Mobile Apps for Logistics Companies

It’s a known fact that in the last few years Smartphones and tablets have received tremendous popularity. Smartphones, in particular, are used more like little portable computers than mobile phones. Unlike before, this gives people and companies a great opportunity to access information at any given moment. These little devices have changed the way people shop and the way companies conduct businesses.

Mobile Apps for Logistics Companies

Mobile Apps Mean Increased Convenience and Productivity

No matter which sector you look at, you will notice that these devices are useful and there are plenty of mobile apps available that make work faster and easier. Logistic companies can undoubtedly take advantage of smartphones and tablets because different types of mobile apps can be developed that will allow both consumers and logistics companies to get more work done in less time.

Apps for Consumers

When people deal with logistics companies, the main thing they want is to be able to track their package to ensure it will arrive in a timely manner. A mobile app will enable your customers to keep track of their parcels. Since they will receive real time updates, they will feel at ease.

Apps for Companies

Shipping and logistics companies can easily increase productivity and streamline their internal processes by using mobile apps. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that logistics companies can enjoy through mobile apps:

  • You can access shipping information at any given moment no matter where you are without having to speak to a middleman
  • You can enhance productivity by accessing mobile supply chain tools whenever you like
  • You will be able to help your esteemed clients from any location
  • You will have the ability to make real-time decisions
  • Mobile apps offer real-time supply chain management

In simple words…Logistics companies must take advantage of mobile apps to meet their customers’ demands and streamline their own internal processes.

Find out more about how Binary Quest can help you boost your company’s productivity through mobile apps.

SharePoint 2013 – What’s New?

Microsoft SharePoint was first launched back in 2001. It was initially a web application platform that was associated with intranet content management and document management. It has been significantly enhanced with the passage of time.

Sharepoint Logo

Now, we have SharePoint 2013 that is in fact a dual purpose product. It’s not only a better and more powerful server product; it is also capable of delivering SharePoint-as-a-service in the cloud. There are many things that SharePoint users and developers would love in the latest version. Let’s take a look at some of the amazing features that you can now take advantage of:

SharePoint 2013 is Mobile-Friendly

Just as Windows 8 serves as a great operating system for Smartphones and Tablets, similarly SharePoint 2013 is also ideal for mobile users. Microsoft noticed that many users like the ability to use their desktop applications on whatever device they have, regardless of the size of the screen. This is why SharePoint 2013 offers three different browsing options for mobile users.

Cloud App Model

Do you love creating new and amazing apps? If yes, then you will love SharePoint 2013 because it offers a Cloud App Model that gives you the freedom to create apps. Developers can easily write and publish new apps to SharePoint’s public app store or to a private store that can be accessed by employees only.

Enhanced Search

SharePoint 2013 offers enhanced search functionality. After all, if you are unable to find what you need when you need it the most, then all of the other features will be useless for you. Significant improvements in search offer much more convenience and flexibility for both IT experts and end users.

Social

Even though SharePoint is a popular product, it was never actually social. Microsoft changed this with SharePoint 2013, with the acquisition of Yammer. It makes sharing and collaboration very easy.

All these great new features should be reason to celebrate for you if you already use SharePoint; as for those who’ve just been thinking about migrating to SharePoint, this might the right time for you!

E-Books and the Future

If you love to read then walking into a bookstore, browsing aisle after aisle of books, holding a new find in your hands and eagerly waiting to get home so that you can crack it open, must be a few of the most pleasurable moments of your life. But this experience is going through a big change and soon the experience of reading may be radically changed!

Digital content – especially e-books – are changing the way we read. You must have seen and read some e-books by now so you can relate to the anxiety that surrounds the mind of many book lovers. There are some burning questions in the minds of book lovers like us such as: are e-books (and other digital content) going to replace printed books? Is it just a fad?

ebbok

Are E-books Really that Great?

E-books may not entirely replace printed books but they will probably become the predominant mode of delivery for books. Amazon.com reported that the sale of e-books has surpassed the sale of printed books in its store. Setting nostalgia aside, e-books have certain characteristics that perfectly complement our wired lifestyles including:

  • Portability – Digital content like e-books allow us to carry-around a tremendous amount of information on pocket devices
  • Easy reading & sharing – It makes it much easier to read, make notes, sort information and on top of all, share through social media
  • Multimedia – E-books make it easy to integrate multiple forms of media into the book such as audio and video; making it interactive

If you get into the habit of reading e-books, the next time you move your house, you wouldn’t have to cringe at the thought of packing and carrying dozens of cartons filled with books.

What the Future Holds?

The way things are in the publishing industry, it seems that within the next 20 years, e-books may practically replace printed books. According to a report on the Wall Street Journal, people who use kindle (Amazon’s e-reader), bought more books after buying the device. Borders, one of the largest book store chain in the US is considering bankruptcy. If you are a business owner, you may want to explore the opportunity of advertising through e-books by having apps developed and embedding them into e-books and other forms of digital content.

Smartphones are Creating Business Opportunities that didn’t Exist Before

Smartphones have become a lot more than just shiny toys; they have become the communication device of choice in our wired lives. According to an estimate, there were over one billion Smartphone in use at the end of 2012 and this number is expected to double within the next three years.

What are People doing on their Smartphones?

Ever wonder what people really use their smartphones for? The European telecom company O2 breaks it down for us:

Function %age
Taking photographs 74%
Making phone calls 71%
Text messaging 69%
Surfing the internet 69%
Alarm clock 64%
Email 52%
As a watch 50%
Using it as an address book 50%
Using social networks 49%
Use it as a diary 39%
Music 39%
Playing games 38%
Watching TV/films 22%
Reading books 13%

“Smartphones are now being used like a digital ‘Swiss Army Knife’, replacing possessions like watches, cameras, books and even laptops. While we’re seeing no let-up in the number of calls customers make or the amount of time they spend speaking on their phones, their phone now plays a far greater role in all aspects of their lives,”

said David Johnson, General Manager Devices for O2, UK.

1354462167_1204_smartphones

Why are smartphones important for business?

If you are a business owner, you should know that according to a survey commissioned by Google,

  • 53% of smartphone users actually make a purchase after performing a search and gathering information;
  • 24% make recommendations based on the information gathered;
  • 79% use their phone to help them with shopping;
  • 70% use their phone even when they are in a store;
  • 35% make purchases directly from their phone, without stepping into a store;

Now, the question is how can a business owner benefit from this information? Two words: mobile apps!

Smartphone users use mobile apps to perform different functions. So, having mobile apps developed that are related to your business might be one of the best investments you can make.

MonoTouch MKMapView Zoom Level

I needed to implement  a zoom level similar to Google Maps style for MonoTouch iOS and lucky me after doing little search on the web I found this article http://troybrant.net/blog/2010/01/set-the-zoom-level-of-an-mkmapview/ written by Troy. This is exactly what I was looking for except it was in Objective-C.

So with my little knowledge of Objective-C I copied his code and converted this to C# for using MonoTouch library. I hope this code snippet will help other monoTouch coders as well. Also a big thanks to Troy for such a nice article.

[gist https://gist.github.com/djad442/5115021 /]

In order to use this copy the class to your project and update the namespace. Then in your XIB file, drop a regular MKMapView control and setup all the property you need. Then change the class name to MKMapViewZoomLevel (as is our custom class name).

 

MKMapViewZoomLevel

 

 

Android in Enterprise

After asserting its dominance in the consumer mobile device arena, Android seems to be set for giving Apple a run for its money in the enterprise market. A report by Good Technology, a leader in multiplatform enterprise mobility, reveals that Android is the second most used OS in the enterprise sector. Android is a serious contender because of its portability and the low cost of development due to a global community of open source developers.

The following are some of the main advantages offered by Android:

  • One of the biggest advantages is that it is built on an open-source framework so development is robust and cost effective;
  • It challenges the monopoly of Apple because it is a part of the Open Handset Alliance, therefore most of the leading handset manufacturers offer Android phones;
  • Unlike Apple apps, most of the apps in Android store are free;
  • It allows you to multitask by simultaneously running many applications such as Facebook, audio files, etc;
  • It has an excellent notification system so you don’t miss any sms, email, or other important communique. The indicator on the home screen doesn’t let you forget about it;

Android logo

Some Issues and Concerns Related to Android

The two biggest concerns about Android are corporate data security and user management, especially in view of the popularity of corporate BYOD (bring your own device) programs.

The variety of Android devices, variations of the operating system and additional software makes the job of CIO’s quite difficult. A primary issue in this case is user management because Android does not have a built-in capability for tracking usage or catching policy violations by device users. Perhaps the biggest issue is data encryption; almost 80% of the devices being used don’t support encryption.

Data manipulation and usage is also one of the major concerns for enterprise CIO’s. Since newer versions of Android support 4G, the consumption of data is quite significant and so is its cost impact on the organization. Users often don’t realize how much data they are consuming, which significantly increases the coverage charges that have to be paid by the organization.

Despite these issues, Android is definitely here to stay and its market will continuously grow. If you are a business owner, getting your own Android app is certainly a good idea for reaching out to your target market.

What’s So Different About Microsoft Office 2013?

The newest version of Microsoft Office productivity suite, known as ‘Office 2013’, was officially launched on January 29, 2013. Even though it’s been designed for tablets and Windows 8, it’s equally powerful and effective for PCs as well. Microsoft is offering a broad spectrum of versions for home and business categories so you can get the one that best suits your budget and requirements. In this article, we are reviewing Office 365 Home Premium.

What makes Office 2013 Better?

So…What makes Office 2013 better than its predecessors? The answer is: Ease of Use. Since Microsoft wanted to make the latest version of Office perfect for tablets running Windows 8, they converted their tools to support touch screens and in the process they made most actions only one tap or just a click away. Even though they made changes in the new Office for tablets, Smartphones and Windows 8, these changes made Office much easier to operate than ever before. It’s important to note that you can use Office 2013 with Windows 7 as well, but not with earlier versions of Windows.

Office 2013

Subscription Version vs. Standalone

With Office 2013, Microsoft is moving to a new subscription-based model. You can buy it the old-fashioned way as a standalone version, but Microsoft prefers that you sign up for the subscription. The main benefit of a subscription plan is that you will continue to receive the latest upgrades and you will not have to worry about buying another new version of Office ever again. The standalone version will work as perfectly as the subscription version initially, but eventually it will become out-of-date as it will not receive any upgrades.

What does it come with?

The Office 365 Home Premium version can be installed on 5 different PCs with a single subscription which includes Word, Excel, Access, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher and OneNote. Even though you can get 7GB of free space on SkyDrive now, with Office 365 Home Premium subscription, you will receive 20GB more. You will also get 60 minutes of free Skype calls every month. The subscription for this entire plan will cost you just $99.99 a year.

Should I buy the Student Version?

It’s important to note that Office 2013 Home & Student can be installed on one PC only and it costs $139.99 and it comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. So, if you have 3 PCs in your household, then you will have to buy 3 copies and they will cost you $419.97. So, it’s best to get Office 365 Home Premium with a subscription, because it will allow you to install it on 5 different PCs and each user will be able to sign in to their own account with their own online document store and other benefits. So, in less than $400 you will enjoy the latest tools for the next 4 years.

When you use Office 2013, you will certainly like it because the interface has been improved as well. The ‘Ribbon’, which first appeared in Office 2007 and annoyed many users, is now optional.

Have you used Office 2013 yet? If yes, then please share your experience with us!

Mobile Apps Can Help Boost Your Business’ Productivity!

According to an estimate by the International Telecommunications Union, about 87% of the world’s population has a mobile subscription. This is where mobile apps come into the picture because more and more people are using them to perform all sorts of business functions and online purchasing without having to sit on a desk. Research from Google Insights shows that 88% of the people using mobile apps for business take action. If you are a business owner/manager, then you should seriously consider using mobile apps for your business.

How Mobile App help Business

You might be wondering whether mobile apps really help businesses improve productivity or is this just another one of those technology fads. Well, this finding from an Aberdeen survey might convince you:

“Survey data taken from 240 enterprises suggest that [overall], the use of mobile apps designed specifically to help employees get their work done, increased productivity by 45%. Further, the data reveals that operational efficiency rises almost as much (44%) when enterprise apps are made available.”

Mobile App

You can use mobile apps in several ways to increase your business efficiency and productivity:

  • To access and manage your business data on-the-go;
  • To Increase and improve contact with customers;
  • Perform routine functions like preparing invoices, purchase orders and reports;
  • Manage your business calendar;
  • Your field sales force can access your CRM to get relevant information, make decisions and close deals quickly and instantly;
  • To easily perform inventory management from off-site locations;
  • To manage workflows and easily prepare and share routine reports with management;
  • All your desktop applications can be made available on your mobile so you can conduct business from anywhere at any time;
  • In the US alone, the use of mobile apps by businesses saves 725.3 million hours annually, which translates into an estimated saving of $17.6 billion. Wouldn’t you want to have your share of this saving?

The Aberdeen report mentioned above also highlights the top three ways in which mobile applications are helping businesses:

  • Improve communication and collaboration among team members (66%)
  • Rapidly deliver actionable information to the point of decision (48%)
  • Use mobile software to increase customer intimacy (42%)”

So, how about having a mobile app developed for your business?

How SEO can help you GROW Your Business on the World Wide Web

SEO lets you beat your competition

If you’re not a technical person or don’t know anything about internet marketing, don’t worry! We’re going to tell you in plain words what SEO is and how it can help you promote your business on the World Wide Web.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is the process of making your website visible on the 1st page of major search engines, mainly Google. SEO allows you to attract free traffic from around the world.

You may ask, ‘So what if my website doesn’t appear on the 1st page?’ The answer is simple, but kind of devastating: Studies show that around 90% search engine users don’t look beyond the first page of the search results. So, let’s say your product is searched 100 times a day. If you don’t appear on the first page, then you will instantly lose around 90% of potential buyers. Can you even begin to imagine the amount of business you are potentially losing out on?!

Another study shows that around 90% of internet users use search engines to find products that they want to buy. So, if you are not on the 1st page, then most of your potential buyers on the World Wide Web will never even learn about your existence, let alone buy from you.

If you don’t appear on the first page, then you will lose an unimaginable amount of money and your competitors will enjoy tremendous exposure on the internet.

Through SEO, you have the opportunity to beat your competitors by securing one of the top ten positions on page 1!

SEO

What does SEO Involve?
Search Engine Optimization is not rocket science and it’s divided into 3 parts:

  • Keyword Research
  • On-Page Optimization
  • Off-Page Optimization

Keyword Research: Your keywords are the foundation of your business. These are those specific words and phrases that are most relevant to your industry or business. If you choose weak keywords, then you will create a weak foundation which will collapse sooner or later. This is why you need to choose keywords that your potential buyers are using to find your products or services. A thorough keyword research takes time, so you must not rush and take your time.

On-Page Optimization: Once you have selected a few powerful keywords, you need to tell Google about them too. How can you do that? You need to use those keywords when writing content for your website. Ensure that a particular keyword is never assigned to two different pages. By sprinkling your keywords according to Google’s guidelines, you will be able to inform Google what keywords you are targeting to attract traffic (internet users).

Off-Page Optimization: There are only 10 slots on page 1 of Google search results and chances are that you’re competing against a few million businesses to secure one of those top slots. So, who should be the lucky ones to appear on page 1? Google gives weight or preference to websites that have a lot of inbound links, i.e. links pointing to your website from other websites. Off-Page Optimization or Link Building is the process of creating genuine and relevant links to build your reputation and trust.

As you can see… SEO is not that hard BUT it is absolutely critical to your success on the World Wide Web. You need to make sure that you create a powerful and viable SEO strategy for your website and reap the benefits of your hard work and efforts in the long run. We at Binary Quest can help you do just that!

A closer look at Social Media Marketing

What is Social Marketing?

Social Media Marketing (SMM) is the marketing strategy used to exploit the potential of web 2.0. Businesses use platforms and tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube to engage with their target audiences and communicate their messages. What makes it really powerful is the engagement of the target audiences to create a web of communications that distills the marketing messages of businesses and makes buying recommendations on the basis of user input and peer feedback. Interacting with users through social platforms adds real value to a brand’s message.

Social Media Marketing
Some of the Benefits of SMM

  • Word-of-Mouth: Word-of-mouth advertising is one of the best marketing tools out there because of the inherent high trust factor. SMM is the best way to generate word-of-mouth around a brand.
  • Low-cost promotion: SMM helps in driving traffic to your website at a far lower cost than traditional marketing.
  • Precise targeting of the audience: By using SMM you can deliver your marketing message much more precisely.
  • Inbound links: Inbound links to a website generated through ‘sharing’ on social media sites, bookmarking and commenting can be very valuable because it can improve search engine ranking. Social media sites are a very useful resource for generating such links.
  • User communities: Creating and maintaining customer loyalty is one of the primary targets of businesses. Social media platforms are a great place for generating user communities and have passionate customers become your brand ambassadors.
  • Customer relationship: It allows businesses to actively and closely engage with customers and build a fruitful lasting relationship
  • Increased reach: It can dramatically increase the reach of your business if performed correctly.

Mobile Apps and SMM

People are increasingly using handheld mobile devices to engage with social media platforms. Mobile applications have become one of the primary tools for conducting almost our business and personal activities online. Whether you want to use Facebook, Google, Instagram or another popular social media tool, chances are there’s already a mobile app for it. Furthermore, no business can overlook the importance of mobile apps for marketing themselves on social media platforms.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how you can harness the power of SMM to boost your business, contact BinaryQuest. We’ve got expertise in both SMM and mobile app development which can help you realize your business goals.