Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR): Definitions and Use Cases

Virtual reality (VR), Augmented reality (AR) and Mixed reality (MR)

Virtual reality (VR), Augmented reality (AR) and Mixed reality (MR) are new emerging technologies that are here to revolutionize the world across sectors. You would have likely come across these terms, perhaps without knowing what they are or how they affect you – so let’s jump right in and shed some light on the subject.

First, some definitions:

Virtual reality is a computer-simulated environment that produces real-life visual experiences, whereas Augmented reality is the enhancement of the real physical world using digital elements. As you might have speculated, Mixed reality is the combination of both VR and AR. From high-performance industrial works to convenient online shopping and better-quality education, what can be achieved with the right implementation of VR, AR and MR seem countless. To better understand these technologies and how they work, we have put together a guide on their advantages and differences, where you might have interacted with them in the past to give a glimpse of what the future with them might look like.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality can be non-immersive (think video games), semi-immersive (a common example are flight simulators), or fully immersive (right now there are no completely fully immersive examples but technology is fast getting there).

VR Gear

Through the help of a VR device such as a VR gaming headset or helmet, players can explore, control and get immersed in a 3D environment. Once the user puts on a VR headset, the world around him is substituted by virtual reality content projected on the display screen. Sensors, lenses and screens all are a part of VR headset that provides a life-like or real-life experience of the game. More immersive hardware also supports smells, sounds and feelings such as heat or cold such as a 3D mouse, wired gloves, motion controllers, and omnidirectional treadmills.

Real-life applications of VR

In education:

  • Students can feel like they are being transported to a battlefield or a historical site such as a museum.
  • Imagine taking a field trip to Mars via 3D goggles! The vivid and memorable scenery would without a doubt amplify engagement much more than a traditional textbook could.

In entertainment:

  • With a VR headset and application, you could virtually sit in a stadium in Tokyo, Japan watching live Olympic events — looking left, right, and straight ahead the same way you would in a physical stadium from the comfort of your home.
  • If you’ve ever taken a Rollercoaster with 3D googles on, you’ve experienced VR
  • Don’t have a tennis court? With 3D goggles, you can feel like you’re in a tournament since you have to beat the other player by moving your body and swinging your racket – also making it quite the workout!

In healthcare:

  • VR is already used in medical training for diagnosis, therapy and even surgery.
  • VR brings a calming solution for patients with anxiety in which they can be shown calming views on a VR device while being prepared for surgery.
  • Medical students can visualise human anatomy to understand the body better.

In training:

  • Such as an inspection app we designed for the National Environment Agency for training inspectors to survey properties and speak to homeowners regarding dengue.

Augmented Reality

While in virtual reality, the user is completely separated from the actual life and is immersed in an environment created with digital technology, in augmented reality real-life scenarios are enhanced by adding digital elements or overlays via computer technology.

Just like VR, AR’s applications are widespread across education, business and more. AR-based technology has grown multifold in the past years.

You can also read: Impact of Artificial Intelligence on App Development

AR Gear

When it comes to the hardware needed to implement AR, a device as simple as a phone’s camera is enough to capture the real-world environment so inputs generated by the software can be overlaid. These inputs could be still graphics, audio or video. In addition to a depth-sensing camera, tools, such as motion sensors and accelerometers are required to determine the space where digital objects should be placed. Finally, a display device as simple as a monitor can be connected to view the output.

Real-life applications of AR

  • Pokémon Go – In the game, players catch Pokémon that seem to be found in the real world, by looking into their phones.
  • IKEA where the furniture store allows its app users to visualize products by placing them in their home environment.
  • Snapchat filters or Interactive profile pictures and videos
  • Corporate team engagement games such as TBIT.

Mixed Reality

Mixed or hybrid reality is the blanketing of digital objects onto the real world allowing both real and digital worlds to exist and interact together. With the development of MR technology, the barrier that seems to exist between the virtual and the real world is breaking down and blurring lines through their interactions with each other.

Major tech companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Intel and others have already started creating the potential for mixed reality-based projects in the future. Their main area of focus remains on using MR for remote working, interactive training, marketing and sales-boosting and not to forget, healthcare assistance.

In every sector where AR finds its application, MR can be implemented, with better results.

MR Gear

Advanced artificial intelligence technology is used to process data of a given space and generate information to create a holographic image that melds seamlessly with the environment. A great example is the Microsoft Hololens which creates holograms by using multiple sensors and advanced optics for holographic processing.

Real-life applications of MR

In manufacturing:

  • MR helps engineers assemble complex components step by step through the aid of MR glasses such as the Microsoft Hololens
  • It helps car manufacturers such as Ford superimpose new design features onto their existing cars before deciding whether to proceed with development.

In healthcare:

  • Medical students can study and examine human anatomy through a life-size 3D image without the difficulty of organs obstructing as it would in a cadaver.

In entertainment:

  • A lifelike hologram of John Hamm was created for the Sundance Film Festival and of Buzz Aldrin for SXSW. 8i, is the mixed reality company behind the Holo app that made this possible.
  • The metaverse – social interactions are conducted in immersive and precise 3D virtual spaces.

Conclusion

Indubitably, VR, AR and MR are among the hottest technologies in the tech world. Immersive technology is a result of enormous research and decades of labour. They are not just here to stay but are here to transform the way things are done in every sector. From education to entertainment to industrial application, the world is becoming more of a VR-AR-MR world. These realities are certainly changing the way of living and working. The world of science fiction that we see in movies is certainly getting closer and closer with the innovations taking place in this arena.

We have recently received complaints that members of the public are targeted by some agents through WhatsApp who claim to be from Hipster Private Limited and using our UEN number of Hipster Private Limited to prove that they are legit Singapore companies.

They also use a similar looking domain name, our logo, and address on the website to make it as similar & credible as possible.

We want to make it very clear that Our company doesn't appoint any agent/recruiter for this so call 'money earning by apps rating' or 'any Ponzi scheme' where you need to deposit any money to get jobs.

Our jobs are always posted on official company pages on social media such as Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook and WSG.

7 Essential Tips for UX Design backed by Psychology

ux designer singapore

UX design is really important. Without it, we have something pretty, but empty because it doesn’t take into account how user’s actually want to use the product. UX design is all about enhancing the user interaction with the product by giving users a better experience by improving the usefulness, usability, and desirability between the user and the product. There are many keys to building trust with users. A great thing to remember is to “speak human”, which simply means to practice empathy. Keeping this in mind, here are some essential tips for better UX design backed by the study of human behaviour.

1. Clear Call to Action

Have clarity of where you want users to go. This means, having your primary and secondary actions clearly visible and accessible. Before starting your project, define your clear goal or primary reason. Figure out what is important and bring your user there. There is a psychological principle called Fitts’ law, which explained simply, states that the time it takes to acquire a target has to do with the distance and size of the target. So make elements that should be easily selectable, larger and position them close.

2. Reduce Visual Clutter

Remember, information needs to be prioritised as a user’s attention is a precious resource. Clutter in the interface overloads the user’s attention, and while there will be a temptation to put across all sorts of information for users, it is our job to help the users focus and hone in on what is really important. Make it easier for people to make a decision by reducing visual clutter. This is in line with the psychological principle Hick’s law which states the more choices someone is given, the longer it will take them to make a decision. Therefore, streamline to only what’s important.

3. Reduce Amount of Text

People. Don’t. Read. No matter how great the words are. It’s because of this that when we place words, we need to do it as intentionally and as meaningful as possible. We need to prioritise these words by trimming them down by using headings, using lists, changing the colours and sizes of words, avoiding really long blocks of texts and pairing texts with visuals. Retention theory is the relation between the quantity of information provided to the users vs time spent on the page. Users don’t want to be burdened by a large number of texts.

4. Organise Content

A good design language has a strong hierarchy. Some great principles for this are applying contrast, organising content with a grid, and utilising negative space. Let things breathe by opening things up. Remember less is more. The Law of Common Boundary states that individuals tend to perceive elements into groups if they share an area with a clearly defined boundary. Gestalt’s law of proximity states that objects close to one another appear to form groups. Great user experience is in part a result of organised content that is desirable to the user.

5. Simplify the learning process

People don’t want to have to sit down and decode new information. This is consistent with Jakob’s law that states that user’s spend most of their times on other sites and that they prefer your site to work the same way other sites would. Familiar design patterns minimises any learning curve so users do not have to devote extra time trying to understand new patterns. Improving clarity means making it effortless for users to accomplish their goals.

6. Consider How the Eye Scans Information

Avoid multi-column forms. During a series of user testings, it was found that users found it tiresome to have to scan up and down and then from left to right. Keep your forms in one column whenever possible. This is in line with Gestalt’s principle of continuity which states that the human eye is more likely to see a continuous path rather than jagged or interrupted ones.

7. Increase Consistency

Consistency is key to avoiding confusion. Use the same terminology across your design starting with the brand colours used appropriately. This is in line with a psychological principle called the Aesthetic-Usability Effect which states that users perceive aesthetically pleasing design to also be more usable.

Understanding human behaviour, sharpening observation skills and practising empathy are key to becoming a more adept UX designer. I would be remiss if I were not to mention that User Experience has a second part to it, as after design comes validation. Validation is the testing of our design. In testing, we discover if features are as functional as we think to the users. It also includes studying their behaviour to see if they completed tasks in our web apps, mobile apps and screens without frustration. Where the goal is to delight users, we need to ensure we do just that by testing.

While doing user testing, humility is a virtue to uphold. No one likes to discover that our very cleverly done web design or app design has some areas that need tweaking, but with humility, we can stay open and learn by being adaptive to be able to do iterations on your design. Through these factors, you will have the tools to solve problems and ensure the users have a delightful digital user experience through user-centred design.

barePack: A Sustainability Startup’s Success Story

barePack

The barePack origin story:

barePack (co-founded by Roxane Uzureau and presently known as &Repeat) was established in 2020 under the Jumanji group in Singapore with the clear mission to help people and businesses alike to be more sustainable, specifically in putting an end to single-use packaging that is so rampant in the food industry’s takeaway and delivery business. How they accomplish this is by partnering with restaurants so the restaurants can use the re-usable containers barePack provides to facilitate their customer’s needs. The customers thereafter take back the containers to any restaurant that is a part of the barePack network. barePack simultaneously grew operations in France where it became the market leader for reusable containers with over 250 restaurants subscribing to the network.

Enter & Repeat: the big break:

In 2022, barePack got their big break when &Repeat, a sustainability market leader in Sweden for sustainable recycling and takeaway packaging solutions took notice of the French player. In Stockholm, &Repeat has a network of over 400 restaurants partnering in their re-using efforts. Combining their forces, &Repeat, even stronger through their acquisition, aims to go full speed in boosting recycling rates towards the elimination of single-use packaging.

What led to this startup’s huge success? barePAck co-founder Linh Le credits her success to wholeheartedly working towards a cause she strongly believes in, an incredible team where milestones are conquered together, and a reliable digital infrastructure to aid the small team in their quest for greatness.

Going digital: the barePack infrastructure

Through this reliable digital infrastructure, barePack was able to achieve great things. The end to end process of facilitating operations and transactions between restaurants and customers to payment processes was automated.

As the company grew, there was a need to scale the app infrastructure. barePack approached a new set of software developers, Hipster Inc to revamp the MVP (minimum viable product) to fix issues in their bootstrapped app which they outgrew because of their vastly expanding user pool. Some of the business and user focus items Hipster Inc addressed were:

Scalability: As more users and food outlets subscribed to the platform, the app slowed down. Speed and scalability issues were addressed by moving the infrastructure from Google Firebase to Google Firestore, ensuring the app was robust and the migration seamless so the app was kept live without any need for downtime.

Cross-Platform creation: Instead of creating a separate iOS and Android app, Hipster advised barePack to use Flutter, a cross-platform app that is compatible with both iOS and Android. Through this, costs were halved and the apps could quickly be launched. Any updates on the apps would also be published on the platforms concurrently.

Integration: The integration features done by the Hipster Inc. team were:

User Experience Features: Features such as the payment process was improved to allow the staff to generate a discount or promotion code. A map view was also incorporated to enhance the experience customers had with the app. With the map view, customer subscribers could easily find participating restaurants.

Data Analytics: Transaction data is captured within the app to enable stakeholders to make informed business decisions. Examples of such gathered data are location-specific statistics of containers dropped off, picked up and unreturned.

Click here for more details: barePack

What’s Next for & Repeat?

&Repeat has made recent announcements regarding exclusive partnership agreements with Not So Dark, and their 150 virtual restaurants across Europe, and Bagelstein and their 90 restaurants across France. The service rewards cashback to customers who recycle their packaging. The cashback can be used at any of the partner restaurants throughout &Repeat’s network. Furthermore, &Repeat has announced they are in the midst of developing new reusable packaging services.

These monumental achievements in the first year of their founding do not stop the environmental services player from pushing forward. &Repeat is set to scale their service to other European countries with their eye on Germany, Spain, England and Italy. With these gaps in the market, and an opportunity to make a change for the better in creating a more circular world, &Repeat can make a large difference in the F&B takeaway and delivery scene for future generations to come.

How to Create and Manage your Project Timeline

Companies choose to outsource software development because of the significant cost reduction. Along with this reason, this strategy is more about utilising the top engineering talent and most effective technologies. Even with these benefits, there is always the challenge to ensure that the developers finish your project within the timeline.

It is imperative to get an insight into the outsourcing partner’s delivery processes so that you can offer your clients their expected high-quality results. You must assign your project leader or manager for collaborating with the outsourcing team. Your project leader’s primary task is to keep outsourced, especially internationally outsourced, projects on budget and track, thus ensuring project delivery is done on time. The manager is responsible to help the outsource team to understand your business goals and plan a project management timeline.

Project management timeline

A project timeline is a sequential or progressive breakdown of all the tasks and subtasks that need to be finished to complete any project. This timeline marks the beginning and end of your project. The project manager or leader is the one who manages the project and is accountable to adhere to this timeline.

Here’s a step-by-step example to help you create a project timeline. These 6 steps will teach you how to build project timelines that will put you in charge to ensure the project’s timely delivery.

1. Form your project brief (goals, time frame and dependencies)

The project brief acts as the roadmap that explains everything about the project from goals to risks. It is necessary to keep all the project stakeholders aligned with the plan. Here are some questions you must answer in your brief-

Once you have your project brief and goals outlined, you can start creating a project timeline.

2. Catalogue all of the steps you need to complete your project

You need to create a list of all the tasks and subtasks throughout the project planning process till the final delivery. Divide the project into both big and small steps. Any task that aids in completing the project on time and within the budget should be included in the list. At this stage, do not worry about the order of the steps that come later.

3. Allocate the amount of time each step of the project will take to complete

After you have compiled a comprehensive list of the steps involved in the project, you should estimate the time each step will take to complete. Avoid an unrealistic approach and provide your team with enough time to finish the task within your overall time frame. This step helps you to properly schedule and sequence each task to create a project timeline.

4. Figure out dependencies and sequence of steps

As you map out the steps of the project, you will realize some steps can be carried on simultaneously while some cannot begin until another step is finished. Therefore, some steps are dependent on others. This is precisely why a timeline is so important, it is needed to visualize each step and who is responsible for each step. You must have defined roles for everyone to avoid timing and resource conflicts which might lead to delays.

5. Draw your timeline using project management tools

A project management tool is better than the excel files or spreadsheets that we use daily. These tools are specifically designed to help manage your project. Not only does it reduce the time one has to invest in creating the timeline but allows you to continue managing your timeline after the project starts. With the right tool, your timeline will be incorporated into your underlying work and will always stay up to date.

6. Share it with all the project stakeholders

Once you have built your timeline, it is necessary to share it with everyone who is involved in the project. In Step 1 you had created a list of the major project stakeholders, sharing your plan with them will bring everyone in sync. Use a project management tool to make this process easier, quick and seamless.

Role of a Project Manager

The project management timeline is in the hands of your project manager and they have to make sure that all the processes and plans are being executed as per the timeline. Here are some tips to meet the outsourcing project timeline and have a smooth and timely project delivery-

Define realistic expectations

As an outsourcing company works on satisfying your expectations, this is the first and most important tip. You must have a calculative approach to set your goals according to the resources at hand instead of over expecting. Ensure to conduct thorough requirements and cost-benefit analysis before beginning the design and development of the software. If you neglect to do so, you are setting your customers and yourself up for disappointment. Realistic expectations will help you meet your deadlines, keep the project running on time and be aligned with your financial objectives. This will also reduce pressure on the outsourcing team and help you communicate effectively.

Active involvement at every step of the project

Since the project is yours, the timeline is also yours. Your project manager should constantly be involved at every step of the project instead of waiting at the other end for the outcome. They should be updated about all the developments so that they can effectively follow the project timeline. You can divide the project into several phases to facilitate reviews of each phase. The key to meeting the project timeline is the cooperation between your company and the outsourcing team, therefore you must review their work and communicate any changes and expectations.

Have clear communication

You must have heard so many people say that communication is paramount. It helps everyone to understand what’s going on. The project manager should be able to convey what your company needs your outsourcing partner to know about, like about your organisation, customers and procedures. This will allow your outsourcing team to get in sync with you. Lack of clarity by your company may give way to scope creep. It means the inclusion of additional features or functions of a new product, requirements, or work that is unauthorized. By devoting time to unapproved tasks, the project team wastes the original time and budget assigned to the project and the end product is not what was promised. Therefore, define clear communication channels. Avoid unmanaged contact between the client and the developer team.

Organise effective kick-off meetings

A kick-off meeting marks the beginning of the project or any phase of the project. It is the first meeting between the project team and the project stakeholder, who can either be external or internal. It is where the project manager assembles all important stakeholders including the sponsor, internal & external customers, and different groups who are assigned for the execution of the project. This helps to bring everyone to a common understanding. This is also a great opportunity to present the stakeholders with information to plan for a robust risk evaluation exercise on any foreseeable uncertainty.

Choose the correct tools for project management & tracking

You will need technology to keep a track of all the communications, approvals, updates, milestones, sprints, tasks, budgets and deadlines. There are a plethora of options of project management software available in the market for you. The right tools will make communication and collaboration easier between the stakeholder and the outsourcing team. This also allows you to conduct regular project checks where the leadership team reviews each project based on various guidelines. Project management and tracking enable all team members to be in sync about the progress of each project.

Benefits of a project management timeline

The 5 tips mentioned above will assist you in executing a clear and effective project management timeline. Once you have made the project management timeline, you can always go back to reassess and make changes according to your current project requirements. You will find planning a project management timeline beneficial in many ways. Some of the main benefits are-

  1. It helps to divide the project into phases, tasks and subtasks which gives clear directions and priorities.
  2. Everyone, both inside and outside the company, is in the loop at every stage of the project.
  3. Since every team member is assigned a specific task, there is accountability.
  4. The communication is kept clear regarding due dates, approvals, project details etc. Therefore, everyone is on the same page.
  5. A project management timeline helps the manager to keep an effective tab on the hourly employees and billing
  6. Improves resource management.

Outsourcing software development is a common practice today but it has its challenges. The above-mentioned 5 tips not only improve project delivery but also help to evaluate risks. All software development projects involve a deadline, therefore these tips will help you to save time, cost and increase revenue. In addition to the tips mentioned above, you must consider and treat the outsourcing team as your partner. As the stakeholder company, you need to be aware of the project delivery processes of your outsourcing partner. This enables you to function systematically and achieve your goals by overcoming hurdles or removing roadblocks between you and the potential vendor leaving no risk of not having your project delivered over time, over-budget, or of sub-par quality.

You can also check:

Think Again by Adam Grant – From tech product and tech startups point of view

Reading Adam Grant’s new book Think Again, one is made to question and analyze their own beliefs and perceptions. We found that the ideas and quotes shared in the book hold a lot of relevance in today’s fast evolving world of technology and that every entrepreneur should give it a read and ponder upon for their businesses. Entrepreneurs and working professionals are bound to be moved by the importance and power of rethinking and rethinking creates Blue Oceans in businesses and rethinking also creates new innovation in technology.

It is easy for us to lean towards ways of thinking and doing things that align with our comfort. However, the world is constantly evolving. In order to be truly successful one has to keep an open mindset. An open mindset that has the ability to unlearn. In the world of technology, new inventions and processes are sprouting every year. Companies want to stick with what has worked for them. At one point, the technology, or perhaps the lack of it- becomes outdated. One is forced to move to new ways of doing things. The power of rethinking makes that transition from one step to another a voluntary one, instead of being forced.

Advancements in technology are an everyday affair. From the up-gradation of mobile devices and software tools to the use of Artificial Intelligence- as businesses we are faced with new technologies every year and have to make a decision keeping our best interests in mind. For any technology improving with newer versions, for technologies where they were relevant 10 years back they are no longer relevant now. However, in most cases we follow the herd without rethinking our choices. Or even worse, we stick with the technology and processes that are established in our workspace simply because it’s easier. The power of rethinking can help us succeed in every walk of our life, be it business or personal. Emotional and intellectual intelligence are developed by keeping a mindset that has the ability to question its own thoughts and take disagreement in a positive manner.

Quotes from the Book to Ponder Upon

Adam Grant’s Think Again is a reflection of how as social beings we can keep evolving in all walks of life. We have compiled a list of quotes that we think will benefit every person to process their behavior and grow-

“If you don’t look back at yourself and think. Wow, how stupid I was a year ago, then you must not have learned much in the last year.”

We’ve all had this thought at least once in our lives. Whether it’s your taste in music, dressing style, or choices you’ve made before; at one point in your life you look back and feel embarrassed. However, this is something that teaches us that we’ve grown over the years. A higher frequency of this type of thinking denotes that we’re learning new things and broadening our mindsets with time. In terms of business and technology, a company’s growth is directly proportional to constant up-dation in terms of processes employed. Therefore, one should always have the ability to look back and see their shortcomings while incorporating new trends and ways of thinking.

When you read a study that surprises you, how do you react? Many people would get defensive, searching for flaws in the study’s design or the statistical analysis. Danny did the opposite. His eyes lit up, and a huge grin appeared on his face. “That was wonderful,” he said. “I was wrong.”

This quote highlights the usual norm of trying to look for flaws in studies that do not support our own thinking. What it’s trying to teach us is that instead of looking for ways to defend our own beliefs, one should feel more educated and profound while grasping ideas that contradict our own and getting a new perspective on things.

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge”– Charles Darwin

Truer words have not been spoken. Someone that is ignorant towards the changes in technology and perceptions in the world is aggressively confident about the cocoon of ideas that they wrap themselves in. A person who is always eager to learn, will understand that knowledge is an immense ocean with a limitless supply of wisdom.

“YOU MUST UNLEARN WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED”

Throughout history we have seen ideologies being dismantled and established beliefs being usurped. It teaches us that the world and its principles are constantly evolving. Codes of morality, societal roles, gender structures, etc. are changing. There used to be a time when same-sex relationships were considered an unforgivable sin. However, LGBTQ relationships are steadily being supported and accepted now. The people who do not have the ability to unlearn what they have been taught previously, will never be capable of learning new things. They will be branded as outdated, hypocritical, and foolishly ignorant.

We learn more from people who challenge our thought process than those who affirm our conclusions.”

We often surround ourselves with people that agree with us and affirm our opinions. Those who disagree with us, we tend to avoid or distance ourselves from. However, true knowledge is gained when someone challenges our ways of thinking and confronts us with a different opinion. Whereas the people who agree with us at all times, are only giving us validation to please our ego. They have nothing new to teach us. Entrepreneurs have a lot to learn from this quote. It is not necessary to favour the employees that always agree with you. The ones that are bold enough to express their own opinions that are different from yours, should be cherished and respected as you can truly learn from them.

We listen to views that make us feel good, instead of ideas that make us think hard.”

When faced with the option of choosing between what’s easy and what’s right, we often make the mistake of picking what’s easy. It’s easy to stick with an outdated software that still functions than learning about a new one and getting it installed, irrespective of whether or not the new software is better. This is just an example and the quote can be applied to a broad range of circumstances. However, the bottom line is that making the choice of doing the right thing requires effort, which many of us are simply lazy to put in.

Key Takeaways

One has a lot to learn and benefit from the book. Here are some key takeaways we think will enable the reader to grow personally and professionally in life.

After reading Adam Grant’s book Think Again we highly recommend business to read this book as well as it is not just a good book that one should read, it is a book that one needs to read. It is essential for growth as a business owners in a diverse and constantly evolving world.

How Technology Can Improve in-store Retail Experiences

Software development is a crucial part of digital transformation that businesses in Singapore are slowly embracing. Retailers that were once content with traditional methods of handling their stores, are realising that incorporation of digital solutions are no longer optional. Due to the lockdown imposed during the pandemic, customers shifted to e-commerce drastically. According to PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey 2020, 49% of customers in SouthEast Asia do their shopping in a store, whereas 51% do it online through their mobile and other devices.

However, here are some stats that show the potential growth of in-Store retail experiences:

Singapore government’s SME’s go digital programme includes the Retail Industry Digital Plan which aims to make going digital easy for customers. The government is doing their part, and it’s time small and medium scale retailers started reaping the benefits of software tools by partnering with IT & Software solutions companies.

Majority of retailers still have plenty of room for improvement. Software development solutions for retailers can have several forms. From inventory management tools to customer loyalty apps, the possibility of growth and efficacy are limitless with the right technology.

Types of Software Development Solutions for in-Store Retailers

A list of some common software tools for retail stores are briefly explained below.

Point of Sale Software

Point of Sale in businesses is the area where customers pay for the purchased goods or services. It goes without saying that with the right hardware and software tools integrated into a POS system, businesses can make drastic improvements in a lot of areas. An ideal POS software would efficiently record all transactions, easily locate price of products, keep inventory updated, etc. While mega marts and super store retailers have POS systems that can carry out these tasks, many medium scale and small retailers are yet to incorporate POS equipment and tools.

Customer Loyalty Software

Customer loyalty software can help businesses engage and retain their customers better post transactions. By providing freebies or discounts to customers who have achieved certain sales targets, businesses can enhance consumer experience. A customer loyalty software would include features like keeping a track of purchases, gamification, customizable rewards, etc.

Customer Feedback Software

Customer feedback plays a crucial role for business growth and customer satisfaction. A customer feedback software could be simple like selecting an emoji face that rates customer experience, or it could be more detailed and intricate. Sometimes the customer may have grievances that they want to highlight to the management. On the other hand it is also possible that customers will mention the factors which made their experience favourable. In either case, a customer feedback software will prove to be an efficient tool in the overall development of retail stores.

Inventory & Space Management Software

An Inventory & Space Management software helps in allocation of goods at a walk-in retail store and keeps a record of the stock. This makes it easier to maintain store organization. Inventory management software tools come with a notification system to update the management about restocking of different products. It also provides insight about fast-selling goods. On the other hand, effective Space Management gives your store an appealing look that keeps the customers coming back.

Payment Processing Software

The technology allows retail stores to align their sales with different payment methods and bank types. It’s primary features include- allowing instant online payments, accepting credit and debit cards, generating instant invoices, tracking and recording all invoices, and resolving disputes with banks or customers.

Omnichannel Store Software

Omnichannel businesses are those that operate both online and offline. Many e-commerce businesses eventually open up physical retail store stores to cater to the customers that like to have an in-store experience. On the other hand, retail businesses are rapidly creating online web/mobile apps and other technological solutions to have an online presence.

Software tools for omnichannel retailers provide features that enable complete transparency for the customers. For businesses, the usual features such as seamless transactions, data analysis, customer loyalty, etc. are integrated online as well as offline.

Perks of Incorporating Software Development Tools in Retail Stores

Looking for a reason to employ technological tools for your retail store? Well, there’s more than one.

Automation

This is perhaps the biggest advantage of retail software. Automation can enhance retail store experience in 2021. Irrespective of the size and type, businesses have several complex processes that need to be carried out for the store to function smoothly. Automation enhances the smoothness of these processes. Whether it’s inventory management, employee performance monitoring, sales and returns records, a retail software can be customized to provide automation that caters to every need.

Finessing Customer Service

Retail software tools are tried and tested catalysts of Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Modern customers are educated, aware, and more demanding. With the amount of competition in every business, retaining customers and engaging in healthy relationships requires effort. Therefore, investing in tools that help with customer feedback, loyalty programs, and other aspects of customer management is a profitable decision.

Accuracy, Insight, Analysis

Conventional methods of keeping up accounts and maintaining inventory bring with them the possibility of human error and excessive time consumption. Automating processes with software tools not only minimize the possibilities of error, but also provide insightful information. Technology like big data, machine learning and AI can help retailers gather information about their customers. This information is very crucial to the overall growth of any business as it tells sellers about consumer behaviour, demographics, market trends, etc. Automation is the key to improving retail operational efficiency.

Process of Creating Retail Software

Retailers wanting to digitalise their store with the right software tool should follow these steps to make rational and profitable choices.

1. Partner up with a Software Development Agency

Looking into available options before deciding on a specific company to work with is an important task. Keep in mind that software development and maintenance is going to be a long term process. Instead of going to different agencies for different services, it’s better to partner up with a reliable company that can fulfill your needs in a time efficient manner. Hipster-inc is a reliable digital solutions company that has a track record of reliable and efficient services. Get in touch to discuss your needs. We specialize in customized software solutions to fit the needs of every business, no matter how big or small.

2. Create a Budget according to your Plan

Planning and budgeting is important with every initiative. Decide the features that you want to integrate into your retail software systems. The required features should be compatible with the available budget. Pick the types of retail software tools you need. If you cannot find a common tool to carry out the required features, there’s no need to worry. Software developers can customize the tools to fit your needs. The entire process of planning and budgeting is crucial, so do not make haste and give it sufficient time (2-5 weeks).

3. Execution and Testing

While the developers work on your desired retail software products, there needs to be a consistent channel of communication. It’s best to have someone from your own company dealing with the nuances that get in the way of creating the right digital solutions. Someone with a technical background and intensive knowledge of your requirements should keep both the parties involved in a loop. When it’s time to test out and equip the products, you should have someone in your team that has some knowledge of the product functionalities. In addition, all store employees should be made aware of the technological advancements you plan to bring in. They should be given the basic training for handling of these tools.

And finally, retailers should keep in mind that the task is not finished once their software tools are tested and ready for use. For purposes of maintenance and updation that is common with digitalisation, a long and stable partnership with the IT solutions company should be maintained.

Read another interesting blog here:

7 Benefits of Hybrid App Development

Hybrid app development is the process of building a cross-platform application that provides the functionality of native mobile apps with the ease of coding and development used for web apps. In other words, a hybrid app blends together native and web apps, while attempting to give your mobile app the best of both worlds. 

Hybrid Apps are built with JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS. They can be installed like native apps, but are actually a web app on the inside. Unlike web apps, hybrid apps do not require a web browser to be run. Technically, Hybrid apps are a web app wrapped with or compiled into a native platform such as iOS or Android using frameworks like Ionic, Flutter, React Native etc. Some popular mobile applications that use hybrid development include Twitter, Instagram, and Gmail.

According to Statista, the global revenue generated by mobile apps is projected to be above 935 billion USD by 2023. The advantages of mobile app development are evident. Statistics and market behaviour prove that the mobile segment is an immensely popular and profitable market to tap into for businesses. However, the cost and hassle of building native mobile applications can sometimes deter small and medium scale enterprises from venturing into the world of mobile applications. 

For startups, the cost of hiring developers to build native mobile apps is simply too high. However, that does not mean that businesses have to miss out on the mobile segment. This is where hybrid app development steps in. It allows you to leverage the benefits of mobile applications without having to invest as much money and time that goes into conventional (native)app development.

Perks of Hybrid App Development

Here’s a few reasons why companies should look into Hybrid App Development:

1. It’s Easier to Manage

Hybrid app development is recommended because it’s easier to manage. There’s only one code base that developers have to work with. When it comes to native mobile apps, developers have to work with specific and varying languages depending on the platform (Swift or Objective C for iOS devices, Java for android devices). If the business wants to expand to other platforms such as Windows phone or blackberry, the task of native apps gets even more complex. However, with Hybrid apps, a few tweaks to the single code base can make it accessible to multiple platforms. When it comes to maintenance and app updation, there’s the same code base that developers need to work with.

2. Hybrid Apps are Comparatively Affordable

 Native apps require complex coding and hiring developers that are quite expensive. In addition to the initial app development, there’s maintenance and updation costs to consider when you get into mobile app development. Unless your company has thousands to spare every month, hybrid app development is the more suitable and affordable choice. Is it a little more expensive than simple web app development? Sure. But does the expense of developing a hybrid app come anywhere close to having a native mobile app developed for multiple platforms? Definitely not.  This is why Hybrid apps are a popularly growing and reasonable choice for SME’s and startups.

3. Easily Accessible

Unlike Native Apps, Hybrid apps can be accessed using a simple link. This makes it easy to promote using social media and other promotional channels such as email marketing. By making it directly accessible to users hybrid apps can possibly overcome the usual hassle of being downloaded via app store. 

4. Scalable and Cross-Platform

The most obvious advantage of a hybrid app is that it can be made available across various platforms without getting into a lot of hassle. With some simple tweaks and adjustments, hybrid apps can be made to run and work on various devices, such as a windows phone. Although the efficacy is not always the best, it is still something that works for businesses.

5. Ability to Access Device Features

Hybrid apps can usually access device utilities using an API and have ready availability of device features like camera, geolocation, accelerometer, storage, etc which can help enhance user experience and better the ease of use for customers while allowing businesses access to crucial data.

6. Faster Development Compared to Native Apps

Hybrid mobile applications are much easier and quicker to develop than native applications because of a single code base and easier languages to work with. Since one doesn’t need to write separate codes for iOS and Android devices and maintain them separately, it is certainly less time consuming and speeds things up. 

7. Can Work Offline

Like native apps, hybrid apps can also work offline. However, users won’t be able to load new data but will be able to access already downloaded data and information. 

Limitations of Hybrid App Development

There are two sides to every coin. Having been acquainted with the benefits of Hybrid App development, let us take a look at some of its limitations.

Compromised Performance: The biggest limitation of cross platform app development is that it’s performance is not as good as native mobile apps. Which means that it’s not as fast as native mobile apps and doesn’t provide the same enhanced user experience and ease of accessibility as native apps. However, with frameworks such as Ionic, the performance of hybrid apps are constantly getting better with time.

Might get Complicated: Even though Hybrid apps are easier to build and maintain because of a single code base, it might get very complicated to customise hybrid apps for various operating systems and devices. And adding specific features may be time-consuming and complex.

No in-app Purchases: While native apps support in-app purchases, the same is not true for hybrid apps. In-app purchases basically refer to enhanced features that you can buy inside an application. These could be anything ranging from subscription, no-advertisement feature, to enhanced ability and rewards in gaming applications. 

Is Hybrid App Development the Right Choice for you?

The choice between a web app, hybrid app, and native app development really depends on your business, needs, and availability of resources. Hybrid App is a good choice if you have an idea that you want to test out in the market without investing too much in it. In a way, a hybrid app is an upgraded form of a minimum viable product which is a level above a basic web application. 

Hybrid App development is also suitable for businesses that want to use the app internally, i.e. for better management and handling of their internal processes. 

Keeping in mind the expenses and amount of time that goes into building native mobile apps, hybrid app development is an ideal choice for startups, SME’s and businesses that want to launch an app with simple, non-complex features. 

Automation Testing Vs. Manual Testing: What’s the Difference?

Software testing is a crucial stage in the software development lifecycle. It is a process that is executed to evaluate the performance of a software application. The purpose of testing is to find whether there are any problematic areas that need fixing so that the software functions according to the specified requirements before the product is released to the users. Software testing is broadly categorized into two methods- manual testing and automated testing.

Manual Testing

Manual testing is the most primitive technique in which the test cases are conducted manually by a tester to find defects and bugs without any help from automated tools. Therefore, someone goes on a device to evaluate various components like functionality, performance, and design by clicking through multiple elements of the application. It requires more effort and is conducted before the software can be automated. There are different types of manual testing-

Automated Testing

Automated testing involves the use of robust testing tools and scripts to conduct software tests through repeated pre-defined actions. The same script can be used to compare test outcomes, and report functions. Automated testing is divided into the type of testing, the type of tests, and the phase of testing-

Type of testing:

There are 2 main types, functional and non-functional:

Type of tests:

Phase of testing

Differences between Manual and Automated Testing

Manual TestingAutomated Testing
Tests are conducted manuallyTests are conducted with the help of automated tools
Less reliable due to human errorMore reliable as it eliminates human error
Time-consumingIt is faster than the manual approach
It is difficult to execute test cases in parallel in manual testing as it requires more human resourceAutomation testing can be done in parallel
It is feasible in test cases that are run once or twice and which do not require frequent repetition.It is feasible for test cases that are run repeatedly over a long period of time
Exploratory testing is possibleExploratory testing is not possible
The reports are also generated manuallyA tool generates the test execution report
It is difficult to run manual tests across different operating systemAutomation testing can be easily done on different operating systems
It can fulfill the goal of testing user-friendliness and improve customer experience as it entails human observationSince human observation is not required, it does not guarantee user-friendliness and an improved customer experience.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Manual and Automated testing

As manual testing may have a possibility of human error, similarly any software is only capable of doing things that it has been programmed to do, this is a limitation. Both manual and automation testing are a part of software development, both have their pros and cons.

Pros of Manual Testing:

Cons of Manual Testing:

Pros of Automated Testing

Cons of Automated Testing

Considering all of the points above, you must decide which type of testing is more suitable in a particular scenario.

Preference to manual testing over automated testing in the following cases:

  1. In the initial stages of the project
  2. For testing the user interface for visual feedbacks
  3. Writing scripts is time-consuming, therefore, if the project is for short term you can consider manual testing
  4. It should be executed for Exploratory, Usability, and Ad-hoc testing

Preference to automated testing over manual testing in the following cases:

  1. To handle time-consuming and repetitive tasks
  2. When parallel testing is required
  3. When testing is performed across different operating systems
  4. Is applicable in areas of Regression, Load, Performance testing.

Testing is an integral part of the software development journey. Choosing between the two types of testing depends on many factors like the project requirement, time duration, and budget. The optimum results can be derived from manual and automated testing when the right type of testing is utilized in the right environment.

How to Make Your Company Pandemic Proof in 2021

Covid 19 has had a huge impact on most economies across the globe. 2020 brought forward the biggest economic recession that Singapore has witnessed in a decade. Although the brunt of this recession was not borne equally by all industry sectors, it is safe to say that most small and medium enterprises struggled to keep their business from suffering irreversible losses. The pandemic will still cast its dark shadow among businesses despite it now being 2021. However, adopting certain technological trends and embracing digital transformation can save the day.

Singapore’s approach towards dealing with the pandemic and its economic impact has been commendable. The government, along with other imminent organizations, has provided SME’s with monetary as well as informational support and guidance. The government has played its part, and companies need to play their own in order to stay up on their feet.

Given below are some steps to protect companies in Singapore from the adverse effects of the Pandemic:

Becoming Aware:

The most important thing is to become aware of the possible market trends, available help from the country’s government, and safety measures that are being recommended. Panic and fear feed the pandemic’s negative impact. However, being aware of the possibilities will help plan ahead and be prepared.

Risk Management & Mitigation Strategies:

The next step for businesses is to have a risk management system in place to fall back on when the need presents itself. Mitigation strategies will vary on the industry type and geographical location of your business. However, it can be surmised in the following 5 steps:

Risk Management & Mitigation Strategies
  1. Readiness Assessment:If a company is unaware of where their continuity program stands, a risk management assessment can help fix the gaps and prepare better for them to continue being productive even in the time of pandemic. There are many readiness assessment templates(specific to the industry type, core functions, and the pandemic) that will help decide where your company stands.
  2. Risk Management Plan: An assessment involving how new risks such as pandemics, geopolitical disturbances, and economic recessions can affect the core processes of a business must be recognized and strategies to deal with same should be put in place,
  3. Business Impact Analysis: Just as the recession in Singapore brought forward by the Pandemic has not affected all industry sectors in the same way, in a business there are always core functionalities that are more prone to risk. It is the job of the executives of any business to recognize their core processes and how much they will be impacted in a situation such as the Pandemic. This is what Business Impact Analysis refers to.
  4. Policy Management: Existing policies will keep requiring revision as the scenario of the economy and spread of the pandemic changes. For instance, work from home policies and safety guidelines will be reshaped according to the instruction of the Ministry of Health.
  5. Incident Management:This refers to a system where employee issues can be resolved in a quick and effective manner that involves a holistic view and flow of information from the employee to management. Basically, it refers to there being a remote place of emergency reporting that can be tracked and recorded in a way that helps the entire organization cope with difficult situations.

Expand Use of Digital Technologies

According to a report by McKinsey & Company that studies the implications of Covid 19 on businesses, only the companies that had scaled the use of Digital technologies into their organization were able to fight off the negative impact of Covid 19. 2020 was a huge wake up call for companies who have not yet begun their processes of Digital transformation or were in the initial stages of it. We don’t need reports to tell us that recovery will be digital, especially when the pandemic calls for social distancing and avoiding close physical interaction. We know that the recovery will be digital, and an excellent way to mitigate the risk of current or any future pandemic is to embrace digitalisation.

Expand Use of Digital Technologies

The recent pandemic forced many offices to shut down and businesses had to be run virtually. To avoid any problems in the smooth running of operations and other crucial processes, companies should ensure that they have the right infrastructure.

The first step is to review the existing technology you own and put to use. Is it up to date? Are the employees finding it easy to use? One can then analyse whether their technology stack is sufficient to carry out all tasks methodically. Any opportunity for additions/replacements in the IT infrastructure that will help facilitate important processes, should not be missed. The focus should be on setting up user friendly technology and implementation of tools that make daily

Investing in convenient tools, software systems, and applications is a good way to ensure that daily processes can be carried out effectively. Regular tasks and processes can be made easier and user friendly with the right tools. IT plays a huge role in any company’s overall digital transformation.

Everyday tasks that are performed on a regular basis should be optimised with the use of right technology and tools. One needs to weed out the repetitive time consuming tasks and convert them into easy and effective automated processes. Automation is a great way to optimize the workflow in any company. Priority should be given to the tasks that add the highest value, but automation should also gradually shift to cover all processes.

Encourage Remote Work and Virtual Collaboration

Work-from-home has become a common term during these times, and businesses must have a system in place which allows for the same.

Encourage Remote Work and Virtual Collaboration

This does not mean complete shutdown of office locations. Despite the relaxation in restriction of travel and social distancing norms, companies need to evaluate which processes require the most attention to avoid losses, and figure out a way to keep those processes running effectively while employees work from home. Employees should have the resources to work and report in a manner that ensures their safety and the productivity of the company.

Team leaders and management personnel should employ work reporting and tracking softwares. Organization of group meetings and discussions virtually also need to be prioritized so everyone feels like they are in the loop and still working towards a common goal.

Prioritize People

It is important for companies to put the safety and wellness of their human resources at top. Therefore, commitment to following safety measures and not pressurizing the employees to the point of break-down is important. It is only when the employees of a certain business stay healthy and work productively, that a company can make the best of their resources. Therefore, employees should be made aware that their company cares for their safety.

In Singapore, as well as around the globe, it is the hospitality and tourism industry that has been most impacted by the pandemic. Although these businesses are getting back on their feet with the pandemic receding, it is a slow process. The tourism and hospitality sectors must prioritize sanitization and health safety measures to lure its customers back. However, most people still don’t feel comfortable dining out or making travel plans. But the silver lining is, most people are also fed up with the restrictions put forward by the pandemic. Once all these restrictions are uplifted and people start to feel safe, these industries are bound to witness a surge in the demand of their services. Most people are craving to sit in a restaurant and enjoy their favorite cuisine, and go to their favorite holiday destinations.

In conclusion, what would really make businesses immune to the negative impacts of the recent and any future pandemic, is preparedness. Having a well thought-out risk management plan that works, and holding the proper digital technologies that help execute this plan, is what makes businesses pandemic proof in 2021.

Top 2021 Technology Trends in Singapore

technology trend in Singapore

In wake of the recent pandemic, companies all across the globe were forced to implement and devise new technological trends to either keep their business from crumbling or to make the most of the Covid 19 situation. The blog discusses some of the crucial technological trends that businesses across Singapore should keep an eye out for in 2021.

Singapore is the capital of technological innovation in Asia. According to the Global Innovation Index 2020 (published by WIPO, INSEAD & Cornell University), Singapore is among the top ten countries in the world when it comes to innovation. It is ranked at number 8, with the Republic of Korea following not far behind at number 10. Only two Asian countries made it to the top 10, and Singapore has been a common name to be included at the top in the GII rankings.

In Singapore, the need for Digital Transformation among businesses, especially SME’s has become an imminent need of the hour. While most companies already have the basic processes of Digital transformation in place, others are embracing it as we speak. The top technological trends that companies in Singapore should be prepared for in 2021 have been discussed below.

Technological innovations are recreating the way we think, organize, and strategize. Technological trends can be used to revolutionize work-places and their operations. The trends mentioned below will have a huge impact on companies not only in Singapore, but all across the world as they learn to embrace them.

Core Revival

Core Revival hipster

Revamping the legacy systems of any corporation may help bolster the company’s digital potential. Legacy systems can include software, hardware, networking, or operating systems that a firm continuously puts to use in order to reduce costs. Legacy systems are usually kept in use because they often form the core of an enterprise’s processes. However, because of them being old, most legacy systems cannot be upgraded,or made more secure. Since these are core systems, it is important for companies to keep them safe from security breaches and other breakdowns. Core revival refers to modernization of legacy enterprise systems, which involves moving the legacy system to a secure cloud based platform. For many, the cost of cloud migrations and other core revival measures can be a little high. However, most companies in Singapore are overcoming this hurdle by outsourcing or shifting their legacy values to powerful platforms which allow for less coding. It won’t be long before this trend becomes common and businesses start to reap more benefits and add more value to their core systems.

Blockchain

trend technologies Singapore

Singapore is ranked #4 among the top blockchain leaders of the world. According to the Singapore Blockchain Ecosystem Report 2020, Blockchain has emerged as the top technological trend for Singapore in 2021. In simple words, the Blockchain technology comprises a system of storing data in a mmer which makes it immune to hacking, cheating, or change. Although different kinds of data can be stored in a Blockchain, its most common use is that of being an online ledger of transactions. To make Singapore’s blockchain system stronger, a S$12 million Singapore Blockchain Innovation Programme (SBIP) was launched in December 2020. The programme was launched jointly by Enterprise Singapore (ESG), Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRFS) to align the Blockchain research with technology needs. The benefits of Blockchain technology are manifold. Not only does it decentralize information in a secure manner, it also maintains transparency. For instance, using Blockchain technology, enterprises can engage in quick, efficient transactions without involving any third party platforms.

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Artificial Intelligence & Hyper automation

Artificial Intelligence & Hyper automation

Artificial intelligence involves the use of smart machines to imitate human thought and behaviour. According to a news release published by Accenture in 2017, the use of AI in Singapore can generate a gross value of nearly 215 billion USD by 2035. Business services, manufacturing, and financial services will reap the highest benefits by employing AI processes and machines into their framework. A total of 11 industry sectors will profit immensely if AI is used in their digital transformation plans. Education, Health & Social Services, IT, Transportation are some other industry sectors that follow close behind the top 3 mentioned earlier. With the prominent possibilities of growth that AI possesses, the country has already launched a program: AI SG (AI Singapore) with funding of upto 150 million USD to accelerate, cooperte, and boost AI’s capabilities in the country’s economy.

The country’s first model framework for AI governance (an ethical approach to deploying AI technology) was launched in January, 2019. A year later, a second edition of the framework was launched. With the availability of big data, new algorithms, and advanced computing, artificial has gained momentum and is certainly among the top trend technologies Singapore to adopt and employ in 2021.

The use of advanced technologies like AI and ML (machine learning) to automate processes on a large scale that are more impactful than the traditional modes of automation refers to Hyper automation. It involves the application of multiple tools like RPA (robotic process automation), intelligent business management softwares, and others to lessen human involvement in technical and physical tasks, and also assist in quick decision making. These changes are already surfacing in everyday industry sectors like healthcare and education, and their popularity is only going to grow in 2021.

Distributed Cloud

Technology - Distributed cloud computing

Distributed cloud computing is different from the traditional centralized data storage cloud as it involves a set of cloud components that hold and provide information to the application as and when required. The distributed cloud system is also geographically dispersed. Some enterprises that put distributed cloud computing to use include- Facebook, Netflix, Dropbox, and many more cloud services. Distributed cloud is the answer to problems of delays in data processing, data sovereignty, and network latency.

What is the Future of Digital Transformation for my Business?

A mobile application has a bigger role to play in the digital transformation of businesses than is evident on the surface. A well designed mobile or web app is beneficial for customers as well as the company. Customers can access their needs at the fingertips, have more faith in the company they are dealing with (as mobile apps are transparent with their processes), better organize their purchases/wish-list, and get support hassle free.

On the other hand, businesses with a mobile application can better understand customer activity, collect useful information to implement business strategies, interact easily with their users, and expect a hike in customer demand. However, in order to get the most out of your mobile/web app, it is important that the application is created and designed in a way that best reflects your goals. It should also be user friendly and require constant updates and fixes (since mobile software keep evolving). Therefore, it becomes crucial to have your app developed by trusted experts. 

Digital Transformation: An Essential Need

What is the Future of Digital Transformation for my Business?

After the world has witnessed the effect of Covid-19 on the economy, one thing has become certain for businesses small and large- digital transformation is an essential need for companies that have not yet taken steps to align their processes with the quickly evolving digital world.

Last year, many businesses were struck hard with the pandemic. Many companies collapsed entirely, some are still struggling to get back on their feet, some did better than others, and some achieved spectacular success despite the global lockdown. The key to this success witnessed by businesses is digital transformation.

A State of Digital Business Transformation research conducted in 2018 by IDG revealed that nearly 90% of business organizations hold one thing in common- they either already have a digital strategy in place, or plan to imply it soon. In the time that has elapsed since, digital transformation has become an urgency instead of a recommendation. The time to act is now, and small businesses have the most to gain.

Digital Transformation for businesses in Singapore

Last year, Singapore allocated more than 352.5 million USD as funds to help businesses employ measures of digital transformation. This primarily included helping companies set up e-payments and e-invoicing processes.

The fallout of Covid-19 helped businesses in Singapore accelerate their process of digital transformation. What would have taken at least 5 years for the Singaporean consumers and businesses to adopt, was achieved in less than 6 months.

The country’s government is in complete support of digital transformation. Not only are they providing funds to help establish digital transformations for companies that don’t have it, but also to enhance and make better the digital inventions that some companies already have in place. The funds would also be utilized to help schools and higher education institutes make better use of technology for the process of learning and teaching.

Some of the government Grants for businesses in Singapore to help with digital transformation are:

Enterprises Development Grants (EDG):

These grants are available to Singaporean businesses to upgrade or internationally expand their businesses under three primary categories. These include-

 

(a) Core Capabilities: projects involving strengthening the business’ foundation that are not limited to basic processes like sales and accounting.

(b) Innovation and Productivity: support will be given to business projects that involve coming up with new ideas for growth and enhancing efficiency. For instance, projects involving new designs for workflow, or implementation of automation/technologies to enhance efficiency of routine tasks, would fall under this category.

 

what is digital transformation

 

(c) Market access: the category will support projects that Singaporean businesses willing to or planning to expand overseas will implement. According to the announcement made at Supplementary Budget 2020, the maximum support level that businesses in Singapore can receive from EDG has been raised to 80% till September 2021. In order to apply for the EDG grant the business entity must be registered and operating in Singapore. It should also possess a minimum of 30% local shareholding. Furthermore, the business should have the necessary financial resources to start and end their project.

SME’s Go Digital Initiative:

Launched in April 2017 by Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), it aims to help small and medium scale enterprises to enhance growth and productivity using digital technologies. The programmer makes the process of digital transformation easy for SME’s by providing financial and informational support. As of September 2020, more than 50,000 SME’s in Singapore have taken up digital solutions from the programmer. Under the SME’s Go Digital initiative, several funding and support opportunities have been launched to cater to specific digitalisation needs. These include-

(a) Industry Digital Plan (IDP): step-by-step guide for companies to go digital depending on their industry sector, it also helps with employee training.

(b) Start Digital Pack: helps new SME’s set up the foundational digital solutions. Funding is provided by partner banks at competitive prices. Discounts are available to companies that sign up for at least an 18-month contract.

(c) Grow Digital: launched in 2020 to help B2B and B2C e-commerce platforms to conduct transactions abroad without physical presence.

(d) Pre Approved Solutions: brings in effect new digital solutions according to specific industry needs.

(e) Digital Resilience Bonus: initially meant for food and retail sectors (as they have been most affected by social distancing mandates). Funds of upto $10,000 will be made available to eligible businesses upon adoption of certain digital solutions such as InvoiceNow and PayNow corporate.

(f) Consultancy Services provide cost-free advice to SME’s in areas of cybersercurity, AI, data analytics, etc by SME digital tech hub.

According to a study (SME DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION STUDY) conducted by Microsoft & ASME in Singapore in 2020, more than 80% of the country’s SME’s (small and medium sized enterprises) has embrace digital transformation.

The findings of this research showed that the percentage of SME entrepreneurs that were aware of the term ‘digital transformation’ had gone up to 80% from 57% in 2018.

Nearly 99% of the companies that were included in the study reported that they had adopted at least the most basic level of digital transformation such as web based e-mail and productivity tools/software.

SME’s are now aware of the benefits of digital transformation that include -optimised operations, customer engagement, employee empowerment, internationalization, and product transformation.

However, the study also reported that there were barriers that impeded the digital transformation that the country expected. These included-

  • High cost
  • Lack of digitally skilled workforce
  • Uncertain economic environment
  • Not being aware of government support
  • Lack of right technology partners

SME’ s took a big hit during the Covid 19 pandemic. Implementing digital transformation became crucial, but only 30% of the Businesses in the study hinted that the government asked for digitalisation during the lockdown. Had digitalisation been made mandatory for all businesses operating during the pandemic, perhaps many businesses would already be reaping its benefits.

Basic Steps to Digitally Transform your Business

What customers need is fast and effective solutions to their problems. With technology, it has become extremely feasible to transform your business digitally. Although digital transformation for businesses will vary depending on the product/service and the customer base, given below are some common measures that almost all businesses should implement to fast forward their digital transformation.

digital transformation Singapore

1- Design a web app and/or a mobile app for your business:

The first step of digital transformation is to understand your customers, to shift the focus from your product to your customers. What customers need is quick solutions. With a mobile app or a web application for your product, it will become easy for customers to indulge in transactions with your business. A well designed application will allow for customers to interact with your business using a few simple clicks on their mobile devices.

2- Enhance creative digital experiences:

In order to enhance customer engagement, businesses need to create innovative content digitally. With the surge in the amount of internet content, customers now expect personalised and cost-effective content. Businesses can do this by having a weekly magazine, organising competitions with a reward for the consumers. The existence of a well-designed website and social media platforms are prerequisites for implementing creative digital experiences.

3- Rely less on human resources and more on technological inventions:

Small businesses have limited capital to invest on employees. Setting up a business requires a varied range of tasks that an individual cannot perform on their own. But instead of hiring employees for every basic need, entrepreneurs can take advantage of many third party platforms such as WordPress (for hosting), Canva (for website design), and Google analytics (for analytical data). These platforms enable users to work on things they don’t necessarily have a background in. So, instead of hiring coders, designers, and other technical or non-technical employees that your small business cannot afford, either hire a trusted third party freelancer or have automated processes in place to help a smooth running of your business.

4- Create a remote workforce:

Real estate prices are constantly moving up. As a small business, it is not always feasible to rent an office space. Therefore, having an organized remote workforce is an extremely viable option to save expenses while still achieving the targets. Businesses should consider using project management tools and have regular meetings or monitoring of employees on virtual platforms to ensure productivity.

Hipster- One stop solution for your Business’s Digital Transformation

If you’re looking for a reliable source to help with the digital transformation that fulfils your business growth and needs, get in touch with Hipster.

We provide a complete service- starting from building you a website, designing mobile and web applications, organising digital events, and ending with but not limited to constant updation and maintenance of your online platforms.

IT servicessoftware development, and tailored business IT solutions is what we have helped many small and medium companies with. And we plan to keep delivering these services in a time-effective and reliable manner for the days to come.

Virtual Event Management Solution

Virtual Event Management Solution

When it comes to online event management, Hipster has the perfect tool to help organise your virtual events in an efficient and reliable manner. Our event management tool provides a complete solution and we work with you from the beginning to the end. After getting in touch with us and sharing the details of your virtual event, we create a personalized microsite for your event, just the way you plan a physical event but in this case, virtually with our event management tool. Your participants will receive regular notifications about the event and can view it live and interact with each other while it happens.

Online Virtual Event Management Singapore

Some basic features of Hipster’s Event Management Tool

  • It can organise formal as well as informal events.
  • The tool works for hybrid events too, i.e. events that are a mixture of in-person and virtual gatherings.
  • Attendees can view the live stream of your event and interact among each other using the chat option.
  • The tool incorporates all basic features of virtual event interaction.

Types of Virtual Events

Face to face interaction will always be important, but on several occasions going virtual is a necessary step of your event. In virtual events individuals attend the event online instead of physically being present at a designated venue. Organizing a virtual and in-person event are not so different. In both types of events you have to promote the event, engage your audience, and run the show successfully. The only things that are missing include the venue and live audience. Virtual events can also be organized with an in person event as virtual events are not a replacement of an in person events but a new type to add.

There are 4 main types of virtual events:

WEBINAR

1. WEBINAR:

It is a live online seminar and generally lasts somewhere from 40 to 90 minutes. Webinars are generally informative, interactive, asking questions and discussing their answer in real time. Organizations holding a webinar can also charge their audience or be offered for free. Due to their educational nature, a well promoted webinar has a large number of attendees. For example- Microsoft organized a webinar on “top 5 security threats facing your business and how to respond”.

2. VIRTUAL CONFERENCES:

Just like in-person conferences, a virtual conference is organized in a way that participants can meet, chat and discuss themes of a common topic. Virtual conferences are usually built around a live and complicated topic. In person conferences are more effective in terms of lead capture and networking opportunities but virtual conferences allow attendees to view keynotes, built their own view point from apt and on demand content.

VIRTUAL CONFERENCES
INTERNAL HYBRID EVENTS

3. INTERNAL HYBRID EVENTS:

There are many organizations that span across countries and even continents. Internal hybrid events are used to communicate with entire company while their employees are not gathered at one place. It is also financially viable as to fly every employee to your company’s headquarters is very expensive and time consuming.

4. EXTERNAL HYBRID EVENTS:

These events are held for participants outside the company but have similar interest or industry. Through external hybrid event they come together to exchange ideas, show their products or make announcements. These events need higher level of video production as they have to provide similar quality to virtual attendees as in person attendees.

EXTERNAL HYBRID EVENTS

HOW VIRTUAL EVENT IS USEFUL ?

Virtual events are held for the same reasons as in person events: to increase your company’s reach and revenue, deliver their message and build loyalty. When deciding to make your event virtual or not, consider what you hope to gain from the event and how virtual event is suitable for your goals.

FEW REASONS TO HOST A VIRTUAL EVENT:
  1. It can enhance the reach of any in person event. As virtual option allow you to accommodate even those attendees who are unable to reach the venue.
  2. It is financially viable. Small events and webinars of an organization can be held virtually. And it help in saving money for the largest event of the year which brings in largest number of leads.
  3. Some situations allow only for virtual interaction. The recent advent of Covid-19 virus and the global lockdown has shown the entire world the importance of virtual communication. Similarly, natural calamities, political disturbances, travel bans, etc. all disallow for in-person events and call for an effective method of virtual event organization.
THE FUNDAMENTALS OF VIRTUAL EVENT:
  1. Virtual events like in person events needs good marketing strategy. Without good marketing and promotion the event will not have sufficient audience.
  2. Content is the most important part of the event. In virtual setting, your content is your event. It should have powerful keynotes, and engaging sessions for the audiences.
hipster

VIRTUAL EVENT ELEMENTS:

A virtual event rest on contents, attendees engagements and data. Virtual events do not need F&B , they require the same element as any other kind of event but video production quality and connectivity should be good.

These are the few elements that make up a virtual event:

HOW HIPSTER’S VIRTUAL EVENT TOOL IS USEFUL:

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHILE HOSTING A VIRTUAL EVENT:

However, using Hipster’s Event Management Tool you can just sit back and let us do all the hard work. Our experienced team will perform every crucial task necessary to make your virtual event a success.

Click here: How to Plan a Minimum Viable Product

9 Blunders Made by Software Tester

9 Blunders Made by Software Tester

1. Not making Test cases before development starts

Making Test cases is an important part of development and this should be done before starting the development. If developers do not know what use cases they need to program, they will certainly miss out many points and it will be iterative and it will delay the work flow to cover up these test cases.

Successful completion of testing requires a well-structured plan which describes every actions step by step. Each mobile app/website under test must have its own test plan and cases which states what test to execute and this will help programmers to plan the way they code. Therefore important elements like, scope of testing and requirements must be first defined.

There is a saying that two products in the same horizon are not built the same. So every tech product has its own story, use cases, plan and requirements that fulfill user’s purpose.

In order to prevent such mistakes, it is recommended to write an in-depth description of the project target, project cases and its target consumers, requirements, test cases and the expected result of test cases.

2. Using same test data every time

Regression testing is the most crucial thing in the test life cycle but executing the same unchanged regression tests will not find new bugs. It is the same as Muscle training in the gym – Same exercise and reps are not long term benefits therefore either we try more reps or advance versions of it.

When a tester is using an unchanged test scenario for several iterations then a moment comes when these scenarios wont detect new bugs.
There is a saying – Insanity is doing same thing and expecting different results.

3. Not working as a Team

Communication is as important as any other skill. Efficient teamwork is a key element in project management with quality assured.

During a conversation with teammates, a QA must play the role of a team player who is finding rare use cases and help developers to improve the product. Blaming developers and their work can create a tense and toxic atmosphere and it could delay the project.

A Tester should be diplomatic and a team player, very often people forget that a program is developed with thousands of lines of code and it is common to miss one or another scenario while coding. So a team player should point out developer’s mistakes in a positive way to ensure the quality of the product. 

4. Skipping regression testing after new feature

It is awesome when a feature being added works perfectly, but you cannot ignore the rest of the functionalities. A tester should do regression testing each time after adding a new feature to make sure that it has not caused any new defects and the basic functionalities of the modules are still working.

Often, many testers forget about this rule and do not perform regression tests as they think it is not that significant for old functionalities that always work. You cannot assume that if something was working earlier, that is still working.

Software Testing

5. Avoiding automated testing

If a website has 500 pages, Its tiring and time consuming to test each page for 4xx errors, so the best way to do it is to automate these unit tests. Every framework used in modern time provides automated testing methods within. Some QA may not know how automated testing works but it is worth learning. 

It is advisable to learn automation and keep learning if you want to make testing and the product relevant.

6. Ignore a bug when you see it and thinking it’s not that important

As testers you must address any situation you’re facing, even if one doesn’t have any immediate solution for these bugs. It is better to note them down in bug tracking software and park it under KIV (Keep in View) for future discussions rather than acting like it is not important.

7. Making assumptions without asking questions or asking help

As a QA, you should never make assumptions!
Best way is to ask out all the questions, it will help you to understand the product requirements and features, what needs to be tested, what was added or how the app under test is supposed to behave.
Most of the time we are scared of being judged or afraid of looking stupid in front of our team members which results us in trying to find solutions to our problems by our own. It is not a bad thing but as a rule above – “Communication is as important as any other skill”

8. Not thinking as an end user and skipping negative testing

It is better to put your feet into the user’s shoes and imagine how he will use and feel the application you are testing. It is known that the end user is the best tester which finds critical bugs. 

9. Not describing the problem in detail & not providing additional information.

Many people may find it hard to follow the requirement for describing the test. We testers use “What? Where? When?” rule. This rule serves to quickly and completely portray the substance of the mistake, where it happens and under what conditions. It is a general rule, an algorithm for compiling a description of an error. Usually, the absence of any part makes the description less informative.

A frequently made mistake, a bug can be duplicated distinctly under specific conditions, for example, a particular program and form, screen goal, working framework and so forth. To reproduce and correct an error, it is extremely important to know in which version of the browser and on which operating system etc, a bug was found.

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