How to Develop a Real-Time Picture Chatting App like Snapchat

Messaging apps are all the rage right now and seemingly endless options indicate that consumers haven’t really made up their mind as to the favorite. At 25, Evan Spiegel, Founder of Snapchat is already amongst the youngest billionaires of the world.

Today many users are active on more than just one messaging app. The evidence for what I’m saying can be found by looking at the financial success of not just one but nearly every major Chatting app out there. WhatsApp is the go-to option for people without access to reliable cell coverage (and works best for group messaging!). Hangouts provides easy connections to your email contacts and has a great video option – Hangouts is probably the best for businesses.

The onboarded chatting apps for iOS and Android are both adequate, but lack a lot of the functionality of WhatsApp and others. Which brings us to SnapChat. SnapChat is newer than WhatsApp, but at 5 years old can be called one of the older generation of tech companies. SnapChat saw the proverbial writing on the wall – when there are many possible alternatives to your service, make your app something special.

Like Speigel says ‘Somewhere along the way, when we were building social media products, we forgot the reason we like to communicate with our friends is because it is fun.‘

SnapChat, unlike competitors, focuses around a photo and not the text itself. It’s made to be away for people to share funny pictures without clogging up your phone with unneeded images. SnapChat images and chats quickly erase themselves for your phone, preserving your phone’s memory.

Let’s run through some numbers real quick:

    • SnapChat Launched in 2011. In 2013, Facebook offered to buy the company for $3 Billion and Googled offered $4 Billion. Both were turned down.

    • In September, SnapChat released their valuation in an effort to raise money for another round of funding. The valuation was $16 Billion – not far behind the tech giant Tesla’s own valuation..

    • There are two major privately owned tech companies valued at the multibillion dollar mark. SnapChat and Uber.

There are a few factors that go into making an awesome picture chatting app. In terms of User-Centric Design (UCD), SnapChat has made an unparalleled product. They set out to make a messaging app centered around pictures – and boy, did they. For any entrepreneur looking to start a consumer-oriented business, SnapChat should be one of your primary resources.

Let’s take a look at what SnapChat does to make it so loved by its users :)

Build Around a Hook

1. SnapChat creators focused entirely around the picture side of their app. The creators knew that this is what attracted people to their platform. To make their services even more valuable to their users, they essentially turn their app into camera and picture app that sends messages.

2. Users love filters – in fact it’s a centerpiece of any Smartphone Camera app. SnapChat offers only a few filters, but they’re masterpieces. In fact, many users actually use SnapChat just for their photo filters.

3. This next feature is simply the perfect example of how to approach UCD. When most apps use a front-facing camera, they flip end picture. SnapChat doesn’t: what you see on the screen is what the end picture will look like. The designers followed the one all encompassing rule of design – think about how consumers will use the app.

4. Another important hook to SnapChat is the disappearing feature. While this feature is often used for nefarious purposes, it’s still key to attract their target market – teens. We all know teens goof off and get up to no good. SnapChat gives them a relatively safe place to do so.

a. Also teens aren’t the only ones to goof off. For those of you who get photo-happy when drunk, having an app that deletes those pictures is great way to avoid later embarrassing moments.

5. SnapChat improved their services by moving beyond just pictures. Users can create doodles within the app to make hilarious images and drawings – or use it to edit other photos to make a new, reinterpreted image.

Look, some of these seem self-explanatory, but the secret to SnapChat’s success is in perfecting these seemly simple techniques. SnapChat is an example of good marketing combined with excellent design. Just over a year ago, SnapChat was surpassing 100 million users – a number not far behind its older competitor, WhatsApp.

We would experiment and fail. We must have attempted nearly 34 projects’ – Evan Spiegel.

While many people question SnapChat’s ability to generate a revenue, Founders Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel just made Forbes’ 400 richest people in the US. Both of them are under the age of 30 – and they’re billionaires. Clearly they’re doing something correct. Even more importantly, they seem to have cracked one of the most sought after demographics out there – the 18-34s.

Getting this market hooked on your product early in life means you have a long-lasting ready-made user base which knows you and your brand. These guys are the holy grail of the marketing world. Just don’t tell them that – they’re heads are already big enough!

Your Picture Chat Messenger App Builders

SDI is a Silicon Valley based app and web services based company empowering startups and entrepreneurs globally. We know how to create apps that render images and videos flawlessly.

We design and develop apps that deliver continual and sustainable value to your clients, ensuring long-term success and a high potential revenue generation.

Give us a call at 408.802.2885 to get your project started. Are you more of an email type? No problem. Contact us at team@sdi.la whenever you need us.

Ashton Kutcher – Celebrity Investors Who Can Work Wonders for Your App

Any entrepreneur knows the value of a good investor. For Startups and SMBs seed money is often necessary to jumpstart productivity. Beyond Seed money, many CEOs and business owners need a little cash injection to help them grow to the next stage. From tech to manufacturing, the role investment plays in business is time-honored and valued almost as much as it is feared and reviled.

Going out asking for money often seems like begging for cash. To a nation of “pull up your Bootstrappers” it can be a difficult, trying process. Venture capitalism has advantages and disadvantages, but here’s the secret: Startup investment is a $120 billion dollar industry. Everyone needs help – even big companies. The potential rewards of safe, smart growth far outstrip the downsides.

While large Venture Capital firms such as Sequoia Capital, SV Angel, and Accel Partners are known and respected, our Venture Capital analysts at SDI have been looking towards the world of Angel Investors and wealthy celebrities who show a flair for wise investing.

One of these people might surprise you: The indomitable Ashton Kutcher. Yep, the man who brought us Michael Kelso, Dude Where’s my Car, and Punk’D, the man who made much of his early career by playing various “stoner” roles. Turns out, he’s got a nose for startups that win – and win big.

Kutcher’s investment firm (A-Grade Investments) has made some of the most profitable decisions out of any tech VC firm in the last half decade. Kutcher has his fingers in all sorts of pies:

    1. Uber;

    2. AirBnB;

    3. Skype (with which he tripled his investment, by the by); and

    4. FourSquare.

And those are just some of the bigger projects he’s funded. A-Grade Investments has demonstrated itself to be one of the best predictors of success in the tech world – and Kutcher isn’t one to make small investments that go no where. So how do you get some of this wonderful cash he’s sitting on? That’s easy – get some help from Silicon Valley’s tech firm. Afterall, we have established networks with dozens of VCs and Angel Investors throughout the Bay Area.

Start with a Unique Pitch

An investment pitch is about selling yourself as much as it’s about selling your idea or company, maybe even more so. Investors want to know if you can cut it:

Are you passionate about your project?

Running a startup requires passion – you have to love what your doing – or even sometimes hate it! Just make sure you have the passion needed to see it through.

Are you dedicated enough to stick with it?

Startups and SMBs often require 20-24 hours a week. Investors want to know you’re not going to burn out a month in. Make sure they know you can stick with it.

Is your idea feasible?

The uncomfortable truth is that everyone and their brother has an idea. Investors need to know your idea can work. We recommend creating a prototype or MVP that demonstrates the effectiveness of your idea. Don’t worry – SDI can help you build a prototype of your app or website that will impress any investor.

Are your projections accurate?

Investors aren’t dumb people, Kutcher’s acting roles aside. They’re smart and, more pointedly, they look a numbers all day long. In fact, knowing how to read a budget and judge potential is Venture Capitalism 101! Be honest and realistic in your projections. They will know if you’re fudging the data and *poof* there goes any hope of investment.

Sometimes having an MVP isn’t feasible – so what do you do? The good news is that an MVP can be something as minimalistic as a PowerPoint presentation. But from our research, this isn’t necessarily the best idea. Our strategists started working with our developers to create a new approach – Pitch Websites. We build websites that convey your idea in a much more interactive and innovative manner. These websites are light – a few pages at most. They aren’t live to the general public and only those with the URL can access it, but they have proven to be effective. They have several advantages over a PowerPoint:

    ♦ They can provide more information;

    ♦ They’re unique and memorable;

    ♦ They’re interactive;

    ♦ Each investor gets to view the website;

    ♦ VCs can view the website at their own pace and even reference it after your presentation had concluded; and

    ♦ They show you’re tech savvy and have good development team on your side.

Are you asking for too much money? Too little?

Nailing down the right amount of money for which you should ask is as much an art as it is a science. The first step is always to come up with realistic numbers. What are your expenditures? Not just the big ones like staff and material, but the small ones like office bills. Base your request off of that – but don’t go to big. If you ask for too much, VCs will just assume you’re ripping them off.

However, asking for too little has sunk just as many investment opportunities. If you ask for too little money, you won’t be able to grow, recruit/retain talent, or offer new services. Worse, many VCs will think you don’t have enough faith in your project to request a healthy investment.

Seeking investment is a hair-raising, nerve-racking event. No one likes it, but it is the path a smart entrepreneur takes. Whether you need millions or just a couple thousand to realize your dream, Investors like Ashton Kutcher make it happen.

Silicon Valley’s Tech Firm

Ashton Kutcher says that the one thing he looks for in a project is if it solves a need. That’s not a high bar to meet – everyone of us has a problem solving idea on the back burner. If this sounds like you, but you need some financial help getting there, send us an email.

We can help connect you to some of the biggest names in VC and Angel investing. Moreover, we can help you create a pitch that will make investors sit up and take notice. Give us a call at 408.802.2885 today to get started.

The Best Apps for College Admissions

Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and high school seniors are anxiously wringing their hands and chewing their fingernails to the quick. That’s right folks, it’s spring, which means that colleges applications are due in just a few weeks. Tech and education have a long history of overlapping, but EdTech is still underdeveloped for college students. That being said, there are plenty of great apps out there to help.

With the majority of applications nationwide due by May 1st, we thought we’d go over the top apps for soon-to-be college students.

Apps for Getting into College

1. Naviance

Naviance is a well-known college prep software company that has recently made the switch to the mobile app world. Naviance helps aspiring college students research different colleges, finding the one that best suits their own personality. Naviance goes a step further and even creates reminders to let students know of important document due dates and other important information. Finally, the information the Naviance app saves is accessible to users across all Naviance platforms from any device

2. Quad2Quad

One of the most important parts to getting into a college are the dreaded college trips. Visiting the campuses of your top choices is incredibly important in order to find the right fit for you, but it’s also trying and is often hard on a family. Quad2Quad collects and maintains information for dozens of colleges across the U.S. All of the relevant details you need to make the right decision all in a single app. Even better, it works on the go, providing info on the college you’re currently visiting.

3. FAFSA

Unfortunately, the majority of upcoming college students can’t afford the steep prices of admission themselves. The good news is that there is a thriving student financial aid industry, from government grants and loans to private companies such as Sallie Mae. FAFSA is the government agency that handles government student loans, and now there’s an app for it! This app lets hopeful students fill out a single application for many loans and grants, plus lets you apply the application to any college accepting government loans.

4. College Confidential

This app is a little different from the previous three because it’s not a direct service; it doesn’t connect you to colleges, or provide an application server. Instead, it’s more of a Quora-style question and answers database – but all about colleges. Users can search through the millions of posts, through more than 700 forums – or they can connect directly to other users for a private discussion. This app is good for current students, incoming students, and even parents of students. If you have a question about college life, this the app you need.

5. SAT Question of the Day

This app is more helpful for Juniors looking to take the SATs next year, but since SAT and/or ACT test prep is necessary to get into most colleges (and test preparation skills are exceptionally useful in the gruelling world of Collegiate Academia), we thought we add an app for SAT to this list. The SAT Question of the Day was made by the College Board, so you can trust the app to ask good questions with useful answers – as well as the explanation to the answer. This great app quizzes students daily with an actual SAT question, preparing them for the actual test.

6. Admissions Essay Writing Course

It’s probably safe to say that the most terrifying part of applying to a college is the essay. The question of how to make your essay stand apart from the hundreds to thousands of other essays most colleges receive annually. This isn’t a database of pre-written essays (not that those aren’t helpful as a reference point); it’s a full-fledged writing service. It teaches high school students how to write a compelling, error-free essay that will capture the attention of the Admissions Board. Plus, the app offers editing services – for free!

Essay and Study Help Apps

While getting into college is one thing, staying in college is another thing entirely. Let’s take a look at some useful EdTech apps for college students.

1. StudyBlue

While the name brings up ominous images of studying until you pass out from oxygen, this app actually helps prevent that. It offers customizable online flashcards for quick review, but more importantly, it lets you dive deeper into other subjects you’ve yet to perfect. Even better, you can upload all of your notes from class, putting everything you need in one easily accessible location – your phone.

2. GradeSaver

GradeSaver is an app containing hundreds of excellent study guides across a wide range of common topics and subjects. More importantly, it contains a database of sample college essays so new students can get an idea of the quality of writing expected of them. This is possibly the most useful app we will discuss today – in fact, it’s received numerous accolades from national newspapers and reviewers.

3. RescueTime

For those of us who have issues staying focused on studying, this College student app is great. It keeps track of all you do on your Android or iOS device, showing you just how much time is spent checking email, searching the web, or just playing around. As we all know, college is all about time management – this app helps you learn how to manage it.

Build Your Own College App with SDI

SDI has built over 4,000 different apps for 10,000 clients worldwide. We are mobile specialists who study our market with unerring dedication, passing on our skills and knowledge to each and everyone of our customers. Check out some of our great work and then give us a call at 408.802.2885 or email us at team@sdi.la. Get in touch today for 25% off your first project.

HOT Web Design for Fashion Industry

The Fashion Industry is one of the oldest industries in the world. Throughout history, Fashion was largely influenced by society notables – from Kings, Queens, Nobles to Jackie and John F. Kennedy, to Taylor Swift and James Franco. While the rich and famous will always influence what is considered trendy and hip, today the internet is making it even easier for the average person to get their own image out there.

The better news is that the internet also allows people to make some money off their own image. Sites like Etsy.com allow artists to create, display and sell their own work. Etsy charges a nominal 20 cent per item list price and a pretty fair 3.5% off the top of every sale made. But the real question here? Why can’t you make your own website that does something similar?

eCommerce sites are forward-thinking entrepreneurial ventures. They are businesses that are looking to the future and are seeing that much of retail is already gone digital. While it’s unlikely that Brick’n’Mortar Fashion stores will ever go away, Fashion eCommerce is still a lucrative and growing business.

So what does a good Fashion eCommerce website need? Clean, robust, and error free coding combined with consistent, logical, Web Design and a clear marketing strategy. Plus one other ingredient – your style.

That may sound a little corny, but Fashion is all about making an impact with your own stylistic choices. Your website will need to reflect who you are, building your brand one visitor at the time. With a little effort and some clever thinking, there’s no reason why you can’t have one of the best fashion sites out there yourself.

Platforms or Custom Development?

A common debate in the world web development is that of platforms versus custom web development. Both have their merits and really the decision comes down to differences in situation. Let’s go over what works best, when – and why.

• Frameworks

Frameworks sometimes get a bad rep as packaged solutions that struggle to meet the unique needs of different clients. But this isn’t completely honest – platforms like Magento, Shopify, and WooCommerce are all highly adaptable. These Open Source solutions offer customizability to the unique needs of thousands of different industries.

Frameworks are a great option for eCommerce especially because of the high-quality level of tools available to eCommerce developers. Easy plugins allow simple and quick connection to features like PayPal and Shopping Carts. These plugins fulfill one of our qualifications for a great site – excellent, error-free coding. When combined with the thousands of themes available on these solutions, developers can create a unique site with an excellent design.

There’s another attractive feature of frameworks that attracts many an entrepreneur: they’re cheaper than custom fashion design websites. And not just financially – building an eCommerce site with Magento can be done in as little as 2 weeks. In a fast moving market like digital retail, speed is essential to success.

• Custom Web Design

Custom web development is the ideal way to create a website. It is the best way to create a website that loads quickly, performs flawlessly, and engages users in a fun, easy way. When it comes to Fashion Web Design, a custom website is even more important. As we’ve already stated, Fashion is all about getting your style out there and making people take notice.

Design is already an exceptionally important aspect to any website, but even more so for a clothing website. The color palette, font choices, interactive elements, take on an even keener importance. Custom Web Development is the best way to create a design that blows away even the most discerning fashion guru.

Images and videos are an essential part of fashion web design. They show off what you offer and allow your visitors to imagine themselves in your clothes. While platforms are generally pretty capable of rendering images and videos quite well, but a good custom code can do it better.

So why don’t more eCommerce entrepreneurs use custom websites? They’re as expensive in time and money as platforms aren’t. Custom eCommerce websites can take months or even years. Every line of code needs to be reviewed extensively for errors – something is already done with platform extensions and plugins.

• The Verdict

So what’s the answer in the end? As stated earlier, there are benefits to both. That being said, frameworks are a better option for Startups and Entrepreneurs. Frameworks can get a site up and running for a fraction of the cost and time as custom sites, with minimal to no degradation in overall quality. Of course, if you managed to get substantial backing from VC investors (and they’re willing to wait), custom development is definitely a good idea.

There’s another quick benefit of frameworks we should consider – easy migration to a mobile app. The so-called mCommerce industry focuses on mobile eCommerce apps. Mobile is where it’s at these days – everyone wants to do things from their phone. It’s simpler, quicker, and more efficient.

Most eCommerce frameworks pave the way for eCommerce sites to quickly transform into a mobile app. This increases the value potential clients will place in your brand, as well as providing another outlet for customers to utilize the services you offer. mCommerce is quickly becoming a trillion dollar business; if you’re just creating an eCommerce website, you’re missing your chance at a piece of the pie.

We Design for Trendy Clothing Websites

SDI builds apps and websites in all industries. We know how to create a design for designers, without taking away from solid, robust coding with stellar functionality. We can even turn your website into a mCommerce app, further growing your market and your potential revenue stream. Give us a call at 408.802.2885 or email us at team@sdi.la for a free consultation with our design and development experts.

How to Find the Best Web Developer

Hiring a web developer is always a tricky subject. Is it the right thing to do? How do I find a web developer that I can trust? What services do I need? How do I get low-cost web development that accomplishes the business growth goals I require?

This idea was best said in an article by the famous business resource, Forbes Magazine: “In the Absence of Knowledge, Get Someone Who has the Knowledge.” Part of being a good leader is being aware of your businesses own knowledge gaps and acting to fix those gaps in the most strategic possible manner.

Full disclosure, we are a web development company in Silicon Valley, so we have a vested interest in convincing you to hire us. But, we also think were the best out there, especially for Entrepreneurs, SMBs, and Startups. Consider this our pitch to you – why you should hire a web developer and why we’re the developers your project needs.

Why You Should Hire a Developer

Doing things right may be more difficult and have a more immediate drag on your resources, but demonstrably speaking it is cheaper in the long term. More importantly, it’s more effective and leads to even, organizationally-wide sustainable growth for your business. Just as you would hire an accountant to handle the complex process of filing taxes, you should hire a people who know what your site needs to succeed.

One of the biggest concerns many entrepreneurs and CEOs have when it comes to hiring a developer is how to find an affordable web development company. As with any industry, there is a tension between offshore and onshore resources. Both have pros and cons; let’s dive a little deeper:

Onshore:

    • Pros

    Having a business partner who you can meet face-to-face is always reassuring. While modern technology has gone along way to improve digital meetings, the comfort of a local office is undeniable. You want a team with multiple global offices so you can run down the street to meet with your guy.

    Familiarity with local customs and trends is a learned skill that is necessary when it comes to creating an effective design. Again, this is a skill that can be learned (and all good designers know to study their target populations in depth) but some native familiarity is extremely helpful.

    Time Zones matter! One of the most common areas for offshore development is in India – nearly 12 hours ahead of Silicon Valley! You’re getting ready for bed, they’re just getting into the office.

    • Cons

    Local developers are much more expensive. The cost of living in the states is much higher, and developers expect to make much, much more than developers in other parts of the world.

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are roughly 300,000 web developers. In India, there are probably 300,000 web development companies. While the quality is more questionable (covered in detail below), the plethora of available, skilled developers is undeniably helpful. The more people available to work on your project, the quicker you have a website delivering value to your growing enterprise.

Offshore

    • Pros

    Significantly cheaper than onshore development. Again, with a lower cost of living, developers can simply afford to take less in wages. Even high quality, extremely experienced developers are cheaper than their U.S. counterparts.

    Helping to keep Indian Web Development low is the level of intense competition. The amazing amount of developers in India leads to an increased the need to impress clients with high-quality service and quick conception-to-launch product cycles.

    • Cons

    Offshore developers tend to have a different native language than their U.S. clients. This often results in not only difficulties with understanding one another’s accents, but can lead to cultural miscommunications with down the road huge implications. Clear, plain communication from all stakeholders is essential to a successful venture.

    While the amount of developers has some nice benefits, as discussed above, it also results in a lot of con artists and shabby development. This is a double-edged sword and takes some clever thinking to separate the wheat from the chaff:

    Avoid questions easily Googled – What are the top development languages, while good to know, is easily researched by anyone. Focus on questions like how up to date on new languages are your developers and how a particular new language is or is not applicable to your project. You want open-ended questions – much in the style of a marketing focus group.

When it really comes down to it, both options are equally balanced. Both options have weaknesses and strengths, but neither option is 100% desirable. That’s why our company approached the problem differently, combining both strategies into a hybrid, a hybrid that has seen over 10,000 projects to completion.

SDI maintains global offices – from Silicon Valley to Australia – so that we always have someone local to you. Our local offices are composed of our project managers and our leadership so you have clear and easy access to the upper echelons of our business. But we maintain our development staff in India, so that our development costs are remarkably affordable, no matter the budget.

We circumvent issues with communication with local, easily understood managers who direct the developers for you. This also prevents any time considerations, because our clients meet with local representatives, who then convey your wishes to the development team. No need for late nights or early mornings – that’s our job.

We know how to make a website that attracts visitors, keeps them, and rewards them so they continually re-engage. Our websites ensure stickiness, are perfect optimized for mobile devices, and are designed around SEO and SMM marketing strategies. Ready to get started on your beautiful website today? Give our Silicon Valley offices a call at 408.802.2885 or send us an email now.

HR Tech: Build a Predictive HRMS Software for Your Business

HRMS software is quickly becoming one of the most useful tools for businesses across all major industries. Predictive HR analytics is an extremely valuable technological service that can help HR managers and CEOs determine how to manage staff, how to improve worker efficiency, and how to improve worker happiness.

Recently it was reported that the Vice President and HR Director of Cisco’s UK branch began to test out the software herself. This software, called TeamSpace, teaches people to be better managers through comprehensive data analytics. But TeamSpace is following a common trend our own analysts have been noticing for a while: comprehensive custom software for enterprise ventures.

While custom software isn’t new to the game, recent advances in programming and computing power have led to better, more sophisticated algorithms. These algorithms are capable of gathering more data than ever before, with better, more accurate analytic reporting. Modern Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) systems are the whole thing – HR analytics, Employee Work Portals and Communication Centers, Financial Data Assessment, Productivity Analysis, Supply, and Demand Resource Chain Management, and so on.

Custom SaaS systems are well known to most CEOs, but one of the areas where good design is really starting to have a noticeable effect is HRMS. Modern organizational analysis projects point to the need for managers to have custom approaches to talking to their team members.

More and more, the research is demonstrating that uniform top-down approaches are an ineffective management strategy. With ineffective management comes decreased efficiency, lowered production, an unhappy workforce, and a depletion in your revenue stream.

How HRMS Works for You

An effective HRMS software is not only part of a much larger system, but also covers more than just training better, more effective managers. It digitizes and streamlines a variety of other HR processes, including:

    • Payroll;

    ○ What manager doesn’t love a little help with the financials?

    • Talent-Seeking

    ○ Recruiting is a vital part to any HR team. Afterall, if you aren’t recruiting new talent, you probably aren’t evolving as well or as efficiently as is possible. Our developers and designers create HRMS software with built in tools for recruiting. Contact us to learn more.

    • Performance and Attendance

    ○ Another tricky area of HR that many would appreciate some help with. Rating performance is a multifaceted process involving many twists and turns. Good HRMS software can help managers evaluate their employees more efficiently while tracking attendance and late-arrivals/early-departures.

    • Benefit packages

    ○ In a company with hundreds of employees, there are possibly thousands of benefits of which a record needs to be kept. Why not let a program do it for you?

    • Training

    ○ While it is generally recommended to have face-to-face training as well, having a place where FAQs are answered, coupled with the company’s training documents is a great feature.

    • Scheduling

    ○ An effective tool for companies with dynamic scheduling, such as retail.

    • Analytics and Reporting

    ○ We live in a world of Big Data. An effective analytics system is a necessary tool for survival.

What is proving to be highly effective in improving all of those above indicators is a tailored approach. This is where managers recognize that each employee is a unique person who needs a unique management style. Prior to the robust HRMS software out there today, this was much more difficult, verging on impossible. How can a single manager create custom approaches to their possibly hundreds of employees?

Fortunately for CEO and HR managers everywhere, Software solutions like TeamSpace are the bridge between these two positions. Through surveys and data collection, HRMS software is capable of providing tools that allow managers to better understand their employees and how to best manage their workforce. Powerful tools such as a SaaS can alter the course of a business and improve the overall prospects of everyone involved.

I have no doubt that some of the readers here are thinking that an individualistic management approach is a lot of hippy-dippy nonsense coming from a liberal Silicon Valley development company – and you’re right. To a point. SDI is indeed located in the Bay Area. But we are not just making this up. We are a data-driven company that survives by understanding how technology can help our clients.

Moreover, most of our clients are businesses, from local SMBs to global corporations. We have to know what HRMS can be used for and how it can be tailored to fit your company’s individual needs. We live in a world of customizability, a world different from the businesses of the Baby Boomers. Today, creating unique solutions to age-old problems is a simple process of hiring the right software development company.

Framework VS Groundup

As with most technological solutions, there are two approaches to HRMS software development, both with pros and cons:

• Frameworks

PHP frameworks like Laravel is an excellent option for many entrepreneurs. This is especially true when it comes to HRMS for SMBs and those with a smaller budget or timeline, plus a smaller organization (and thus less complexity). Frameworks can be highly customized to fit a client’s needs through the addition of plugins and extensions. That being said, the best way to get a system that matches all of your needs is to use the second approach;

• Groundup

Groundup SaaS systems are highly effective and extremely valuable. Even if they don’t meet your needs, additional features can generally be made available with only a minimal amount of new code. The downside is they tend to be more expensive and time-consuming than using a framework.

Custom SaaS Development is Our Specialty

Our SaaS developers specialize in building comprehensive SaaS-based enterprise solutions across a variety of industries. We excel in creating User-oriented systems, where design is based around the needs and habits of the end user. This results in quicker and higher adoption rates of the new system – not to mention a faster return on your investment.

We offer industry-best development services at a fair price. We’d love to hear from you either by phone at 408.802.2885 or by following the link.

How to Build a Powerful Election Tracking Voting App

Back in the ‘08 Presidential election, Nate Silver was a virtually unheard of by the majority of voters and political pundits alike. But when everyone else predicting that the race would be close, only Silver and his analytic team at fivethirtyeight.com (named after the number of people in the US electoral college) were able to accurately predict Obama’s crushing success over McCain – even with the Straight Talk Express.

What Silver realized was that where many pundits were looking at individual polls, they weren’t performing good quantitative analysis; in other words they were crunching the numbers correctly. Silver realized that what was needed was an accurate, well-planned statistical analysis of the data available, including demographics and polling data.

So what was the result? In 2008, Silver predicted 50 out of the 51 (50 states and the District of Columbia) possible results accurately. In 2012, he got all 51 results right. This success launched Silver and 538 into the stratosphere and placed him at the forefront of statistical analysis.

While Silver had a past history with Baseball, his 2008 fame opened other doors for him. It made him and his team one of the most used statistical analysis on everything from sports to politics to how much cheese the US produces. Today, Silver is probably one of the wealthiest statisticians around and is enormously sought after. While his fame started with an earlier algorithm for baseball he created (PECOTA), most of it is thanks to the work he has done in politics.

It may seem a little odd to be talking about this in a blog for app and web development, but there is a connection. What Silver was doing was what every modern smart SEO and entrepreneur does on a daily basis: making effective decisions informed by reliable analytical data. And how does the clever entrepreneur do it? Through data processing apps and custom software. Voting app development is little different from any other type of data-driven app – apps that SDI makes all the time.

How to Create a Voting App that Gets Downloads

The market is crying out for an app that can help them get some sort of a grip on the carnival that is the 2016 US Presidential elections. Even Nate Silver himself has had issues predicting what’s going on and more than one esteemed pundit has been found himself to be wrong – several times over. As the race gets even tighter, people will become increasingly more eager for a voting app that can help them understand the complexity of the situation.

This is especially true on the Republican side, as it is becoming increasingly more likely that we will end up with what is known as a brokered or contested convention. As Cruz gains more support, and Trump’s campaign attempts to recover from a series of bad days, the importance of delegates will increase, as will how they are distributed.

This where a well designed app can come in handy, even over 538. When the gals and guys at 538 release something, most people just here “so and so has more delegates.” Even when you think you have the definition of a delegate down, the dems throw superdelegates at you, just to be vexing. But often the problem is more basic, like how do delegates work, why are they important, and how they impact the election.

An app can provide all of that, plus the actual statistics themselves. If, as is likely, a brokered convention does occur, voters will need help understanding the rules, especially when it comes to second, third and beyond (the brokered convention of 1924 saw 103 ballots before it concluded). Nobody is denying that this complicated. Considering that the last time the any party reached the convention without a nominee was in 1976, even most of the people involved in the convention are unsure what will happen. All in all, politics (especially this year’s US Presidential race) represent one of the most complicated statistical problems around.

Let’s just throw out the basic numbers here, so we have an idea of the complexities at work:

On the Republican side, the nominee needs 1,237 delegate votes to win outright. Currently, Trump has 743, with Cruz not too far behind at 545. In order to win, Trump will need to win anywhere from 58% to 75% of the remaining delegates. This number changes as each primary goes by, further muddying the issue.

On the Democratic side the race isn’t as volatile, but Bernie and Hillary are still both in the running. The race isn’t as close as it is in the GOP, but Bernie still has a respectable chance to win the nomination. The dems need more delegate votes (2,289) than the GOP to win the nomination, plus there’s the whole Superdelegate issue to consider. Currently, Bernie has 1,038 to Hillary’s 1,289 votes.

Some of you are probably thinking that this significantly closer than the Trump-Cruz race, but there’s an added twist to the Democratic side: Superdelegates. Superdelegates, unlike delegates are not bound to vote for the nominee their state elects. They can vote for any nominee within their party, and Hillary has 469 to Bernie’s 31.

So obviously, there’s a lot to cover here. This is only a small percentage of the variables that a statistician needs to consider here; in fact it’s very similar to the sports stats analysis apps we’ve developed and designed. The success of apps for sports stats, plus Silver’s success in both politics and sports, points to a second reason to develop such an app – it opens doors to other money making ventures.

Another advisable feature that would increase the value of this app is to create interactive elements. What we mean here is something that will engage your reader, something more than just a bunch of content and numbers.

How awesome would it be if there was a voting app out there that let users see how much harder the path to nomination would be for Trump if he lost New York. How do the numbers change if something like that occurs? Or by what percentage does Hillary need to win in order to cement the nomination?

The point is that there is a lot an election tracking app can do to help citizens understand all of the numbers being thrown around. It provides a valuable and useful way to engage with the political process, without being overwhelmed by a lack of understanding. And, as Silver has shown, the ability to produce cogent, accurate statistical analyses gets people to hire you for all sorts of things.

This promises to be one of the most watched and followed elections in US history, as well as one f the most unique. In my home of Silicon Valley, we are eagerly awaiting our turn to elect a nominee, but it’s hard to gauge exactly to whom California will go. An app that allows us to understand how local voters are feeling and tracks other election polls would be exceptionally useful, not to mention profitable. Don’t worry – our expert development team can get your app launched in 4-6 weeks, plenty of time before the end of this election cycle.

Your Election App Developers

At SDI, we design apps, websites, and software to make sense out of the mountains of data we produce today. We know how to create apps that are not only based off this information, but are designed to help CEOs, Entrepreneurs, and Voters, make sense out of Big Data.

With our help, your app or business can grow in leaps and bounds, thanks to the power of our statistical analyses and excellently designed products.

If you would like a free consultation, or just to get started on your own voting app, give us a call today at 408.802.2885. You may also contact us by email at team@sdi.la. Request for an NDA and let’s jump right in.

Apps that Protect Your Data Through Encryption

With the fight between Apple and FBI all over the news, we’re all thinking about encryption, what we keep on our phones, and who can easily few the personal information. At its heart, this debate is over security – personal security versus national security. Both are valid concerns and all sides in this debate strong arguments, but there is one thing the two generally agree on: some level of phone security is not only good but required to protect citizens against malicious parties.

But this fight has served to flare tensions on both sides, with Silicon Valley girding itself for a judicial war with the federal government. Whatsapp is now providing End-to-End Encryption; when coupled with the rise of the Telegraph, an encrypted messaging app company, encryption is a hot topic.

Both messaging apps are attempting to provide more value to their app by improved security and both go beyond simple end-to-end encryption. Telegraph automatically deletes emails, preventing from database breaches. Whatsapp goes a step beyond End to End Encryption by offering a key verification system that prevents so-called Man-in-the-Middle attacks. In other words, it lets you know that the friend you think is typing at the other end of the communication is actually the person typing.

Let’s take a look first at what makes powerful and robust encryption for apps and then how iOS apps approach security. So

How to Keep Your Data Safe

Everyone can agree – we want the highly sensitive information we store on our phones to be safe from prying eyes. Mobile Data Encryption is a highly necessary coding tool, but one that is often viewed as incomprehensible to the ordinary person. So what are some good mobile data encryption techniques? Let’s look at a few:

    AES Support: The Advanced Encryption Standard is the cipher used by basically the world. This is so fundamental to Encryption it’s almost not worth mentioning, but we figured we could get some of the technical terms out there. AES is used to both encrypt and decrypt data and, while it is not perfect, it is the only NSA-approved Cypher. A good Encryption App Development company still should provide support for other ciphers, such as Twofish and Serpent.

    Easy Encryption Steps: As with everything, the design process of encrypting a file needs to be simple and easy to use. One of the biggest way breaches can occur is when users simply don’t bother to encrypt their files. Our developers always make the process of encrypting simple: no more than a few clicks. We also recommend configuring time-lapse encryption, where files are automatically encrypted after a certain length of time.

    Virtual Encryption Support: Many encryption techniques focus on encrypting information on a disk (often called “full-disk encryption). However, the world is moving away from hardware storage; In order to properly secure app data, support for encrypting virtual drives (i.e. the cloud). Of course, this doesn’t mean hardware encryption should be abandoned entirely.

    Software Encryption: Similar to the above point, software encryption is a way to encrypt information from the software side of things. This is especially useful in enterprise solutions, where multiple users will be working on the same device.

The above points are just the basic steps our developers consider when encrypting app, software, or website data. There is much, much more that goes into making data secure, and if you would like to know more about our encryption process, feel free to reach out to us. But for now, let’s take a look at why iOS is so well secured that the government was unable to crack the encryption themselves.

iOS and Encryption

iOS encryption begins at startup by compartmentalizing and then encrypting the startup tasks. Each task must be verified and approved prior to the beginning of the next action. This is known as a secure boot chain and prevents malicious entities from altering the base software of an iOS device.

The data itself is encrypted using an AES 256-bit code and can only be unlocked with a device’s Unique ID (UID). This UID is hidden from all software and applications on a device, thus protecting the UID from being stolen by third-party applications. Additionally, this number cannot be altered or tampered with in anyway what’s so ever, creating an exceptionally secure passcode to unlock your data.

Along with the UID being burnt into the hardware, Apple provides systemic encryption in the hardware of the device itself. This makes it not only more secure but also much easier to initiate a complete and systemic remote wipe in the case of a stolen or lost device.

Even if a hacker was able to get your device and jailbreak it, they wouldn’t have the passcode. Without the passcode, the data will remain encrypted, and – as we all know from the Apple-FBI fight – the data is wiped from the phone after the 10th incorrect try.

iOS doesn’t just encrypt using a single UID passcode, though that is an integral part. It, in fact, involves the exchange and verification of several different keys. Generally, these keys are:

    the Per-file Key;

    ○ This actually encrypts the data itself and cannot be accessed without the Class Key;

    the Class Key;

    ○ This key protects the Per-file Key and is stored in Metadata;

    the System File Key

    ○ This secures the metadata holding the Class and Per-file Keys

The UID and the user’s Passcode are then used to unlock the Class Key, creating a series of interlocking encryption steps. Through this method, iOS is able to make a highly secure device that utilizes multiple, reliant and redundant layers of encryption.

Your Data Encryptors

SDI is a mobile app, website, and software design company. We have been encrypting and securing data for years, for everything from Social Media sites to dating sites. We know how to create secure apps that protect your information from malicious attackers.

Contact us today and request for an NDA. You can also speak to us directly on 408.802.2885 for a free consultation.