Unvired Mobile Platform now on H2 database

Unvired Mobile Platform now on H2 database

Blog Technology

Exciting update for Unvired Mobile Platform (UMP) development.   UMP now supports the H2 embedded database.  (What is H2?)

First up, H2 is a pure Java embedded database with the performance and capabilities of larger server based database systems.  UMP has been supporting MySQL, MS SQL and Oracle so far and has now added full support for H2.  So what, you ask?

1. Easier and less cumbersome Trials and POCs

One of the hallmarks of UMP has been simple free trials and self experience via POCs before the enterprise makes the buy decision.  This just became easier with the H2 support.  Unzip the preconfigured trial UMP archive,  start the UMP service and you are up and running.  An on-premise trial should now take a maximum of 1 hour for you to self provision!

2. Easy evangelizing of UMP in your organization

As a mobile architect or developer are you excited about UMP and want to try building some apps before evangelizing it within your organization.  You can now simply extract the UMP archive and run it with one click on your laptops or Mac’s and start development.  No licenses from IT required!

3. Easy development and test/quality servers

One of the constraints an Enterprise has always faced is the time and resource constraints in setting up hardware or provisioning Virtual Machines in their data centres.  For a traditional DB server such as MS SQL or Oracle additional license/hardware/DBA resources were required and led to approvals and delays.  Now with support for H2, the UMP service just needs to be started and automatically an H2 database will be created/used without any additional licenses or hardware requirement.

4. Single cloud instance sufficient for UMP

If you are provisioning instances in AWS or similar cloud services, a single instance is sufficient to unleash the full power of UMP.

Interested in trying any of the above?  Drop us an email and we will be happy to oblige.  Contact us.

3 Things to Consider now that iOS 8 is here

3 Things to Consider now that iOS 8 is here

Blog Technology

iOS 8 has arrived, and business users and consumers alike are wondering whether to upgrade to iOS 8 or not. So, here are answers to three questions that could be lingering in your mind:

1. Should I upgrade now or later?

The answer to this question largely depends on the apps in question. Ideally speaking, Apple developed apps should have zero issues when you upgrade to a newer iOS version. You can upgrade to iOS 8 in this case.

On the other hand, if you are using third-part apps (not built by Apple), then it might not be a good idea to upgrade immediately. Although Apple guarantees all existing apps built for iOS 7 to continue to work in iOS 8, the behavior of the app after the upgrade might vary depending on the design of the app. Even though the app may still work, you might expect some weird UI behavior like delayed animation transitions and input fields getting hidden on their own. So in order to be safe, you may want to wait until the developer releases an iOS 8 update for the app.

2. Will my existing apps on iOS 7 or below work?

Apple guarantees that the existing apps built by Apple will continue to run in their newer OS releases. Third-party built apps will work on iOS 8 from a functionality perspective, but with respect to the UI behavior, the same cannot always be true. We tried running our existing apps which were built for iOS 7 on iOS 8, and were faced with some awkward UI behaviors like delays in transition. Most of the other third party apps out there in the market should have similar issues. So the bottom line is that you cannot be sure that all your apps will work 100% when you upgrade.

3.What are the most important new features in iOS 8 from a business perspective?

iOS 8 has a host of features for both business and consumers. Notably on the business side, these are the features to look out for:

Apple Pay:

Apple Pay is a new mobile payment service created by Apple that intends to replace existing Credit Card/Debit Card transactions at merchant outlets with just a swipe of your phone. Although only iPhone 6 users get the direct benefit of using Apple Pay, iPhone 5 users can do this with a new gadget which was released along with iOS 8 (Apple Watch). This is a really crucial feature especially for businesses which always looks to cut down costs. More about Apple Pay here: https://www.apple.com/apple-pay/ Access to TouchID for third party apps is also an interesting development

Interactive Notifications:

Till today, Notifications were completely controlled by Apple and it was basically read-only. Notifications in the Notification Center worked closely with the app and you had to open up the app in order to get notifications. But now with iOS 8, app developers can gain limited control of the Notification Centre and can create interesting use-cases like approving a purchase order without having to open up the app. This can potentially save lot of time for the app user.

Continuity:

Thanks to the new iOS 8, app users can start over precisely where they left off in all compatible Apple devices like iPhone, iPad or Mac. This makes writing emails, creating presentations across devices hassle-free and makes sharing of the content across devices easy like never before. Additionally recently used apps and contacts appear on top in the multitasking view for quick access

What do iPhone 6, iPhone 6+ and Apple Watch mean for the enterprise?

Blog Technology Viewpoint

Apple announced iPhone 6, iPhone 6+ and Apple Watch yesterday. The build up to the event (as always), the event itself and the products announced have all been exciting. Already enough digital space has been used to report the event and review the products. So in this blog I will try to analyze what these announcements mean for the enterprise – end users, IT departments and developers?

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+

iPhones_3

Enterprise / End Users

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ come with  4.7″ and 5.5″ screens. Difference for an enterprise between 6/6+ and 5S/5C is mainly the cost. But when you compare 6+ with an iPad mini then you see other differences emerging. Enterprises enable employees with iPads so that users can see more information on the screen without having to navigate across multiple screens or scroll in a screen. For ex:

  • Read word documents with graphics and tables
  • Service technician viewing a work order and details on the iPad
  • Executives viewing sales and other charts

iPhone (till 5S) with its 4″ screen is not suitable to see large amount of information in a meaningful way on a single screen. Many apps or scenarios are just not suitable for an iPhone 5S. So an iPad is necessary. Take Apple’s own email app. Apple shows the e-mail app differently in an iPhone compared to an iPad. In the iPhone there is a mail list and on clicking a mail you see the mail in a full screen. In the iPad the main mail view is split into 2 parts. The smaller list on the left shows the list of mails and the wider part on the right shows the selected mail.

Now iPhone 6+ can possibly push both users and enterprises towards a single device per user. A single device reduces the cost for an enterprise (if the enterprise is providing 2 devices per user) and can be very convenient for users. (Does this mean that one Apple device is competing another Apple device? This is a topic for another day!)

IT Departments

IT departments should love iPhone 6+ if both the enterprise and users agree to move to a single device from 2 devices per user. Benefits for the IT departments are:

  • Lesser number of devices to deploy and take care in an MDM
  • In many cases the app development cost can also be lower when building for a single device compared to multiple devices

But how do existing apps and devices (iPads and iPhone 5S/5C) work with iPhone 6/6+? This is a cause of concern for the IT departments even though from a software point of view there is no difference between 5c/5S and 6.

  • More categories of devices mean more work in managing the devices in the enterprise network
  • 6+ has an impact on apps too. The larger screen size and double tap on the home button in the iPhone 6+ require some adaptation in the existing apps though not necessary. But once the users start using the old apps on 6+ they might complain if double tap on home is not supported in the app.

Developers

With more screen sizes, developers need to be both creative and judicious while designing the user interface for the applications that have to work on multiple devices. Designing apps that have to work on iPads, iPhone 6+ and iPhone 6 (5s/C) is more challenging. Though designing apps for Apple is is not as challenging as in the Android environment where one does not know when a phone ends and when the tablet begins it is still a challenge that needs to be taken into account.

Apple also announced a new programming language Swift in the last WWDC event. Swift is supported from iOS8. Though Swift is backward compatible with Objective C, once all the Apple devices move to iOS8 it does not make any sense to stick to Objective C. Newer capabilities of Swift cannot be used if one sticks to Objective C. Eventually everyone will have to move to Swift. So delaying Swift adoption does not make sense. The real impact for developers is when devices start running iOS8. Add to that iPhone 6+!

Apple Watch

watches

 

I just love the Apple Watch. This is some challenge for Switzerland! The best review of the Apple Watch I have read is from Benjamin Clymer. There is nothing left to write about the Watch design beyond what Mr. Clymer has already written. So lets move on.

Moving away from the buzz around the Watch, what does the Apple Watch really mean for the enterprise? Before discussing the impact of Watch on the enterprise we have to understand some of the software features of the Watch.

  • Watch connects to an iPhone. So the Watch gets connected to the internet via an iPhone. Will the Watch also connect to an iPad? Not clear currently.
  • Will the Watch be able to connect to the WIFI network directly? No.
  • What version of iOS will the Watch run? Not answered currently. But it will be iOS8+ as the Watch is still sometime coming.
  • So from what we know the primary requirement to own an Apple Watch is to own an iPhone.

Enterprise / End Users

Enterprises can start buying Apple Watches as gifts for their employees! Apart from that enterprises are not going to be proactive in finding use cases to make watches productive tools at work. Just the way enterprise adoption of iPhones and iPads started with users, adoption of Watches has to start with users. Once the Apple Watches start appearing on corporate users’ wrists’ enterprises will start thinking of extending apps to Watches.

For end users Apple Watches are great convenience tools to see (feel) notifications, maps (especially while walking without having to open the phone), calendar events (see the alert and call a contact on the iPhone by tapping on the Watch) and monitor health.

Classic enterprise uses cases include getting alerts (sales targets, project status, work assignments, etc.), approving workflow documents, filling time sheets for projects, applying leave, filling digital check lists, etc.

IT Departments

The real challenges are for the IT departments.

  • Should Watches used for corporate work be controlled via an MDM? Will users agree to allow the enterprise control a personal device?
  • Is the enterprise scenario or use case compelling enough to support on a Watch?
  • Cost and effort involved in developing apps for a different device with a different user interface paradigm. What is the ROI? Employee happiness or productivity improvement?
  • Security considerations

Developers

Developers have to be highly creative and innovative to design enterprise apps for Watches. Traditional user interface and engagement is not going to work on Watches. Multiple questions arise when we talk of apps on Watches.

Can the same iPhone app with a different user interface be used on the Watch or is a new design ground up from the data model required for the Watch app? Is the app optimized enough not to drain the battery? Is optimization from developers required at all or will Apple take care of it via restrictions?

End Note

Irrespective of the challenges these are exciting times. Every advancement in technology is opening up new frontiers. Apple’s designs are making these advancements personal and beautiful.

Enjoy Apple. Enjoy Design.

Developing Apps for Google Glass

Blog Lessons Learnt Technology
Types of Glassware

A lot of our customers and developers were excited with our primer and demo on Google Glass. Many of our customers wanted to understand the development paradigm for Google Glass. So we created our second eBook on Google Glass to share our knowledge with customers and developers. Click here to download the eBook. Enjoy your Glassware!

Upcoming Days in the Life of an Internet of Things “Connected Sensor”

Blog Internet Of Things Mobile Use Case Technology Viewpoint

I am a sensor, a device that senses the environment. Humans first made me to enhance their industrial operations, and now I gather, my species can help them monitor their health too. My host is a machine called a turbine, and my particular DNA enables me to detect vibrations in my host. I was born in Taiwan and shipped to Houston, Texas as an infant. Maintenance folks every so often visit me, inspect my readings, and record them on a paper form. Or at least that is how they used to. Nowadays, they whip out their iPads with a flourish, and use mobile applications leveraging Mobile Application Development Platforms. But, I hear from analysts that all that is about to change. Technicians will not visit me to inspect my host-instead, I will send data to them. For, we have arrived at a momentous event—the Internet of Things (IoT) is here. I am told that the IoT will connect Machines to Machines (M2M) and things to humans, and everything to everything.

I for one, am confused. For decades, I led a lonely life isolated on the shop floor with only the occasional visit from the Maintenance technician. Now, in one fell swoop, I am going to be connected to what they call the Internet. Others say that I am going to talk to the cloud. I will be sending vibration data about my host—not plain old data but Big Data. This Big Data will be analyzed in real time using frameworks like Hadoop. All this vibration data analytics will actually help keep my host healthier, and enable humans to run their industries better. But, I feel like Brutus, in that I have betrayed my turbine host, by sending data every minute without permission. Is there no data privacy for machines?

The other day, some reputed consultants had come over to “Connect” me. They were repeating a mantra incessantly—what I could decipher was Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud (SMAC). I felt like “smac(k)ing” them on their faces. “Bluetooth Low Energy” will make it feasible for me and my brethren to be connected in droves of billions—in fact over 50 Billion things will be connected within 6 years. I am anti-social, and do not want to be connected. Just because humans have replaced reading with Facebook, doesn’t give them the right to impose this state of “always on” on me. I like my quiet time.

In any case, my turbine host will also not be spared. Augmented Reality will be used to perform better maintenance on her. Our technician visitors will come armed with Wearables when they come to repair us—novel looking Google Glasses and fashionable smart watches powered by Android Wear. Beacons may be deployed on the manufacturing floor, I hear to deliver contextual data.

I guess I am being a spoilt sport. Rooted in the past. Isn’t progress the purpose of life—even for a lowly sensor and a turbine? Are Cars not being connected too? Are Homes not being Nested? So, I am going to embrace this brave new world. I say, usher in the era of the Internet of Things.

As posted on LinkedIn

Unvired Inventory Manager for SAP on Mobile

Unvired Inventory Manager for SAP on Mobile

Application Blog

Warehouse operators require real-time information in order to execute their tasks efficiently. Real-time information for operators mean real-time updates to SAP too. Most often warehouse operators are expected to use a PC or a kiosk to access SAP. In warehouses expecting operators to use PCs or kiosks for all their work is counter productive. Operators either have to keep visiting the PC after every task or for every piece of information or takes note on paper (to later enter in SAP). Visiting the PC or kiosk often is a waste of time. Translating paper work into SAP later is error prone and makes real-time visibility impossible.

Warehouse operators have to be enabled to access SAP processes from mobile devices. Unvired is releasing Unvired Inventory Manager for SAP, a mobile application that brings warehouse processes to the operators. Unvired Inventory Manager for SAP helps warehouse workers to get the stock overview, move goods, issue & return materials, count physical inventory, receive goods, create purchase requisitions and deliver goods efficiently from mobile devices real-time.

Unvired Inventory Manager for SAP is available on iPad, Android Smart Phones & Tablets, Windows and Google Glass.

Yes! Google Glass. Unvired Inventory Manager for SAP on Google Glass goes one step ahead of smart phones and tablets enabling warehouse operators work hands free with Glass.

More details about Unvired Inventory Manager for SAP can be found here. A blog and video on Unvired Inventory Manager for SAP on Google Glass can be found here.

Unvired Inventory Manager App Brings SAP on Google Glass

Application Mobile Use Case Technology

glass_small

An operator in a warehouse is driving a forklift and has to check a particular material’s stock level for delivery. The operator has an iPad where he can get the stock levels from SAP. To do that he has to free his hands and use the iPad. Instead the operator talks to his Google Glass, scans the barcode on the material pallet and gets the stock levels for that material across all storage locations and batches by categories (quantity that can be shipped, quantity in quality inspection, etc.) on the Google Glass. He quickly glances at his Glass and knows exactly which storage locations he needs to visit in order to prepare for his delivery.

Then the operator has to move some materials to a different storage location to make space for his delivery. Driving the forklift he moves the materials. Once he moves the materials he scans the barcodes of the material, quantity and batch on his Glass. He dictates the from and to storage locations and moves the goods in SAP using his Glass!

Yes this is the new way of working in a warehouse! All this is possible because of Google Glass and Unvired Inventory Manager (based on SAP ERP) on Google Glass.

Yes! Unvired Inventory Manager is now on Google Glass!

Google Glass is an enterprise device that can be used in multiple industries – manufacturing, oil & gas, chemicals, utilities, etc. Inventory management on Google Glass is a classic case across these industries to manage the warehouses. Operators in the warehouses are very busy carrying goods and driving forklifts desiring hands free access to data and business processes. While smart phones and tablets provide instant information, Google Glass can provides the same information in a more convenient manner. Operators in the warehouse can now use the Unvired Glass application to manage inventory more conveniently (apart from using the app on tablets). Unvired Inventory Manager on Google Glass glassifies 2 processes – checking stock and moving goods across locations.

Stock Overview: Lookup stock levels in the warehouse from the Glass.

stock_overview_process

Goods Movement: Move goods in SAP from the Glass.

goods_movement_process

More processes from Unvired Inventory Manager and other Unvired applications will be on Glass shortly! Watch this space for more news.

Unvired Primer on Google Glass

Unvired Primer on Google Glass

Blog Mobile Use Case Technology Viewpoint

Unvired started innovating with Google Glass very early and has developed multiple applications on Google Glass. We have had many enquiries on how Google Glass can be used in the enterprise and if Glass can be used in the enterprise at all. Our answer is a resounding YES based on early results.

Early trends show Google Glass use cases in the enterprise as:

  • Collaborate with Remote expert helping the Glass user solve problems
  • Just in time training or training content creation
  • Hands free Digital checklists / surveys enhancing compliance
  • Remote data access from ERP and other systems
  • Capturing images and videos, and sharing them with colleagues

Unvired is working with early adopter companies to develop applications on Glass. Watch this space for more updates and demos on Google Glass apps (integrated with SAP ERP and other systems). For a full primer on Google Glass click here.

Google Glass in Oil & Gas and Oil Field Services: Digital OilField

Blog Mobile Use Case

Recently, Wearables have been getting a lot of attention with Google Glass and Android Wear based smartwatches.  Gartner has predicted that companies can save over $1 Billion in costs related to Field Service leveraging Wearables including Glass.  We have done our own research talking to Exploration and Production companies as well as Oil Field Services.  We have also brainstormed with Google on this.  The use of Glass is ideal where hands free use is needed, typically in a messy environment where workers may be wearing gloves. Here are some of our findings where Google Glass applications can be useful:

1. Collaboration with Remote experts: Workers in the Field can make video calls, and take pictures to get expert opinions thousands of miles away

2. Training: Glass can record video from the user’s perspective while activities/tasks are being performed.  This video can then be used to train new workers.

3. Digital Checklists: Workers can get hands free checklist instructions on their Glass that can enhance compliance.

4. Data Overlay: Workers in Exploration can get reservoir/geospatial data overlay on Glass to help them appraise the Field better

5. ERP Remote Data access: Workers can get data from their SAP and Oracle systems and perform transactions like Goods Movement and Inventory Check.

The Use Cases of Glass are emerging and will be defined over the next year as companies launch pilot projects.  Unvired is working with several early adopter customers to usher in the era of Wearable Computing.

 

A Tale of Two Wearables: Google Glass and Smart Watch

Blog Technology Viewpoint

Did you notice how quickly smartphones and tablets have been relegated to the realm of the ordinary? Yesterday, Google announced the developer preview program for Android Wear, their OS for smart watches.  And along with that, they talked of an ecosystem supporting Wear–the likes of Intel, Samsung, LG, and Fossil that will now produce smart watches.  A short while ago, Google also launched their Google Glass Developer Program–yes, those nerdy glasses that will deliver information to our very eyes.  These two newer devices are ushering in the era of wearables, and a new wave of mobile computing.

So, the question is about how well these newer devices will be adopted.  There are many skeptics who believe that Glass will not take off.  The concern is that people will not want to be seen with those glasses.  A more serious concern is about privacy–that for example, someone can take your picture without you having any clue.  As far as smart watches are concerned, do we really need a watch that does things your smart phone already does.  The answer is that both these wearables have their place.

Some people are already misusing their smart phones–so, Glass does not really add any significant new element of privacy risk. On the other hand, in some situations, it helps to get notifications and messages for example delivered to your eyes without having to look down at a phone.  It would be very handy at a dinner where one could read urgent and important information without appearing rude.  I think the keywords are urgent and important.

I have much greater faith in smart watches taking off.  People are used to wearing watches, and a smart watch could be a fashion statement and a status symbol.  Remember the Roger Federer and Rolex ads? So, as applications are built for the smart watch like health monitoring, notification/message delivery, they will become more and more popular.

It seems that the next few years will even be more exciting and bring more innovation.  You can rest assured that Unvired will keep abreast of these trends, and build some cool applications for wearables.