Category: Development

DevelopmentInsightsMartechSaaS

The Best Zoom Alternatives for Work and Play

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed more people than ever to work remotely. Yet, to function well, many types of teams still need to meet, including teachers, marketing professionals, and software developers like those at BairesDev. As a result, online meetings have become the norm and the videoconferencing application Zoom has become a well-known name and a de-facto alternative for group chats.

Zoom is also helpful for creating socially distant gatherings of family, friends, and other groups. But it isn’t perfect. In addition to being disappointed by Zoom’s limited features, users have experienced issues with data privacy and “Zoombombing,” which describes the activity of trolls who enter Zoom meetings uninvited and express hatred or display offensive images. The privacy issues stem from the application not being end-to-end encrypted, resulting in leaked user email addresses.

You may choose to use Zoom despite these drawbacks. But if you’re looking for a change, there are many similar applications available for you to try, including those listed here. 

Google Meet

If you want to replace Zoom for business meetings, Google Meet is a good application to try. You can include up to 100 participants per meeting and you get unlimited call time for free from now through September 2020. After that, call time will be limited to 60 minutes unless you upgrade your account. Google Meet also offers real-time translation, a useful feature for international calls.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is another good choice for work-related meetings. Each meeting can accommodate up to 250 participants and you can store your conversations, files, meetings, and apps in a shared workspace. Useful features include the ability to search conversations, customize notifications, and blur your background for privacy. To use Teams, you must have an Office 365 subscription or a trial subscription of Teams.

Skype

Skype was one of the first videoconferencing applications and it’s still useful for online meetings. The new Meet Now feature enables functionality similar to Zoom and meetings can accommodate up to 50 users. You don’t need an account to sign in, just a link. Special features include reaction emoji, call recording, and the ability to blur your background. Skype offers both free and paid versions.

GoToMeeting

Packed with features, GoToMeeting enables you to include up to 150 participants per meeting with the entry-level plan or up to 3,000 when you upgrade. This application allows you to include multiple facilitators, share your screen, record and transcribe meetings, and assign follow-up tasks. You also get drawing tools to help participants make important points while presenting.

WhatsApp

For more informal conversations, such as those with family or friends, WhatsApp is a good option to try. While better known for messaging, the app does allow you to videoconference as well. You can include up to eight participants on each call, and the app is free to use. The best thing about WhatsApp is that it can be used across platforms, so it doesn’t matter if you use an Android device and your cousin has an iPhone. WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption so you can be sure your conversations are secure.

Facebook Messenger

If you’re on Facebook a lot, Messenger is a great tool for videoconferencing with friends. Even if you don’t use Facebook much, it might be worth using Messenger for those calls because the video quality is better than that of some other apps. With Messenger, you also get emoji reactions, stickers, and the ability to include up to six people on-screen during a video call (though you can have up to 50).

FaceTime

Practically synonymous with video chatting, FaceTime enables those who use the Apple ecosystem to easily communicate with each other. You can get up to 32 callers on at one time and use special features to project your digital look-alike or add fun effects in your call. FaceTime is also end-to-end encrypted so you can be sure your calls are secure.

Discord

Discord is popular with gamers because it integrates with games like Call of Duty: WWII and Divinity: Original Sin 2. But it can be used by anyone who wants encrypted chat, messaging, and video call functionality. Users can set up their own “rooms” in which to chat via video or text. Up to 50 users can participate in a call.

Houseparty

Many things are just not possible with social distancing, but game night isn’t one of them. Houseparty enables you to connect and also provides the entertainment! Up to eight callers can play Trivia, Head’s Up!, and other fun games that are included. The app also allows you to purchase additional games if you want.

In Summary

Social distancing is making communication more difficult, but the right technology can help. If Zoom isn’t for you, there are many other options available for keeping in touch with colleagues and friends.

DevelopmentInsightsProductsSaaS

Why 5G Is so Important for the IoT

The 5th generation of wireless network technology, known as 5G, promises to dramatically increase data transfer speeds, decrease latency, and improve network reliability. These and other enhancements will result in more efficient internet access, and the ability to connect more devices within a given area at one time.

Such advancements are particularly important as the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. Expansion of the IoT supported by 5G will be enriched by innovative IoT products for both consumers and businesses with built-in security features and software validated by QA & testing services. Here we explore exactly how the IoT will benefit from 5G.

What Is the IoT?

The IoT is the collection of internet-enabled devices that are an increasingly major part of human activity. The number of active IoT devices is expected to grow to 10 billion by 2020 and to 22 billion by 2025. A robust IoT enables new services, such as self-regulating electrical grid equipment that sends signals to utility operators when it needs replacement or repair.

IoT devices include everything from our familiar smartphones to smartwatches, internet-enabled video cameras, streetlights, motor vehicles, retail beacons, store inventory, shipping containers, manufacturing equipment, and robots. These devices add a high level of convenience to everyday tasks for individuals (such as shopping) and companies (such as inventory control).

In an example described by the World Economic Forum, we see just how integrated the IoT will become, even in things as commonplace as clothes: “Maybe you’ve heard about the Commuter x Jacquard, a jacket that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth – the result of a collaboration between Google and Levi’s. With a haptic buzz on your cuff, you are reminded about the phone you left behind; by swiping your sleeve, you can skip a song; while a tap on the shoulder strap takes a picture.”

How 5G Supports the IoT

Naturally, the more of these connected devices there are, the more bandwidth they require. While the current generation of wireless technology, 4G, has the capacity to handle many of them, 5G can support many more. Cognizant VP Randal Kenworthy, a Forbes Technology Council member, states, “5G can send data to and from as many as a million devices per square kilometer, compared to 100,000 devices per square kilometer using today’s 4G networks.”

Additionally, 5G offers super-fast speeds that are 100 times greater than 4G’s and that enable devices to make split-second calculations with optimal performance. For example, self-driving cars must be able to transfer data within milliseconds to receive instructions for how to safely perform – with 5G, they are able to do precisely that.

In addition to expanded capability and speed, 5G is more reliable than previous wireless generations, meaning essential connected objects like locks, security cameras, and other safety devices will operate more effectively. In fact, according to Intel, 5G wireless networks will be “so reliable they can replace physical connections.”

5G also enables easier setup for the IoT. According to IoT For All, rather than connecting each device to a Wi-Fi router, “5G connectivity will let each device connect wirelessly, individually and directly to your internet service provider.” In this way, “You can think of 5G as a kind of next-generation Wi-Fi.”

Industry IoT

With 5G, many industries will be able to make ever-greater use of the IoT. Here are just a few examples:

  • Agriculture. IoT sensors embedded in the soil can help farmers determine how much water or nutrients are needed and, in conjunction with artificial intelligence (AI), deliver them at the right time. These processes enable farmers to spend more time on higher-level tasks. 
  • Automotive. As mentioned above, self-driving vehicles require fast processing to operate as safely as possible. Additionally, maintenance shops can use sensors within cars to send reminders when it’s time to have them serviced. 
  • Healthcare. With 5G and the IoT, telehealth will become more ubiquitous, enabling doctors and robots to treat — and even perform surgery on — patients remotely. Wearable health monitors can help patients and healthcare providers closely monitor symptoms.
  • Manufacturing. Manufacturers will have the opportunity to respond to consumer and business demands for new IoT products. They will also use IoT devices in the manufacturing and transportation processes, such as monitoring equipment and tracking packages. 
  • Smart Cities. The possibilities for smart city technology involving the IoT are nearly limitless. One example is connected parking lots that send real-time information to smartphones about parking availability. Another is using technology to make automotive and pedestrian traffic flow more efficiently. 

In Summary

The World Economic Forum states, “Coupled with an array of other new technological solutions like IoT, edge computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, 5G is powering the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the same way that steam, electricity, and silicon powered the previous three.”

Given how the IoT can evolve with the support of 5G, both consumers and businesses are likely to see great technological leaps in the coming years. Both will benefit from greater efficiency, convenience, and flexibility in their daily activities.

DevelopmentInsightsMartech

How to Effectively Identify Content Marketing KPIs Essential to Your Business

There are many content marketing KPIs you can track to measure the performance of your campaigns. Read this post to understand which ones are important for you.


Your content marketing strategy should not just focus on content creation, research, and publishing. You also need to track how each piece of content performs and if it contributes to revenue growth.

But, how do you do this?

Define your content marketing goals and tie them to the right key performance indicators (KPIs).

Identifying the right KPIs is essential to measure your content marketing campaigns’ performance. KPIs help you understand your audience, optimize content, gauge performance, and plan for future campaigns.

But, what KPIs should you track?

This post identifies some of the crucial content marketing KPIs that you should monitor.

What KPIs Matter to Your Business?

The first step to identifying your content marketing KPIs is determining what your business considers essential.

For example:

Do you want to drive traffic, increase conversions, or boost engagement?

Once you identify your goals, then you can focus your KPIs around these objectives.

Here are some of the important KPIs. Knowing about these can help you select the right KPIs to track your performance on your business objectives.

1. Comments

Comments are an engagement KPI that help you track if people find your content valuable.

Do they offer feedback, ask questions, or write comments?

It’s an important metric as it tells you if your content sparks conversations and resonates with your audience.

Pro Tip: To improve interactions, engage meaningfully with users who comment. Doing this can build loyalty and encourage further interactions.

2. Time on Page

How much time do people spend reading your content?

Time on Page is a KPI measured in seconds and depends on the type and length of the content.

For example, a 3,000-word white paper will take more time to read than a 500-word blog post.

If your goal is to increase your audience’s time on page, start creating content that provides value.

Leverage content creation tools for creating engaging content that your audience will enjoy reading until the end. These can help you create content that’s well-researched, grammatically correct, and easy to understand.

3. Scroll Depth

Do people read your content entirely or leave midway?

Scroll depth tells you how much of your content your readers consume. It can help you record where your viewers drop off and how fast they do it.

Do they reach halfway through the page or even less than that?

A poor scroll depth can indicate that you need to improve your content and offer more value to your readers.

For more on this, check out the infographic below. It lists the content marketing KPIs and the goals that they can help you track.

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IG Embed Code:

9 Important Content Marketing KPIs That Can Predict the Success of Your Campaign
Image Courtesy: shanebarker.com

Author Bio

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is the co-founder of Attrock, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.

Twitter handle: https://twitter.com/shane_barker

DevelopmentInsightsSEO

Turn Website Visitors into Loyal Paying Customers With These Tips

E-Commerce has established successful businesses that are now ruling the world. From Amazon to the renowned Alibaba, the magic of e-commerce can be seen from many inspiring businesses. But, It’s not always easy to set-up an e-commerce website, engage the audience, and maintain them.

Extra-ordinary customer services, quality products, and, most importantly, a well-designed e-commerce website is what keeps the business going.

Many businesses fail due to lack of absence, poor website design, and the conventional way of selling. A website that is not intuitive, SEO-optimized, rich in graphics does not attract viewers, and they prefer to click the ‘CLOSE’ button. But if you have an understanding of your visitors, their buying patterns, you can design a website that will turn browsers into regular paying clients.

Brands hire SEO professionals and website designers, who work with them to build an engaging, user-friendly, compelling website.

They are aware of the local audience preferences, their buying behavior, and help in e-commerce development. Here are some e-commerce website design tactics that capture customer attention and urges them to shop.

Make Your Website Fast

According to various case studies, most shoppers don’t complete the purchase because of delayed website response. And that’s not shocking. With most people having an attention span shorter than that of a goldfish, it’s not hard to understand why one-second delay can cost a significant percentage of sales.
So, make your website faster and responsive. You can increase the page loading speed by:

  • Ditching budget web hosting.
  • Reducing HTTP calls.
  • Enabling compression.
  • Enabling browser caching.
  • Optimizing on-page elements.

Focus on Product Pages

No matter how compulsive your homepage is, the product pages are where visitors become shoppers. Make sure the product page has all the information about the product. Include high-quality product images editing. You can also try motion images, including interactive functions that show products up-side-down (360°) views, zoom-features that show fine details.

Write an excellent, compelling product description.

You can also experiment with on-screen videos.

Include Live Chatbots

Chatbots are quickly becoming a talking point. Thanks to the wide range of use cases in many industries, they’ve become a major communication channel with customers.

This is an interactive way to engage with customers as they feel more comfortable when communicating with and getting new information from chatbots.

It might be, the viewer has specific requirements about the product that can’t be described on-page. A little help with live-chat will resolve the problem, and the customer will happily buy the product.

Easy Check-Out Process

An abandoned cart is the most common problem e-commerce businesses face. It is because of the long contact forms, shipping details, and payment options. 

So, reduce the ordering process to 2 to 3 clicks. Moreover, make the online payment easier and convenient by introducing payment options which the majority of customers use. 

Design A Thank You Page

It’s a page where visitors go after they shop from the website. Creating a thank-you page provides a great opportunity for you to express gratitude and encourage them to sign up for your newsletter.

When designed skillfully, these pages can keep your leads engaged and promise secondary conversion opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Excellent website design, informative product pages, user-friendly interface, and simple check-out process, are the main pillars for e-commerce business. So, if you focus on the above-mentioned points and hire the best firm of public relations, your website will attract visitors and turn them into paying customers.

What are the current strategies you adopt to convert your visitors? We’d like to know in the comment section below.

Development

VR Escape room game- designing, types of games and the multiplayer mode all explained

Virtual reality has been a synonym that has been used for a long time concerning many technologies across various sectors. We have been waiting for the technology to arrive for some years now. One of the areas that have considerably shown improvement is the dawn of the virtual reality in gaming.

Nowadays the gamers can experience a more advanced form of gaming which is not bound to a screen anymore. Yes, obviously if you like to play mystery-solving and puzzle-solving games like an escape room game then its quite sure that the virtual reality escape room game is going to surprise you.

VR headset

What can you expect in a VR escape room?

A VR escape room game is one in which you will be enjoying the dual benefits of playing an escape room game in a virtual reality background. It is needless to mention that if you have not played the game yet then the VR escape room game deserves a chance.

A VR escape room game provides the right mix of entertainment for gamers. Once you enter the game room and the mission starts you will be immersed in the virtual surroundings of the game scenario.

Considered to be one of the best games the escape room or the puzzle room Sydney will test your patience and problem-solving skills to the fullest. It is a game that provides the gamer with a perfect blend of excitement, suspense, and even horror sometimes. You have got the option to choose from a wide variety of game genres. 

How is an escape room game designed?

It is designed in such a way so that you can have the virtual 3D experience in a room. Now the players in a puzzle room Sydney will be wearing 3D headsets. This is what makes them transcend into a virtual world. The actions of the players are controlled by movements.

So this is not like your ordinary video game where you have press buttons. The action of gameplay is very fluid with 360-degree controls provided to the player.

With the advancements in technology now various types of effects such as smoke can be recreated in a room to provide a more realistic experience. In all the escape room provides you with a new form of gaming experience that very few people have experienced about. So it is worth to give it a try.

Types of a game that you can play in an escape room

There are various types of game genres present in an escape room game. One of the rooms is the scary room which is for those who want to experience the thrill and suspensive experience of trapped in a scary room. There are different gaming scenarios available to you and you can choose any one of them.

If you don’t like to have a killer frightening experience then you should stay from it. On the other hand, you will also be able to play other types of escape room games which are based on action, war, crime, etc.

Will you be able to play in a team with your friends?

Yes, the puzzle room Sydney game offers you a chance to play with your friends in the team mode. Now you will be able to divide the set of objectives to be completed in parts to your teammates. And there is one added advantage. Playing with your friends in a 3D virtual escape room is a whole new form of excitement.

As a team member, you have to take part in completing the objectives that have been assigned to you. This way you will learn about how to contribute to the success of your team. An escape room game in the virtual mode is anything like a real-world that is packed full of action.

If you have been waiting to experience 3D virtual gaming then the puzzle room Sydney is the best place to experience it. There are many other franchises in other countries too. Some of the best know franchises are Fox in a Box and Entermission VR Sydney.

Since you are a fan of playing games virtual gaming is going to provide you with the thrill and the excitement that you have never experienced before.

DevelopmentInsightsMartech

6 Ways Wearable Tech Makes Everything Better

Modern technology has penetrated every spore of our daily life to the point that we wear every time we step outside the house. Whether it’s a smartphone or an Apple Watch, high-tech wearables are there to make our lives easier, help us look better, and help us in times of trouble. In fact, here are the 6 ways wearable tech makes our lives better in every aspect imaginable.

Monitoring our health

You know how doctors like to say that it is better to prevent a disease than to treat it? Well, prevention has never been easier with portable health monitors. Wearable sensors that track our vital functions have come a long way, as they are now microscopic in size. Some of the variables a modern health monitor tracks include the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, etc.

The smaller the sensors, the more functions can a health monitor has. In fact, the size of the monitors has made them not only a commercial success but it has helped scientists conduct more thorough research, as it is easier to find test subjects who are willing to wear inconspicuous sensors on their bodies.

Keeping seniors safe

The two categories of people that benefit from health monitors the most are professional athletes and seniors. The formers use these gadgets to track their athletic performance, while for the latter a high-tech wearable could help save their life.

Devices designed to keep seniors safe use Wi-Fi, cellular, and GPS to automatically detect a fall or a heart issue (when paired up with a health monitor) and alert emergency medical services in real-time. More advanced models come with artificial intelligence that literally learns the owner’s lifestyle so it can instantly react in case of a medical emergency.

An extra benefit of these devices is the geolocation function. It can help guide the wearer back to their home, which is not uncommon for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The location data is fed directly to a cloud, so you can track your grandmother if she gets lost in Dunedin and walks all the way up to Chain Hills, for instance. 

Making the switch to e-cigarettes

Apart from simply tracking your health, tech wearables can actually help you make the switch to a healthier lifestyle. One example is tobacco smokers who are making the switch to vaping. If you have noticed people wearing e-cigarettes around their neck in downtown Wellington, then they are former smokers (there is no combustion when vaping).

In fact, vaping stores are so popular nowadays, that you can vape in Dunedin and choose from a variety of vape mods. These prolong the experience and e-liquids are there to provide you with a taste of your choice, from coffee, across fruity flavors to gummy bears taste.

An improved image of the world

For those people who wear prescription eyeglasses, there are smart cameras that get attached to the frame of the glasses. The main function of the camera is to recognize people, text, and various objects. Pointing the camera at a section of a text will enable you to hear whom you are talking to or have an inscription before your eyes read aloud.

Not only are these cameras cool as heck but they can become a lifeline for vision-impaired people. The smart cam verbalizes the world around us, enabling even the blond people to fully enjoy their visual surroundings. People who would normally need prescription glasses can now read books without straining their eyesight.

Better than a hearing aid

Although New Zealand’s Ministry of Health has a subsidy scheme for getting hearing aids, they are still expensive and inaccessible to some people. Luckily, there are tech wearables complete with apps for those people who have difficulties discerning voices in a crowd but aren’t eligible for a hearing aid nor they really need none.

The biggest advantage of smart hearing amplifiers is their price, as on average they cost ten times the price of brand new professional hearing aids. These amplifiers resemble a Bluetooth headset, so they are easy to put on and remove. Some models have optional microphones you attach to the person speaking to improve sound quality.

Getting a tan in a smart way

Finally, a tiny sensor had been developed recently to indicate the strength of UV rays to the user. Mere 9 millimeters in diameter and battery-free, the tiny device is worn on the thumbnail. The person wearing it will never again spend too much time in the sun, ensuring they get a nice tan. After two weeks, the data from the little devil is uploaded to your smartphone where an app analyzes it.

As you have seen from our 6 examples, our lives are radically altered by wearable tech. From health monitors to vaping, wearables make everything better and more enjoyable.

DevelopmentInsightsMartechSaaSSEO

Best Google Chrome Extensions for Small Businesses

Google Chrome has arrays of extensions that you can use to scale your business. You can use them to send emails, automate tasks, and safeguard your documents online. The extensions work on your PC or Mac once you have downloaded them. Here are the top applications that are of immense benefit to your business.

1. Todoist

Todoist is a useful tool that will help you organize all tasks in your organization. You will work with other workers as a team to complete all the jobs. Plus, you can assign individuals to work based on their skills and talents as well. As the boss, you can track the tasks regardless of your location. The highlight is that you can set reminders via Todoist so that you won’t miss out on significant job events.

2. Helium 10

Helium 10 is an Amazon Chrome extension for sellers that help them check prices on various items. You can keep tabs on the cost of specific products in your line of business. Once the prices drop, Helium 10 will alert you so that you can set competitive rates. This way, you will generate profits based on the trends that come with the cost of goods. The best part is that you will get data on Amazon and other global online sellers. You will be ahead of other businesses that trade in the same products as your enterprise.

3. Grammarly

The app is essential since you need to create content from time to time about your company. On that account, Grammarly removes typos and grammar mistakes that make online content appear unprofessional. Once you install it, it automatically corrects all errors when you write to attain polished posts. Your emails will be easy to read and have the correct spelling as well.

4. Buffer

It is a widely used Google Chrome extension that links all your social media accounts. You can advertise your products via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn with one click. The posts become automatic, making social sharing a seamless thing to do. The highlight is that you can track and analyze results to see the number of likes, shares, and comments.

5. Boomerang

Boomerang is the best extension for your email account since it manages the messages that you send or receive. It can delay texts until when you are ready to view them in free time. In addition to that, Boomerang can help you schedule when you want to send emails. You can track messages if you don’t get feedback from your clients. The best part is that you will know if the recipient has read the content or not, thanks to Boomerang.

6. Click & Clean

As part of technology, your business will face risks such as cyberattacks and other cybersecurity breaches. Therefore, you need to protect vital information that you have searched via your browser. Click & Clean is the ideal mechanism to clear history and cookies. It gets rid of cache and typed URLs so that no one can have a wind of what you are doing as part of your venture.

7. Fakespot

If you buy products in bulk online, you need to know if they are authentic or not. Fakespot allows you to determine genuine and fake reviews from customers. This way, you can purchase items that will not discredit your business. The extension pans out the difference between honest and untrue comments about specific goods. You will view the real grades from A to F that show the value or worth of the items that you intend to buy.

DevelopmentMartechSEOStartups

Why San Diego is a Great Location for Tech Startups

Tech startups are some of the hottest companies in existence today. However, there’s always the question of where they should be located. For 2020 and the future, let us take a very close look at why San Diego is an excellent location for tech startups.

Great Location with Relatively Lower Costs

To start things off, San Diego features relatively low costs compared to the rest of California. Let’s not get confused, the price of living is still high. But it is moderately affordable, especially for a startup. An office can be rented at a reasonable price. If you’re willing to commit to several years of rent, these deals are even better. Utilities also aren’t extremely high. On a day to day basis, tech startups will find that they pay less than their counterparts in other cities with a large tech presence. As for your employees, they’ll be spending less as well. Food and transportation costs are very affordable in San Diego. This means that more people are flocking to the city, and your employees will be set up for success in financial regard.

A Strong, Supportive Tech Community

Next in line, San Diego features a strong tech community. There are already many tech startups in the area that make for high competition. In particular, this is a friendly sort of competition. While companies in some industries are fiercely at war with each other, this is not true for the tech industry. Many of these startups work alongside one another and even bounce ideas off each other. As the company across the street makes progress, you’ll want to achieve the same. There are tech festivals and celebrations throughout the year that feature the latest developments. These are fantastic ways to stay up to date with the newest tech and look toward the future. When your startup wins an award or recognition, other businesses throughout the city will respect this achievement for what it is worth.

A Rich Talent Pool

Another factor that is similar to a strong tech community is the number of tech graduates. Thousands of students from nearby universities are looking for internships or their first job out of college. They have completed all the relevant coursework and are more than qualified to take on a startup job. Moreover, they are hungry and have a genuine interest in tech. If you situate your startup in San Diego, you’ll be able to work with all of these graduates. It’s a relationship that goes both ways. You’ll have the best workforce at your fingertips, and your startup will surely see success. At the same time, these graduates will be able to work for a promising startup instead of a company that doesn’t fit their interests.

A Diversity of Resources

Last but not least, the diversity of resources is phenomenal, from San Diego water purification resources like Rayne Water to San Diego billboard companies like Lamar. Solar energy is a thriving business, as well, because San Diego is a city that is highly focused on renewable energy. In particular, solar panels are commonly found on the roofs of many downtown buildings. The Southern California climate is perfect for generating these sorts of renewable energy. It will lower the cost of your electric bill and help the environment at the same time.

That Perfect Weather

Northern California draws a lot of people in the tech industry, but unless you like wearing a jacket most of the year, there’s no comparison to the weather in San Diego. Every few years, another news publication writes an article about how San Diego is the finest place to live. Maybe that’s why the city’s motto is: “America’s Finest City.”

When all is said and done, San Diego is an excellent location for tech startups. It’s nearly the perfect environment for a startup looking to make waves in the tech industry. Take all of the above factors and more into consideration!

DevelopmentInsightsSEO

How to Work With an Outsourcing Company as an In-House Developer

As a developer, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to check every item off your checklist. When these small tasks and items snowball over time, projects end up delayed, things are overlooked, and mistakes are made.

When an in-house team can no longer handle the amount of work and needs extra hands to get projects completed on-time and within budget, it’s time to partner with a software outsourcing provider.

Outsourcing software development helps companies of all sizes and industries accomplish their goals in the most time and cost-efficient manner possible. It also helps relieve some of the stress put on in-house developers by providing them with an external resource and the additional manpower required to get things done and increase overall productivity.

Outsourcing teams act as an extension of your in-house talent to supplement when niche skills, extra developers, or specific expertise is required. However, as a developer working in-house for a company, partnering with an outsourced team may feel like a world of uncertainty even if the help is totally welcomed. After all, you are working closely with a team of strangers from sometimes thousands of miles away (or even on a different continent) on important projects.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. When done correctly, software outsourcing is a great way to help your company grow, succeed, and accomplish more with the help of a third-party team.

Tips for Working with an Outsourced Team

Before beginning any project with a software development outsourcing provider, it’s important that your team sets themselves up for success and fully defines a few items before bringing the new virtual team members into the working environment. While the work is going on, making some simple adjustments and changes to your normal development routine can help make it a smoother process for all involved.

Below are just a few tips for setting your in-house development team up for success when working with an outsourcing company:

  • Before your team starts to work with the outsourced team members, it’s a good idea to establish a leadership hierarchy. This will let your in-house devs know who is responsible for formally checking in with the team on items, who they should go to with questions, and a general game plan for management.
  • You should strive to treat your offshore developers just like an in-house coworker. When you begin working with an offshoring company, employees from that company become your virtual partners. Make the effort to make them feel welcome and like a part of the team. Not only does this boost the overall work morale and foster co-working relationships, but it will also boost productivity levels across the board.
  • Communication is, without a doubt, the backbone of a good outsourcing partnership. Without strong, effective communication from the very start of the working relationship, you are setting yourself up for failure. All project requirements must be set and clear from the beginning. However, just handing over a project explanation and having a few meetings isn’t enough. Daily communication between in-house developers and your outsourcing partner is important to help keep things on track.
    Programs such as Slack and Skype make it easy to communicate in a quick fashion to answer questions in real-time. The programs are a big help when challenges or problems come up as they allow for a timely response. Weekly meetings via voice or video calls are a great way to help bring your team back together for status updates and such. Making communication a top priority when working with an outsourced provider is one of the top ways to be successful in your software development projects.
  • Project management tools are a great way to keep things organized and visible to all team members at all times. When working with a development team that is not fully in the office, it can be difficult to know the status of each individual task for the current project. With a project management tool, such as Asana, Trello, or Basecamp, it’s easy to clearly communicate and assign tasks, determine deadlines, arrange meetings, and set goals or milestones for the projects. These tools help keep questions and answers, comments, and attached files organized and in one place for all of your team members to see. 

As an in-house developer or development team leader, working with a software development outsourcing firm may seem like a daunting task at first. However, these partnerships are incredibly beneficial for your team in terms of both efficiency and productivity. By setting yourself up for success with the right tools and effective communication methods, as well as clear and concise planning, your teams will be able to work together to knock projects out and achieve success.

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10 Things to Consider When Outsourcing Quality Assurance

If software or website development project is to be successful, it has to go through rigorous quality assurance and testing to ensure that it’s ready for the market. However, this is a tedious and rather time-consuming part of the overall development process. For this reason (and many more), many organizations choose to outsource their quality assurance needs. 

What is quality assurance? One of the most important parts of the software development process, quality assurance (QA) is the process of identifying and maintaining set requirements for the development of reliable products. QA helps to boost a company’s credibility, improves overall workflow efficiency, offers a competitive advantage, and helps boost the customers’ product confidence.

QA outsourcing is when an organization chooses to partner with a third-party QA outsourcing company to handle all of their quality assurance needs. This process not only helps bring a fresh perspective and eyes to the project but also helps expedite the process and ensure that nothing goes unanalyzed. It cuts costs, improves efficiency, and provides organizations with access to quality assurance expertise without the expensive costs associated with hiring in-house.

Many businesses, however, get stuck on how to get started with third-party QA companies. They may know that the process is beneficial and that partnering with another company is something that they should do, but don’t really know where to begin or how to organize things.

Things to Keep in Mind When Outsourcing Quality Assurance

  1. The lowest rate doesn’t mean the lowest total cost nor the best services. – When it comes to outsourcing vendors, sometimes rates sound too good to be true. Unfortunately, it’s likely that they are, in fact, too good to be true. Inexpensive rates and the promise of an enormous virtual team may sound rather enticing, but it’s important to consider all options before signing on the cheapest dotted line.
  2. A thorough and comprehensive Service Level Agreement is a must-have. – A good SLA describes the level of service that an outsourcing vendor will provide in detail. This includes client satisfaction, on-time delivery, the volume of work, system downtime, availability, reporting, project management, timelines, and so on. The SLA should also include the company’s quality assurance process and measures so that organizations know what they are paying for.
  3. Industry experience means a lot in QA. – Every industry vertical has unique business processes and procedures. If a tester or testing team doesn’t have any experience with the industry at-hand, they may slow down QA efforts. A team of professionals who understand how the industry works will not only improve efficiency but also help focus quality efforts to ensure that the areas with the most business impact get the top priority testing slots.
  4. Engagement model selection is important. – During the development of an outsourcing plan, one of the most important decisions for an organization to make is the selection of an engagement model. The main point of this choice is for organizations to decide whether total outsourcing or incremental outsourcing is the right decision. Incremental outsourcing is the process of outsourcing smaller projects to make things more manageable while total outsourcing includes multiple projects with the same vendor.
  5. Communication is everything. – Communication is the key to success with any sort of outsourced project or team, something that’s especially true when it comes to QA outsourcing. Hiring organizations should strive to ensure that they have open channels for any questions that need answering and provide effective, responsive points of contact within their organizations. Factors such as escalation, issue resolution, and reporting are all important aspects of the communication process for QA.
  6. Make sure the culture fits. – A good cultural fit with an outsourcing partner is also very important. The outsourcing team needs to get to know the hiring organization as a whole, the employees, how everyone works together, and other vendors that may work on the project. They should understand the pace at which the team works and how they need to fit within it as well.
  7. Make IP protection a priority. – Companies must ensure that all personally identifiable information is never duplicated, distributed, disclosed, or made available to third parties in any manner. Any outsourcing partner needs to have security testing standards that will prevent any unauthorized access or misuse of data for hiring companies.
  8. Ask about the technology framework and best practices. – Before hiring a QA outsourcing provider, every organization should ask about the unique intellectual property and best practices that the provider offers. This helps give insight into the methodologies, tool kits, and success rate of the provider.
  9. Learn about flexibility and scalability options. – To guarantee an effective and efficient response to any work fluctuations, hiring organizations should ensure that their chosen outsourcing provider offers flexible options. This means scaling the team up during peak times and scaling down during a lull. A good outsourcing partner should have adequate infrastructure and resources available for their clients.
  10. Learn about the provider’s methods and tech. – A good outsourced QA provider uses the latest technologies and methodologies to keep up with the times. This is an obvious item, but also commonly overlooked.

By keeping these 10 notes in mind during the process of finding and hiring a software QA outsourcing company, organizations are set up for success before the projects even begin.