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QR code or Quick response code is a two dimensional code to carry information and was developed by a Japanese corporation, Denso Wave in 1994. Unlike traditional bar codes, which carry data in just one direction, QR code works as a matrix and thus carries data in both horizontal and vertical directions. QR codes are accepted internationally and are approved by ISO (International standard) and AIM International (Automatic Identification manufacturers)


As it works in matrix form, It has larger data capacity to store numeric (7089), alphanumeric (4296), binary (2953) and Kanji (1817) characters and thus can contain more information in both of the directions to give additional details like product specifics, contact information, event details, offers or even a link to your you tube video.


These are considered better than barcode or any other standard for that matter, coz it can encode the same amount of data in one tenth of the space of a traditional barcode. They do not require bulky scanners to scan them but just a mobile phone. QR codes have an error correction mechanism where data can be restored even if the image is dirty or partially damaged (maximum 30% of data). These can be read from any direction in 360 degree as the position detection patterns are located at the three corners of the symbol. It can provide information in different languages and can be placed on postcards, clothing or papers. It comes across as a new and unconventional way to connect with the customers and provide more information on fingertips. We will discuss a series of examples here to see how QR codes have bridged the gap between the physical and the digital world.


QR codes are widely used in Japan and that is one of the reasons these are being used by “MLA” (Meat and livestock Australia) to increase the meat export to Japan. By nature, Japanese customers are very aware and want to know all the details about the products they are using. QR code takes them to the website where they can get the relevant information. They even give recipe to prepare meat. McDonald’s are putting QR code on the hamburgers packet so that customers can scan it through their mobile and get the information about its nutritional content. QR codes give you the immediate and specific information, like the desk which you are working on can have a QR code that  links to the URL which in turn tells where it was made, what kind of wood was used, where to purchase etc.


As these codes can be read directly with a standard mobile phone, there are several domains where companies are using these codes for the mobile specific applications and to increase the awareness in consumers. For example, business cards can have QR codes which can be used to store the contact in your mobile address book. Golf Digest magazine used QR code in one of its articles where reader could not only read the tips to achieve the perfect putt but at the same time watch its video demonstration on their mobile.


Another interesting use of the QR codes is for discount coupons via mobile and web advertising or through SMS where it can be downloaded on the mobile phone. Shops will directly scan it from the mobile and register to give the applicable discount. Even if a shop is closed, the QR code placed outside the shop links to the website where you can search through various items and place an order, so you do not lose to the competitor even if you are closed.


Security is another aspect where these are being used widely. Medical and pharmaceutical companies use them to differentiate between real thing and the cheap fake. Security codes are also embedded with QR codes which counterfeit drug manufacturers are unable to hack


However, every coin has two sides, good and bad. Same holds true for the QR codes and there are few bad things as well. For example, they have to face barriers of multiple handsets, operating system and cameras and all mobile phones do not have a camera to scan the QR code or have a QR code reader. The image of QR codes becomes unreadable if they have too much data stored. QR codes become complicated when using tracking software to track the codes usage


The ugly thing here is that it is not easy to get the reader applications to work on phones that are apparently compatible. The different mobile models need to be tested individually to see that such software works with the different operating system. The readability of QR code depends upon the quality of camera .High internet speed is required to retrieve the data stored in QR codes, which is still a big issue.


It’s a known fact that no technology or standard can be ideal or without flaws and despite all those bad things, the good bits are still on the higher side and reason enough to wide spread the use of QR codes over traditional coding standards.



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By: Integrated Solutions On Wednesday, 29 December 2010 Comments Comments(4)



When working with mobile applications or mobile websites development, the biggest hassle comes in terms of device compatibility and cross platform interoperability. Unlike desktop or web solutions where we have 2-3 very popular operating systems and some major browsers,  mobile technologies don’t have any de facto standards yet. With wide variety of manufacturer specific solutions and platforms, there are number of browsers, OS and hardware configurations and each of these behaves differently in different scenarios.  In other words, we have n number of configuration options, which means if an application or mobile website works well on a certain handset or platform that still might end up as a disastrous experience on some other platform. There can be memory issues or page rendering problems or unaccounted screen resolution or just incompatibility.

Thus if a developer is working in this particular domain, he/she can very well expect an email box full of complaints/bugs on the very same day of application launch. You can ask whatever happened to the QA testing but that is not as easy as it sounds. We are talking about more than 15 major players (and we haven’t started counting the small fishes yet) with each of them having average 50-60 models in their product basket and still trying to reinvent themselves with each coming day. On top of that there are operator specific versions of individual phones and thus same phone offered under operator ‘A’ might be different than of operator ‘B’. Needless to say, a mobile developer or company cannot be expected to buy each of these mobile phones and ensure compatibility for their application. There are emulators but those provide very preliminary means of testing. They cannot replicate the device behavior to 100% and thus that small and sometimes rather large possibilities of errors are always there.

This is where Device Anywhere comes in picture. DeviceAnywhere is a California based company which offers a SAAS solution for remote testing on real mobile devices in live networks via its internet based software.  It virtualizes the mobile handsets that can be accessed and viewed over internet. There is software which acts as a virtual user and enables you to control the device like a real device in your hands. You can control the remote device with an emulator kind of interface where user is able to press keys, connect/disconnect battery, tap screen, restart and even open or close flips. The output is streamed to your PC monitor and speakers through the same emulator interface. We can imagine of an emulator on PC but instead of software responding to your request, actual phone will be processing the requests here and output will be streamed back to your screen.

The devices are connected with electrical sensors and device operating system interprets user actions to revert with actual output as returned by phone. DeviceAnywhere Test Center™ provides instant remote access to more than 2000 real devices across live global networks in 7 countries.  

The solution comes handy when you have to ensure compatibility with numerous devices or need to check an application on certain device or certain operator networks. These remote devices are as good as a real device and you can expect an exact response through the virtual phone interface emulated on your PC.

While the service looks like an optimum solution for on device testing of your solutions, there are some pitfalls as well. First of these is, it does not come cheap. You will need to pay almost 100 USD monthly for subscription and then around 16-20 USD per hour per device which is not very economic to say the least.  Then, if you have a slow speed internet connection, you might end up in waiting for long periods once you click and actually see the response. Lastly there are few features which cannot be tested adequately. For example if you need to work on Bluetooth you might not be able to pair with a nearby device. However, it is safe to say that it is the closest if you don’t have a real device and a great solution for application testing needs.


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ISOL | Mobile Application DevelopmentMobile Website Development | Software Development | Mobile Technologies Software Solution | Integrated Solutions | Mobile Development India

 

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By: Integrated Solutions On Monday, 21 June 2010 Comments Comments(6)


Technology is an ever emerging field and the latest buzz out there is our good old Mobile Phones. These tiny devices which were originally supposed to be a solution to stay connected while in field are creating an altogether new business opportunity now days. By December 2010 there will be 2.7 billion active mobile phones and one cannot ignore the presence of these in different industry verticals. Whether it is a bank, financial institution, gaming, retail, media or entertainment, mobiles are being used for anything and everything, including but not limiting to advertising, marketing, shopping and promotions.

Having just a web presence for a company is no more sufficient as more than 5% of web traffic comes from mobile. Thus it’s more than required to have the website optimized for the mobile phones. Companies are using this opportunity to draw more traffic to their websites by going mobile but there are number of different mobile phones and platforms available so website designers need to detect the handset limitations and try to provide best customer experience.

When developing a mobile optimized and/or mobile specific website there are few things a developer should take care of. However, before jumping to the actual development there are some general aspects as well. For example, you need to know who your target customer is, targeted regions, what type of devices they use. Checking mobile sales statistics for the particular region will help you to know the most frequently used type of mobile handsets and that should be taken in consideration before planning the development (For example iphone is the hottest toy for US market and it is important that your website work well on it if the targeted consumers are from USA) Here, we will talk about top 5 tips which can help you to improve the usability and add value to your mobile website.  

1. Compatibility is must - There are several types of Operating Systems, DB, Hardware and Web browsers. These different versions, configurations, resolutions, and Internet connection speeds impact the website on a particular handset. Therefore a compatibility test is very important. To deal with different screen sizes, device capabilities and orientations, you should either read the metadata and determine the device specs or use some third party service which automatically handles this part for you (read and determine the device specifications). Appropriate mark-up language like WML 1.1, XHTML should be used to optimize and customize the dynamic content. Flash and java script should be avoided as they don’t run on all mobile browsers. That been said, trends and technology change with lightening speed so its not necessary if something is true for current scenario, will be relevant after 1 month as well and thus constant updates should be planned accordingly. You might probably need to divide the phones in some categories as per their specs, most importantly screen size. According to the classification, various image sets and templates can be used for that particular class of devices.

2. Finding that right balance – On the functional aspect, resize the images so they take lesser time in loading and then link it to the original image somewhere else for more details. High resolution images should be avoided. Few key areas must be focused on, instead of several headers, footers and side links. Customer generally comes looking for a “contact” point (Phone #) so it should be placed in the header. Try to minimize the scrolling and it should follow one direction rule. Put a footer link to your “Full Site” on every page. Make sure that this link takes the user to the full version of the exact page that they’re currently browsing. If background images are used test the readability of the content. Though most of the sites are targeted at the global audience but if you are working on a country or region specific mobile web application, it will always be a good idea to research about the market trends and optimize the experience as per the devices with largest market share.

3. Oops, I don’t know where to take you next - Links must not be broken, user should be taken to the exact page he/she is searching for rather than the homepage. Purple and blue color should be avoided as it can be confused with the hyperlink. Lengthy URL’S are difficult to type and must be avoided. Content for mobile website should be specific and device compatible. Pages must not be too short or too long. A cluttered page will make it difficult to view the image and harder to read the content. Page should deliver just the right content for which customer has come looking for.

4. Oh what was the address once again – Domain name for the site should be similar to the original domain name. It will reap more benefits in advertising and making the site popular. Though the site address can be similar across the desktop and mobile platforms but you need not to replicate the functionality between these. As obviously, desktop browsers are very mature and capable as compared to their mobile counter parts and thus only most relevant sections should be covered under the mobile site. Always remember, if a customer has a good experience at your mobile website he/she can always return to the site on desktop.

5. Nothing beats a real device - Once the site is functionally complete, test using some device emulators but end of the day, emulators provide preliminary means of testing. Instead of relying 100% on them, subsequent efforts should be made to test on real devices and specific software. Choosing the devices with Wifi will be preferred as most carriers cache pages as you develop which makes the develop/test/develop/test cycle very slow, and Wifi gets around this. Deviceanywhere makes a great alternative if you don’t have several devices lying around.

So guys keep these simple things in mind and come rock the m website world  

Cheers!


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Isol | Integrated Solutions | Mobile Website Development | Website Development India | Mobile Technologies | Mobile Development India

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By: Integrated Solutions On Wednesday, 24 March 2010 Comments Comments(3)



I always used to wonder what this fuss about Twitter is. Everybody seemed to be using it and there was a rush to add the followers, posting links and what not. After trailing it for some days, I decided to find out what exactly it is and apart from the usual social networking and micro blogging blah blah, is there something really useful too. To my astonishment I found that Twitter is having a lot of hidden potential that we can cash on.

Before talking further about it, let me give you a brief background. The messages sent by Twitter called tweets have a limitation of 140 words. These 140 words act as micro blogs for our business, making the conversation fast paced. A well-structured and researched message can do wonders for us. What I particularly like about Twitter is that we can send such information which is honest-to-goodness, and less authoritative in tone.

Twitter is an easy method to update the customers about company products and deals. Suppose you are running a computer software company, and have developed a number of software. Now if you are a small organization or start up, ideally you would like to promote these with limited budget and resources. In such situations Twitter can help you a great deal. What you have to do is simply develop different kinds of profiles for your different software.  The overall benefit of creating so many profiles is that you get different types of connections for your different software. That makes it easy for you to know, whom to target for which deal. Moreover, it helps the customers to connect only to those profiles that contain information relevant to their interest, thus saving their time.

Twitter can also be used as alternative customer support information. When we used Twitter for this purpose, we focused mainly on three things:

•    Regular posting of new offers,
•    Regular participation in the threaded discussions
•    Instant feedback to customer queries.

From amongst them, regular participation in the threaded discussions brought maximum responses from the customers and other connections, which ultimately lead to the reading of new offers by them with renewed energy, and I think, this is what most of us aspire for.

While doing all this, we did use various third party applications like Twitter Search, Tweet Scan, Twellow etc.  and during the course, found some more ways in which these applications can be used to serve some of our business purposes.

Find people by name -   There are various applications to help you finding people by name and not by their e-mail ID’s. This will help you to know what people are talking about your competitors, or about you.  For e.g., if you want to know what your competitors are saying on Twitter, and how are people responding to them, just simply type “from: competitor name”, or “to: competitor name,” in these applications and you will get what you desire for. This helps in shaping and changing policies and procedures.

Search topic by interest – Then there are applications to search Twitter by topic of interest. Suppose you are voting for some computer software and you want to know what other Twitter users are saying about this software. In this case, you can use applications like TweetScan which will sift through thousands of Tweets looking for comments about that particular software and will return you with relevant comments. Thorough these comments you will get an idea of what others are thinking. This is the best way of knowing the real opinion of the public about your product or service.

Find people who share common interest - Applications like Twitter Troll helps us to find people within the tweets who share common interests. This ultimately helps us develop a network of people who can be of importance to our business, or who can be our potential customers.

The applications and methods that I have mentioned are just a few drops in the large ocean. There exists endless ways and applications that can be utilized to make productive use of Twitter. Your success with this will depend upon the proper utilization of these resources. Remember, what we do with Twitter decides what it will do to us. So use it intelligently and get benefited from it permanently.

Cheers!


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Application Development| ISOL| Networking Solutions | Software Development company | Applications | Integrated Solutions

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By: Integrated Solutions On Friday, 22 January 2010 Comments Comments(4)



In the last two decades, we have witnessed the transitions in mobile phones from simple black and white phones to advanced PDAs, from just a phone to capable Smartphone, from 2G to 3G, and from keypad to touch screens. Isn’t it exciting to think what future is holding for us? The mere thought of it excites and trust me there is a lot which is happening and soon going to become a reality.

Even our imagination doesn’t let us to think of those technologies where the world is moving on. A foray into the present technologies will help us to develop an insight for future technologies. Mobile services like M-payment, Mobile-commerce, Object identification, Health Monitoring, Location Discovery, M-Government and M-education which are in nascent stage will mushroom in the future on a very wide rage.

•    Object Identification - This technology makes use of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technique. RFID is a term that is used to describe a system that transmits the identity of any object or person wirelessly in the form of unique serial number, using radio waves. The object whose identity is to be transmitted is tagged with a special RF tag. This tag gets activated though an antenna and it becomes possible to read and write data in the tag through a host computer. If RFID technique gets embedded into the mobile phone, it will be possible to get the information about the availability or location of any tagged object on the phone itself. So in other words, a person wanting to buy an article from market will activate this feature and type the name of article on mobile.  The RF tags of the articles in the immediate vicinity will alert the handset about its availability or location. After reading the information from various tags the person will be able to decide which article to purchase and from where.

•    Health Monitoring - A new technique called Bluetooth health monitoring will storm the future mobile scene. It is in its infancy right now where a Bluetooth enabled health monitoring device such as heart rate or blood glucose meter communicates with a pre-defined software on your mobile phone to log and upload information to a central internet server. This information is then relayed to your doctor. The information can be uploaded in real-time over a GPRS mobile data connection if constant monitoring is requires – such as in the case of heart attack. If it’s not that much urgent you can upload it at any convenient time. This means, that it will become possible for us to relay vital health information to our doctor while sitting at home, which will reduce the frequency of visits to hospitals. Mobile application developers are continuously trying hard to develop such mobile health monitoring applications.

•    Mobile-Commerce or Micro-Commerce -This is quite similar to e-commerce, but here mobiles and/or PDAs are used to buy and sell goods and services. Various methods are employed for this purpose. Shopkeeper’s or companies sometimes offer mobile tickets, vouchers, coupons and loyalty cards, whose presence in the mobile phones enables the users to purchase through mobiles. Services like Mobile banking and Mobile brokerage are in embryonic stage. The payments made for M-commerce are called M-payments. Registration of credit-card that is linked to a SIM card is the common mode of M-payment. Apple’s iTunes music store is successfully using M-commerce for its dealings. In the future it will expand to a very wide market of mobiles.

•    Digital Content -   We are now heading towards a world where everybody is demanding for rich digital content. They want to have the best content all the times, at all the places and over all the channels. The mobile versions of websites, videos and images are already being developed on a large scale. The interruptions in YouTube’s video that we frequently encounter, the pixel-size problems of photographs, low-digital quality of e-books will soon be things of the past. The books on the screen will feel as if we are actually holding a book in our hands. Arrival of iPad will clarify this future cloud.

•    Electronic-Voting - It is predicted that electronic-voting will take advantage of the mobile features for voting. Through this, it will be possible for us to vote from any state or district, other than our own. We will not need to worry about where we would be on the date of election. Isn’t this really interesting?

Needless to say, future mobile technologies are holding in their womb various precious gifts for us. It is very difficult to say exactly which applications and services will be available in the future; however, it is sure that these technologies will definitely affect the way we work, we live and we socialize. One thing is for sure, mobile technologies are future, and future is where hopes lies.

 


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ISOL | Mobile Technology | Mobile Applications Development| Integrated Solutions | Mobile Development India | Mobile Application Development | iPhone Development India

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By: Integrated Solutions On Thursday, 19 November 2009 Comments Comments(8)



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