Blog

DevOps Pillars: The Essential Strategies That Strengthen The Development Process

Software Development (Dev) and information technology operations (Ops) have drawn together DevOps, helping the entire software development process from designs to production support. DevOps methodologies help fasten the development process, QA, and deployment where the companies can launch their products faster to the market.
Read More

Benefits of Mobile Applications for the Healthcare Industry

The long hours in queues waiting to get healthcare needs are now over with the revolutionized web and mobile solutions provided in the health industry. The need for online medicare solutions has been gradually increased with the Covid-19 pandemic, where people can safely consult their doctors without getting exposed to the general public.

The increasing number of healthcare applications for devices like smartphones, tablets, and other wearable devices has enabled people to use them and take care of their health in an advanced and effective manner. These applications often include health management, healthy living and wellness, clinical reference, and diagnostic applications.

Significance of eHealth Solutions

According to the World Health Organization, digital health solutions can upscale people worldwide to achieve a higher standard of health and protect well-being. The organization has implemented a three-tier approach to digital health delivery in terms of policymakers, practitioners, and populations.

These seamless and secure technologies can provide effective clinical and public health solutions to the public while accelerating the achievement of the health and well-being related sustainable development growth (SGDs)

Advantages Of Using The Mobile Application In The Healthcare Industry

Seamless Data Flow

Healthcare domains usually consist of complex network web. Apart from the data flow between patients and healthcare personnel, it also needs to be administrated for accounting purposes. Mobile applications can cut off this complex network web allowing the data to move efficiently and faster. It further helps in eliminating extensive paperwork and not to worry about physical document misplacement and damages.

Real-time And Easy Communication Methods

The communication between each party is more streamlined to connect with each other from any place. It helps people in remote areas to get in touch with their doctors without the need for travel. The eHealth modes constitute a significant boom for disabled and older people with chronic conditions who need constant support.

Reduced Risks Of Diagnosis Errors

Numerous types of clinical resources are required to make accurate diagnostic decisions. Mobile health applications can help medical professionals to reference drug guides, medical calculators, clinical guidelines, and other required references. The all-inclusive details in one application can enhance disease diagnosis and treatment decisions with high accuracy.

Encourages A Healthy Lifestyle

Healthcare apps can track and monitor the irregularities in an individual’s health and help them become conscious and motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Digital accessories such as smartwatches, fitness, and health tracking apps enable people to constantly monitor their diet, weight, heart rate, pressure, stress levels, etc., and set goals to achieve fitness and health plans.

The increased leverage in eHealth and mobile application development outlines the need of having custom-made mobile applications catering to your customers. Fidenz technologies has the skills and expertise to make your idea a reality and develop a mobile application that matches your requirements. We also have hands-on experience in developing applications while complying with industry standards like HIPAA (Health Insurance Probability And Accountability Act) and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

Fidenz’s all-inclusive software solutions can benefit every user, such as doctors, patients, medical staff, and other administrators. If you are looking forward to making the right decision in developing a healthcare app that can outsmart the competition, contact our team of engineers for further consultation.

Read More

Importance of Human-Computer Interactions

The interaction of humans and computers has rapidly increased over time, where most of the day is spent in front of a computer, and the work needs to be done with technological assistance. Apart from desktop work we further use mobiles, tablets, and other digital devices to do our routine work. The need has highlighted the significance of creating an interface that lets people interact in novel ways and design systems to enhance the everyday work activities for a broad group of people with different skill levels. 

What is Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)?

HCI is the science of identifying the interface between people and machines and designing an interface or a computer technology to match those uses. The flow of information between humans and computers can be visual or audio-based. It can also consist of other aspects such as task environment, machine environment, input or output flow, feedback, or a fit to accomplish a task.

HCI can be disciplined in the fields of computer science, behavioral science, design, media, and other areas of studies. It involves identifying the interaction between humans and computers and studying the extent to which computers are developed and designed to have successful interactions. 

The multidisciplinary nature of HCI has given it another set of terms, such as human-machine interaction (HMI), computer-human interaction (CHI), and man-machine interaction (MMI). These terminologies have been used in many cases to describe and analyze the uses and goals of HCI in different situations. This further highlights that HCI does not limit to computers, and is inclusive of mobile devices, televisions, vehicles, robotics, surveillance systems, traffic controls, etc.

Main Components of HCI

Poorly designed HCI can cause problems and end up not providing the expected outcome. Hence, it is essential to look into several key factors when developing an HCI system.

Generally, HCI consist of three components, They are;

User – An individual or a group that comes from different conceptions and abilities in learning skills. This further involves cultural and national differences.

Computer – From a desktop to large-scale computer systems, and VCRs to mobile phones can be considered to be equivalent to the term “computer.”

Interaction – With the differences between humans and machines, HCI involves getting a successful interaction with realistic and feasible functions.


Goals And Best Practices

With the ultimate goal of developing usable, safe, and functional systems with conceptual frameworks, developers attempt to implement HCI systems. The theme further involves understanding the factors that put people first and determining how people use technology and develop tools and techniques to deliver efficient, effective, safe systems.

During the development process, researchers may consider existing socio-cultural practices and values or align computer interfaces with a mental model that humans have of their activities. The use of new design methodologies, experimenting with new devices, developing models and theories of interaction,  exploring new interaction paradigms, and prototyping new software and hardware systems are some other practices taken into account when developing an HCI system.

Here are some of the best practices that are used during the development of the HCI system.

  • Focusing early on tasks and users to determine the appropriate users
  • Empirical measurement with quantitative usability
  • Creating an iterative design until a sensible, user-friendly interface is created
  • Use of multiple resources
  • Replacing memory with visual interpretation
  • Reducing similar features and highlighting dissimilar ones

These factors enable researchers and developers to create more usable and enhanced HCI systems and develop task-based computer technologies.

A good interface can make the work easy for users and get work done more effectively. Implementing HCI systems that are matched to a specific requirement can upscale the speed and produce more successful, safe, useful, and functional outputs delivering better technological solutions to the future world.

Read More

Amazon's New Pet - Astro

Amazon’s new pet Astro is a part of its Day 1 Editions program, with limited availability. Astro is a $1000 worth invasion-only program with a robust system and numerous use cases. While many of these are related to security, remote care and easy access, the robot also plays a role in entertainment. It carries a little carrying tray, a USB port for extensions, and a periscope that can pop out to see the counters. Astro working with Alexa together is another plus point for all the existing Alexa users to try out a combo and enhance their user experience.

The first-generation tech piece is an impressive feat that has tremendous potential. Given below are the prominent highlighted use cases of Astro that can help to improve the day-to-day life of its users.

  1. Home Monitoring - Astro can be an autonomous home-security system that can wander around the house. The robot has the ability to patrol a home, detect unidentified people, and send alerts. When you turn on the ‘away mode’, Astro can take care of your premises, ensuring its safety, and send alerts when it hears sounds like glass breaking or similar.  
  2. Reminders & Updates - Astro can check on behalf of you whether the back door is open, whether you have left the stove on, or to check why the dog is barking at midnight without you having to leave your bed.
  3. Remote Care - For anyone who needs remote care can ask Astri to set and deliver reminders. There is a ‘Drop In’ option to stay connected. Together with Alexa, Astro can make work easy for those who are differently-abled or have mobility challenges.
  4. Entertainment - “Astro beatbox” or “what’s your favorite animal?” are top items that Amazon suggests as potential use cases that Amazon indicates in terms of fun things that Astro can provide and be closer to users as a pet than a machine.

Anthony Robson, the principal product manager for robotic technologies and consumer robotics at Amazon, insisted on having some level of extensibility. He further states, ‘We’re going to learn so much about every home — and every home is going to be different and have different needs. We have customers working in their home offices on either side of the house, sending things to each other using their Astro. We are learning, we are listening, and we are adapting. We will extend Astro’s capabilities as we learn from customers’.

When it comes to the drawback or the things the team wasn’t able to prioritize for launch, Astro not being able to climb stairs and its speed can be taken as the most significant. However, this is because of the need to keep the product simple and handy from a practical perspective. Also, adding the features such as climbing stairs can make it more complex, thus increasing the costs.

Moreover, the developer toolkit for the Astro robot is on its way and has not been launched yet. Nevertheless, the comms team for Astro is excited about the potential of the robot as a comms and monitoring tool.

The ability to build incredibly capable robotics with cute, expressive faces and high user-friendliness as first-generation tech gives us the hope to experience more refined Astro robots in the future.

Read More

The History of Google Messaging Apps

The history of google messaging apps goes beyond 16 years, where most of its competitors did not exist. Google has come up with numerous ideas and applications highlighting different features in each of its apps. Here is a comprehensive list of applications that Google has introduced so far to enhance the chat experience for its users.

Google Talk
Founded Year: 2005
Existence: 12 years
Clients: Windows, Android, The web, Blackberry, iPhone, iGoogle, Gmail, Orkut, XMPP Clients.

Intention

To work similarly to email where different service providers and clients can talk to each other over a single standard called XMPP (extensible messaging and presence protocol). It further enabled cross-communication with other chat services supporting the standard where any XMPP-compatible third party client can talk to Google Talk users.

Highlighting facts

Built on open protocols

It was a part of the second big Wave of popular instant messaging apps like AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, and Windows Live Messenger.

The installer file size was only 1.45MB, whereas other messenger services like Yahoo or Windows consecutively provided 9.5 and 15.3MB.

Here is a series of updates that revolved around the Google Talk launch.

12/2005 – Google bought a 5% stake in AOL to build cross-communication between AIM, ICQ, and Google Talk.
01/2006 – Google came across their first official mobile client, a Blackberry app with a public XMPP network.
02/2006 – Integrated with Gmail on the web and added chat logs
03/2006 – Introduced Avatar support
07/2006 – Introduced file transfers, voicemail, and sharing music.
09/2006 – Opened Google Talk to non-Gmail accounts
11/2006 – Integration with Orkut (a social network)
12/2006 – Announced plans for integration with traditional phone systems that lets you dial a phone number from the computer.
2007 – A client for the ‘iGoogle’ customizable homepage arrived in 2007 and a standalone web client at Google.com/talk.
2008 – Google talk arrived at the iphone as a mobile web app
Google’s first foray into a video chat with Google Talk in Gmail and later the main client.
2010 – Google’s voice and video chat requires a browser plugin and runs on technology from a company called ‘Global IP Solution (GIPS)’ They bought GIPS in 2010.
2011 – Open-sourced GIPs technology and IP starting a WebTRC project. It is a dominant VoIP technology and a W3C standard that allows many web browsers to make voice and video calls without any plugins.

Android added video chat support, and Google Talk became a core feature of their operating system.

Google Talk service ran communication for Android’s push notification system, with real-time XMPP that allows quick authentication and pass messages building and OS-wide notification system around it. The system was eventually opened up to third parties.

The cloud synchronization of Google account data also ran through its services like keeping contacts and calendar events up to date. In addition, it allowed app installation from a desktop web browser using a push request without the need of the phone in hand.

It further included features like remotely uninstalling malicious apps from the phone.

Extermination

With the release of Google Hangouts in 2013, Google Talk started to fade away. Google Talk allowed users to carry contacts and messages to the new service, making hangout an obvious replacement. In 2015, Google Talks windows clients officially stopped accepting logins. In 2017, third party XMPP connections to the Google Talk service stopped working, and the Gmail web integrations transitioned to Hangouts.

Google Voice

Founded Year: 2009
Clients: Web, Android, iOS, webOS, Blackberry

In 2009 Google introduced Google Voice, where users can use a Google phone number instead of a landline phone number or a cell phone number. In addition, the number was provided with an area code where the phone calls could be forwarded, and text messages were accessible via the web and other apps.

Back in 2007, Google acquired GrandCentral communications, where all of Google’s voice phone calls came from. It offered a new phone number with forwarding options and an audio-only voicemail box accessible over the Internet. Unfortunately, the function didn’t include texting.

The launch of Google Voice made them add a ton of features to GrandCentral. These include SMS support, conference calling and low-cost international calling. It also consisted of voicemail transcription where the Google Voice Recognition AI can transcribe voicemail into easily scalable text (Although it wasn’t super accurate).

SMS on the Google Voice number worked similar to that of a texting app where you can check them wherever the app is installed or on the web. However, getting the MMS feature became a long-run thing where it was first introduced to sprint users in 2011 and later given to the rest or all carriers in 2017. In 2014 Google Voice took off all the third-party apps.

Google Voice also used XMPP at one point to connect calls. This led users to connect landline phones to work directly over the Google voice system, making a VoIP provider that turns out to give free voice calls. However, the XMPP support was entirely shut down in 2018.

The launch of Google Fi in 2015 merged the features of Google voice with an MVNO service. However, the app was revamped in 2017 and became a part of G Suite in 2018 and got mobile VoIP calls in 2019.

Google Wave

Founded Year: 2009
Existence: 2 years and 8 months
Clients: The web

Google wave was introduced as an alternative to email. It was created by the same pair of brothers who introduced Google Maps to the world. It consisted of three columns, navigation and a contact column, inbox, and a message view from left to right, respectively, when previewed on desktop.

Similar to that of emails, Google Wave can create threads where users can reply to a single person or an entire group. Users also had the authority to grant or remove access to keep or remove people from the threads.

The Wave was Google’s first product to do real-time letter-to-letter communication with the help of HTML5. This was similar to that of Google Docs, where the wave threads can be seen live with messages and images without refreshing the page. It further consisted of a ‘playback’ feature where the entire process can be replayed from the beginning.

With the installation of Google Gear and Google browser API shim, Google Wave could upload photos with a drag-and-drop feature just like a native app.

In 2010 Google said that the Wave had not seen the user adoption they expected. A significant reason for this was the lack of a network. It was limited to users on Wave, where the external users interested in using it didn’t have the opportunity to join the network immediately due to an ‘inviting system’. As a result, it was opened to the public after May 2010, almost a year when the hype was already gone.

By early 2012 Google Wave was available only with a read-only feature, and it was entirely deleted by April 2012.

YouTube Messages

Founded Year: 2017
Existence: 2 years and 1 month
Clients: iOS, Android, The web

In 2017, Google launched a feature called YouTube Messages. It included a news sharing tab for mobile app users for messaging purposes. This further allowed uses to look into the conversations around a video. For desktop users, a message button was available next to the bell and app buttons. A pop-chat window came up when you wanted to share a video or have a conversation about a particular video with your friends.

The message input box also consisted of a ‘+ Video’ button to easily drop the videos to a conversation. It also had a heart button to react to messages. Users can add their phone contacts or send an ‘invitation link’ to add friends.

The feature lasted for almost 2 years and shut down its operation in 2019. However, a specific reason for this was not given for the closure.

Google Hangouts Chat

Founded Year: 2018
Existence: Till present
Clients: iOS, Android, The web

Together with Hangouts Meet, Hangouts chat was initially announced in 2017. However, the access was limited till 2018 and was only available for organizations paying for the G Suite. It was announced as an enterprise-focused communication tool to enhance communication purposes inside organizations.

From day one, Hangouts chats consisted of impressive features like @mentions, treated messages, DMs, bots, and support for rooms. Every message was threaded, representing a forum-style layout. Reply input boxes were available at the bottom of each thread and a new thread button at the bottom of everything.

Hangout chat supports several chatbots like Google Drive, Asana, Trella, etc. This enables users to stream outside info into the chat room. The service works on iOS, Android and the web, where the desktop is handled by a Progressive Web App (PWA).

The hangouts chat app is still available for users and is even considered a competitor to Slack.

Although this article mentions the most popular chat apps introduced by Google, there are 25+ chat apps altogether introduced by Google over the past few years. Most of these executions have been withdrawn in the middle for many reasons, leaving their users to adapt to different applications every 2-3 years.

If you want to know more about the Google Chat history, check out the original blog post by Ron Amadeo https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2021/08/a-decade-and-a-half-of-instability-the-history-of-google-messaging-apps/ which gives a comprehensive description of all the Google chat messaging apps from day one.

Read More