Category Archives: Blog

How Blockchain Support IoT Data Security?

Blockchain has been involved in various technology fields and its increasing adoption can be noticed in recent years. Blockchain is accepted by many businesses, researchers, and customers for its underlying framework in crypto assets.

The adaptive nature of Blockchain paves the way for a lot of industries to be as a part of their security and admit the growing realization of the technology. But how Blockchain is related to IoT data security?

Blockchain

In earlier times, Blockchain is literally used as a base for Cryptocurrency trading. As a valuable decentralized ledger, the participants can make entries under the approval of authorized member in the group. Thus Blockchain records all the entries in different blocks across the chain and each block contains the cryptographic hash of previous block timestamp and transaction data.

The nature of how the data spread as a block in the chain is, therefore, carrying the useful information needed by more than one source. IoT allows more than one device to be connected with each other without the need for human as intermediate. Hence the data flow from one device to others has to be secured and this is how Blockchain came into effect.

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Few Basic Facts About Blockchain

Basically, Blockchain is designed as a decentralized open ledger that had the capability to store information as blocks in an immutable way.

The popularity of Blockchain had tremendously increased with the introduction of cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency analysts have forecast the popularity of Blockchain would increase up to 20 billion dollars by 2024.

Recent research conducted by financial institutions shows that 15% of banks will soon adopt Blockchain to overcome security issues.

Internet of Things Security Challenges

Tagged to the above points, Blockchain stores data in blocks across the chain. As a ledger, the process is not easy to create blocks as it takes a lot of processing time to create even a single block and the information is linked as chains with reference to previously added data in blocks.

On the other hand, IoT functionality includes receiving and transmitting the data to different devices and make real-time linkages.

Any business requires privacy and security when coming to the storage of data in clouds. The major challenge here is the protection of all data and communication records maintained up to date.

The data flow across various kinds of devices, development platforms and pass through an administrative line of boundaries each having its own setup. Therefore it becomes necessary to consider the safe functioning of the IoT system, accurate data management and safe delivery of data to the right destination on time.

Another problem is that the data is stored in one location and is easy for hackers to target. A small breach in the security system can allow hackers to access a whole lot of information. With Blockchain technology, that data exists in decentralized chain making it hard for hackers to breach. The unbreakable technical base construction and strategy parameters make an ideal technology for data storage.

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Centralized IoT Network Issues

The IoT systems are the centralized model. This means it connects only to identified and verified devices through cloud services that have high data storage capabilities.

Business including this centralized model needs to deal with high maintenance cost and infrastructure added with best IoT solutions.

Added to the above issue, there is also one more important matter to be considered. What if a number of IoT devices is interconnected at a time? Yes, the number of communication will increase which cause economic, scalability engineering issues. If these issues go beyond the limit, disruption of cloud services occur leading to security issues.

Large business ecosystems are facing this issue and the only solution lies in a decentralized network that is nothing but Blockchain.

Advantages of Blockchain

The answer to how Blockchain helps IoT security issues lies in its benefits. The first point to consider is that the members in the Blockchain verify themselves at every entry. This creates a genuine entry and the information once entered in blocks cannot be changed.

Blockchain does not require the third-party presence or no need for anyone to check thus saving time. Another point to remember is that the information is scattered all along the chain thus creating a challenging situation to hackers.

IoT Explained

Though most of us are familiar with the term “Internet of Things” yet there are few more things you need to know to understand IoT in detail.

Internet of Things technology allows the devices to connect and communicate but do you know IoT can help us in the identification of damaged parts in a device? Yes, IoT can help you or alert you about the damaged or expired parts in a device as well as provide complete information of the device. These devices use internet service to connect with outside devices. Thus these IoT devices hold a lot of data communication information which are to be secured.

How Blockchain Help IoT Security Issues?

  • Blockchain is decentralized to track down billions of devices
  • Assist in IoT requirements in industries and ensure compliance
  • Cannot alter data in Blockchain and ensure the safety of data
  • Blockchain makes data distribution possible and protects from attacks
  • Blockchain allows IoT to maintain a ledger of all transactions

Challenges in Incorporating Blockchain to Prevent IoT Issues

  • Controlling a large number of IoT devices is a challenging task to the present Blockchain version
  • Blockchain can be adapted only for securing the data and is still not the solution to IoT security issues
  • Must include a suitable framework in order to prevent unwanted interferences
  • Device manipulation is possible even within the Blockchain network
  • The smaller device does not have the capability to meet the computational power of Blockchain
  • The tracking of corrupt devices and their elimination is still a topic

Final Note

It is true to the fact that IoT technology continues to grow and expand but the challenges it faces for data security is to be accepted. Sensitive data handled by IoT networks can be subjected to serious thread attacks and there is a need for powerful technology to support the issue.

How to work with a financial planner

Tax time is the best time to start planning financially for the future. And this is where a financial planner comes in. Hiring a certified professional can help you better reach your financial goals throughout your life. Though they may not seem financially-oriented at first, many of your goals are likely related to finances: saving for retirement, purchasing a home, helping your children attend college, or starting your own business. A good financial planner can help you to reach those goals by setting up a financial plan.

planner

Keep in mind; it’s important to find a financial planner whose expertise matches your situation and needs. Before you begin working together, be sure you understand what it will cost — both directly, in fees, and indirectly, in commissions.

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Find a financial planner that understands you

Almost everyone needs some financial planning. Many people find it all too easy to put off planning for years, even up to retirement when they suddenly find there isn’t enough money. You might know your financial goals, such as buying a new home or paying for your child’s college or university education, but you may not know how to meet those goals.

A financial planner can help with:

  • planning for taxes
  • planning for private school or post-secondary education
  • managing your insurance
  • planning your retirement
  • planning your estate
  • planning your investments

In addition to a written financial plan, an adviser may offer other services such as income tax preparation, investment management, and insurance sales. Depending on your financial situation, you may need a financial planner to advise you not only in setting your financial goals but also in helping you put your plan into action.

Working together on your financial plan

A planner will work with you to examine your current financial situation and suggest a plan to help you meet your financial goals. The planner might set up a series of meetings with you to gather information, help you define your goals, and provide written recommendations on financial strategies. You’ll want to understand what it will cost — both directly, in fees, and indirectly, in commissions — before you begin working with a financial planner.

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Other tips:

  1. Clarify your financial situation. A financial planner will help you look carefully at your current finances. He will help you list your assets (what you have) and liabilities (what you owe). Your planner will most likely ask you for tax returns, securities records, insurance policies, and other papers to help determine your net worth (what you have minus what you owe).
  2. Identify goals. Next, the planner will want to understand your personal and financial goals. She will ask if you wish to save for a special vacation, help support ageing parents, reduce your debt, plan for a child’s education, or save and invest for retirement.
  3. Identify roadblocks. After understanding your goals, the planner will work with you to figure out what roadblocks might keep you from meeting your goals. These might include investments that don’t provide sufficient yield; lack of insurance to protect your home, savings, or income; or spending habits that are pushing you into debt.
  4. Create a plan. The planner will create a written plan outlining how you can meet your goals. The plan will include types of investments and insurance products, suggestions for budgeting, and a time frame for achieving short- and long-term goals.
  5. Implement the plan. You may implement the plan yourself or have the planner help you choose and purchase appropriate investment and insurance products.

It’s a good idea to meet with your planner each year to review your progress toward your goals and revise the plan accordingly. You should also talk with your planner whenever your personal or economic situation changes, for example, due to marriage, divorce, having children, health changes, an inheritance, unanticipated significant changes in income or expenses, or a change in your financial goals.

Small Businesses & PCI – What You Need to Know

Businesses Running a business in today’s data-driven world requires compliance with various federal regulations. Depending on the industry and the type of data that you deal with, there are several such regulations to abide by and failure to do so can lead to big consequences.

Businesses

One such regulation that many small business owners don’t fully understand is the Payment card industry (PCI) compliance. PCI covers the technical and operational standards that must be followed in order to ensure that customer provided credit card data is protected.

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So, how does PCI affect your small business? Let’s take a look.

The Breakdown

Any and all companies that store, process or electronically transmit credit card data are required to follow PCI compliance guidelines. Compliance is enforced by the PCI Security Standards Council. PCI compliance standards, known as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), require these organizations to securely handle credit card information in a regulated manner that helps reduce the likelihood that sensitive financial data will be intercepted or stolen.

The PCI DSS requirements are managed by major credit card companies such as MasterCard, American Express, Visa, Discover, and others and were released in December 2004.

Identity theft and big data breaches almost always make the news in some fashion or another and one of the last things you want is press coverage due to not handling credit card information properly.

The PCI guidelines outline a series of twelve requirements that you must continually follow. We’ll go more into those requirements in the next section, but as a general overview, you’ll need to assess your IT  infrastructure, the overall business processes, and the organization’s credit card handling procedures from top to bottom in order to help identify potential threats.

After that, you’ll need to address any gaps in security and have your structure set so that you avoid storing sensitive cardholder information such as driver’s license and social security numbers unless absolutely necessary. Additionally, you’re also required to provide compliance reports to the credit card companies that you work with, such as MasterCard and Visa.

The PCI Dozen

As mentioned above, there are twelve requirements for building and maintaining a secure network and system in order to fall within PCI compliance requirements. Here’s a quick look:

  1. The installation and proper maintenance of a firewall configuration in order to protect cardholder data.
  2. Eliminating the use of vendor-supplied default passwords.
  3. Implementing the use of encryption, hashing, masking, truncation and other security methods to protect stored cardholder data.
  4. Encrypting cardholder data when transmitted over open, public networks.
  5. Performing regular updates of anti-virus software in order to protect the systems against malware and other attack attempts.
  6. The development and proper maintenance of secure systems and applications.
  7. Access to cardholder data must be restricted to a “need to know” basis.
  8. Ensuring that each person with access to system components is assigned a unique identification (ID). This enables the accountability of access to critical data systems.
  9. Physical access to cardholder data must be restricted.
  10. Access to cardholder data and network resources must be monitored and tracked.
  11. There must be regular tests of your security systems and processes.
  12. You must maintain an information security policy for all personnel.

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The “Fine” Print

Just counting bad press, word of mouth, and initial financial impact, suffering a data breach is bad enough for any business. However, when you start adding in PCI compliance fines, the total cost to your organization can quickly add up beyond your worst fears.

Depending on factors such as the size of your business and the degree and length of your non-compliance, fines can range from $5,000 to $100,000 a month. If issues aren’t resolved quickly, fines can rise each month until you’re in compliance. Furthermore, failure to comply can eventually result in your ability to take credit cards being completely revoked.

It can get worse!

The credit card brands themselves can actually fine you for a data breach, even if you’re in compliance with PCI rules. That’s right, they can impose separate penalties and while they don’t publicly publish the amounts of these additional levies, those organizations that aren’t within compliance are highly likely to be fined more than those that are.

Data security simply has to be a top consideration for all organizations, especially those that deal with credit card and health information. PCI compliance may seem like “much ado about nothing,” especially when you consider how many data breaches there are each year, but these days you definitely don’t want to get caught without it.

A PCI Solution

If your business relies on accepting, processing or storing credit card information, PCI can be your biggest burden. However, choosing the right partner with the right experience can take a rather large part of that burden off your shoulders.

Contact Connectria for more information. We’re a partner that will ensure that your PCI compliance needs are met and maintained. Our engineers can help you set up your environment so that it meets your regulatory compliance needs and if you desire, we provide ongoing, 24/7/365 managed services to help ensure that your environment stays compliant.

Are Bonds a Good Investment for 2020?

A ‘bond’ is an instrument of the fixed income variety. It is representative of a loan from an investor to a borrower, typically being corporate or governmental. One could interpret a bond as being an I.O.U. between the lender and the borrower. Specifically, one that includes the details of the loan, as well as its payments.

The typical users of bonds are companies, municipalities, states, and sovereign governments to finance projects and operations alike. Those who are the owners of bonds are the debtholders, or the creditors, of the issuer. Details of a bond include the end date when the principal of the loan is due for payment to the bond owner. Most of the time, it includes the terms for variable or fixed interest payments as established by the borrower.

Bonds

 

Governments – at all levels – and corporations frequently use bonds as a way for them to borrow money. Governments need money in order to fund roads, schools, and various types of infrastructures. The sudden expense of an impending war may also result in high demand for raising funds.

In a similar fashion, corporations will regularly borrow for the purpose of expanding their business. They also need to buy property and equipment and to undertake profitable projects. Not to mention they need to conduct research, work on development, and hire employees. The common problem that large organizations run into is that they need a lot of money. More than the average bank can provide, even. Bonds provide an effective solution by way of allowing individual investors to take on the role of the lender.

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How they work

More often than not, bonds are referred to as fixed-income securities. They are one of three asset classes that individual investors are typically familiar with. The other two asset classes are stocks (equities) and cash equivalents.

A majority of corporate and government bonds are subject to public trading. Others, meanwhile, trade only in an over-the-counter (OTC) manner. Alternatively, the trade is private and occurring between the borrower and lender.

There will come a time when a company or other entity will need to raise money to finance new projects. Moreover, they will need to maintain ongoing operations and/or refinance existing debts. To do this, they may go on to issue bonds directly to investors. The borrower (issuer) issues a bond that includes a few key factors:

  • The terms of the loan.
  • Interest payments that will eventually be made.
  • The maturity date. This is the time at which there is a reimbursement of the loaned funds (bond principal).

The interest payment (i.e. the coupon) is part of the return that bondholders earn. They acquire it in exchange for loaning their funds to the issuer. The interest rate that is responsible for determining the payment is the ‘coupon rate’.

The initial bondholder can sell most bonds to other investors following their issuance. In other words, there is no need for a bond investor to hold a bond throughout the duration of its maturity date. Furthermore, it is also not unorthodox for the borrower to repurchase bonds. Especially not if interest rates are on a decline or if the borrower’s credit is improving. It can even reissue new bonds at a comparatively lower cost.

Basic characteristics

A majority of bonds share some common characteristics, some of which include:

  • Face value: This is the money amount that the bond will be worth upon reaching its maturity. Additionally, it is the reference amount that the bond issuer uses when they are calculating interest payments. Let’s say, for example, an investor purchases a bond at a premium $1,090. Moreover, another investor buys that same bond at a later time when it’s trading at a discount price for $980. By the time the bond matures, both investors will receive the $1,000 face value of the bond.
  • The coupon rate: This is the rate of interest that the bond issuer pays on the face value of the bond. It is typically expressed as a percentage. For instance, a 5% coupon rate means that bondholders will receive a 5% x $1000 face value. This equals out to $50 on an annual basis.
  • Coupon dates: These are the dates on which the bond issuer will conduct the interest payments. Executing these payments can be during any interval, though the standard is semiannual payments.
  • The maturity date: As you may recall, this is the date on which the bond matures. The bond issuer pays the bondholder the face value of the bond at this point.
  • The issue price: This is the price at which the bond issuer originally sells the bonds.

Interest rates

A bond has two features that are the principal determinants of a bond’s overall coupon rate. Those are the credit quality and time to maturity. Say that the issuer happens to have a poor credit rating. In this case, the risk of default is much greater and these bonds pay considerably more interest. Moreover, bonds that have a very long maturity date, more often than not, pay a higher interest rate. This higher compensation stems from the bondholder’s heavy exposure to interest rate and inflation risks for an extensive period.

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Impact and high-yield bonds during the pandemic

With the pandemic continuing its spread, investors desperately seeking safety are looking to buy bonds. However, interest rates are declining, so traditional bonds will provide them with very low financial returns. Some are starting to look into impact investments as a way to diversify their portfolios.

An ‘impact bond’ is a loan to an organization, typically one that is non-profit. It offers investors a financial return on top of making a direct social or environmental impact for the better. Each bond possesses a different minimum investment, interest rate, and maturity date. A variety of impact bonds will usually generate different types of impact.

It is important that investors need to evaluate the risk before they buy. What’s more, they should allocate only a small portion of their portfolio to impact bonds. There are three main risks pertaining to impact bonds:

  1. Liquidity risk: The investment is locked-in and is typically for 3 to 10 years
  2. Duration risk: The interest rate is fixed, so investors will fail to benefit if interest rates increase.
  3. Default risk: If the organization experiences bankruptcy, then investors could lose some or all of their money

According to Fitch Ratings, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, almost one-quarter of high-yield corporate bond issues in North America will suffer. Approximately 36% of high-yield corporations “have low rating headroom.” This means that they will probably face substantial rating downgrades. Such issues consist of 50% of those from airlines, 47% from oil and gas, and 44% from restaurants.

Be practical

Are you someone who wants some balance in your portfolio? If so, then adding a bit of bond exposure along with an asset allocation strategy is not a bad idea. However, there are some who show an interest in selling their stocks to replace them entirely with bonds. If you are one of these people, then you are out of luck. It’s likely that you may wind up switching away from stocks at the worst possible time.

The Definitive Guide to Low-Code Software Experience

Low-code is a software application development technique that enables businesses to quickly and easily design and develop applications via graphical user interface (GUI). Compared to traditional programming, which requires a significant amount of manual coding, low-code development only requires you to drag and drop application components into a flowchart-style formation; from there, code is automatically generated and programmed. Low-code development is considered a form of rapid application development (RAD) — which is, itself, a type of agile software development.

Low-Code

It’s important not to confuse low-code development with no-code development. No-code, like low-code, enables business to design and develop applications via GUI — but that’s where the similarities end. No-code truly caters to “citizen developers” — people who lack any prior developing experience or programming skill. By comparison, low-code requires more technical sophistication to use; as a result, it’s possible to build more advanced, more scalable applications with low-code software than with no-code development platforms.

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The Low-Code Software Experience

Ask any developer, and they’ll tell you that coding isn’t easy. Although there are some gifted developers to whom programming comes naturally, they’re few and far between. The vast majority of developers spend years honing the talent and skill to build software from scratch, which is what makes them such a valuable asset to any team — and which has led to the increased demand for senior developers across all industries.

The traditional application development coding process is fairly linear and looks something like the following:

  1. Define requirements. During the first stage of the traditional development process, you will work with the developer to determine what, exactly, you need your application to do — for example, who will use the application, what kind of environment it should support, what performance metrics in needs to meet. This can be a process in and of itself and involves gathering, reviewing, and documenting requirements, as well as identifying known and unknown variables to determine their possible effect on those requirements.
  2. Create a design. During this stage, the developer will create a wireframe or mockup — often in the form of a flowchart — that outlines key elements of the system, including system architecture, modules, components, interfaces, and data. This provides the developer with a framework that they can then translate into code.
  3. Choose a programming language. Which language the developer uses depends on a few factors, including what type of application they need to build, which environment they’re working in, what type of device they’re programming for, and which programming language they’re most familiar with.
  4. Write the code.
  5. Test the program. Once the code has been written, you’ll need to make sure that the system runs as intended. If you encounter any issues with the program or require modifications, the developer will have to go back in and troubleshoot by rewriting relevant pieces of code.
  6. Test it again. If the system runs as intended, move on to performing security, performance, and quality assurance tests.
  7. Push the system live.
  8. Monitor and maintain. The application development process doesn’t end at go-live — you’ll need to consistently monitor system health, look for potential issues and possible system enhancements, and perform maintenance or make upgrades as needed.

Your dev team should take time to carefully document every stage of this process, from initial conversations about the nature of the problem the program resolves to test results from each system iteration.

By comparison, low-code platforms significantly reduce the amount of work that needs to be done to build an application. Although low-code software still requires the user to define requirements and create a design, from there on out the app dev process is far simpler.

Once the system has been designed, all of its components (both on the frontend and backend) are automatically generated. All that’s left to do, at that point, is to test the process and push it live. Pre-built low-code modules are tested prior to publication, reducing the amount of time spent testing. Low-code development platforms even make system maintenance easy by enabling you to push updates live with a single click.

Low-Code Software Features

There are a few key features that can be found in just about any low-code platform:

  • A visually integrated development environment (IDE): This type of IDE uses visual modeling to make application development more intuitive for citizen developers. Most low-code software IDEs also allow for hand-coding, when necessary.
  • Drag-and-drop interfaces: Rather than force them to write out long lines of code, low-code development platforms enable citizen developers to design application workflows with pre-built drag-and-drop modules.
  • Declarative tools: Declarative programming is a programming method that enables you to perform an action by merely naming a task or the desired outcome of that task. Declarative tools use this type of programming to simplify the creation of workflows, making application coding faster and more accessible.
  • Reusability: Speaking of modules, low-code software’s pre-built modules make it easier for citizen developers to use and reuse the same modules for different designs, resulting in a nearly limitless variety of potential combinations. Most low-code platforms also offer additional modules via app store for more advanced development.
  • Continuous integration: Any low-code platform worth its salt will automate the build and testing of code every time a change is made to an application, thereby making it easy for citizen developers to share their code and allowing for greater version control.
  • Cross-platform functionality: While the main appeal of low-code development platforms is their ease of use, another popular feature is their ability to unify development across platforms and devices — which, in turn, enables increased mobility and allows for a truly omnichannel experience.

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The Pros and Cons of Low-Code Platforms

PROS

Coding for (Almost) All

One of the key benefits of low-code development platforms is that they democratize programming. Though not quite so simple as no-code development, low-code development is still extremely accessible and makes it so that almost anyone at any level of your organization can have a hand in application creation. This democratization has helped many businesses alleviate the strain caused by the ongoing developer shortage.

Make Better Use of Your Developers’ Time

Low-code platforms not only makes application development more accessible — by making it more accessible, it enables developers to dedicate their valuable time and attention to larger-scale projects and more complex designs.

Extend Your Resources

The beauty of low-code lies in its simplicity. Low-code platforms typically don’t require additional resources such as developer expertise or IT support to function, which means you can push your existing resources to their limits and mitigate costs in the process.

Become More Agile

Low-code makes it possible to build custom applications in a matter of days — much faster than the months-long process associated with traditional app development. With low-code, you’ll save time on manual coding and testing, thereby making your business more agile and adaptable to changes in customer expectations.

Digitally Transform Your Business

In order to truly achieve digital transformation, organizations must shift away from legacy systems and embrace new technology, and their employees must look for innovative ways to leverage that technology. Low-code development platforms can accelerate digital transformation because they make cutting-edge technology available to a wider audience, free up IT and developer resources for higher priority projects, and enable businesses to keep up with the speed of innovation.

 

CONS

Not a Total Replacement

Low-code software might be an easy way for citizen developers to get in on the application development game, but it doesn’t mean experienced developers are no longer necessary. After all, it’s one thing to build an app — it’s another to integrate that app with other apps and systems in your environment, especially if you still use legacy systems. No matter which low-code platform you choose to use, you’ll still need developers to handle more complex tasks. In the end, your application environment should use a combination of low-code, no-code, and traditional software development methodologies to achieve ideal results.

Square Peg, Round Hole

Although they’re convenient to work with, pre-built low-code modules restrict application customization. Most low-code modules are built to serve a specific purpose and are generic in nature. If you require a significant amount of customization in your environment, you might be better off investing in more in-depth, custom application development rather than low-code software.

You’ll Need to Beef up Security

There are definite pros and cons to enabling citizen developers to build applications. On the one hand, citizen developers save money otherwise allotted to hire experienced developers, boost developer productivity, and enable organizations to churn out business-critical applications at a faster rate. On the other hand, citizen developers have near-unrestricted access to your system — should one of your citizen developers (or worse, a disgruntled former employee) make unauthorized changes, it could pose a serious security threat to your environment.

How Can I Use Low-Code Software?

The potential use cases for low-code development platforms are nearly unlimited. You can use low-code software to build business process and database management applications, to give legacy applications a much-needed facelift, to automate essential workflows, to enhance system performance, to drive employee empowerment and customer engagement… The list really goes on and on. What you can achieve with low-code software is limited only by your imagination.

3 things to remember while migrating an Android app

Migrating an app, especially one implemented by someone who should probably do other things for a living, isn’t always an easy business. Nothing overly challenging, nothing technically impossible, but there are still things one should be aware of from the start to avoid excessive hassle, spare the client some of the costs and keep a good reputation. We’ve recently excelled across the board while implementing a project for a Scandinavian client and we’d like to share some of the insights we’ve gained with you. Perhaps, you’ll find something useful for your future migration endeavors.

migrating

Our client, a Swedish innovation agency that caters to several household names that you’ve, normally, been aware of since you were a kid, approached us to improve the performance of one of their mobile apps. The app is intended to conduct advanced employee surveys on the fly. It is part of a larger system that also included a Web-based application.

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1. Large Amount of Code to Migrate: Use React Programming

There were loads of code to deal with. We knew at once this amount of code would overload the system very significantly and slow down the migration process quite a bit. In addition, the number of modifications that would have had to be made across this data would have been very large. In order to avoid this, we decided to bring RX Android into play.

As the technology allows using threads to create queries that retrieve only the data that is required at the moment, we’ve managed to avoid both of the above issues. The code migration process has been smooth and relatively expeditious.

2. Increasing the App’s Responsiveness: Use Custom Android

The client’s app didn’t sport a GUI you could refer to as extremely user-friendly or optimal from the point of view of UX. Moreover, the app was not responsive enough and we were faced with the need to enhance it’s responsiveness very considerably.

While dealing with the latter task, we noticed that the external library utilized by the app, accounted for some 50% of the app’s size.

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3. Use Unit Testing While Migrating: Longer, But Highly Efficient

Moving an app to a new version is bound to make a bunch of bugs surface. Willy-nilly, you’ll have to deal with them in midstream. More so, we had to maintain both versions of the app and ensure compatibility between them. This increased the odds of us making a critical mistake, either in the old version or in the new one, that would then prove to be extremely hard to correct.

We decided that it would be prudent to spend more time on QA than hunt for well-hidden bugs later. We divided the app’s architecture into modules, composed a set of tests and used Mockito to test the app in a modular fashion.

HOW TO DEVELOP A FITNESS APP?

Owing to the generally increasing demand for mobile health (mHealth) applications and growing interest in fitness tracking and monitoring through smartphones, the global mHealth market size is also expected to grow. Valued at USD 4.19 billion in 2016, it will supposedly reach USD 111.8 billion by 2025. However, many people who have once made up their mind to engage in fitness behaviors quit an app later on. 35.1% of those who do so abandon the app together with abandoning their health goals.

FITNESS

In about a quarter of cases, mobile apps lack desired features (e.g., tracking, notifications.) These two most commonly reported reasons raise a question of motivation in achieving goals and make app developers think thoroughly about what features people expect to get increasing user lifetime value.

Types of fitness apps

Fitness apps are divided into three main groups in terms of the kinds of health-related behavior: workout, activity tracking and diet apps.

1. Workout apps

Another overpriced gym, an inconvenient location or work hours, lack of time, whatever the reason, all this makes us explore different options with a view to start exercising regularly and have fun along the way. An app focusing on physical training is an effective solution to a problem.

Primarily, these apps substitute your personal trainer. Most of them offer huge free libraries of exercises. Besides, users can access the workout plans customized to their fitness level and goals for a fixed price.

2. Fitness activity tracking apps

If you want to have your daily activities tracked, these apps will help you with that. Pairing your smartwatch with your phone will allow you to receive more accurate data about the steps taken, heartbeat, calories burnt, sleep hours, sleep quality, and other physiological parameters.

3. Nutrition and diet apps

To find and maintain your healthy weight, control water intake, remain in caloric balance (the difference between how many calories you consume and burn) and develop healthy eating habits — nutrition and diet apps will introduce you to another handy way to track your activity and, thus, attain these goals. As a rule, visualization is the key feature most users expect such apps to have. Taking advantage of daily comprehensive stats, they can monitor their progress in achieving personal goals.

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Main features of fitness applications

  • Creating an account

It is hardly surprising that users expect fitness apps to deliver personalized experiences. Thus, a personal account is a must. It will let people track their progress, change subscription and store billing information. Besides, integrating social login can enhance an application, since it will be much easier for users to create accounts.

  • Push notifications

Messages pushed to UI can not only remind users about workouts but also motivate them. One way or another, they should not be annoying. Instead, as gentle reminders, they need to adjust to people’s wants.

  • Socialization

Social support is a key factor influencing adherence to making lasting changes to fitness behavior and health. This focusing on the effort rather than progress protects users from discouragement in case they fail to achieve their goal. For instance, completing daily challenges created by an expert together with other users and posting the updates entails learning from each other through observation and creating a common experience for emotional support.

  • Geolocation integration

Benefiting from location-aware mobile fitness applications, users get access to real-time data, navigation and map view. Nutrition and diet apps may recommend spots to eat and shops or farmer’s markets depending on users’ preferences; while all fitness activity tracking apps repose on this feature. Besides, apps that encourage socialization can inform users of events happening around them.

  • Wearables data integration

This feature is closely related to geo integration. Such devices as fitness trackers, smartwatches, and wristbands are constantly developed which improves the accuracy of the collected data. Thus, users can view data related to physical activities and health right on their smartphones. For instance, Android wearable devices can either run the full Android OS or use APIs (e.g. Wear SDK and Glass GDK) to access their features.

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Top fitness applications

There are thousands of mobile apps designed to support people’s physical health, mental health, and overall well-being improvement. Not all of them, however, are as good as they are expected to be. Allowing for this, we have compiled a list of the best fitness apps everyone would be glad to have on his or her smartphone.

1. Nike+ Training Club

With the Nike Training Club app, you will get an idea of how effective at-home workouts might be. Fully guided 15-, 30-, and 45-minute sessions designed by NTC Master Trainers will take your training to the next level. AirPlay and AppleTV support will allow displaying videos on larger screens.

2. Runtastic GPS Running, Jogging and Fitness Tracker

Surprisingly, this app is not just a pure fitness activity tracker with a GPS feature. Indeed, Runtastic can track such metrics as time, speed, distance, elevation, and calories burned, but also it has other tools like setting goals, providing motivation by bringing its users a Real Voice Coach, and reminding them when it is time to change their pair of sneakers for a new one.

3. MyFitnessPal

As a nutrition and diet app, MyFitnessPal offers the largest database of over five million food items. It saves your favorite meals and allows adding new recipes and foods. At the same time, as a fitness tracker, the app covers hundreds of cardio and strength workouts. MyFitnessPal has a private-access API. It allows developers to connect devices to the nutritional database in real-time.

How to create a fitness app?

Once you have decided on the type of fitness app you would like to develop, you need to make it clear what activities the software development process will consist of. These are the steps that should be completed:

  • Technical Documentation. A tech writer creates a document that will enable a developer to assess the time and effort required.
  • UX / UI design. The ideas that might turn into new features become the design strategies here to be used when coding and launching the mobile application. It also deserves attention, since the User Experience and User Interface define your app’s success.
  • Development. The fitness app development does not differ much from the development of any other app. However, software engineers should understand the distinct features of the niche (i.e., wearables data integration.) App design, functionality, user interaction, and connectivity development are with this a challenge.
  • Testing. What is more, the overall trial for testing the usability of the app plays a very important role. The quality compliance team should be involved to define a test strategy for a product tackling crashes, bugs, and broken link issues.

The competitiveness of the global fitness app market is the obstacle companies may face. Consequently, the uniqueness and usefulness of a product are a must in developing mobile applications of that kind. Since wellness, fitness and health are all about an individual, a single user;

The Best Social Trading Platforms (Top 3 in 2020)

Social trading is a form of investing that allows traders to copy and mirror trades from more experienced traders. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about social trading. You’ll also uncover the 3 best social trading platforms. Social trading offers a world of new trading opportunities that allow you to learn from expert traders. We’ll start with the in’s and out’s of social trading so you can become familiar with the features of the best social trading platforms to use in your own practice.

Platforms

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Most people look at Forex social trading as a technology that only allows them to copy trade. However, social network trading goes beyond copying real-time Forex trades. It allows you to learn new strategies and get trading ‘tips and tricks’ from more experienced traders.

In the financial world of trading, a social trading platform can help you improve your chances of ‘winning’ and become a better trader.

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Social Trading: What is a Social Trading Platform?

A social trading platform is an online community for traders. Social trading networks for forex and other instruments allow traders to connect, learn and share new trading ideas. This allows users to educate themselves, and potentially copy other users’ trades directly into their own brokerage trading accounts.

How does social trading work?

In the next section, you will learn how to social trade the forex market. Forex social trading is pretty easy to understand. First, you’ll need to select one of the best social trading platforms that allow copy trading. The best social trading platforms have forums where traders share their strategies, trading ideas, and historical performance. Once you find a profitable trader with a good track record, you can start duplicating their trading operations with a few clicks.

Earning Passive Income

The first benefit of social trading is the opportunity to earn some passive income while you’re still learning the in’s and out’s of the trade game. You can start making profits from trading before you gain the necessary experience to sustain trading activities on your own.

Another benefit, even if you’re already a professional trader, is that a social network platform can allow you to earn additional profits and follow new trading ideas.

Quick Access to Reliable Trading News

Social network trading can simplify the process of searching for reliable trading news and information. Twitter is a great example of a social trading platform where you can get real-time and quick access to all sorts of data. Twitter is a great networking platform because it connects traders and allows them to learn from seasoned traders.

Nowadays, Twitter is one of the most popular social platforms for active traders. Twitter is very versatile because you can discuss your favorite trading stocks or currency pair. Follow the breaking news that can disrupt the market volatility and many new trading ideas.

Building a Trading Community

Being a trader can be a lonely business, so a social trading platform can resolve this issue. Joining social trading platforms is an excellent way to make new friends within the trading community.

Surrounding yourself with other traders can open the door for learning new trading tricks and strategies. It’s also easier to stay motivated when you surround yourself with quality and professional traders.

Best Social Trading Platforms

social trading platform is a place where users can share and access each other’s trading activity. The best social trading platform should provide you with a wide selection of traders that have mastered the game of trading and are able to generate profits in the long run.

Based on their performance you can then pick out the most promising and profitable traders and copy their trades.

If you don’t know which social trading network to choose here are our top 3 best social trading platforms:

If you’re looking to make money in the FX world, but you really don’t know how to do it, you can go to Zulutrade. They will facilitate communication between you and a profitable trader. ZuluTrade allows you to see how their strategy looks like and how it performs.

ZuluTrade was one of the first trade copy services. They are without a doubt one of the biggest copy trading networks. Among other features, ZuluTrade also offers binary options social trading.

What differentiates Zulutrade from other social trading networks is the ability to create your own set of rules. You can opt to close trades early to lock in profits, to update the stop loss and take profit order based on your own risk tolerance. Or you can simply notify you when a new trade is triggered.

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MyfxBook

Our second choice is Myfxbook which is mostly known for being a third trustworthy party to share your track record. This social trading network also offers a mirror trading service that allows you to copy trades from your favorite trader directly into your account.

Myfxbook also provides a feature that allows you to link multiple trading accounts under a single personal profile. This, in turn, allows you to better organize and manage your trading statistics.

Collective2

Collective2 is a multi-asset social platform that tracks the real-time performance of independent traders. The platform works the same like ZuluTrade: you can subscribe to the top performers and automatically trade the same way in your personal account.

What differentiates Collective2 from other social trading platforms is the fact that you can trade any instruments (stocks, forex, futures, and options). You also have the option to decide how much risk you want to take with each trade. This flexibility will help you better control the performance of your account.

React Native Developers in India from WeDigTech

WeDigTech, a mobile app development company based in India, is building a team of experienced React Native Developers to provide the best mobile app development solutions.

WeDigTech

The mobile app market is growing at a non-stop rate and it doesn’t seem to slow down in a near future. Just like any other business requirement, mobile apps have become a need of the hour to survive in this competitive digital era.

WeDigTech, India based mobile-app development company is using its best resources to help the startups and enterprises turn their ideas into reality with the best technical solutions.

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In the mobile app development industry, React Native has become a known name now. It is an open-source framework which is developed and maintained by Facebook to make mobile app development a hassle-free task.

Now imagine having a mobile app for your business, which is equivalent to Facebook or Instagram app in terms of quality and design. Won’t it give you step ahead of your competitors? After all, that’s what the primary objective of any business.

WeDigTech has a team of highly experienced React Native Developers which can help you bring your business into the digital world by developing a top-notch mobile app for you.

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The Workflow After Hiring React Native Developers

  • Idea sharing – The process begins with sharing of the idea by the client as to what kind of mobile-app they are looking for. That’s a part where detailed discussions happen as client expresses his thoughts about the business requirements and expectations from the mobile app.
  • Vision sharing – This is the stage where the client shares his long-term goals and what he would like to achieve from the mobile app. This is a two-way interaction where both the client and the service provider share their views of the future of the mobile app.
  • BRD preparation – WeDigTech is also involved in preparing a Business Requirement Document (BRD) for the client so that every requirement of the client is documented in a proper way for the company to go through and act accordingly.
  • Costing – After going through the above stages begins the crucial discussion of the costing of the mobile app development. WeDigTech offers the best technical solutions with the highest quality product with the most affordable costing in the market.
  • Kickoff – After all the discussions, WeDigTech kicks off the project by dedicating its technical and human resources to deliver the better than expected product.

What is there for the client after the project kicked off?

Nothing much really! Just sit back, chill, relax, and let WeDigTech take care of your ideas! Rest assured, you will not be disappointed for having a professional relationship with the company.

How to create an image recognition app

app Image recognition is currently using both AI and classical deep learning approaches so that it can compare different images to each other or to its own repository for specific attributes such as color and scale. AI-based systems have also started to outperform computers that are trained on less detailed knowledge of a subject.

create AI image recognition is often considered a single term discussed in the context of computer vision, machine learning as part of artificial intelligence, and signal processing. To put it in a nutshell, image recognition is a particular of the three. So, basically, picture recognition software should not be used synonymously to signal processing but it can definitely be considered part of the large domain of AI and computer vision. Let’s take a closer look at what each of the four concepts means.

  • Image recognition. With an image being the key input and output element, image recognition is designed to understand the visual representation of a certain image. In other words, this software is trained to extract a lot of useful information and it performs an important role to provide an answer to a question like what is the image. This is how the term image recognition is usually understood.
  • Signal processing. The input can be not only an image but also various signals like sounds and biological measurements. These are signals useful when it comes to voice recognition as well as for various applications like facial detection. SP is a broader field than image identification technology and mixed with deep learning, it’s capable of discovering patterns and relationships that, until now, were unobservable.
  • Computer vision. It is a whole scientific discipline that is concerned with building artificial systems receiving information from such input sources as images, videos, or other multi-dimensional hyperspectral data. The computer vision process involves techniques such as face detection, segmentation, tracking, pose estimation, localization and mapping, and object recognition. These data are processed by the application programming interfaces (APIs), which we’ll discuss later in the article.
  • Machine learning. It is an umbrella term for all the above concepts. ML covers image recognition, signal processing, and computer vision. Besides, it’s a quite general framework in terms of input and output — it takes any sign for an input returning any quantitative or qualitative information, signal, image or video as an output. This diversity of requests and responses is enabled through the use of a large and complex ensemble of generalized machine learning algorithms.

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How image recognition software works

Detection of images is performed using two different methods. These methods are referred to as neural network methods. The first method is called classification or supervised learning, and the second method is called unsupervised learning.

In supervised learning, a process is used to determine if a particular image is in a certain category, and then it is compared with the ones in the category that have already been detected. In unsupervised learning, a process is used to determine if an image is in a category by itself. Neural networks are complex computational methods designed to allow for classification and tracking of images.

What you should know is that an image recognition software app will most probably use a combination of supervised and unsupervised algorithms.

The classification method (also called supervised learning) uses a machine-learning algorithm to estimate a feature in the image called an important characteristic. It then uses this feature to make a prediction about whether an image is likely to be of interest to a given user. The machine learning algorithm will be able to tell whether an image contains important features for that user.

Metadata classifies images and extracts information such as size, color, format, and format of borders. Images are categorized in different tags, called information classes, and each tag is associated with an image. These information classes are used by the recognition engine to understand the “meaning” of the image.

The data used to identify images, for example: “cute baby” or “dog picture”, must be labeled to be useful. This requires the data to be analyzed with information extraction techniques such as classification or translation.

So, pattern recognition in image processing is a multi-step process that includes:

  1. The original image detection
  2. Analysis and classification of the data
  3. Reinforcement learning
  4. The AI training process
  5. Monitoring and replaying of the training process

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How can businesses use image recognition?

The benefits of image recognition are making their way into the world. So, it’s not only the question of how to create an image recognition app but it’s also the challenge of how to build an image recognition app so that it can enhance your business. Using massive amounts of data to teach computers to identify what’s in pictures, a machine learning technique can bring about the three big positive changes we’ll discuss below.

1. Improved product discoverability with a visual search. A well-trained image recognition model enables precise product tagging. Such applications usually have a catalog where products are organized according to specific criteria. This accurate organization of a number of labeled products allows finding what a user needs effectively and quickly. Thanks to the super-charged AI, the effectiveness of the tags implementation can keep getting higher, while automated product tagging per se has the power to minimize human effort and reduce error rates.

2. Higher audience engagement on social networks. Image and face recognition on social media is already a thing. Social networks like Facebook and Instagram encourage users to share images and tag their friends on them. And their trained AI models recognize scenes, people, and emotions in no time. Some networks have gone even further by automatically creating hashtags for the updated photos. It all can make the user experience better and help people organize their photo galleries in a meaningful way.

3. Optimized advertising and interactive marketing. Another benefit of using image identification technology in an app is the optimization of mobile advertising. Interactive marketing campaigns rely heavily on knowing the customer. In fact, the maximization of ad performance can be achieved in some mobile apps by redesigning them to incorporate image identification technology. After all, image identification technology is just another tool in the app marketing toolbox.