Power Immersive, Engaging, Impactful Learning Experiences with AR/VR

The education sector, like many others, has been hugely impacted owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not that it wasn’t familiar to disruption. Homeschooling, online degree programs, virtual classrooms have all been progressive steps in the direction of transformative technological innovation. But with Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) coming into the picture, things have changed radically for the education sector.

We are now talking about some really innovative stuff – the kind that makes learning engaging and interactive, that takes students beyond the realms of their classrooms to explore new dimensions in learning and comprehension.

We are treading into an era of experiential learning driven by AR/VR.

The research by MarketsandMarkets suggests that the global EdTech and smart classroom market is growing at a CAGR of 16.1% from USD 85,818 million in 2020 to USD 181,265 million by 2025. It’s not surprising then to find technology dominates every sphere of learning and education.

Propelling-immersive-learning-with-AR-VR

Morehouse College, the alma mater of Martin Luther King Jr., is now conducting three classes in VR powered by the Engage-based Victory XR platform. Having created more than 240 VR & AR experiences covering more than fifty different learning units for diverse subjects, the college has created a digitized campus where everyone can connect and collaborate.

Opines Dushunte Carmon, the project’s chief advocate within Morehouse College, “With the increasing amount of technology that is occurring in education, people have to learn and teach in a different way, they have to be innovative. The discovery of Victory XR was the dimension I had been looking to add to Morehouse College for the last two years. This is a game-changer not only for Morehouse College but for colleges and universities around the world.”

The New Normal has compelled colleges and universities to reach out to students albeit remotely. AR and VR have come to their rescue opening new avenues for a more engaging distance learning experience. In tandem with Artificial Intelligence (AI), they promise a hyper-immersive learning experience that puts experiential learning at the fore of things. Modern students are now relying on a digital ecosystem that will continue to thrive with time. As transformative teaching technologies continue to power learning experiences across the globe, here’s how the contemporary education landscape looks like.

Learning without borders

Following a partnership between Almo Professional A/V and ARHT Media Inc., a Toronto-based holographic solutions developer, we now have pioneering technology that enables high-quality, low-latency AV streaming with end-to-end encryption. Imagine what this could do in the field of education. Viewers can now attend lectures remotely without wearing 3D glasses to see lecturers right in front of them as live holograms.

Ideal for conference halls, corporate boardrooms, and large training centers, this plug-and-play cabinet on wheels dubbed as the HoloPod is helping universities transcend borders. So guest lecturers from anywhere in the world can now pop up right in front of you and deliver a truly interactive, engaging experience.

A lot more than a laptop

San Jose-based zSpace is breaking barriers between users and computers through their innovative laptops that offer a multidimensional AR/VR environment. With 3-D technology at its helm, it offers immersive experiences with 3D content popping out of the screen. It functions as an all-in-one PC and allows users to enjoy learning experiences from wherever they are with the help of head tracking and lightweight glasses.

Every time students tilt their heads to view something, the software is quick to take notes and tweak the perspective accordingly. What students get is real-time exposure to scenarios that they would have never had a chance to experience otherwise. For instance, those learning automotive technology gravitated to learning beyond regular lessons diving further into motors, transmissions, and other related stuff.

Closing the gap in distance learning

Students often lose their interest and focus during distance learning due to a lack of interaction. The beauty of VR is that it allows just about everybody to enjoy learning in simulated settings, no matter how complex their subject is. The University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) enables its students to use VR to simulate real-life surgery while the students at Averett University in Danville, Virginia are ‘virtually’ exploring the inner workings of the human body going all the way to the cellular level. This kind of distance learning also eliminates errors allowing students to focus on the finer details of the human anatomy. AR, on the other hand, enhances every possible subject from STEM to humanities.

Colleges are now also offering campus tours virtually giving students the feel of physically being there without actually having to travel. Without the distance, students feel less inhibited and are enthusiastically taking up language and culture classes while eavesdropping on conversations in a foreign café emulating native speakers.

Improving learning outcomes with AI

As machine learning tools and techniques enter the scene, educational applications are gearing up for new breakthroughs. Researchers are now using advanced image recognition to detect aggressive forms of cancer while others are using AI teaching assistants and voice-enabled assistants like Alexa to help students with answers to frequently asked questions.

AI has also been helping organizations worldwide produce smart, personalized content. It has opened up new avenues to students with learning disabilities and special needs. By creating a more inclusive environment, AR, VR, and AI have changed the dynamics for learning and education.

Can we make AR/VR mainstream?

AR/VR undoubtedly has a lot to offer to the field of education. It is however important to have the right infrastructure. Adequate wireless network capacity, computers with the necessary computing power, and devices that enable immersive technologies are some of the prerequisites to getting started on an AR and VR-enabled learning journey. Hi-quality sensors, cameras, smartphones, headsets, glasses, etc. are needed to experience and enjoy learning in the true sense.

Clearly, there are several challenges on the road to AR/VR-driven learning. Educational technologies come with a price and at times it can be a bit overwhelming to get the best in EdTech. Late adopters may have to grapple with fundraising and may have to look for investors. There has to be enough quality content too that can be rolled out through the right distribution channels. Also, it will take a while for educators, administrators, and students to get used to diverse formats and platforms.

Institutions are contemplating crowdsourcing VR experiments and experiences in a bid to increase adoption and allow access through libraries, technology hubs, etc. No doubt, transformative technologies like AR/VR are going to be a tad expensive, to begin with, but the benefits are far too many to ignore and universities across the world will adopt them sooner than later.

Teach with Trigent

AR/VR can resolve the challenges in learning born in the wake of the New Normal. At Trigent, we help educational institutes and decision-makers tide over challenges in adopting transformative teaching technologies with the right tools, solutions, and data-driven processes. We can help you improve efficiencies to build the perfect ecosystem to make learning collaborative, impactful, and seamless across geographies.

Call us today to know more. We are eager to partner with you on this incredible journey.

Mobility Is Changing the Transportation and Logistics Industry

The transport and logistics (TLS) companies operate in a decidedly complex market with numerous dynamic variables, including high investment, fluctuating oil prices, multimodal freight policies, large data, and human attributes. Mobility solutions streamline operations while offering substantial operational and cost advantages. Consequently, transport companies are able to extend the value to their customers by offering fast, flexible, and reliable services.

Operational challenges associated with the Logistics Industry

All businesses, regardless of the field of activity, must buy and sell products that have to be moved from one location to another. Also, people are swamped with work and prefer to buy things online instead of going to a supermarket. The need for logistics today is progressively increasing because eCommerce has become a major trend, and freight is considered the lifeblood of a country’s economic development.

However, dealing with logistics processes has always been a complex and arduous task. Companies with large fleet operations often struggle with operational challenges and inefficiencies.

Major challenges that logistics teams encounter:

  • Adherence to regulations
  • Organize and demystify operations
  • Offering categorized, custom-made services
  • Logistic and workforce management

Opportunities to reap the benefits from mobility solutions

By leveraging mobility solutions, TLS companies reap the benefits of operational efficiency, mainly reduced operational costs. Cloud-based mobile apps provide a bird’s eye view of the fleet and boost efficiency in functioning. These apps are delivered across devices and platforms enabling stakeholders, field personnel, and analysts to easily access and use them to monitor at any point in time. A connected fleet on a mobile app enables tracking of operational systems, preventative maintenance, hours of equipment usage, resource utilization, etc.

The GPS tracking systems monitor the movement of vehicles, shipments, and cargo in real-time accounting for any breakdowns, accidents, or delays. Automation replaces many laborious manual processes enabling legacy companies to upgrade to digital methodologies. Standardizing processes and workflows using mobile applications ensures a paperless workflow with digital dashboards that help in making quicker decisions. Automating sales and customer services’ communication cuts downtime/resources on repetitive and predictive tasks and reduces the scope for delays and human errors.

The most important feature of a mobile app is it facilitates gathering and synthesizing data. Firms mine data for better insights into customer preferences, performance enabling critical decision making. According to a report from McKinsey Global Institute, companies that embrace analytics can generate additional 3 to 5 percent return on sales.*

Leveraging Mobility Solutions by Logistics companies (Surge, HDFleet, and ReedTMS)

In the last several years, logistics has been seeing significant growth because of developments in technology, and organizations are tempted to make the most of the new-fangled innovations and continual evolutions. The augmented demand for mobility has created the need to focus on challenges such as investment and capricious gas prices. The logistic business has created a mobile transportation system that can satisfy the imminent requirements of the economy and society. The main goal of mobility solutions in the logistics industry is to improve the efficiency and safety of transportation, coupled with bettered environmental sustainability.

  • Operations – Fleet management solutions enable tracking multiple vehicles with their latest location, generating MIS reports for analyzing productivity.
  • Route planning – Mobility solutions bring the capabilities of planning the best routes – a factor critical in logistics to save time, fuel, and thus optimize costs.
  • Geo-fencing – A Geo-fence configured into an app prompts or triggers a pre-programmed alert when a mobile device enters or exits a virtual boundary set up around a geographical location. They are particularly useful to monitor the fleet so as to reduce cost and trigger warnings to drivers entering uncharted territory or deviating from their route.
  • Control & Safety – The apps monitor the driving pattern and in turn, provide the safety index of the driver. It’s an excellent tool for performance analysis and to incorporate performance-related incentive systems. It also helps in continuously tracking vehicles with location and real-time photos & videos that in turn help in claiming insurance. The systems can also constantly monitor driver’s conditions and alarm us in case of violation of traffic rules such as usage of phone while driving, rash driving, overspeeding, and stopping at unauthorized locations.
  • Documentation – Freight documentation is completely digitized, cutting down manual labor and errors. In case of accidents, providing documentation is easier for claims and procedures. The digital driver’s license or digital copy of a driver’s license, stored in a smartphone can be used to authenticate documentation.
  • Influences decision-making – Applications gather data about demand and supply, observe business performance, and help in making key decisions for a company.
  • Customer Services – Mobile apps improve the quality of customer service by providing a friendly user interface, end-to-end shipment tracking, manage customer complaints, act as proof of delivery, alerts, and notifications.

The Fitting Solution for Your Enterprise

Trigent’s Mobility Services team is well-equipped to develop applications and tools whether it is for your existing systems or new business needs. We develop solutions that have the ability to seamlessly integrate with the existing systems. We explore the progressive web, native, cross-platform, and hybrid applications and our experts prescribe the most suitable one keeping in mind your current and future requirements. Our secure, reliable, scalable apps enable you to achieve operational efficiency and reduce costs significantly.

Get in touch with our team to take the next step.

Tech Trends Driving Higher Education in 2021 and Beyond

The campuses that were bustling with life a year ago now have a deserted look. The dormitories, classrooms, and practical rooms all wait for normalcy to return. The pandemic has impacted all walks of life, and the universities are no different. As per the latest New York Times survey comprising 1,900 American colleges and universities, there have been 397000 cases and about 90 deaths due to the coronavirus.

The explosion of the virus and the regulations to curb the spread have expedited the adoption of technology. Universities that were warming up to technology before the pandemic are now swiftly embracing technology to overcome the pandemic’s challenges and chart out their future course of action.

Here are the top trending technologies that have got the education industry’s attention and are sure to have a long-standing impact on the education industry and system.

AI drives operational and administrative efficiency

AI’s impact on the education sector or specifically in higher learning institutes can be manifold. Many universities or institutions are already leveraging AI to deliver time-sensitive academic and admin tasks, increase enrollment, improve IT processes and amplify the learning experience. A Wall Street Journal article noted that the Georgia Institute of Technology addressed 40% of student’s queries using an AI-powered chatbot assistant freeing up humans to tackle complex questions. AI could also spell good news for students with hearing and visual impairments by refining language translations and providing improved access.

While AI’s potential has been a topic of discussion at institutions, its adoption in the education industry is still lagging. A 2019 survey revealed that implementation was the most significant challenge institutions faced in adopting AI. Only 41% of universities have chalked out a strategy on utilizing AI. Another major deterrent is the cost involved, with 57% of institutions having a separate budget for AI projects.

Hybrid learning delivers continuity, convenience, and safety

With the contagious virus on the prowl student, health and safety have become priorities for institutions. The learning environment is poised for a significant overhaul. Hybrid learning or blended learning is the best option available to institutions. The students’ young age on campus is another reason hybrid learning is a perfect fit for the current day and age. Statistics from Bill and Melinda Foundation reveal the 55% of today’s college and university students are Gen Zers. The new generation of students is well averse to using technology. Pew Research highlighted that 95% of Gen Zers have access to smartphones while close to 97% use one of the major learning platforms.

A recently concluded survey by the Institute of International Education has revealed that 9 out of 10 universities in the US plan to implement the hybrid learning model across their campuses. 92% of institutions participating in the survey suggested looking at a wholly revamped instructional plan starting fall 2020.

Immersive, engaging, and impactful learning experiences using AR/VR

Not long ago, the thought of remote learning, especially for higher education, was a distant dream. The biggest challenge to any such suggestion was the impact of in-person classes conducted by the professor in charge, the face-to-face interactions, live demonstrations, and the practical sessions. The emergence of the coronavirus and the social distancing regulation compelled colleges to go digital. Every need has a solution. In this case, the need for real conversations, universities turned to AR/VR that had already made inroads into the classroom. As per Burroughs, 2018 and Internet2, 2019, as of 2018, 18% of universities and colleges had fully deployed VR, 28% had used it to some extent, and 32% were testing the technology. Gartner predicts that by 2021, 60 higher education institutions in the United States will focus on using VR to create simulations and put students into immersive environments.

Through its Virtual Immersive Teaching and Learning (VITaL), San Diego State University’s Instructional Technology Services is using VR capabilities to teach students astronomy. Students in Western Carolina University’s (NC) School of Nursing are using VR to virtually attend to rare emergencies and understand how to attend to such instances. In another compelling use case, Fordham University’s (NY) Gabelli School of Business teaches its students lessons in leadership and teamwork using VR. Students in this particular exercise walk on a 1400 foot skyscraper urged by team members or guided by fellow students to diffuse bombs.

Robust ‘anywhere’ learning systems with cloud technologies

Campuses are sophisticated systems similar to bustling cities. Apart from learning systems, they provide transportation, campus safety, accounting, administration, and everything else required to run a well-oiled system for the residents, in this case, the students. All these facilities provided by the institutions need to run cohesively. Embracing the cloud enables institutions to create a data-centric mindset and rely more on quantifiable data measurement to drive and assess enrollment functions. Institutions are adopting cloud products to leap towards process re-engineering to aim for system-wide digital transformation. The approach will reduce information silos and enable standardization of data driving information sharing, boosting efficiency and sustainable growth.

The pandemic has put an enormous financial burden on institutions. Budget cuts for public institutions and diminishing private funds and endowments have further crippled institutions’ financial capability to harness cloud capabilities helping colleges and universities balance their expenses while benefiting from the high-standard IT services.

The Julliard School for performing arts having its physical presence in New York, will be training 800 students from 42 different countries. The faculty will be training all these students from its campus in Manhattan. The cloud powers Julliard’s digital foray.

Conclusion

Like every other industry, the higher education domain needs a revamp. Campuses across the United States are increasing digital transformation speed to face any unforeseen eventuality. Trigent is at the forefront of enabling institutions and universities to quickly and efficiently utilize technology advances. Our domain expertise empowers institutions to promptly ramp-up capabilities backed by our technology experts.

Let us together build a digitally strong foundation for an empowered future. Call us today.

Hybrid Apps or Cross-Platform? The right strategy for Retail Mobile Apps in 2021

In the digital world of today, it’s impossible to run any business without a mobile application. But developing multiple apps for different platforms is challenging and expensive. 2020 saw a surge in mobile adoption as consumers went mobile to learn, work, and shop to cope up with the pandemic. The spending on mobile apps touched a whopping $143 million indicating a 20% rise as compared to 2019.

But even before the pandemic, popular Dutch lingerie designer brand Marlies Dekkers saw more than 75% of their revenue through mobile. Brands like Nike and many others had already started diversifying business practices to avert the retail apocalypse. Walmart had begun consolidating multiple apps into a centralized one to bring in greater choice and diversity to consumers. Leading eCommerce major Shopify achieved 10 years’ worth of growth in just 90 days. Retailers are having to roll out new features faster in their mobile app experiences while ensuring feature parity across the different platforms. To meet this challenge, popular brands such as Amazon, Apple, Remote POS, and Baskin Robbins have gone the hybrid way.

Enhancing the experience further with cross-platform

A hybrid app is your best bet if you wish to launch your mobile app quickly. According to a recent report, 74% of the top iOS retail apps are hybrid apps. These statistics might defy the conventional wisdom that was once in the favor of native apps for their superlative performance and the seamless user experience. After perfecting the infrastructure built for the web for several years, it didn’t make much sense to rebuild it for mobile. That would duplicate effort and result in a huge loss of time and resources. But then, the game changed altogether with hybrid apps. While offering total value for your investments, hybrid proved to be a smart choice thanks to low-code development tools. A hybrid app would mean 60-80% savings as compared to a native app with a 234% ROI.

But despite being a time and money savior, hybrid does pose a challenge in achieving the ideal UI and UX. These overheads of having to develop separate native apps for iOS and Android are effectively addressed by cross-platform apps that offer an elegant means to code once for both platforms.

Today, there is a growing inclination towards cross-platform apps that ensure feature parity and work equally well for all platforms such as Android, iOS, and Windows. Hybrid apps followed by cross-platform apps have ushered in so much functionality that both strategies are adopted as needed. The world clearly cannot stop raving about cross-platform apps. So if you are wondering if a cross-platform app is right for your retail business, here’s what you should know.

The shift to cross-platform

The truth is that you get to experience just the tip of the iceberg when you download an app. The infrastructure behind the app is evident only after you start using it as you browse through product catalogs, access purchase history, view shipping information, etc. The modern cross-platform apps now respond and react as quickly as their native counterparts providing users everything they need. With a full-fledged native-quality mobile experience, retailers are now jumping onto the cross-platform app bandwagon.

Experience matters

A bad mobile experience will drive away customers. A cross-platform app offers the perfect solution to the changing needs of businesses. It is a single-codebase app created using tools like Flutter, Kotlin, Xamarin, React Native, etc. and common examples of this app include Facebook Ads Manager, Airbnb, Reddit, and Zipcar. Cross-platform app development is now gaining a lot of momentum allowing hybrid mobile app development companies to create cross-platform apps that deliver exceedingly well on the performance front too.

Benefits for migrating toward cross-platform:

  • Efficient use of developer resources – Developers need to maintain just a single code base when building these apps thereby saving a huge amount of time typically required by native apps
  • Maintain Feature Parity across platforms. Brands can ensure common experience and functionality independent of the platform capabilities
  • Faster Time To Market: Once app development teams learn how to handle the OS differences or platform-specific store publication procedures effectively, the design-to-launch time will drastically reduce. Cross-platform apps also enable simpler and quicker updates, a boon considering the speed with which updates keep coming up.
  • Lower development and maintenance cost – They are easy to create and maintain with simple tools that can be used in-house thereby eliminating the need for hiring new talent for the job.
  • Consistent User experience – Due to the cross-platform approach with just one codebase running on desktop, web, and mobile, redundancies across channels are removed ensuring better design and UX consistency across platforms.

Wrapping up

A mobile app is rarely made for just one platform since users would want to use them across devices and platforms. Unlike a native approach that requires separate apps for each mobile platform and sometimes with very specific customization for tablets and smartphones, the cross-platform approach offers adaptive styling to ensure that the look and feel of your retail app automatically adapts to each platform. It enables retailers to reach out to a wider audience while saving cost and ensuring platform consistency. With immense potential, it serves as the perfect gateway to opportunities for custom mobile app development companies. Accelerating your mobile app development with cross-platform therefore makes a lot of sense.

Build with Trigent

As you re-evaluate your Mobile App strategy to address the scale and speed expected by your consumers, consider the Hybrid & Cross Platform alternatives. We, at Trigent, have powered apps for some of the coolest companies out there. We choose the right architecture, the ideal cloud computing platform, and an appropriate technology stack to ensure that the cost of building and maintaining an app is minimal while the experience is seamless. We also pay a lot of attention to security and compliance testing to ensure you get a secure, high-performing cross-functional app.

Embark on a software development journey with our experts. Contact us today to give your retail business a digital high.

Rich-Immersive Experiences Driven by AR/VR

2020 has taught us a lot, and among the lessons learned the biggest was the one on social cohesion. It taught us how important it was to restore the in-person sentiment albeit digitally to keep the customer experience delightfully engaging even in these trying times. Brands like Whole Foods for instance, recently went digital to empower customers with that familiar in-store feel. 

Retailers are now adopting advanced tools and technologies with AR/VR (augmented reality) and (virtual reality) at the helm to offer rich, immersive experiences to their customers.

The ground reality

There are countless examples of AR/VR changing customer experiences dramatically for the better. While AR digitally displays information to make sense of the real world, VR helps us understand and experience environments that could otherwise be costly or risky to experience physically. As per the ‘Seeing is believing’ report by PwC, virtual and augmented reality will reach $1.5 trillion and 23 million people globally by 2030 taking the number of people working with AR/VR support to 23.4 million.

AR and VR are adding immense value to the retail sector making way for more immersive storytelling. Jeremy Dalton Head of PwC’s AR/VR team in his book, Reality Check: How Immersive Technologies can Transform your Business says, “AR sacrifices full immersion for a direct connection to the physical world.” It can be helpful in revealing hidden information such as the components that go inside a product. “VR offers the best of all worlds: the ability to create a believable, engaging, and easily repeatable scenario but without the associated cost, disruption, or danger of the real thing,” he adds further.  

The product launch of OnePlus Nord in July 2020 was the first product launch in the world that used the power of AR, and the live cross-continent VR product launch of Jaguar’s all-electric I-PACE wowed one and all. Brands are now looking for more creative ways to integrate AR/VR into their marketing mix. Nike Japan too recently took the imagination of fans to the next level with Create with Air Max – an AR-powered coloring book that allows them to decorate black and white drawings of the shoes and watch their 3-D images float in real-time. 

The retail landscape

A rich, immersive shopping experience is now becoming a retail industry standard. Retailers can absolutely shake up customer experience through AR/VR by personalizing offers and empowering customers to visualize their favorite products in virtual settings. Says Sylvain Fabre, senior research director at Gartner, “Gartner expects that the implementation of 5G and AR/VR in stores will transform not only customer engagement but also the entire product management cycle of brands. 5G can optimize warehouse resources, enhance store traffic analytics and enable beacons that communicate with shoppers’ smartphones.” 

As per the global forecast to 2025 by ResearchAndMarkets.com, the VR market is predicted to grow from USD 6.1 billion in 2020 to USD 20.9 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 27.9% while the AR market is projected to grow from USD 15.3 billion in 2020 to USD 77.0 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 38.1% from 2020 to 2025. Research by Vibrant Media had revealed earlier that 67% of media buyers are keen on using AR/VR in their campaigns while GetApp indicated that 1 in 2 consumers in the UK are willing to use AR technology for shopping. With Apple rumored to be working on the next big thing – a VR headset and AR glasses – AR and VR clearly seem to be on everyone’s mind as they build digital transformation roadmaps. 

AR and VR together are contributing towards rich, immersive, unforgettable customer experiences. They empower retailers to offer:

Virtual try-ons – Prominent fashion labels Gucci and Hilfiger embedded AR into their apps to offer customers greater clarity while shopping by allowing them to digitally superimpose clothes and accessories onto themselves using their smartphone camera. The ability to scale products on their bodies or in their homes gives them better judgment and helps make informed buying decisions. IKEA Place app, for instance, allows customers to virtually place their true-to-scale 3D models in their space to give them the exact feeling of size, design, and functionality. In a crowded retail marketplace, this ‘try-before-you-buy’ experience could be the game-changer you may be looking for. 

In-store experience – It’s something customers are unable to enjoy in current times and a little attention can go a long way. It is the key to forging deeper connections. Retailers need to include AR/VR displays, kiosks, magic mirrors, smart carts, virtual store assistants, and digital fitting rooms depending on the products they sell to make the shopping experience efficient, enjoyable, but contactless. Remember how Levi’s came up with the co-watching video app allowing friends to share screen and shop together? This makes the whole experience not just engaging, but very emotional and intimate. 

Personalization – AR/VR allows unprecedented personalization. By employing marketing strategies that work well for mobile, desktop as well as web platforms, retailers can now offer 3D graphics-rich content for better customer engagement. Retailers can now offer more personalized products, and catalogs with detailed views keeping the individual preferences of customers in mind. Personalization also increases the likelihood of the customer returning to the same retailer for more and the possibility of product returns is also less.

Social media marketing – Social media filters are being used frequently now and Facebook investing heavily in AR/VR is proof that immersive experiences are now part of social media engagement. When used correctly on social media, AR/VR can help create new trends, increase impulse buys, and improve brand engagement. 

Customer engagement – VR has been helping brands offer simulated experiences to customers through different initiatives such as the one by Volvo where they offered a virtual test drive to customers. This initiative provides the brand a fresh engagement touchpoint to connect without having to wait for them to come down for a visit. This kind of positive engagement is just what is needed as we embrace the New Normal.

Productivity – A study published in The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology stated that warehouse pickers could complete orders 37% faster using an AR tool. DHL now has expanded its AR-based ‘vision picking’ program to its warehouses across the globe and those who are already part of the program are seeing 15% greater productivity. Time and cost savings in warehouse operations would mean faster fulfillment of orders, fewer complaints, and lower operational costs.

Create a magical customer experience with Trigent

AR and VR have demonstrated a clear return on investment while offering retailers the means and ways to connect and converse with their customers. At Trigent, we help you create immersive experiences that are intuitive and data-rich while putting your customer needs at the core of every initiative. It’s time you embraced the many possibilities AR and VR have to offer to unlock moments of delight for your customers. Allow us to help you push the standards a little higher.

Call us today for a consultation.

Why retail should dovetail cloud for success?

The year 2020 has been a year of learning for all industries. The unprecedented scale and reach of the pandemic encompassing the world impacted every region and industry. Retail in the United States is no different. Sales dropped from $5.47 trillion in 2019 to $4.89 trillion in 2020 due to the virus and restrictions to curb the pandemic. The prevailing condition demands that the retail industry, like every other industry, initiate or increase its speed of adopting technologies that enable businesses to face the new normal. Cloud plays an essential role in this transformational journey. A major driver set to act as the backbone, enabling the adoption of technologies and delivering desired business results. The global retail cloud market that stood at $11.89 billion will touch 39.63 billion by 2026, emphasizing cloud as a significant driving force that will propel the retail sector in the future.

Here are some of the factors that make the cloud a lucrative proposition for retailers.

In-sync operation

Many brick and mortar stores or offline stores still depend on legacy systems. Dependence on legacy impacts the integration of various business operations such as inventory, shipping, development, and POS. Migrating to the cloud enables retailers to get the different business operations in sync and get a consolidated view of all departments and locations in real-time. A real-time view of the inventory, shipment, and other business processes enables an in-sync seamless functioning across the organization.

Superior Customer Experience (CX) and convenience

The experience-driven economy has furthered the emphasis on personalization. Not only is there a demand for superior, seamless experiences, but users also want these experiences to be personalized. 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that provides personalized experiences. Retailers are well placed to provide to their customers what they demand. With a gold mine of customer and sales data, retailers can utilize cloud-enabled computing capabilities to analyze data. Cloud allows retailers to get a unified view of data from multiple sources, enabling the retailers to make data-driven, timely decisions. Moving to the cloud also boosts the performance of web applications ensuring that users do not abandon the site due to slow performance and a poor experience.

Scalability

Many reasons impact the sale of products. It could be the launch of a new product from a renowned brand or end of season sale that causes a spike in sales. The retail industry is also impacted by peak demand during particular seasons, such as the holiday season. As per Adobe Analytics, online retail sales grew 32.2% from 2019 to touch $188.2 billion during the holiday season. Similarly, the sales could also dip owing to low demand and other factors. Cloud helps retailers to prepare for such eventuality. Cloud-enabled systems can be programmed for scalability, meaning they can be automated to meet the requirements in case of a surge and limit the use of resources in case of a dip. Retailers can also save big on infrastructure investments and costs by using many cloud service providers’ pay per use model.

Retailers are looking for technologies that can immediately impact their business. They are either already experimenting or looking to build solutions that enhance customer experience and drive growth. Cloud works as the perfect catalyst in this transformational journey for retailers as it powers agility and provides the platform to build modern apps faster and at scale, anytime-anywhere.

Explore the latest trends in technology that are shaping the future of retail. Learn how Trigent’s expertise can help you conquer the cloud and get an edge over the new normal.

Incorporate the latest capabilities in cloud technology with Trigent’s team of certified cloud experts. Our suite of cloud services encompassing cloud advisory, cloud-native application development, cloud architecture, migration services, and cloud management is equipped to support you at every stage of your cloud journey.

5 Ways to Improve Customer Experience with AI in Retail in 2021

From the very beginning, businesses have always aimed to deliver the finest customer experience. Conversations between brands and consumers got more personal with time and modern technologies provided them the much-needed platform to connect and communicate. So much so that brands now know you like the back of their hand. Businesses worldwide have been leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) in retail to offer a personalized experience to consumers. They are now talking to you through AI-powered chatbots.

As consumers continue to juggle priorities at home and work amidst the pandemic, their expectations have gone through the roof. Time is precious and they are willing to indulge provided you anticipate their needs and fulfill them in the most efficient manner. As Kate Leggett, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research recently wrote, “Customers expect more from customer service organizations. They expect you to value their time, to make engagement easy, and to deliver answers and resolutions in a highly personal manner and in the context of their actions and journeys.”

Clearly, AI and automation have become customer service fundamentals of the modern age. Chatbot conversations, automated answers, customization are all driving factors. The AI-powered BMW factory in Germany stands testimony to the growing popularity of AI in the retail industry. The company has leveraged it well not only to ensure flawless perfection in its production processes but to also achieve 100% reliability for the cars that roll out from this particular setup.

Veritone’s The State of Artificial Intelligence in 2020 report predicts groundbreaking advances in machine learning and AI and expects 75% of commercial enterprise applications to use AI by 2021.

If you wish to level up your game in 2021, it’s time you transform customer experience with AI and chatbots. Here’s a quick sneak peek into the world of AI and chatbots and how it will transform retail in 2021.

1. Personalization with AI

AI has made it possible for retailers to predict the shopping behavior of consumers. They know what they like and exactly what’s on their mind. From wishlists to recommended products on Amazon and movies on Netflix to music on Spotify, they follow their digital footprints all the time. And that’s not all; they are now curating personalized content too. So now consumers are more pampered with promotional messages and customized deals targeted directly to them.

2. Data-driven predictions and insights

AI is bridging the gap between humans and machines like never before. Predictive models are being deployed to improve efficiency – be it to reduce energy consumption based on usage or avoid machine breakdowns by reminding consumers of car maintenance. AI gives a perspective on things ensuring growth in savings, performance, and efficiency.

3. A smarter world

As per Statistica, the number of digital voice assistants will touch 8.4 billion units by 2024 underlining their immense scope. Almost 60,000 smart devices support Alexa and the United States alone has more than 110 million virtual assistant users thanks to the increasing use of smartphones and other smart devices. Virtually everything from homes to vehicles is now connected and in turn, monitored. Voice-based searches are now part of our daily life and our best bet for digital searches on the go. Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa have raised the benchmark for voice-based applications that are breaking new ground in different sectors including retail, banking, fashion, IT, eCommerce, and healthcare. In fact, voice interface is expected to be a driving factor for the retail sector in 2021 and beyond as most retail applications will have voice assistant capabilities to enhance experience and engagement.

4. Enhanced customer support

Chatbots will ensure that customers do not suffer even in non-working hours. While driving business revenues, they bring down operational costs and offer complete peace of mind to consumers. Juniper Research expects the number of successful retail chatbot interactions globally to go from 2.6 billion in 2019 to a whopping 22 billion by 2023.

5. Greater conversions through conversational commerce

Walk-in customers that were now forced to be at home due to the pandemic made contactless conversational commerce a runaway hit. Customers that used self-service as the first point of contact with a retailer were now eagerly lapping product catalogs through WhatsApp and Facebook, and other platforms. Omnichannel presence has now become the key for greater customer satisfaction and ‘my shopping my way’ has become the new mantra. Consumers now want to talk to their brands and have engaging conversations.

The LivePerson’s 2020 Consumer Preferences for Conversational Commerce report said 85% of global consumers are getting on to messaging brands and 75% were ready to spend more on brands that came up with the messaging option. Explained Robert LoCascio, founder and CEO of LivePerson, in the press release, “The evidence is clear: AI-powered messaging experiences are more in demand than ever before. Consumers around the world are clamoring for them, and they’ll even spend more money with brands that give them what they want. Brands that embrace conversational AI and infuse it with human qualities like empathy, love, and understanding will outperform their competitors and reach the cutting edge of customer service, marketing, and sales.”

Challenges of AI adoption in Retail

The potential of AI and chatbots however remains largely untapped despite its popularity. As per a 2018 U.S. Census Bureau survey, only 2.8% of companies in the U.S used machine learning indicating the achingly slow speed of technology adoption. Of course, things have changed radically now due to the pandemic. According to an exclusive study by Isobar based on inputs from 1350 global CMOs, 64% of them had completely or moderately changed their CX strategy to respond to changing needs in the Covid-19 crisis. While the focus remains on eliminating friction and pain points, building differentiation has become extremely important.

Successful AI adoption needs an understanding of what AI can and cannot do. AI will no doubt require skills that enterprises may lack as of now. Besides, there is the anxiety of adopting something new and the nagging fear of the unknown. Enterprises need to take into account both tangible and intangible benefits to determine the return on investment. No doubt AI will eliminate jobs but it will create many more jobs too. Gartner terms AI as a net-positive job motivator that will create 2.3 million jobs while eliminating 1.8 million jobs.

It is important to collate quality data that can help identify patterns, prevent errors, and lead to more positive outcomes. Data and skill deficit are in fact major hurdles to the successful adoption of AI. But with a little training and planning, AI adoption will prove to be a perfect investment.

Take the technological leap with Trigent

As consumers move from bricks to clicks, we urge you to embark on a journey of digital transformation with us. AI is the disruption modern organizations are gladly embracing to improve their bottom lines. At Trigent, we’ve packed tons of experience and value into easy-to-use intuitive solutions that can be easily deployed in your enterprise.

We will help you tide over implementation challenges and equip you with AI know-how. We will assess your needs and help you choose the right type of chatbot for your business. We will also help you create your own roadmap to ensure better business outcomes and a delightful customer experience.

Allow us to be your partners in progress. Call us today.

Technology Trends That Will Reshape Retail in 2021

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2020 pivoted the world to everything digital. Everything-from-home became the new norm, and we reimagined new ways to function this year. It was no different for shopping – eCommerce came to everybody’s rescue. Although online shopping is not new, it took center stage. Consumer-facing technology saved the day, and digital payments, telehealth, cloud-native apps, etc., are now mainstream in the AI-driven world.

Adobe recently revealed comprehensive insights on consumer spending and eCommerce based on some of the top retailers’ eCommerce transactions in real-time. The Black Friday sales figures touched a whopping $9.0 billion, a record high indicating an increase of 21.6% compared to last year. Taylor Schreiner, Director of Adobe Digital Insights, stated, “We are seeing strong growth as consumers continue to move shopping from offline to online this year. New consoles, phones, smart devices, and TVs that are traditional Black Friday purchases are sharing online shopping cart space this year with unorthodox Black Friday purchases such as groceries, clothes, and alcohol, that are usually purchased in-store.”

Digital penetration is now irreversible and will continue to navigate retail trends through 2021 and beyond. Here’s a quick lowdown on technology trends that will reshape retail in 2021.

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will ensure an immersive consumer experience

Retailers leverage augmented reality to shift the focus from features and benefits to an immersive retail experience enabling young and restless millennials to choose better. While apparel companies went all out with their AR fitting rooms to help choose according to body type, beauty technology leader Sephora came up with magic mirrors in stores and mobile apps to enable consumers to see how the myriad make-up treatments and colors looked on them.

On the other hand, IKEA allowed consumers to place catalog items at scale in their homes to make better buying decisions. In a technology-driven world, the augmented reality and virtual reality market are predicted to touch 16.1 billion by 2025 globally, underlining a 48.8% CAGR for the forecast period 2020-2025.

Having tasted a shift in consumer behaviors, One Aldwych Hotel in London, in collaboration with Dalmore Whisky, treated their consumers to a distillery experience with VR. They offered a VR whisky cocktail that allowed them to visit the distillery, albeit virtually to see the barrels and the water and the fields that went into its making. To ensure deeper engagement and take out the loneliness from virtual shopping, brands now allow you to co-shop with your friends by helping consumers share product views and experiences. Popular brand Lego has created digital shopping assistants to make the whole experience a lot more exciting. These assistants even make personalized gift recommendations to take the digital shopping experience a notch higher.

After launching its Shopify AR to help businesses curate more immersive shopping experiences, Shopify also confirmed that interactions with products having 3D/A.R. content have a 94% higher conversion rate compared to those without it.

Retailers are also becoming more experiential, indulging in what we call ‘retailtainment’ where experience becomes immersive and memorable. For instance, Marvel invited fans into their cinematic world through interactive displays and real-life movie props at their touring Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N.

Virtual Assistants for 24×7 Customer Service

Retailers are leveraging chatbots and virtual assistants to interact with their consumers while robots lurk outside warehouses to manage inventory. AI-powered voice recognition technology is also playing a significant role in adding value to the whole shopping experience.

Retailers are also deploying mobile CRM to engage consumers with offers, discounts, reward points, loyalty programs, style alerts, etc. According to Forrester statistics, 50% of teams saw an increase in productivity after using mobile CRM. An IDC study predicts AI-powered CRM activities could increase global business revenues by $1.1 trillion by 2021, drawing attention to the extensive role AI plays in driving customer conversations and influencing customer behavior.

Hybrid Apps enable retailers to reach a wider audience, grow the market

As consumers continue to rely on smartphones for all their needs, hybrid apps play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between brands and consumers. They are pocket-friendly and work exceedingly well for small businesses too. Brands are now relying on messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to engage with customers.

Hybrid apps have caught the fancy of retailers because they are a multi-platform app development option, unlike native, that focus on a single platform. Hybrid apps have a single code that applies to both Android and iOS, saving developers valuable time. Besides, it is also advantageous as developers can maintain, update, and upgrade by making changes in just one set of code instead of multiple code sets, delivering an at par customer experience across platforms.

Social Commerce and influencer marketing will enhance reach and value

A recent survey revealed 41% of respondents admitted to shopping online for stuff they would normally buy in stores. The recent introduction of Facebook shops is a classic example of the growing popularity of social commerce in the personalized shopping arena in the digital world. Social commerce is now becoming an integral part of ecommerce and is clearly here to stay.

With social commerce on the rise, the influencer game is stronger than ever. It has now transitioned from selfies and clever photo edits to unique influencer video content that connects, educates, and entertains. IGTV, Instagram Reels, and Instagram Live are all playing a major role in helping brands build solid digital communities through shared interests. Fitness experts for instance conduct live workout sessions on Instagram Live and then publish the same on IGTV for those who couldn’t tune into livestream.

Contactless is the buzzword now

A safe, seamless, frictionless experience is what we need. Contactless payments, contactless delivery and pickup, seamless checkouts, 1:1 in-store appointments, contactless checkout and delivery, and click-and-collect services are all crucial steps in that direction. Also, the fear of contamination has encouraged retailers to deploy drone technology to ensure the fastest delivery. Retailers are working in tandem with fintech companies to build better transactional models for quick, contactless payments.

Contactless mobile payments are in high demand, especially in this period of crisis. Consumers carrying their cards tend to spend more than those with cash in their wallets that often limit their purchasing power. Contactless payments are not just a fad but have greater staying power for the sheer speed, security, and convenience they offer. Those who have failed to adopt them have lost business. As per the 2020 Holiday Spending Insights Report by NMI, 43% of consumers avoided retailers that did not offer contactless payments. Tap-to-pay cards are popular, so are mobile wallets such as Google Pay and Apple Pay.

Make your retail business future-ready with Trigent

The retail environment is changing at a rapid pace. Clearly, brands are going out of the way to redefine the possible and are winning the game in the midst of the pandemic. It is important to go omnichannel to provide best-in-class experiences to consumers across touchpoints because the online and offline worlds converge.

Serve your customers efficiently by accelerating the adoption of the latest developments in technology. Capitalize on Trigent’s market experience to incorporate the best practices and implement solutions right the first time. With its comprehensive suite of IT Services offerings, Trigent is your go-to partner for all your IT digital evolution requirements.

Contact our Solutions Specialists today. Request a demo now.

Cloud: a lifeline for the healthcare Industry

The healthcare industry has been steadily expanding, owing to a rising aging population and the growing trend of wellness centers. With a pandemic in the mix, however, the industry has been left burdened and unprepared. The silver lining here is that people have embraced telehealth services. With the onset of Covid 19, the number of users accessing e-healthcare services has catapulted. Doctors can now provide remote care to patients from the safety of their homes, making life easier for everybody involved.

Cloud has played a heroic role in these trying times. Even those that swear by traditional systems established regulations, processes, and operational methods, have had to make the mental, cultural, and ultimately, physical switch to the Cloud. Admittedly for them, the pros outweigh the cons.

Saving time, reducing costs, increasing efficiency

When Hunterdon Healthcare, a healthcare center in New Jersey, migrated to the Cloud, they saved $1.3 million in IT costs. With a Cloud-based system, tasks are simplified, making the turnaround quick and seamless. Processes are streamlined, thereby eliminating silos and enhancing resource utilization. Cloud-based technology brings with it a sense of ease and convenience, cutting down administrative and hardware costs in the process. In hospitals that use legacy systems, a lot of time and effort is lost on manual data collection and transfer, notwithstanding the additional costs invoked by human error. Cloud brings operational efficiency into play – giving patients better care and healthcare organizations a better bottom line. While there is an initial cost incurred to transform legacy systems into Cloud-based ones, in the long run, the cost of running the latter is much lower. Right now, as physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers are (at best) experiencing exhaustion, Cloud-based systems are proving to be a necessary, life-saving investment.

Interoperability and collaboration

Interoperability between hospitals, diagnostic centers, clinics, dispensaries, pharmacies, etc., is perhaps the biggest advantage of Cloud. Different information technology systems can communicate with each other, making it easy to compile a complete and comprehensive patient history record – this helps physicians make informed decisions. Further, with Cloud, one can access patient data and other applications remotely – this drastically scales the reach of medicine, especially to rural areas. Research into Covid 19 has shown that individuals with pre-existing conditions and compromised immunity are more susceptible to the virus. When testing for Covid 19, access to one’s complete medical records helps doctors prioritize cases and provide care accordingly.

Real-time remote care

Transcending time, distance and other variables, cloud-enabled IT relays real-time information, which cuts down the time, cost and effort involved in physically going to a healthcare facility, waiting for an appointment, etc. Real-time e-diagnosis has been widely helpful amidst the pandemic, ensuring that people do not unnecessarily put themselves at risk by visiting hospitals for non-Covid-related medical issues. Instead, complying with social distancing norms, telehealth services help doctors communicate directly with patients, and make a diagnosis (and if necessary, a treatment plan) without putting either party at risk. Research by McKinsey and Company shows that out of a number of people that had canceled medical appointments during the lockdown, 44% accessed telehealth options. They also found that online searches for telemedicine increased more than ninefold. Since Cloud-based healthcare facilities keep track of the numerous technological advances in medicine, it helps improve patient outcomes, giving them an advantage over facilities that do not use Cloud services.

Data security on cloud

The biggest apprehension with cloud-based systems is data security. The confidentiality and security of one’s medical data is an obvious concern, but Cloud systems can reduce risks by complying with regulations and policies like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

Skilled personnel

Other worries include internet connectivity issues, unskilled personnel, and worries over a lack of the ‘human’ element. The implementation of training programs will help familiarize staff with the workings of Cloud systems. As for the human element or the lack thereof, it is important to note that like with everything else in the service industry, healthcare too, has had to be tailored to suit consumer expectations in terms of speed, comfort, etc. If anything, therefore, Cloud-based systems provide patients with a value-based service.

Although it took a pandemic to catalyze the industry’s adoption of cloud services, there is no denying that it is the future of healthcare. The benefits and undiscovered potential of Cloud could redefine diagnoses, treatments, and more. Trigent helps healthcare organizations that are at any Cloud maturity stage – whether it is on an advisory level, migrating from a legacy system to the Cloud, developing a particular application, adapting portfolios to match the evolved Cloud architecture or any other Cloud service.

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Ref:

  • Siwicki, B. (2019). Hunterdon Healthcare migrates to Google Cloud/G Suite and saves $1.3 million.
  • Fabius, V., Kohli, S., Timelin, B., & Veranen, S. (2020). Meet the next-normal consumer.

Evolve into a Cloud-Native culture

Why go Cloud Native?

Cloud-Native is one of the biggest trends in the software industry today. The cloud-native approach works for modernizing existing applications and building new applications.

Cloud-native application takes advantage of cloud computing models to increase speed, flexibility, and quality and reduce deployment risks. The key factor to consider here is how applications are built, deployed, and managed.

As a platform-agnostic application, it is easy to manage iterative improvements using Agile & DevOps processes.

1. From a legacy system into the cloud
Organizations who moved from the legacy system into the cloud may face certain challenges. The legacy backup and disaster recovery tools used in old-school data centers do not work in cloud-native environments. Considering that the responsibility for data, processes, data management, maintenance, troubling shooting rests with the business, and not the cloud service provider, cloud-native is the way to go.

2. Rebuild technology foundation
Organizations that wish to make technological changes but do not have the luxury of rebuilding their technology foundation can adopt the Cloud Native approach. They stand to gain significantly by making gradual and fundamental shifts in their culture, processes, and technology to become cloud-native.

3. Innovation & Speed
As software is key to how consumers engage with businesses, innovation and speed have become imperative to their survival and growth. Businesses benefit from the cloud-native approach that gives them the ability to improve the quality of applications, reduces deployment risks, and improves the time to market.

Benefits of Cloud Native

Benefits of Cloud-Native

The building blocks of Cloud Native apps

Whether the challenge is in creating a new Cloud Native app or upgrading an existing one, organizations need to consider these essential building blocks of a Cloud Native ecosystem.

1. Microservices architecture for continuous improvement
The process breaks applications down to single-function services called microservices. Microservices are loosely coupled but remain independent. They allow incremental, automated, and continuous improvement of an application without causing downtime.

2. Containers for flexibility and scalability
Containers package software with all its code and dependencies in one place allowing the software to run anywhere – on a desktop, traditional IT, or the cloud. This allows maximum flexibility and portability in a multi-cloud environment. Containers allow fast scaling up or down with Kubernetes orchestration defined by the user.

3. Kubernetes for cost-effective Cloud Native development
The container orchestration platform enables scheduling and automating the deployment, management, and scaling of containerized applications. Kubernetes is versatile and offers a breadth of functionality, vast open-source of supporting tools, and portability across leading cloud service providers.

4. Agile methods in DevOps processes
Application development for the Cloud-Native approach follows Agile methods and DevOps principles with a focus on building and delivering apps collaboratively by development, quality assurance, security, IT operations, and delivery teams.

Are you ready for the Cloud Native journey?

The path to Cloud Native is unique to each organization depending on their stage in cloud maturity and business goals. Before beginning the Cloud-Native journey, consider these factors.

Cloud applications

1. Cloud-enabled
A cloud-enabled application was developed for deployment in a traditional data center but it was later changed so that it could run in a cloud environment.
Cloud-Native applications are designed to be platform-agnostic and are scalable.

2. Cloud-ready
The cloud-ready application works in the cloud environment or a traditional app that has been reconfigured for a cloud environment.
Cloud-Native apps are developed from the beginning to work only in the cloud and take advantage of cloud architecture.

Business objectives

1. Develop new Cloud Native apps – Organizations can quickly respond to new opportunities with the Cloud Native approach to building new applications.

2. Modernize existing apps – Many valuable applications are critical to business operations and revenue. They may not be easily replaceable. Applications are portable from on-premise infrastructure to the cloud and re-architected to become Cloud Native.

3. Improve app delivery – Container-based automation can accelerate the app delivery cycle.

4. Drive business innovation – For businesses whose success depends on constant innovation, introducing new features, Cloud Native tools support innovation, new ways to deliver solutions faster.

As Cloud Native technologies grow, businesses that wish to keep pace with competition and stay relevant in the future need to start right now. Evolution towards cloud-native effects design, implementation, deployment, operation of applications. Being prepared for the next big technological wave by making the shift today is essential.

Trigent Cloud Services team handholds businesses to leverage the advantages of the cloud for next-gen business requirements. Our experts help in building scalable, reliable, secure, flexible cloud-based apps in the native environment by leveraging Cloud-Native features of AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

Among other Cloud Services, our portfolio includes Cloud Architecture and Cloud Managed Services with a key focus on Cloud Native applications.

Take the next step in the cloud journey – get in touch with our experts for a business consultation.


Sources:
https://www.ibm.com/cloud/learn/cloud-native
Red Hat – the path to cloud-native applications

Harness the potential of serverless computing

Half a decade has eclipsed since the modern age of serverless computing emerged in the shape of AWS Lambda in 2014. In 2016 Microsoft followed suit with Azure functions, followed by Google introducing Google cloud functions in 2018. Three of the biggest cloud service providers investing in serverless was a sure sign that the cloud architectural model held both promise and potential. That promise has faced the test of time, evident in the growing interest among businesses adopting serverless at an impressive adoption rate of 75% per annum.

Serverless architecture is a cloud computing execution model that has evolved through time to make application development that much more convenient and feasible. Read about the evolution of serverless here.

Many biggies such as Coca Cola and Netflix have implemented the cloud service model, gaining from the myriad benefits serverless offers.

Pay per use

A significant advantage with serverless and translates into cost saving is that servers can be used as per our need. You do not need the server running through the day, as in the case of on-prem. We pay only for the usage of the server or for the computing time consumed. In simple terms, you only pay for the use and nothing more.

Cost savings

Serverless is more of an operational cost and not a capital cost. The expense incurred is just the operational expenditure, that is, the amount spent utilizing the service. There is no capital cost involved as the infrastructure is provided by the service provider.

Low on maintenance

Serverless is also low on maintenance as we are not responsible for the servers’ care and upgrades. It’s the service provider’s prerogative to maintain the infrastructure and provide assets in prime shape

Automatic scaling

The service provider takes care of scaling when the load is high. We do need to provision or request for scaling. When the usage is high serverless scales up automatically to provide many instances at the back end, it also offers high availability. The service provider ensures that the service is available to us as and when we need it.

The points mentioned above are just a primer on the advantages businesses can leverage by going serverless.

A serverless computing promises to go beyond cost reduction with fine-grained pricing, increased business agility, faster innovation, and reduced operational management.

Get an in-depth understanding of serverless architecture and why it stands out as the best viable option for building scalable, high-performance applications utilizing low engineering lead time, and reduced operating expenditure. Watch the video here.

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Twitter propels its mobile business using progressive web apps

Pattern of app usage among users – prevailing scenario

The smartphone user base has experienced an exponential boom in the past few years to reach 2.97 billion users worldwide. A recent study notes that an average US adult spends about 3 hours 10 minutes on his phone every day. 90% of mobile time is spent on applications. The increase in smartphone users and their usage pattern indicates that the mobile screen is the more preferred screen than the computer. The usage pattern is also a clear indicator that businesses vying for their customers’ attention must adopt a mobile strategy.

The world of native applications – challenges galore

Though users spend 90 percent of their mobile time on applications, they are quite picky. Users spend 77% of their time on only three apps. What’s more, 96% of that time is spent on their ten favorite apps. The interest in applications makes the mobile application space highly competitive. The chunk of these applications is native applications primarily categorized into Android or iOS apps. Statista 111 thousand applications are released on the Google Play Store every month, making it the most prominent online store for applications. Following toe is the Apple App Store, which has an approx 1.8 million applications available for download. The numbers are proof of the stiff competition applications face to garner interest among users and survive. Besides the stiff competition, many other reasons can sometimes weigh against building a native application. One of the foremost considerations a business looking to upgrade their mobility capabilities the native way has to address is cost followed by compatibility. Native applications are platform-specific as they are developed for a specific platform, either Android or iOS, and can limit your reach to a particular platform user set. Maintenance and upgrades can again have a significant impact on your spending.

A progressive mobile experience – the solution

Progressive Web Apps – PWA has been a boon for businesses trying to make immense in the mobile age. A PWA is built and lives on the web but has capabilities similar to the native apps. The look and feel or how the app behaves is quite similar to native apps.

Progressive web apps provides easy optimization of your website to enable mobile experience for your users irrespective of the platform. It renders a seamless experience across iOS and Android platforms and does not require uploading on any app stores. This also eliminates the need for users to install updates on their phones. Every time there is a new version of the app, it just needs to be deployed on the webserver and is automatically available to the users when they visit next.

Benefits

World-renowned businesses utilizing PWAs are reaping some impressive benefits that demonstrate that PWAs are an excellent proposition for online entities looking to initiate their journey and association with their users on their mobiles. Businesses are looking at an economical solution to make their foray on the mobile or companies already having a native app but looking to expand their reach using a web-based mobile app.

The following compilation lists out the businesses that have adopted progressive web apps to garner impressive gains.

Renowned publisher – Forbes

Renowned Publisher

Headquartered in New York, Forbes is an American business biweekly. Steve Forbes is the editor-in-chief of the widely recognized magazine. Two of its distinct offerings are the Forbes 400 that lines out the richest people in the world and Forbes 500 that lists out the top performing companies in the world. Forbes launched its mobile PWA couple years ago and has experienced a favorable outing.

  • 0.8 seconds average load time, faster loading
  • 100% increase in user engagement
  • 43% more time spent in user session
  • Increase in scroll depth by 3 times
  • Advertisement views up by 20%
  • Average size of web pages reduced from 2MB to 30KB

Social media biggie – Twitter

Microblogging Site

A popular microblogging platform launched in 2006, Twitter is the second most successful social media platform after Facebook. Twitter introduced Twitter Lite, a PWA variant for smartphone users. An optimized version of the app Lite requires less data and storage space and loads quicker even on slower connections. The app occupies 1 Mb space on the device.

  • 65% increase in pages per session
  • 75% increase in tweets
  • 20% decrease in bounce rate
  • Loads quickly on 2G and 3G networks
  • Enables optimal utilization of data by only downloading content that the users clicks on
  • Significantly smaller size of the PWA app at 600 Kb compared to the size of the 23.5 Mb native app

Global coffee house chain – Starbucks

Global Coffee House Chain

Starbucks, an international coffee house chain and a popular brand, wanted to create a web based application. An app with dynamic functionalities and a native feel. They wanted to integrate a user-friendly ordering that could be seamlessly accessed through a url without having to install the app. Starbucks foresightedness to invest in a progressive app provided it with some healthy benefits.

  • High on performance, intuitive app for its users
  • Ability of the app to function across regions with low or inconsistent internet connectivity

There are many other international businesses that have benefited going the PWA route. You can read about them here. Do you know of a business that has benefited immensely using progressive web applications? Share it with us in the comments section.

The progress of PWA (Progressive Web Applications) mobile apps

The first part of a two blog series on Progressive Web Application introduces the easily adaptable and popular PWA and a very distinct history behind it. It also lines out the future and advantages of the web-based application. The second blog post will line out the adoption of PWAs among some of the recognized businesses and the benefits they have incurred.

The two blog posts will help digital business owners make up their mind on utilizing PWA to either make a foray into the mobile screens of their user base or complement their native app offering to reach out to a wider audience.

The first time the idea of Progressive Web Applications (PWA) was coined way back in 2007. Albeit, it was not christened PWA then. At the launch of the iPhone, the legendary Steve Jobs shared his idea of web apps developed in HTML5 using AJAX architecture that would be fully integrated into the device through the safari browser engine.

In 2015 Frances Berriman and Alex Russell, senior engineers with Google, observed a new class of websites providing a better user experience than traditional web applications. These applications rated high on user experience were independent of the browser tab and lived on their own while maintaining their ubiquity and linkability. Berriman and Russell named this new breed of applications as Progressive Web Applications.

Eric Bidelman, Senior Staff Developers Programs Engineer, introduced PWA at the Google I/O event in 2016.

The potential of PWAs can be gauged in the fact that two of the world’s biggest tech rivals Microsoft and Google, joined hands to make room for the technology.

Since becoming a widely recognized term in technology, PWA’s have made rapid strides towards widespread acceptance. Apple Inc., whose founder had first proposed web-based mobile applications, is actively pursuing it but calling it by a different name. They use the term: “HTML5 Apps” and “Home Screen web apps” instead.

Inside PWAs

A PWA is built and lives on the web but has capabilities similar to the native apps. Be it the look and feel or the way the app behaves it is quite similar to native apps.

A progressive web application leverages the website, adds some extra features that enhance the web properties to drive capabilities on mobile. In technical parlance, that would mean serving your web site over HTTPS and having a service worker and manifest.json file to turn your website into a PWA.

A service worker or a JavaScript enables the website to function in the absence of an internet connection. The service worker acts like a proxy server and acts as a bridge between the browser and the network and helps intercept network requests and serve custom responses.

PWA – How it works

PWA provides easy optimization of your website to enable mobile experience for your users irrespective of the platform. Simply put it renders a seamless experience across iOS and Android platforms and does not require uploading on any app stores. This also eliminates the need for users to install updates on their phones. Every time there is a new version of the app, it just needs to be deployed on the webserver and is automatically available to the users when they visit next.

PWAs are in demand and for legit reasons

Talk of PWAs and the discussion invariably steers towards a comparison between a native application and PWA capabilities. Listed below are a few factors enticing businesses to take a plunge into the mobile-first world with a PWA. It also is a viable option for businesses looking to complement their existing native application to expand their reach across devices and platforms.

  • Truly progressive: PWAs work for every user irrespective of the browser or the platform because the base is built with progressive enhancements.
  • Highly responsive: Progressive web applications are highly responsive and seamlessly adapt to the various screen sizes be it desktops, different mobile devices, and tablets.
  • Closely replicating native apps: The user experience and interface match up to that of native applications.
  • Easily and regularly updated: The process of running updates is convenient thanks to the data update process offered by service workers.
  • Secure: As PWAs run through HTTPS, it ensures safety in content delivery and content interaction.
  • Searchable: Indexed by search engines PWAs show up in Google search results.
  • Installable: Installing PWA applications is an easy affair as it does not require users to download it from the app store or play store, consuming little space.
  • Linkable: A clickable link is all it takes to install or share the application among users.
  • Offline functionality: PWAs work without the internet connection leveraging data cached from the last instance the user interacted with the application

We are confident that with the evolution of PWAs there will be many more benefits that may come to the fore. Are there benefits or interesting facts about PWA that you have come across and would like to share with us? Drop it here in the comments section.

Read the next blog on the adoption of PWAs among some of the recognized businesses and the benefits they have incurred.