Magellan's Blog

Outsourcing Increases for Telco IT

Posted by Carolyn Trinta

Dec 15, 2014 8:00:00 AM

magellanllcIf you’re one of the many telco companies that outsources its IT, you’re not alone. In a recent survey by The Global IT Association for Telecommunications (ETIS) and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), we see that the outsourcing spend for this industry is slowly on the rise. In 2013, IT outsourcing accounted for 26% of total IT spend, up from 23% in 2012. That might not seem like much of an increase, but it does indicate that telco enterprises are letting go of the idea of handling every IT aspect in house and taking advantage of working with providers who specialize in areas where the corporations may be weak.

Why Companies are Outsourcing More

While there was a backlash a few years ago when big brands like Dell got shamed for their floundering overseas outsourced customer support, corporations are now finding that many IT functions are ideal for outsourcing. While certainly, some tasks are sent overseas, many companies are simply outsourcing to other US companies that focus on a particular skill that the corporation may lack resources in (mobile app development is an excellent example).

In the survey, participants cited their reasons for outsourcing to include:

      Cost reduction

      Accessing new skills

      Reducing speed to market

      Decreasing head count

It should be no surprise that 36% of participants in the survey said savings was their top motivator for outsourcing. And while outsourcing hasn’t always statistically proven to reduce IT spend, in this survey, the data seems to indicate that the correlation between outsourcing and high IT spend is weaker than in past years.

BCG
Image: BCG Perspectives


Getting closer to reducing costs with outsourcing may come with telcos having a better grasp on how to leverage outsourcing. Many opt for a “partial outsourcing” model, keeping some IT tasks in-house and outsourcing others. Another reason for this weakened correlation may simply be that all IT costs have come down in recent years.

What Are Telcos Outsourcing?

It varies from one company to another, but the vast majority of telcos — at least those surveyed — focus their outsourcing funds on four key areas: 

      Application maintenance (52% outsourced)

      Support and training (44% outsourced)

      Application development (40% outsourced)

      IT infrastructure (34% outsourced)

The benefits to outsourcing are ample. Because telcos don’t focus on niche IT activities like mobile app development or training, they may get better results if they outsource these areas to companies that specialize on these activities. And the cost savings are there, especially if a company attempts to take on a task it has no skills in. I’ve written before about companies that try to build a mobile app in house and then come to Magellan after they’ve botched it. Those failed efforts cost time and money, so going straight to an outsourced provider can skip all the heartburn and get a finished, viable product out to market faster.

Outsourcing also takes the pressure off of IT staff to do more than their job description. After all, your web designer is not by default skilled at maintaining your mobile app. And he’s got a full plate of work as it is. Adding on unnecessary projects takes IT staff away from their core focus, and that only hurts the company.

From the Outsourced Perspective

Speaking from the other side of the fence, I know how successful telcos can be when they hand over anything out of their scope to third parties like Magellan. We like to act as an extra arm for our clients’ companies, and create products or maintain them at the level of quality the clients would create if they had the in-house power to do so.

Want to know how outsourcing mobile app development, maintenance, and content delivery can help your brand? Contact us to find out.

 

 
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Topics: Telco

Will Net Neutrality Ever Actually Exist?

Posted by Carolyn Trinta

Dec 8, 2014 2:00:00 PM

neutralityThe debate over net neutrality rages on. Some Internet service providers have been accused of putting certain services in the “slow lane,” resulting in more frustration for consumers to access content and media. Their own services — or those of companies they’ve partnered with (read: been paid by) get better and faster service.


Given that the Internet is supposed to be free, this provides some legal and ethical dilemmas about who controls the Internet — or at least the ability of consumers to access media through it.

The Problem

As a consumer, you don’t think it’s fair that telecom companies would restrict the streaming of certain services in favor of their own. (Imagine trying to use Skype with the service stuttering and stopping, while your local cable provider’s video conferencing service working flawlessly.)


As a provider of services that are affected, you don’t think it’s fair either. You shouldn’t have to partner up with telco or pay to have your services stream without issue over the Internet. And yet, the issue isn’t as cut and dry as it seems it should be.

The FCC’s Stance

Back in May of this year, the FCC began to consider two options to deal with the issue of net neutrality: 

  1. Permit fast and slow broadband lanes, which would compromise net neutrality
  2. Reclassify broadband as a telecommunication service, which would preserve net neutrality.

This was the beginning of months of in-depth research that the FCC would do, including input from consumers at large.

Obama’s Support of Net Neutrality

On November 10, 2014, President Obama recommended the FCC reclassify broadband Internet service as a telecommunications service — essentially a utility, like power or water — as a means to support net neutrality.

Here is an excerpt from his letter, outlining how he envisions the Internet moving forward:

  • No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it. That way, every player — not just those commercially affiliated with an ISP — gets a fair shot at your business.
  • No throttling. Nor should ISPs be able to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others — through a process often called “throttling” — based on the type of service or your ISP’s preferences.
  • Increased transparency. The connection between consumers and ISPs — the so-called “last mile” — is not the only place some sites might get special treatment. So, I am also asking the FCC to make full use of the transparency authorities the court recently upheld, and if necessary to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.
  • No paid prioritization. Simply put: No service should be stuck in a “slow lane” because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth. So, as I have before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.

President Obama also asserted that mobile broadband should be included in these policy changes — a smart move, since more than half of Internet usage now comes from mobile devices.

The FCC’s response to Obama’s proposal was a cautious one. The FCC is taking its time in making a decision, as it’s one that will affect us for quite a while moving forward.

The Conclusion? It’s TBD

We’re probably still several months off from a solid decision by the FCC on how net neutrality should be handled.  For now, it’s pointing the finger at brands like Netflix, who, despite being advocates for net neutrality, have also been accused of trying to get a leg up against the competition.

The argument will continue until all parties can be pacified. Is the task possible? Time will tell.

 

 

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Topics: Small Business, Enterprise, Telco

5 Ways Proprietary Content Delivery Networks Improve Your Customers' Experience

Posted by Carolyn Trinta

Nov 3, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Because you’ve had no choice but to distribute your digital content — be that video, music, writing, or other content — through existing channels like iTunes and Google Play, you’ve probably never given thought to how much better owning that content distribution network would be for your customers (not to mention for you). 

5 Ways Proprietary Content Delivery Networks Improve Your Customers' Experience

First, think about what’s flawed in the existing setup. If your content is available on one operating system, only people who have that system can access it. So if you only distribute through iTunes, people with Android devices are left in the dark. There’s more time and financial cost to distributing your content across various networks.

Second, your customers are narrowed in where they can actually consume that content. Your customer can only play your video or music on a device that supports that delivery network. And your customers have to build their content consumption habits around which content they can access from which device. It’s not uncommon for consumers to own an iPad and an Android phone, and they’ve learned to switch between the two to consume media. Still, it’s not an ideal solution.

Magellan’s M2 Server™ is changing all this. Now you become the content delivery network, and your customers get better access to your content, wherever they want it. Magellan has deployed a technology and media delivery solution to web and mobile devices with its M2 and Matric™ development platforms for smartphones and tablets (iOS, Android and Windows, using a one-code base).  These devices support your app, which acts as a delivery service for your content.

 

Here are the perks from your customers’ perspective.

  1. They Can Access Your Content from Any Device

Essentially, you have an app that delivers content. That means once that app is downloaded, your customers can access whatever purchases they make from you on any device. Think about the Netflix app. If you install it on all your devices, you can access your movies on your XBox, television, tablet, and phone. It’s freedom of consumption. This is a boon for content junkies that want to devour your content across multiple devices.

  1. They Pay Less

You already know how big a cut iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play take to get your content in front of their users. But we charge a lot less. So you can pocket the difference, or pass that savings on to your customers, making you the most popular spot to get affordable content in the mobile world.

  1. They Get Nichified Content

If you specialize in drag racing videos, you can dominate that market. Your content doesn’t get lost in the sea of tons of other industries. Your users are fiercely loyal to your niche, and they know you deliver the content they want.

  1. Customers Deliver Their Own Experience Analytics

With the big boys, you get zero access to the insightful analytics you really need to drive sales and deliver what customers want. But when you control the content, you can see who’s downloading what, which devices they’re using to access your content, and where they live. All of this data is invaluable in helping you develop further product development and sales strategies.

  1. Customers Get Better Content from You

Once you understand what your customers are looking for in terms of the content you can deliver, you improve your product offering and give them more of what they want. With iTunes and other players, you do a lot of guessing based on sales numbers, but that doesn’t provide the whole story.

 

Owning the content delivery system puts you in charge, and helps you better connect with (and sell to) your customers.

 

Image: PhotoSpin

 

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Topics: Mobile Apps, Content Delivery Network, CDN, M2

Apple Understands the Importance of the CDN

Posted by Carolyn Trinta

Oct 27, 2014 9:00:00 AM

We’ve been talking a lot about content here on the Magellan blog lately. It’s because content delivery is shifting before our very eyes. Up until recently, everyone — even the big players like Apple — relied on third party service providers to get their content to their customers.

Apple Understands the Importance of the CDN

Now, when I say content, I typically mean videos or music. We’re working with some entertainment companies to change the way the medium is delivered to consumers, as well as how those customers are accessing the data. For Apple, content means those awesome iOS updates that help your iPhone or iPad do more cool things.

A Shift in Strategy

In the past, Apple has used third-party content delivery network specialists like Akmai to handle the bulk of the traffic it gets when sending out an operating system update. But in September, the company tried a different tactic: it used its own in-house content delivery network to handle its iOS 8 traffic.

This is the first time that Apple has used its own content delivery network for a large-scale rollout (and it was a big one, too).

 

Massive Amounts of Data Being Processed

Why would Apple try to reinvent the wheel when CDN providers already have proven themselves reliable to handle Apple’s overload of data? The fact that the iOS downloads reached more than 3 terabits of bandwidth each second is a testament to the fact that Apple’s data and content delivery needs aren’t getting any smaller.

They are, in fact, exponentially growing, as is all data on the web. Studies tell us that by 2020, we’ll have around 1.7 megabytes of new information created every second — and that’s per human. All of them, around the globe. That’s a lot of data.

For companies like Apple — though it’s not a problem relegated to large media corporations — the question becomes about cost efficiencies. When you are delivering as much content as Apple does, it simply makes more fiscal sense to pull that delivery system in-house.

The CDN was completed in July, when it was tested out to handle just a portion of the operating system updates and content delivery. Word has it that iTunes and the App Store are still using Akmai and other Level 3 content delivery networks, but that Apple will phase that out as its proprietary CDN proves itself as an efficient and reliable tool.

The Perks of Having Your Own CDN

Apple isn’t the only media company to leverage its own resources for content delivery. Amazon and Google have had their own CDNs for years (in fact, Amazon sells its services to others).

But you don’t have to be a media mogul to get in on the action. Magellan’s M2 Server™ turns you into your own content delivery network, and helps you get your content to your customers without the middle man (or large cut of your revenues).

The benefits are many, for every sized business:

  • More control over the content and its delivery

  • Access to rich analytics

  • Lower price point to get your content in front of customers

And your customers benefit as well. They no longer are forced to consume content on a specific device (you buy a song on iTunes, and you can only listen to it on an Apple device). They now have the choice of which device to consume content on, and can switch from one to another.

We’re no longer relegated to specific devices for our content delivery or consumption. Tools like M2 put the power in your hands, not the big players. Take control back. Join the revolution.

Image: PhotoSpin

 

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Topics: Mobile Apps, Content Delivery Network, CDN, M2

M2 Now Cuts Out the Middle Man on Content Delivery

Posted by Carolyn Trinta

Oct 20, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Up until now, if you had content in the form of videos, music, pictures, et cetera, you were forced to get it to your customers through distribution channels like iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, or various music and content delivery networks.

 M2 Now Cuts Out the Middle Man on Content Delivery

The problems with this system are:

  • Your customers can only play or view their content through a single platform

  • You give a bigger cut to these big players

  • You can’t get real insight into how and when your customers are accessing your content

  • You can’t deliver meaningful opportunities to your customers based on their actions.

Frustrating, isn’t it? Not to worry: all that is about to change.

Magellan has created a groundbreaking combination of technology and media delivery to web and mobile (OTT) with its M2 Server™ and Matric™ development platforms for smartphones and tablets (iOS, Android and Windows as a one-code base).  

 

What That Means

You can now distribute content directly to your custom mobile apps. No more middle man. You now become a catalyst to drive cross-over audiences, with a viewer/listener experience that simply hasn’t existed thus far.  

You can target advertising in real time, and see better results, thanks to the rich viewer/listener interaction you get. And leveraging the ability to deploy a single custom app by each artist/content provider gives you unparalleled branding and loyalty opportunities.

Not only that, but you drastically increase your revenues. We all know what content providers like iTunes charge to get your content distributed. We charge much less than they do, so that puts money back in your pocket.


Why Your Customers Love It

With our content delivery system, your customers are no longer restricted to where they can access that video or song. They can now take it from device to device, regardless of platform. So they’re not limited to watching a movie only on an Apple device, or listening to a song through their Android phone.

If you choose to pass your cost savings down to your customers, you instantly increase your market share. That Katie Perry song is the same, whether a fan buys it on iTunes, Google Play, or your proprietary app, so who wouldn’t want to pay less for the same song?


Put Your Finger on the Pulse of Your Customers’ Actions

Never have you been able to track analytics around viewer or listener behavior through a mobile app the way you can with our content delivery network.  Integration with social media lets you offer value-add extras, backstage sneak peeks, access to live events, etc. All of these highly-targeted add-ons create an experience for your customers that is arguably the next generation of media delivery.

 

Who Else Gets It?

Not only has Magellan become an early adopter of this technology (and helped you to also jump on this wave), other examples include U2’s exclusive delivery of its new content to iTunes.   

Magellan is already collaborating with artists and content providers, as well as seeking others who want to collaborate to share in the revenue and royalties for successful programs. These collaborators include:

  • Content providers

  • Technology partners

  • App developers

  • Musicians and bands

Magellan is a San Francisco-based leading developer of OTT, mobile apps, and media delivery infrastructure. We’re changing the way consumers access content, as well as shaking up the way businesses like yours make money from selling that content.

We’d love to talk to you about how we can improve the quality of your content delivery, as well as increase your bottom line. Contact us to find out how our content delivery network can help you drive results and create rabid fans.


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Topics: Mobile Apps, Content Delivery Network, M2

The Magellan Difference

Posted by Carolyn Trinta

Oct 13, 2014 9:00:00 AM

At Magellan, we pride ourselves in being at the forefront of what’s happening in digital content delivery, video analytics, app development, and backend services. We’re growing in so many different directions, sometimes it’s hard to keep up! Here we’ve summarized what we believe our strengths to be.

The Magellan Difference

Video Analytics

Video has come a long way since the days when it was primarily used by security companies to catch criminals in the act. We’ve connected today’s cutting-edge analytics to video capabilities to offer businesses in a variety of industries unique and innovative solutions to their problems.

Here’s an example: imagine grocery store managers challenged with taking inventory on a regular basis being able to walk through their stores wearing Google Glass. As they scan the store, data on inventory needs is updated to the system. Orders can be placed automatically. There’s no human error interfering with a rote and regular activity. This is what video analytics can do.

Our software allows cameras to:

  • Differentiate between human, animal, and machine

  • Identify pre-programmed objects

  • Track motion

  • Record time and location

  • Send alerts via SMS, push notifications and/or email based on detection

 

Content Delivery

Your customers want content, be it in the form of movies, music, images, or anything else. The way content delivery has worked up until now, you’ve had to rely on third party distributors like iTunes or Google Play. Sure, they’re mass distributors of content and can get your content to a large audience, but they limit where a customer can access that content. If you buy a movie on iTunes, you can only watch it on your iPad or iPhone. But what about the user who wants to take that video to his Android phone?

Our M2 Server™ has changed the game completely.

Using our proprietary system, you become your own content distributor, and help your customers access their content anywhere, and from any device. The kicker? We charge a lot less than the big boys, and you get to own the content delivery system in the form of a custom-built application.

 

Custom Mobile Apps

From plug-and-play features to one-of-a-kind custom app builds, our app development branch has exactly what you need to build a competitive app that will increase your revenues and attract a wider audience.

And we’re smart about it. We use a common code base, which means the applications we build for you can be quickly and inexpensively modified to work with any operating system – no need to build separate apps for Android and iOS. You save time and money, and get your app deployed across all mobile application stores. That’s more revenue in your pocket.

 

Backend-as-a-Service

Whether you’re an app developer or an enterprise with its own mobile division, you need somewhere to store those masses of data that your app creates daily. And you need it scalable so that it won’t break as your user base grows.

Our M2 Server™ is a backend platform that houses and delivers content, mobile apps, websites, web services, and other applications with the speed your customers want and have come to expect.  That means your customers get streaming video with no buffering, instant access to the latest version of your app, and flawless and expedient connection to your website, no matter what device they’re on.

 

We Make a Difference...For Your Business

At Magellan, we’re striving to stay ahead of the curve so that you can be competitive in your field. We work with telcos, retail, enterprise, healthcare, entertainment...the list goes on. Because the truth is: every industry needs cutting-edge technology that will help them remain relevant to their customers.

How can Magellan help you today?

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Topics: Mobile Apps, Small Business, Marketing Mobile Apps, Content Delivery Network

Content Delivery Network: The Framework for More Apps Than You'd Think

Posted by Carolyn Trinta

Oct 6, 2014 9:00:00 AM

609_3332064Everyone’s doing it. From online and brick-and-mortar retailers to music services, everyone these days relies on a content delivery network. But if you think that mobile apps are the only ones that benefit from housing data in CDNs, you might be surprised with the truth.

 

First, What the Heck is a CDN?

Think about cell phone towers. They’re everywhere, which means that your phone swings from tower to tower, picking up the signal where you need it. Content delivery networks are the same. There are servers located in different geographic locations, and all servers have copies of the same information. That means if someone wants to stream a video in India, his movie will come from the server closest to him, not the server located in Toledo. He gets instant access to that movie with no buffering or jittering.

What that means for your customers is faster access to the content they want. What that means for you is more happy customers, and thereby more revenue.

 

What’s It Good For?

While CDNs initially launched to help deliver streaming video, audio, and Internet television programming (think Netflix), more and more industries are finding value in using them.

News services benefit from content delivery systems simply because of the sheer amount of content they’ve got. While last year’s news story isn’t going to be read as much as today’s, it’s still important that their customers be able to access any and all content, regardless of age.

Another field with massive amounts of data is weather updating. Apps and websites constantly pull the latest weather conditions for local areas. Users want fast access to that data, and CDNs helps deliver it.

Retailers, too, have turned to CDNs to help manage their online inventory. Content delivery systems help ecommerce sites load faster, which makes for easier purchases. In a world where shoppers have teeny attention spans, fast loading is critical for sales.

The sheer amount of content available online is a testament to the fact that content marketing and social media aren’t going anywhere. But that data’s got to go somewhere, and to the CDN it goes! All those Tweets, shares, likes, and images need to be housed where anyone in the world can quickly access them. This is where all those CDN server locations come in handy.

 

The Benefits of CDN

As I mentioned, the world has a shorter attention span. We’re no longer willing to wait to stream content through a wide area network (WAN) now that we’ve been introduced to local area networks (LAN). Customers can get their content when and where they want it, making for a better customer experience for your brand.

It’s also great for websites that see a surge in traffic, since not all the load is being put on a single server. The CDN servers share the strain, and users don’t know the difference.

CDN also acts as a great data backup system, spreading the risk of data loss across so many servers, it becomes essentially a non-issue.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this benefit, specifically to our M2 system: you’re no longer beholden to Apple or Google to sell your apps, videos, or music. The problem with those is that they only allow users to view or listen to content on that platform. M2, however, lets your customers take their movie, music, or other content to any device with Internet. And we take less of a chunk of profit than the big guys!

Content delivery systems are often underrated, but in fact, they’re the foundation for many of the services and content you access every day.

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Topics: Mobile Apps, Content Delivery Network

What Unlocked Cell Phones Means for the Mobile Market

Posted by Carolyn Trinta

Sep 29, 2014 9:00:00 AM

In case you haven’t heard, there’s been a pretty big change in how cell phone carriers control our smartphones recently. On August 1, 2014, President Obama signed a bill that would allow consumers to take their phones with them to whatever carrier they wanted to use. What that means is: you’re no longer stuck with that carrier you signed up with, and can take your uber-cool cell phone elsewhere if you’re not happy with the deal or service you’re getting. What unlocked cell phones means for the mobile market

 

How it Happened

We’ve all be complaining for years that we felt trapped with our endless contracts and horrible customer service, but none of us actually expected anyone to take action on it. Enter Sina Khanifar: an Internet activist who decided to do something about it. He started a petition asking the government to make cell phone unlocking legal. With 114,000 signatures, he managed to get Capitol Hill’s attention. With unprecedented speed, the bill got passed. Now carriers can’t hold us hostage.

 

The Fine Print

So now, you can request your carrier to unlock your phone (no, it’s not automatic). But only if your contract is up (you know your carrier wants to get the full $800 value for that iPhone you only paid $99 for).

And even then, the process to get your phone unlocked may or may not be simple, depending on the carrier’s willingness to let you leave. Here’s the process for each.

  • AT&T: Fill out this form.

  • Verizon: Call support at 1-800-711-8300 and ask for a SIM unlock.

  • T-Mobile: While T-Mobile does offer an unlocking app, it only works with the Samsung Galaxy Avant for now. Unlock it online or call 611 from your phone.

  • Sprint: Sprint’s behind the curve and doesn’t yet have an easy way to unlock phones, but it does have a lengthy policy written about it. Try customer service.

 

Why It’s Not as Great as It Sounds

While this bill makes it seem like mobile phone users have all this freedom, it’s a bit deceiving. First, there’s that fact that you have to have completed your contract, which are typically 2 years long. So you still have that 2-year waiting period. Not ideal.

Second, not every type of phone works on every network. Some use CDMA (like Sprint and Verizon) while others use GSM (T-Mobile, AT&T, and other global carriers). So unlocking is all for nought if your new carrier doesn’t support your favorite phone. The 5S is a great example of a phone that won’t work across carriers, even though from the outside, it looks to be the same phone that they all offer. There are actually CDMA and GSM versions of the iPhone 5S, so one won’t work if the carrier doesn’t support that system.

 

What Does This Mean for the Market?

I expect this all to get smoother in the coming months, as the average consumer begins to complain about the complexity of the unlocking process. From the carriers’ point of view, the ones delivering subpar customer service will likely see some flight from dissatisfied customers, so maybe they’ll step up their game, since they’ll now have to actually compete to keep customers in place.

I don’t anticipate too much movement from Apple to Android devices and vice versa. I think this will be more of a power play for cell phone carriers, who will have to find innovative offers to keep customers around long-term.

Overall, it’s great to see Capitol Hill taking action (and quickly) on a subject that so many of us are affected by. It’s clear the digital landscape is changing the world on every level.

 

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Topics: Mobile Industry

What is Gesture Recognition?

Posted by Carolyn Trinta

Sep 22, 2014 9:00:00 AM

what is gesture recognitionYou use it on your phone, and with your favorite video game console, but you might not even realize what this technology is. Welcome to the future: it’s gesture recognition.

Just when you think we can’t make any more breakthroughs in technology, we do. And while we’ve been using gesture recognition for years (the XBox Kinect was released in 2012 to the public), there’s been a push forward for more applications to use it in the past year or so.

 

Gesture recognition  — a perceptual computing interface where a computer captures and translates gestures into commands — extends beyond just video games and mobile device usage. Here are a few exciting examples:

  • Custom Gestures: If you’ve watched Minority Report, you’ll be excited to see that you too can act like Tom Cruise and manipulate screen data with hand gestures with Seemove software. The software can be customized for whatever gestures you want to assign tasks to.

  • Healthcare: Developers at Siemens Healthcare are developing gesture recognition tools that would allow surgeons to manipulate digital images without compromising sterile procedures.

  • Automotive: Google and Ford have paired up to work on tools that drivers can use to gesture to adjust air conditioning, windows, or windshield wipers.

How it Works

Just like touch screens helped us be more efficient on our computers and mobile devices, so can gesture recognition tools.

If you have an XBox Kinect or a phone like the Samsung S5, you’re already familiar with how gesture recognition works from the consumer point of view. If you want to start a new Dance Central game, you swipe in front of your body. If you want to scroll down on a website on your phone, you run your hand alongside the phone.

In a given device, a motion sensor sees a human gesture, such as a hand wave, and interprets it based on the data that’s been input. So if programmers set up the system to recognize a hand wave as a signal that the user wants to turn on his computer, that’s what it’ll do.

In setting up the software, programmers create a library of gestures tied to specific commands. That, by the way, is a great example of the kind of data we can store on our M2 servers. While some libraries are relatively small, others will be much larger, and that data is important to house somewhere it can be accessed quickly with no delay.

It gets pretty complex, even with your kid’s XBox Kinect, which can not only recognize hand gestures, but also skeletal and facial tracking, voice recognition, and a user’s height.

 

The Drawbacks of Gesture Recognition

Like any emerging technology, gesture recognition has its limitations, though those are sure to be remedied quickly, as technology is speeding up. For one, the systems are sensitive, so if there’s “noise,” meaning it’s difficult for a device to discern a person from the furniture around her, the system may not know what to pay attention to in order to receive commands. A user has to be a specific distance from the scanner: too far away or too close, and it can’t read gestures.

And there are still several players in this new space, which means there’s varying quality among them, and they don’t necessarily play well together. I expect we’ll see some consolidation as bigger entities (surely Google’s on that list, and maybe Amazon) snatch up the more successful gesture recognition companies and others run out of funds for R&D.

For the time being, I look at gesture recognition as being full of potential, and look forward to seeing new applications of it in industries like retail, transportation, and education.


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Topics: Mobile Industry

Why a Common Code Base for Mobile Development Matters

Posted by Carolyn Trinta

Sep 15, 2014 5:00:00 AM

Why a Common Code Base for Mobile Development MattersMobile app developers will feel my pain here, though maybe you less technically inclined folks won’t even be aware of the situation: you develop a fantastic app- I’m talking the next Flappy Birds. But, it’s only programmed for Apple products. Or Android.  And you know that to really make a splash in the app market, you need it available on both platforms, not to mention Windows and BlackBerry. But they all have their own programming language.

For mobile app developers, that means plenty more late nights of programming in your future. For businesses who hire these developers to create apps, it means more cost and time to market.

Does this sound familiar?

What if I told you it didn’t have to be this big pain in the app? What if you could design your app once and have it work on any operating system? Pshaw, you say. That’s a pipe dream.

Only it’s not.

Welcome to the Common Code Base

At Magellan, we’ve got plenty of experience designing mobile apps, so we know what a pain reproducing an app for each OS can be. That’s why we’re proud to offer a common code base. That means the applications we build for you can be quickly and inexpensively modified to work with any operating system – no need to build separate apps for Android and iOS. Time and cost are reduced and future updates are simple to make.

Major phone operating systems such as Android and iOS are structurally different in their architecture. It is no wonder, therefore, that both cause massive trouble for developers trying to make apps that cut across their products. Google and Apple encourage code to be written in contradicting ways, making it very difficult for programmers to write a singular code base that is efficient on both platforms. It also means that developers will have to duplicate code and keep tweaking it to work for both platforms. For businesses like yours, that means you pay for each operating system you want your app to work on. Who wants that?

The solution is in the cloud computing.  Magellan’s M2 cloud server houses a tool that writes the code, which is written in a particular software language and then the tool translates it to the various languages.

In layman terms, say we write code in English, yet the French, German and Spanish speaking countries need it translated. The tool that exists in M2 is literally a translator.  So no matter what operating system the platform is being run on, the tool writes code and then translates it to the various languages.  When something needs to be added into the app, the code is written, the tool translates and it spits out an updated version or addition to the app.

Why It Rocks

Using a common code base helps all sized businesses and enterprises to take control of their digital strategy by delivering consistent app experiences across the multitude of devices available today and in the future. You can build an app once and provide the app to every channel – smartphones, desktop, tablets, and more.

As user expectations grow, you need ways to simplify and streamline app design, development and deployment. Hand coding apps for multiple devices is too time-consuming, produces inconsistent results, and is way too expensive. Common code base fits the bill, and helps you look like a rock star.

 

 


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Topics: mobile app expertise, BaaS, MBaaS

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