a notification sound
  • Set a badge number on the app’s icon
  • Provide actions the user can take without opening the app
  • Be silent, allowing the app to wake up in the background and perform a task

New to iOS 10:

  • Images, GIFs, audio and video
  • Expanded detail view with 3D touch
  • Notification actions
  • Target based push notifications
  • Vendors in push notifications

 

2) Mobile App Deep Linking

 

Deep linking

 

Another way to boost engagement is to employ deep linking. Deep linking is the practice of using a within-app linking structure to direct mobile users to specific pages within the app, rather than directing the user to the app’s homepage.

Similar Read:  A Guide to Accelerate Your Mobile App Development Timeline

This form of engagement is the mobile app equivalent of a URL, allowing users and developers to take advantage of a deeper layer of share-ability. Deep linking makes it possible to share a specific piece of application content with a URL, just as you would a web page.

 

3) Localization + Internationalization

Engage with your users on a cultural level by speaking to them in their own language. Localization is the process of translating your app into multiple languages. Traditionally, the option to choose a language is offered upon launch, however an option in the application settings can also be dedicated to this feature.

But before you can localize your app, you have to internationalize it. Put simply, it’s the process of giving your app the ability to adapt to different languages, regions, and cultures. In other words, design and develop the application in a way that makes it easy to localize the content.

 

4) Spotlight Indexing

spotlight

 

Sometimes, increasing user engagement is as simple as letting users search the app. Search is such an innate part of being a 21st century consumer, that it’s only natural for a user to delight at the prospect of integrating more content into standard search.

Spotlight indexing gives developers the ability to index application content in spotlight search, allowing users to search the app without ever opening it. This is a subtle form of engagement, as it allows the app to still capture the user’s attention even after it is closed.

 

5) SiriKit

 

sirikit

 

Sirikit gives your app the ability to converse with your users. Leverage the Siri interface to engage with users in a very natural way—via conversation.

For now, Siri will only be able to engage with apps that fall into one of the following categories (updates will expand the list):

  • Messaging
  • VoIP calling
  • Payments
  • Workouts
  • Ride booking
  • Photo Search

 

6) App Analytics

 

app analytics

 

In order to engage with your users, you’ve got to know your users. When it comes to user engagement, analytics is your secret weapon. You’ll gain a wealth of knowledge about your user base which can in turn be used to tailor user engagement.

Imagine being able to see how many people downloaded your app, how much money you’re making off of each segment, and what users think of your app, among other things.

 

7) Social Media Integration

 

social media

 

As social media use continues to dominate your users’ time year after year, its importance as both a marketing tool, and as a way of engaging with your app’s user base cannot be overstated.

While social shareability is critical to engagement, it ought not be intrusive, and must not interfere with the user experience. When done correctly, however, social shareability can you bring your business countless new users.

Jenna Erickson is a creative strategist at a Chicago based digital agency, Codal.

January 17, 2017 / by / in , , ,
7 Marketing Techniques Learnt From Successful Entrepreneurs

Gordon Moore, co-founder and Chairman Emeritus, Intel Corporation

 

By Shraddha Tewari

A famous saying, “I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others… I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent” by Thomas Edison reveals the one of the secret tip to become a successful entrepreneur.

Hunting for an exciting and thrilling career in a fast-growing company, professionals from sales & marketing, human resource to finance department are flocking to get established in start-up roles. But, entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. Diligence, superb social skills, ability to overcome hardships, ability to build a unique marketing strategy frames some of the characteristics of entrepreneurs.

When we think of entrepreneurs, some of the iconic figures Steve Jobs, Bill gates, Gordon Moore instantly spring to mind. Years of hard work, unique ideas and strategic marketing skills helped them to realize their dreams. Here are a few techniques we can pick up from them

Build up Anxiety among Audience

Keep your products secret. Engage users by enabling them make a wild guess. Just give a hint about your awesome product and services and don’t spread its details. Let the customer engage with the brand through a guessing game. Apple implemented the same strategy during the launch of Apple Watch. Its launch process was initiated in market with the name iWatch rather using its actual name Apple Watch and its design was kept secret. Self-marketing strategies can be implemented by initiating viral discussions on social media.

Perform Vigilant Risk Assessment

Thriving with high aspirations, small business entrepreneurs enter the business world to turn their ideas and knowledge into moneymaking companies. But, the failure to assess the risks associated with the startups pulls down its success rate. Forbes revealed the reasons behind startup failures. Extensive research and analysis, effective goal-setting, hunting high and low, studying about the target market can play a crucial role in helping your business deal with hardships successfully.

Similar Read:  How Indian startups are using video content—and how they should

Answer Customer Needs Satisfactorily

Failing to recognize customer needs lead to business breakdown. Create a compelling message that describes features and benefits of the product, unique selling points. Pricing forms the critical part of brand development. Choosing the right price can help you to maximize profits and build up healthy relationships with the customers. Also, active engagement and dialogue with the customers can help to acquire better understanding of the customer needs’.

Build An Appealing Visual

Powerful visuals can create strong image of the brand and help in its quick establishment. Interactive and engaging visual enables you to build a long term relation with the existing customers and also, helps to create new customers. You can communicate some useful message through visuals and ensure everything in the design serves an objective. Also, compile brand attributes in the message and use it effectively in every marketing campaign.

Frequently Approach Customers and Prospects

Frequently connecting with customers and prospects using latest promotional offers can help to build a perfect image of the brand. Generating referrals, examining the customers’ experience with the products and services offered will enable them engage better with the brand. Only a small percentage of customers may respond to the approach made. Well, that’s normal. But, frequently contacting the customers will help to generate interest among them.

Similar Read:  A Guide to Accelerate Your Mobile App Development Timeline

Create Less and Earn More

A research over the marketing strategy used by some of the brands such as Nokia, Samsung and Apple has led to an inference that what matters is giving less but with utmost perfection. Steve Jobs always excelled in this mantra. Till date, it’s only one iPhone, one iMac and one iPad, etc. However, apple has deviated from its ideology after the death of Steve Jobs. The launch of so many variants of Apple Watch at the same time explains it all. Nokia and Samsung launch so many phones. And it becomes difficult to choose the best out of many. Contrary to this, creating just one perfect product can help in better establishment of the brand.

Make Wise Use of Everything

Utilizing the best resources available in the market can help to reach informed decisions. Growth hacking is one of the famous branding tool making its presence in the market. A business website can be promoted and marketed by performing social media optimization, A/B price testing, website analytics and implementing content marketing strategies. Track what satisfies the customers most. Understanding where, when and how to spend helps to fulfil the need of customers satisfactorily.

Wrapping it up

Starting your own venture is an exciting journey. But, certain things need to be considered before making the start. A perfect blend of a game-changing idea and vigorous marketing efforts guarantees successful establishment of any business and can turn any founder into a successful entrepreneur.

January 17, 2017 / by / in , , , , ,
Welcome to the new internet | Muneeb Ali | TEDxNewYork

 

We use the internet everyday, traveling from one website to the next, but most of us don’t know what happens to our data as we sign in and out of different sites. Blockstack Inc cofounder Muneeb Ali introduces his new web browser, which eliminates the middlemen and puts the power of the web back into our own hands.

Muneeb Ali is a computer scientist building a fairer internet with new ways for users to own their own data. He is the cofounder of the open-source software start-up Blockstack Inc.

January 15, 2017 / by / in , , , , , , , , , ,
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