|By Vikas Sharan||
|December 20, 2013 11:00 AM EST||
Mobile apps aren't just for consumers anymore. Businesses large and small are recognizing that mobile apps can heighten employee efficiency and productivity. Mobile apps can give many companies a competitive edge through more agile customer service, sales tools, and supply chain management. In a Q213 Appcelerator survey of mobile app developers, 42.7% plan to build apps that are B2B and B2E (business to employee), and more than 51% expect to build apps for enterprise app stores.
Businesses face a number of challenges as they deploy mobile apps across the enterprise. With proliferation of mobile devices, mobile technology fragmentation, and the trend toward "BYOD," operability on multiple platforms is essential to ensure broad adoption. Intuitive user interface is important as well, since employees have expectations based on their experience with consumer apps. To avoid data leaks and other security breaches, businesses need to address authentication and access privileges across the enterprise. Integration with existing IT infrastructure, both on premise and in the cloud, must also be considered, as well as data retention and regulatory compliance.
On November 13, The Silicon Valley Business App (SVBA) Awards sponsored by Regalix, recognized six outstanding mobile business apps for their innovation and development practices. In this article, we describe two of these award-winning apps and how they effectively address the specific needs of businesses.
DocuSign Ink: SVBA Award Winner for Productivity
The global standard for eSignature®, DocuSign Ink makes it possible for employees to use their mobile devices to safely and securely provide information, sign or initial any document, and then return the completed document via email - anytime, anywhere.
DocuSign understood that for the mobile app to be adopted across the enterprise, the signing experience had to be intuitive and easy to use for any user - whether a customer, prospect, partner, supplier, or employee. Download and setup needed to be straightforward, and the process of opening a document from email, importing it into DocuSign Ink, and applying a signature had to be completely seamless with the highest levels of security and availability, since businesses would rely on the technology for mission critical operations. As a result, they designed the app so that users can easily complete form fields, drag and drop their signatures and initials into documents, and complete the DocuSigning of a document received through email in three taps or less. The DocuSign Ink app integrates with the native email client on each mobile device so that users can sign documents from within the email client.
In addition, they recognized that since many employees would be downloading the app on their personal smartphones and tablets, the interface needed to be comfortable and familiar for users on a variety of mobile devices and software platforms. DocuSign developed native apps for iOS, Android, and Windows, optimizing each for the interesting features of the individual operating system. Since native apps deliver faster and more reliable performance than Web-based apps, DocuSign was able to deliver a high-quality user experience, which encouraged rapid adoption among consumers and businesses alike.
By developing native apps, DocuSign was able to give users a rich signature creation experience and tools to enhance productivity. The app is tuned for pressure and speed sensitivity while offering a variety for pen types and colors for users to personalize their signatures. An optional push notification feature was seamlessly integrated into the app, which alerts users when they have documents to sign, when transactions have been completed, and the status of documents as they're being signed, all without the user having to open DocuSign Ink. These features make employees more productive to accelerate the speed of business and reduce costs-all without complicating the user experience.
Voxer Business: SVBA Award Winner for Social Business and Winner for Best Overall Mobile Business App
Voxer Business is a live messaging application that blends the richness of voice with the etiquette of texting. Unlike traditional push-to-talk phones or radios, Voxer Business offers both live streamed and recorded messages at scale, including voice, text, or images. Voxer Business can send live audio between mobile and desktop clients, enabling workers to collaborate regardless of location or device.
Designed to be an enterprise-grade communications tool, Voxer Business was built to mesh with companies' existing business processes and IT infrastructure. For example, the app supports LDAP, Active Directory, and other back end directory systems to streamline identity management and allow integration with existing enterprise system credentials, enabling a true single sign-on experience. Additionally, Voxer aligns its storage policies with its customers' existing data retention and regulatory compliance policies and utilizes military grade encryption to guard against data leaks.
Voxer recognized that employees would be using the app on their personal mobile devices as well as their desktops. Since low latency and high-quality audio are so crucial to the user experience (and adoption), Voxer developed native apps for each mobile device and a Web-based application for desktop that supports multiple conversations. While the look and feel of the app is consistent across devices, each native app is optimized for high-quality audio on the specific platform. Voxer believed that seamless integration of a desktop application was important from a business process perspective, as it gives users complete flexibility whether they are in the office or on the road. An additional benefit is elimination of information silos that can develop when desktop and mobile applications are not unified.
DocuSign and Voxer built their mobile business apps on different foundations. DocuSign was well established as a leader in eSignature and eSignature transaction management for the enterprise. Recognizing the growing trend of mobility among consumers and the mobile sales and service workforce, DocuSign added mobile apps to its product portfolio to deliver even greater value to customers. Voxer applied its mobile app technology, which first gained massive consumer adoption, to the rigorous requirements of the enterprise as it developed its professional-grade solution. Voxer Business is arguably the poster child of the consumerization of IT. Both companies have employed best practices to develop native mobile apps that deliver cross platform functionality, an intuitive user experience, and IT infrastructure integration. Much more than mobile versions of business apps, DocuSign Ink and Voxer Business are good examples of mobile apps designed from the ground up to work for businesses-and to make them more nimble and productive.
"We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 9, 2016 07:45 AM EST Reads: 1,192
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data professionals...
Dec. 9, 2016 07:00 AM EST Reads: 4,348
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2017 New York The 7th Internet of @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Chris Matthieu is the co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, a revolutionary real-time IoT platform recently acquired by Citrix. Octoblu connects things, systems, people and clouds to a global mesh network allowing users to automate and control design flo...
Dec. 9, 2016 06:00 AM EST Reads: 823
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
Dec. 9, 2016 04:15 AM EST Reads: 1,458
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
Dec. 9, 2016 04:00 AM EST Reads: 6,346
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
Dec. 9, 2016 03:00 AM EST Reads: 428
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Dec. 9, 2016 02:15 AM EST Reads: 6,237
The idea of comparing data in motion (at the sensor level) to data at rest (in a Big Data server warehouse) with predictive analytics in the cloud is very appealing to the industrial IoT sector. The problem Big Data vendors have, however, is access to that data in motion at the sensor location. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave, discussed how as IoT is increasingly adopted by industrial markets, there is going to be an increased demand for sensor data from the outermos...
Dec. 9, 2016 02:00 AM EST Reads: 3,080
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Dec. 9, 2016 01:15 AM EST Reads: 1,671
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dec. 9, 2016 12:45 AM EST Reads: 1,217
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Internet to enable us all to im...
Dec. 9, 2016 12:30 AM EST Reads: 905
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Dec. 9, 2016 12:00 AM EST Reads: 727
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 8, 2016 09:45 PM EST Reads: 1,251
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Dec. 8, 2016 09:15 PM EST Reads: 979
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
Dec. 8, 2016 05:45 PM EST Reads: 1,736
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Dec. 8, 2016 05:00 PM EST Reads: 1,830
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Dec. 8, 2016 04:45 PM EST Reads: 1,862
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
Dec. 8, 2016 04:45 PM EST Reads: 2,263
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Dec. 8, 2016 04:15 PM EST Reads: 2,329
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Dec. 8, 2016 03:30 PM EST Reads: 1,264