How To Have A Successful App Launch

There are so many apps out there but that doesn’t mean that yours cannot be successful. It’s about a certain level of dedication and commitment to making sure it succeeds. After all, you spend time and money getting it built so make sure your app launch is done correctly so it has a chance.

You will see a lot of information about the steps to take to submit your app and how to make it successful. However, before you launch an app you must also know what not to do to ensure you are truly doing everything correctly.

People Pleasing

It’s natural to want everyone to like your app. You spend a lot of time analyzing your target audience and trying to build the app around what they want. Many times app owners spend too much time and go too deep into trying to please everyone. What tends to happen is too much money and functions get put into version 1 of the app.

You want to keep it simple and go with your original plan. There can be some tweaks here and there but don’t spend all your time trying to cover every base because it will be a waste. You will only know what to change once people start using it and provide feedback. It’s almost impossible to get it right the first time. That’s what version 2, 3, 4, etc are for. Even the most popular apps have made changes based on user likes and dislikes.

Proper Testing

This is one of the most important steps. Once app development is completed it is time to properly test it before you launch. This cannot be stressed enough. Your mobile app development team will test it of course but you should also have a group of friends or beta tester group ready. When app development is complete you can send everyone the app to play around with and let you know what bugs and issues they find as well.

User experience is everything and not taking the proper care to ensure your app is working perfectly will ensure failure. Don’t skimp out on this. Many times what happens is you get so excited that the app is almost done and you just want to get it out there. If you do your app launch without doing your due diligence you will regret it. Once you have completed your testing and fixed the issues successfully then you can correctly launch your mobile app.

Diluting

There are many app stores out there besides just Apple and Google Play. Eventually, you’ll want your app to be available on all stores, not just 1. When you are launching your app, however, you need to focus. If you are only submitting to the Apple store then focus all your marketing efforts on driving traffic to Apple.

Often times if you spread your marketing to all the other areas it actually dilutes the ranking of your app. By focusing on 1 store you can rank higher and get higher ratings which actually leads to higher visibility. Later on, you can spread it across to the others.

That being said when it comes to Apple and Google Play make sure your app can be compatible for both. Even if your app launch is on 1 store try to think about what the other store requires so you can easily convert it later when you do decide to submit it to the other one. This goes for the content as well. Make sure your name will be accepted on both platforms as well as other details.

Be Social

One of the biggest mistakes people make when launching an app is not staying on top of their social presence. Many times people do a lot in the first week and fall off if they don’t see any results. Marketing isn’t magic. You don’t send out posts and then have 100,000 downloads the next day. It takes months of hard work to start building awareness.

Make sure you are consistently posting good content on various social media channels every day. Then look back and respond to anyone who has reached out. Take advantage of cross-promotion and don’t let anything fall off. Even if someone makes a negative comment, respond with understanding and positivity. Again, this requires time and effort which means you have to take it seriously and don’t drop off otherwise your app will do the same.

Paid Advertising

Whether you have a big budget or a small one, marketing is complex and dumping a bunch of money in paid advertising right at launch isn’t always the best idea. If no one knows who you are it can be a complete waste of money. You may see a little spike in potential users looking at the website and even going to the app store, but downloads will most likely be too low for the cost of marketing to be worth it.

Take some time to build your brand through free and/or very low-cost marketing tactics. If you stay on top of your marketing you can be become hot, at which time paid advertising and promotional campaigns are worth it. It can keep your app on the hot list longer making it more likely to be seen by journalists, influencers, and more. Again, this works best if your app has a spike in popularity and ranks high on the store.

Being Prepared

There is nothing worse than not having all your materials ready when you do your app launch. There is a list of content and materials you want to prepare because if you don’t, marketing your app is going to be a struggle. You have time while your app is being built to create all your materials. It’s a big mistake to wait until your app is almost ready for launch to start gathering all this information.

At the very least you want to have the following gathered and prepared before you launch an app on the store:

Create a Press Kit

Create a Video of your app

Blogs

♦ Press Releases

♦ Newsletters

♦ Social media posts

♦ List of publications and the writers

List of influencers

♦ List of app reviewers/bloggers

♦ App description and details

Tip-Toeing

All too often people tend to force their content into 1 bubble using only certain words or details. They focus on marketing to only 1 type of user. In some sense that is ok but for the most part you shouldn’t restrict yourself. This is especially true if you are brand new to the marketplace.

For example, if you have an app that is specifically for dog owners you may think ok I’m just going to market to people within dog groups and only mention dogs in my content. Although being specific is good you would be forgetting animal lovers in general. Someone with a dog may look at things about animals in general. Since you are not talking about animals that potential user will never find you.

It’s important to remember that you don’t have to just use 1 main keyword in all your content for marketing because you will end up restricting yourself and the number of people who can find you. It’s not the time to be picky. You want to gain as many users as possible.

It’s not just about doing all these tasks but doing them correctly as well. It takes time to design and develop your app. That is the perfect time to gather all your materials and take your time doing it. Know who your audience is and spend time thinking about what message will work best for creating interest to get people downloading your app.

That moment of the launch can be exhilarating and scary but if you have the right team behind you and have everything prepared, your app launch can go a lot smoother than you think. If you need help with app development and marketing tools contact the team at SDI to help or call Sakshi at 408.621.8481

Artificial Intelligence for your Food Processing Plants

You’ve probably heard about AI within the agricultural field. Many agricultural farms and companies are incorporating it to help manage their crops and delivery. They can produce more crops, lower the amount of waste and damaged produce, and increase efficiency in the delivery. Of course, industries like healthcare, retail, cosmetics, and transportation are also using it more and more to help with various sectors. The industry that isn’t known for using it is food processing plants.

15% of manufacturing plant shipments comes from food processing plants. This type of industry manufacturers a massive amount of food but the margins are not that high. More food processing companies are realizing the value of embedding AI into their software. Even if a little increase in efficiency can help increase their margins, it’s completely worth it.

The Benefits

It’s no surprise that speed and efficiency are the largest advantages of AI being used no matter what industry it is. However, with both of those, the most important aspect for any company is lowering costs and bringing in more revenue. The way food has been processed and transported is becoming less and less viable. With increases in overhead costs and transportation issues that are hard to foresee there is no wonder why people are looking to something new.

We’ve seen a lot about Artificial Intelligence and how it can help improve supply chain management. How to properly route which items to which vehicles and the routes they take help to maximize efficiency and lower the number of mistakes. That is key and AI is helping with that.

When it comes to food processing plants it’s all about how to process food faster, better, and be able to throw in changes that don’t cost too much. The algorithms that AI produces can provide various options for these plants based on their continuous learning. Those options would be ways that the plant can make changes and adjustments to production. Rather than trying to determine this the traditional way which includes a lot of time and labor, AI can do it instantly and in real-time. The more you use AI, the better it gets and is always evolving to make improvements.

What it Can be Used for

To become more efficient, there are multiple sectors within the manufacturing process that can be changed. The way products are sorted and separated, packages are packed and sorted, cleaning and equipment maintenance, food safety, and even marketing tactics. To be able to produce such a high volume of food, everything has to be in order. There is a lot that has to go into creating that final product which includes making sure all stock is placed, that everything is clean, the food is inspected and approved. The entire plant has to be maintained and pass a certain level of safety and cleanliness.

Problem Solving

Many manufacturers have issues with food that is different sizes. You are producing many different things and to sort all the different products can be tricky. It is not always perfect and takes time to fix issues. This issue has been well taken care of with the use of sophisticated AI technology versus human laborers. This technology has made things automatic and increased the time it takes to sort everything.

This type of AI goes a step further by figuring out how best to use certain items. If a company produces apple products like whole apps, apple juice, and apple chips the AI can determine which apples will work best for each. Instead of disposing of funky apps that are maybe too small or shaped funny they can be used to make apple juice or even apple chips.

It not only makes the production lines more efficient and saves money but it also produces a lot less food waste. For 1 single plant it may not seem like a lot but when you do this across many plants were talking millions of tonnes of food that is being saved. This is especially useful when certain resources are scarce.

Keeping it Clean

For food processing plants the cost of cleaning all the equipment is pretty expensive due to the time it takes to clean, the machine downtime, and the amount of water being used. However, this is something that every plant must do properly in order to continue operating. With the use of various sensors, food processing plants can have the machines cleaned faster and reduce the amount of water used. This would lead to lower production downtime and cost and would increase the revenue.

It can be difficult to see and catch any safety issues happening. Whether it is personnel not wearing the correct gear to handle the food or a foreign object that’s made its way into the plant, this can be solved better with AI. Using various facial recognition type algorithms it can detect these issues in real-time to send a notification of the fix. Having someone looking at cameras later to determine what issues may have happened isn’t the best way of fixing these food safety issues. With this type of technology, it will catch a much higher percentage a lot faster so that the problem can be corrected right away.

Consumer Demands

Many companies come up with new things to roll out to customers. Sometimes it’s popular and sometimes it’s not. It is always a gamble when it comes to what consumers might like. There are AI technologies that can help companies determine what product to make next based on consumer patterns. It can almost predict the future, making a product less likely to fail.

You can allow consumers to create their own version of your product. Let them decide what they like. Your AI system can then take all the data within seconds and determine what you should be producing to earn you the highest level of return via customer satisfaction and purchases. To do this, you can incorporate AI into your website so it can see and learn about all your consumer’s habits. This is the ultimate goal.

In the end, it is about providing the consumers the product they want to see and eat. Although it can be difficult to determine exactly what they want all the time, AI can do a pretty good job learning what changes need to be made at what time based on many different inputs. If you want to learn about how you can properly incorporate artificial intelligence into your food processing plants then contact Sakshi Sharma at 408.621.8481 or email her at sakshi@sdi.la.

Build A Retail Mobile App To Increase Sales For Your Business

The way we make retail purchases has changed drastically over the years. Online retail sales have taken over, forcing the brick and mortar companies out, even the larger ones. With companies like Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and Aliexpress there is no doubt that retail mobile apps and websites are the way to go.

Although many people use their computers to do their online shopping, mobile apps are coming in strong. With the right UI/UX experience, apps provide make a huge difference when it comes to doing it on the computer versus the phone. Mobile app development not only benefits customers but it also benefits the retailers as well.

Many retailers can also take advantage of both in-person and online shopping with mobile apps. It provides a well-rounded approach for every type of shopper.

The Benefits

1. Customers can view all the products from anywhere at any time.

2. Advanced apps can allow users to create digital profiles of themselves allowing them to test what the product will

look where the customer plans on using it.

For example, if you want to purchase eyeglasses online it is difficult to determine if it will look good on or not. The ability to upload a picture of your face and then have the glasses placed on the image allows you to see how they will look so you can make a more educated decision.

3. Of course, the simplicity of making the purchases right from the app is a key selling point.

4. If this is incorporated into a physical store a customer could request items to be looked at ahead of time. Once at the store they can easily check in and have everything ready for them.

5. In-store they can request assistance and more from a digital assistant within the store itself.

Millennials tend to prefer less human interaction so going to the stores and dealing with sales staff is not exciting for them. It’s not even just millennials, think about most people. Do we really like being bothered by associates in the store or any other company that we go to? Not so much. We like to just walk in and do our thing and only talk to someone if we have a question.

This is especially true when it comes to more personal items. If you are looking for a plain T-shirt most people won’t care to buy it in front of people. However, there are plenty of stores where purchases of intimate items can be made and having people see you buying it can be a little embarrassing. When it comes to those items most people would love to just buy from home and have it shipped.

In-store specials

There are so many options not only outside of the store but inside of it as well. It’s all about increasing the consumers’ experience inside and outside meeting their expectations. Even if all you have is a single store, building in that digital presence can help increase your customer base.

One amazing feature is the interactive map. Many times you go to a store and spend time trying to find something, then when you want to ask someone where that item is it’s a struggle to find an employee. You end up going around in circles getting frustrated.

Imagine for a moment that before you leave home you go into the app, do a quick search for the item you are looking for, click find and boom you now see a map which directs you from the entrance of the building to the exact place that item is at. This not only saves time but it provides a new level of customer experience that people find beneficial.

If you are a store selling larger items you can use technology that allows the customer to preview that item within the stores themselves. Customers can upload pictures of spaces, cars, or anything else depending on what is being sold. Then at the store, they can tap on items and see how it will look. Being able to see how a couch will look in the living room before actually purchasing it will increase the likelihood of them actually purchasing in the store. Companies have implemented this which has drastically improved their in-store sales.

The ultimate app-game

There are so many ways a retail mobile app increases your online sales.

1. You can track their searches and show certain items based on those searches and purchases. This is very common now all over the internet and within apps. It helps customers receive relevant suggestions based on their needs and wants.

2. Provides instant customer service, rather than them having to call or come to the store. They can do a chat with a customer service representative. You can use chatbots to help decrease expenses for personnel. Chatbots can also help manage customers and especially helps with answering common questions and requests. It can be done instantly and 24 hours a day which helps keep customers.

3. Retail mobile apps can show customers more products than what they can display in the physical store. There may be certain sizes and colors not available in the store but online they can order it. Many times you like something in the store but they’re out of your size or the color you like.

This is also a great option to have in the store. The ability for a customer to tap a screen and order the item in their size and/or color right in the store can yield more customer purchases. Sometimes if they wait to do it on their phone or at home later they could change their mind.

4. Provide them a customization experience. This is hard to do within the store as the stock is already there for purchase. If a user likes an item but wants to make some adjustments to it or put in their measurements to make sure it fits their body perfectly they can.

5. Similar to that of the new car subscription services, other retailers can offer this service in their app allowing users to pay a fee to receive certain items every month. Take Sephora for example, they give users the option to pay a monthly fee to receive a box of deluxe sample products so that you can try new things and determine if you like it or not. This is the best of both worlds because it allows users to try things for a low price without having to commit to the full product which is much more expensive.

Retail mobile apps provide an easy way for customers to interact with a business in a very fast simplistic way. Retailers receive information about their customers which helps them create new ways of enticing them to make more purchases and provides them with better customer service.

You can change the way customers think about your business with the use of a retail mobile app. The experiences they have can generate a new level of purchases as well as bring in new customers you may not have had before. This is your business and you should keep growing and changing as purchasing trends grow and change.

Make sure you hire a proper app development company that can provide you with all the features you need for you and your customers. If you need to discuss your business needs and what building a retail mobile app entails contact Sakshi at sakshi@sdi.la or call her at 408.621.8481.

The New Era of Purchasing a Car Using Car Subscription Services

How much do you love Netflix, Hulu or Spotify? There are a lot of subscription services out there, primarily because of the convenience. Having everything you want for a small price each month is worth it in many people’s minds. That mentality has made its way into the car industry as well.

For a very long time, everyone just bought a car outright. Then leasing started making it easier for someone to get a new car without dropping thousands and being committed. Now, the new option is car subscription services. There are already car companies like BMW. Cadillac, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Porshe, and more who offer this service. Soon car companies all over the world will offer it.

What is a car subscription service

Similar to leasing, the car isn’t owned by you. Instead, you pay a monthly fee to drive it. For the most part, the fee covers everything that has to do with the car. That can include maintenance, insurance, and roadside assistance. There are certain companies that offer a lot of other features like concierge pick up and drop off of the vehicle and car swapping whenever you want. The price you pay is set every month and you have the freedom to pick what you want. Many offer this service for their used cars or vehicles that have been leased.

I mentioned car swapping which is a really interesting feature within this service. Some car subscription services offer the option to change cars anytime. For example, let’s say you ordered a compact sedan through the subscription service and you have been driving that for a few months now. Now, you decided to help your friend move but need a truck to do it, you can go online and switch your compact sedan for a truck, use that for a few days, and then swap it back. A concierge will even pick it up and drop it off for you.

Pro’s

1. No stressful salespeople and negotiations.

2. No need to have a great credit score. It can be easier to be accepted versus buying or leasing.

3. It is really convenient because you can usually do everything online. You may not even need to go to the dealership at all.

4. The cost can be lower because there are no financing fees or down payments because it’s just the 1 monthly fee.

5. You have more flexibility when it comes to switching cars. You aren’t necessarily locked into paying for 2 years. You can pay for as many months as you want.

Con’s

1. There are rules and restrictions on the car that you won’t see when you own or lease. These can include:

a. The insurance options may not be as great as what you already have

b. You may have to get authorization for other people to drive your car

c. Going across any borders may be prohibited

d. You could have a tracking device in your car

e. Your pets may have to be in carriers

f. No smoking, drinking, or drugs. Drinking and drugs are pretty obvious but smoking may be prohibited because of the smell it causes or you can pay more for it.

2. If you don’t like monthly payments and want to just buy it outright so that you own it completely then this service is not for you.

3. If you like going to the dealerships and test driving the cars and then negotiating hard to get good deals then buying or leasing is the way to go. Good negotiators may be able to get a better deal buying or leasing than doing the subscription method, but again you have to be good at it and/or like doing it.

Let’s be honest, buying a car is a huge pain. You spend hours at different dealerships looking for cars with sales people following you around trying to convince you to get it. It’s stressful and you always feel that pressure from them, especially once you take a test drive. This is what most people hate about buying a car. It’s a lot of work to do it.

When it comes to the younger generation (millennials) they are not thrilled with face-to-face transactions. Having to do what generations have done before with car purchases holds no appeal to them so being able to do it all online and in an app is appealing. This generation already uses a lot of other subscription services for other parts of their life so this is just as appealing to them.

Price comparison

It’s pretty tricky to compare these options exactly because the services are pretty different. Depending on your choices you could save money with a subscription plan or you could pay more. Remember that insurance is included in the subscription price versus buying or leasing which is your own additional cost on top of that price.

You may get a price of $350 for leasing a car and with the subscription plan, it could be $425 which may make you say no. However, what is the price of your insurance? For a new car it’s most likely over $100 so in the end, a car subscription service could be cheaper. Do keep in mind this won’t always be the case, especially when you add more high-end features to your plan you will probably end up paying more. Of course, if you want to have unlimited mileage and car flipping options it’s only logical that it would cost quite a bit more.

The mobile app development opportunity

A lot of this booking is done online and although some companies may offer management of this service through an app there is still a huge gap in the market for this. Going into an app, selecting the vehicle you want, the type of plan and extras you want, and submitting is way easier than the traditional method of getting a car. Mobile app development is the way to go to provide your customers what they really want. Also, make sure you hire the right app development company who knows what to do.

This is the time to get your app created if you haven’t done so already. There are still limitations within the current mobile apps as well. Whether you already have one and need to make improvements or you want to build one with amazing features making it easy for people to purchase a plan, you should do it. Simplifying the purchasing process will make more people want to not only sign up for a subscription plan but also buy and lease. You could increase your profits which is the ultimate goal.

Fun facts to know about car subscription services

Something that is really exciting for many people is the credit check. Having your credit checked not only lowers your score but you don’t always get approved if you have a low score. With the app, you enter your credit card details but no credit check. You also have to show proof that you have a valid driver license.

Like renting a car, you have to be 25 years or older to take advantage of this service. Although those younger drivers may love this service they will have to wait a little bit. Many of these companies need you to have a good driving record to show that you’re a reliable driver and less likely to get into an accident.

This change has been going on for a while. The way we do anything nowadays has been changing drastically and buying a car is no different. It’s all about the freedom and flexibility to do what you want. You’ve got to find new ways to meet your customers’ wants and demands. The traditional methods of making purchases are becoming a thing of the past and app-based businesses are the future.

If you want to learn more about the car subscription services to create a website and/or mobile app then contact Rob LaPointe at SDI at 408.802.2885 or rob@sdi.la.

What to Prepare Before Your App Store Submission

There is a lot more to an app than getting it developed. You have your idea, contact an app development company, and then hire them to build it. Although that is very important there are many other aspects that are involved in creating an app. Don’t worry though, any good app development company can help you complete all these items so make sure you hire the right one.

Here is the ultimate list of items that should be completed BEFORE you move forward with your app store submission.

App Store Requirements

1. Before you start the design phase you need to choose the right name. Make sure you search on the app stores to make sure it’s not already taken. You also want to search for a domain name. Make sure it is available in .com or at least some variation of the name in .com. For example, adding app at the end of the name like www.nameapp.com. However, the best would be www.name.com. Determine the searchability in Google. All of these factors need to be considered before you finalize the name.

2. Once the design phase is complete its time to start putting together the screenshots you are going to use for the app store. You want to pick the most important screens in your app that really show people what it’s for and the most enticing parts. This is the first impression of your app, so make sure the screens are perfect.

3. Create a 1-page website. If you were already planning on creating a website that works with the app then you are fine but if your app works all by itself then you need a 1-page website. For this, you will need to purchase the domain and sign up for hosting. Also, ensure the design will attract users as it will also be a part of your marketing.

4. Sign up for an email where customers/users can contact you. This email should match your app name. Ie: info@name.com or even name@gmail.com

5. Think about how you want to earn revenue. This will not only need to be incorporated into the design and development of the app but the app store will also need it. Make sure you set up any banking accounts where you want funds to go.

6. Create your app icon design that will be seen on the mobile devices.

7. Create your end user license agreement if you need one.

8. Get your app analytics tools integrated into the app so that you can track where users are downloading from, what screens they go to and for how long, and much more.

Once you are just about ready to do the app store submission you will need to gather the following information:

9. Create your app store provisioning profile

10. Write a full description of the app. It should go over all the most important features. You don’t want to be too lengthy or too short but you want to cover everything.

11. Select your primary, secondary, and sub-categories. When you look at an app on the store you will see what category they are under. Make sure you pick the ones that fit your app best so the right users find you.

12. Determine the keywords associated with your app. You have a limit of 100 characters so stay within that. When choosing your keywords, search for them first on the app store to see what results you get. That will help you decide if it is a good keyword or not.

13. Choose your app rating

14. Decide on your copyright attribution

15. Select the countries you would like your app to be available in. Make sure you figure this out during the design process so if any adjustments need to be made in order to accommodate other countries it can be done.

16. Create an SKI number. Your development team will help you with this.

These tasks are for the Apple store as they are very strict about what they need app owners to do before you can submit and get approved. Android is a bit easier. If you are only submitting to Android then the tasks that you do NOT need to do from the above list are:

1. App store provisioning profile. You only need a simple Google Play developer account.

2. Secondary category and subcategories

3. Select your keywords

4. Create a copyright attribution

5. Create an end user license agreement

You may think Android is the better route to go because there is less work to do but there are many reasons why Apple may be better for your app versus Android and vice versa. If you need help deciding that then check out tips on how to choose between Apple and Android first.

Get Help

Looking at all these tasks may seem overwhelming and it can be if you are going to do all this by yourself. Nobody really has the time to do all those items. The best way to get them done is by having your app development team do them for you. Any good professional app development company can do all these tasks. All you have to do is give the final approval.

All of that is requirements from the app stores in order to complete your app store submission. However, there is also marketing activities that need to be prepared ahead of time. After all, what good is an app if no one can find it. Users won’t just magically appear a download your app. Efforts have to be made to attract users to download.

Marketing Materials

About 3 months before you decide to submit the app you want to identify who your target audience is, what their problems are and how your app is going to solve those problems. Think of it this way, who is your app for, what benefits will those people get out of your app, and why are you better than your competitors. Your answers are the foundation of all your marketing activities. Everything you do should be based on those answers. Create a 1 line statement that reinforces your brand so that users instantly recognize it.

When it comes to your website whether it is 1 page or 20 pages, the content, images, and overall design need to be right. There is a reason why UI/UX is so important. You should have a way to entice people to follow you in some way like subscribing or following you on Twitter. Your app developers should be able to design and program this website for you.

Social media presence is important which is pretty obvious in this day in age. Setting up an account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest is crucial. There are so many social platforms out there beyond just these. You can discuss with your marketing team to determine which could work best for your app.

Create Buzz

You can create buzz before your app is even ready. Many times people think let me wait until my app is live and working correctly on the store before I start marketing. You don’t have to wait. Create a 1-page marketing website which gathers emails. The content should be very interesting and entice people to want to use your app and therefore enter their email to receive updates about it and when it is launched they can download it.

You can also create videos for Youtube and use screenshots of the app to explain it in a fun and exciting way. We’re not talking about typical boring explainer videos, it’s all about funny energetic entertaining ones. Of course, if your app is about a serious subject this approach will be done differently.

Use your inner circle to create buzz from word of mouth and have them share your videos and website or any other materials you have prepared. You can use message boards and blogs to grow your inner community.

Right Before Launch

Make sure you have a group of beta testers set up within your circle. Your development team should work with you to get this to everyone. You want to get all the bumps and bugs fixed first before you go head first into marketing.

Build Your Lists

There are a lot of people you will want to contact about your app. You’ll want to find people that are in the realm of what your app is about. Start creating lists of people that are within certain categories. Those lists should include:

1. Influencers – There are many social media users and bloggers who are very influential. Finds those influencers who relate to what your app is about.

2. Facebook Communities – Gather a list of groups and communities that discuss the topic that your app relates to.

3. Bloggers – You can easily send bloggers information about your app and they may talk about it. You want to focus not only on subject related bloggers but mainly app and technology bloggers.

4. App review websites – there are a lot of app review websites out there. You can submit details about your app for a chance to have it reviewed and published.

5. Journalists – Find those who are in the app and tech realm as well as what your app is about. You can gather a list of major publications as well as local ones.

Make sure you have a press kit ready to send out to all the people listed above. A press kit encompasses all the information people might need about your app. You want to list all the functions and features of your app. It should also have your logo, some screenshots, description, and URL links you have to websites and/or social media, press contact info, any explainer or promo videos, and put url’s to any exposure you already have. This helps in the case that any of those writers decide to write about your app then they have everything they need to do it in 1 spot without wasting time going back and forth with you.

As you can probably see, there are a lot of things to consider and do before you launch your app. If this is your first app then there is a lot you need to know about getting it developed too. It’s not an easy process but you don’t have to do it all by yourself. There are some app development companies like SDI who not only offer technical services but also have marketing services. Not all companies offer this so make sure you choose one that can do it all because it will save you time and money. Having a well-rounded team at your disposal makes creating and launching an app much easier.

If you have any questions about creating an app, marketing an app, or anything else contact Sakshi Sharma at 408.621.8481 or email her at sakshi@sdi.la.

Convert Your Private Tutoring or School into a Digital Classroom

It’s very rare nowadays to be in a classroom that uses no technology. There are so many amazing digital tools that enhance how teachers explain a subject to their students or manage their classroom. We live in a world where blended-learning has become the norm. Although many schools and teachers have adapted there is still another level that any school or tutor can go to. Many universities offer online courses which is great but now private schools and tutors should too.

A digital classroom incorporates e-learning tools and can be done a few different ways. It can be a traditional classroom where the teachers use technology to help the students understand the material. Another version is where the teacher has their traditional classroom but is recording themselves for others to view online as well. Then there is a fully online class which involves no physical room. We’re going to focus more on the last 2 options.

The 3 Types

For any 3 of those options you can then choose the type of teachings you want to provide which can be either of these:

1. Synchronous learning which is a live classroom for which you can do live webinars or massive open online courses.

2. Asynchronous learning which has the students choose when they want to do the coursework and they can look to forums and other communications to ask questions and look for answers.

3. Blended learning which uses the above 2 types based on what is being taught and what will work best for those students.

Where you are a major university, an independent private school, or a tutor you can benefit from incorporating this blended or online classroom. Many people have full schedules or live in a location that is far from the school they want to attend. The people who are unable to physically be in your classroom are the people you can go after.

Imagine for a minute you are the owner of an English language school. You get students from various countries to come to the US and learn English in your physical location. Maybe you have 100 students that join your school a year. Now, imagine being able to teach English to students from any country without them having to physically move to the US, something that can be very difficult for many to do.

The same education the students who physically attend can be given to those who are online. Instead of having 100 students you now have 5,000 because there is no space limit when it comes to the internet.

How it can help

Online classrooms can provide educations to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to learn. It’s also less expensive for students but earns you more revenue because of the volume. You may be thinking does online courses really help students learn as much as being in the classroom. The answer is yes with the use of interactive e-learning groups where students can easily communicate with one another and instructor lectures can be watched multiple times.

Of course, there are right ways and wrong ways of incorporating a digital/online classroom. Just providing some learning materials and a quiz at the end isn’t really going to help them learn much. However, making it truly interactive and using the right technology tools can make all the difference.

Any materials that students may need can be done digitally. Workbooks, quizzes, homework, tests can all be done online easily. Providing this in your physical classroom will also save money on paper.

Digital Options

You can build your community of students more than ever before and it doesn’t require that much tech. Here are some different ways you can incorporate technology into your teachings to increase your student base.

1. One of the simplest ways is to set up a camera in your classroom or tutoring area. You can record yourself while you are teaching. You can upload the intro videos onto Youtube to get people interested in the material then offer a payment for additional classes.

A variation to this is to make a bunch of short 1-2 minute videos which explain a specific task. Provide a bunch of those on Youtube for free. On your website, you can have a purchase courses section which all youtube videos can be linked to. Students can purchase these to learn on their own time.

2. You can do a live classroom that people sign up for. This will require a certain level internet capabilities, website features, and functions which requires more intricate development. It’s best to hire a website development company to take care of this for you.

With this option not only can you still have students physically in front of you but with a proper recording device anyone in the world can join and watch your classroom. You can provide them with a way to submit questions which you can answer after the class as well.

3. You can do a combination of the 2 options above. This will take the longest to set up but it is totally worth it to be able to teach more people. Creating your own masterclass for a subject is the way to go. Many students prefer this type of method.

Providing a Great Educational Experience

Something to keep in mind when choosing any online teaching option is that it’s not just about offering your videos and teachings. You have to go beyond that step and also make the actual educational experience better. Make sure you do things that engage them, allow them to reflect on the material, discuss with them, and have them use apps if they can.

Interaction is incredibly important, so making sure you include that in your digital teachings will make your classroom stand out. Students need that interaction with other students and it is the one thing that online or digital classes struggle with. Creating online study groups and providing open communication with all students can benefit them in so many ways.

That being said, a digital class also provides opportunities for students to interact with one another even more. In a physical classroom, you would speak to and get into groups only with the people in the classroom with you. However, if you use online communication tools not only can your students in the physical space meet but they can also meet with others from around the world who are taking the course too. This means they can have a more well-rounded experience rather than staying in their classroom bubble.

Before and After Implementation

It can be really exciting to get this implemented but before you do you need to do a couple things first. Then, right after you launch you want to ensure what you are doing is correct. Make sure you do the following:

Before

1. Analyze your target audience to determine what their needs are and exactly what they are trying to learn and what you are trying to teach. Match your goals with what your student’s needs are.

2. Decide the best way to present your information based on that. What online tools will work best with what you are teaching. What activities can be replaced by online tools, what kind of interaction tools will your students need, and what learning tools like apps or websites can they use that fits with your curriculum.

After

3. Once you launch your new digital classroom it’s time to beta test it with your inner circle and then market it.

4. Evaluate what works and what doesn’t and make simple adjustments to ensure your students are excited and properly learning the material.

It can definitely seem a little overwhelming to implement some or all of these. The benefits of providing your tutoring services or private school class digitally are vast. So many people want to just click on a link and learn from wherever they are at. You not only increase your revenue but also provide education to those who may not have been able to do it before.

If you are wondering how you can learn more about what you should incorporate and how to do it, contact Sakshi Sharma from SDI at sakshi@sdi.la or 408.621.8481. We can help you take your classroom to the next level.

Cloud Data Warehousing Options for Businesses – Part 2

Your business needs to run smoothly and a big part of that is how your data is analyzed and used. We discussed what Snowflake, Presto, and Apache Hive are in Part 1 and how they can benefit your business. If you weren’t sure about any of those 3 options, there are 3 more for you to look at. Hadoop, we mentioned previously but this time you will see more in-depth details about what it really is. Cassandra and HBase have some amazing features you can really take advantage of as well.

If you are still using traditional data warehousing you could be wasting a lot of money and time. Cloud-based data warehousing has a lot of benefits to offer and switching over isn’t always as complicated as it seems. In the end, it will definitely be worth it.

What is Hadoop

Hadoop is basically open-source (free) programs and procedures that anyone can modify. This is essentially the glue that holds everything together for your big data operations. It’s a framework which uses programming models to process large data sets across a bunch of computers. It was created to allow thousands of machines to offer their own storage and local computation.

The Hadoop library can detect and take care of failures that happen making it a really great tool to help with clusters of computers that tend to have failures. To help you understand what Hadoop truly is and what it can offer let’s take a look at its modules that are meant to analyze big data.

1. MapReduce – It takes the data it receives from a database and then configures it into a format so it can be analyzed and then perform tasks based on operations. For example, it will search and find female customers who are between the ages of 20 and 30.

2. Hadoop Common – This has tools that work with various computer systems that can read any data that is within the Hadoop file system.

3. Distributed File-System – data can be stored and accessed easily even if they’re a lot of different storage devices. This makes it easy for MapReduce which digs through the data.

4. YARN – This is basically the manager for the modules because of YARN overseas all the systems that store and analyze the data.

Although these are the main modules, there are other features out there that are part of Hadoop and more will probably be added in the years to come.

There are multiple reasons why your business could benefit from using Hadoop. Those include the ability to process a lot of data very fast. Protection is very important and with Hadoop, you are protected in case a node does go down. It has backups in place just in case. There is no limit to the amount of data you want to store which can be very useful for larger and/or fast-growing companies.

If you need to grow, the system can easily grow with you because all you have to do is increase your nodes as you need them. This is a free framework and does use hardware to store the data so if you are looking for solely cloud-based only then this may not be the best option. It is, however, a pretty cost-effective one.

It’s great at data archiving and the low price point makes it better than most especially with the power it has. There are tools to help you manage all your data for Hadoop as well. Sandbox, Data Lake, and IoT. For example, if you use Sandbox It is great for analyzing big data which can help your company’s operations run more efficiently.

What is Cassandra

Apache Cassandra is an open-source database and was built on Google’s BigTable and Amazon’s Dynamo. It can manage a massive amount of structured data from various commodity servers. Some of the key features with Cassandra is its high level of availability, simplicity, cloud availability, linear scale performance, and data distribution simplicity across various data centers. It’s performance and uptime abilities make it a superior choice to others.

Apple, Instagram, and Uber are just a few of the major companies that use Cassandra. There is a reason these companies have looked to Apache Cassandra with its ability to always have uptime and ease of use. If nodes do fail they can easily be replaced without any downtime happening.

You can use Cassandra either on your hardware or in the cloud. It is incredibly fast as it provides read and write times in sub-milliseconds and is meant for linear, incremental scalability. Like Hadoop, you have the option to add nodes which will provide you with more storage and read/write capacity. You just keep adding as you need it, it’s that simple.

If your business needs a very high level of availability, fantastic performance, and great scalability, Apache Cassandra may be the answer. This is one of the best options out there because it really does perform better than other alternatives, mainly because of its architecture.

If you have applications that you absolutely can’t lose the data for then Cassandra is perfect since it will work even if your entire data center goes down. There are also a lot of support services available in case you need it.

The price point may be higher than others, however, you can grow as your business grows through operational means rather than through development. Development and redesign are costly and time-consuming but with Cassandra, there is no need for that because you just add hardware as you go along. You also don’t have to scale vertically which means you don’t have to spend extra money moving from machine to machine.

What is HBase

We already talked about Hadoop and HBase actually runs on top of HDFS (Hadoop Distributed File System). Apache HBase is an open-source NoSQL database which gives read and writes access in real-time. It’s a column-oriented management system. This works really well for sparse data sets. Similar to a traditional database, HBase is a set of tables that have rows and columns. Much like MapReduce, it is written in Java. One thing to note is, HBase does not have the ability to support structured query languages so if you need that, this isn’t going to work for you.

This scales linearly which gives it the ability to deal with a massive amount of data. It can process billions of rows and like other options, it also can combine data from various sources with different structures. The values within each cell have a timestamp. To break it down for you think of the table as a bunch of rows, each row is a bunch of column clusters, each column cluster is a collection of columns, and finally, those individual columns is a cluster of key-value pairs.

These column clusters are stored together which makes it different than the typical row-orientated relational database. Keep in mind if you decide to go with HBase you will need to define the table schema ahead of time and then determine the column clusters. HBase is flexible and can adapt to any change in requirements.

Within Hadoop, you can access your data randomly and in real-time with HBase. It’s pretty easy to store semi-structured data and then access it quickly to provide it to any applications or users. Enterprises that need analysis in real-time for end-users like HBase’s low latency storage capabilities. You may need to manage billions of activities happening within the company and your customers every single day. For this to happen you need web security services that can successfully handle all of it and that happens with the use of HBase because you can keep up with everything in real-time.

The overall benefits of HBase are being able to replicate across the data center, very consistent, automatic load balancing, server-side processing, real-time lookups, and more.

These 3 platforms each have their positives and can improve your business’s operations in so many ways. Although they may seem very similar, there are variants which can either hinder you or help you, and understanding your business infrastructure will help you decide.

If you read part 1 of this blog which goes over Snowflake, Presto, and Apache Hive you now have 6 amazing options to choose from. As mentioned cloud data warehousing can provide a lot of benefits to your company, some more than others.

You may have more questions about each of these cloud data warehousing options. You can get all your questions answered from industry experts at SDI or by contacting Rob at 408.802.2885 or at rob@sdi.la.

Cloud Data Warehousing Options for Businesses – Part 1

Every company is different and has different needs when it comes to just about everything. When it comes to cloud data warehousing, analytical systems, and big data you have a lot of options. The option that is best for you depends on a lot of factors. Below you will see a breakdown of Snowflake, Presto, and Hive. This should help you determine which you prefer for your business.

First, let’s start off with what cloud data warehousing and big data is. A data warehouse is a system that collects data from various different sources within an organization. It then uses that data to provide information for better decision making. There are 2 types of data warehouse’s, one that is cloud-based and the other which is traditional on-premise systems. More companies are switching over to cloud-based warehouses because no hardware is needed, setup and scaling are quicker and easier, and it can perform more complex analytical queries faster.

Big data is basically what it sounds like. It simply means a huge volume of data. This data is both structured and unstructured. The key here is what companies can do with the information that’s important, not so much the amount of information. The data provided can be analyzed to provide businesses the ability to make better decisions about what the company’s next move should be. Don’t worry if your business is not technical because you can still find and leverage the right technology needed for your business.

What is Snowflake The primary purpose of Snowflake is to use the cloud and everything it has to offer. Some of the main benefits include:

a. Quick decision making through analytics gathered from all your data. This can easily be provided to the people within your business. b. There is very little maintenance, you can scale your analytics. c. Provide customers with a better experience by providing them with fast, consistent, and relevant information.

Many other data warehouses can’t match Snowflakes simplicity, performance, and cost. It is also easy to transfer the data you already have.

You can make the most of the data you receive because it removes all the management needs. Since it runs in the cloud and has no infrastructure there is very little work on your end. Everything is done automatically for you. They have the tech to load and optimize natively for both structured and semi-structured data.

One of the most impressive features is how fast it can process information and complete tasks. It uses very advanced optimization on the database engine so the data is received much faster than other cloud and traditional data warehouses. Within seconds you can then easily share data with anyone in the company, investors, and even customers with very little effort on your end.

Scalability is very important as you will get what you want when you want it because it is constantly scaling up and down when it needs to. It also does that without any disruptions to your business. No matter how much data there is or the number of users, Snowflake scales automatically. You can integrate Snowflake incredibly fast and you can do it with ready-made or custom applications and tools.

The price point is also very interesting. Instead of paying a large set cost, you only pay for what you use. This usage base pricing is for those who pay a lot to get everything set up in the beginning and are paying for what they don’t even use.

What is Presto Presto is basically an open-source, distributed SQL query engine. If you’re wondering what that is, it is an engine that has the ability to run interactive analytical queries very fast against small or large data sources. It does not have its own storage system. It works really well with Hadoop. Amazon EMR Hadoop distribution has Presto packaged with it. Presto supports HDFS, HBase, Amazon S3, Amazon Redshift, Microsoft SQL, and more. Presto uses an architecture that is somewhat like a massively parallel processing database management system.

With Presto, you don’t have to move data into a different analytics system to query the data. Instead, it can run these queries where it’s currently stored which provides the results within seconds. Presto has been designed to support complex queries, sub-queries, distinct counts, percentiles, aggregations, joins, left/right outer joins, and standard ANSI SQL semantics. There are a lot of companies that use this such as Airbnb, Nasdaq, and Netflix.

Once the query is collected, the request is then processed throughout various stages across worker nodes. The processing is done across the network between the stages. This is done so that it evades any excess I/O overhead. With the additional worker nodes, the processing is quicker and it allows for more parallelism.

You can easily deploy presto in the cloud. It is a great option for a workload in the cloud. Since the cloud provides amazing features such as reliability, scalability, economies of scale, availability, and performance, Presto is an incredibly useful tool. With Presto, within minutes a cluster can be launched. There is also no need to do anything when it comes to configuration, setup, node provisioning, and cluster setup and tuning.

One query can take data from various sources, which gives you the ability to see analytics from various departments throughout the organization. Presto is pretty much in the middle when it comes to speed and price. They are fast but not overly expensive either. You either have an expensive tool that provides very quick response times or cheap, free ones that have very slow response times. Choosing Presto gives you a nice middle ground.

What is Apache Hive Apache Hive provides the ability to do advanced jobs on HDFS and MapReduce. It’s an ETL and data warehousing tool that is best used with HDFS. SQL developers can write Hive Query Language (HQL) that is very similar to that of standard SQL. Hive makes it a lot easier to analyze massive amounts of data, do data encapsulation, and ad-hoc queries.

The downside of HQL is the limitations it has with the commands it can understand. That said it is still a great tool to use. You can use it to run queries from various databases like Java Database Connectivity, or an Open Database Connectivity application. Also, queries tend to take minutes instead of seconds because Hive is based on Hadoop. You would not want to use this if you need really fast responses. You also don’t want to use this if you use a lot of write operations since the Hive is read-based.

With that said, if you are familiar with IBM, they offer Db2 Big SQL which makes it easier, more secure, and faster to access Hive.

The way Hive thrives is by managing and querying structured data that’s in tables because Hive creates and loads data into tables and databases. You may be wondering what the difference is between HQL and SQL. Well, SQL executes on a traditional database where Hive does it on Hadoop’s infrastructure. Depending on what your business is currently using this may still be a good option for you.

There are 3 important factors to remember when it comes to the data your company needs; Volume, Velocity, and Variety. A lot of data needs to be collected from various sources which can include sensor information, social media, and various business transactions that occur throughout all the different departments. Then those data streams need to be dealt with at a very fast speed and in real-time. The data that comes in can come from various formats which could include; documents, emails, financial transactions, audio, and video. Your data warehouse has to be able to do it all and in the end, provide you with useful information.

Your company has many needs and being able to gain high-quality insights into your business fast is very important. There is always a cloud data warehousing solution out there for you. If none of these seem to be the right fit you may want to check out part 2 of this blog (coming soon) which talks more about Hadoop, Casandra, and HBase. Comparing all 6 will help you determine the best course of action.

If you are still unsure, you can contact the experts at SDI or email Rob at rob@sdi.la for more information about which Cloud Data Warehousing option you should choose.