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Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft

Introducing ASP.NET Core:

ASP.NET Core is a new open-source and cross-platform framework for building modern cloud based internet connected applications, such as web apps, IoT apps and mobile backends. ASP.NET Core apps can run on .NET Core or on the full .NET Framework. It was architected to provide an optimized development framework for apps that are deployed to the cloud or run on-premises. It consists of modular components with minimal overhead, so you retain flexibility while constructing your solutions. You can develop and run your ASP.NET Core apps cross-platform on Windows, Mac and Linux. ASP.NET Core is open source at GitHub.

The framework is a complete rewrite that unites the previously separate ASP.NET MVC and Web API into a single programming model.

Despite being a new framework, built on a new web stack, it does have a high degree of concept compatibility with ASP.NET MVC.

ASP.NET Platform exists for more than 15 years. In addition, at the time of System.Web creation it contained a large amount of code to support backward compatibility with classic ASP. During this time, the platform has accumulated a sufficient amount of code that is simply no longer needed and is deprecated. Microsoft faced a difficult choice: to abandon backward compatibility, or to announce a new platform. They chose the second option. At the same time, they would have to abandon the existing runtime. Microsoft has always been a company focused on creation and launch on Windows. ASP.NET was no exception. Now the situation has changed: Azure and Linux occupied an important place in the company’s strategy.

The ASP.NET Core is poised to replace ASP.NET in its current form. So should you switch to ASP.NET Core now?

ASP.NET Core is not just a new version. It is a completely new platform, the change of epochs. Switching to ASP.NET Core can bring many benefits: compact code, better performance and scalability. But what price will be paid in return, how much code will have to be rewritten?

.NET Core contains many components, which we are used to deal with. Forget System.Web, Web Forms, Transaction Scope, WPF, Win Forms. They no longer exist. For simple ASP.NET MVC-applications changes will be minor and the migration will be simple. For more complex applications, which use a great number of .NET Framework classes and ASP.NET pipeline situation is more complicated. Something may work and something may not. Some part of the code will have to be rewritten from scratch. Additional problems may be caused by WebApi, because ASP.NET MVC subsystems and WebAPI are now combined. Many libraries and nuget-packages are not ready yet. So, some applications simply will not have a chance to migrate until new versions of the libraries appear.

I think we are waiting for the situation similar to the transition from Web Forms to ASP.NET MVC. ASP.NET Framework will be supported for a long time. First, only a small amount of applications will be developed on ASP.NET Core. Their number will increase, but sooner or later everyone will want to move to ASP.NET Core. We still have many applications running on the Web Forms. However, no one comes to mind to develop a new application on the Web Forms now, everybody chooses MVC. Soon the same happens to ASP.NET Framework, and ASP.NET Core. ASP.NET Core offers more opportunities to meet modern design standards.

The following characteristics best define .NET Core:

  • Flexible deployment: Can be included in your app or installed side-by-side user- or machine-wide.
  • Cross-platform: Runs on Windows, macOS and Linux; can be ported to other OSes (Operating Systems). The supported OSes, CPUs and application scenarios will grow over time, provided by Microsoft, other companies, and individuals.Command-line tools: All product scenarios can be exercised at the command-line.
  • Compatible: .NET Core is compatible with .NET Framework, Xamarin and Mono, via the .NET Standard Library.
  • Open source: The .NET Core platform is open source, using MIT and Apache 2 licenses. Documentation is licensed under CC-BY. .NET Core is a .NET Foundation project.
  • Supported by Microsoft: .NET Core is supported by Microsoft, per .NET Core Support.

The Bad:

  • As for the “cons” one of the biggest issues are gaps in the documentation. Fortunately most of the things for creating and API are covered, but when you’re building an MVC app, you might have problems.
  • Next problem – changes. Even if you find a solution to your problem, it could have been written for a previous version and might not work in the current one. Thanks to open source nature of it, there is also support available on github. But you get same problems there (apart from searching).
  • Another thing is lack of support in the tooling. You can forget about NCrunch or R# Test Runner. Both companies say they will get to it when it gets more stable.
  • ASP.NET Core is still too raw. Many basic things, such as the Data Access, is not designed for 100%. There is no guarantee that the code you are using now will work in the release version.

The Good:

  • It’s modular. You can add and remove features as you need them by managing NuGet packages.
  • It’s also much easier and straightforward to set up.
  • WebApi is now part of the MVC, so you can have class UserController, which will return a view, but also provide a JSON API.
  • It’s cross-platform.
  • It’s open-source.

ASP.NET Core is the work on the bugs of the classic ASP.NET MVC, the ability to start with a clean slate. In addition, Microsoft also aims to become as popular as Ruby and NodeJS among younger developers.
NodeJS and ASP.NET have always been rivals: both – a platform for backend. But in fact, between them, of course, there was no struggle. The new generation of developers, the so-called hipster developers, prefer Ruby and Node. The adult generation, people from the corporate environment, are on the side of .NET and Java. .NET Core is clearly trying to be more youthful, fashionable and popular. So, in future we can expect the .NET Core and NodeJS to be in opposition.

In its advertising campaign, Microsoft is betting on unusual positions for it: high performance, scalability, cross-platform. Do you think that ASP.NET “crawls” on the territory of NodeJS? Please feel free to share your thoughts with us.

Thank you in advance!

 

Darya Bertosh

Darya Bertosh

Business Development Manager | LI Profile

E-mail: darya.bertosh@altabel.com
Skype: darya.bertosh
www.altabel.com

JavaScript is the most accessible cross-platform language nowadays. It’s used both on front-end and back-end website development.

Using it Altabel developers create web-apps which includes offline mode, desktop apps, apps for smartphones and tablets, add-ins for Microsoft Office, SharePoint and Dynamics. And if you don’t get acquainted with JavaScript yet we strongly believe that you should do it immediately!

I reckon many of us know there are plenty of different languages compiled in JavaScript. It’s CoffeeScript, Dart, GorillaScript and others. To be fair some of these languages are fly-by-night creations that have never really taken off in the wild. But many of these languages are major engineering efforts with large ecosystems and large corporate backers. With so many frameworks and languages out there it can be difficult to figure out which one is the best.

In 2012 Microsoft analyzed the situation and created a new language with a possibility of dealing with problems and using existing JavaScript insights. Thus, a free open source programming language TypeScript was developed and maintained by Anders Hejlsberg (co-creator of Turbo Pascal, Delphi and C#). From the very beginning the new language started expanding rather quickly due to its flexibility and productivity. Considerable amount of projects written in JavaScript began to transfer to TypeScript. Popularity and relevancy of the new language leaded to the fact that lots of TypeScript ideas became the part of new JavaScripts standard afterwards. And moving forward the AngularJS 2.0 version (today one of the most popular web frameworks) was completely written on TypeScript with the help of Microsoft and Google.

But why TypeScript?

Let’s review main reasons of its popularity:

  • TypeScript is a typed superset of JavaScript. In other words any valid JavaScript code is also valid for TypeScript.
  • TypeScript may be used to develop JavaScript applications for client-side or server-side execution.

Microsoft’s TypeScript seems to generate the most attractive code and is considered to be one of the best JavaScript front-ends. TypeScript adds sweetness, but at a price.

  • TypeScript can also be used with existing JavaScript frameworks/libraries such as Angular, jQuery, and others and can even catch type issues and provide enhanced code help as you build your apps.
  • TypeScript can be just the right fit for projects in which developers try to remain relevant without the need to learn a whole new syntax.

The ubiquity of JavaScript as a runtime has inspired people from a variety of programming backgrounds to recreate JavaScript as they see fit. And yes, TypeScript lets you write JavaScript the way you really want to.

  • TypeScript differs from JavaScript with possibility of evident static objectives, with usage maintenance of full-blown classes (just as in traditional object-oriented languages), and also with maintenance of logging on modules. It’s aimed at development speed raising, simplifying of legibility, refactoring and reusability of your code.
  • TypeScript has many additional language features but defining types and creating classes, modules, and interfaces are some of the key features it offers.
  • In TypeScript the same types are supported as well you would expect it in JavaScript. Types enable TypeScript developers to use highly-productive development tools and practices: static checking, symbol-based navigation, statement completion and code refactoring.
  • TypeScript implements many conceptions that are appropriate to object-oriented languages such as extending, polymorphism, encapsulation, accessibility modifiers and so on.
  • Lots of TypeScript features have strict rules, so various code formatting errors are excluded. Which means that the possibility of incorrect implementation or inaccurate method invocations is eliminated.
  • TypeScript potentially allows writing large complex programs more quickly. Thereafter it’s easier to maintain, develop, adjust to scale and test them in comparison with standard JavaScript.

Drawbacks

TypeScript has a number of other positive features that are out of the scope of this article. On the other hand, there are two significant minuses exist.

  • Probably, the biggest minus is entry threshold and number of specialists on the market. Nowadays there are not so many specialists with solid experience in this language.
  • In comparison with JavaScript, it’s needed more time for the development. It stems from the fact that apart from class implementation one should describe all enabled interfaces and method signatures.

TypeScript 2.0

There are some significant changes coming in TypeScript 2.0 that continue to deliver on the promise of making JavaScript scale. This includes a whole rewrite of the way types are analysed in the flow of the code and an opt-in feature that starts to deal with logic errors around the flexibility of things being undefined or null in JavaScript. Other features planned for TypeScript 2.0 include read-only properties and async/await downlevel support.

TypeScript creator Anders Hejlsberg already has plans for TypeScript 2.1 and beyond. Features envisioned for these releases include a new JavaScript language service in Microsoft’s Visual Studio software development platform and more refactoring support.

The most recent version, TypeScript 1.8, rolled out in February, includes several more features like F-Bounded polymorphism, string literal types, etc.

Conclusion

So, if you haven’t taken a look at TypeScript, I have hopefully convinced you that it is something to at least worth a bit of your time. It has some of the best minds focused on making JavaScript scale and the team is going about it in a way that is open and transparent. By embracing the reality of JavaScript and building on top of it, in my opinion TypeScript is transforming the common language of the web, for the better.

We will be happy to hear how you use TypeScript in your current projects, if you like it, if you are planning to switch to this language, what are the pros and cons in your opinion, etc. Feel free to share with your thoughts in comments below!

 

Victoria Sazonchik

Victoria Sazonchik

Business Development Manager | LI Profile

E-mail: victoria.sazonchik@altabel.com
Skype: victoria_sazonchik
www.altabel.com

Content Management Systems help to control and manage the content of any website where business is efficiently managed. .NET CMS gives you the power you need to develop high-concept, beautiful websites with a strong backbone which gives an experience working with .NET platform used in various kinds of business.

Sitecore CMS and Sitefinity CMS are two content management systems based upon ASP.NET framework. We have chosen to focus on these systems as they are flexible, functional and easy in using. They are proved to be compatible on multiple devices, albeit using slightly different mechanisms, and customizable for the needs of differing countries. Also they are able to deliver vast amounts of information as part of logical information architecture.

Both of these CMSs have similar features and can meet various business needs with different requirements. Websites get more customized, gain more potential and get more interactive with these CMSs.

Hope the information in this article will assist you with the choice of either Sitecore or Sitefinity as more appropriate option for you.

Sitecore

Sitecore is a flexibile, scalabile and secure CMS, used by many leading global organizations such as Experian, Toshiba, Canon and Nestlé. The CMS incorporates a powerful desktop interface that is controlled by a fully-customizable role-based system. This desktop is very similar in look to a Windows desktop, which makes it easy for users new to Sitecore to pick up and learn the system. There are also multiple applications, like in Windows, aimed at specific tasks such as editing content, managing users, monitoring campaigns, setting up workflows, etc.

Sitecore enables web content editors and marketers to have full control over all aspects of their website from social integration and blog posts to advanced personalization, e-commerce and more.

Points in favor:

• The possibility to customize content based on user activity, such as completing a form;
• The opportunity to add an engagement metric, allowing developers to give visitors a value based on how much they’ve engaged with your solution;
• Sitecore CMS makes it easy to create world-class websites with its open architecture and rich development environment and tools;
• The function to send triggered emails (automated marketing messages based on a prospect’s behaviors) direct from the platform;
• On top of the CMS foundation, organizations can optimize the experience of their customers through multivariate testing, personalization and engagement automation;
• The CMS capabilities offer complete customization while maintaining data integrity so that organizations can manage large amounts of content efficiently not just on the web presence but across email, social, mobile and print;
• The ability to analyze the journey in either a campaign or a journey view, giving full visibility of the value to relevant sources;
• Sitecore CMS helps you to reach your customers in their preferred format with functionality to deliver content on multiple devices, including mobile.

Points against:

• If you do not have developers with .NET experience or operate on a small scale, Sitecore may not be the most appropriate option for your needs;
• The email marketing capabilities are still maturing along with volume capacity. The basics are solid, but the more advanced features still have some caveats in their function;
• When a platform offers an immense amount of features the usability becomes more challenging. For those organizations that can truly take advantage of the enterprise-level capabilities, proper training and onboarding (organizational change management) is a must-have in order to see the vision fulfilled;
• Sitecore CMS has a licensing cost. Pricing is based on the number of Sitecore Server installations, as well as the number of simultaneous users logged in (such as developers, designers, content editors, etc.).

Sitefinity

Sitefinity CMS is used for the construction and management of commercial websites, community portals, intranets, etc. Different successful organizations such as NASA, Chevron, Expedia, PepsiCo, Panasonic, Roche and more, rely on this CMS to optimize customer experiences across multiple digital channels. Sitefinity is engineered with flexibility and extensibility in mind to give developers the freedom they need to integrate legacy applications or use custom 3rd party controls and modules.

This CMS doesn’t require any special skills. You don’t even need to know any web development languages to use this system. But if you want to customize the system like our experts, then some of the languages you’d need to know.

Points in favor:

• Content Authors and Marketers need the ability to change and edit content on the fly. With Inline Editing feature you can create and edit content right on the page;
• Sitefinity’s page editor makes it easy to create rich, dynamic content by interacting with user-friendly interfaces. Content is created by simply dragging & dropping widgets onto a page;
• This CMS makes websites fully accessible on other platforms such as tablets and smartphones, which is really useful nowadays;
• Sitefinity provides a rich toolset for automatically connecting visitors with personalized content showing the right content to the right person by defining your audience, transforming the content, and testing the result;
• The multisite management makes it easy for organizations to manage a collection of websites and microsites through a centralized interface. Content authors can easily contribute to multiple websites, or utilize content from other websites. Users, roles, content, permissions, templates, images, and others can be effortlessly shared or synchronized between sites;
• Extensive Out-of-the-Box Features: there is an extensive toolset for addressing the challenges associated with managing a modern website. Solutions for mobile, email campaigns, social media, ecommerce, blogs, forums, search, and much more are instantly accessible. This allows organizations to focus on what to build instead of how to build;
• Sitefinity also provides inbuilt Search Engine Optimization (SEO) while enabling you to customize basic meta-data such as the title and page descriptions.

Points against:

• While the documentation is available, sometimes it isn’t extensive enough for some of the advanced concepts because it is of a quite basic level;
• Sitefinity provides a high level of granularity to customize the system, but sometimes this is a bit overkilled. For example, e-mail notifications are disabled by default in the installation system. If you want to see e-mail notifications after a form was submitted, you have to update your system settings, notification profile, and also enable notifications for forms;
• This CMS works on a “feather” template that is supposed to be more bootstrap friendly, so ultimately you have to write some special template code. A large scale HTML mode could help with some updates;
• There is licensing fees. Sitefinity tailors their licensing toward different user bases. There’s a free edition, a small business edition for companies who don’t need to use a lot of the advanced features/modules, standard, and enterprise.

Conclusion

As we can see, there are various attributes of Sitefinity & Sitecore CMSs and the choice definitely depends on your preferences.

If you are not up to build very structured site we would like to recommend Sitefinity because you don’t need any specific skills to work with this CMS. The licensing price seems good compared to others .NET CMS platforms and the out of the box features assist to get you up and running a site. The templating model is good and the extensible models aren’t overly complicated to work with.

On the other hand if you have a relatively big website or host many websites Sitecore is better in this case because this CMS is the most effective when it’s using as part of a full digital strategy, targeting content at your audience and using the personalization features to create real engaging websites. However in case your budget is limited and you have only a few sites to manage, this product is not the best option for you.

So wish you good luck with your own choice! I really hope this article was useful for you.

Also it will be nice to know your opinion. Which CMS do you use for your business? Which CMS do you think is more appropriate for your projects and why?

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Evgeniya

Evgeniya Chajkovskaya
evgeniya.chajkovskaya@altabel.com
Business Development Manager
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

TO

Today the first events within GamesCom 2015 are kicking off. The main European game show will perform almost finished image of the game industry of 2015.

What should we expect from the nearest days? Let us have a look.

Gamescom 2015 obviously passes up in comparison with E3 in terms of number of the renowned companies, but Gamescom has hosted plenty of big announcements and reveals in its time – and 2015 will give us plenty to talk about.

Microsoft

Microsoft is going to make a huge impress during its conference that will take place on Tuesday, August 4, 7am PT / 10am ET / 3pm UK time.

One of the headliners will be Halo 5 for Xbox One, with an ESL invitational tournament happening on the Friday to get the pros into the game. However, Quantum Break, Scalebound and Crackdown will all be getting some exclusive coverage – and we might even see some more Fallout 4 footage during the conference. However, Sea of Thieves and Recore will be missing the show.
Microsoft is also preparing some surprising announcements. Whatever could they be?

Sony

Sony is skipping Gamescom this year; they plan to arrange their own presentation on October 27 during Paris Games Week.

It could be a risky strategy, but if it has nothing new to show moving on from its big E3 presence then showing up with nothing could have done more damage than good.

Bethesda

After its phenomenal E3 showcase, Bethesda will be hitting Gamescom to show us more of Fallout 4. Unfortunately, it will not be offering up a playable trailer, but Bethesda will be showing off more gameplay at a presentation. Do not expect footage of any of the other Bethesda titles – Gamescom will be dedicated to the nuclear wasteland.

Electronic Arts

EA will be hosting a press conference at this year’s Gamescom, and it will be taking place on August 5 at 1am PT / 4am ET / 9am UK time.

Being showcased at the EA event will be FIFA 16, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Need for Speed, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Unravel and more.

DICE though has also been possibly teasing a reveal of another ‘hero’ character for Star Wars Battlefront via the EA Star Wars Facebook page.

Or it could turn out to be a one-hour gameplay demo of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2.

Konami

The relationship between Konami and Hideo Kojima may have ended, but before the ties are severed, they have an unfinished business: Metal Gear Business.

Konami has confirmed that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will be playable at Gamescom 2015.

2K

2K Games will be showing off the ‘worldwide reveal’ of the third instalment in its open-world, Mario Puzo homage, Mafia III. It teaed the announcement via Twitter with the reveal – read teaser trailer – showing up on August 5 5am PT / 8am ET / 1pm UK time.

Blizzard

Also holding its own invite-only press conference will be Blizzard. It is being a little secretive about what exactly will be shown, but we do now know that we will get our first glimpse of the new World of Warcraft expansion.

Now that Warlords of Draenor has reached content complete status, it is time for Blizzard to tell us what is next. VG247 is reporting a new trademark from Blizzard for Council of Glades, which could end up being the name of the new WoW update.

There will surely be more info coming about the already known Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void expansion. Might we also see Hearthstone moving from PC to console too?

The press conference is taking place on August 5 3am PT / 6am ET / 11am UK time so we will know more as it happens.

For the public though the new WoW expansion will be shown on the evening of August 6, after a live concert by Songhammer, playing Blizzard inspired ROCK.

Tatyana Ogneva

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

 

The long awaited Windows 10 OS has been just released. The launch of the new OS, Microsoft`s revenge on unsuccessful Windows 8, will become one of the most important launches in Microsoft’s history.

With Windows 10, Microsoft is trying to keep some of the touch and tablet features it created for Windows 8, combine them with the familiar Start menu and desktop, and run it all on top of an improved operating system. To decide whether to switch to Windows 10 or not, let`s have a closer look at new cool features offered by Windows 10:

1. New and Improved Start Menu

Microsoft brings back the Start Menu. Absence of which, Windows 8 has been blamed for. Now, when you click on the Start button at the bottom left of the screen, you get two panels side by side, with the left column showing pinned, recently and most-used apps.

Now it’s a more familiar place where you can view regularly used apps, have the ability to use universal search (including web search) and even have the ability to shut down or restart a Windows 10 laptop or tablet.

2. Cortana for desktop

Microsoft is bringing its mobile digital assistant, Cortana, to the desktop. It will be the central location for searching your local machine and the Web, either by voice or typing in your query.

“Hey Cortana” – you say and the assistant opens.

Another interesting feature of Cortana is its Notebook that you can customize to fit your interests, which helps Cortana get “smarter” over time. You can add interests from Bing news, sports, weather, and more.

3. New web browser: Microsoft Edge

Forget about Internet Explorer, that annoyed most of users. Microsoft Edge is leaner, meaner, and faster. However their icons look exactly the same.

Edge is the new default web browser for Windows 10. It features a host of built-in features such as a screen grab tool with touchscreen doodling abilities, a note pad and reading mode.

4. Continuum

With the rise of hybrid laptop-tablet devices, Microsoft wants to make it easier to switch between either mode. It`s one of the greatest new features in Windows 10, now the system will detect if you’ve plugged in a keyboard or mouse and switch modes for more convenient interaction. If you remove the keyboard/mouse, a notification will pop up from the task bar at the bottom, asking if you want to activate Tablet mode.

5. Improved Multitasking

A new Multiple Desktops feature lets you run another set of windows as if on another screen, but without the physical monitor. This is similar to Apple’s Spaces feature on OS X, and helps you manage your multitude of open windows and apps. Instead of having multiple windows open on top of each other on one desktop, you can set up a whole other virtual desktop for those programs to reside in. Set up one specifically for home and leave your apps such as Netflix and Amazon open, and create another desktop for work on which you keep Word, Excel and Internet Explorer open.

6. Action Center

One of the more annoying features in Windows 8 is the Charms bar. It’s hidden and pops up annoyingly when your mouse pointer is at the edge of your screen. That annoyance is gone, replaced by a notification center that Microsoft calls “Action Center”, which gives you notifications and quick access to common actions like Wi-Fi or Airplane Mode. Plus, on the desktop, you need to click a button on the taskbar to bring it up, which means it won’t be popping up arbitrarily as you’re getting things done.

7. Universal apps and Unified Windows Store

Previously called “modern” or “metro-style apps”, now will be called “Universal apps” as they’ll look and function virtually the same on different Windows 10 devices.

With a new Windows Store in Windows 10, users can buy apps once that work across their computers, smartphones, and tablets.

8. Control Panel – Settings app

Instead of having two apps to control your device settings in Control Panel and PC Settings, Microsoft is making things less confusing by bringing them together in one. You’ll be able to manage your device from one place.

9. Touch support for office apps

A new version of Office apps Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook will provide a touch-first interface across phones, tablets and PCs. The apps will look and perform the same way on a PC as they do on a mobile device for a more coherent experience.

10. Windows 10 is free

One of the biggest new developments in the Windows 10 story is that it will be completely free to upgrade. It will be available at no charge for the first year for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 users. It will also be free if you’re still running Windows 7.

The article covers only some of the new things you’ll see in Windows 10, and I`m sure, you will reveal more great features offered by Windows 10. But we can say for sure that Windows 10 is a big improvement over Windows 8 and worth trying it. And will you upgrade for Windows 10?

 

Anna Kozik

Anna Kozik
Anna.Kozik@altabel.com 
Skype ID: kozik_anna
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

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%.

for article #25

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

 

It is expected that within the next 5-7 years there will be billions of devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). However, on the way to this bright future, there are certain practical barriers.

The traditional model of the Internet of Things requires a centralized system for data processing, which handles all the data from connected devices. Nevertheless, this approach is seriously flawed in terms of cost of lifecycle and business model in general. For example, a company that produces “smart TVs” should support a centralized processing infrastructure and data management of the device for more than 20 years. While it earns revenues only once, when selling this device. This imposes restrictions on the Internet of Things. So far it is available only in the premium devices or those that are rarely used.

Nowadays, most of the IT companies are competing in invention IoT platforms and systems.

IBM: Adept

IBM’s solution is to use the web’s most innovative p2p technologies to create distributed cloud environment which means that all the devices will be integrated together. Thus, every device will be self-sufficient for managing and will use distributed public infrastructure to communicate with other devices. In this way, producing company won’t have recurring costs in maintenance. Such a system will be stable for the lifetime of the devices, and it will be equal to its clouds. The network will be fully autonomous, while the device remains in it, without requiring the cost from producer. However, centralized control becomes almost impossible with all the potential billions of devices on the network.

Their system Adept will rely on three different technologies to resolve a number of issues related to IoT development and commercialization: Block chain, famous from the crypto currency bitcoin, will allow IoT devices to communicate and interact with one another, BitTorrent (provides a stable and capable data distribution system ) and Telehash (private messaging protocol with end-to-end encryption).

Apple: Homekit

Apple is not idle in the IoT field. They introduced a new ‘smart home’ platform – Homekit this summer (2014).

Homekit is a framework and network protocol for controlling devices in the home. It promises a seamless user interface for organizing and controlling connected devices, all part of iOS 8. As part of this announcement there is also a new microcontroller SoC (system on a chip), containing a low-power WiFi, ZigBee and Bluetooth. It combines what had been separate components into a fully integrated unit. As with many other Apple products you will need a certificate, in this case Apple’s MFi certification (Made for iPod, Made for iPhone, Made for iPad).

Google: Nest

In January 2014, Google showed its commitment to the emerging Internet of Things by purchasing Nest for $3.2 billion. Nest’s main product is a learning thermostat connected to the internet that uses sensors, regional data, and learning algorithms to preemptively change the temperature of your house automatically. Thus, Google gains a direct entry point into the home to collect data, learn, and possibly advertise to end users in the future. Google’s purchase of Nest was considered an important indicator that the Internet of Things is poised to explode.

Microsoft: Windows 8.1 for IoT

Microsoft does not want to be left behind and has its own plan to bring Windows Developers to the Internet of Things with its new version of Windows 8.1 – operating system tailored for the Internet of Things. This version of Windows is designed to use in microcomputers, wearable electronics, and possibly, toys and household gadgets. At this point the preliminary version is only available to developers. Windows 8.1 distribution for the Internet of things weighs only 174 MB. For comparison, the size distribution of the full version of Windows 8.1 is around 3 GB. Slim enough to work on a single-core processor Intel Quark with a clock frequency of just 400 MHz. But the boot time is poor – 2 minutes instead of the traditional 3-30 seconds.

Intel: Galileo

The first platform that is compatible with Windows 8.1 for the Internet of Things is Intel’s Galileo. It is built around a processor, Intel Quark has 256 MB of RAM, a slot for cards format SD, two ports USB, PCI Express interface and a network adapter Ethernet 10/100 Mbit / s, and a pocket friendly price of just $ 50.

Samsung: Smartthings, Smart Home

Samsung, Intel and Dell announced in July 2014 that they are combining forces to create a new wireless standard for the Internet of Things, connecting sensors, appliances and gadgets to the Internet in the home, business and automobile. The Open Internet Consortium will include hardware component builders Broadcom and Amtel as well as embedded software provider Wind River.

Also it would be unfair not to mention the fact that Samsung has bought an internet of things (IoT) company called Smartthings (the startup that makes smart-home controllers) for about $200 million. Samsung is planning to use it to bolster its smart home plans. Smartthings will run as an independent entity within Samsung, and will continue to support its existing customer base. This system provides a smartphone app that users can employ to control features and functions around the house.

Smart Home platform will provide users with three main services: Device Control, Home View, and Smart Customer Service. Device Control will allow users to access customized settings for all of their devices on their smartphone or on their Smart TV. Home View allows users to take advantage of the cameras built into many of Samsung’s connected appliances to take a look at what’s going on at home. Smart Customer Service will notify users whenever it’s time to service an appliance, and also provide assistance in after-sales servicing.

Other companies such as Vodafone, Cisco, MediaTek, etc are also a part of this great revolution in IT environment, and most of them have very prospective projects.

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IoT Top10 Companies

Nevertheless, one should accept that the Internet of Things requires some technical and educational level from the society, and while in some countries this seems to be difficult to put it into practice, the Scandinavian region, more specifically – Sweden, invests in such projects at the national level. The vision of its industry is to increase competitiveness and to use innovation effectively in such social spheres as healthcare, welfare and sport. Business life is focused on getting benefits by implementation of IoT technology as well.

The connected world is too big to belong to somebody exclusively. So will Apple, Windows, IBM, Oracle, Google and others be able to all work together in this IoT universe? Or will the grand idea of a seamlessly connected Internet of Things environment slip away?

Will be thankful to hear your opinion on this subject. Share your thoughts here in comments or send me a message.

11d78a3 Svetlana Pozdnyakova
svetlana.pozdnyakova@altabel.com 
Skype ID: Svetlana.pozdnyakova
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

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