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The use of health apps has skyrocketed in 2014. Flurry, a mobile analytics company, has followed over 6,800 health and fitness-related apps, and sees a growth of 62% based on measurements of the number of times the app is opened and used. Overall growth rate apps otherwise is 33%.

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By 2017 the app market is predicted to reach 26 billion users. Among its key drivers is the world’s aging population with its increasing need for medical care. In the United States alone, Tighe notes, almost 20 percent of Americans will be older than 65 by 2030, making them more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, and other age-associated conditions. This changing landscape is forcing to create new ways to monitor people health and provide assistance with making health wise choices. And here mobile medical apps have already proved efficient and thus are gaining more and more popularity.

This boom has been also supported by most global IT corporations such as Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook. So here are some recent actions in that area showing that these companies treat this market segment really seriously:

  • Google recently launched Google Fit and directed towards more consumers within training and nutrition.
  • Apple has partnered with the company Epic. Since Epic handles over 51% of the medical records in the US, it gives Apple a very solid position in healthcare sector. Apple has, in iOS8, also included a personal health platform, HealthKit, which integrates other applications and gathers information for the user will appear in Apple Health app.
  • Microsoft invests in a separate solution and will with Microsoft Health Vault offer a platform where people can gather, store, share and use health data online.
  • Facebook has integrated MapMyFitness so friends can cheer on each other, share results and compete against each other. This has also contributed to the large increase in the use of health and Fitness app, where distribution is large via the social networking channel.

There is even an opinion that the increased use of health and fitness apps will destroy the market for wearables. It’s hard for them to compete with mobile apps, as the number of smartphone users is really big. So when the software is already integrated into smartphones they automatically become efficient devices for collecting health data. To put it short, the benefits of using mobile apps to wearable medical-devices  include 1/ cost savings because there is no need to develop a completely new device, 2/ enhancing existing platforms by adding more sophisticated sensing and data capabilities, 3/ using an interface that consumers know well and is already part of their everyday life.

Healthcare IT outsourcing

Health apps are built up not only by global IT companies, but also by healthcare providers to be used by doctors, specialists and by patients, of course. And here healthcare organizations increasingly take over the idea that IT outsourcing can help them bring their apps faster to the market while they could focus on their core activities.

This tendency has also been stimulated by changing government regulations concerning hospitals and clinics in lots of countries. And while some organizations are broadly outsourcing a mobile applications development, others are handing out the responsibility of IT management and overseeing their entire IT infrastructure.

The global healthcare IT outsourcing market is growing continuously. According to an article by Nearshore Americas, a recent study made by the Everest group states that the global healthcare IT outsourcing market is increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 12%. This gives us an insight on how much demand healthcare institutions now place on IT outsourcing services. According to TechNavio IT outsourcing in the global healthcare and life sciences sector is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 8.6% through 2019.

Among the trends to watch besides going mobile, there is hosting on the cloud by health-related organizations to make their operations safer, using analytics-as-a-service technologies due to growing interest in Big Data, etc. Therefore 70% of healthcare organizations worldwide are expected to invest in consumer-facing mobile applications, wearables, remote health monitoring, and virtual care.

So the world has been ready for a while to embrace healthcare apps and demand for them is not going to slow down any time soon. Among the top medical apps they call CDC Vaccine Schedules, Family Practice Notebook, ASCVD Risk Estimator, etc.

What health-related apps have you tried and which ones do you use daily? Thank you for sharing!

 

Aliona Kavalevich Aliona Kavalevich
Aliona.Kavalevich@altabel.com
Skype ID: aliona_kavalevich
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

 

Nowadays there are a lot of browsers that users can choose starting with the old standby Internet Explorer and ending with the newer Chrome and Firefox browsers. If none of those browsers is really your cup of tea, you could try a new one. The “novice” is called Vivaldi and it comes from a team that includes the сo-founder and former CEO of Opera John von Tetzchner.

If you used Opera in the past, you might find that Vivaldi feels rather familiar. The overall look of Vivaldi is a mix of a classic browser UI and the more modern interpretations in browsers like Chrome and Microsoft’s upcoming Spartan.

Скриншот 2015-02-03 17.18.12

Vivaldi is filled with awesome features. Here are some of the things you might like when you check out this browser:

  • UI

Vivaldi looks good. The first thing you’ll probably notice is that tabs and menus change colour based on the dominant pallete of your active page. This chameleon effect looks fresh, but it can be turned off if it doesn’t suit your tastes.

  • Speed Dial

Another great thing that everyone loved about Opera was the Speed Dial feature, and that’s also present in Vivaldi.  It allows you to organize websites based on your interests all on one page; e.g. News, Sports, Health, Tech.

  • Tab Stack

Open too many websites at once? Couldn’t find what you wanted under all those excessive tabs? Tab stack helps you to group tabs into themed groups allowing you to maximize tabbed resources without needing to scroll left and right.

  • Quick Command

Vivaldi features quick commands for easy navigation, allowing users to create custom keyboard shortcuts as well. Whether you’re searching through its various settings, from bookmark panel to download panel, a single keyboard shortcut can do the trick. More geek stuff happens when you go straight to settings then click Navigation to customize the shortcuts.

  • Notes

With this function you can easily jot down what’s on your mind while browsing. Notes automatically remember which site you were “looking at” and allow you to add tags for future reference.

Vivaldi has a powerful feature set, but that’s not all. One of the things that makes Vivaldi unique is that it’s built on modern Web technologies. It uses JavaScript and React to create the user interface with the help of Node.js, Browserify and a long list of NPM modules. Vivaldi is the web built with the web.

Right now, the browser is only a technical preview, but there are big plans for Vivaldi in the future. In the coming months, there are plans to add sync, mail support, better performance and extensions. Tatsuki said that Vivaldi will be shaped by the community for the most part, so the feature set will be guided by user demand.

You can download and install Vivaldi on Apple’s Mac, MS Windows and Linux from the web site: https://vivaldi.com/

Can Vivaldi succeed against Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and even Opera? Have you tried the new web browser? Please, share with us your thoughts and experience here below.

Katerina Kviatkovskaya Katerina Kviatkovskaya
Kate.Kviatkovskaya@altabel.com
Skype ID: kate.kviatkovskaya
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

If you’re looking for Android automation that isn’t as challenging as Tasker, find bellow the ideal solution :)

Tasker is the de facto standard for Android automation. The only caveat with Tasker is its rather steep learning curve. For anyone wishing to add automation to their Android device, Tasker is the app to use — if you have time to invest in learning the ins and out of the app (the end result is worth it). If you don’t have time to spend diving into that which is Tasker, there are other apps that make automation easier. One such app is MacroDroid. Although it doesn’t have the impressive abilities of Tasker, it can make automation an option for those less than Android adept.

You’ll find only one version of the app on the Google Play Store — the free version. This version is limited to only five macros, with a few actions and constraints per macro. With an in-app purchase, you can gain access to the Pro version and unlimited macros (with unlimited actions and constraints per macro) for $2.99 (USD).

Let’s install MacroDroid and see how you can make it a part of your daily Android life.

Installation

Installing MacroDroid is quite easy. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Open the Google Play Store on your Android device
  2. Search for MacroDroid
  3. Locate and tap the entry by Arlosoft
  4. Tap Install
  5. Read the permissions listing carefully
  6. If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept

Once the installation is complete, you’ll find the launcher in your app drawer or on your home screen (or both). Tap the launcher, accept the license, and you’re ready to automate.

Usage

The MacroDroid home page (Figure A) is perfectly designed to make it easy for any level of user to get started.

Figure A

Figure A
MacroDroid running on a Verizon-branded Droid Turbo.

The first thing you might want to take a look at is the templates. From within this listing (Figure B), you can get an idea of what MacroDroid is capable of (you can even edit specific templates).

Figure B

Figure B
The template section offers plenty of pre-fab automation macros.

Each automation macro is broken down into three categories:

  • Trigger — what causes the action to occur
  • Action — what the automated task actually does
  • Constraint — add an option that must be present before the action can occur

To add a new macro, tap the Add Macro button on the main window. Let’s create a macro that sets the phone to silent when you arrive at work (Note: The details of creating each macro will vary). The first step is to select your trigger (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C
Selecting a trigger for your macro.

Search through the list and tap Location Trigger. You’ll then be prompted to select from Area Entered or Area Existed. Select Area Entered and tap OK. Next, you have locate the area on the map. You can tap the radar button at the top to select your current location. Tap the check when finished. (Note: You can’t enter an address, so you must manually find the location on the map.)

Now, select the Action from the list. For our silent mode macro, locate and tap Set Volume. From the pop-up (Figure D), you can adjust the volume for alarms, music, notification, ringer, system sounds, voice calls, and Bluetooth voice. Adjust the volume to fit your needs, and tap OK.

Figure D

Figure D
Setting the volume to silent for when you enter work.

You can add more actions for the trigger (for this example, we only need the one). Tap the right-pointing arrow to move to constraints. For this particular action, we do not need any constraints (Figure E), so tap the right-pointing arrow at the top right of the window.

Figure E

Figure E
Adding a constraint to a macro.

The last step is to give your macro a name and tap OK. The macro is now in place and will immediately start working.

That’s really the basic in and out of using MacroDroid. If you want to dig a bit deeper, you can also create variables for your macros. You can create boolean, integer, and string variables that can then be used in the Actions category (for example, to help you count how many SMS messages you receive from a single contact during a day). To create a variable, tap Settings (from within the MacroDroid main window) and then tap Edit MacroDroid Variables. Tap the plus sign [+], give your variable a name, and select the type from the Type drop-down (Figure F).

Figure F

Figure F
Creating a variable.

Once the variable is created, you can edit it (say you need to change the integer from 0, which is the default, to 1). After the variable is created, you can then use the variable as an action by selecting Set MacroDroid Variable (within the Add Actions screen) and choosing your newly created variable from the list (Figure G).

Figure G

Figure G
Setting a variable as an action.

Depending on the type of variable, you can define how the variable is to be used (such as Value + 1 for an integer).

Although MacroDroid isn’t as powerful as Tasker, if you want to enjoy automation on your device (and don’t want to have to endure the steeper learning curve of Tasker), this is your app. Give it a try, and see if it doesn’t perfectly fit the bill for your Android automation needs.

Do you automate your Android — or do you prefer everything to be under your specific control? What type of mobile user are you? Let us know in the discussion thread below.

Original here

 1176dce Romanas Lauks
Romanas.Lauks@altabel.com
Skype ID: romanas_lauks
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Before starting development of the game the 1st thing one should decide is: “What engine should I use?”

In this article I would like to present a brief overview of the 3 the most powerful engines, in order to clarify their key differences, advantages and disadvantages.

Nowadays Unreal Engine 4, Unity and Cry ENGINE are rightfully considered to be the most popular and powerful among game engines.

Unreal Engine 4:                 

Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) is the brand new engine developed by Epic Games (its predecessor is Unreal Development Kit, or UDK the free edition of the Unreal Engine3. It was used in a huge amount of AAA games including Gears of War).

UE4 possesses amazing graphical capabilities including:

  • photorealistic graphics;
  • advanced dynamic lighting;
  • innovative particle system (handles up to a million particles in a scene at ones).

The Unreal Engine 4 got some changes and differs from UDK, so you will have to get used to them if you have had an experience in UDK. Still the ease of the UE4 makes it quite appealing for the new game developers who will do justice to such notable changes as:

  • UnrealScript is completely replaced by C++;
  • Kismet is replaced by the more intuitive Blueprint.

Unreal engine 4 could be used for development games for PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Nevertheless, it is impossible to make a previous generation consolee game on UE4.  

UE4 is available for the developers at $19 per with a 5% royalty. Furthermore Epic Games gave free access to the engine for schools and universities as well as to the source code.

Unity:

Unity is the game engine with an extensive range of features, comfortable and user-friendly interface. Its cross-platform integration makes it prior while choosing software for mobile games development. Unity allows to port games quickly and easily onto iOS, Android, Win Phone, Blackberry. In addition the engine could be used for PS3, Xbox360, and Nintendo Wii U games development.

This engine could be easily integrated with any 3D-editor (like 3ds Max, Maya, Softimage, CINEMA 4D, Blender, etc.). It also has capabilities for the 2D game development, supporting sprites and 2D physics.  That makes Unity great for development of both 3D and 2D games.

Still, its own inside editor can perform a limited set of operations.  It has no modeling or building features outside of a few primitive shapes, so everything has to be created in a third party 3D application.  Nevertheless it has a huge asset library, which could be either downloaded or purchased.

For the developers 2 versions of Unity are available: free and Pro. Annually Pro version costs $1,500 or $75 for monthly subscription, also it is possible to download 30-days trial.

Pro version greatly differs from the free:

  • global lightning;
  • render-to-texture;
  • custom splash screen;
  • IK Rigs, etc.

Also, the developers at Unity are preparing to enter the new generation with the release of their Unity 5 and continue the race with UE4 and CryEngine.

CryEngine:

CryEngine is an extremely powerful tool, developed by Crythek Company. Firstly it was presented in the 1st Far Cry game. This engine allows creating games for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. It obviously surpasses Unity in graphical capabilities:

  • state-of-the-art lightning;
  • realistic physics;
  • advanced animation, etc.

CryEngine is quite intuitive and possesses powerful level design features and could be put on the same level with UE4.

Still, it could be quite challenging and take a while to get used to it and start using the engine efficiently in case you’ve never dealt with game engines before. So, if you do not require your game graphics to compete with games like Crysis 3 you’d better choose a more user-friendly engine.

For developers CryEngine is available at $9,90 per month with no royalty commitments. Also it offers commercial developers full source licensing for larger and longer term projects that benefit from a real partnership with Crythek. Platinum support is also available, with dedicated support staff, increased on-site presence and even co-development of features.

Thus, Unreal Engine 4 is a good match for games with photorealistic graphics, Unity is better for development of 2D, 3D games and CryEngine has amazing graphics capabilities along with the most appealing pricing. Still, I suppose that one should try each engine in order to define, which one suits his purposes in the best way.

To sum it all up I would like to notice that all these 3 engines are extremely powerful tools for the game development. Still, I suppose that one should try each engine in order to define, which one suits your purposes in the best way.

And what do you think? To what engine would you give your preference?

Look forward to your comments!

Tatyana Ogneva Tatyana Ogneva
tatyana.ogneva@altabel.com 
Skype ID: ognewatatyana
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

What does the future hold for BI, CRM, ERP and enterprise software in 2015? Lets see which enterprise software trends will have the greatest impact on IT organizations in 2015.

1. Hybrid cloud goes mainstream. “[We] saw a spike in multi-cloud strategies in 2014, and that will continue into 2015,” says Chris Wolf, CTO of the Americas, VMware. “CIOs will continue to seek out the flexibility that [hybrid clouds offer]. And senior IT decision makers will invest in hybrid cloud architectures to future-proof their applications and services.”

“The cloud has been a hot topic for a number of years, with companies moving applications to the cloud for speed to execution, lower costs, higher level of service and/or preservation of capital,” adds Marc Malizia, CTO of RKON Technologies, a managed cloud solutions provider. “As we move into 2015, we are going to see a continued increase in organizations shifting to some form of the cloud. Most will adopt a hybrid model, mixing cloud provider services with their in-house cloud computing platform.”

2. Subscription pricing for enterprise software. “Competitive pressures and new efficiencies will cause enterprise software pricing to continue to shift further toward subscription models,” predicts Engin Kirda, cofounder and chief architect, Lastline, which provides protection against malware. “Rather than large lump sum licensing or costly preloads on proprietary hardware, enterprise software will be increasingly priced on a per-user and/or per-year basis,” he says. “Not only will end-user-centric applications be priced this way, but other enterprise software and services, including data center management and breach detection, will also adopt this more predictable and scalable pricing model.”

3. Mobile CRM – and other enterprise mobile apps – will take off. “Salesforce set the stage for this trend in 2014 with investments in their mobile app and getting their integration partners to use it,” says Mark Seemann, CEO of Synety, a cloud-based software and communications business. And in 2015, “mobile will continue to be a crucial battleground for the larger CRM players, who will continue to bring their mobile app functionality closer to the level of their main Web product,” he predicts.

“As employees spend less and less time in the office, having solutions – CRM, BPM, etc. – that are mobile friendly will be essential,” says Michael DeFranco, founder & CEO, Lua, which provides secure messaging for the enterprise. “To succeed in the enterprise, solutions must prioritize the needs and behavior of mobile workers in their design, to ensure they are connected wherever they are, and are able to communicate and collaborate with colleagues back at the office.”

4. In-memory computing will become a leading differentiator in ERP. “In-memory computing approaches like SAP HANA and Oracle In-Memory Applications will become the main battleground area for ERP product differentiation, especially in the large enterprise space,” predicts Glenn Johnson, senior vice president, Americas, Magic Software Enterprises, a provider of application platforms, enterprise mobility and business integration solutions. “As market noise around Big Data continues, ERP brands that fail to offer in-memory computing solutions will fade when compared with leaders in this area.”

5. Deeper ERP integration. “ERP is becoming more versatile, providing deeper integration with procurement, human resources and customer service software,” says Michael Golz, senior vice president & CIO, SAP Americas. “SAP has made a number of strategic acquisitions, most recently with Concur, that help customers expand the value of their ERP system,” by having it to “interact with new areas.” That increased integration and depth will continue to blur the lines between enterprise software systems and help organizations derive greater value from their IT investments.

“Historically, ERP and CRM have been viewed as two separate systems of engagement,” notes Jeremy Roche, CEO, FinancialForce, a provider of cloud ERP software on the Salesforce platform. “However, many businesses are starting to realize the immense value in eliminating distinctions between front and back office processes, bringing ERP to the forefront,” he explains.

“Rather than continuing to allow vital customer information to be scattered among various pieces of a business,” he says, “companies will begin to merge ERP and CRM into one single system of customer engagement, so they can better support the entire customer journey, from the initiation of interest to the delivery of a product.”

If only senior IT executives had a crystal ball. Then they would be able to see what software they would need, or want, to license – and could plan and budget accordingly. And what do you predict? Share in your comments bellow.

Lina Deveikyte Lina Deveikyte
Lina.Deveikyte@altabel.com 
Skype ID: lina_deveikyte
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Some Apple trends are easier to predict than others. Just what does 2015 have in store? Here are three bets which are safe to make in my opinion.

Apple iPay

Many Apple product launches generate universal appeal, predicting Apple successes isn’t very difficult. What is challenging, however, is identifying new trends, specifying actual sales numbers, and accurately forecasting an Apple failure. Here are three predictions for Apple technologies in the coming year.

1. Apple will sell 20 million Apple Watches, boosting Apple Pay adoption

I’m already on record stating Apple will sell as many as 12 million Apple Watches in the first half of 2015. While other predictions estimate Apple will sell anywhere from 10 to 30 million units of its new wearable next year, I believe actual sales will come in around 20 million.

The sales number itself isn’t seemingly that important, but it is — and here’s why. Watch sales have seriously eroded. When was the last time you really considered buying a watch if it wasn’t a Pebble or device also offering FitBit-type functionality? While there’s no doubt the Apple Watch will create considerable buzz and many will purchase the new gadget just to gain immediate digerati credibility, what’s most telling is Apple’s ability to reinvigorate an essentially dead market segment.

Then there’s Apple Pay. The Apple Watch will prove to be an important conduit to Apple Pay adoption. So, as Apple sells millions of Apple Watches and continues along its well-documented path of converting customers of other Apple products to its computers and smartphones, the company will also grow the Apple Pay army. Look for the payment option to grow in adoption exponentially in 2015 as a result.

2. The MacBook Air will receive a Retina display

Here’s a two-in-one prediction. Look for Apple to discontinue the non-Retina display MacBook Pro. The model is already becoming obsolete. Look for the trend to continue when Apple adds its Retina display technology to its MacBook Air line. While the upgraded display and impressive corresponding resolution may challenge battery life and increase production costs (whereas Apple worked to lower the MacBook Air’s price in 2014), Apple’s clearly pushing its products, including iPhones, iPads, and iMacs, to using Retina high-resolution displays.

3. Apple will lose its iBooks lawsuit appeal

In July 2013, Apple was found to have violated an antitrust law and engaged in collusion with book publishers when pricing iBooks products. Of course, Apple kind of did the same thing with music when it launched iTunes with $0.99 songs. But the devil’s in the details, and the United States Justice Department already won the District Court ruling to support the feds’ argument that Apple’s iBooks pricing strategy constituted price fixing, and Apple’s already previously agreed to a $450-million eBook pricing settlement entered into with states attorneys general in a separate but related lawsuit.

While there’s no reason to believe the Court of Appeals will overturn the original ruling, the case could be turned by Apple’s claim the pricing coordination was necessary to enable competition with a monopolist Amazon. Personally, I’d like to see that happen and prove my prediction wrong, as I believe Apple’s done well forcing competition within a tight eBook marketplace that was previously essentially owned by Amazon. As an avid reader who possesses multiple iPhones and iPads within my residence, it’s nice knowing an eBook alternative exists. I think it’s great that Apple is attempting to break a potential logjam that could provide commuting business users — who wish to read eBooks on their iPhones and iPads — with another eBook reader that possesses integrated purchasing capability and reasonable pricing for titles.

What other things do you predict will happen with Apple in 2015? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.

Source – Tech Republic

Kristina Kozlova Kristina Kozlova
Kristina.Kozlova@altabel.com
Skype ID: kristinakozlova
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development



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