Top 3 Tech Markets to Watch in 2016

Well we’re just over halfway through 2016 – and what a year for tech! First, Apps for virtual reality took off, followed by large growths in both the IoT and SmartTV apps. HealthCare continues to be well served with new advances in management and reporting Custom SaaS.

Then just recently, the AR game app Pokemon Go took the world by storm, showing us the true potential of this burgeoning market. We’ve even had a few surprises – like that of DuoLingo’s app for Edtech, TinyCards.

TinyCards surprised us by acquiring nearly 10x the amount of users the Pokemon Go app has, and has proven the true potential of the Edtech Industry – but you can read all about that here. Instead, we want to take another look at some markets the clever entrepreneur should watch.

But the truly astounding part of this blog isn’t Duolingo’s phenomenal success. It’s the fact that the three biggest markets we want to talk about aren’t insurgents. They are startups with a plucky attitude and a great idea.

In fact, they’re more like industry giants. Long established markets that many entrepreneur has written-off as old news. Which markets are we talking about?

1. Social Media Websites and Apps

2. Ridesharing

3. Food Delivery Apps

Surprising, right? But these markets are showing all the signs of growth – and money making potential. So without further ado, let’s dive into our first industry.

Facebook, Twitter, and Social Media

10 short years ago, Twitter was just getting started – most entrepreneurs dismissed entirely. Facebook was barely 2 years old and still only served college students. Mark Zuckerberg was an unknown entity. But everyone was Friends with Tom and Myspace was booming.

Today? Twitter provided momentum for the Arab Spring, toppling governments. Most marketers consider it an essential aspect to the success of any marketing campaign. People hold it up as the gold standard for user engagement.

Facebook? Well. I just had to check if Myspace was still a website, so….yea… Also, as of yesterday, Facebook was having its best (half) year of all time. Let’s take a look at some their most startling closing Q2 numbers in 2016.

♦ In the 2015 Q2 numbers, FB had a net income of $719 million, not a bad number by any stretch of the imagination. But as of July 27th, 2016, FB’s revenue was up 186% to a whopping $2.055 billion.

♦ A 17% increase in Daily Active Users (plus a 22% increase in mobile users! Go Mobile First now!) to a total of $1.13 DAU. ○ 60 million users were added in Q2 2016 ALONE.

♦ A new all-time high stock price of $123.34 a share.

So what does this mean to you, the entrepreneur? Well the Social Media game is not over. Social Media websites can fill a wide swath of purposes: shared hobbies, business networks (think LinkedIn), making new friends, etc.

Social Media sites not only serve to grow and promote your brand, but it can be one of the greatest marketing tools to promote any brand. In other words, a SM site can make you money and grow your own presence at the same time.

Sound like something you’d like to do? Check out some more great ideas for social media websites. And don’t forget – this is the age of mobility. Consider starting with a Social Media app to better position your startup.

RideSharing

Im going to admit to something here: with our main offices in Silicon Valley we tend to have a bias towards local US Tech news. But we have offices with marketers, salespeople and developers all over the globe who keep us abreast of the last happening in their area.

Today’s example has already made global headlines, but any change that adds literally over 1 billion people to an already hot market needs to be discussed.

China, as of Thursday, July 28th, has officially legalized Ridesharing service. While ride-sharing existed in China previously, its position was tenuous at best and not even really legal (funnily enough: it was still the world’s largest ridesharing market!!!).

Without the approval of the Chinese government, services like Uber and DiDi were taking a huge risk operating in the area. But now, that risk is gone and all that remains is the planet’s highest populated country.

To us in the US, these are always a rude awakening: there are huge parts of the world that are just now coming online (if at all). That means that most of the world still has the potential to become an app user.

With China just legalizing ridesharing, we are bound to see a big uptick in rideshare apps based in China and elsewhere. The better news – these markets are saturated with rideshare apps like much of the US. In other words, nows your chance to make it big. After all, we know the business model uber has built succeeds – and we know how it works!

GrubHub and The New Food Delivery

Late July is the time for many a Q2 reports and if Facebook was surprising in how much it grew, how about a 26% overall growth for GrubHub? In three months. Yea, you read that right. If GrubHub continues to have this level of success, it will have either doubled or nearly doubled in size in about a year.

GrubHub also broke their previous revenue generation, bringing in a full $120 million in Q2 alone! For the stock junkies out there, the profit-per-share for this company grew 37% – time to buy grubhub stock! 7.33 million people used Grubhub in the same period – a 24% increase from this time last year.

So, clearly, this is a growth industry. Even better, there aren’t an excessive number of food delivery apps out there. Plus, much of the US (not to mention elsewhere, see above point!) still doesn’t have access to such a fantastic service.

Once again, we find ourselves at the intersection of opportunity and possibilities. What do you need to get started? Inspiration, dedication, and the right development team on your side. No matter what your tech project is, we can help.

Start Making Money Now!

SDI knows how to leverage websites, apps, and software in a variety of industries, including the three mentioned above. We know how to make tech projects succeed, whether that’s an app like Pokemon Go or you just want to know how to build a Social Media app. Call us (408.621.8481 / 408.802.2885) or email us for a free consultation and quote.

EdTech Apps and the Future of Education

The intersection between technological innovations like mobile apps and websites get a ridiculous amount of attention these days. From apps like Pokemon Go to apps for artificial intelligence, it seems like there is no end to what technology can do for business.

However, one of the areas in which tech has had the biggest impact (and the most financially successful) is one of the least talked about: Education. While plenty of big economists and business prodigies track edtech (it’s a common topic on notable business journals such as Forbes), it’s not as sexy or as cool as VR or AI.

But as any savvy entrepreneur knows, sexiness isn’t everything. I mean, it helps of course. But Semiconductor MFG isn’t sexy; it’s still one of the highest grossing and fastest growing industries in the states.

Don’t believe me? Well let’s take a look at some edtech numbers, and some of the best edtech apps on the market.

The Economics of Edtech and Edtech Apps

As of 2015, Forbes found that there was roughly $2.3 Billion invested in K-12 EdTech by VCs and Angel Investors since 2010 (by the way, LA is one of the biggest markets for this field! Read more here). While that’s a sizeable number, it’s not jaw droppingly huge. But there’s context:

1. The last time Edtech received investment at all was 1999-2000 – and even then it was ‘only’ $1 billion.

2. 2013 and 2015 saw some of the highest investment in EdTech, ever. With about 200 VCs involved in at least 1 EdTech project, it’s safe to say that there is significant movement in the funding side of this growth industry.

3. Investors aren’t really concerned about how long it will take to reach revenue generation. They recognize this is industry has an extremely high revenue potential – but it may take sometime to get there.

The other point investors are excited about is that EdTech has extreme sustainability. Pokemon Go is far more likely to fade quickly. Education will always benefit from clever applications of new technologies.

4. In the first quarter of 2016, downloads of apps for edtech grew by 13%.

So hopefully we’ve made a good argument for the overall potential of the EdTech industry. Now why don’t we narrow our focus to look at few apps that are behind these numbers.

The Best EdTech Apps

We wanted to focus on Duolingo, an edtech app company that just recently released a new revolutionary app, TinyCards.

Duolingo cut it’s teeth in app industry with an extremely popular language learning app. The app isn’t the subject of todays topic, but it’s a great app so please check it out. While everyone expected the company’s next app to be math-based, but instead the company decided to focus elsewhere. In fact, TinyCards was entirely unexpected.

This wonderful app has digitized the age-old study tool of flashcards. Simple, boring but extremely effective. How effective? 5% of SmartPhone users, or 100 million globally are using it. Compare that Pokemon Go which has everyone frothing at the mouth with 9.53 million users.

Even more importantly, TinyCards has about 30 million monthly active users – a significant number closely monitored by industry watchers. The secret behind their success? Simple: revolutionizing an existing service.

That’s the wonderful thing about the app industry: all you need is a few thousand dollars and a simple idea to make it big. Well, that and the right development team!

Socrative allows teachers to engage with students via a technological platform. Teachers can monitor students, track their comprehension, even tools to help teachers grade. This is a great edtech tool for both teachers and students.

♦ Teaching children how to code websites and apps is one of the most important areas of education today. Within a few years, Coding will be held up there with other core classes such as Math and English. The good news is that some of the best edtech apps on the market are designed for just that purpose:

Scratch isn’t technically an app (though there is ScratchJR for young kids – teaching starts early!), but it’s a fully functional website designed by the wizards at MIT – yup that MIT. It lets kids create all sorts of cool coding projects from games to simple animations, to full-blown stories. So in addition to teaching kids to code, they’re stimulating critical thinking and further reading comprehension (via story building).

CreScerance teaches kids how to actually make apps! Pretty cool right? Unfortunately it’s similar to Scratch in that it’s not a mobile phone app. But the site is mobile and works great on an iPad or tablet.

Tellagami is a really cool app that lets kids create digital avatars. These avatars can then be moved throughout a digital world to learn about everything from general biology to history.

Coursera is different in focus from the rest of the tech solutions discussed previously. It’s a MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) and focuses on continuing adult education courses. It’s particular merit-based achievement system has provided a certain edge and fame in the world of EdTech.

No matter if you want to focus on edtech apps for higher education or on the k-12 market, there is huge potential for growth – and money. EdTech stands to be one of the biggest industries in the next 30 years. All you need is a great idea and a phone to call the experts at SDI!

Get Involved in this Growth Industry

We know how to make money making apps for any industry, from education to Healthcare. Our experts can help you crack the edtech code. Give us a call at 408.621.8481 or 408.802.2885 for a free consultation and quote. You can contact us by email too!

How to Make Money with Free Game Apps

Whaaaat! Back to back posts on gaming apps? That’s right folks, we’re returning to the subject mobile game apps. But today’s topic is a little different. Yesterday, we let our marketers take over, so they did what they do best: a great guide on how to make an app like Pokemon Go.

If you’re interested in reading about how to gain traction among your target group (i.e getting those downloads!), then we encourage you to read the post. But we on the revenue generation team feel that the marketers missed a big one.

Namely, how do you make money creating these game apps? I mean, everyone loves a great Freemium game app but what do people love more than free apps? Knowing how to make money from free game apps.

It is possible – I promise! But there are many strategies that lead to revenue generation for free game apps. Let’s take a look at some of the leading mobile game app entrepreneurs. We’ll start with the most recent person to grace the cover of Forbes Magazine; Ready for a surprise?

Kim Kardashian West and Celebrity Entrepreneurship

That’s right; the legendary Reality Star is shaking things up once again. Her app, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, made her – wait for it – $45 million – $60 million in all since its release! In one year. In fact it accounted for almost half her entire income for the year.

And Ms. West isn’t alone. Ellen DeGeneres’ Trivia game app has been downloaded 25 million times and made over $25 million in revenue! Jason Statham is another game app entrepreneur. Tom Hanks and William Shatner both have their own money-making apps as well.

The point here isn’t to point out the entrepreneurial ingenuity of famous people. It’s to point out that mobile apps with celebrity brands generate over $200 million a year. But wait, I hear you saying, I’m not a celebrity!

Well, first let’s lower the threshold on what we’re considering a celebrity here. You don’t need to be a TV star or a music mogul to be considered famous these days. Ever heard of PewDiePie? Yea, you read that right! PewDiePie is the YouTube handle of a videogame commentator!

PewDiePie has a massive following on YouTube and has a game app of his own. One that makes a million dollars a month. In other words this youtube star, with a relatively small following, has managed to turn himself into a multimillionaire with app call “Legend of BroFist.”

So if you need help raising up your brand awareness, our User Acquisition team can help raise your online brand. They can sit with you to discuss some strategies on how to create an online sensation and make a name for yourself!

But Where’s the Money…

At this point and time, you’re probably thinking that’s great, build a following, even a minor following, and you’ve got yourself a readymade target population. But these are still freemium apps, right? Does the money just appear magically?

No. Unfortunately (though come to think of it, if money did appear magically, my team would be out of job…). The first part of a revenue generation strategy is to get downloads. Having a following makes that part as easy as pie!

To get the money to start rolling in requires forethought, planning, and a ridiculous amount of research. That’s where our team comes in. Let’s discuss the resources and tools my team utilizes when creating money making strategies:

• Research

You’d think after all these years of working in the industry, we’d know it all. And, frankly, we know a whole heck of a lot. But we still spend hours of industry-specific research for each of our clients.

We’ve found that in order for an app to reach its full potential sales, you have to tailor the product to the target population. Afterall, they’re the ones who will be giving you money right?

Research also entails researching the competition. What are they doing? Is it working? What USP (Unique Selling Point) does our game app have over competitors? All of this helps to create a more unique and effective money-making strategy.

• Analytics and Testing

App testing data isn’t just for our developers. In fact, all of our post launch team uses this stuff as well. It helps us determine what people are focusing on in the app – what screens are preferred, where are people spending the most time, and so on.

This helps us in 2 big ways:

♦ It helps us discover additional USPs beyond what we determined in the preliminary research stage; and

♦ It let’s us know best placement of ads – our first money-making tool.

• App Ad Modules

Ad Modules in freshly launched apps will probably not make you a millionaire. But, they provide a not insubstantial money flow one that can help fund other money making pushes.

Even better, new tools like heat maps for apps let us know precisely where a user is tapping and looking. This allows us to have an ideal placement for all ad banners.

• The Real Money-Maker: In-App Purchases

This is where people really make money with game apps. But you can’t just throw in app purchases at a user. The trick is to get them to want it, with at least some subtly.

Take our earlier example of Kim Kardashian: she uses another app that creates emoji’s to push her husband’s clothing line. Brilliant, right? All she needs is a little button that lets people purchase the clothing, and it’s in the bag!

Those are the two elements to a successful in-app purchases campaign: making people want it and making it ridiculously easy to buy. The good news is that the best mobile game apps are already setup for this!

Game players largely progress in one of two ways: Character advancement or new stages. This makes it easy to monetize a game app. Want to follow Ms. West to the Hollywood location? 5 bucks please!

It doesn’t even have to be that obvious. We’ve had tremendous success with allowing free leveling; but each level is progressively harder. This works well because A: gamers expect each level to get harder; and b) you then offer improved items or hints to get them past the level – for a small fee, of course.

At the end of the day, there are plenty of ways to make money off a great game app. But they require dedication and time that many aren’t willing to commit. We are though! Get in touch now!

Learn More on How to Make Money with a Game App.

Desperate for more information? No problem! Give us a call at 408.621.8481 or 408.802.2885 for a free consultation and quote. Prefer to be called? Just fill out this form and we will get back to you soon!

While you’re waiting, check out some of the awesome apps and websites we’ve built for our thousands of clients!

How to Make a Mobile Gaming App like Pokemon Go

Ever since the Pokemon Go release date 2 weeks ago, this augmented reality gaming app has revolutionized the mobile gaming app world. While you can no doubt expect to see many more AR game apps, Pokemon Go has the distinction of being the first big app of its kind.

And boy has it really taken over – it seems Millennials and the ‘iGeneration” (aka Gen Z aka those born after 2004). There’s even a story of a man who caught a pidgey while his wife was giving birth. Hopefully, it was worth sleeping on the couch for the next few weeks (to years).

Sure, gamification tactics (engagement strategies used by app marketers and pioneered by video games) are hugely effective. But these tactics are used all the time. So why is this game app so massively popular?

It’s not even the first augmented reality game app (ARG apps) out there. Heck, the company that made Pokemon Go (Niantic) made another augmented gaming app very similar to Pokemon go – Ingress.

Ingress is similar to Pokemon Go but more heavily oriented to MMOG (Massive Multiplayer Online Gaming). While Ingress was very popular, especially with gamers, it didn’t become a global phenomenon – especially in 2 weeks!

Pokemon Go has broken some pretty big records in a very small amount of time. Here’s a number: $9 billion in 5 days. That’s not even how much Niantic made – its how much was added to Nintendo’s (the owner of Pokemon franchise) overall valuation!

Within 2 days, Pokemon Go had been installed on almost 6% of all Android devices in the US. To be clear, that’s over 6 million people (6,031,200 million, to be precise) just on Android! That’s more phones than Tinder, and our species survives based on the need to procreate. Just sayin’.

In about 5 days, Pokemon Go almost as many active users as Twitter. TWITTER! Moreover, data shows that users spend twice the amount of time on Pokemon Go as they do on SnapChat (considered one of the best models for engagement).

The demand for this game has been so intense that Niantic had to actually postpone release dates in other countries because their servers could handle the traffic! Possibly the most amazing part of this is that only 11% of the traffic came from the US – the only country where the app was released!

This game is so popular that people all around the world are scrambling for the Pokemon Go APK so they can play without the app! Now, I’m sure all my entrepreneurial friends are salivating at the mouth – how did Niantic do it? More importantly, How can you do it?

The short answer is to contact us, but read on for a brief discussion of some of the more brilliant aspects to this app.

The Brilliance of the Pokemon Go App

There are several factors that have come together to make this AR game app such a success. First, it’s a well-designed game – and I mean design, not necessarily development (though the dev team at Niantic is also quite good).

This app has a UI/UX clearly built along the principles of User Centered Design; or the process of creating an interface from the perspective of the user, as opposed to the developer. This is important to remember – after all, you know your app is great. It’s the users you that you have to convince!

But this app is popular for more than just one that’s well designed from a User’s perspective. Afterall, Ingress followed the same Design method and was arguably a better developed ARG. What else is going on here?

Pokemon Go takes advantage of two major heartstrings marketers love to pluck, one that is newer and representative of the newer age of marketers; the other, though, is a trick as old as marketing itself!

1. The Sharing Economy – you know it, even if you don’t realize it. It’s those persistent little Facebook and Twitter share buttons; it’s the fact that stories seem to bounce back and forth between all your Social Media sites. Pokemon Go shares the augmented reality experience among others. From strangers to friends, all users create a rich environment based solely on this app.

2. Nostalgia – for as long as people have been selling things, salesmen have been using our fond memories to sell more. Nostalgia is a big factor in marketing and a well-known one. In this case, this ARG app is hearkening back to the youths of millennials and even Gen Xers. The Pokemon franchise( TV Series, Gameboy game, Card Game, and more) was a global phenomenon in the 90s and early oughts. This app is bringing back memories of those childhood memories.

Plus, many Millennials now have kids of their own; their love of Pokemon has turned a whole new generation of children onto this popular franchise. A whole subsection of users for this game are adults playing this game with their kids!

This is what the potential of AR and VR represent: a whole new way of interacting with the world. Sure, we’ve discussed AR apps in the past, but this is the first hugely successful application of this new tech. Sounds like something with which you want to be involved? We’ve got you!

All of these tactics are tools we routinely use to build and market every product we make. Our designers only follow the methods outlined in UCD. Meanwhile, our marketers work to create strategies that make sure your app gets the attention it deserves.

Build Your Own Augmented Reality Game App like Pokemon Go

SDI makes apps; Augmented Reality apps, AR apps for Games, standard ole’ Game apps; really apps for anything in any industry. We specialize in creating apps that get downloads and make money.

If you would like to get started on your own gaming app (or any other kind!), give our expert team a call at 408.802.2885 or 408.621.8481 or shoot us an email now!

How to Build an App that Predicts Political Movements

2016 has resulted in a number of surprising political upsets in many parts of the Western world. This time last year, you would be unable to find a pundit who would say that the GOP front runner would be Donald Trump, or that the UK would no longer be part of the EU!

Sure, some pundits were warning of potential upsets. The great Nate Silver of the website fivethirtyeight.com warned of Trump’s rising popularity before Jeb(!) even left the race. But even Silver was unsure of what would happen with Brexit!

So what does all of this have to do with an app development company like SDI? Well, as American Citizens we have a vested interest in knowing what’s going on in our country and the world in general. We’ve even discussed how to build an app that tracks voting in specific areas!

But more importantly, we’re a company of entrepreneurs, a company that deals with data and data analytics. And in the modern world, where there are politicians, there are pollsters. What is a poll but a set of data, waiting to be analyzed.

Apps that Predict Politics

The problem with many prediction-based apps is accuracy. Largely that’s because so many of these polls are stand alone events, and data tends to be more reflective when taken in the aggregate.

That’s not to say that there are excellent tools out there to help predict political movements. The aforementioned 538 has an accuracy that would impress any marksman! In fact, Silver gained fame in 2008 and 2012 when he predicted which states would go to which presidential nominee – with an accuracy rating of over 90%!

We are necessarily talking about an election tracking app here. While this is a good place to get started (again as Mr. Silver did) we’re talking about more than just a voting app. What about after 2016? What about midterm elections? What about the rest of the world?

Thanks to the excessive emphasis placed on campaigning and polling in the US, voting tracking app will always be useful. But there’s nothing saying you can’t add more value with real time tracking across a variety of different political movements!

While gambling on elections is currently illegal in the US, there is no denying the potential money-making opportunity here. The good news is that betting apps for politics are not illegal in the UK though.

In fact, the popular app BetFair boasts election prediction results in real time so users have a competitive edge in the process. British readers, get in touch now to start building your own voting prediction app!

Politics, like much of the world, is driven by money. The ability to predict top political news can open up the doors to numerous business opportunities. For instance, Mr. Trump is well-known for his emphasis on revitalizing the MFG industry in the US and for his protectionist stances on Free Trade and the global economy.

An app that turned on Smart Data and was able to predict a Trump presidency before it’s announced can prove exceedingly useful to many. Take Stock Brokers; with an app that predicts a broker could divest from global trade and invest in the manufacturing wing of the US, thus preparing oneself for a shift in American economy.

Let me guess – you’re not a stock broker? That’s not an issue, because you don’t need to be! The idea here is to build your own Smart Data App and sell it to the stock brokers. Brokers have neither the time nor the spare thought to create an app. But you can bet the bank that they will use the heck out of an app that gives them a distinct market advantage!

Of course, you don’t have to be a business person to be excited about an app that can predict voting. How about the obvious one – Politicians themselves. You can bet that David Cameron would have loved an app that could’ve told him he’d soon be out of a job.

Look, we build apps, websites, and custom software; our usual clients are entrepreneurs and SMB owner. We especially help those looking for better data analytics. Afterall, business survives off of the reports generated by Big Data.

Moreover, we do this well. Our clients generally find themselves with more money and a more efficient business. Not to mention, a much higher level of happiness! But the reason for this success is that we are a data-driven world.

We collect numbers on everything and most of it goes unused. And what is polling if not a series of data points taken across a wide subsection of a target population. An app that predicts the politics of this crazy world can go along way to alleviating the concerns of businessmen and economic investors around the world.

What the world of politics needs right now is an app that can accurately predict these trends. Something that goes beyond a single polling result or the single opinion of Experts and Pundits. The Smart Data apps that our developers create collect information from hundreds of different data points.

An app that aggregates multiple polls, analyzes information across the web, and breaks down global trends can go a long way to providing a new, comprehensive app for political junkies.

Build Your Own App that Predicts Political Movements with SDI

SDI is a tech company, but we pride ourselves in our ability to predict and capitalize on potential marketing trends. We did it quite successfully with both Gadget apps and AR/VR apps; now we’re doing it with politics.

Machine learning and Data Analytics have never been this good. If they can help a company save millions, why can’t they help us better prepare for election results and political movements? SDI is waiting to hear from you – Call us at 408802.2885 / 408.621.8481 or contact us here for a free consultation and quote.

How AI & Machine Learning for Apps can Help Your SMB

The field Artificial Intelligence is really starting to hit it’s stride. Our developers were sitting around the office today thinking about some of the older AI app – Siri, Cortana, and so on.

Obviously, both Virtual Personal Assistants or VPAs as they are often called, are still around and going strong. But all three of the big VPAs (the two previously mentioned and Google Now) today are far more advanced than what they were even 5 years ago.

Even more noticeable, we now have AI devices like Echo that connect to the Internet of Things to bring your whole world online. As we move inexorably down the path of increasingly more complex machines, AI will become one of the world’s biggest markets – ever.

But with all of the noise and excitement stirred but up techies and engineers, it can be hard to see the potential business opportunities presented by AI-based apps. Of course, we won’t know the true extent of how AI can help app and web-based businesses for sometime.

That being said, there are immediate benefits that we can point. So without further ado, here are some ways entrepreneurs can use AI for apps to make money and grow their business.

Natural Language Processing

NLP is what coders and programmers call a series of algorithms that help computers better understand natural languages. This is different from earlier attempts called “rules-based” systems in that it attempts to understand language contextually as opposed to just grammar or keywords.

Why do you ask? Well, it helps an AI based app to understand language as it is spoken normally. That way, a user can search for something by voice or just type normally, and an AI app will be able to better understand the user, returning more accurate and precise rules.

So what are the business applications here? Well, very generally speaking, improved services you can offer to your customers. At SDI, we’ve used NLP tools to create better search engines for our apps.

Our algorithms are better able to understand how a person would normally speak or search; using this contextual tool, AI apps for Android and iOS can return better results, more refined results, and more intelligent results.

For instance, let’s say you own a mobile app that lets users track down upcoming music events at local venues. Say a user searches ‘Find cheap bars with a good 60’s Classic Rock band.’ With an older rules-based system, an app would return items for each keyword in that phrase:

    • Cheap;

    • Bars;

    • good;

    • 60s;

    • Classic;

    • Rock;

    • Even band!

While this can be helpful in terms of covering any possible meaning of your question (and this can still be an effective tool!), it can also return an overwhelming amount of frankly useless results.

With NLP and Machine learning tools our developers use to build apps, a user gets the results they want – bars with great music and affordable drinks. So, clearly, if your app has a search function (as most do) you will need to have machine learning NLP tools.

Sentiment Analysis and More

In case you haven’t yet figured it out, Machine Learning’s clearest and biggest impact is in the field of search analysis. They all largely fall into the broad category of NLP, but there are some clear distinctions between these various algorithms.

1. Sentiment Analysis

One of the ways that our developers improve the search results an app produces. Sentiment Analysis is a Machine learning tool that will search for opinion-based results, as opposed to numeric or rules-based.

If we return to our earlier example of music, SA will examine all references to band online from other people – reviewers, fans, venues, critics, and so on. What are people saying in the reviews?

Are they good? Crap? Best thing since sliced bread? This is opposed to looking at the band from a more numeric based perspective – it has 3,000 3 star ratings, 2,000 4 stars, and so on.

From a business perspective, this is useful to offer results more in keeping with what user is actually seeking. Better products = more users & higher engagement = $$$$.

2. Support Vector Machines and Anomaly Detection

SVM helps an app reduce some queries to binary categories – it is a bar or it is not a bar. This helps to narrow a field of search results to something more manageable. This is especially effective when it comes to images, for those with Design lovers with AI apps for iOS.

Anomaly Detection works in concert with SVM to reduce the level of errors in search results. While SVM narrows the field, Anomaly Detection graphs search results and determines the outliers. If these outliers fall far out of the expected parameters, they are probably errors, and the algorithm will remove them.

3. Reinforcement Learning

This is the meat and potatoes for Machine Learning. When you use Cortana or Siri, RL techniques study how you speak or type, what you commonly search online, what you like from a search result and more. All of this is then used to change the algorithm to better fit your needs; that’s right, an AI app is literally evolving every time you use it.

One great business application we’ve seen, is with a recent app we built. Since this app is in final development phases, we can’t provide exact details. But suffice to say, it centers around helping users stay trendy.

But as anyone will tell you, trendy can be a matter of choice. For instance, a hipster does not typically enjoy the same sense of design as say, a juggalo. So this app learns what each user finds cool and hip.

Thus when a hipster searches for cool local bands, they will get directed to Mumford and Sons venues, and the ICP lovers of the world can enjoy…well whatever juggalos enjoy.

Build your Own AI App for iOS or Android Today

If you have an app or an app idea that you think can benefit from AI and Machine Learning tools, contact us today. Our developers know the best ways to leverage machine learning into a successful app – and our marketers ensure it makes the money you need!

Call 408.802.2883 / 408.621.8481 now for a free consultation and quote.

10 Questions to Ask Your App or Web Development Partner

Web development is a necessary part of running an online business. Just like brick and mortar business prior to the internet, web development helps keep your company modern, competitive, and making money.

But, just like hiring a contractor to work on your office, there’s always a risk of being taken advantage of; afterall, if you knew how to make your website mobile first, why would you hire us to do it??

However, the good news is that the internet, in addition to being a great enterprise platform, also provides the greatest knowledge resource base ever seen on this planet. With the web, finding our good questions to ask a web developer is as simple as typing that exact phrase!

Let’s get it all out there first: SDI is a web and app development company. We build websites and apps that make money for entrepreneurs, startups, and SMBs. We not only believe that we build some of the best websites and apps out there but we can show it:

• 10,000 clients around the world;

• 1,500+ websites built;

• 2,000+ apps for Android and iOS;

80% of our business comes from returning customers;

• 20+ years of leadership in a business known for volatility.

So obviously, we want to convince you to hire us. But we don’t want your to do it blindly. We want you to feel confident that you will get exactly what you want and need. So let’s go over 10 good interview questions to ask a web or app developer.

1. What’s Does Your Company’s Project Hierarchy Look Like?

A web or app development project often has both a project manager and a technical manager. As a client, you’re going to want to know who is doing what. While you will probably be predominately working with a project manager, it helps to meet the guy in charge of all the technical stuff too.

2. What Happens if My Site or App Gets Hacked?

This is always a concern, but a good web and app development company is obsessed with encryption. While the hope is that you won’t have to worry about hacking – or crashed servers! – but it can happen. It’s good to know what steps your potential web/app development partner has in place to just in case something happens.

3. What Will Your Responsibilities Be?

This is a good question to ask because you don’t want to be blindsided by unforeseen requirements (i.e. server hosting or database maintenance). You want all of that out it in front and discussed by both sides. Ask your developers about both the short-term needs they need from you, as well as the long-term ones. By the way, SDI offers an Annual Maintenance Contract, including routine updates to all knew SDKs and/or programming language changes.

4. Mobile First?

Mobile-first means optimizing your website (or app) for mobile devices, as opposed to desktops or laptops. Whether you like it or not, mobile first is the name of the game. If a developer says no to this, or doesn’t seem to know what you mean, walk away immediately. Mobility is where business is headed and you can’t afford to start behind the ball.

5. Who Owns the Site or Hosting?

No matter what, you should make sure you are the sole owner of the website/app/domain name – all documentation and IP that comes out of the project, really. This is how you protect your idea and property. At SDI, it is a standard part of all our contracts: All documentation, IP, code, domain, and so on are the property of our client and our client alone.

6. What Kind of Industry Research is Performed Prior to Development?

While it may seem that all web/app development is the same, it isn’t. Not only does your developer need to research other online businesses in your industry, but they need to do a complete Competition Analyses to see what are industry best practices – and for correct content and SEO purposes.

7. Can You See Examples of Their Prior Work?

Ask for a portfolio or a group of Case Studies so you can see the developers prior work. Don’t just be satisfied with something that looks pretty. Play around on some of the websites or apps they’ve built. Do you like the UX/UI? Does the site or app do what is supposed to do? Are there any errors? And so on. A good developer and designer will spend at least 5 hours researching a new project.

8. WireFrames or Prototypes?

A development and design company needs to make wireframes and/or prototypes prior to serious coding. Wireframes help both you as the client and the developers themselves understand the underlying concept of the project. Does the basic UX/UI make sense? Is the transition from screen to screen (or page to page) logical, clean, and concise? You should insist on this!

9. What Kind of Timelines do They Offer?

Timelines not only help you plan your business around your app and website. It’s important to remember that a lot of this is by the hour kind of work – the longer it takes, the more it will cost. But the other side of that coin is too little on the time investment results in errors and shoddily built websites and apps.

10. What Do They Charge?

The messy question, but probably the most important. The average starting price for a website ranges from $500 to $3,000, and an app $1,000 to 4,000. As with any other service, the low end can result in poor service and/or products and the high end can result in vastly overpaying for quality you could get at much lower cost. Check out SDI’s pricing structure here.

Your Development Partners

SDI is the development team you need on your side. We are an enterprise tech development company; in other words we specialize in apps, websites and software specifically designed for SMB, Startup and Enterprise growth.

Call (408.802.2885/408.621.8481) today for a free consultation and quote. You can also contact us by email at any time! We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Custom Website Development VS Platforms for SMBs: The Verdict

As a website development company, clients are often curious as to the benefits of custom website development, especially over readymade frameworks like WordPress or Magento. So what’s the answer? Which is superior, which will help your business grow and thrive?

The answer for startups and SMBs is simple: Both.

Just like a military general, an entrepreneur has to carefully way many options in order to achieve the best possible result. And, as any entrepreneur will tell you, no single strategy will win the war.

Over the years, our website development team has come to realize that the SMBs and Startups we typically serve do best with a mixed-strategy approach. Custom coding is an excellent way to create a really unique and distinct online presence.

However, it’s also a good way to see development timeframes doubled, website development costs increased, and coding errors rise. This last issue especially can be mitigated by an excellent development team, but the truth is that these are all things an entrepreneur must consider.

The good news for SMBs is that website development frameworks in 2016 are far superior to their earlier counterparts. Magento, WordPress, Laravel – they’re all excellent frameworks with superior programming and excellent designs.

Even better – all of these frameworks can be edited, changed, and customized to fit your business’ specific needs. At SDI, we combine our custom website development services with open source frameworks. The result? Custom websites built rapidly, for an exceptionally fair price.

So let’s make the case: why is a mixed-tactic approach the best move for SMBs, Startups, and Entrepreneurs. Already convinced that this is the path for you? Wonderful! Contact us now to get started!

Time Requirements

With Magento, our developers can build you an eCommerce site in 2 business weeks. Yep – you read that correctly. 10 days and you could have your own Amazon-style website up and running flawlessly.

eCommerce not your thing? Maybe you’re looking to develop your online presence as a world-class chef. Well first, we can help you build an app that will really help build your brand! But, we can also use the Content Management System (CMS) WordPress to build you a blogging website. In 24 hours.

Furthermore, through the use of WordPress Plugins, you can easily grow your website to match the growth your company will experience. But a common concern for website owners (and a legitimate one) is that a framework will result in “cookie-cutter” websites.

These identical bland websites are a great option for a simple website not designed for business purposes. But research today shows that modern consumers want unique experiences. They don’t want every website to look the same.

Custom websites counteract that issue but also can take much, much longer to complete. Fortunately for our purposes, a good development team can customize framework plugins. This creates a unique website built off an established framework. No fuss, no muss!

Custom Website Development Costs

Unless you have a large development budget at your fingertips, the costs of custom website development can be prohibitive. Don’t get me wrong, a custom website is great and our developers love playing around in an open sandbox, but our clients tend to be SMBs, entrepreneurs and Startups.

In other words, our clients need more financially sensible options – without degradation in quality, service, or overall business. That’s where a website framework can help cut costs:

♦ Cheaper concept-to-launch timelines;

♦ Less time spent on testing and bug-repair; and

♦ Fewer development resources required.

Additionally, SDI’s framework and custom-coding hybrid approach make sustainable growth exceptionally simple. With framework plugins and a few custom tweaks, you can go from a blogging website to an eCommerce site in the blink of the eye!

SDI has a unique pricing structure as compared to other software, app and website development companies. We combine the cost-effectiveness of web developers in India, with the project efficiency of local management.

This dual-structured approach helps us land clients as big as Pepsi-Co and as local as Blush Make-Up College of San Francisco. With SDI’s development services, you get excellent products for a fair price.

Bug-Free Development

Mistakes happen. That’s a fact of life. It’s the reason why SDI’s app and website development process is so rigorous. We’ve seen far too many great app ideas fail because somebody went with a shoddy development company!

But even with our excellently trained team, errors occur. This fact is especially true in custom website development projects. While our team weeds out the issues long before we go to launch, it does take time.

Why are errors more common in custom development? Well, you’re the coding requirements are far more extensive. With a framework, you’ve already got the foundation built and plenty of features can be easily added with readymade plugins. Write some custom lines of code and you’ve got yourself a killer website.

These frameworks have been used by thousands and thousands of people many more times than I can imagine. That’s a level of testing impossible with a custom website. So, again – Custom + Readymade wins over sole reliance upon either method.

Just as a side note – while errors happen, our developers are the best in the biz. We’re so confident that by the time your website is launched we guarantee a completely bug-free product – and we’ll fix any errors for 6 months after launch. On us. That’s twice the industry standard.

Your Website Development Company

SDI has built thousands of websites in every industry available. Whether you want to develop a website from the ground up, use a framework, or some combination of the two, we can help. From design to development, and even to marketing – SDI helps turn your company into a success.

Call 408.802.2881 / 48.621.8481 or contact us here to get started on your website immediately.

Apps for Pets

Did you know that 1 in 3 pets get lost? Scary, right? Beyond that striking statistic, there’s a whole host of issues people need to think of before adopting a furry four-legged friend. Just to start: how in the world do you pick the right pet for you and your family.

There’s also pet health to consider – is your companion getting the exercise it needs? Are you giving your little gal or guy enough attention? How about standard pet first aid? There’s so much that goes into the proper care of a pet it can be a little staggering.

But there’s good news for pet owners ‘round the world: apps for pets is not only a useful tool for any pet owner, but a great entrepreneurial venture for anyone with a few extra bucks. In fact, if you contact SDI today, we can build you an app for pets on an iPhone or Android device – for a low starting price of $2000.

Apps for pets can be built to help for a variety of different tasks – really it’s quite startling how many clever apps for your pets are out there. So today we’re going to take a look at some apps that can help owners take better care of their pets.

The App for Lost Pets

Whistle/Tagg

Whistle is a gadget and app combo – basically it’s a SmartCollar that connects to your iPhone or Android device. With the recent acquisition of the GPS tracking company Tagg, Whistle can pinpoint your pet with startling accuracy. This is a favorite of ours for a 2 key reasons: it doesn’t require your pet to be chipped (you should get your pet chipped, but sometimes there’s no time in the day!) and it helps to make sure your buddy is getting the exercise he or she needs. Track your pet wherever they may wonder – right from your smartphone!

Apps for Pets to Play

Anyone with a cat or a dog intimately knows how much entertainment the little tykes need – especially when they’re still young. One area that apps for pets have really taken off are apps for playing.

1. Game for Dogs/Game for Cats

This app is quite literally named Game for Dogs/Cats (respectively). It’s a super simple app that allows your little guy to chase all sorts of digital woodland creatures – mice, Squirrels (SQUIRREL!), even cats. Currently, both versions are free on Android and iOS.

2. Cat Fishing 2

Another literally named app, this game lets your kitty chase little fish around all over the screen. These fish can be “caught” by your pal hitting the screen (paw or nose) – even by licking it! Gross for you, but cats love it! A bubble sound effect helps to capture your pet’s attention, further captivating the little monster. You can find this on Google Play or The App Store for free.

3. You VS Cat

Again, this app is named adroitly. In fact, this app and the previous two are all from Friskies. They may know how to make awesome apps for pets, but their creative naming department may need some work! This particular app is best played on a tablet, with you and your cat opposite one another (If you have an app idea that can get a cat to sit for longer than 30 seconds, contact our awesome developers!).

Apps for Buying Pets

When there are so many wonderful pets out there, it can be hard to decide who will be your perfect companion. Beyond just personality matches, there are other things to consider, especially when buying a dog. Cats are a little easier to pick because there isn’t as large of a variation in domestic breeds. Even a Maine Coon is only the size of a small dog!

So, how do you find the right fit? What breed is good for an apartment? A house? It may not be what you think. Here’re two free tips on the matter –

• Large dogs like St. Bernard’s often made good apartment dogs because they’re low energy animals – they won’t tear up your place!

• Herding dogs (i.e. German/Australian Shepherds) and sledding dogs (like Huskies) are often not even good for a full house. These breeds are built for work and intelligence. If they don’t have plenty of play space, they will go nuts…and you will regret it!

But for more excellent tips, there are two really good apps for buying pets: Petsie (Android, Free) and Guide to Dog Breeds (iOS, $1). They both offer comprehensive databases of many dog breeds. Petsie is more of a Crowd-sourced guessing tool; Guide to Dog Breeds is a real hefty app though, containing in-depth details on more than 400 dog breeds.

Other Apps for Your Pets

MapMyDogWalk is a partner app to a human fitness training app. It lets you use a map to plot an ideal exercise route for you and your dog. It also tracks caloric expenditures and saves your preferred routes.

• Pet First Aid (Android or iOS): No one wants to think about their pet falling ill or getting injured, but unfortunately it can happen. Pet First Aid contains written and video directions on a variety of standard and emergency pet care tasks. It also helps you easily connect to a vet and can route you to the nearest pet hospital.

Build an App for Your Pets with Expert Developers

Got a great idea that combines all of the top apps for pets? Or a brand new app idea? SDI has built, tested and launched more than 3,000 apps. Give us a call at 408.802.2885 / 408.621.8481 or contact us now to get your app launched in 30 days or less.

Top 7 Best Apps for Home Repair

Just because we’re a tech company stocked with a bunch of computer and marketing nerds doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate a little DIY Home Repair. Those ‘Honey-Do’ lists seem only to grow (I swear, honey, I’ll pull up that avocado tree this weekend!). But what happens when the toilet breaks down?

I know PHP, .Net, Design, APIs, SDKs, Software apps – and so on. Plumbing isn’t exactly my forte. But that’s what I love about apps and the world of the internet – home repair is just a few taps away. We thought we’d take a look at some of our home repair apps for iPad, Android and iPhones.

Keep in mind that these are just the best on the market – none is perfect. Which brings us to the other great fear of Mobile app development: There’s always room for improvement. More to the point, it’s inexpensive. If you have a flash of inspiration while reading this post, contact us today to get your app launched in as little as 30 days.

1. SnapGuide – iOS, Free

SnapGuide is more of a general how-to guide containing all sorts of guides for everyday tasks, from recipes to home repair. This is the ultimate iPhone and iPad DIY app for those who like to do everything themselves! Even better, this is a crowdsourced guide. Users can not only comment, share, and favorite specific guides, they can also create their own guides

2. Dream Home – Android & iOS;

Look, I can paint a wall. I can build minor stuff, patch holes and the like. But, dear god, please do not ask me to pick a color or questions about decorating. I’m hopeless. You will end up with mismatched furniture and a puce-colored room, guaranteed. That’s why this app is great: it contains an immense library of a variety of room design inspirations from top interior decorators. There is both a free and paid ($3) version available.

3. RoomScan – iOS ($5); MagicPlan – Android (free)

This is an Awesome app. It lets you create interior dimension layouts of your room – by simply putting your phone on each wall in the room. Yep, that’s it. In a few minutes, you will have a complete floorplan uploaded on your phone. While this isn’t on Android, I’ve got good news. The MagicPlan DIY app is basically the same thing. The difference is that you just take photos of the room’s walls instead of placing it on a wall. In my opinion, it’s the best home repair app for Android, especially moving (and arguably easier to use than RoomScan), because it takes the guessing and wasted work out of setting up a room, laying carpet, painting, etc. Plus it’s free!

4. Adornably – iPad (Free)

This is one of those new Augmented and Virtual Reality apps that are garnering so much news recently. Adornably lets users create virtual 3d images of a piece of furniture. Users can then move the representation around a virtual space (i.e. the living room) to see how something would look. This is a great home repair app for the iPad; specifically, the AR feature works exceptionally well with a tablet’s larger screen size and its improved graphics. Also, worth noting is the fact that it that this won a Webby for Best Tablet Shopping app in 2014. Pretty impressive.

5. Handy – iOS/Android (Free)

Let’s face it: sometimes we all find ourselves out of our league. Also, sometimes I’d rather have a beer and watch TV rather than fix the toilet. That’s where Handy Comes in. Sometimes, I really don’t want to do it myself. Handy connects me to dozens of providers for all sorts of home repair providers.

6. Home Sizer – iOS (free)

This is a great home repair app for iPhones. More specifically, its actually a home repair budget app. It’s perfect for those who are building a new home or those who are undergoing significant remodeling. This helps DIYers compare costs of various materials – by the square foot to help give a realistic idea of how much everything will cost.

7. Drywall Calculator – iOS ($1)

This is another app for those DIYers who are undergoing significant renovations and/or building a new home. Trying to figure out the appropriate amount of drywall necessary for a room is a headache most would rather avoid. While not as sexy as some of the other Home Repair apps, it’s very practical and exceptionally useful for those doing major home repair work.

DIY Home Repair App Builders

We build apps that let you build your home and your life. Even if you’re looking for an app like Handy, we can help. These Uber-style apps provided on the demand service for customers while helping providers grow their client base. All you have to do is provide the space for clients and providers to communicate.

We’ve done it before, and we’ll do it again. We are app builders. We know how to make a successful app that gets downloads, improves revenue, and grows a business. If you would like to see some of our work, stop by our portfolio page. Then contact us via email or call us at 408.802.2885 / 408.621.8481.