Alexa Planning Skills – Tips and Tricks

​Technology is all about making life simple – assign chores to the digital robot so that you can achieve more productivity in your work or get more free time for yourself. Voice-first access is one such feature in technology that is slowly caving its way to become the customer’s favourite. Many companies are trying to come up with products that have their own branded voice like Alexa.
It would be like having a genie, “Your voice will be Alexa’s command!” Customers get attracted to technology that has a voice access control. It is convenient and also easy to multi-task with a voice-first access gadget. These products definitely have a greater edge than the existing brands that require more attention.
So, how would you like to plan an Amazon Alexa skill? Let’s get introduced to Alexa and learn Alexa skill development tricks.   

Introduction to Alexa

Before delving into planning an Alexa skill, we must understand the skill itself. What is an Alexa skill? It is a voice-first app running on the Alexa platform. There are three types of skills that can be applied to Alexa; custom skills, smart home skills and flash briefing skills. You must focus on custom skills as the other two, smart home skills and flash briefing skills have minimum user control.

There are a few key details and terms that you must understand if you wish to plan Alexa skills.

One of the specific action skills you need is intent – it is how Alexa will understand what a phrase or a sentence is supposed to mean. Once the smart device understands its meaning, it will give you the results that you are looking for.

Utterance is used to plan and develop flexible responses to a similar phrase (with more than a hundred possibilities) uttered by the customer.
Alexa has an in built feature that asks you to record 25 different phrases to understand the meaning in context (through voice tone and pitch). Hence, when you speak, it can recognised the tone and pitch of the voice to produce the exact result.
For example, if you lisp with the words “sch” in a word like “schezwan”, it will record it in its memory and the next time you say the word it will display your desired results instead of other options.

Slots convert these specific words into typed data such as date, activity or time, i.e. the output that is required. Alexa has a big library but the customer can customise it for certain phrases or words.
For example, if you have a habit of saying the word ‘err’ while speaking, you can program Alexa to ignore it while typing out a sentence.

Alexa Skills
Alexa skills are offered by both, Amazon and third party companies to expand its features and enhance the assistant’s appeal. There is no limit to the number of skills the user can add but the challenge is to remember them.
But with the Alexa companion app (available on Apple’s App store, the Google Play store and the Amazon App store), it is now a piece of cake – it remembers all the skills that you’ve downloaded so that you can refer to them. There are about 3000 skills available in the app store right now – some of which include sports, entertainment, social media, home control skills, etc.

Tips to Plan Your Alexa Skill

​Firstly, you need to create an end-to-end planning approach on how you wish to use Alexa and the skills that you want to update. Since Alexa’s skills are not screen based, it is necessary that best practices such as creating a voice UX and tracking usage patterns from the first contact should be adopted. This is necessary so that sensitive information is not misused in any manner. 

Adding a Dash of Personality
Since Alexa is going to be a part of your family, it is nice that you give her a dash of personality. This will make you feel more comfortable sharing personal information. Add specific verbiage or innovate the way that the options are presented. For example, you can program Alexa to call you by your last name “Mr Dawson” or by your pet name “Jackie Boy”.

Follow up Mode
Alexa has a follow up feature wherein, you do not need to say “Alexa…” before starting each conversation or request. It has a dialog interface that collects multi-factor problem diagnosis and has the capability to maintain several conversation threads that allows you to switch between topics.
For example, if you say the sentence, “It is so hot today. By the way what time is it?” – Alexa will store the first part of the information and reply to the question asked.

There are also certain cards that you can purchase to manipulate Alexa’s skill settings. You can use these cards to set images, videos, lists and enhance the card’s skill. There are a limited number of cards available in the market, so your options will be limited (especially if you are picky about the look and feel of the card).

Set Time Zone
Setting the time zone in Alexa is important when it comes to remembering important dates, appointments, setting reminders and giving commands.
For instance, you’ve travelled to Germany for work purposes and you haven’t set Alexa on the local Munich time (it is still set on US time), you are going to be late/early for all your appointments and meetings.
Be Updated
Alexa offers you an in built feature that helps you stay on top of the news by sending push notifications. When these notifications arrive a flash of a different light colour or an audible message will be seen on Alexa.
You can then ask Alexa, “Alexa, what’s new?” and catch up on the information that has been waiting for you in the inbox.

Make a smart home
Alexa can be paired with different apps to make your home a smart home. You can connect it to home services such as, WeMo, Google’s Nest and the Philips Hue.
With these products, you can control the lights, AC speed, fan speed from the comfort of your sofa by simply asking Alexa to “make the temperature 24 degrees” or “dim the living room lights”, etc.

How to Integrate with Alexa?
Alexa Voice Service (AVS) can be directly integrated into a product. You just need to choose the hardware and design your experience. To start, create a product profile and prototype with AVS Device SDK sample app.

The six-step process to update a skill in Alexa:
1. Create a free account as an Amazon Developer and name your skill.
2. Build your interaction model (a visual diagram of how you want Alexa commands to work and Alexa to respond).
3. Upload your code into AWS Lambda to set up your Alexa skill.
4. Configure and test your code.
5. If building an Alexa Fact Skill, add custom facts into the code.
6. Publish your skill.
As mentioned earlier, you can use cards to enhance the operations, link Alexa with Alexa’s companion app and download more than 3000 skills available in the app store of your smart device.
Alexa lives in the cloud and is always getting smarter. With regular feature updates and product requirements, it will keep getting updated by itself.

Future of Alexa and Voice Technology
It is said that one in every six Americans now own at least one form of voice AI technology. In a study by NPR and Edison Research, it was revealed that 16% of the population of the U.S.A. are now owners of a smart speaker, a 128% increase on last year’s figures.
In total, 7% of Americans of purchased one of the smart speakers available between Black Friday at the end of November and 31st of December 2017.
Alexa is the next generation of digital assistants. There are a lot of competitors for Alexa. Apple has Siri and Google is trying to promote Google Assistant. But three quarters of the share in voice technology products is hogged by Amazon’s Alexa. With the rate of growth and the upgrades done my Alexa, it could be the brand to beat in voice technology.
McCool said that, “Better natural language processing, biometrics, and secure authentication and payments are some of the key developments we’re expecting in 2018 which will make smart speakers like the Echo become must-have sales and service channels for dozens of industries by the end of the year.”

Further, voice technology is an authentic method for online transactions since it can partner with the telephone to deliver extremely accurate remote authentication. The integration of voice recognition systems in cars is gaining worldwide popularity as more countries initiate the “hands-free” regulations governing the use of mobile phones while driving vehicles.
Some of the key industry participants of the voice recognition market include Apple, Inc., Amazon, Inc., Baidu, Inc., Facebook, Inc., Google, Inc., IBM Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, and Nuance Communications.

Some of these major companies in the industry are focusing on increasing the recognition accuracy to outwit the competition. Industry participants have entered into strategic partnership and mergers and acquisition to strengthen their product portfolio and geographical presence.

App-Scoop app developers can help you build your first Alexa integrated app solution.
Contact app-scoop team –

Prioritizing Your Product Roadmap

​The one question that all product managers have is how to prioritise a product’s roadmap and lead it to a successful destination. Firstly, we need to align the product features in their order of importance. There are two approaches that we can use:

  • Take a consensus of the team and stakeholders on which features do they think will work out.
  • Sort the features that the user will have the highest engagement with – and then see the biggest drop offs i.e. where the users are getting stuck. The user’s feedback is of utmost importance. 

Although most product managers tend to gravitate towards the first approach rather than a data informed, educated hypothesis. Here is a word of caution; companies that do not follow statistics, numbers and keep the users in the forefront most likely do not succeed 

So, how exactly do you build a step-by-step framework to prioritize a beneficial roadmap?

​Step 1: Collate data
As we discussed, it is very important to base decisions on the basis of data. So how do we get this data?

  • Analysing the product to see where most users are getting stuck and quitting.


  • Recording what the users are doing with their mouse – this helps you understand if your product is easy to use.


  • Sending or putting up surveys which are short, precise and easy to understand for the user – a source of direct user feedback.


  • Reading through the user’s customer support transcripts to see where they are facing the issue.


  • Creating live testing rooms to record and see how the users are using your product.

When you analyse these results, you will have an exact understanding on which aspects of the product need to be improved and in which order you need to execute them.

Step 2: Identify Quantitative and Qualitative Data
It is necessary to correlate and compare every initiative that you take for the user or the company based on effort, time, money and other factors.
For example, if you need to redesign a current feature to fix the issues, it will take less time and money rather than re-designing a new feature that doesn’t really match the user’s need.
Here, you need to decide which features to adopt and work on and which features to put on a backburner for a later update.

Step 3: Scoring Initiatives
Once you’ve decided which features to adopt, it is time to prioritise the shortlisted ones. How do you do that? It’s simple.
List the points on a spreadsheet and score them on a scale of 1-5; 1 being the most important and 5 being the least. To score these features, you need to take into consideration the competition, the market and the customers.

Step 4: Initiate a Stakeholder Buy-In on your Roadmap
Before you pitch the plan to the stakeholder, it is necessary that you proactively address their concerns. Walk them through the entire process, along with the data, on how you came up with the prioritised roadmap. Logical data rather than assumed data will definitely score some points with the stakeholders as they are investing their money in your product.
Use metrics from an analytics tool, pie diagrams, charts, professional data collection, etc. to create your presentation. Instead of endlessly talking about the features, show them the effect on the KPIs.
Address the concerns of your stakeholders to make them believe in your product and that it is going to be high-yielding product that is monetarily beneficial.

Techniques to Prioritise Your Product Roadmap

Value v/s Cost:
As we’ve discussed always prioritise features that have bigger value and lower cost. It is best to build a graph to get a 360 degree perspective on it.

Kano Model Analysis:
Noriaki Kano created a model where he classified the items of a product based in two dimensions – need of an item and the excitement of the user. It was classified into three types: basic, satisfiers and delighters.
For example, if you are building a car, the absolute basic necessity are the wheels whereas, it would be delightful to have a sunroof.

Feature Sequencer:
Paulo Caroli created Feature Sequencer which plans a product based on deliverables and features. It helps you organize and visualize the features and its relation to deliverables, i.e. it organizes and plans product releases. Each feature is represented by an index card and the post-its on the right hand side represent the deliverables.

Product Tree:
This strategy is similar to the Kano analysis – create a diagram of a tree. The roots represent the basic elements required whereas, the flowers and fruits determine the delighters.

This is a suggestion system where the users can give feedback on the product. With the help of UserVoice, the customers can vote for suggestions. It makes the user choose and prioritize features.

The importance of each feature can be further calculated using the RICE methodology.
RICE Score = R x I x C / E
R= Reach (how many people will this reach?)
I = Impact (how will it impact people?)
C = Confidence (how confident are you in your estimates)
E = Effort (how many “person months” will this take to build?)

Even though there is no exact science to create a roadmap – it is imperative to use a few suggestions that are given above to get it close to the success of a product that you envision.
Although, there are several methods to be used but the best method is to use common sense and pick one method that best serves your product. The product managers need to choose a method that prioritises options taking into account the company goals and the users’ needs.

How Can HealthKit and Google Fit Help You Develop Healthcare and Fitness Apps?

In this stress induced corporate world, our bodies are as exerted as our mind. Sitting on the chair for hours, staring at the computer screen would earn us some money but it sure won’t keep us healthy. In today’s world, we all know that a balanced life is a healthy life. Social media has played a huge role in making people realize the benefits of exercising, giving them convenient options to workout at home and valuable diet tips that help you stay fit. This has also led to a digital fitness revolution in the app industry. There are several apps in the store that allow you to keep a track of your daily calorie intake, tell you how many steps you’ve taken each day and also store medical health information.
Since wearable technology is the next IT thing, software developers and healthcare professionals are ensuring that every person is able to track their health in the most convenient way possible. Apple and Google are both front runners for coming up with their own solutions to accumulate health and fitness data. Apple introduced HealthKit and Google introduced Google Fit. Each of them has their own strong points in their own segment of services. Let’s understand what each of these platforms has to offer. 

Google Fit
When launched, the Google Fit software was designed to log health-care information. Not much coding was done to build the app. As the new trend of wearable technology emerged in the markets, Google Fit has developed to become a mobile app that records any health-related activity which is triggered off when the person is walking, riding a bicycle or exercising. With the user’s consent, the app stores all the fitness data of the user in Google Fit.

HealthKit, developed by Apple is a toolkit that accumulates all the data linked with your health with the help of activity trackers synchronized with the standard health application (which is a default program for modern iOS devices). 

Differences and Similarities between Google Fit and HealthKit

Now, let’s understand the key difference between both these platforms – Google Fit focuses on standard fitness indicators whereas, HealthKit is more about health issues. The iOS platform offers a more comprehensive and detailed approach to analyzing data whereas, Google offers a more flexible set of tools.

Collection of Data 

Both these apps collect fitness data but Apple can collect a bigger amount of data than Google. Let’s take a look at the kind of user data collected by both of them:

Activity: The physical activity of the user; the number of steps taken, the time the user has taken for mindfulness practice, etc.

Sleep: It also records sleep data (the iPhone goes in sleep mode and from third party fitness apps)

Nutrition: It can also track the number of calories consumed by combining data of third party food control applications and selected healthcare platforms.

Google Fit also collects similar information as the Health app but it cannot pass medical information between apps. Hence, it isn’t suitable for medical purposes. HealthKit can record medical data such as heartbeat rate and body statistics. It can also store lab results, medications (prescription alerts and notes) and vitals (pulse, blood pressure and body temperature).
All of the data for Google Fit is recorded in Cloud and HealthKit records all its data on iCloud.


Both Apple and Google made sure that they have simple and easy to use interfaces. They are well thought of and structured but there is a major difference between the both of them.
The Health app allows the user to compare data without activating multiple screens at a time. Users can view all the data on one screen based on a few parameters set. The system prompts which devices and fitness apps for iPhone can interact with HealthKit.
On the other hand, Google Fit doesn’t allow the user to view the data on one single screen which leads him/her to keep swiping between screens to compare or view the data. But instead a customizable widget allows the user to transfer all the information to the desktop of the smartphone. Google Fit also uses graphics and cards to make the application work even clearer.


Imagine what a nightmare it would be for the user if he/she lost all their health data! One of the most important things for platforms like Google Fit and HealthKit is to safeguard all the technical data stored on the app. It requires a serious level of in-built protection. Privacy of data is another aspect of security.
Google Fit has mentioned in its Terms of Service that the data stored in the app is not a medical device and hence, it does not require additional security measures that are essential for medical apps and wearables.
On the other hand, HealthKit has well-designed security features. One of the major benefits is that it only works on iPhones which have security features such as finger print or face recognition which means that the data can only be accessed by the user.

How can the HealthKit and Google Fit platforms be used for medical and fitness app development?

The established health ecosystem is changing with the introduction of the Google it and Apple HealthKit platform. Both these platforms have similar functions in the general sense but there is a still a difference between the type of data that is recorded by each of them. The main expectation is that the user should be able to store their data in standardized format and also be able to share health data from different apps. HealthKit helps the user collate all of this data in the app. Google Fit can help the user integrate the user’s activity tracker app with the Google Fitness API (the native API for Android or the REST API for building a web client) to enjoy the benefits.

Points to Remember

A few things to remember to create a good user experience are:

  • Do not ask for data unless required or essential. This helps you gain user trust.


  • Explain to the users how their data will be used for the app. For instance, a weight loss app will need to ask the users about their weight at regular intervals.


  • Take advantage of the system user interface when requesting the personal data. The user expects the app to optimize on all the information and use it for their benefit and display relevant data.

The right time to join the market and get a fitness and healthcare app is now! All you need is an app that is well-planned and executed health mobile application. ​

What is Trans AR?

Public transportation in Vancouver is an area that is going to see large growth over the next decade. Over the past twenty years, there has been an increase of around 800,000 people who use TransLink’s services and metro Vancouver is the fastest growing in terms of ridership numbers in Canada and the United States (source). Furthermore, the number of licensed drivers as a percentage of age group has been decreasing, showing that private car ownership has decreased (source). While there has been a large growth in demand for public transport in metro Vancouver, transportation is the second largest pain point in Vancouver, with over 85% of people agreeing that they would not accept a job due to an inconvenient commute (source). Moreover, 50% of commuters in Vancouver agree that public transportation services have worsened over the past half-decade, with 90% of people wanting an improvement in bus services (source).


Development of Transit Mobile Applications

To match the increase in demand for public transit, there has been growth in Transportation-as-a-Service (TaaS) development. It looks to integrate multiple sources of transportation including public transit, ride sharing services like Modo, and bikeshare services like Mobi in a single application to create an application that provides the fastest and most cost-efficient journey for the customer. People who use TaaS are expected to save around $3000 a year, and that number will only grow as financial incentives to use public transport increase (source). In addition to integrating multiple sources of data, applications today need to be user friendly and innovate.
What is Augmented Reality 


​Augmented Reality (AR) is technology that allows users to add digital layers of information and data on top of the physical world. AR appears directly on top of an existing environment and adds unique digital effects like images or sounds to create an engaging experience.
AR starts with the user’s camera and takes the live image from it identify and classify certain scenes and objects. Once it has done that, its retrieves information from the context while rendering 3D graphics to overlay on the screen. In the end, all those points of data are used together to provide an accurate model of the graphics and physical world onto the users display.
As of now, nearly 50% of smartphone users are ‘familiar with’ AR technology, meaning there is a high potential to capture the market (source). Currently, businesses are exploring AR across multiple industries including education, industrial manufacturing, gaming, and in the case of App-Scoop, physical world mapping. AR is expected to be a $50 billion industry by 2025 and approximately $3 billion of that will be towards applications like TransAR (source).

Benefits of Augmented Reality in Transit
Augmented Reality (AR) is helping apps become disruptive by leveraging smartphone technology to create unique user experiences that solve multiple pain points. AT&T see’s the user of AR in smart city mobile applications as an area with large potential to change preferences and increase the use of public transit (source).
Marker-less recognition allows users to identify key points of interest using their smart phone camera with high accuracy. This identification makes the user experience immersive and dynamic as they can move their camera around to physically locate buses and stops in real time. 
TransAR Application
Here at App-Scoop, we have used TransLink’s open API and innovative technology to create a mobile transit application called TransAR that leverages AR to improve user experience by having accurate bus and stop locations and information.
For people who are using transit in an unfamiliar location, the use of TransAR makes finding information regarding buses and stops even easier than current transit applications.’


Stop Identification
All users need to do is identify the bus stop they want to find, open AR view, and follow the on-screen icon to reach their stop.
Users can also tap on a stop to find out key points of data including: the bus arriving there, the time of arrival, and distance from user’s current location.
This is better than a 2D map as the user’s current location is often inaccurate by a few meters, and this can confuse users. The inaccuracy can confuse users in terms of which side of the road they need to wait on.


Furthermore, if they are at a location with many bus stops, like a bus-loop or Skytrain station, the stop identifier will let them know where they need to go in a matter of seconds.
This helps provide a better user experience as people who have issues finding a stop will end up having to walk and search less for a stop, especially if it’s their first time at that location (for tourists).


Bus Locations
One of the largest pain points of transit users today is inaccurate bus information. According to Forbes, wrong real-time bus information is one of the main reasons people do not use public transit. People miss buses as they arrive early or late, and are uniformed of this change in arrival time, which makes the bus system unreliable.
TransAR solved this issue by finding an innovative way to use TransLink’s data to provide accurate bus locations with only a two-second margin of error. Now, users have a more accurate picture of where buses are and are less prone to miss one due to a difference in timing. 


Moreover, users can select the bus they would like to track and open the AR view. This will allow them to see real time location of the bus and get an estimated arrival time to their stop. Users can also tap on a particular bus to see where its last stop was, and what time it arrived there.
These features help reduce the inaccuracy of information, and keep the user informed, improving their user experience.

AR technology is going to revolutionize how we use public transportation. The demand for bus services is only increasing, and mobile apps need to adapt to the trends taking place in the industry to solve the main pain points users are facing which are issues finding stops and inaccurate real time information. TransAR solves these issues while still providing the users with an easy to use app, making it a one of a kind application for public transit users in Vancouver.
Download the application on iOS now!

How Blockchain Technology Can Help Create Better Public Services

The Blockchain technology has triumphed in the Bitcoin market making it the most sought after technology for web-based and mobile applications. One of the biggest merits of Blockchain is that it is a peer-to-peer network, which means that no third party is involved and that you are in control of your own data.
A public Blockchain becomes convenient when the goal is to develop a decentralized, interoperated and independent security channel of data as it helps create trust in the minds of citizens. It becomes a competitive advantage for public services or the government by creating an intelligent Blockchain strategy at a national and local level. 
Reasons why public services should adopt Blockchain technology: 

  • Transparency of data allows transactions to be verified. This ensures less corruption in the system.
  • By building a decentralized application, one can manage information and transfer values in a fast and secured manner.
  • Security of data cannot be breached – the hackers would need to hack thousands of computers or systems at the same time to obtain a single data source.
  • Deleting official data or files to create loopholes becomes impossible. In order to delete any content all the nodes need to be deleted from more than a thousand systems. This is also beneficial in case of a natural disaster – important official information would always be secured.  
​Use of Blockchain in Public Services

Maintaining Public Records
The government can manage its digital records such as birth, death, personal information of citizens, educational records in a quick, secure and effective manner.
Furthermore, financial transactions, government contracts, public assets, supply chain information can all be recorded in an online, real-time ledger with the use of Blockchain technology. Also, all the information fed into the system would remain secure and infringement of data won’t be possible unless the user decides to retrieve information.

Transparency in the Voting Process
Blockchain technology is a medium through which we can significantly reduce election fraud. The platform Voatz can “ensure tamper-proof record keeping, identity verification and proper auditing by incorporating a secure, immutable blockchain.” This means that the citizens on this platform will have virtual certainty of the accuracy of their internet-based voting results.
Voatz co-founder and CEO Nimit Sawhney told Bitcoin Magazine that this platform can be accessed by people from any geographical location. He further said, “Aside from major government-issued IDs such as driver’s licenses, state IDs or passports, Voatz has experience using the ten different kinds of official documents for the purposes of verifying a voter’s identity.”

Administrative Processes
There are many administrative processes that require a lot of paperwork and records of information. For instance, in a real estate transaction, the broker can be replaced by the Blockchain technology saving both parties income. Peer-to-peer transactions between the buyer and the seller can be recorded and approved in a fool-proof system. The data cannot be deleted but there can be edits and additions to the data. The paper trail decreased and a secured digital file can be maintained for the transaction.

Paper files to Digital Files
Making the big leap from paper based trails to digital records is a huge step to making things easier and convenient for the public. Smart contracts can be issued, automated corporate voting procedures can take place and compliance of investment can be ensured with the help of Blockchain technology.

Federal Services
Federal services such as federal taxes, issuance of passports, filing of patents, receiving social security and veteran’s benefits are taken care of by local government centres with minimal staff. With the incorporation of Blockchain technology, one can streamline processes.
For instance, there a few governments deliver social welfare benefits in cash because a few rural areas (in US and other countries) do not support digital distribution of cash. This is a highly inefficient process that can support money laundering or fraud. This can be repaired by creating these transactions in a secured system such as Blockchain. 

How does Blockchain technology for public services benefit ordinary citizens?
Ordinary citizens have to interact with government offices for a birth or death certificate of a person, exchange of property title, bestowal of an academic degree or any document that requires a timestamp. Mundane transactions like these can be leveraged by Blockchain technologies. For example, if you wish to change the name of the car owner or the title of the real estate owner, you would need to carry a whole lot of documentation. With the help of the Blockchain technology, it would be as simple as showing up in the office with a cryptographic key which is unique to you and getting the whole process done without a hassle.

Adoption of Blockchain by the US Government
The US has been one of the proactive countries that has adopted the Blockchain technology to gain a competitive advantage. Delaware announced its Delaware Blockchain Initiative in 2016. Illinois recently announced a similar initiative. Illinois is attempting to provide an environment that is very welcoming to Bitcoin — and Blockchain-based start-ups.
Among other aims, the Delaware Blockchain Initiative aims to create an appropriate legal infrastructure for distributed ledger shares to increase efficiency and speed of incorporation services. This is important, given that half of all publicly traded companies in the US and 65% of the Fortune 500 are incorporated in Delaware.

Key to Building the Blockchain Foundation
To take the first step towards incorporating the Blockchain technology is education. Educating the people on how to operate is the biggest challenge before adopting this technology for the masses. It is important to educate the public – get the right people at the city, state and federal government levels and get them engaged and excited about Blockchain is important.
In developed countries, it is much easier to educate and make people understand how Blockchain can make their lives easier – that their existing problems can be solved in a better way than the current system. Once this challenge is surpassed, the next step is attracting the right partners to help think through, build and deliver the solutions.

The Promise of a Better Future 
Blockchain-based solutions would create a system with responsive open data. For example, you would be able to do a government transaction from the ease of your home with the help of a unique cryptographic key. This transaction with the government will be government certified. This means that no waiting in line for hours at a government office – how convenient would that be!
Interacting with the government would become easy for the users with the help of interfaces that would be built by developers and entrepreneurs. The citizens will be empowered with this technology and would trust the government and the services. Commercial industries such as education, manufacturing, banking and retail are influencing the government on the benefits of the Blockchain technology. A few technological companies are already creating a relationship with government offices by assisting them to create a platform for secure, transparent and efficient transactions.

App-Scoop blockchain developers can help you create blockchain solution for your business.
Contact app-scoop team –

Benefits of Using Augmented Reality for Business

​Humans are not very far from making you realise that you might be living in the magical world of Harry Potter. Technology is reaching new heights especially since the last decade. Augmented Reality is one such spectrum of technology that is transforming the user’s experience like never before. This transformation started a few years back with Virtual Reality 
​So what’s the difference or similarity between VR and AR? Let’s find out!

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) is basically, a three-dimensional experience which is generated by the computer which makes you feel like the environment you are in is real. For instance, watching a 3D movie makes you feel like you are amidst the scene. VR puts a user in an isolated reality, i.e. it creates a fantasy world for the user.
Augmented Reality (AR) is also a three-dimensional experience that combines digital information with your own environment. AR uses the existing surroundings to create a 3D reality user experience. The computer algorithm in AR uses sensors and markers to spot a real-time position of an object and determine the location of a stimulated one. 

For example, a GPS with the help of AR can locate a spot that you wish to reach and then show you the fastest route to reach that spot, along with giving information about the spot or even translate the signs on the street in case you are not savvy with the local language.

Benefits of Using Augmented Reality

Now, let’s take a look at the advantages of AR in business.

The New FAD
Augmented Reality (AR) is in its infancy stage and hence, is the new craze amongst the generation. Everyone wants to enjoy a piece of this new experience. This was seen when the Pokémon Go game took over the masses. Because of its uniqueness, you can create a buzz amongst your users, something that your competitors might not have.

Repeat Engagement
For users to keep coming back to get updates on your product or business, repetitive engagement is of key importance. With the help of an AR platform, the users can keep coming back to your website or app, which allows repetitive advertisements. This exposes the brand again and again, thus lodging itself in the minds of the user. 

​​Again taking the example of Pokémon Go; this game became very popular, very quickly. It motivated players to locate hidden Pokemon characters in the real world. The physical settings were real, while the cartoon characters were digital, and could only be seen through a digital device. These characters were strategically located close to a certain sponsored brand or a place that wanted to become popular. 

Three-dimensional Thinking

AR can be used to create a 3D effect of the product to give the user an experience that they won’t be able to stop thinking about. For instance, the Android or iOS platform can create an unforgettable AR experience for shoppers online and offline. Virtual fitting rooms can help the user to choose the right size. The same is applicable for a car colour or your room colour.

Allows Content Personalization

Personalization in an app or a product automatically scores goody points with the users. A standard photograph or video is boring. AR can play a big role in personalizing content. This makes it a valuable marketing tool.

Experiencing Product in a New E-Commerce Setting

Users can experience e-commerce products in a virtual environment. For example, with the help of a virtual mirror, you can try on glasses and choose the frame that best suits your face. The app asks you take a picture of yourself and then choose frames that you think best suit you. Isn’t that wonderful?

Upgrading the Education and Training Experience

AR offers unlimited possibilities of transforming the teaching and learning experience. AR can offer a unique cognition path with immersive real-life simulations. It can offer a real psychological and physical experience and gives an authentic virtual experience that can be implemented in real life scenarios.
For example, a student of dentistry can operate on a tooth and perform a root canal surgery without injuring patients and at the same time get a real feel of the experience.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Revenue Forecast

As per MediaPost, the VR revenue in 2017 was $1.6 billion which is forecasted to reach $11.5 billion in 2021. Meanwhile, AR has collected $975 million in 2017 and it’s forecasted to reach $15.8 billion by 2021.
Last year VR comprised 56% of revenue compared to 44% for AR. By 2021, it will be the reverse, with VR accounting for only 20% of revenue and AR 80%.
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Cost of an AR Application

If you wish to build an AR application, you need to determine three components to understand the costing:

  • Place where additional reality should appear
  • Information that the user is supposed to get
  • Medium through which you are going to provide this experience

You need to determine the presentation of the information, i.e. text, picture, video or audio and how you would incorporate a 3D effect to receive the desired effect.

Present and Future of Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality offers the user a more real and authentic experience. It is highly entertaining if you compare it to a normal video or audio. It could give your business the ‘viral’ effect which can really benefit your income and thereby, become successful.
AR plays a key role in driving customer engagements over time, especially in business sectors. With the increasing number of phones and tabs and the hardware to support this functionality, AR is the next big hit with expanding businesses.

At the moment, AR allows you to use your visual and auditory sense, but in the near future it will offer sensors such as smelling, touching and feeling. AR will be found in all business market spheres; commerce, manufacturing, travel and tourism, healthcare, real estate and banking. 

10 Mobile App Analytic Tools to Track Your App’s Performance

There are more people using smartphones than laptops, desktops and tablets to access the internet in this day and age. Since the growing millennial use the smartphone more than any other device to access the internet, it is relatively important to ensure that your business site is compatible for mobile users.
A mobile app analytic tool is the key to this lock! Mobile analytics tool support data such as the location of your customers, apps and services that they use, feedback about your website, number of times they visit the site and how many utilise it through the mobile application. These tools make you aware of the where the app is lacking and give you appropriate solutions to solve the issue.
Many mobile analytic tools are available in the market today. Let’s take a look at 10 mobile app analytic tools to track your application’s performance.

Flurry Analytics
Flurry is one of the most used analytic tool that is used to track the performance of an app. Flurry has an ad network, which means that the user can get information about how the advertisements are being viewed on the app and detailed user acquisition reports.
This tool is compatible with iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows phone and mobile web. It gives you information about frequency, number of users, number of active users, session length, etc. On the top side, Flurry is absolutely free.
The advantages are: it is detailed and extensive and you can create up to 10 custom dashboards. On the other hand the disadvantages are: it can be complex to reach the information. The user will have to click many times to get information. In case of a bug, it is difficult to find what the error is. 

Google Mobile Analytics
This platform offered to you by Google measures all downloads to in-app purchases. It collects data across all the key stages. It doesn’t matter what kind of app you are making, it will help you achieve all your business goals and increase the chances of your success.
Google mobile analytics is compatible with iOS and Android. It is absolutely free of cost. The advantages are: it comprises of many features and you can integrate it with Google Play store for conversion tracking. The disadvantage is that iTunes cannot be integrated for conversion.

Apple App Analytics
Apple released its own analytical tool in the year 2015 for all iOS compatible mobile apps. This tool is able to measure user engagement and the performance of iOS applications. It is much easier now to track information such as the number of views received by app users, retention rates, etc.
This tool all helps you to see insights of your iOS mobile app which helps you to increase your overall mobile app ROI. Apple app analytics tool is free of cost.

Apsalar – App Science
Apsalar came into being in the year 2010. This analytical tool was built keeping in mind that it will be the best app to deliver results to app marketers and developers i.e. providing in-depth ROI metrics.
The key reasons that you should use Apsalar is to track user analytics, get accurate results on app advertising as it is more focussed on advertising distribution and recognise marketing campaigns that work and do not work. It also creates events and funnels and has a customisable dashboard that gives you the data you require.
This tool is available free of cost. It is compatible on iOS and Android platforms only. 

Appsee is a paid iOS analytical tool that provides better data about the app to maximise the customer’s engagement. It comes with different features such as playback, session recording, crash recordings and in-app analytics. Appsee SDK is simple, easy to set up and integrate and displays the performance of your app on the dashboard for easy accessibility.
It is compatible with iOS and Android. You can download a free limited version but it is recommended you pay to ensure you can use all the features it offers.

Countly is a real-time, open source mobile app and game analytical tool that can be hosted on the server. It’s easy to use, gives you all the information you require about new users, time spent, etc. It supports SDK, Unity3D SDKs and Appcelerator Titanium – these are the world’s leading cross-platform mobile application platforms.
This tools is available free of cost. It is compatible on iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows phone. Since it is open source, you can host it on your server but the cloud version is on its way to make a release.

Localytics is installed on more than 2.8 billion devices and is the leading analytic tool. This tool can help you to make a stronger user base. Some of the features it offers are users and session views, app usage information, A/B testing, funnel and segments. This analytical tool is used by businesses such as ESPN, Marvel, Temple Run and eBay.
On the hindsight, this tool doesn’t have funnels, filters or session length analytics in the free version. 
Localytics is compatible with Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows phone. It is free for 10,000 monthly active users and then the prices start from $200 onwards per month. 

MixPanel tool is focused on helping app owners understand their user’s behaviour by tracking their actions. It offers both, web and mobile analytics – this link allows you to understand the retention statistics of your website. With this tool, you can track the interaction of your visitors, offers you real-time data, funnel analysis, in-depth analysis and cohort analysis to track retention.
It is compatible with iOS and Android platform. It has a free version but to ensure that it works as intended a paid version is much better. The pricing of this app is a little different – it is based on the engagement plan and people plan.

App Annie Analytics
App Annie provides real-time data on what goes on in the app store. This tool helps you identify opportunities and enhance download rates, track app downloads, revenues and their ranking and reviews. App Annie is a good platform for monitoring, visualising and analysing important trends.
It is compatible with iOS, Android and Windows. There is a free limited version and a paid version available.

Upsight is an analytical tool that helps understanding user segmentation, in-app marketing, funnel analysis and unlimited data storage. This tool will help you understand user behaviour, retention, re-engagement and monetization campaigns.
The advantages are: offers custom dashboards, unlimited data storage, free trial, marketing automation and growth factor measuring.
Upsight is compatible on iOS and Android. It has both free and paid version.

​​So which tool are you going to use to check your app’s performance? In our opinion, your choice should be based on your mobile app and the budget. It is imperative that you analyse all the advantages and disadvantages of the tool and then settle based on your requirement.