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Is it a good idea to convert a Monolithic Application to Microservices

Microservice is a popular term in today’s cloud software development and the agile programming community. Before you make the decision to convert a monolithic application to microservices, read our insights.

What is a Microservice?

Services that are small in size, messaging-enabled, bounded by contexts, autonomously developed, independently deployable, decentralized, and built and released with automated processes.

Source Wikipedia

Why convert a Monolithic Application to Microservices?

Before we start learning about converting an already working application to microservices, it is important to know why it is needed in the first place.

It might be difficult to extend and improve your existing legacy applications that might be running on older platforms. Scalability becomes an issue and working on top of such huge monoliths might even increase the complexity and makes it even harder to maintain.

Another reason is the need to use modern frameworks for modern problems, that might not be possible in the monolith. For example, if a 10 year old application is running on a legacy Java platform, and you want to integrate Machine Learning capability to the system, it will become difficult. You might want to use a different tech stack Python, for example.

There are several reasons to use microservices. But is it a good idea to migrate an entire monolithic application? Well, maybe not. Sometimes, it’s tempting for technology decision-makers to adopt microservices because that makes you look “cool” in the modern tech community.

Let’s see how you can get out of this dilemma and see if migrating to microservices is a good idea for your organization.

Think about the value that you’ll get from adopting a microservice design.

  1. Do you have a particular component in your application that needs to be scaled and served through a load balancer?
  2. Is there a need to re-write a particular module of your application in a different language/tech stack?
  3. Do you have a distributed team structure where collaboration between teams is difficult due to timezone issues?

These are some of the factors you can consider before adopting a microservice architecture.

But, don’t under estimate the trouble.

decision to convert a monolithic application to microservices should be taken carefully

Migrating from monoliths to microservices should be done incrementally. Trying to do it all at once will result in a big bang. Especially if your monolith is not documented properly, or if you don’t have a clear picture of the implementation.

I’d suggest an approach where you should build new features as microservices instead of building it in the monolith app. And incrementally, migrate the related functions from monolith to your new microservice. And after migrating each function, keep monitoring the logs for increased failures and errors. You should be able to switch it back easily if there is a serious / error.

I did this recently for a huge monolith application (that has high usage). It was written in PHP and we migrated it into Node.js microservices.

But, Microservices make simple things complex.

microservices can be a headache
I just refactored my simple web app into several microservices.

I’d recommend migrating into microservice only if there is a real need. Otherwise, it can cause several other headaches. Distributed applications are very hard to monitor and maintain.

For example, in a monolith application, you know where to look when something fails. You’d probably have a single log file for your entire application. But in you have several microservices, and if one fails, you’d never know the problem, unless you have a sophisticated log aggregation system.

Conclusion

When you write an application, even if it’s monolithic, try to design it as components so that you could simply break a piece from it, and deploy it as a separate microservice.

Simply, ask the question yourself “Do I really need it?”.

If your decision is just because you read about microservices and it looks cool, don’t do it. Because microservices are really hard to maintain and monitor. It would be an overkill for small applications.

If you’re just starting up, I’d recommend adopting component-based design. So when your application grows you can simply separate a component and deploy it as a microservice.

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Things to consider while building a SaaS product from scratch

Originally published on Hackernoon – https://hackernoon.com/building-a-saas-product-from-scratch-things-to-consider-e3s32tu

SaaS is not a buzzword in 2019! It’s a proven, efficient and most widely used model to deliver software to customers. SaaS stands for software as a service, which means the software is delivered as a continuous service over the web/internet where the customer doesn’t have to download and install the product on his system. Examples of popular SaaS products include Zoho, Salesforce, Mailchimp, Twilio, etc.

Having built and scaled a SaaS product to several hundred millions of users from scratch, I’ve gathered valuable knowledge and experienced in various aspects related to building and maintaining a SaaS software. I’ll share some of the key elements to consider while building a software product that you plan to offer in the SaaS delivery model. If you’re thinking to build your first SaaS product, this article will help you get some ideas.

Test The Waters

It may not be calm as you see. Look for sharks inside!

Developing a SaaS product can be very costly unless you’re an expert programmer and willing to spend all your time inside a room coding. SaaS development projects will have cost anywhere from $50,000 to $1M depending on the complexity and the stage you’re in. So, before you invest your time and money in developing a full-fledged SaaS product, you should test if it’s worth the effort by building a quick, low-cost MVP.

As in every business, find your target customer segment. To whom are you going to sell this product? -This is not as easy as it seems. You might have several intuitions about your target customer which is likely to be wrong. You might be entering a market that is ruled by enterprise companies, or the market size of your product is too narrow that you can’t make a sizeable income.

And when it comes to finding your ideal customer persona, it should be laser-focused. You should be able to define a clear and crisp profile of your ideal customer!

During the initial stage of Engagespot, I assumed that our target customers are digital marketing agency owners and tried to sell the product to them. After spending a lot of time and effort, I realized that Engagespot is just a small module inside their already existing digital-marketing suit

It will take you several iterations, and customer interactions to refine your customer profile! Once you find the right product-market fit, you’ll feel like you are being chased by customers!

Don’t Re-invent the Wheel

Wheels are already made and perfected by others. Don’t re-invent them. Just use it!

When you’re building a SaaS product, several components are common for any SaaS apps that you need to build. But don’t build them! Instead, look for companies that offer such modules as SaaS offerings. This will not only help you save months but also takes away the overhead in maintaining such modules. Hence your team can spend more time building and refining your core features, instead of coding some fancy invoicing templates!

There are several third-party services that you can use to speed up your SaaS product development time.

ChargeBee – Their platform takes away the pain in building the subscription module for your SaaS product, which includes monthly billing, invoicing, account management, pro-rata billing, multi-payment-gateway integrations etc.

Engagespot – This is my product, that helps you save time by quickly adding user notification support on your SaaS product. Every web-based product will have a notification center where users can see important notifications and alerts. Even though it looks simple, it needs a lot of effort to build that component. With Engagespot, you can add a complete notification system in less than 15 minutes.

Algolia – If your product has complex realtime search features that search millions of records, stop trying to optimize and make it as smooth as Google search. You’re likely to fail! Instead, try Algolia.

Build for scale

Will your product withstand the growth if you get lucky overnight?

You may not need to consider the word “scale” if you’re building an MVP just to test the market. But after you’ve found the product-market fit and ready to onboard hundreds of real paying customers, it becomes critical.

Sudden growth is something that I never expected while building my product and that’s a mistake every new SaaS founders often make. For me, it happened when a website with comparatively huge traffic began to use my product and that sudden surge froze the product!

I didn’t foresee the potential bottlenecks while I was architecting my product as I never expected such a spike event. Later, I had to optimize the codebase and database to withstand such load spikes.

If you are building your product v2.0, then you must architect it for scalability. You need to identify the areas where there is a chance for your SQL Queries to slow down or your in-memory array processing will crash the server. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

You need an experienced software architect who had worked on similar projects who can predict such scalability issues and design the architecture accordingly. 

You need an assembly line

You need an efficient pipeline like this, to build and release new features to your SaaS product

You’ve finished coding your product, tested it properly and made it available to your customers and they started using it. And you become a millionaire! – No, it’s a dream and far away from reality.

Your SaaS product will never be finished and it shouldn’t be. Once your customers start using your product, you’ll see bugs and issues that might have escaped your QA process. It’s fine and it happens! But the real question is, how will you fix it and release it to your customers quickly without affecting the current system?

This is where the importance of defining a delivery pipeline becomes critical. During the early stage of my SaaS product, I give little or no importance to software delivery at all and that was a recipe for failure. When bugs are encountered I fixed them and pushed directly to production and Boom!

The entire system went down due to an unknown issue. Then I had to change revert the bug fix and identify what happened. This can seriously affect your business if you have several paying customers.

Consider new feature releases just like a car in its production assembly line. It needs to go through several stages, automated and manual.

And you need an efficient DevOps platform like Jenkins, Travis, Gitlab, etc combined with a test automation tool like LambdaTest to handle the continuous release of new features to your product without affecting the existing system.

Change your mindset that software will run by it’s own once deployed. Software development is a continuous process and it needs regular updates, maintenance and support to keep your customers happy.

Measure from day 1

The way you think is not how your users think.

This is a very important thing but often neglected by founders while building their product. What I’ve learned from building several SaaS products is that our intuitions are most likely to be wrong! We cannot trust our intuitions to build a new feature thinking that it might be loved by users.

From day 1, you should use analytics software to measure and track your users and the way they use your product. If your customer base is low, you can even consider using a session recording tool like Smartlook and watch how your users are behaving. 

I used session recording to understand why most of my customers are not going beyond a particular step in the onboarding process and found a serious design issue that was making them confused and thus leading to abandoning the product. 

You’ll never know how your customers use your product unless you track and measure using good analytics software. It can even give you ideas about which feature to build next.

Building and scaling a SaaS product is an exciting journey with countless things you can learn from. But if you think you don’t want to reinvent the wheel, it’s better to learn from other SaaS founders and developers who have already walked the same path before you.

What I’ve shared here is some of the basic things that you need to consider while building your first SaaS product which can help you a lot in your journey forward. All the best!

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How to find great developers to build your product

Well, We all are going through difficult times and most of us are working from home for more than a month. For most of us, this mode of work is not something that we’re familiar with. And it’s even harder to recruit new software developers and start working with them remotely. Here are some tips that will be helpful to find great developers or freelancers to develop your product.

Don’t look at the resume. Many great developers don’t have one!

Or, maybe you should, but in a different way. We’ve all seen those common sentences and emphasized jargon in resumes that don’t have anything to do with the developer. Somebody who has built a “Hello World” program in Rust will become a highly experienced Rust architect, and another person who has learned linear regression will become a Machine Learning consultant, only in their resumes!

Never ever hire a developer based on what they’ve written on their profile. Look for proof. If you’re really an expert in reading resumes, you might get some clues by looking at it. Sometimes, I do get a feel like – I think this might be saying the truth about his experience in a particular language/tech stack because he sounds different from 90% of other people.

Have they mentioned references to the projects they’ve done? Do they have a StackOverflow or GitHub profile? Well, having an account doesn’t mean they’re an expert. But, are they active on it? You’ll definitely be able to figure out if the person is a true expert by looking at their Github or StackOverflow account.

But not all of the great developers are active on Github or Stackoverflow!

Find great developers from the list with a quick tech challenge

So, If the developer doesn’t have an active Github or StackOverflow, you’re still in Step 0. You have a long list of applications that you don’t know how to shortlist.

Well, give them a treasure-hunt, but programmatically. I’ve done this before and this helped me find great developers from a list of hundreds of applicants. At least, this will make your shortlisting job easier.

You need to give them a challenge that helps you assess his knowledge in the area that you’re looking for. But don’t send a task that will take a full day to complete. Many of them will just ignore it. This is just to shortlist some good developers from a list of applications. But yet challenging.

Most often, you’d be able to filter more than 60% of the list from this challenge. Look at the way they implement it, look at their coding pattern, look the way they write Git commit messages, Have they wrote unit tests? Each detail counts!

Well, we haven’t found a great developer yet, but still, we were able to clear the noise by filtering a huge list! That’s a relief.

How to find that one great developer from the list?

Congrats, you’ve made your job much easier. Now you have only a few developers in your shortlist from where you may or maynot find the one perfect developer to develop your software product. How to find that one person?

Have a call with each one of them, and tell what you’re trying to build and ask if they have built anything similar. Listen to the way they speak. Each project is different, but most of them share some of the common components like JWT based authentication, Payment Gateways, Chat integration, etc.

If the person is an expert developer, they will confidently suggest the way you should choose a tech stack, or how to implement it. Because they’ve already done it and know what all possible challenges that could happen. I’d definitely choose the person who’s already implemented something that I’m going to build. Experience beats theory.

The product that you’re going to build consists of common components like login, authentication, etc. All of the shortlisted developers on your list can do those things. There is no doubt about that. So you shouldn’t make a move based on that. Instead, go deeper and discuss the challenging areas of your project like – “What can we do if we need to handle millions of push notifications?” If he has no clear picture of that or if they say like – “Well, I haven’t done that, but we’ll see”, I’d mark them as a secondary choice.

Always listen to the opinion of a technical person when you look to find a great developer

Admit it, Hiring a great developer (Be it full time, or a freelancer) for your software development project is not easy. This one decision can make or break your products, and your dreams too!

You can’t trust your intuitions in this space. You really need the help of an experienced technical person to find a great developer. Since there are hundreds or even thousands of technologies and frameworks out there, it is really difficult to find that one person who is the right match for your project. But you can reduce the chances of the wrong hire by following steps like – Evaluating their opensource contribution, Ability to solve related challenges, communication skill (This is again very very important) and overall, he should have a passion for what you’re trying to build.

Product development > App development. You need the right person to do it. To build a great product, you need great engineers!

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Logidots listed among 50 Smartest Companies of 2019

Logidots has been listed as one among 50 Smartest Companies of 2019, by SiliconReview. Logidots’ position in this top list of smartest companies exemplifies its fast growth, top performance and very good reputation among its customers.

This list of smartest 50 companies includes some of the world’s largest organizations and startups that are disrupting markets using modern technologies including Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.

Recently, Logidots was listed as one among the top AI companies in SanFrancisco by Clutch.

Logidots is on a mission to transform custom software development for enterprises and startups through smart tools, top talent and redefined approaches.

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The real cost of building an app

If you’ve ever tried to get an app built for your business, you might already know this. You send your RFQ to several app development companies (small, medium or giants) or freelancers and the quote that you get from them will be so diverse that you can’t even do a comparison. That is because the real cost of building an app is complex than you think.

It is not easy to calculate how much it will cost to develop your app. When I say app, it can be anything, a mobile app, a web app, a complete SaaS product, anything. It can range from $5000 to millions depending on the complexity and nature of your app development engagement. In this article, I will try to guide you on how to estimate the budget to build and maintain your application.

What are you going to build? It’s more than your one-line idea.

This is the first thing you need to figure out before you allocate your budget for your app development project.

Do you just have a brief idea about what you want to build? Or are you able to sketch down a simple wireframe of what you’re trying to build? Or are knowledged enough to make a full-fledged plan of the entire app project?

Well, depending on which stage you are in, you may or may not require a consultant before you can start building your app. A good consultant can help you strategize your idea, and plan a well-defined product development roadmap which will make the app development process efficient and guarantee that you will build something that you’ve imagined.

“I want to build an app like Uber, but for trucks!” – Unfortunately, that is not enough for a developer to start working on your app. You need to write down what you’re trying to achieve with this app, how each of its features is going to work, what is the value delivered to your app users? How will you manage and control your app as an administrator?

There are many questions that need a detailed answer before you can even think of building your app. An experienced consultant who has expertise in working with similar app projects is necessary at this stage.

Your idea vs how it was built vs what you actually wanted
StageConverting your idea into a detailed app development plan.
RequiresExperienced software consultant with industry knowledge.
Time Needed Depends on the nature of the idea. Anywhere from 5 days to several months
Est. CostFrom $1000 to $100K+
Cost of avoiding this stepYour app development project will be a bumpy ride with many uncertainties and in the end, you may not get what you needed.

Your app needs a design! But it’s not just about colors.

Now you know what are you going to build, and what to expect from your app development project. It’s not just a one-line idea anymore!

But wait, you are not yet ready to tell your development team to start writing code for your application. You need to finalize how your app is going to look and feel for your users. Yes, the Design!

Design is not just about the look and colors, it’s more about the experience of your app. Depending on your target users, you need to spend some time to figure out how to arrange components in your app, design the information flow so that your users won’t feel irritated.

I’ve seen several people avoiding design stage in building their app, and the end result is horrible. Most of the time, such apps will cause headaches to users because of the odd design and user experience. It might be hard to spot for you because the app is your baby, but for others, they can easily get bored if the design is not proper.

Which button should I press?

You need a good interface and user experience designer to translate your project plan into a user-friendly application mockup. They will design your app screens in such a way that it follows the basic human-computer interaction rules and standards of software applications.

StageDesigning the interface and experience of your app.
RequiresExperienced UI/UX designers with knowledge in working on similar apps.
Time Needed Depends on the nature of the idea. Anywhere from 15 days to 3 months
Est. CostFrom $2000 to $50K+
Cost of avoiding this stepYour app will be difficult to use and the chances of your app getting abandoned will be high.

Conversion of your idea to a usable app – Development

Finally, you have a plan, you have the design, and now you can dive into the phase where your idea gets converted into an application. This is the phase where you need developers to write code to turn your idea into reality.

cost of building an app - development

Depending on the complexity and nature of your app, you might need one, or a team of developers to work on your project.

Tips to find the best developer for your app

A typical app often requires a front-end and back-end programmer. When you look for programmers, you should never look for the one who charges the minimum, instead –

  1. Ask if they have built similar apps and if the apps are available on PlayStore or AppStore, have a look. Also, check the reviews section to know if the app is buggy or if users love it. Those signs will let you know whether you should choose the developer or not.
  2. What if your app becomes successful and you get several hundred thousands of downloads? Is the developer capable of building it in such a way that it can handle huge userbase? Most cheap freelancers might not have experience in handling such rare cases.
  3. Are they available to support you after the app development has finished? You will need them to support and maintain your app. So never choose someone who will disappear when development is complete.

Development is the stage where you need to spend most of the money. A typical developer (one that matches the above criteria) will charge anywhere from $15 to $50 dollars per hour in India, and it can be in the range of $100 – $200 in the US or Europe.

StageWriting code for your app.
RequiresExperienced software architects and programmers.
Time Needed Depends on the nature of the idea. Anywhere from 1 month to several months
Est. CostFrom $5000 to Millions
Cost of avoiding this stepYou cannot avoid this step 😉

Testing and QA

Now you have the app built! Congrats. But is it ready to use? How will you know? Do you know how your users will use your app?

Testing and Quality Assurance is an important step that you cannot avoid in an app development project. Of course, the development team will do basic testing, but that is not enough to make your app perfect. Your app will be used by thousands of users and each of them will be using it in their own ways.

When it comes to testing, it is not just about a single person manually testing the app and certifying it as done. It is way more difficult and time taking than it looks. Let me explain.

  1. Your users might use Windows, Linux, Android or iOS, and each of their device screen sizes is totally different from your tester’s device. How will you make sure that your app will work perfectly in all devices, all screen sizes, and all specifications?


  2. Testing is not a one-time process. Imagine your tester finished testing your app. Then your developer implemented a new feature. Now, there is a huge chance that it might have introduced a bug. So your tester has to test the app again, and remember, on all devices! Not practical, right? There is only one solution – You need to invest in test automation!
  3. Testing is not just about finding bugs. You need to find security flaws too. Depending on the sensitivity of data stored in your app, you need to do a security audit to ensure that your customers’ data is safe. Government regulations are becoming so strict about handling user’s data that you could land you in court and end up paying millions as fine.
StageTesting and Quality Analysis of your app.
RequiresExperienced software testers and automation testing strategy.
Time Needed Depends on the nature of the app. Anywhere from a few days to months.
Est. CostAround 30 – 40% of your total app development cost.
Cost of avoiding this stepYou will be bombarded with complaints from users about your buggy software and end up spoiling your reputation

Guides and Documentations

Finally, you have built and tested your app and it’s ready to use. But wait, you or your users may not know how to use it.

Well, it happens when you are building complex apps. You are the one who described the idea. But your software has become so huge that even you don’t know how to use some features properly.

Having experience working in multiple software development projects, the most common thing I’ve to do is to repeatedly teach the customer how to use their app.

Proper documentation and user guides are necessary for any app. We are humans and our memory time span is limited for certain things that we don’t continuously deal with.

After the development team has delivered your software, they will forget how it was developed and becomes extremely harder for them to figure out technical details later. So it is important to document your app properly.

And no documentation! You’re doomed!
StageDocumenting your app and preparation of user guides.
RequiresGood Technical writers
Time Needed Several Days
Est. CostTechnical writers charge around $20/Hr in the US.
Cost of avoiding this stepYou will have a hard time debugging your app after some months, and extremely difficult to modify or add new features later.

Backend and Delivery Infrastructure

Your app needs to be hosted on a server in order for everyone to access it. This is an important part of software delivery.

These days, all apps are cloud-based and not on-premise. That means anyone who has access to the internet can use these apps, unlike apps that can be accessed only on a single device where it is installed.

You need a good cloud-based infrastructure to host your application. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, etc are some of the reputed cloud hosting providers and they have a variety of services that you can choose depending on the nature and the number of users.

It is important to choose a reputed cloud hosting provider or else you will have to face issues in your app availability and thus the user experience.

cost of building an app - infrastructure
Your app had 1000+ users and then your server went down for 2 hours.
Now you have 0 users.
StageHosting your app’s backend on a cloud server.
RequiresCloud infrastructure and experienced server administrators.
Time Needed Few Days
Est. CostRecurring monthly costs ranging from $30 to $10K or more.
Cost of avoiding this stepYou cannot avoid this step if your app has a backend.

You need someone to look after your app – Support, Maintenance, and Monitoring

Finally, you’ve released your app and your userbase is increasing day by day and you’re making millions every year. End of the story?

No, unless you’re lucky, it never happens. A software will never work continuously for years just like most people would imagine. This is where the role of support and maintenance comes becomes necessary.

Especially in the rapidly changing world of technology, your software can quickly get outdated. Not sure how? let me explain. Your app was built and tested to run on Android 10.0 device. And after one year, Android 11.0 was released and they made some new changes in 11.0 that are not compatible with your app. Soon, your users will upgrade their phones to 11.0 and your app will not work anymore! You’re not realizing this because you think your software will work continuously without issues until the end of the world. And soon, you’ll go out of business!

Your app is like a car or your house. It needs regular monitoring and maintenance to ensure it’s working smoothly, fix parts that are wearing out, do some enhancement to cope with the change in environment (Operating Systems), or to find out if an attacker is exploiting your app.

Most people never see the value in investing in software maintenance or monitoring unless they land in some trouble. But, at that time it will be costly and time-consuming to find support to fix your app, or it will be too late that you’ve started losing the trust of your users.

When you think you can maintain your app yourself without spending money

Invest in a team to keep your app healthy and to monitor it’s performance as long as you have customers. They will use manual and automated tools to keep track of your app usage and do regular bug fixing and updates to ensure your app always usable.

StageKeeping your app up and live for your customers.
RequiresDevelopers, Monitoring Tools and Support Staff.
Time Needed As long as you have users.
Est. CostYou need to spend around 20 – 30% of your total development cost.
Cost of avoiding this stepYour app will get outdated, become buggy, become vulnerable to security threats, and become slow due to an increase in the number of users.

Summarizing Everything

Now that you’ve understood the basic components that add to the real cost of building an app. However, most people don’t have any idea about these steps other than development. Just to summarise, the real costs associated with an app development project are – Ideation and Consultation, Design, Development, Testing & QA, User Guides and Documentation, Infrastructure cost, Maintenance, and Support.

Typically, a medium complexity app (say, for example, a simple version of Uber) for both Android and iOS, along with web administrator backend will cost around $50,000 and will cost you $10K annually for its maintenance and infrastructure.

You might be able to find companies and people who can develop apps much cheaper than what I’ve explained here. But there is a lesser chance of getting it delivered and the journey might not be something you’ll love to experience 😉

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Simplify Event Check-In with Facial Recognition

Facial recognition technology is now becoming known for everyone since it is being used to unlock mobile phones and laptops just by looking at your device. It is faster and convenient because you don’t have to remember and type your pin number each time when you want to unlock your phone.

The same technology can be used to simplify the registration and check-in process at events and expos. The prevailing process of event registration is completely manual or based on barcode scanning. Either the customer has to carry a print out of their registration confirmation or to carry a PDF copy on their phone.

Facial recognition can make the check-in process more convenient for the event attendees and organizers by transforming the event registration process. Here is how.

Faster Check-In

For large events with thousands of attendees, the major bottleneck will be at the registration/check-in counter. Since it is practically impossible to increase the number of registration stands beyond a limit, improving the speed of the check-in process is the best solution to avoid an unwanted rush.

Along with normal check-in counters, the event can have some facial recognition enabled check-in counters, where the attendee can get his badge printed within 10seconds just by looking at the camera.

This improves attendee satisfaction as they don’t have to carry a printout or scan through their messages or email to find the registration PDF.

Facial registration counters can facilitate self-service check-in process. On an average, a facial recognition enabled self-checkin counter can handle around 400 attendees per hour

Personalize Check-in Experience

It is possible to create a personalized experience at the check-in booth by recognizing the attendee’s face and welcoming him with a personalized greeting. This can create a wow-experience for the attendees.

This level of personalized experience is not possible in normal check-in booths, where the volunteer doesn’t know the attendee before they give the registration printout.

Talk to us to know how Logidots’ Machine Learning solutions can transform the check-in experience of your event.

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Logidots Listed Among Top 10 AI Companies in San Francisco

Top B2B research and review firm Clutch recently published a list of Top Artificial Companies based in San Francisco, and Logidots was listed as an emerging player and ranked 10th in the list.

Clutch is a B2B research, ratings and reviews site that identifies leading IT and marketing service providers and software. Clutch evaluates companies based on over a dozen quantitative and qualitative factors, including client reviews, company experience, client list, industry recognition, and market presence. Clutch helps companies manage their online reputation through 3rd party, verified reviews and increases their online visibility and traffic.

We would like to thank our customers for giving us a wonderful opportunity to service you. Thank you and remember; we value you!

If you like to learn more about our services, and how we can transform your organization to build better software products, visit our website – https://www.logidots.com

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Netflix saves $1B annually using Artificial Intelligence

Netflix, the world’s most popular subscription-based video streaming service, is known for using many Artificial Intelligence enabled services to provide better customer experience to their users. The most popular among these is it’s content recommendation engine that suggests movies and series to users.

In an academic paper by Netflix’s chief product officer, they mentioned that, Netflix saves around $1B every year through combined effect of personlisation and recommendation.

Netflix found that, a typical user who searches for content loses their interest after 60 – 90 seconds of searching. Here the problem is that, if the user is not able to find an interesting content within that time, the risk of abandoning the service is pretty high.

That’s where the role of recommendation engine is critical. It predicts contents that the user might be interested in, based on several factors and presents to the user in few seconds. This prevents the user from abandoning their service due to “non-availability” of interesting contents.

By calculating the number of users who might leave because of the above reason, Netflix estimates it to be around $1B or more every year. That’s why the AI based recommendation engine is worth a lot to the company.

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How AI Will Change Software Development

AI and Machine learning continuous to be one of the most discussed technologies of all time. Unlike other fads that come and vanish, AI is definitely impacting human lives in many ways in the form of machine vision, smart predictions, autonomous cars etc

But, can Machine Learning accelerate the development of bespoke software and enhance the whole Software Development Lifecycle? AI can be applied to many areas in software development to make the process more efficient and faster.  A 2016 Forrester Research survey, reveals that AI can even write code!

Here are some ways in which AI will improve bespoke software development.

Ideation and Planning

If you’ve been in the role of a Software Project Manager, you know how challenging that job is. Identifying product requirements properly from the stake holders, translating them to user stories and developer tasks, accomodating changes in requirement without breaking existing features.. The list goes on.

A study reveals that, 75% of custom software development projects either fail, exceed bugets or miss deadlines.

This is where Machine Learning can help. By analyzing data from several past projects, we might be able to build an automated system that translates requirements, or wireframes to actual user stories and developer tasks, and even assign them to right developers, which can reduce the project planning time by a huge extent.

Also, by analyzing previous data, a deep learning system can estimate tasks, where humans often make mistakes, and it can even predict risks and delays.

Design and Development

This is the major phase in SDLC life cycle, where human talent cannot be simply replaced, as it involves creativity and several other abilities which require human brains.

But still, we can see the growth in No-Code/Low-code platforms which significantly reduces the time in building applications.

Such platforms will continue to emerge and with Machine Learning, they’ll be more powerful enough to develop even enterprise applications without the need of a developer writing code from scratch.

However, we’re still years away from building such an AI system that can build a custom applications without human developers.

Software Testing

This is another area where AI is already making a huge impact. Manual Software Testing is time consuming, and with Agile methodologies, doing continuous testing is not always practical.

Machine learning can do code reviews by analyzing several thousands of opensource code bases available on the web. By pattern recognition, an AI system can predict and suggest improvement for a codeblock, and even auto-correct buggy code.

This will speed up the debugging process and human QA analysts can focus on testing the general usability (UI/UX) aspects of the software instead of trying to find and report functional / syntax errors.

Once AI completely automate test case preparation and testing process, the delivery time and quality of software can be significantly improved.

Even though we’re still far away from building fully automated software development systems, We can be sure that AI will play a massive role in the way how we develop software in the coming years.

How do you think AI will impact software development? Let us know in the comments!

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How AI enabled chatbots are transforming Insurance Industry

Over the past few years, there is a steep increase in customer’s love towards self-service interactions. And this is why companies are investing their presence in every messenger platforms where their customers are present.

AI is disrupting every industry and insurance is no exception. Chatbots are one among the AI enabled tools that caught attention of enterprise CIOs because of the ROI it delivers. Chatbots with natural language processing capability helps in enhancing customer experience by providing an Onmi-channel experience to engage with customers across multiple platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat etc.

Humans love conversations more than anything. Not convinced? Give a millennial a chat window and a support desk app and see what he prefers.

Source – Salesforce – 60% of consumers prefer chatbots for communication

How it helps consumers

One of the advantages of using chatbots is that it will be available 24/7. You don’t have to restrict your support timing only during business hours. A chatbot can serve your customer with his queries even at midnight.

Also, you can deploy the same chatbot across multiple messenger platforms wherever works best for your target customers. Many of the platforms including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp etc supports chatbot implementations.

Customers can get personalised product suggestions and answers based on their profile. For example, your chatbot will know how to deal with a millennial who works in Software Industry and what products he might be interested in.

What results are insurers getting from chatbots?

Chatbots can handle multiple conversations with different customers at the same time, which is not possible for a human. One common trait in support related conversations is that, majority of the customers are asking the same question. It’s like the 80/20 rule. A chatbot can efficiently handle this repeatedly asked queries so that your human support agents can spend time in answering more complex queries that requires true human intelligence.

A study reveals that, around 30% of the customer service calls can be answered by an intelligent chatbot and still maintaining high customer satisfaction.

Insurance companies experience a 30% drop in customer service costs as they deploy chatbot to assist their customers 24/7.

Claim processing is another are where chatbots can bring a huge impact. One of the major problems faced by insurance companies is fraudulent claims. Deploying a chatbot for processing claims can analyse past data, and predict fraudlent claims that a human might miss.

Integration with existing systems

A standalone chatbot is of no-use if it cannot integrate with your existing CRM and ERP systems. But, that’s not the case. Chatbots today can interact with your existing systems, and read/write data as required.

For example, when a chatbot services a customer, the chatbot can pull previous data from your CRM and personalise the conversation accordingly. And also, the chatbot can help you add more information to your CRM based on the data collected from the conversation with your customer.

Chatbots will continue to gain traction in the Insurance industry as more and more companies are adopting chatbots for customer support, sales and claim processing.

53% of service organizations expect to use chatbots within 18 months — a 136% growth rate that foreshadows a big role for the technology in the near future.

Source – Salesforce

For further information

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