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Competitive advantage by applying new technologies

Passionate about technology

In last month’s blog post I discussed four reasons to join the Hackathon which were very much related to the business side. This time I want to generate some product ideas that these new technologies could offer. As I am a tech guy working in an environment with many technical professionals, you may think this is the cherry on the cake for us. And yes, it is. We are passionate about technology.  But only if technology improves the market value of our customers’ products. And that is the reason that our professionals want to join the Hackathon. They are just as eager as our clients and prospects to test and validate new prototypes, helping them get ready for the future.

Ideas for the Hackathon

Being a partner of our clients, we believe it is our duty to help them today, but also to help clients remain relevant in the future. So, our Techboard members regularly come together and explore the applicability of new technologies for VMS and software product companies. Our clients know of these new possibilities but can’t always see the opportunities for their markets. Therefore, we give you a few ideas to help you think of options for your product. And feel free to reach out to us, as we welcome discussing future ideas for your products with you.

How can Blockchain enhance your product?

Blockchain technology created the foundation of a new type of internet by allowing digital information to be distributed rather than copied. Originally created for digital currencies, the tech community found other potential uses for Blockchain such as accounting, supply chain management, records keeping, asset tracking, and more. Businesses that adopt the blockchain technology are likely to gain operational efficiencies and maybe even fundamentally change the way they interact with their customers.

Without going into detail, Blockchain allows two or more parties to automate agreements in a trusted and secure way. In supply chain management, blockchain can provide a standard protocol every participant in the supply chain network to register and track raw materials and components that are produced and used on a specific product following a standard protocol.

Blockchain offers immutability of data, meaning that once something has been entered, it cannot be tampered with. This is a valuable property in enterprise solutions for many types of domains: healthcare, government, banking, insurance, retail, and the list goes on.

DevOps at the Hackathon

More and more software companies want to get rid of on-premise deployments, for many different and very good reasons, and we have an entire business unit at Yonder that deals with cloud things. ‘Things’ is a big word, just as big as the number of challenges you could encounter when thinking about migrating your product to cloud, making it SaaS, etc. Are your customers asking for Identity Federation to their in-house (or cloud) Identity Management solutions? Maybe you have a product that you are hosting for your customers and you’re looking into reducing costs by using a multitenancy approach? Are you looking for a faster and more sustainable release cycle using containers (and maybe also save some money on the way)? If your cloud account is getting cluttered, and the costs and resources are running out of control – then perhaps Infrastructure as Code and Immutable Infrastructure is the thing for you? We do all of these, and much more! So the Hackathon is the ideal moment to explore your DevOps needs with our team.

Using the Hackathon to explore Test Automation

Do you have a struggle with testing your product? Do you have too many manual tests and invest a lot of time in their manual repetitive execution? Wanted to start test automation but didn’t know how to yet? Want to try out a more simple and innovative way of checking application quality? If you recognize yourself in these questions and have a web application, then put your product to the test! Give your test automation efforts a boost!

At the Hackathon, the test team will analyze your product from the automation testing perspective, come with new ideas, new concepts, and experiments that you can further use. We will come up with new solutions to help testers in the team, professionalize their testing efforts into test automation, combining ideas to find new solutions for making testing more efficient.

The result will be an automation prototype, containing some of your specific functional scenarios designed, executed, checked and reported automatically, in few seconds. You will leave the Hackathon with: a level test automation approach for more efficient testing, a defined test automation prototype at back-end level, a defined test automation prototype at user interface level, and more suggestions on how to continue with the prototype implementation.

Machine Learning (ML) ideas to extend your product’s life cycle

At the AppLab we featured ML as you can see in the video below. ML is the upcoming technology that can greatly improve efficiencies behind the scenes. ML refers to the practice of automating the decision process by feeding a computer algorithm a vast amount of data and allowing it to identify patterns within the information based on informational models that were trained by humans on similar data. In Finance applying this technology can help to spot trends, for example, detecting fraud or making predictions. In Healthcare it can be used to identify potential health risks and even suggest treatments. In the Central and Local Government verticals, ML can help to find cost savings and efficiencies in the huge amount of data they have. And ML gives retailers new insights into customer behavior.

Conversational Interfaces for efficient communication

At the AppLab we also showcased conversational interface apps. Conversational interfaces are platforms that mimic a conversation with a real human. Chatbots are starting to show up everywhere online. Visiting a website or webshop it is quite common to have a chatbot starting a conversation with you. Currently, there are voice assistants or voice user interfaces (Apple – Siri, Amazon – Alexa, and Samsung – Bixby) and chatbots (Slackbot, Facebook M, Magic and kik). According to Gartner by 2019, half of the major commerce companies and retailers with online stores will have redesigned their commerce sites to accommodate voice searches and voice navigation. Such interfaces offer more trust and better engagement with the users, superior user experience/convenience & decision support, cross-platform integration, perfect for smart form scenarios (adjusting questions based on the user’s answers), and increased user attention with targeted questions with clear Call to Action for each interaction. Consider such interfaces when you offer web-based services of any kind and validate an idea at the Hackathon.

Augmented Reality (AR) more than just books coming alive

When people think of AR they often think of books coming alive. But this technology has business value as well. AR creates a new augmented view of an otherwise flat object. In other words, AR can bring your product to live. In warehouses, it can increase productivity, add efficiency to equipment maintenance in automotive and all other types of verticals. It is also a powerful sales tool with it’s innovative way to market to customers. AR can give retailers the opportunity to view the product from a completely new perspective. Galleries and museums can showcase their collections offering a new experience. And healthcare also lends itself well for AR possibilities as AR applications enable visualization and interaction with three-dimensional representations of bodies.

We have now given you some food for thought. It is not about technologies, but about how technologies can increase the life cycle of your product. And the Hackathon gives you the opportunity to explore and validate new ideas. Click here to find out what we did last year.

We hope to see you at the Hackathon. And if you are not sure, just get in touch with us.

Remus Pereni
CTO Yonder


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