how often you should update your app

How Often Should You Update Your App?

So your mobile app is now built and available in the app stores. Users are downloading it, using it and you are receiving feedback from happy clients. But what’s next?

The journey has just begun! It is now time to think about maintenance for your app (if you haven’t already) and about the next versions (iterations).

But how often should you update your application and why?

Why Is It Important To Update Your App

The app market is constantly evolving. The expectations of apps keep getting ratcheted higher and higher. New technologies are emerging and operating systems are being improved.

If you don’t want your app to appear tired, obsolete or dead, you should take care to update it regularly. And, by the way, regular updates are a great way to keep users interested and engaged.

Here are the most common reasons why you should update your application:

#1 People love novelty

People love new features in their apps so you should regularly offer your users interesting and helpful app updates. Plus, by updating your app, you have a great excuse to send pop-up notifications to show your users that you care about their requirements.

#2 Remove or replace everything that has lost relevance

Mobile apps get outdated over time. This is inevitable due to the constant evolution of mobile tech. It’s important to select any old and unnecessary elements and remove or replace them with new, up to date features or information that meets the users’ needs.

#3 Date of last update

Users can always see when the application was last updated on Google Play or App Store. If your mobile app doesn’t have frequent updates it will lose credibility.

#4 Improvement of the user experience

Improvements, based upon user feedback, mean that the app is always providing greater utility to the user. The app becomes more relevant, more engaging and more useful. The more closely aligned the app is to audience requirements, the more it will be used and the more revenue it will generate.

#5 Increase Downloads

Constant maintenance positively impacts the rating of the mobile app in the markets. This makes it easier for users to find and more likely to be downloaded.

So, summarizing: your app needs to be updated to keep it on top. But what is the recommended frequency of app updating?

How Often Should You Update Your App

As mentioned, applications are more valued when they are updated frequently. Not only by customers but also by Apple Store and Google Play.

But be aware! Excessive updates can result in user fatigue. Even though users like to see fresh updates and features on their favorite apps, getting update notifications too frequently can get tiring. The frequency of updates greatly depends on users’ feedback and app performance statistics.

update your app

We can talk about three different new release strategies…

  • regular updates: there is a planned, periodic sequence of new releases
  • out of necessity: bug fixing, new feature release, and so on
  • at will: you update your app whenever you want, without any schedule

Generally speaking, a good number is 1-2 small improvements per month. By improvements, we mean minor upgrades, redesigns, and new features. Regular, incremental improvement is better that sporadic overhauls of the app.

However, the frequency of app updates can differ depending on your goals and app’s functionality.

Don’t forget that every new release needs to be submitted and approved by the app stores. Apple, in particular, can take weeks to approve updates. This needs to be considered when planning new release scheduling.

Factors to Consider When Scheduling New Releases

#1 App Bug Fixing Updates

Unfortunately nothing is ever perfect. Particularly when it comes to tech!. Even if apps are rigorously tested prior to release, things can go wrong. Some bugs can be elusive and only become evident after release.

Needless to say, bug fixes should be dealt with as soon as possible and, once resolved, the apps should be resubmitted.

#2 App Feature Release Updates

As we mentioned above, people love new features. To keep your audience actively engaged, it is good practice to plan, schedule and release new features with regularity.

#3 Enhancing the app UI/UX

The functionality of the application, its operating speed,  its performance stability – all very important. But the first thing a user notices when launching your product is what it looks like. So the app’s design is critical.

What are the reasons to change the design, update and enhance it?

  • change in corporate brand guidelines
  • overly complicated and confusing user interface
  • non intuitive user journeys
  • modernise / freshen design

#4 Operating System updates

All operating systems are being regularly improved to provide users with better experience. But, unfortunately, when an OS gets updated, it can affect the performance of your app: information transfer speed can be lost, some features can refuse to work properly, etc. To avoid it, you should release a system update that will ensure the application is working correctly.

#5 User feedback

This is critical.

There are several ways to receive user feedback.

Users often leave feedback for apps on the app stores. They submit opinions on bugs, defects, performance issues and potentially missing features. App owners should react quickly to this type of feedback and, when the feedback is valid, resolve the issues.

App owners can also proactively generate feedback by engaging directly with users (and potential users). If you genuinely want your apps to deliver the best experience and value, your users opinions are pure gold. What do they like / dislike, what would they add / remove, what would make them use the app more / less, what makes the app better / worse than other apps etc.

Obviously it is impossible to use all user feedback when designing future releases. Some opinions will differ or even be contradictory. Some features will be impossible because of budget. Some opinions will not be congruent with the values of the business.

You need to find the sweet spot where a consensus of opinion overlaps with business goals and the return on investment model works for the business.

Conclusion

Whether you intend to make spontaneous changes based on market trends, scheduled updates, or both, it is important to have a strategic plan. Create an action plan for app updates, and ensure that you deliver on schedule. Having a plan is critical to keeping your app fresh and safe as you continue to make improvements.

Considering the speed at which the market evolves, there is no time for long, complicated processes in order to make app updates. Regular, incremental updates, based upon client based intelligence work best.

At Appify our team is highly skilled in mobile app development. We have a huge experience with long-term and successful projects. So, if you think it’s time to maintain and update your app, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free conversation with our experts!


Beacon for retail

Beacon in Retail: The New Shopping Experience

Walking into your favourite local shop, you feel that distinctive short vibration in your pocket. 10 years ago, you knew it was either a text message or an email. But today, it just might just be a special offer, customized for you, for something special inside!

It goes without saying that a huge number of us manage our lives through our smartphones and this is something modern retailers are trying to leverage. Proximity marketing is one of the best forms of communication that has been facilitated by mobile technology. Large retail has been exploring the deployment of proximity marketing and beacon technology for some time. Now the technology is accessible to medium and small retailers too.

What is Beacon and How Does It Work

If there is one thing we know for sure, it is that nobody wants to be bombarded with emails and messages with invitations to buy products at all hours of the day. The general public is sensitive to spam and will not think twice about closing communication channels with brands that it perceives as excessively intrusive.

Beacons are small, battery-operated wireless devices that transmit low energy Bluetooth signals to nearby smartphones, so it reaches only users who are actually located near the shop. It is also possible to further personalize the communication by sending different messages according to the location of each customer.

How does beacon work

For example, those who pass by the store can receive a message inviting them to enter, providing information on the most interesting offers of the day. Those who are already in store can receive more specific communications, providing information on products in the immediate vicinity, and inviting feedback and interaction with the retailer both directly and via social media. In this way it’s possible to collect valuable data on the reactions of the public to any initiative, from the reorganization of space to the management of special offers.

How Beacon Technology Benefits Retailers

There are several benefits retailers can experience by adopting beacon technology.

Advertising Tool

Today, shoppers expect more relevant messaging than that facilitated by traditional advertising channels. With beacon technology this becomes possible. Proximity marketing makes it possible to market shoppers at the right time and in the right place.

The Power of Personalization

With beacon technology it’s possible to personalize messages based on a customer’s previous purchases or the user’s taste. Everything from coupons, deals, and product recommendations can be tailored to individual customer preferences and shopping habits. This helps develop long-term customer loyalty and create a more engaging shopping experience as well.

Accessing Data

Knowing your target customer is the first, fundamental step to produce effective and targeted communication. Tracking shopping habits and preferences allows retailers to access insightful consumer data.

For example, retailers can analyze what day of the week and time of day shoppers are more likely to download and use certain coupons. From there, they can take a look at other connecting points, such as what other items are purchased on the same shopping trip.

Increase in Mobile App Use

With beacon-triggered notifications retailers can increase interest in using their app. By leveraging beacon technology, apps can become even more useful and engaging tools for shoppers.

How To Start Using Beacons

Now that you’ve discovered the possibilities beacon technology can offer your retail business, you likely want to know how to get started.

Basically, you need 2 things to start – Beacons and a customized Mobile App.

beacon and customised mobile app

After you’ve set up your in-store beacon technology, you’ll want to inform customers, encouraging them to download your store’s mobile app for special deals and discounts. Accomplish this with signage around your store, emails to your subscribers, and/or a social media campaign to explain the benefits to current and potential customers.

Beacon technology has the potential to revolutionize customer communications for retailers. While shoppers can enjoy more engaging, seamless, and personalized experiences, retailers can get insights about their consumers, ultimately making it easier to achieve a number of business goals using a single piece of technology.

Appify is a leading retail app development and mobile consultancy agency. We have award-winning teams of app developers with years of experience in developing bespoke mobile apps. We help our clients improve customer engagement and user experience, facilitate mobile purchasing and drive promotions. We can enable layers of intelligence that assist build unique micro and macro audience understandings that enable effective retargeting.

So if you need a customized mobile app for your store / brand or you want to improve an existing app to implement beacon technology in your stores, feel free to contact our experts.


create a retail app for your business

4 Good Reasons To Develop a Retail App For Your Business

A decade ago, shoppers typically made purchases in a pretty straightforward manner.  They either went online, browsed a catalog, or walked into a physical store. People interacted with the different channels independently. With the rise of mobile technology and retail apps however, the shopping experience has changed quite a lot.

What’s different today is that shopping has become an omnichannel experience. 6 of 10 online purchases start on one device but continue or finish elsewhere. 82% of smartphone users consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store. They assess product information, they compare prices, they search product reviews and endorsements and then make decisions.

More than 2 billion people globally use their smartphones every day and 46% of those have used their phone to make in-store buying decisions. Hundreds of brands have already identified the opportunity and have deployed retail apps.

A Website Isn't Enough Anymore

In recent years it has become clear that mobile apps for retail are better able to engage customers than websites and generate higher revenues than websites. According to a Criteo report, native retail apps generate 66% of all mobile commerce revenue, twice as much revenue as mobile websites. Native retail apps generate 90% higher add-to-basket rate and 120% higher conversion rate compared with mobile websites.

Consumers prefer apps over mobile sites because of the enhanced user experience, greater speed,  superior features and intelligence based offers. This is especially true for Millennials.

In this mobile-fueled shopping landscape, the retailers that thrive most harness the opportunity to be there and be useful for shoppers in those intent-rich moments when people open their smartphones to know, go, or buy.

Reasons To Develop a Retail App

So we see why mobile apps are so important for the retail sector, but what benefits can your retail business derive using this technology?

boost conversion

1. Boost Your Conversion

Mobile interaction, through smartphones and tablets, is core to our lifestyle. Our eyes are glued to these devices that offer us almost whatever we want, anytime and anywhere. Retail marketers should meet people where they are and position their brand and product where their audience exists in the mobile world. This is the key to driving positive conversions.

  • Mobile retail sales are predicted to exceed 2,910 million USD in 2020.
  • 88% of customers who download retail mobile apps actually use them.
  • Mobile purchasing volumes have increased by a factor of 6x over last year.
  • 62% of shoppers while in store will use the store’s mobile app to assist purchasing decisions.

2. Be up-to-date

Many medium-sized businesses, and even some small retailers, already have a branded app or are about to release one. They understand the need to adopt new technology as early as possible to remain relevant in the rapidly evolving retail space.

Uncomfortable though it may seem, as buyers move to mobile, sellers must choose whether they are going to lead them, follow them or simply lose them. The leaders will be the biggest winners. Followers may survive, particularly in niche or specialist markets. But those who simply hope that this will all just go away, well that may not work out for the best.

brand loyalty

3. Build brand loyalty

Retail apps do not only serve in achieving certain financial goals but in building brand loyalty as well. Many businesses develop their apps for this purpose. For generations, retailers have used loyalty programs to reward their most active clients.

Mobile apps are powerful tools in understanding what rewards are relevant to who, when the optimal time is to deliver the offer and in putting the message into the customers hand in the most compelling way.

Couponing is an example of traditional loyalty programming that can be replicated or enhanced through an app. Coupons can be automatically triggered through an app to customers who haven’t purchased in a while or to customers who refer another for example.

Apps can manage couponing initiatives in much more sophisticated ways though. Apps can ‘learn’ what types of loyalty offerings work best for certain audiences. They can then target meaningful offers to specific groups at the right time, maximizing the value to the customer and the associated loyalty earned by the business.

But maybe the most engaging way of building brand loyalty is through gamification. Who wouldn’t like to earn rewards for playing games?? Just see the Starbucks app for an example. Users collect stars and win instant prizes through game play. Customers can also earn additional stars by purchasing through the app. Stars can then be exchanged for a variety of products.

in-store experience

4. Better In-Store Experience

Retail mobile apps open the shop doors to hundreds of thousands of potential customers. But not only for online shopping! As discussed above, shoppers are becoming increasingly omnichannel. More than half use mobile applications while purchasing stuff in physical stores.

So if you think that your app and physical store are separate entities, think again! Each can be used in support of the other.

We live in a very fast world,…we are always in a hurry. One very useful feature for many customers to implement for a better user experience would be the ability to order and pay for goods on-the-go from the app and then collect them in-store without wasting time on checkout lines. Many companies, like the aforementioned Starbucks, managed to increase its revenue after the introduction of this feature.

As buyers crave to know as much as possible about a product before buying it (especially for higher category goods and special items), they often go to their smartphones to look for datasheets, benefits, ratings, reviews, endorsements etc.

It is impractical to position all of this information on your shelves. So what could you do?

By adding a QR-code scanner to your retail app and the QR codes themselves to the shelves, you can provide the option for your customers to conveniently access all the product data to facilitate buying decisions.

Beacon technology provides an additional opportunity to engage customers in-store via the app. When an app user approaches a store, or a point within a store, a beacon that detects the proximity of the user’s smartphone can trigger the app to perform some preset action.

The app could, for example, welcome the customer to the store, provide a limited time voucher for a product that the user has reviewed previously through the app, an in-store discount for an accompanying friend for downloading the app, an invitation to collect a free sample etc.

Conclusion

Retailers can no longer afford to ignore advances in technology, given that the way in which customers review, select and purchase products is evolving fundamentally. Mobile apps are at the forefront of this evolution and represent a major opportunity for retailers to win in today’s omnichannel retail environment.

In this article, we examined some of the characteristics of the changing market and, hopefully, offered some solid examples of how mobile can be embraced and harnassed to drive success in retail.

Appify is a leading retail app development and mobile consultancy agency. Our team has extensive expertise in retail mobile app development.

So, if you are ready to grow your business with a fantastic brand new retail app, don’t hesitate to contact us without obligations. Our experts are always happy to help you with a free initial consultation!


smart working to maintain business continuity during covid-19

How to Maintain Business Continuity during COVID-19: Smart Working

It’s becoming highly evident that the wide-sweeping impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are fast-tracking digital transformation initiatives and forcing companies to adjust business models to keep operations running.

Nobody can foresee when this emergency will stabilize, or the magnitude of the financial impact on the business network. The time for establishing operational efficiencies, planning how to restructure business models and grow innovation frameworks to accommodate enhanced mobility is now.

Businesses that invest in mobile solutions to create and implement new methodologies can reduce the risks related with the COVID-19 outbreak and keep their organizations running successfully during this crisis period.

In this article we will show how digital transformation and smart working are allowing companies to continue to operate efficiently and effectively.

smart working from home

Smart Working

Understanding the meaning of Smart Working may not be intuitive or immediate. We hear more and more about “smart working” but what does it actually mean?

We can define it as a new managerial philosophy based upon giving people flexibility and autonomy in the choice of space, schedules and tools they use, but, with a greater responsibility for results. It involves the “intelligent” rethinking of the ways in which work is carried out, removing constraints arising from fixed position, open space and single office models that are at odds with the principles of personalization, flexibility and virtuality.

Smart Working is not just about work-life balance and corporate welfare initiatives for employees. It is a pathway to profound cultural change and an evolution of corporate organizational models. A detailed, phased roadmap, which is congruent with the organization’s technological, cultural and managerial nuances is required.

In all of this, technology plays a key role. Smart Working necessitates Digital Transformation in the workplace. This involves the application of technologies to connect people, spaces, objects and business processes. The aim is to deliver efficiency and effectiveness that maximise productivities in line with business objectives and priorities.

Smart Working: Helping Business cope with Coronavirus

Since February, Chinese businesses have successfully adopted Smart Working as a commercial antidote to the impact of Coronavirus.  As the virus now proliferates across other parts of the World, there is a unique opportunity to embrace Smart Working as a socially responsible vehicle for business to continue and to thrive.

The Technology That Enables Smart Working

Smart Working has become possible because of digital technologies that allow us to choose where and when to work. Technologies that support remote work are already widespread and diverse.

Employees today communicate through different owned and corporate devices. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), once broadly opposed by business, has become a main driver of agile work. Indeed, there is no Smart Working without Enterprise Mobility Management and many organizations have already started on the path to embrace it. BYOD does require governance and systems security to safeguard against employees’ personal devices compromising business technology infrastructure.

In terms of other enabling equipment, the standard suite generally consists of a laptop PC, VPN and social collaboration services but often also includes company provided mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Customised Apps

Mobile apps can be invaluable in driving business value. All kinds of businesses use mobile apps in all kinds of ways. Apart from the self-evident role of apps in m-commerce to generate revenues and to engage the customer in novel ways, businesses are now identifying compelling ways in which mobile can support other functions. These can include supply chain management, business documentation, administration and compliance, remote monitoring and control of systems and infrastructure, training and development etc.

One word of caution though. The spike in homeworking is placing unforeseen pressures on internet connectivity. Low speed connections can negatively impact the benefits of Smart Working. Make sure when your app is being designed that the technical requirements include solutions for limited connectivity scenarios.

Scalability should also be planned for. Scalability, in this context, can be defined as the capacity of a system to deal with a growing amount of work by adding resources to the platform’s framework. As the number of users and customers engaging with the app grows, the app platform must have the capacity to grow too.

collaborating tools for smart working

Collaborative platforms for Smart Working

There are various excellent platforms that facilitate Smart Working. Different platforms offer different solutions, from remote meeting, to project coordination and task management, to content sharing and collaboration, etc.

Here are a few of the more popular…

G-Suite

G-Suite is a bundle of productivity and collaboration tools, including Gmail (for e-mail), Google Drive (for uploading, sharing and managing content), Google Hangouts (a video conferencing system), Google Calendar as well as document, spreadsheet, presentation and task management software.

Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 is similar to G Suite in terms of the range of tools on offer.  There are advantages and disadvantages to G Suite and Microsoft when compared with each other. They are both excellent products so any choice regarding which to select often simply comes down to personal preference of Google vs Microsoft. There are several online articles that critique and compare both if you need some assistance.

Trello

Trello is a tool that allows you to detail tasks and activities that need to be completed, organize them into lists, assign them to the relevant personnel  and track the progress and completion of the work.

Slack

Slack is a business collaboration and instant communications platform. Users can engage with colleagues, clients or other stakeholders using specific topics and dedicated channels to manage and store communications. Inside the platform you can connect Google Drive, Trello, Google Calendar and many other popular applications.

Skype

Skype  is a Microsoft solution for making video calls, chatting and sharing documents and files. It also offers the capability to create channels for the organization of teamwork. Video conferencing solutions like this help organizations save time, resources, and money by organizing large meetings with only a few clicks.

TeamViewer

This is a platform that allows remote access to your computer or other mobile devices from any device through any browser. So, for example, a user working from home could access their office desktop remotely.

Conclusion

The vast majority of businesses are investigating and implementing new ways of working as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. While many organisations had been supporting home working  before the outbreak, for others this is a whole new proposition. Fortunately, the digital world provides access to customised and off-the-shelf tools to facilitate the transition from traditional to remote working methodologies..

Hopefully enforced work-from-home orders will be lifted in the coming months. However, businesses should probably anticipate that perceptions surrounding working from home will be changed forever.

Smart Woking offers a host of benefits for employers and employees and should be embraced as a positive despite the dreadful backdrop that is enforcing the current situation.  Consequently, in many cases, the transition to new work methodologies should be considered a long-term project and not a short-term emergency measure.

This requires business to plan for remote connectivity, systems infrastructure and information security. It also required the deployment of the digital tools that will drive growth and productivity.

Many  of these tools already exist but the really ambitious and innovative businesses will need some proprietary customized solutions to drive new value within their various stakeholder groups. If you need to know more about customised mobile applications, Appify is here to help.


digital transformation in healthcare

Digital Transformation in Healthcare in 2020

Like most other industries, healthcare is being revolutionized by digital transformation. And sometimes, digital transformation in healthcare can seem overwhelming. Adapting to the digital era requires an innovative and risk-taking mentality.

Overall, the impact of digital transformation on the healthcare sector has been a positive one. Telemedicine, AI-based medical devices, and blockchain electronic health records are just some examples of how digital transformation has modernized healthcare.

Through these innovative solutions, healthcare providers can leverage optimized healthcare systems that leave minimal room for  human error while patients enjoy an amazing user experience through mobile and web-based solutions.  Patients also have access to better healthcare through VR, wearable medical devices and other mobile technologies.

Let’s take a deeper look at how digital transformation has impacted healthcare:

on-demand healthcare

1. Increase in On-Demand Healthcare

Statistics reveal that almost 50% of all web browsing in the world happens on mobile devices.  And the fact that almost four billion people globally are using internet on a daily basis makes it quite evident how digital transformation can open a number of opportunities in the healthcare sector.

On-demand means receiving things at your own convenience, at a time of your preference. The concept of receiving services on-demand is becoming popular in the healthcare industry.

People can receive medical advice and book medical appointments on the go. They can access a range of services through on-demand healthcare applications.

big data in healthcare

2. Importance of Big Data in Healthcare

Many companies use the large amount of data accumulated in their systems to provide better customer service, create personalized campaigns and, of course, to increase profitability. Businesses that use big data have a competitive advantage because they can make accurate decisions faster.

Big data aggregates information about the consumers through social media, ecommerce and online transactions, and identifies patterns and trends for future use.  In this way, knowing the historical and real-time data of their clients, companies can make customer-centric decisions.

Big data has made its way into the healthcare sector as well. Medical researchers can use it to spot risk factors for diseases. Data derived from electronic health records (EHRs), social media and other sources provides healthcare organizations and government agencies with up-to-date information on communicable disease threats and outbreaks.

For the healthcare industry, big data can provide several important benefits, including:

  • Lower rate of medication errors – through patient record analysis, intelligent software can flag any clashes in patients’ health records and drug prescriptions, alerting health professionals and patients when there’s risk of an error.
  • Better staff management –predictive analysis can help hospitals and clinics in estimating future admission rates, which allows them to allocate the right staff to their patients. This could reduce ER wait times when a facility is understaffed.

After understanding the benefits of big data for healthcare companies, it is evident why healthcare organizations need to invest in organizing and analyzing their data in 2020.

blockchain in healthcare

3. Blockchain for Better Electronic Health Records

Blockchain is a digital ledger or a computerized database of transactions. It allows customers to safely exchange financial information with suppliers, without any third party such as banks.

In healthcare, blockchain is proven to be an effective tool in preventing data breaches, improving the accuracy of medical records, and cutting costs.

The implementation of this technology is imperative for electronic health records in 2020. EHR is basically the digital version of a medical chart and includes everything from a patient’s medical history and diagnoses, to treatment plans, immunization dates and test results.

It can also include their addresses, contact details, next-of-kin, insurance particulars and credit card numbers (in case of online payment). This is why it is essential to use blockchain to protect this critical information from getting into the wrong hands.

Some countries, like the UK, have started to experiment with blockchain technology to manage medical records and transactions, making records not only 100% accurate, but also harder to hack.

predictive analysis in healthcare

4. Predictive Healthcare

Predictive analysis in healthcare can not only benefit patients at a personal level, but also be used to predict what illnesses and diseases will become problematic in the near future. Utilizing big data, healthcare companies can analyze the most researched keywords to find out common illnesses and prepare accordingly.

For example, through predictive analysis, medical facilities could hire temporary staff to deal with an impending outbreak well before staff shortage becomes chaotic.

wearable medical devices

5. Growth of Wearable Medical Devices

The number of healthcare companies collecting data from medical devices is increasing at pace.

In the past, most patients checked with their healthcare provider when they already had a problem, or at most, once a year during the yearly check-up. But in this digital era, patients are focusing on prevention and maintenance, and they demand continuous access to information about their health.

As a result, healthcare companies are beginning to invest in wearable technology devices that can provide up-to-date monitoring of high-risk patients to determine the likelihood of a major health event.

Some of the most common wearable devices are:

  • Heart rate sensors
  • Exercise trackers
  • Sweat meters – to monitor blood sugar levels
  • Oximeters – to monitors the amount of oxygen carried in the blood

Wearable medical devices allow patients to take their health in their own hands.  They can monitor their stats anytime they want and can send the results to their physician for consultation. Through the data collected from such devices, insurance companies can provide personalized offers, and clients can get more convenient prices or premiums.

We all know that doing exercise or dieting  can be hard but wearable medical devices, such as fitness bands, can create competitive goals for users to keep motivation high.

VR in Healthcare

6. Virtual Reality in Treatment

A few years ago, nobody could’ve imagined the possibility of reducing a patient’s pain through a VR game. Digital transformation in healthcare has presented a safer and more efficient treatment of chronic pain, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and stroke by means of Virtual Reality.

Doctors can also utilize virtual reality simulations to hone their skills or to plan complicated surgeries. Medical students have been practicing surgery through VR for quite a few years now.

From startups to pharma giants, in 2020, every company should consider implementing VR. Globally, spending on virtual and augmented reality in healthcare market is predicted to reach $5.1 billion by 2025.

Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

7. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is more than just a digital transformation trend in the healthcare sector. AI represents a medical innovation that will shape almost all facets of the industry.

Talking about AI in healthcare, you may probably be thinking about the Japanese nurse robot or hospital droid designed to assist human nurses with routine tasks like restocking supplies. But artificial intelligence in healthcare is much more than that.

AI-based chatbots can substitute customer service agents as well as professional therapists. The global healthcare chatbots market is projected to reach $314.3 million by 2023 from $122 million in 2018.

The real power of AI can be best observed in areas like precision medicine, medical imaging, drug discovery, and genomics. In the past, patients often received generic therapies with considerable failure rates. But now, thanks to sophisticated pattern recognition, these patients can have access to personalized treatments.

With artificial intelligence, healthcare providers can analyze thousands of pathology images to provide highly accurate diagnosis without human error.

Some of the largest pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are also using machine learning algorithms to shorten the drug development cycle. It can reduce time and save costs as well as lives.

Digital Transformation in Healthcare: Your Health is in Your Hands

Digital technology is a valuable tool that can transform healthcare as we know it. The progress of digital transformation in healthcare in 2020 is very promising. As in any industry, the goal is to create products and services that improve lives and fulfill a want or need. Technology can help in realizing this goal.

If you need help with your digital transformation initiatives, or  you need an innovative healthcare mobile app for your organization, contact Appify at hello@appify.digital


Sports App Fan Engagement

Sports App Development For Better Fan Engagement

Sports apps are proliferating in the sports industry as teams begin to understand how branded sport apps can improve and revolutionize the user experience by creating new fan engagement opportunities.

The world is getting mobile and the sports industry is no exception. This digital age offers incredible opportunities.

Not everybody can physically attend games in stadiums. The younger generation, especially, often prefers interaction with digital platforms to attending the matches in person. Even those who go to the stadium are often seen consuming digital content during live matches. Some of them view replays, statistics, analysis and results of other matches. Others use mobile technology to share and check updates on social media.

According to the Sports Business Institute, 87% of sports fans are second screening while watching a live sports broadcast. And some are even triple screening or multiple screening.

How Can Sports Apps Engage Fans?

Not long ago, engagement was measured through the ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ a brand received on their social media. But things have changed with the arrival of new technologies in the market.

This is especially true for a dynamic industry, like the sports sector, where fans need to be updated regularly through news and events to keep them engaged.  Sports apps can serve this purpose and fulfill the ever-increasing user demands.

What Kind of Sports App Should I Develop?

There are  various kinds of sports apps available in the market today. And to help you in deciding which one should you go after, we are highlighting some of the most popular genres.

Manchester United dedicated sports app

1. Dedicated and Aggregator Apps

These are, perhaps, the most popular kind of sports apps. Dedicated apps focus on only one team, that’s why they’re also called team apps. The Real Madrid or Manchester United Official app and the IRFU app are good examples of a dedicated app. And Sky Sports, Fox Sports, DAZN are all aggregator apps.

Despite their differences, they are, in fact, quite similar.

For better fan engagement you can include the most common fan engagement tools in your mobile app, such as: team news, results, fixtures, statistics, analysis, replays, highlights, radio coverage, social media feeds and exclusive content like interviews and videos.

Many sports organisations use these kinds of apps for monetization allowing fans to purchase tickets to matches, stadium tours, museum tours and club merchandise.

If you would like to increase the number of users for your dedicated or aggregator app, you should consider adding these features to your application:

  • Push notifications - tell fans about new content, events, results, tickets, or merchandise
  • Profiling – send the most important targeted messaging to the right fans at the right time
  • Payment gateway - lets users comfortably make purchases through your app
  • Real-time chat – find and communicate with other fans for better engagement
  • Cloud services – lets you avoid paying for external servers for storing vast amounts of sports content

live streaming sports app

2. Live Streaming Apps

In order to attract more fans, including those who prefer watching the match in the comfort of their homes, you can build a sports video streaming app. Along with live broadcasts, you can offer personalized content based on the users’ location and preferences.

Obviously rights may be problematic for live video broadcast. When we talk about live streaming apps we don’t only mean videos. You can develop a sports radio app giving users live game coverage and podcasts. You can develop a text commentary app that could integrate real time expert and fan opinion.

Regardless of if it’s a video, audio or text streaming app, live coverage can enhance fan engagement.

fantasy sports app

3. Fantasy Sports Apps

Fantasy sports apps are online games where participants assemble imaginary or virtual teams of real players of a professional sport. These teams compete in virtual championships and leagues based on the statistical performance of those players’ in actual games.

Fantasy sports apps are perfect for engaging online gamers, but they’re also good at attracting gamblers, as such apps often allow betting on results.

These fantasy sports apps can focus on a single sport, like Yahoo Fantasy Sports, or on multiple sports in one application, like CBS Sports Fantasy.

The features you should integrate are very similar to those of the sports betting apps. You’ll have to provide match and user betting statistics, betting functionality, and a payment gateway.

But the biggest challenge is to find a way to add real players for virtual teams and generate competitions between these teams.

virtual reality sports app

4. Virtual Reality: The Next Stage

As technology advances at pace, it’s becoming more difficult to keep the fans engaged. AR and VR can make the user experience more realistic than ever. Fans can, for example, feel themselves closer to their favorite team or player in the stadium.

In 2018, the technology of virtual reality took a big step. For the first time, all 33 matches of the World Cup were available through the BBC Sports app.  And in the NBA, VR compatibility is available for every game during the 2018–19 season, up from 27 live games a year ago.

Virtual reality technology is still in its nascent stages, and there are issues that need to be resolved.  But it’s the technology of the future.  It will allow a fan sitting on the opposite edge of the world to enjoy a live match as though he were in the stadium.

Sounds interesting, right?

What to Include In Your Sports Mobile App?

As evident from the examples above, creating an engaging app for sports fans doesn’t require complex and expensive features. In some cases, adding essentials and packing them into an appealing and easy-to-navigate UI and UX can do the job.

A sports app must provide information about the matches, teams and players. But what about the other features that you could implement?

If you are a sports/gaming app owner, or if you are interested in creating one, these are a few ideas to increase the engagement rate of your app.

Push notifications

Depending on the user interests, you can send different types of push notifications with real time information. Users can get latest scores, breaking stories, and big moments of their favorite sports / teams, in real time, through such notifications. This can drive more traffic to the app and keep the users coming back to the app time and again.

Unique Content

Fans love to feel close to their favourite player and teams. Accessing unique content can help to embed these relationships.

Given that sports organisations often have media time built into players’ contracts, there is a valuable opportunity to create and serve up contentment that other media cannot.

Such content can include ‘behind the scenes’ or ‘fly on the wall’ type content that bring fans ‘inside’ what is happening with their team and their players.

Mobile ticketing

Your app should allow users to purchase tickets to games and events that they are interested in. Having the option to buy a ticket directly from the app can be very attractive for users and it can help you sell way more e-tickets than before.

Virtual reality

Fans that are watching matches from home can get the feel of being in the stadium. Fans can feel the real action and get a better view of the game in high-definition from all angles. This realistic experience can encourage them to engage more with your sports app.

Multiple Functionality

Some sports apps focus on a single functionality. Others try to combine them all to achieve high user engagement. Add and combine some of the feature sets discussed here to add depth and sophistication to how your app engages your audience.

Appify for Your Sports App Needs

Appify is a leading sports app development company. We have years of experience in working with sports teams and organizations. Our unique experience in the sports industry has allowed us to influence technology usage within the sector and offer cutting-edge solutions to governing bodies, sports clubs, sports sponsors and fitness companies.

We offer unique insights and technology solutions in fan engagement, fan monetization, sport participation, talent identification, fitness delivery and various other areas.

If you have an app idea to realize, or if you need more information about our services, don’t hesitate to contact us!


Mobile app trends 2019

Mobile App Trends 2019 [Infographic]

How people use their mobile devices? How much time do they spend using mobile apps? Which were the mobile app trends in 2019?

We colleted in this infographic the most important things you should know to help you with your next mobile app.

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mobile app trends 2019 infographic

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app store rejection

How to Avoid App Store Rejection

Once you’re done with the draining task of designing and developing your app, you may be looking forward to finally catching a breath.  But not just yet!  You’ll still be facing the challenge of getting your app approved from the app stores. It’s definitely no walk in the park, but we have some tips to get you through this phase as well.

How to Avoid App Store Rejection?

1. Follow the Guidelines

Never underestimate the importance of carefully reading the app stores’ guidelines well  before you start designing your app. It is important to  have a clear idea of what to include or avoid if you don’t want to be penalised. This step is crucial for saving you lots of hassle later on.

Additionally, we also suggest you go through the guidelines throughout the app development lifecycle. The guidelines can change over time. A brainstorming session with the entire development team can prove useful because different people can often interpret things differently.

2. Find and Fix the Bugs

Before wrapping up the app development process and submitting the app to the app stores, make sure that you double check and thoroughly test your work!

A bug is a problem within the code that can prevent the app from working correctly and results in a bad user experience. It goes without saying that if your app contains too many bugs, it will be rejected by the reviewing team.

Debugging can take a lot of time. While simple bug fixes may take only a few seconds, the more complex ones can take up to weeks. You could hire some beta testers to quickly find the bugs you overlooked.

3. Add Relevant Meta Data

App’s Meta data consists of the title and description of your application along with the screenshots that you upload. If the details are not relevant to the actual app, it can lead to app store rejection. Often, when an app is refused, it’s either because the information is incorrect, or because it’s simply not enough.

Always make sure that you  counter check the uploaded information. And also ensure that all of the links are working properly. Otherwise, your app will be at the risk of being denied, and you’ll have to submit the app again.

4. Add a Privacy Policy

Don’t forget to add a privacy policy to your application if you require personal information from your users. If they need to create an account or login through an existing one while using the application, you must add a privacy policy in the app, and link it to the app store listing in order to get accepted.

Only ask for personal information, like name, email address, date of birth, for app-related purposes. If you would like to gather information, let your users have an option to deny such requests to avoid app store rejection.

5. Replace Placeholder Images and Text

Don’t forget to add a privacy policy to your application if you require personal information from your users. If they need to create an account or login through an existing one while using the application, you must add a privacy policy in the app, and link it to the app store listing in order to get accepted.

Check your app before submitting it to the stores.  You may have used placeholder images or “Lorem ipsum” texts during the development phase. Make sure that you replace all such content with the actual texts. Any apps uploaded with placeholder images or texts will usually end up being rejected.

6. Originality

Many app developers believe that the key to being successfully accepted by the app stores is copying already accepted apps. But this is not the case.

Creating an app with a matching design or a similar name icon can lead to an immediate rejection of your product. So even if you‘re offering similar features in your app, make sure that you choose a different but relevant name and icon for it.

7. Be careful with language and user-generated content

If your app contains  user-generated content, you must include a feature to allow users to flag offensive or inappropriate content. You should be vigilant and quick to block insulting users from the app.

If you take a closer look at the social media channels – the perfect example of  user-generated content – you will notice that all of these apps have this feature. For example, if your app contains a personal feed of images that are uploaded by other users, you must allow the users to block or report an image if it’s inappropriate.

Remember to add an appropriate system to your app that can sort and respond to such reports.

What If My App Still Gets Rejected?

If you follow the 7 tips above, you will have a higher chance of being accepted in the app stores. But sometimes, despite following the best practices, your app may still get rejected at first attempt.

This can also happen when you introduce a new update. Most of the times, it is because of neglecting a seemingly unimportant guideline or rule.

If this happens to you, DON’T PANIC! Many apps get rejected from the app stores initially, but after fixing the issues most of them get accepted.

Read through the explanation of why the app was rejected in the first place, fix the issue and re-submit the app for review.

Sometimes the issues are minor and can be fixed easily. However, if the explanation you receive is too complicated or unclear, feel free to contact an experienced app development team.

The Appify team submits apps to the App Store and Google Play on a regular basis and has experience in resolving common issues. We know how to get the apps approved.

So if you have had an app rejected, we’re keen to learn more and help you through it!


user personas

User Personas: What are They and Why Do You Need Them?

To strategically develop an application tailored to users’ actual requirements, the application must boast a user-centric design. The most effective way of understanding end-user psyche is by generating user personas.

Well before the actual app development begins, the product team must have a crystal-clear understanding of the user personas that, in essence, represent the characteristics and needs of the application’s various user groups.

What are User Personas?

User personas are life-like, fictional characters that are created to reflect the goals, behaviors and pain points of the intended app users.  They clarify what people do, why they do it and what they really  need/want from a product. Basically, personas provide a guideline of what the final user experience delivered by the app should involve.

To make the most out of user personas, they must be realistic and concentrate on the present instead of the future. Personas can help you in understanding:

  • The context(s) in which the product will be used
  • The current behaviors of the end users
  • The general attitudes of the users
  • What users want/need from the product that you’re designing
  • The difficulties that the users want to overcome through your application

How to create a User Persona?

User personas are usually created in the early phases of the design process but they may evolve throughout the design and development process.

To create your app’s personas, you will need to put aside your expectations of your customers in order to collect true data.  After analyzing the collected data you can effectively determine what different user groups will be searching for in your application.

Let’s have a look at how to create a winning persona for your application.

1. Researching Personas

The first step in creating a persona is conducting either primary or secondary research or a combination of both. The end goal, however, is to find high-quality and accurate data for generating a complete user profile.

Primary Persona Research

Primary persona research focuses on collecting first-hand data from the target audience through focus group experiments or by surveying the market in-person. This kind of research will help you in getting to know your end-users, giving you an edge over your competitors.

Secondary Persona Research

Secondary persona research makes  use of the already existing data. It requires less investment, but calls for more time to make an accurate analysis of the available data. This type of research requires looking for user data through social media platforms, existing case studies and other interactive forums.  For gathering more targeted data, pre-existing online surveys can also be used.

2. Analyze Research Data

The next step is to identify user characteristics and behavioral patterns that emerge from user research. Analyze the data collected during the research and group the users according to their unique characteristics and behavior patterns.

There should be a persona for each user group that contributes to the business goals of the application.

3. Essential Creation Process

The final step is to create a complete profile of user personas; one representing each user group that formed during the analysis phase.

Begin with describing the basic characteristics of the personas like age, career, hobbies, their goals for using the app etc. Factor in their approach towards technology and explain what they may expect from your application.

You can also add a list of websites or apps they use regularly. Create a clear visual representation with all of these details listed for each persona so that the entire team understands who they’re building the application for.

Example of a User Persona

Example of User Personas

The Pre-App Launch User Personas

Before the launch of the app, the user personas can help you in creating a human vision of the theoretical users that do not exist in reality yet.

Carrying out research is not enough; the UX designers and developers must dedicate the necessary time to the persona creation process. This would save time during the later stages of the app development process.

Post-App Launch User Personas

One of the central tenets of user-centric design is that the more you learn about your users, the more successful your application becomes. However, once your app is launched, you will need to monitor user behavior continuously and see if the app fits the changing market needs.

Learning about the app users continuously and seeing how well your app resolves their problems in the real world is the key for long-term success. Session replays or heat maps are crucial for analyzing how users are interacting with the application.

These are powerful tools for any UX or UI designer to assess which parts of the app should be modified.

The Benefits of Creating User Personas

Using personas in mobile app development has many benefits:

Allows designers to empathize with the product’s target audience

The empathizing process for a UX designer means observing and engaging with people that will use the product. Personas help designers in understanding the end users at a deeper level.

The market is full of applications that are visually appealing but meaningless nonetheless to the end users.

Personas can help in determining the right balance between aesthetics and value, both of which are essential for attracting and retaining users.

Helps designers in avoiding the the false consensus effect and self-referential design

Sometimes designers may  think that other people share their beliefs and that their response to a situation will be the same. These generalizations or stereotypes can lead to creating a design that is sub-optimal.

The user personas can help the product team in getting to know  the actual needs and expectations of the app users and also in creating a product that can solve users’ real problems.

Helps designers in making decisions

Personas can also help designers in creating a product strategy. They can assess who will use their product and why.

Personas can present them with a user-centered point of view which can make it easier to prioritize feature requests based on how well they address the needs of a primary persona.

The product team can make decisions based on facts and needs instead of their own thoughts and whims.

Takeaway

User personas are powerful tools. If done correctly, they can make the design process less complex as they guide the ideation processes and help designers in creating a good UX for the target users.

However, they must be based on user-research conducted accurately to get a clear idea of the users’ requirements and the context of use.

Thanks to personas, designers can work in a more meaningful way by keeping the real users at the heart of the app design.


augmented reality app

Best Augmented Reality Apps in 2019

Today you can see your home fully furnished well before buying any furniture and see how that new car looks parked in your garage even before signing a contract. Wondering how that’s possible?

It’s all because of augmented reality apps.

Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive technology that, with the help of electronic devices, can enhance real objects with computer-generated perceptual information. Simply put, AR allows you to visualize things that aren’t physically present. We’re talking about creating a modified or enhanced reality.

Organisations are using augmented reality to enhance the customer experience. This is now making its way into our everyday lives. Augmented reality apps are available for everyone to download and benefit from. All you need is a smartphone and you can enjoy experimenting with new interior layouts, a pair of shoes and many other things.

Here are a few sectors where augmented reality apps are making a major difference:

Augmented Reality App for Retail Sector

While you may have heard of AR making games appear much more realistic, offering training through life-like 3D models or allowing space enthusiasts to witness constellations, AR apps have also found their way into use in the retail industry.

AR can turn out to be a game-changer for the retail sector by allowing the buyers to virtually try a product before making a purchase. They can visualize the look and feel of a product, and how it fits in their current environment. Customers are much more likely to buy an item if they’re able to try it beforehand and have an enjoyable experience. No words or pictures can market a product better than a great real-life experience.

Here are some of the most interesting augmented reality apps in the retail sector:

IKEA Place AR

Have you ever experienced the nuisance of buying the furniture piece of your dreams from IKEA only to realize that it doesn’t sit well with the rest of your furniture? The countless hours spent in deciding, purchasing and finally assembling the piece have now gone to waste.

Well, IKEA has come up with the perfect solution.

IKEA Place is one of our favorite AR apps. It improves the overall buying experience for IKEA customers.

The IKEA augmented reality app enables customers to visualize a wide range of furniture pieces in their own homes. Just scan an area where you’d like the piece to fit, choose the furniture, and you’re done!

The furniture piece will appear exactly where you’d actually be putting it. You can move it around a bit to see if it fits, try different colors and designs, and even play around with the dimensions.

Just scan a specific area, select the design of the furniture you like and you’re done!

All you’ll need is a working smartphone and the IKEA Place app.

Wanna Kicks

Another good example of augmented reality apps in the retail sector is Wanna Kicks.

It’s not uncommon for people to order a pair of shoes online, only to go through the hassle of returning it because of choosing the wrong size.

Wanna Kicks augmented reality app allows people to virtually try on a pair of shoes before making the purchase.

This app has the potential to revolutionize the online shoe shopping experience for the better. Just frame your foot with your iPhone’s camera and try on shoes from leading brands like Adidas, Stella McCartney, Nike, New Balance and many others.

Sephora Virtual Artist

Sephora Virtual Artist is the best friend of every woman. To date, it’s the best augmented reality application in the beauty industry.

With this interactive app you can try on different makeup looks simply by snapping a picture of your face.

Choose from countless products and see what the results will look like on your specific features and skin type. With this application, you won’t ever have to return a perfect foundation just because you chose the wrong shade.

But that’s not it, this app is great for makeup amateurs and professionals alike for experimenting with different makeup looks and buying the products that seem to deliver the best results.

Augmented Reality App for the Tourism Industry

In recent years, augmented reality has become increasingly popular in the travel industry.

It enables hotels, resorts and venues to present their physical environments to potential customers within the comfort of their homes; thus encouraging them to plan an actual visit.

Here are some of the AR apps that, we believe, are very helpful for our fellow travelers:

Momondo (available for Android & iOS)

Momondo ar check hand luggage

You are about to leave for a trip and you need the choose the hand luggage to take with you.

It’s simple, except every airline has its own baggage policies which can get a tad confusing.

Momondo is a famous online search engine for flights, hotels and car rental offers. They have implemented an AR feature in their app which allows users to virtually measure the hand luggage.

Just point the app to your suitcase as instructed and you’ll have the exact dimensions in no time. Furthermore, the app will also tell you which airlines will allow you to carry your preferred suitcase.

Well, the app would’ve been perfect if it could also weigh your bags for you. Unfortunately, that’s something you may have to do manually!

Google Translate AR app

Break down the language barriers with the Google Translate app!

Google’s text and audio translation tool has been one of the best travel buddies for years. With time, it’s only getting better and more interactive.

First, it introduced voice search and now, it has augmented reality, real-time visual translation feature as well.

All you have to do is scan a text with your smartphone camera, and Google Translate will provide real-time translations of words and phrases.

You can also download the language packs, which allow you to enjoy offline translations for when you are travelling to remote regions.

We believe it is a must-have for all travelers (and non-travelers, too).

Augmented Reality App for the Gaming Industry

Augmented reality gaming is still in its nascent stages. And yet, who hasn’t tried playing Pokémon Go, the game in which you can capture wild Pokémon’s scattered in the real world.

Augmented reality games have already become a trend in the gaming industry, and their popularity keeps on growing.

With AR, gamers can experience fighting aliens, capturing fantastical creatures and defending kingdoms like never before. The gaming experience now feels more real than ever.

So grab your AR-enabled smartphone or console, and enjoy some of our favorite picks:

Knightfall AR

Knightfall AR game

For us, this offers the best augmented reality experience.

This game takes you inside the world of The Knights Templar. Your role is to defend the city of Acre from an invading army and protect Christianity’s most prized relic, the Holy Grail.

Just place the battlefield down on any flat surface near you, and your viewpoint then acts as a targeting reticule, allowing you to fire at enemy units as they come closer towards your walls.

Kill enemies and earn gold that you can spend on defenses and warriors to push the invaders back. It’s, indeed, a world of its own.

Other Applications

Apart from the sectors mentioned above, AR has found applications in several other categories as well.

Tapmeasure (available for iOS) or AR Ruler (available for Android)

TapMeasure app vs AR Ruler app

Here’s one of the simplest ideas for AR. These apps are a virtual tool that can help you in measuring anything and everything.

Some smartphones already have a similar built-in feature, however, these apps are much more sophisticated and accurate than those.

With these apps, you can mark a starting point and move the smartphone along the entire surface you want to measure.

It’s not just about simple, straightforward measurements; the apps can also measure angles, volume, and area. They even allow you to create a room plan from your measurements.

Unfortunately, this feature is not completely perfect as of yet, but nonetheless can still be highly useful.

Inkhunter augmented reality app

Sometimes we make decisions that have irreversible consequences like getting a haircut or a tattoo.

You may be convinced that a particular tattoo is great for you, but after all is said and done, you can end up regretting your decision.

With the Inkhunter augmented reality app, you can see what a particular tattoo will look like on you before actually getting it.

Just draw a boundary on your body where you’d like to have a tattoo, capture it with your smartphone’s camera and the app will automatically load the tattoo you choose.

BBC Civilizations AR

Who says you can’t use smartphones for learning?

With BBC’s Civilization AR app, learning becomes super interactive and fun for kids and adults alike.

This augmented reality app brings to you 40 works of art from human history across the many epochs and great civilizations of the past.

Each artifact can be viewed in lifelike 3D renderings using your phone as an AR viewfinder.

You can check out interactive features like x-ray views and narrations, and learn about the secrets, origins and history of these global cultural treasures.

Take advantage of the many opportunities offered by Augmented Reality

The applications in augmented reality offer numerous opportunities for companies belonging to different sectors (tourism, furniture, retail, beauty etc.).

In this article, we’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg.

If you believe that an augmented reality app can expand the reach of your business, or you have an innovative idea for an augmented reality app, contact us to see how we can help and enjoy a free consultation with our experts.