Stop! Read This Before You Launch That New Digital Device

There’s plenty of room for innovative new designs to come out in the market of digital technology, both as far as the consumer market and the business market are concerned. If you have an idea of a product that makes the lives of either type of customer more convenient, then it’s worth exploring. However, without the proper approach to developing and launching that device, you could run into some hurdles right from the beginning that make the chances of profiting very slim indeed.

Make sure it has a place on the market

All products have to be driven by demand. There are no two ways about it. If you haven’t been able to identify a market that is lacking for your product, or at least a way that you’re able to position yourself competitively against them, it can be hard to get the product off the ground entirely. People won’t pay attention to the marketing and they won’t see the value for them. Make sure your device is supported by proper research on the digital devices and technologies market. Only once you can find that demand should you be ready to go ahead with the development and the launch.

Prototype, prototype, prototype

There are a lot of demands on tech devices these days. One of the ways you can give yours a competitive edge is by looking a lot deeper into the physical design of the device itself. Not only can rapid prototyping through 3D printers allow you a great understanding of how the device’s dimensions operate in the physical world, providing important information on how convenient it is whether in a consumer’s hand or in a production line. Prototyping is also a good way to better understand the methods you might need to use to manufacture the product. That way, you can also spot the ways that you could cut down on manufacturing costs, increasing the potential return on investment for the device.

Make sure it’s market ready

Convenience and cost-effectiveness aren’t all that matter, however. It needs to actually work when it gets on the market. Certain bugs can be fixed post-launch in a lot of devices, but you need to make sure there are no huge problems waiting for it when the customers get their hands on it. If it’s a product that uses Modbus or other protocols to work together with other networks, then you need to make sure you’ve done compatibility testing to ensure that it can reliably communicate with them. The levels of specific testing your device needs are going to be down to the kind of device. The simple fact is that this is one area of development you cannot skimp on investing in. The tech industry is littered with buggy, broken releases that crashed a product’s potential.

A product needs to have demand to sustain its creation. Then it needs to be market ready, both in terms of its physical composition and the lack of bugs that could otherwise lead to disastrous launch and some very unhappy customers. Make sure that you’re spending the time and effort you need on development.

Remote Control: How To Run An Office From Anywhere

Advancements in technology and society are placing less focus and demand on the need for a centralised workplace. With laptops, tablets, smartphones and the quality of modern software, there’s less need for a workplace anymore.

It has to be said that remote working isn’t a policy that needs to be avoided. We might seem wary of working remotely as it could be seen to have adverse effects on company culture, we might not be able to build rapport or trust with employees or freelancers that we cannot see. That’s not true though.

The massive ace in the hole for remote working is technology. There’s simply no end to the use of technology and it has enabled us the ability to run an office or workplace from anywhere in the world. That’s incredible!

We can video conference using the video communication tools provided by Skype. We can project manage with Trello and Basecamp. Apps like Slack enable us to build a virtual office where we can communicate. There’s simply so much that can be done right now to establish a remote working policy that works. You can even forward your physical mail with mail forwarding which is better than a po box. Cloud storage will also ensure that crucial files are stored online, which means your work can not only be completed from anywhere, it can be accessed from anywhere.

Working remotely isn’t going to be the most amazing thing right away and it certainly isn’t going to work from day one of its implementation in your business. It does require a trained eye and careful, controlled management to work though.

For yourself, you need to ensure there is discipline. When not in the workplace it can be far too easy to procrastinate and not complete tasks. Work remotely in the same manner you would at the workplace for the best success possible. Enforce deadlines for your tasks and treat breaks as just that – a break from work. Working life doesn’t need to fit to the strict nine to five and it should be flexible. Remote working accompanied by discipline is a great way to add flexibility to your workplace.

A good working knowledge of technology can certainly save the day when remote working and knowing what apps to use is crucial to remote working as the majority of your communication will be stunted if you cannot figure out what app is right. Simply put, you’ll need cloud storage capabilities, a word processor, emails and video conferencing tools to do remote working well. You should always be able to communicate with your staff and should always be able to type up your work!

Having reliable equipment is also key. If your computer can’t handle basic tasks, change it out and if your internet connection is spotty, upgrade it or find a 4G workaround. A good laptop will save your day and is completely portable and comes with all the tools and hardware you need to excel at working remotely.

You don’t have to be in an office to run your business!

3D Printing Paves the Way for a DIY-Inspired Future

3D printing is one of those technologies that has been around for several decades but has only just begun to make waves in consumer interest. After all, most of these major technologies get their start by having business or industry applications before being watered down for consumers to use. 3D printing, however, isn’t just a fad or a dumbed-down toy for consumers to play with—it’s a serious technology.

3D printing offers something that many other technologies haven’t; creativity. The last major breakthrough in technology that allowed creators and hobbyists to design new things to help our lives is the introduction of the smartphone. With so many useful and silly apps being put on app stores across both the iOS and Android platforms, we tend to forget that many of these applications never used to exist and that someone somewhere thought up those ideas. In other words, it was an emerging technology that could be capitalised on and the same is happening for 3D printing.

A Growing Industry for Creative Individuals

It’s easy to see why inventors and creative people are getting excited over 3D printing businesses such as this company. The cost of a 3D printing has drastically fallen over the past few years and it’s expected that within a few more years, the cost of a 3D printing is going to be affordable enough to make it household appliance much like a regular printer. The sheer amount of possibilities it offers opens up a whole new world for creative DIY enthusiasts that just love to fix, create and improve on things.

Inventors are experimental and there’s nothing quite like logging onto a 3D printing community to find hundreds of new ideas, pictures and discussions. You could create simple things such as a phone or tablet holder, something to prop up your keyboard and make a standing desk, or even cable tidies to manage a web of wires.

As a result of this experimentation, there’s an emerging industry that can be taken advantage of by anyone with a 3D printer. Since you can mass-produce custom made figures and models, you could sell your creative and practical works on the internet on communities such as Etsy. You could even request a business or individual to create something specific for you and commission work, or you could make your own 3D models can give them to a professional company or hobbyist to print out.

3D Printing at Home

3D printers are also great to have in the home because they’re versatile and have the ability to create anything from basic household objects such as coat hangers and storage containers to customised objects that fit specific uses.

For instance, if you have some cables that have frayed ends, you could protect them by printing out cable sleeves. If you need a handle for a pot or a frying pan, you could 3D print something that slips over the handle to create your own. There are countless uses and a 3D printing is going to be a must-have for DIY enthusiasts in the future who love to create their own home “hacks”.

Keeping Up With The Kids: Are You Tech Savvy?

Back in the days when we were at school computers were pretty basic. ICT tended to focus on microsoft word and there were very few programs you could access easily to understand the world of computer aided design or image editing.

Our children though? Well they can create perfectly edited photographs on their phones and navigate their way through any new technology that is thrown at them. They laugh at our inability to send text messages, eye roll at our use of text speak or emoji and have to educate us on how to take a photo which doesn’t have a thumb in the way. If you are struggling to keep up with the youngsters then it’s time to make a change!

First things first, let’s start with the old school technology. The computer. Laptops are now a common item in most households but are you making the most out of your laptop or do you just use it for emails and surfing the web? Did you know there is almost nothing you can’t do if you have a computer. Granted some programs may require extra tech or cost a fair whack of money, but it is still possible to do anything if you have an internet connection, a few wires (although we hardly need those anymore) and a little bit of knowledge.

Here’s a great example. Remember your old holiday films taken either on a cinecam or as the years went by, a camcorder. Today you don’t need any of that. Providing you have your mobile phone or, better still, a HD camera such as a Go Pro you can shoot high definition footage which can be downloaded (wirelessly) to your computer. Once on their you can create your raw files into amazing films. If you want to create a really professional finish you could try a Premiere Pro Training course. This will teach you the art of video editing so when you get back from your recent holiday, it’s you impressing the youngsters with your awesome films.

Photo editing is even simpler. With sites such as Instagram you can tweak any snap you take on your phone, crop it, add a filter and then post your work of art for the world to see. No longer are we getting a simple photo of your evening meal, Generation X are actually taking wall worthy images and adding definition and mood straight from their mobile device. You can now give the impression you live a far cooler life than you actually do. The selfie craze went mad and is still going strong. Apps such as Facetune give you all the tools of a professional photo editor. You can slim your face down, smooth your skin, make you eyes bigger and even change the background of your photo. With technology like this available it’s no wonder the photographic industry is taking a bit of a hit. We are all mini professionals!

Keeping your eye on the latest wireless tech isn’t just about making you look cool in front of the younger generation. Knowing what products are out there and understanding how they work can help you reduce the costs of your monthly outgoings. You can also keep your family safer.

Amazon released the incredible Alexa this year. This small wireless device can be hooked up to any electrical products you have in your home and give you the power of turning them on or off with just your voice or the integrated app software. You can ensure your lights are never left on by simply asking Alexa to turn all the lights off. Or you can ask Alexa to order your shopping for you. She can’t go and let the delivery man in for you but we probably aren’t too far off that happening. You can also control your heating from Alexa or your phone too. Switching it on and setting the temperature so you can work the system around you, not the other way around.

CCTV has been available on the market for years, but with the development of tiny HD cameras we now have incredible quality and even night vision or thermal vision. The camera can be left running all day and set to record when movement is sensed. The recording can be delivered straight to your computer or your mobile phone. Obviously this is brilliant for home security but is also useful if you are out and want to check on the babysitter. Or to see how your pets cope when you aren’t around. Not that we recommend spying on your children, but when you start leaving them on their own, it’s quite reassuring to know you can check what they are up to from your tablet. That’s if they haven’t gone one step ahead of you and worked out where all the spy cams are hidden. Kids are smarter than you, remember?

We are even using tech to pay for our dinner now. Contactless payments mean you can use a chip in your card to tap the merchant device and instantly make payments without having to use your pin. Reducing the time we queue and making checkouts a little less congested. There is currently a strict limit on what you can spend, whilst the technology becomes more secure this will increase.

Finally, the smart 3D TV. Can you imagine if someone told you 20 years ago that your TV was not only going to be able to access all information in the whole world at the touch of a button, but that you could stream live video from your laptop without any wire connections or that 3D was going to be available in every home that had the money to afford it? What our TV’s can do now is nothing short of a miracle. From the size, to the picture quality to the sound. We might still need to ask the teenagers for a little help navigating the system but we’re pretty sure if you come home with a TV like this you are going to earn loads of tech spec brownie points.

Get With The Program: Learning To Code

As computers become more omnipresent in our lives, coding knowledge is becoming more and more in demand. With enough programming knowledge you can create your own website, build your own app, develop your own software and even engineer your own hardware. If you’re considering learning to code from scratch, here are the steps you should take.

Choose your language

First you will need to choose your programming language. Different languages are better suited to different applications – for example C++ is good for creating games, Java is good for mobile apps and PHP is specific for web programming. Some languages such as Python are more versatile. Most programmers learn multiple languages – once you know one, the others come more naturally as they rely of the same basic principles.

Take a course

Self-teaching yourself code is possible, although you’ll probably still want a few tips and pointers. Books, blogs, video tutorials and online training courses can be good for learning at home. If you work better with other people, a coding workshop or a short course may be more suitable. You can even hire private tuition.

Experiment

Once you’ve got to grips with the basics, it’s time to start experimenting. From here you can start to build your own code and better understand how to enable certain functions. Use open-source software to research other codes that people have discovered and shared. Try writing your own basic processes from scratch. Soon you will be able to start a full project of your own.

Build your own program

Eventually you will be ready to build your own program. You should start with something basic and work your way up to building a professional program – one that you may or may not wish to commercially sell.

Building something complex may require assembling a team, largely because it will be time-consuming and allocating tasks could speed up the whole process. Before building a program, you should lay out a design document to follow. From here you can start developing until you have a working prototype. This prototype will then need to be tested for bugs. You can get friends and family to test it, or – if you are creating a commercial product – you can hire a test group of professionals and download a test management solution to record any bugs they find. Learning to deal with bugs is a frustrating but essential part of programming.

Eventually, once you have ironed out bugs, you will have a fully-working computer program, which you can try and sell or use as a personal project to put in a portfolio.

Getting paid to code

There are all kinds of avenues you can take from here. You can develop your own software based on your own idea, work freelance turning other people’s ideas into realities or work for a software development company following set projects and a set wage. There are all kinds of areas that you can specify in from web design to PPC marketing to video games development to mobile app development to business software development to creating digital security and protecting against hacks. The world is your oyster.

Mobile Tech: The Past, Present, And Future

Mobile tech is a huge talking point for anyone that loves technology. What we want to do today is take a look at its past, present, and future. What was mobile tech like a decade or so ago? What’s it like now? And, what will it be like in the future? Find all this out here:

Past

In the past, mobile technology was incredibly simple. It was all about creating a device that you can carry around with you to send messages and make calls.

Then, it evolved to a device that allowed you to take pictures and access the internet. In the past, if your phone has internet connectivity, it was seen as something quite remarkable.

Mobile technology was very basic when it first burst on the scene, but things have definitely changed since then, as you will see in the section below.

Present

We’re currently living in a world that is absolutely dominated by mobile technology. The smartphone boom is real, and everyone has at least one mobile device of some sort. Perhaps the key piece of mobile tech right now has to be apps. Mobile apps are huge, they’re useful across so many different industries, and there’s an app for just about anything. It feels like if you have an idea, you just need to find a mobile app company and they can turn that idea into an app. Apps bring people closer to businesses and news outlets because an app sends notifications and provide people with updated information without them having to do anything.

As well as mobile apps we see loads of other tech related things too, such as biometric scanning and incredibly cameras. Most phones now come equipped with fingerprint scanners as an added security measure. Likewise, most mobile devices also have cameras capable of shooting pictures and videos in extremely high-quality resolutions – we’ve even seen a 4k smartphone camera!

To sum up, there are loads of current trends in mobile technology. Apps are huge from a business standpoint, whereas security and cameras are big things from the consumer view. We’re also seeing a few trends that are laying the foundations for future mobile tech, and they’ll be discussed below.

Future

It’s always difficult to predict the future, but we can be fairly certain of a few future mobile tech trends. Most notably; virtual and augmented reality. Mobile devices will soon all be compatible with virtual reality headset, and that will be reflected in the new types of games and apps that are developed.

Similarly, augmented reality will be a huge thing from an app developer standpoint too. We’ve already seen augmented reality games like Pokemon Go be a huge hit. In a few years, most apps will try and integrate augmented reality in some way.

How can we be sure of this? Because there are already a few smartphones and developers that are getting on this trend. Just look at Samsung and their VR headset, or Google and their Google Cardboard.

As you can see, mobile technology has come a long way since its inception. Even though things are very advanced now, it looks like there’s still a very bright future too.