Category: SaaS

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.

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.

DevelopmentInsightsMartechSaaSSEO

Visuals in Landing Pages: Using Them Right

Tapping on the emotional instinct of your prospects and customers is imperative if you want your landing pages to convert and bring you better sales. Visuals can be a powerful element that can make your visitors smile, share valuable information, inspire the readers, and encourage them to make the purchase.

Take a look at this landing page inviting the visitors to a webinar that would discuss the future of retail-borderless commerce. It has perfectly combined text, visuals, and CTAs to encourage the readers to take action. 

That said, let’s move on to exploring the world of visuals in landing pages. 

1. Use relevant imagery

When your content is accompanied by relevant images, readers find it easier to grasp the message and make up their mind to complete the purchase. The key to using imagery is that if a message can be conveyed with the help of an image, there is no need to have a wall of text to explain it. 

Moo has gone a step ahead and incorporated the principle of storytelling in their email landing page. 

While the email shows an interesting GIF of a toaster with the CTA “Push the lever”, the landing page continues the story and displays a toast with toaster marks of 15% to promote their 15% off and coupon code.

2. Grab attention with GIFs

GIFs are the perfect substitute to videos as they emulate a video-like experience without any major impact on the loading speed of the landing page. According to GIPHY, 500 million active users spend close to 11 million hours in viewing GIFs on their channel which demonstrates the love for GIFs.  

Just make sure that the size of the GIF does not go over 1MB so that your page does not take too much time to load. 

3. Let videos do the magic

So many companies have started using videos in their landing pages to make the message more impactful for the readers and showcase your products or services effectively. You can either use the videos in the background or have a different section for the video followed by a sign-up form and CTA. 

If you want to stand out from the crowd, you can even try out personalized videos on the landing pages. These videos can be easily created with the help of tools like Hippo Video in which you create a video template with placeholder text and then edit it with tailormade content according to the reader’s preferences.

4. Take help of illustrations

Illustrations are way more convenient to create when compared to videos or GIFs. Another advantage of these modern images is that they have a great visual appeal too. They can be used to symbolically represent an idea through graphics and explain your offerings to the visitor.

5. Harness the power of graphs

Often, marketers need to showcase complicated statistics on a landing page. Graphs can help you with this.

Here are some ways in which you can use graphs to their maximum potential.

i. Take help of scatter plots and treemaps to display huge set of information.

ii. If you want to show trends over a decade or two, use line charts or bar graphs. 

iii. Pyramids and pie charts work well if you want to show the proportion of elements.

6. Choose the right colors

Whenever you sit to strategize your landing page design and visual elements, pick the right colors according to your business type and industry. For example, if you are a premium brand, black and white would be the perfect choice for you. Remember Apple?

On the other hand, if you are an FMCG brand, red would work better for you. (Example: McDonald’s)

Green stands for tranquility, health, and good luck which makes it a good choice for brands that are related to growth.

To learn more about how to use the appropriate visuals, colors, and CTA in your landing pages, head to the insightful infographic by Email Uplers: A deep dive into “the use of visuals in landing pages”.

IMAGE EMBED CODE 

<a href=”https://email.uplers.com/infographics/landing-page-visual-elements/” target=”_blank”>

                  <img src=”https://email.uplers.com/infographics/landing-page-visual-elements/images/embed.jpg” alt=”How to Use Visual Elements in Landing Page to Boost Conversions” /></a>

                 Source:<a href=”https://email.uplers.com/infographics/landing-page-visual-elements/”> How to Use Visual Elements in Landing Page to Boost Conversions </a>

About the author

Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest growing custom email design and coding companies, and specializes in crafting professional email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free responsive HTML email templates in addition to providing email automation, campaign management, and data integration & migration services. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.

DevelopmentInsightsProductsSaaS

What You Need For Your Next Online Business Meeting

With more of the world working from home than ever before, chances are you will attend or run an online business meeting. And since the majority of businesses usually use face to face meetings, it takes an adjustment to run a meeting online while remaining effective. 

That is why it’s essential to learn what you need for your next online business meeting because virtual meetings require equipment and software you might not currently have. So, in case you have to run your business in the virtual world, even if it’s temporary, follow this guide to set up your tech.

Meeting Software

The central part of any online business meeting is your meeting software, and there are several programs to choose from. Zoom is a popular software choice for businesses to meet with their staff because it’s free and easy to use. That said, Zoom isn’t the only meeting software you can choose for your business meetings.

Here are some other software choices you could download and use:

  • Cisco Webex Meetings
  • Join.me
  • GoToMeeting
  • BlueJeans
  • UberConference
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Google Meet

Be sure the software you pick has the capabilities you need, like screen sharing, whiteboarding, or dedicated sub-rooms for breakout sessions. Each conference software has different amenities, so choose one that works for you and your business.

Also, be sure that your team can easily download the software because each participant will need the software to join your meeting.

Proper Lighting

Using your computer’s camera or your front-facing phone camera is probably your best choice if you don’t want to invest in a third-party camera.

The problem is, you still have to worry about proper lighting because if your lighting is in the wrong place, your staff will have a hard time concentrating on your words. So, you want to gather three LED daylight bulbs and place one directly in front of you, one at 45 degrees to your right, and one 45 degrees to your left.

Be sure these lights are slightly above you, so the lighting isn’t too harsh, and they will give you sufficient lighting for your meeting without distracting shadows.

Up to Date Microphone

More important than lighting is your staff’s ability to hear what you’re saying, and for that, you need a proper microphone. You might have a sufficient microphone inside your computer already, and the best way to tell if your audience can hear you is to test it before your meeting.

If you don’t like the sound coming through your microphone, you want to invest in a standalone microphone. These products have noise-canceling features that block out surrounding sounds so that your staff can hear you better. 

For example, noise-canceling features could block out a residential air conditioning repair Santa Rosa residents might need during a business meeting to stay cool. In fact, that feature would be helpful in any house across the world because sometimes there are loud noises during your meeting and you don’t want the disruption.

The Blue Yeti microphone is a popular model for podcasters and would work perfectly for any online business meeting you conduct.

Bring Your Teams Together

Businesses need to adjust to current times and that means conducting business meetings online. The truth is, it doesn’t take a whole lot of preparation to have business meetings with your staff because you already have most of the equipment you need. 

When you don’t or if it’s not good enough, ordering tech gadgets to enhance your current equipment is a smart investment in your business. Doing so will allow you to conduct business anywhere and in any climate so you can carry on regardless of the state of the world.

DevelopmentInsightsSaaSSEO

Free VPN vs. Paid VPN – Which Should You Choose?

If you are seeking to find a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to secure your online activities and protect your data, you are not alone; many other people have intensified their interest in VPNs. We have gone through different VPN reviews websites like VPN Watch, and now we’ll guide you through what to look for in a VPN and explain the key differences between free and paid VPN services.

What Does a VPN Do?

When you decide to find a VPN service, there are a few important reasons behind that, such as:

  • You are a frequent traveler who wants to use public Wi-Fi.
  • You want to surf the internet anonymously by masking your IP address.
  • You are just afraid that someone might try to steal your information on public Wi-Fi.
  • You are afraid that someone is watching your browsing history and activity.

A VPN creates a secure connection to a network over the internet through an encrypted tunnel that hides your IP address. This allows secure and private sending and receiving of data over public or shared networks on various devices, giving you enhanced anonymity and privacy when browsing.

A VPN hides a lot of information, which, if made public, can put your privacy at risk, such as:

  • Your IP address.
  • Your browsing history.
  • Your device details.
  • Your location.
  • Your internet activities.

Choosing the best VPN for you can be a tough endeavor, but it is one that you must conduct if you want to protect your online identity and data. You can choose either a free or paid VPN.

Free VPNs vs. Paid VPNs

The best VPNs keep your identity completely anonymous online, protect your data, shield you from cyber threats, and give you access to geo-restricted websites. Isn’t the thought of getting all that for free amazing?

However, can free be entirely free?

Paid VPN providers make profits from subscription fees. How free VPN providers make money should be a big question for you because, somehow, they have to generate revenue from your usage of their service.

Why Should You Choose a Free VPN?

The first reason for choosing a free VPN is that it is free – you won’t have to pay anything to use it. Furthermore, like any VPN, a free VPN will give you anonymity while browsing the web.

What Risks Are Associated with Using a Free VPN?

Some free VPNs compromise your data security and privacy to make money. How do they do that?

  • They track your online activities and browser history, then sell your data to third parties, such as advertisers.
  • They are inviting malware to your device. That malware harvests your data to facilitate phishing scams and other data breaches.
  • Weak security: free VPNs have next to zero security because of their weak and fickle online security features. This leaves you vulnerable to hackers, cybercriminals, and governmental spying.
  • They interrupt your browsing with ads and continuous pop-ups. This is annoying and may lead you to malicious sites that are dangerous to browse.
  • They redirect your internet traffic without your permission. Browser hijacking is also one of their revenue making streams.
  • You will face significant speed drops. Free VPNs significantly slow down your internet connection.

When Can You Use a Free VPN?

Despite these numerous flaws, some safe free VPNs still work well when used occasionally. For instance, if you are about to travel and want to access a geo-blocked site from home, or if you want a little privacy and protection while using shared public Wi-Fi, you can use a limited free VPN service.

Paid VPNs

The fact is no free VPN will offer you a complete high-quality and safe service without limitations. To get full usage of a VPN, you should opt for a paid option.

Are Paid VPNs Worth the Money?

Definitely, paid VPNs are worth it. With paid VPNs, you get:

  • genuine protection for your private online data,
  • secure protocols with top-notch network security,
  • a premium VPN service that keeps you anonymous and your internet traffic private,
  • access to content that is otherwise geo-restricted, such as streaming services or games, 
  • no bandwidth caps or slow connection speeds,
  • a no-log policy,
  • built-in malware protection and ad blockers to keep you safer,
  • access to more server locations and better server selection,
  • better customer support services.
  • additional security options like double vpn

Bottom Line

To be brief, we strongly advise against using a free VPN service. No free VPN is reliable or trustworthy enough to offer you the level of digital protection that can keep your data safe online.

However, you also need to know that all VPN providers can track your online traffic, activity, and browsing data. The question is why or whether they do so. Paid VPN service providers say they don’t. You cannot know, and you have to take their word on that.

We believe that the information in this article can help you make the right decision. If you have any other issues regarding VPN selection, you can alert us through the comments section.

DevelopmentInsightsProductsSaaSSEO

Different Approaches for Test Automation for Microservices

Most companies that use DevOps are turning to Microservices for their code development. Microservices are small-sized parts of an application that are focused on completing one task. They are a subpart of a module. These services are independent of each other. Hence they can be tested separately by QA testing companies without worrying about dependencies. Microservices can also be deployed independently. 

All of those are neat benefits. But not everything is great when it comes to microservices. In fact, one of the downsides is that they are hard to test since each has its own codebase, dependencies management, and database schema. Even for local testing, you have to make sure that you’re using the latest code stack., all data migrations are up to date, and that you’re using the correct code branch. 

Since this can be pretty challenging, here are a few ways through which microservices testing can be automated.

1. Full-stack inbox testing

In this, you create the testing environment on a local system. Then you carry out the quality testing on that local system, by testing each instance one by one. The machine is called a vagrant box, as Vagrant is used to creating that environment. 

Benefits

  • Building your virtual machine will take minutes  
  • Pre-built Vagrant provisioners
  • Anyone can test over the internet by downloading the same machine on their laptop. 
  • QA becomes easier. 

Problems:

  • Spinning the machine locally can have unexpected errors. 
  • This system doesn’t scale. 
  • Trying to replicate a cloud infrastructure environment on a local system doesn’t test the same way. 

2. End to end testing 

End-to-end testing is the Quality Assurance for all the parts of the system i,e, services, integration, interface, and network. This type of testing tests the whole user journey, from start to finish. You can also use the 80/20 rule – that is, not simulating all the parts of a real test, just pieces of it.

Benefits

  • It validates all layers of the service, such as the data layer, integration layer, presentation layer, and business layer.
  • It reduces time and costs by decreasing errors. 

Problems:

  • Many companies don’t believe End-to-End testing is useful for microservices as they are not full applications. Hence there won’t be a workflow that tests all aspects of service. 
  • Testing gets complex every time you introduce a new microservice into the architecture. 

3. Unit testing 

Unit testing is done by writing test cases for a particular unit/part of the code. A unit can be one method or a whole module. The basic idea is to divide the repository into smaller components and to test them individually. 

Ideally, unit testing should be done by minimizing external dependencies. Doing so will ensure quality even if the external environment around the unit changes.

Benefits

  • You can use different development languages or frameworks for unit testing.

Problems:

  • Testers may write wrong tests
  • Debugging unit tests often wastes time instead of saving it.

 4. Documentation first testing

Also called the API First approach. In it, you create the API along with its documentation before anything else. The API documentation is made open-source.

Developers APIs are considered “High-level citizens.” Doing so creates a contract for how to make changes to them.  If anyone wants to change API or create their own based on them, they’ll have to review the document to make sure that the new API upholds the standards mentioned in the Original API. 

Benefits

  • Increases Speed to market 
  • It reduces costs. Well suited for cloud development.
  • Many teams can work parallelly based on API definitions in the documentation. 

Problems

  • Setting up the initial API can be challenging.
  • Testing all parameters in API Request combinations can take long
  • Schema updating of the API may cause downtime because of new parameters. 

5. Stubbed Testing

Used for top-down integrating quality testing. In it, you use small codes called stubs for testing. They behave and handle data like microservices but they are just dummies – small, isolated parts of your application.

Software testing companies use stub tests when they need to do QA after taking input from the user. The system can just mimic user behavior.

Benefits:

  • Can test the primary module without the smaller modules (top-down approach)
  • Reproduce complex modules easily
  • Can test without the required response. 
  • Saves time

Problems:

  • Shallower than other methods. 
  • Static methods cannot be stubbed
  • Pointer method signatures not supported.

You can use different tools software testing companies use to test microservices, such as: 

  1. Goreplay: Open-source, a networking tool that monitors live traffic. 
  2. VCR: a unit testing tool that records HTTP interactions for your test suite. 
  3. Apiary: a documentation tool. It can write, mock, and spin an API in 30 minutes. 
  4. Wilma: Service virtualization tool. Combines Service stubs and HTTPS proxy
  5. Wiremock: HTTP based API simulator. Creates an actual HTTP server and mimics web service. 

Conclusion

Microservices testing can be difficult but is an unavoidable part of development. You can change your strategy as per requirement and situation. There is uncertainty in this type of testing, but if you apply tried and tested theories like Stubbed testing, documentation testing, etc., you won’t face any problems. 

DevelopmentInsightsSaaSStartups

The 7 Best Careers for Digital Nomads

Jetting off to a different country — or maybe several — for a long time, maybe even permanently, is a dream for many. Unfortunately, it’s not always the most practical of aspirations. After all, you need to earn a living, one that will fund your desired lifestyle.

But today, many people have found a way to earn a living while still making their way around the globe. These so-called digital nomads rely on their business savvy and WIFI connections to perform their work. And you can, too! While not every job is conducive to this lifestyle — after all, it’s hard to perform surgery on the go — there are still many that are, from software development for a company like BairesDev to writing for a variety of publications.

Here are some of the best ones that a lot of people are already working on while traveling around the world.

1. Software or web developer

Programming is an occupation that you can easily carry with you wherever you go, whether you’re building apps, websites, games, or other products. Given that it’s a skill that’s in high demand, many businesses will be eager to accommodate your desire to work remotely, as long as you demonstrate that you’re a skilled coder who will benefit their organization. Often, you don’t even need an internet connection, which makes the profession even more adaptable.

2. Writer/editor

While there are many writers and editors who work in full-time roles at publications and organizations, there’s also an increasingly large subset who freelance. This makes it easy to travel while you write — and you may even find that some employers will let their full-time staff work remotely as well. You have many options if you pursue writing as a career, from blogging to copywriting to journalism.

3. Digital marketer

Not all types of marketing are conducive to the digital nomadic lifestyle, but those that deal exclusively in the online realm tend to be more so than, say, print advertising. For example, an SEO specialist is often able to develop strategies for boosting rankings and analyze businesses’ materials from anywhere in the world. Likewise, a social media manager often needs little more than an internet connection to post content and evaluate analytics. Consultants like Cavendish Wood provide all sorts of digital assistance in the form of marketers or consultants that could really open your eyes to processes and ways of working and in turn help your business grow and develop.

4. Virtual assistant

The job of a virtual assistant is steadily gaining popularity as many business leaders are realizing that much of the help they need can be provided remotely. In this role, you’ll perform many of the jobs a regular assistant would — scheduling appointments, entering data, responding to requests, and performing other administrative tasks — all from the comfort of your own home or wherever you’re currently residing. 

In many cases, you’ll be expected to make phone calls, so you should discuss whether it’s possible to use Skype or a similar platform with your employer.

5. Graphic designer

As long as you have the artistic flair and essential design tools like Adobe Suite, it’s not too difficult to imagine life as a graphic designer on the road. There are plenty of times when you won’t even need a WIFI connection, like when you’re sketching out ideas or even creating them on your laptop, whether you’re working on a logo or an advertisement. 

6. Online language teacher

If you have a passion for travel, envisioning life as a language teacher isn’t a huge stretch. Fortunately, you don’t even need to teach languages in person anymore. The demand for English teachers around the world is high, as is that for instructors of other languages. You can teach through an established company like Teach Away or market your services as an independent tutor.

Keep in mind that the requirements vary for different platforms, so it’s important to look into them before you decide to go this route. At the very least, you’ll likely need a bachelor’s degree.

7. Consultant

If you’re well-established and have a great deal of experience and plenty of skills in your industry, consider becoming a consultant. This career path has a lot of advantages over traditional, 9-to-5 positions, including more flexibility and often higher earning potential. Businesses in many industries need consultants to advise them on their strategies, from marketing to finance. 

Because you’re not a salaried employee, you won’t be expected to go into an office, and the meetings you do need to attend can often be conducted over Skype or another video or phone platform.

There are plenty of options when it comes to living life as a digital nomad, no matter what your strengths. While it’s not suited to every career, increasingly, many organizations are allowing their employees to work remotely — even when they’re traveling the globe. If you believe your job is adaptable to this lifestyle, discuss it with your employer. It’s a good idea to support your case by explaining how it will benefit both of you. 

Or, consider whether freelancing or consulting might be a good fit for you. Not only are there plenty of jobs for the digital nomad, but there are so many different ways of working!

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The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make When Outsourcing Software Development

When a business needs to create, customize, or manage software solutions for their business, they simply don’t have the time, know-how, or manpower to do so in most cases. Thus, many organizations have made the smart decision to partner with a third-party outsourcing provider for all of their software development needs.

Outsourcing software development has a number of significant advantages for companies of all sizes and specialties. The practice reduces costs by not keeping team members as in-house, full-time employees. As they are part of an external team, the hiring company must only pay a flat monthly or hourly rate or pay for the entire project (depending on the contract). Companies are able to scale the number of people on their teams up or down as well, helping to ensure maximum efficiency and use of resources. 

Outsourcing companies, such as BairesDev, give organizations access to niche skill sets and a wide variety of talent that they may not have been able to access otherwise. (Learn more about BairesDev here: https://www.bairesdev.com/software-development-services/software-outsourcing/) These teams keep costs down while operating at maximum efficiency to help companies stay focused on their core business tasks and still accomplishing their software goals. 

The Most Common Software Development Outsourcing Mistakes

Working with an outsourcing company for software development projects is very beneficial for all kinds of businesses. However, the partnership can go awry when the hiring company makes mistakes. This doesn’t just lead to failed projects, but to loss of time, loss of money, and an indefinitely postponed launch of the final product.

It’s very important that companies understand what it takes to have a good partnership with a third-party outsourcing provider. Not only that, but they should be aware of the common pitfalls and how they can prevent them from happening.

Here are just a few examples of the most common outsourcing problems and how to prevent them:

  1. Choosing an outsourcing company based on the lowest cost. – Most outsourcing companies do exist to help cut down on the cost of developing software. The price of hiring talented developers at an offshore or nearshore development company can be a fraction of what it would cost to hire a developer to work in-house.
    However, saving a few extra dollars overall to hire a more inexperienced development team at the lowest cost could have dire consequences. Obviously cost is a deciding factor in making any business decision, but it should not be the only one. Take experience levels, technology offerings, project examples, communication abilities, and the company as a whole into account in all decision making.
  2. Not making communication a top priority. – Communication makes or breaks an outsourcing project. When working with an outsourced team, communication becomes more important than ever. Before a project begins and an outside team is even hired, companies must take the time to fully establish the project goals, the intended functionality, the necessary requirements, and any other important information that the development team should know. After selecting an outsourcing provider, leaders need to decide on the required communication methods and frequency of communication. Thanks to programs such as Slack and Skype, instant communication between teams all over the world is possible. Regular meetings (via phone or video chat) should occur to help ensure that all team members are on the same page and kept updated on progress throughout the duration of the project. 
  3. Setting unreasonable timelines. – While outsourcing companies are able to expedite timelines thanks to the experience and skill sets of their talent, they aren’t magicians. Timelines must still account for any bugs, issues, or additional development requirements that may not have initially come up. If the hiring company sets a due date that is simply unattainable, the project will fail, not be up to necessary standards, or important items could be overlooked. Instead, companies should work with the development team to decide on a fair time frame that works for both the devs and the end-users.
  4. Not having any kind of in-house tech know-how. – Some companies enter outsourcing contracts without having any kind of in-house technology understanding on their end. While outsourcing companies offer their team leaders, it doesn’t mean that they will be able to fully align their work without being able to discuss the logistics with the in-house team. These in-house employees don’t have to be experts, but just having a tech resource available is helpful and will prevent possible communication issues.
  5. Underestimating the importance of quality assurance and testing. – Again, developers are not magicians. While they are experts in their respective field(s), outsourced development projects are bound to have bugs and errors. This is why quality assurance processes and testing are so important throughout the entire Software Development Life Cycle. Some hiring companies believe that they are hiring experts so they should not have to also hire testers and QA professionals. This is simply not the case. 

Software development outsourcing companies are great resources for companies who need to complete development projects but simply don’t have the time, money, or know-how to do it in house. As long as best practices are put into place from the very beginning of the relationship with an outsourcing company, these costly mistakes are avoidable for joint success.

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How Can I Use Videos For Lead Scoring?

Like marketing and sales tactics, videos can and should be calculated.  This information can be used to guarantee your work will reach the right people.  Videos require a different approach to metrics with different numbers when building the correct lead scoring process.  We at Inovit will break down how lead scoring works and how different kinds of videos fit into the scheme.

Just What Is Lead Scoring?

Lead scoring is evaluating a prospect or customer readiness to buy your products or services. This is determined by the level of engagement with your service or brand and the customer’s intention in purchasing.  For a long time now, customers are seen as a funnel but you must realize some customers are non-linear with sustenance going beyond the final sale. Lead scoring measures behavior from one customer to another.  The most popular way to achieve this is with marketing automation platforms including Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot, or Act-On.

Every company has different needs and ways to evaluate their customers.  Sales and marketing teams must create a lead scoring system that will work for both parties to deliver the best results.

Your traditional lead scoring assigns values to different interactions with your marketing or sales activities. In some cases, different interactions may be a lot more valuable than others.  This all depends on the level of engagement of the prospect with your company.  Each interaction is weighted or given a number of points based on the level of importance of every interaction of your sales or marketing team.

For instance, a prospect that has signed up for a webinar or watching a sales demo would be considered a more valuable prospect than someone viewing a video in your newsletter, liking a video post on Facebook, or viewing a YouTube pre-roll ad that plays before a featured video.

A lead scoring template will tie a numerical points system to each interaction that connects with the customer’s journey.  In other words, the more points a prospect has, the more qualified the sales or marketing lead will be.  There are different point thresholds that carry the consumer through the journey, prompting sales and marketing teams to perform other actions when engaging with the prospect.

We are huge fans of explainer videos and one from Hubspot breaks it down really well:

Some examples of template, marketing, automation platforms such as Marketo and Hubspot have excellent resources to help you get started.

Why Is Video Lead Scoring Different?

Videos are a unique medium with different metrics than those of sales and marketing tactics. Each metric should be mapped to your lead scoring chart with different levels of engagement connected to different tiers of the customer journey.

Using video lead scoring metrics information along with information from your prospect’s business to create a lead scoring scheme to accurately predict the likelihood that a prospect will become a customer, is risky.

If you look back at past data and see who your current clients are and how they behave, would be ideal.  Many marketing automation platforms are offering increases by sophisticated tools to help you.

About Video Production For Different Stages of A Customer’s Journey

Now that you understand how lead scoring works and what metrics to use to evaluate, it’s time to look at how different types of videos play a role.

Top-Of-Funnel Videos

You should think about top-of-funnel videos as an introductory phase for your viewers.  You need to capture your viewers and get them engaged in your brand.  This is your big opportunity to set a really great impression.

Explainer videos will help educate new viewers and give them an insight into who you are.  Broadcast commercials and social media videos can help reach out to new audiences.

As said before, brand awareness videos must prove value and must answer some very important questions:

• What makes your business different from others?

• What makes you better than your competitors?

• Why should prospective customers listen to you?

• How can you help me?

You need to consider middle-of-the-funnel videos.  Once you have captured prospective customers who are interested in your brand, you need to prove your overall value and then turn these people into positive sales leads.  Once you are at this stage, make sure you are giving them more in-depth information that agrees with your audience’s point of view.  Videos like webinars, case studies, how-to, and customer testimonials can give you an edge for prospective customers looking to learn more about how your product or service will benefit them.

A more in-depth video explainer video that is tailored to certain products, services, or industries can provide your audiences with detailed answers to specific questions.

Sales –  Bottom-Funnel Videos And Renewals

Think about it, bottom-funnel videos are the most important part of your sales team.  These videos are constantly used on demos, with existing customers, and even sales calls.  These videos can be perfect for a product walkthrough, explainer videos, or specific topics for webinars, and so much more.

Retargeting and Creating Loyalty Among Potential Customers

It can be quite beneficial for reactivating leads that have gone cold or to entice repeat purchases using videos. The type of video will depend on the viewer.  You might choose to target a YouTube or social media ad toward visitors to your website that did not convert. You might also send a video email to follow up with a customer who attended your webinar but did not enter the funnel. Videos can excite current customers regarding a new product or a feature with an explainer video that breaks down into detail about your product or feature. You already know these people have invested in your company with a brand, so give them a little shove in that direction.

The Value of Lead Scoring With Videos

You have put a lot of work into creating a video so it’s very important that you make the effort to measure the impact. Lead scoring is very valuable because it will give you the insight to create a video that will give your audience the very best experience and entice them to buy your brand.

A Short Summary

We have added a great deal of information in this article to draw viewers to your site and purchase your products. We have gone over choosing voice-overs vs animated text while pointing out that voice-overs have become more popular and why. Why mobile devices need to be discussed on a different level as the data connection is now so much faster.  But ask yourself if this an avenue that will work best for your viewers?

We cannot impress upon you enough, if you are using someone else’s work, you must get permission from the creator due to copyright laws. There are so many articles on the subject, read all you can and become familiar with all the dos and don’t s regarding copyright.

We at Inovit have gone out of our way to provide you with valuable information that will take a while to digest while helping you find the best marketing tactics that will work best for your videos and draw your potential and current customers to your site and buy your products!