Mobile solutions are already transforming the way we do business and interact with customers, partners and colleagues, but many organizations are still struggling to fully embrace the changes and opportunities. Today’s workforce wants mobile technologies that allow them to work when they want, how they want, and from where they want. (And not to mention using whatever device they want.) Here are 10 reasons to rethink your current mobile strategy and fully embrace the concept of enabling a true mobile workforce.

1. Your workers want lightweight, handheld devices.

Slim and lightweight tablets are making it possible for mobile workers to carry them virtually anywhere without burden. Who wants to carry ruggedized bulky laptops anymore?

2. Tap into tablet innovation.

Innovations are happening at a breakneck pace in the tablet world. Even warehouses are now manufacturing tablets. Fold-up, roll-up or paper tablet, anyone?

3. Simplified app acquisition.

The app economy is expected to grow to $150 billion by 2017. Users simply love the ease of acquiring (and disposing) apps. Most of them already rely on a collection of apps to get their jobs done everyday.

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I recently had the great pleasure of attending An Event Apart in Washington, D.C. and was not surprised at this year’s overall theme: Go mobile.

We’re seeing more and more users browsing on what we currently consider “mobile” devices. But honestly, it’s only a matter of time before we’ll consider a “desktop” computer obsolete. That doesn’t necessarily mean users won’t be using desktops, however: It just means those desktops will be more like mobile devices. We are already seeing a high number of touch-enabled laptops and desktops, plus tablets that are closer to the size of a desktop. Yes, it is high time to make the transition. Read More…

What exactly is Responsive Design? The simple answer: Making digital media viewable across all devices and resolutions.

Take your company website, for example. It looks great on your desktop computer, right? But when you view it on your phone, it doesn’t look nearly as nice if it wasn’t developed using responsive design techniques. Images will be too big, the navigation may be impossible to tap and the download time may kill you.

Designers/developers must write the code in a way that looks great no matter what device it is viewed on. Basically, we have to use something called media queries. Media queries are pieces of code that allow us to put details around objects. So we can say if a web page is being viewed on a device with a 460 pixel width, display it like this. But if the web page is being displayed on a device with a 800 pixel width, then display it like that.

It actually goes well beyond just the width. We can decide what to display based on the following factors:

  • width
  • height
  • device-width
  • device-height
  • orientation
  • aspect-ratio
  • device-aspect-ratio
  • color
  • color-index
  • monochrome
  • resolution
  • scan
  • grid

We can tell your website if it should use high-res images for Retina Display or no images for a phone display. We have a ton of options. Responsive Design is in its infancy and we are discovering new ways every day to make this logical way of thinking possible. The sad fact is we haven’t quite developed the best way to do this yet. Right now we have to write tons of lines of code to account for all the different resolutions, as well as older versions of browsers that do not support the latest and greatest best practices. But each time we launch a new digital page, we get closer. We make it better. Read More…

Is your organization in need of a cutting-edge, custom-developed mobile application?   AIS is quickly becoming the go-to organization by developing innovative solutions like KCI Technologies’ new Windows 8 UI application. The application will enhance the efforts of the organization’s initiative to further develop its mobility program, and will support field inspections in both network connected and network disconnected environments. AIS is currently preparing for this exciting endeavor and expects the application to move into full production in early 2014.

Head over to our website for a more detailed look at what we’re doing… 

In today’s mobile society, the current and future generation of “mobile” devices (i.e. smartphones, tablets, “phablets,” special purpose devices, etc.) and the applications that can be hosted on them provide a significant opportunity to improve the way we work. This is especially true for those workers whose job involves traveling during the day to work directly with customers “in the field.” In this post, I’ll share some recent experiences we’ve had in working with mobile field workers as part of an analysis effort to define requirements for a tablet-based application.

Approach:

The specific approach we used for this project was to “follow” or “shadow” the workers as they performed their activities and collect observations about:

  • The tasks they performed,
  • The devices and applications they used to support those tasks, and
  • The types of information and work products (forms, documents, etc.) they either collected or produced in course of performing the tasks.

We worked with both staff personnel and supervisor personnel, and we looked at both scenarios where customers would come into a field office and scenarios where the field staff would meet customers at a field location directly. We then followed the observation sessions with one-on-one interviews to review the observations and ask more specific questions.

Based on our experiences, we identified what we would consider to be some key recommendations for business analysts, product managers, or others seeking to elicit requirements for mobile worker applications. Read More…

70% of all devices sold in 2012 were tablets or smartphones. Tablet purchases by businesses will grow three times by 2016. These numbers, provided by Gartner, confirm what we already know from walking in the mall or sitting at a cafe…and the news for PC sales doesn’t appear to be improving any time soon.

Navigating this post-PC world can a frightening experience when your corporate lifeblood relies on the dominance of PCs. Compounding this is the fragmentation of the emerging market across native mobile platforms, three primary desktop browsers (exponentially more when including mobile), and varying device form factors and operating system flavors. Read More…

This post is the second part of an ongoing series on localization of iOS apps. Please read part one here, if you missed it. 

While this post on the MacRumors Forum is a good tutorial for bringing Localization (L10n) to your iOS app, it’s a little sparse in detail, has some updates that change the process, and assumes a few steps.  A couple of bugs have also been discovered that need to be worked around to successfully initiate localization in a new iOS app in Xcode.

Today I’ll attempt to clarify some of these steps, and dig into the minutiae that are important to a successful development and deployment cycle.  What follows is an example of creating an app from scratch and adding localization features. Read More…

With the increased globalization of the economy, there is an obvious need to create mobile apps that handle multiple languages in a clean and extensible manner. This is known as localization (L10n) in the software development community, and various platforms deal with it in their own unique ways. We will look at how iOS manages L10n here, and the decisions that have to be made in order to stay on top of a dynamic situation.

There are several resources on iOS L10n available, both in official publications by Apple, and some articles and blog posts written by members of the development community:

  • Apple provides a home page for Internationalization (I18n), with links to several additional detailed sources, including WWDC videos.
  • There is an excellent tutorial on the MacRumors iPhone/iPad Programming Forum that goes into great detail on both how to convert your app to handle L10n and managing the app on an ongoing basis.
  • For apps being developed to target iOS 5, using pre-Xcode 4.5, Ray Wenderlich’s blog provides a good starting point with this blog post.

This article will take a high-level look at what needs to be done to fully localize an app.  Three follow-up articles will look at the nuts-and-bolts details of how to accomplish this through building an Xcode iOS app from scratch.  We’ll look at creating an app with storyboards, and the process of configuring the project to localize these storyboards.  Next, we’ll cover how to handle localization programmatically, if you find you have to manipulate text before displaying it. Finally, we’ll wrap the series up with a look at how to communicate with a web service and identify the language of the data you are expecting to download.

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Let’s face it: Technology is migrating toward the cloud. Unless you have sensitive or secret data you can’t share with third parties, then you have no reason not to embrace it. In short, the cloud is affordable, effective, 99.9% available anywhere, has almost unlimited storage, and allows you to focus on matters other than keeping your network up-to-date — and all you need is an internet connection. Industry experts say that cloud computing will only continue to grow and expand over the next few years, which means companies will need to keep up, or get left behind.

The “Mobile Worker” (like you, maybe), is growing more dependent on answering emails and working on the go with a smartphone, tablet and laptop both outside and inside the office. With so many efficient devices and capabilities allowing coworkers to touch base at once, it would only make sense to have all of your data stored in one centralized location. Additionally, most cloud services, such as Windows Azure, provide a web interface. This means you can access your data on any device or platform that has internet capabilities. Read More…