Author: Scott Calonico

How Automated Push with Geofencing can Drive Engagement

three-ideas-geofencing

First off – the bad news: users are getting tired of apps. How tired? How about this – nearly 1 in 4 users are abandoning an app after one use.

OK, so the good news? Using a service like push notifications can increase user engagement dramatically. Users WANT push notifications. So much so that 75% of 18 – 34 year olds have push engagement enabled on their mobile devices. Marketers also experience a 50% higher open rate on push notifications as opposed to email communications.

And while push notifications have given marketers and app developers new ways to reach audiences, one of the most interesting developments to emerge on the mobile scene has been the introduction of hyper-local marketing messages, also known as geofencing.

Essentially geofencing allows you to specify a a location radius (anywhere between 1 and 10000 meters – depending on the service) where when the app user enters or leaves, it triggers an automatic push message.

WHY USE GEOFENCING?

More than just saving time, automation in push messaging can drive engagement rates – as much as a 5% push engagement rate with automatic push messages verses a 2% engagement rate with manually sent messages.

Sure, this is all well and good to be able to send automatic marketing messages, but its not the magic bullet that your clients might think it is. For example, shat happens when a grocery store sends a geofenced push notification about the latest offers in the store butchery to customer who is a vegetarian?

SEGMENTS AND CHANNELS – This is where segments and channels come in. By breaking up a apps push notification audience into segments and channels, you can laser target push notifications.Segments are good for sending notifications to a pre-defined audience, such as location, operating system, and app version. Channels, on the other hand, are customizable through the app and allow users to pick and choose to subscribe to push notifications based on subject matter of interest to them. Studies have shown that brands using segmentation and channels have response rates 4 – 7 times higher than those who don’t.

DEEP LINKING – Each push notification has a purpose – whether it’s simply to inform a user or drive them to take an action. When an app user receives a push notification with a deep link – it takes them directly to an action page in the app.

Let’s tie it all together with our vegetarian in the grocery store example. The user has downloaded and enabled push notifications in their grocery store app. The next time they visit the store, the app triggers a push notification based on geofencing. Because this user is subscribed to the “Vegetarian Deals” channel of the app, they automatically receive a push notification alerting them to the latest vegetarian deals when they walk in the store. In addition, the link included in the push notification deep links to a coupon page located in the app.

Result? App engagement, user satisfaction and more retail sales – all done automatically.

With that in mind, in this article we wanted to share some of the ways in which app developers can use geofencing in their client’s apps.

LOCATION BASED MARKETING

This is probably one of the most exciting features of geofencing – being able to interact with customers (or potential customers) in real time. Location based marketing uses geofencing to automatically send a push notification when a user enters or leaves a specific location. For example, an app for a hotel could alert users currently on the property that happy hour is about to begin in the lounge – and send along a push notification with a drink coupon. Or an app for a retail business could alert a user when they pass near the property  – perhaps reminding them of a gift certificate that hasn’t been spent or even enticing them with a new gift certificate or an alert about the latest sale items.

But clients don’t have to only target their own business locations with geofencing. How about this? A retail business sets up a geofence around a competing business location. When the targeted users leave the rival business, they are sent an automatic push notification with the latest deals and offers from your client?

SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING

Your client has a problem – they’ve got lots of customers saying great things about their business – and your client wants to reward them. Geofencing to the rescue. Example? An app user at a hotel on their honeymoon gets that extra little bit of customer service that makes the day memorable and sends out a tweet about it. With geofencing, the grateful guest’s location is identified and extra perks – like a free room upgrade or (if your client isn’t so generous) a bottle of champagne is sent on its way.

This use for geofencign tends to work best in places that tend to have a lot of dwell time from customers, such as hotels, stadiums and (increasingly) coffee shops.

BUSINESS DEMOGRAPHICS

In larger business locations, geofencing can be used to determine how long app users spend in certain parts of the property. This can be tied into the average spend there to determine business viability. For example, do hotel guests spend more money at the pool as opposed to an indoor lounge? Does the dwell time of a guest affect the average spend?

For retail outlets, app data can give an overview of footfall vs. location revenue. For more accurate data, geofencing can be combined with location beacons that can give precise measurement for in-store targeting by department or even down to the exact aisle.

READY TO GET STARTED?

So, there you have it – a little bit about geofencing and how you can use it in your client’s apps. Sound interesting? Why not give Kumulos geofencing and push notifications a free, no obligation 30 day spin?

With just a few clicks of the mouse, you’ll be laser marketing your client’s apps in no time.

Start your FREE TRIAL today!

Top Dublin Mobile App Developers

dublin mobile app developers

Described by Lonely Planet as a “small capital with a huge reputation,” Dublin attracts visitors from all over the globe. With a wealth of culture, a vibrant party scene and no shortage of Guinness, the city continually delivers unforgettable experiences – and perhaps a few that get forgotten too!

Dublin’s “huge reputation” is also something that’s fair to apply to its thriving software development scene – particularly when it comes to the creation of apps. A great many app developers and digital agencies make Dublin their home, and do business with some of the world’s biggest brands.

In this article, we run through some of the best agencies in Dublin and the surrounding area, and talk about what makes them stand out.  

Friday

The Friday Agency is a Google partner, and a full-service agency that gets involved in SEO, content marketing, graphics and video, as well as app development.

Friday has a strong local reputation, with several Dublin-based clients on its portfolio, including DublinTown and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Further afield, Friday has worked with the Irish Landmark Trust and Inland Fisheries, creating a mobile app for the latter.

This YouTube showreel introduces The Friday Agency and shows off some impressive work to a pretty great soundtrack.

Follow The Friday Agency on Twitter.  

Tapadoo

Tapadoo creates apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. The company set up in business in 2009, just after Apple released the software development kit for the iPhone.

Tapadoo’s strict focus on app development has won the company a solid reputation and an enviable client list. In addition to apps for clients like DHL and Samsung, Tapadoo specializes in Medical Apps. Using the latest tech, Tapadoo has had great success in the medical field with apps ranging from a Medications Checker to a Hay Fever Relief app that allows the user to enter symptoms so the app can offer up a customized medical relief plan. 

This promotional video features CEO Dermot Daly discussing Tapadoo and its work.

Follow Tapadoo on Twitter.

AppDesign.ie

App Design is a Galway-based company that does exactly what it says on the tin! Founded in 2013, App Design has worked with a wealth of international brands in the years since.

The company take particular pride in their customer support – something backed up by strong testimonials and industry awards. Clients include Hertz, Paddy Power and HP.

In addition to the main Galway office located near the National University of Ireland, App Design adds to its capacity with a secondary office in India.

Follow App Design on Twitter.

Púca

Advertised as one of Europe’s first mobile marketing agencies, Púca is a well-established firm, in business since 2000. The company has won a huge collection of accolades in its years in business, including awards from Appy, Ireland eGovernment and the Mobile Marketing Awards.

In 17 years of trading, Púca has built the kind of blue-chip client list that a startup would dream of. Clients include Bank of Ireland, Unilever and Coca-Cola.

Follow Púca on Twitter.

Square1

Square1 is a full-service agency located just a stone’s throw from Dublin’s Guinness factory, and a quick walk from the Temple Bar district. The company offers infrastructure and web services as well app development work.

Square1 has a varied online portfolio of work, and one where Irish businesses are particularly well-represented. The company has built apps for the likes of Her.ie, SportsJoe, and many more besides.

Square1’s introductory video gives an insight into the company and its work.

Follow Square1 on Twitter.  

Boom22

The team at Boom22, headed up by MD Lorcan o’Brien, designs and creates websites as well as mobile apps. Boom22 also offers an extensive range of complementary services. It’s well worth checking out the company website, where there are many free guides and eBooks available in the #BoomTips section.

The company’s client list is varied and impressive, including such brands as Nurofen, Belvedere Vodka, and Best Menswear.

In this YouTube video, the Managing Director discusses everything from digital strategy to SEO.

Follow Boom on Twitter

IrishApps

IrishApps has offices in Dublin, Galway and Cork, and is one of those companies that inspires confidence right from the start. The company website proudly displays awards from Clutch and Top App Creators, as well as an impressive client roster of known brands. These include Panasonic, Lidl and Boston Scientific.

IrishApps is clearly at the leading edge of technology, working in the sectors of blockchain and the Internet of Things alongside “traditional” app development. At the time of writing the company is also offering clients help with European General Data Protection Regulation compliance.

In this YouTube video, Program Manager Cathal Greaney discusses some SEO steps the company took to boost their own website.

Follow IrishApps on Twitter.

Legion

Winner of 2016’s “Best Mobile or Tablet” app in the AccentureDigital Digital Media Awards, Legion is a Dublin-based firm with a strong reputation.

The company specialises in apps, websites and motion graphics. Legion’s team has worked on projects with big brands such as Kerry Foods and Activate Capital.

Follow Legion on Twitter.

Mosaic

Mosaic is an interesting agency with a unique range of services. As well as offering the usual combination of website and app development, Mosaic also invests in startups and likes to “turn ideas into scalable businesses.”

Mosaic’s client list is one of the most impressive we’ve seen, featuring names such as Google, LinkedIn, Adidas and Diageo. It’s also worth mentioning that Dublin’s very own Guinness also features!

Mosaic seems like a great choice of agency for those who need a new app and some direction in helping it gain traction.

PurpleDecks

OK, so PurpleDecks aren’t technically located in Dublin, but rather Longford, Ireland. So, still relatively close to Dublin, in Ireland terms. But we felt they merited a place in our list because, not only do they design apps for clients like RTE, Centra and Qualcom, but they also place innovation at the forefront of their business. So much so, that they have an entire innovation center working on solutions in fields like the Internet of Things, mobile hardware, connected life, TV and more. Our client’s solutions benefit from our cutting edge research.

Follow PurpleDecks on Twitter.

Top Dublin Mobile App Developers

As with most top lists – this is just a start. There are a lot of great Dublin Mobile App Developers that we didn’t have enough room for. Did we leave out any of your favorites? If so, feel free to leave a comment below.

If you enjoyed this article, you might want to also have a look at some of our other round ups, like our Top San Francisco Mobile App Developers, Top Netherlands Mobile App Developers, or Top Berlin Mobile App Developers.

MWCA 17 and Apple Special Event: What We Learned

mwca17 apple

The West Coast of the United States held the world’s attention this week as two of the biggest technology events unfolded in the Golden State, both with their own unique firsts and both on the same day. On September 12th, Apple held a Special Event inside the brand new Steve Jobs Theater in San Jose, while further up the peninsula, in downtown San Francisco, the first ever Mobile World Conference Americas launched at Moscone Center.

Both events had plenty to catch the eye of both mobile phone users and developers. We just wanted to touch on a few of the highlights.

All Aboard the 5G Express

The big news at MWCA17 was all about the ascendancy of 5G. In his keynote presentation, GSMA Director General Mats Granryd, prediced that by 2023, over 100M users would be sending data over 5G connections.Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure and Bharti founder Sunil Bharti Mittal chimed in, stressing that the race to lead the world in 5G was on and, if the United States wanted to keep their competitive advantage, they’d better get started.

TAKEAWAY FOR MOBILE APP AGENCIES: Networking is going to be more important than ever. App users are going to be expected to be able to use their apps and connect 24/7.

New iPhone and Apple Watches

Even as some of the speakers at MWCA17 were still delivering their keynotes, Apple started making technology waves with a string of new product announcements from their headquarters just a few miles away. Here, the spotlight shone on the newest iPhone releases, the iPhone 8 and the long rumored $1000 iPhoneX. Also introduced was the new  Apple Watch 3, which is the first Apple Watch model that works independently from the iPhone.

TAKEAWAY FOR MOBILE APP AGENCIES: Apple Watch 3 is free of its shackles. Make the most of it.

OS11 Release Date

Sure, some nifty gadgets, but what’s probably more of interest Apple users was the announced September 19 launch date for OS11.

Many of the new features of OS11 were designed with iPhone X’s TrueDepth front-facing camera in mind. The long familiar home button, for example, is gone and has been replaced by face recognition technology. This might take some getting used to for those used to signing in with a fingerprint. Other OS11 features exclusive to the iPhone X include Portrait Lighting, for enhanced photos and Animoji’s which – as you might be able to guess from the name – are animated emojis users can generate by using the iPhone X TrueDepth camera setup.

TAKEAWAY FOR MOBILE APP AGENCIES: It’s here! It’s here!

Augmented Reality Apps

For developers and app builders, OS11 promises to bring the world’s largest AR platform to their doorstep. They’ve been offering their ARKit online for download for a few months now, and showed off some of the cool AR abilities at their WWDC earlier in the year:

TAKEAWAY FOR MOBILE APP AGENCIES: When Apple announced the ARKit earlier in the year, Unity was one of the first platforms to jump on board with a plugin. If you’re developing in Unity, you’ve got a head start in the AR stampede. Get going.

iTunes and App Store Updates

While most of the world’s attention was on the iPhone X and Animoji excitement, Apple made some major changes to the App Store. In iTunes version 12.7, the App Store has been removed. This forces users to utilize the App Store App (too redundant?) for purchases. Other changes include the reshuffling of iTunesU to the Podcasts section, rejiggering of Internet Radio and the ability to download ringtones directly to iOS devices.

TAKEAWAY FOR MOBILE APP AGENCIES:  With a cleaner, dedicated App Store, it’s going to be more important than ever for your app to stand out. Keeping your app description updated, uploading new screenshots and staying on top of reviews as part of an ongoing app store optimization program will ensure your app has visibiltiy in the new App Store landscape.

Are You at MWCA17?

We’ve been spending our time attending keynote events, eyeballing some of the latest product offerings from the companies attending and, of course, networking. Are you around WMCA17? Be sure to look us up!

Top Pacific Northwest Mobile App Developers

top pacific northwest mobile app developers

You don’t need to head too far north from Silicon Valley to arrive in other places with a burgeoning tech and start-up scene.

Both Seattle and (more recently) Portland have gained positive reputations in the world of technology. Offering a somewhat less frantic and considerably less expensive business experience, these are cities that are firmly on the radar of entrepreneurs as an alternative to the Bay Area.

We decided to look at the mobile deveopment scene in the Pacific Northwest and provide a rundown of some of the area’s leading agencies. So, please find below the app scene’s “cream of Cascadia.”

We begin in Portland, and then move north to Seattle.

Forix

All the app agencies on this list can list some impressive household names on their client roster. Forix will definitely impress the sporty types, with clients including Adidas, GoPro and Asics.

Headed by company President Ngu Nguyen, Forix’s team has extensive experience throughout the app development lifecycle. The company details a comprehensive roadmap that begins with initial persona and industry research and follows up on app launches with an ongoing “measure and refine” process.

Forix’s promotional video provides an insight into the company, and discusses how it tackles new projects.

Follow Forix on Twitter.

Infinite Red

Portland is home to one of three of Infinite Red’s American HQs, with other offices in New Orleans and San Francisco. The company’s three founders include Todd Werth, a programmer with two decades of software development experience.

Infinite Red’s client list includes companies of all sizes, including household names such as Microsoft and Berkeley University. The company produces both mobile and web apps.

Infinte Red’s well-populated Youtube channel will introduce you to the company and also includes extensive footage from the company’s Chain React 2017 event.

Follow Infinite Red on Twitter.

7/Apps

With a team including past members of Apple and Disney, 7/Apps has years of expertise to share with clients. Those clients include Portland-based businesses, household names like Clinique, and organisations including The National Parks Foundation.

The company, led by former Apple employee Juan Fernandez, seeks to create apps that truly disrupt and don’t just copy what’s already out there. It’s well worth checking out the portfolio to see how this works with real-life examples.

Follow 7/Apps on Twitter.

Uncorked Studios

Uncorked Studios was established in 2010 by Marcelino Alvarez and has built up an enviable roster of clients since then. The big names include Intel, Google, Samsung and Skype. Intriguingly, some of the details of these projects are private – an inevitability when the company is “working on the future!”

Aside from this necessary secrecy, the company is very open about its people and processes, sharing a wealth of information on its website and regularly updated blog.

This YouTube video shows CEO Marcelino Alvarez discussing the Internet of Things at a 2016 event.

Follow Uncorked Studios on Twitter.

DevelopmentNow

With a significant track record for winning awards and accolades, including a place on the Inc 5000 in 2017, DevelopmentNow is a Portland-based company that’s really going places.

Led by former medical school student turned programmer, Ben Strackany, DevelopmentNow specializes in mobile and responsive web projects and has a rich history of work to show off. Clients include the likes of Time Warner Cable and Kelly Services.

This YouTube video from a recent DevelopmentNow “open house” event gives a great insight into the company and its work.

Follow DevelopmentNow on Twitter.

Pixel Lab

Established in Seattle since back in 2008, Pixel Lab has built up an enviable client list and an impressive project portfolio. Their customer line-up includes big names in tech such as Microsoft, Yahoo and Evernote, as well as prestigious brands such as BMW and Disney.

Pixel Lab develop for the web as well as for mobile and specialise in “simple, fun and intuitive experiences.” These include the Red Bull Rampage project, which won a Webby award in 2014.

Follow Pixel Lab on Twitter.

Inventive Mobile

A small but perfectly formed agency, Inventive Mobile has a small team, but that hasn’t stopped it doing business with the likes of Oracle, Xerox and Intel.

The company’s online portfolio shows examples of this work, including the advanced FitnessIQ exercise app for Android devices. This was developed for Intel and demonstrated at Mobile World Congress.

Inventive Mobile’s apps have been downloaded in excess of 10 Million times.

Ratio

Ratio, recently acquired by Globant, is a “multi-screen” agency, with an incredible track record in the entertainment industry. As well as apps for mobile, Ratio work on other platforms such as Roku and Xbox.

It’s hard to know where to start with the client list! iHeartRadio and Disney sit alongside Condé Nast, Fox and Sony – and there are plenty more besides.

The company has a large and sociable team, led by CEO Nate Thompson, a true stalwart of the Seattle business scene.

Follow Ratio on Twitter.

Bilberrry

Bilberrry is a full-service agency with a wide range of other offerings alongside app design, including social media marketing and SEO content services.

As well as their office in Seattle, Bilberrry has a presence in Kyiv, Ukraine. The company has worked with brands including Chipotle, Gap and Whirlpool.

Bilberrry’s website proudly showcases several projects that are notably strong on user experience across mobile and web, including a comprehensive comparison engine developed for reviews.com.

TOP PACIFIC NORTHWEST MOBILE APP DEVELOPERS

Of course, those are just our picks for some of the top Pacific Northwest Mobile App Developers. Did we leave out your favorite agency? Have dealings with agencies on our list that you wanted to let us know about?

Leave a comment  or reach out to us on social media to let us know.

If you enjoyed this article, check out some of the other posts in this series where we name our top picks for top app agencies in BostonNew YorkWashington, DC and, further abroad, Berlin and the Netherlands.

Top San Francisco Mobile App Developers

top San Francisco mobile app developers

San Francisco has a strong allure for tech startups of all kinds. With a firmly-cemented reputation for attracting the world’s brightest and best, it’s no wonder the area is home to a wide selection of app agencies. Many of them boast enviable track records and head-turning client lists. We took the time to research the top San Francisco Mobile App Developers, in order to introduce some of the key players in this ever-evolving industry.

Top San Francisco Mobile App Developers

Let’s get started:

Impekable

We mentioned head-turning client lists – and that’s exactly what Impekable has, with a list that includes 10 Fortune 1000 companies. Clients include Groupon, Google and Hewlett Packard.

With offices in San Francisco, San José and Fort Collins CO, Impekable is led in part by CTO James Zimmerman and is a full-service design and development agency with experience spanning a vast range of industries, from retail to healthcare.

Impekable’s highly complementary client testimonials demonstrate the effort the company has put into their processes, something discussed in this YouTube interview with Pek Pongpaet.

Follow Impekable on Twitter.

Appstem

Appstem grabs your attention immediately when you notice Tesla at the top of the client list! Appstem developed the company’s internal iPad app for sales and marketing. Enterprise Car Rental and DUFL also feature on Appstem’s portfolio.

The company was founded back in 2008, and has offices in San Francisco and Portland, OR. With a track record of over 200 mobile apps, the company has a well-established roadmap for projects, encompassing everything from UX / UI design to Quality Assurance.

This YouTube video features Appstem’s CEO, Robert Armstrong, talking about some of the company’s recent projects.

Follow Appstem on Twitter.

Exygy

Founded by CEO Zack Berke in 2006, Mission Street-based Exygy has a specific focus on delivering “digital products and digital strategies that solve challenging social problems.” This is an agency with strong “making a difference” credentials.

Exygy’s past projects include work with the San Francisco Mayor’s office to create a portal for affordable housing, and the creation of an app for Girls Who Code, a non-profit dedicated to closing the gender gap in the technology field.

A YouTube recording of an Exygy training session on Human Centred Design gives a good insight into the unique way this agency works. It’s an approach that’s found Exygy a place on the Inc5000 list of America’s fastest growing companies for two years running.

Follow Exygy on Twitter.

Mokriya

Based just behind Cupertino City Hall, Mokriya has over 50 full-time employees working on cutting-edge projects led by CTO and founder Pranil Kanderi. Their projects span wearables and virtual reality as well as more “traditional” mobile apps.

Mokriya’s impressive client list includes such names as Twitter, Google and SanDisk. The SanDisk project, still in progress at the time of writing, should result in a whole new way to “transfer files between iOS devices.”

Mokriya has attracted staff talent from all over the world, and has been in business for six years.

Follow Mokriya on Twitter.

Daxima

A large firm with a rich and varied service offering, Daxima has offices in India and Croatia as well as California. The company’s a true veteran of the industry, founded back in 2002 by tech expert (and former PC Magazine analyst), Ryan Tabibian.

Daxima’s customers include Cisco and Myworkdrive, a company delivering file sharing solutions to a range of customers including Oxford University.

Daxima offers “traditional” software development services alongside their work on apps, and also performs infrastructure projects such as Office365 migrations.

ArcTouch

ArcTouch is another agency with a client list that speaks for itself. The company has produced stunning apps for the likes of Audi, CBS and Yahoo.

The company was founded by two college roommates, Adam Fingerman and Eric Shapiro, who became employees of Apple. The launch of the iPhone inspired them to start an app company in 2009, and that company now has a team of over 100 people. As well as an office in San Francisco, ArcTouch has a presence in New York and Brazil.

ArcTouch is active on YouTube, and this video is from one of their recent Hackathons. It gives good insight into how they think and approach mobile app projects.

Follow ArcTouch on Twitter.

Tivix

Tivix is a company with an impressive global presence. In addition to their San Francisco HQ, the firm has offices in New York and Portland, and further afield in London and Poland.

Tivix was founded by Chairman and Silicon Valley entrepreneur  Bret Waters in 2008 and works with clients of all sizes and types. There are big-name firms on the roster including Apple and Microsoft, as well as NGOs such as UNICEF and The European Commission.

Tivix describes its ethos as “engineering heavy,” with a focus on “rock solid and scalable” apps. The team also has a passion for open source and maintains a presence on Github.

Tivix has an informative promotional video available on Vimeo.

Follow Tivix on Twitter.

Menlo

Menlo is a large firm that combines software and app development with a wide range of other technical services, including cloud infrastructure provision and managed services. The company has an office in India as well as a Santa Clara HQ. Menlo is lead by Gary Prioste with an impressive management team around him that includes software veteran Paul Bach.

Menlo is a well-known in Silicon Valley, with a client list that includes such names as Target, Dell and LinkedIn. Menlo also has partnerships with Microsoft and Amazon.

This blog post gives an interesting insight into Menlo’s approach to building a Minimal Viable Product to get started on the road of developing a new app.

Here’s a recent interview with Gary Prioste that gives you a good feel for how the firm thinks.

Follow Menlo on Twitter.

Intellectsoft

Intellectsoft has been in business for a decade and achieved a tremendous amount in that time. The company boasts 35 Fortune 500 clients and has worked with names including Harley Davidson, Eurostar, and the UK’s National Health Service.

Founded by Valery Kurilov and Dmitri Lipnitsky they have built a businesss with over 230 full time engineer. This is a large company, offering a vast range of complementary technical services alongside app development.

Intellectsoft’s company presentation on YouTube provides a great introduction to the company and its clients.

Follow Intellectsoft on Twitter.

Y Media Labs

Y Media Labs is another major player on California app scene. Since being founded in 2009 by CEO Ashish Toshniwal, the company has grown to span six offices across the world, now employing around 240 people.

Household names abound on Y Media Labs’ client list: Facebook, Apple, eBay and L’oréal are just a small selection. The company’s portfolio includes a rich selection of fully featured apps for these big names – and plenty of others.

Y Media Labs has a distinguished past, and seems to be heading for a bright future. In 2015, they were named by Forbes as one of America’s “most promising companies.”

Follow Y Media Labs on Twitter.

Sourcebits

With a true “mobile first” ethos, Sourcebits is a pure mobile app agency with over 600 such projects to its name, including 30 “chart topping” apps.

The company employs over 150 people across the world. They work on projects for companies everyone will have heard of, including the likes of Intel, Cisco and Bank of America.

Named as a “cool vendor” by Gartner, Sourcebits is an agency with a fabulous client list and some serious credentials.

Follow Sourcebits on Twitter.

Top San Francisco App Agencies

Of course, those are just our picks. Did we leave out your favorite agency? Have dealings with agencies on our list that you wanted to let us know about?

Drop us a line below or reach out to us on social media to let us know.

If you enjoyed this article, check out some of the other posts in this series where we name our top picks for top app agencies in Boston, New York, Washington, DC and, further abroad, Berlin and the Netherlands.

Top 10 Updates for Developers in Android Oreo

android-oreo-updates

Android 8.0, codenamed Oreo, is here and with it, a whole raft of new updates that make the Android OS more fluid and responsive than ever.

The majority of the updates concentrate on visual improvements, such as Picture in Picture displays, fonts and adaptive icons, but there are plenty more changes under the hood as well.

Top 10 Android Oreo Updates

Rather than go through the entire list of updates, here are our picks for the top 10 biggest/coolest/notable new features.  Don’t worry – if we missed one of your favorites, feel free to sound off in the comments below!

  • Notification Channels and Badges – Apps can declare channels, which are seen by users as categories. Users can now block categories and alter its behavior by controlling lights, vibration and lock screen privacy. Notification badges are also now supported. Badge functionality in Android is still, unfortunately, behind what you can get with iOS. With iOS, for example, a badge can display values and glyphs. Even with the improvements of Android 8.0, the badge is more of a flag, but its a start at least and will help drive more interaction with push notifications and the app itself. Here’s a cool feature – badges can now take their color from their respective icon.
  • Background Location Updates – When your app is in the background, location updates will be less frequent. This can be a double edged sword in that it will prolong battery life, but, with less information flowing into the app, geo-location targeting could potentially be less accurate.
  • Settings.secure.ANDROID_ID For devices that come with Google Play Services, settings.secure.ANDROID_ID will return a different value for each app based on the sign in key and user profile.
  • Account Changes – Apps targeting Android Oreo won’t be able to get access to user accounts using the getAccounts permission. Apps instead must rely on the AccountChooser activity. Account owners can now choose whether their accounts will be visible to other apps.
  • Background Execution Limits – Apps targeting Oreo will have limits on background processing. In most cases, only a small number of broadcasts can be used to start your app. Background apps cannot start services. Instead, you must use explicit broadcast reveivers, JobService, Firebase Cloud Messaging or the new API, startForeground.
  • Picture in Picture mode – All devices now support PiP. Apps can enter PiP mode from a paused or resumed state. Just be careful of that battery life, Eugene.
  • Fonts – Fonts are now a fully supported resource type. Font families can now be defined in XML, including declaring the fonts weight and style, as well as resource.  Downloadble fonts are now supported and avilable in the support library. All 800+ google fonts are now available in Android Studio. Apps can share fonts as well, which should lead to less overhead. Font nerds of the world rejoice!
  • Adaptive Icons Support – Developers can now control the way their icon appears in launchers and devices that use different icon shapes. Developers can now use an additional layer for animated icon effects – just don’t go too crazy.
  • New Native Audio APIAAudio, a new native audio API, is now available for low latency tasks, such as effects processing and real time synthesis.
  • Wake Locks Released  – When your app no longer has any active activity, service or component, any wake locks it holds will be automatically released. If this will cause a problem with your app, there are alternatives to using wake locks, such as DownloadManager
    for HTTP downloads, repeating alarms or Google Cloud Messaging as triggers.

Read the post? Now see the movie

Looking for something more in depth? Here’s a video put out by Android HQ that has some more details about these new features.

What’d we forget?

Like we said, these are just our picks. Something you think we missed out on? Leave a comment below!

Developing Apps But Still Not Making Money?

We hear you. Tired of the boom and bust of the app development cycle? Do you wind up picking “the wrong projects” during down times? No worries, we’re here to help. Register for our free webinar on Thursday, September 28 at 11AM EDT to learn how you can start making that all important Monthly Recurring Revenue with your app business.

Spaces are limited, so be sure to reserve today!

5 Tips for building Ionic Framework Apps

ionic-framework-apps

Remember when people kept telling you that learning HTML was a waste of time – especially if you were going to become a mobile developer? And then along comes Ionic Framework Apps.

With the introduction of HTML5 in 2014, HTML has settled in to stay and the good folks over at Ionic Framework recognised that right away. Which is one of the reasons they put HTML5 at the forefront of their native and hybrid app development platform. They mean what they say with their slogan “Build once. Run anywhere.”

Did we mention it’s easy, too? Here’s a short crash course on how to get started.

Using an open source SDK, developers can create Ionic Framework Apps for both iOS and Android (yeah, Blackberry is in there too). And don’t forget that the Kumulos Cordova SDK now integrates with the Ionic Framework so you have no more excuses for making lame apps.

With that in mind, here are five tips for building swesome apps with Ionic Framework.

1- Use Creator

Why make things harder on yourself? Don’t want to get down and dirty with code? Are you more of a visual developer? Then Ionic creator is for you. Ionic creator is a drag and drop interface that allows you to go from idea to app store with just a few mouse clicks.

With Creator, Ionic gives programmers a ready made library of components that they can arrange to their hearts content. Once the app is designed, it can then be shared with colleagues for comments and suggestions. All finished? Easily export your Creator project to native IPA and APK files for installation directly on devices.

Creator also makes it even easier to sell your Clients on an app idea – using built in features like Add a Friend, have clients (or potential clients) check out an app while its still being developed to offer their input. Not to mention its easier than trying to get a non-techie to use Testfight.

2 – Use the Docs

Everyone tells you to RTFM. But with Ionic, this has never been so true. Why? Because the Ionic docs are good. Really good. So good, in fact, that you can copy portions of the code in the docs and drop them directly into your app. Why spend time coding a display list for avatars when its right there in front of you? Sure, you might need to modify the code, but it’s a great way to quickly get the development ball rolling.

3 – Customize the Components

The component library in Ionic is a real timesaver. However, it’s a bit a double edged sword in that – because Ionic components are so easy to use – everyone will be using them. This can quickly lead to your app looking like everyone else’s. You can avoid this problem by introducing some custom CSS and tweaking some of the Ionic predifined classes to create your own styles.

4 – Let Ionic Take the Controls

The best part about Ionic framework apps is that you don’t have to do everything. Making splash screens for both iOS and Android (ok, yeah, and Blackberry) in a number of different formats can be a pain in the a**. It takes enough time just to design the right app store icon alone – you’ve got better things to do. No worries, using the Ionic CLI, you can easily generate both app icons and splash screens for both iOS and Android simply by placing the appropriate files – Ionic can work with .png, Photoshop and Illustrator formats – in the platform directory.

5 – Go Native

One of the best ways to give your app users an awesome experience is by making an app seamlessly integrate into the operating system. And with the Platform Device Class, Ionic makes this easier than ever. iOS, Windows Phone, iPad and Android all have their own specific classes to give Ionic apps a native look and feel when the app is running. These classes can further be broken down on iOS and Android between different OS versions.

That’s Not All, Folks

Of course, the highlights above aren’t all the bells and whistles built into Ionic. As they like saying their documents, “the possibilities with Ionic are endless.” But we hope its at least given you a few ideas on how to build awesome Ionic Framework Apps.

And, of course, you know that Kumulos is 100% Ionic friendly – we have a full function Cordova plug-in to assist with integration of Kumulos App Build, Push Notifications and Analytics features into your hybrid app.

Did we miss any of your favorite tricks? Feel free to leave a comment below or drop us a line on Twitter, our Facebook pages or in the Community forum.

Let’s Make Some Money

So you’re off to the races and, after reading our tips above, you’re ready to start building Ionic Framework Apps, right? Hold on – there’s more to the app business than just building apps. After all, you gotta pay the bills. No worries, it just so happens that we’ve started a Kumulos Webinar Series on this very subject. Our first webinar, How to Build a Service Layer Into Your Mobile App Business, will show you the ropes of getting started with earning that all important monthly recurring revenue.

Spaces are limited, so be sure to register today!

How to Build a Service Layer Into Your Mobile App Business
Thursday, September 28, 2017
11AM EDT
REGISTER 

Setting Up a Monthly Subscription for Your App Development Business

monthly-subscription-app-business

In our last article, we talked about How to Get Going With Recurring Revenue Services in Your App Development Business. At the end, we came to the conclusion that the best way to do this was to implement a monthly subscription type payment plan with your customers. Easy enough to say, but how do you actually do it?

And that’s precisely what we’re here to talk about today.

Before we get started, here’s a short video from Google that talks about that very subject.

The setting up of a subscription style payment plan for your customers can be roughly broken down into four main areas:

1.    What are they paying?

Perhaps an obvious one, but it’s also the most important. Have a think about what services you’re planning to provide and decide on what you think is a fair price for them. Take a look around and see what similar developers or businesses are charging and price to match. Don’t sell yourself too low, be realistic about how much it costs you to provide your service and also how much you have to make to turn a profit on each subscription.

On the other side of the coin though, don’t get greedy. Charging too much right out of the gates will scare away potential customers straight to your competition. If you are intending to raise prices, for whatever reason, do it slowly and with explanation to your customers why the prices are going up. A little communication goes a long way.

2.   What are they getting?

This is directly tied into number one, but it’s worth mentioning on its own. Once you’ve decided a price, really think about what services you are providing for that price. What is bundled into the lowest subscription fee? Are there various tiers of subscription? If so, what are the benefits of each? Are you offering “bolt on” services like reporting and analytics, push notifications or app store optimization? What about those services are attractive to customers? Why will they want to pay more to get them?

3.   Choose a payment solution provider

If you’re just starting to introduce subscription as a payment option, you’re unlikely to have the infrastructure in place to manage the billing of your clients. This is where a payment solution provider comes in. For a small fee, they will handle the leg work of providing a subscription payment service to your customers whilst you concentrate on your business. The most recognised providers for this kind of service are Paypal and Authorize.net, although Paypal has the advantage of being a familiar service that most people have used at some point. Many app development companies use solutions like Recurly to manage this process.

4.   Tell your customers about it!

Again, this one seems obvious but it is also important. Once you’ve decided everything and have put your subscription service into action, make sure to tell all of your customers that it exists. You otherwise run the risk of confusing and frustrating new customers, who feel that they have not been given the whole picture, and at the same time alienating your current user base because they feel that they have been kept deliberately in the dark. Never underestimate good communication with your clients; it can be the difference between seeing your new monthly revenues run like clockwork or seeing your customer base (and your income) slowly trickle away.

So as you can see, there are a great deal of advantages for an app developer in terms of using a monthly subscription package. But what do you think? Let us know in the comments below or drop us a message on TwitterFacebook or LinkedIn. 

FREE WEBINAR

Ok, so you’ve read the post – and this recurring revenue thing seems pretty easy enough – but you have a few questions. No worries – that’s why we’ve scheduled a webinar on this very subject with the very catchy name of How to Build a Service Layer into Your Mobile App Business on September 28, 2017 at 11AM EDT.

The best part? Its absolutely free. Following the webinar, there will be an open floor for questions, where you’re invited to ask anything on your mind (about the app business, that is). Seats are limited, so be sure to register early.

HOW TO BUILD A SERVICE LAYER INTO YOUR MOBILE APP BUSINESS
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2017
11 AM EDT
REGISTER HERE

How to Get Going with Recurring Revenue Services in Your App Development Business

monthly-recurring-revenue-app-business

Monthly recurring revenue is an essential component of any app development business. Not only is it an essential way to manage your cashflow by being able to rely on money coming in each month it also has a huge impact on how much your business is worth when you come to sell.

Simply put, if you’re trying to sell your company, the buyer will want to understand your company’s ratio of one off project income to monthly recurring revenue. In other words, if 90% of your income is from one-time app development projects, the chances are this will be seen as risky by a potential buyer or investor. An investor will want to see an app development studio with a positive cash flow and healthy ratio of recurring to fixed revenue in order to minimise potential commercial risk. Your app development business should be scalable, solid, dynamic and robust enough to endure periods when new app development projects are hard to come by.

Monthly recurring revenue can be used to monetise hosting and support services for your app development business and give a linear perspective to your cash flow. As your app development business grows, the monthly volume of fixed recurring revenue will increase every time you engage a new customer. If you’re not already doing this, you should be charging a one-time fee for your app development services and an ongoing monthly fee for hosting, maintenance and support services. You should also be recording the time you and your staff allocate to projects so you can sift out the ones that are profitable, but that’s a different blog.

The entire notion of monthly recurring revenue started with magazines and has since spread to everything from window cleaning to video games, from Netflix to internet provision, and of course, mobile backend as a service technologies.

Kumulos, is no different. We use a monthly subscription model because it provides us with a solid and scalable business, so you can be assured your apps are always looked after in the future. In addition, it enables us to bill app developers for the API requests that are actually used and with no minimum contract tie-in. If you’re building a business on the sale of app development services, you should apply this logic and work on a business model that facilitates both types of revenue.

Why monthly recurring revenue?

As an app developer, on the most basic level, you’re selling a service. As apps are a small (normally) and (in relative terms) uncomplicated services, the feeling can be that the easiest way to make money is to keep churning out apps, charging a one-time fee and then only really going back to the app when there’s a reported problem or the customer wants an upgrade. In a perfect world, this would indeed be the easiest way to ensure good profit turnover, but as we all know, the world is far from perfect. Apps break, customers will make impossible demands and arranging constant one time fee transactions can be extremely time consuming, with a higher potential for incorrectly charging your clients for your services.

This is especially a problem if you are a commission based studio, taking jobs from third parties. After your initial fee, how do you effectively manage things like tech support and adding features? If you’re also hosting your client’s apps (which many commission based studios do), how do you go about charging them for that use of space in a fair way?

These are problems that the subscription style monthly recurring revenue model can fix.

Many successful service based companies and app development studios use monthly subscription fees or service level agreements (SLAs) for their clients. After the initial app development fee, the client pays per month for the hosting space, app maintenance and technical support that means the app can continue working properly. Our system at Kumulos is much the same with our mobile backend as a service technology. Clients pay a subscription that varies depending on API resource consumption along with “add-on” services such as App Store Optimization, Analytics, Push Notifications or a host of other features.

The benefits for the business are numerous, the most obvious being a predictable and regular income. As each client is subscribed, we know exactly how many clients we have and just how much they are paying per month. This allows us to see just how much we look to be making, how much we’ll have left after overheads, how much we can bank and also how much we potentially have in case of unforeseen disaster. If we know how long team members attributed to each project and know the cost, we can work out which projects are profitable and which projects will force you to lose your shirt (and your sanity).

This is an important thing to consider, especially for small developers who are just starting out. If your revenue stream is unpredictable, one major technology break or loss of data can potentially sink your ship before it saile. Something else to consider is that your customer numbers are not as likely to fluctuate using subscriptions. In tough and uncertain economic times such as what we’ve had the past few years, many people cut any new spending, especially if they consider it extraneous. This causes a problem for the single selling business because it becomes increasingly difficult to attract new customers, who are essentially their one and only way to make money.

ASO as a Service, unlocking monthly RRSubscription helps to avoid this for two reasons. One; it helps to promote customer loyalty. If you’re providing an ongoing service that the customer finds useful and is happy with, they are more likely to keep using it, especially if they have already factored in your monthly fee into their own overheads. Two; even if you are not attracting new customers, you still have a reliable revenue stream coming from your existing customers. On top of this, with the aforementioned loyalty creation, customers are more likely to accept rises in price, or to buy add-ons to their subscription to enhance their service.

Another benefit to the monthly subscription is that the barrier of entry is much lower. For example, if you’re a small app development studio with a tight budget, a recurring subscription of $12.50 a month is a much less daunting price than say a $150 yearly subscription, or a $300 single purchase of a service or software.

It’s the same mindset for your customers. In addition, the monthly subscription is something that is easy to drop in and out of. So not only is the prospect of joining a service much less daunting financially, there is also the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that if it isn’t working out, you can just unsubscribe, or drop out temporarily due to lack of funds, but re-subscribe once things are more stable.

Above all though, the ultimate benefit of a monthly subscription in terms of customers and expanding your user base is that it is a format nearly everyone is familiar with. As we mentioned before, nearly everything these days is done through a monthly subscription. It’s something many people have dealt with for years in their personal lives and perhaps in other areas of their business, so when you as a developer offer it, it’s something they immediately understand and are comfortable with.

So as you can see, there are a great deal of advantages for an app developer in terms of using a monthly subscription package, but how exactly do you go about setting it up? Click here to read the second article in this series, Setting Up a Monthly Subscription for Your App Development Business. Also be sure to follow us our social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to get the latest posts – or subscribe to our RSS feed to get our posts in your favorite reader.

FREE Webinar

Ok, so you’ve read the post – and this recurring revenue thing seems pretty easy enough – but you have a few questions. No worries, that’s why we’ve scheduled a webinar on this very subject with the very catchy name of How to Build a Service Layer into Your Mobile App Business on September 28, 2017 at 11AM EDT.

The best part? Its absolutely free. Following the webinar, there will be an open floor for questions, where you’re invited to ask anything on your mind (about the app business, that is). Seats are limited, so be sure to register early.

How to Get Going With Recurring Revenue Services in Your App Business
Thursday, September 28, 2017
11 AM EDT
REGISTER HERE

 

Top Netherlands App Development Companies

top-Netherlands-app-development-companies

Widely known for tulips, stunning canals and “relaxing” coffeeshops, the Netherlands is also a country with a thriving tech scene, and home to some highly-renowned app agencies.

Often named alongside London and Berlin as a flourishing start-up hub, the capital city of Amsterdam is a fabulous place to do business. However, the country’s fast and efficient transport links mean that great agencies thrive across the land, with some choosing historic Den Haag or futuristic Rotterdam as their base.

With a wide selection of agencies across the country, all with unique attitudes and focuses, Holland is a great place to go looking for help with your next app project. (Geographical trivia: Holland is a region in the Netherlands.We’re still talking about the same country.) 

Ready? Grab that cup of “coffee” and let’s take a look at some of our picks for the top app development companies in the Netherlands

YipYip

Based in modern Rotterdam and led by two Tim’s, Tim Nooteboom and Tim Pelgrim, YipYip develops for both iOS and Android and has a strong track record in apps, games and websites.

YipYip’s portfolio is varied and inspiring. It includes work for holiday group TUI, and the development of a “Rotterdam Pas” app for the agency’s home city.

As well as working on client projects, YipYip embark on their own technical endeavours, giving their employees plenty of opportunities to develop their own concepts and ideas. Those staff also benefit from an informal work environment, complete with unlimited fresh coffee and a “spectacular” daily lunch! YipYip’s Twitter feed seems to suggest this is a rather inspiring place to work.

Follow YipYip on Twitter.

AppFellas

AppFellas specialise in creating “app based businesses” from “proof of concept to finished product.” They work on all mobile platforms as well as “traditional” web, and have experience of VR apps.

Led by Michael Bevz, their completed work is impressive and includes some innovative apps, such as PartyWithALocal, which boasts 150,000 members.

Anyone looking for an agency who can help with app development over the full project lifecycle would do well to check them out. They’re based a stone’s throw from the water in northern Amsterdam.

Follow AppFellas on Twitter

Fenêtre

Fenêtre, headed by CEO Eric Kruis, has been established for over a decade and delivers a wide-range of services to a variety of companies, including some household names. As well as developing for a range of platforms including iOS and Android, the company also provides consultancy and IT services, and has partnerships with the likes of Microsoft and Oracle.

Based in Den Haag, the home of the Dutch parliament, Fenêtre serves customers in a wide range of business sectors, from government and non-profit to sports and recreation. Among their portfolio, you’ll likely recognise names such as Tias and Allianz.

Fenêtre has a well-established record of corporate social responsibility, spanning donations, special initiatives, and discounts for certain organisations.

Follow Fenêtre on Twitter.