To go or not to go serverless... This is one of 2018's most asked questions in the IT industry. And it's true that serverless computing has grown from a niche solution, with a somewhat misleading name, into a tech trend guaranteed by all the industry experts. Yet, you're still a bit hesitant when it comes to replacing your heavy, yet familiar infrastructure with a serverless framework, right? You feel like “dipping a toe into the water” first. And who could blame you? It's a more than legitimately prudent approach considering the implications of such a switch. You shouldn't make a move, not until you have some unbeatable arguments at hand. Until you gain a deep understanding of all the benefits that derive from adopting a cloud-native approach. Well, this is precisely what this blog post is all about: pointing out all the strongest benefits that you will reap from taking the infrastructure management weight off your shoulders and going... serverless. But First: What Is Serverless Architecture More Exactly? First of all, let's get one thing straight: “serverless computing” doesn't mean, by all means, that there isn't a server, out there somewhere, doing its data workload processing work! It's just that the user (yes, you!): is no longer burdened with all the server (or fleet of servers) management and monitoring ongoing tasks doesn't know (or care) where in the world his server is located You'd be practically running your code right in the cloud, taking out of the picture the need of provisioning servers on your enterprise's end. "But how does the data processing work on cloud?" A valid question indeed. Basically, you're enabled to set up your individual API endpoints which will fire code and perform certain actions once triggered. As simple as that. And if I am to exemplify, probably the best-known example would be the serverless computing AWS: Amazon's AWS Lambda. It has already managed to “seduce” plenty of IT managers in the industry and its popularity is sure to... explode in 2018. Why? Because it's a serverless computing architecture which: scales automatically, granting enterprises the flexibility they need and helping them cut down costs it executes code only when/if certain events occur, when specific endpoints get triggered And it's not a serverless framework without “rivals”. Competition is about to get fierce when other frameworks such as Webtask, Microsoft Azure Functions, Google Cloud Functions, IBM OpenWhisk and Iron.io will start to... take off. It's Horizontally Scalable: Relax and Let It Handle Massive Waves of Traffic for You In other words: you get to worry less about balancing the heavy load, about the waves of traffic that your site/app might face once certain of your endpoints get exposed. And about rushing in to put together the properly robust infrastructure. The underlying system will handle it for you! You're Free to Set Up Each Endpoint in the Language of Your Choice Or simply put: your API endpoints will be language-agnostic! You (or your lucky team of developers) get to write each endpoint in a different language runtime. So, you're free to use the one that you're most familiar with or the one that best fits our work scenario. And this is already a major pro for adopting a serverless computing approach in 2018! You Only Pay for What You Use: A Strong Benefit of Serverless Computing Here's another “irresistible” benefit that you can reap from going serverless: you only pay for what you use! So, there's no need (not anymore) to pile up on T2 small instances and auto-scaling groups... just in case. The “case” here being: “if I ever hit a surge of traffic”. When you're using a serverless architecture all this comes without a price tag on! Worry Less About Managing The Underlying Infrastructure: It's Being Taken Cared Of! Your serverless cloud provider will be managing the entire fleet of servers for you. And this “management” includes applying security patches as soon as they get released, as well! So, take all these monitoring and security-related concerns off your back and... focus more on turning great ideas into great digital products! And this is — all these resources of time and effort that you'll get to invest elsewhere — the main advantage that you'll leverage from switching to serverless computing! Turn That Great Idea of Yours Into The Next Big Thing Quicker Than Ever! Just think about it: going from having a great idea to actually turning it into the next big... app (let's say) will take you a whole less time (and effort). Serverless computing will smooth the path for you and shorten the process, meaning that: you'll be having your idea production ready a lot quicker you'll gain more confidence to try on newer technologies, as well Summing Up... Plus a Forecast for 2018 “Serverless IT will move from the niche corners of the cloud estate into the spotlight as it addresses the three key areas that keep IT admins up at night: speed, cost and risk.” (Jason McDonald, President U.S., Contino) Yet (for there is a “yet”), serverless computing isn't a “one size fits all” type of solution. It won't scale to all app architectures and needs (like the need to closely monitor and to control how things get configured). Nevertheless, if we: go beyond its somehow misleading name see its strong benefits consider it only for those use cases that it's best fitted for ... serverless architecture is here to stay and change the way we build software from the ground up!
RADU SIMILEANU / Jan 04'2018
“Build the next big thing in terms of AR apps!” Is this goal on top of your New Year's resolutions list? Well, then right now you must be wondering: “With so many tempting augmented reality tools out there to choose from, which one's best for my own AR solution?" A frustratingly ambiguous answer could be: "The one that best serves your AR app development needs." Meaning that whatever AR platform you'll be choosing, it should: meet your project's requirements serve the goals that you will have set up for it And yet, this “matching” of the AR libraries at your disposal with your project's specific development needs is your “mission” and yours only. Nevertheless, we can still help you streamline your selection process. How? By shortlisting 6 of the most popular augmented reality development tools in 2017 with a great potential to grow even more influential in 2018. Here they come: 1. Kudan AR An augmented reality SDK that “pioneered” the network intelligent vision (bringing together AI and IoT). And which sets itself apart from the other augmented reality tools in our shortlist here due to its robust single-camera SLAM. In other words: Kudan AR supports mapping tracking and simultaneous localization. Built for both iOS and Android-based apps, Kudan AR supports markerless tracking (meaning that it uses features such as edges, corners, and textures) and, moreover, it's designed to recognize an unlimited number of images. Where do you add that it doesn't get “greedy” using too much of your app's memory to store its files and (big advantage!) it's significantly faster than other AR SDKs. Summing up its key features and functionalities now: 2D/3D Recognition in the same application supports markerless tracking supports Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) tracking technology 2. Vuforia, By Far One of the Most Popular Augmented Reality Tools Call it a "complete tool" for developing AR apps! It practically “empowers” you to create any kind of AR solution for any type of device, any platform! A visually arresting augmented reality app or game “packed” with cutting-edge functionality. Yet, it does have its own shortcomings, too, the most “discouraging” one being that its free version comes with Vuforia watermarks and limited functionality. Even so, the balance between great features and innovative capabilities and shortcomings is titled so that it favours the first ones. Let us detail: it's supercharged with smart terrain functionality for reconstructing a terrain and therefore a whole 3D map of the environment in real-time the same, above-mentioned functionality, will empower you (or your app development team) to create some fully interactive user experiences where the app's elements interact with the physical world it's extended tracking feature enables your future AR app to deliver a 100% realistic visual experience even when the target elements are out of view (in other words users will be able to simultaneously engage themselves in the gameplay and still visualize the vehicles for instance) And now summing up Vuforia's most notable features: it comes with virtual buttons, which allow you to switch between various surfaces, which play the roles of your true-to-life, natural-looking touch screens mixed reality and eyewear support (that's right, Microsoft HoloLens here included) cloud recognition (and on-device, as well), meaning that it's capable to use either a local or a cloud database during the image recognition process Vuforia Object Scanner it comes with Vumarks (Vuforia barcodes), which act both as data encoders and as markers it's built to recognize both 2D and 3D objects text recognition: Vuforia's designed to recognize over 100.000 words (and, moreover, you're enabled to use your own custom vocabulary, as well) 3. Wikitude The third augmented reality development kit on our list is actually an “all-in-one” platform in fact. One which brings together: Instant tracking + 3D markerless technology + Geo-location + Object/Image recognition and tracking And all these top-notch AR features bundled up in one single AR app development kit can only mean 2 things: you get to build both marker AR mobile apps ... and location-based ones Available for iOS, Android, and Glassware, Wikitude is one of those commercial augmented reality tools. It does come in a trial version, as well, but do expect it to “surprise” you with a series of limitations, such as its logo showing up in the cam view. And now, let's go through its attention-worthy features and functionalities: it provides you with Wikitude Studio, which makes AR app development a breeze, literally, since it requires no programming skills whatsoever: just drag the elements onto the studio screen and... put together your app Wikitude SDK is currently available for Android, iOS and the Glassware platform on-device and cloud recognition instant (3D) tracking (it will display virtual objects and map out environments without using markers) extended tracking geolocation support: your AR mobile app can get enhanced with location-based services, as well 4. ARToolKit ARToolKit is, in fact, a group of augmented reality tools that you can use for building your app. And its heavy-weighing pro, that helped it make it to our list here, is that it's... an open-source code! That's right, you gain free access to its library, so you'll be able to tailor its source code to your AR app's specific development needs. Nevertheless, this comes with a drawback: limited documentation! So, do keep this in mind when you're on a lookout for the most appropriate AR platform for your app project. And now, let's list its other “seductive” features besides its open-source nature: simultaneous tracking: basically you get to “empower” your AR apps to track multiple objects at the same time both single and dual camera support integration with GPS (a vital feature if it's a location-based AR app that you're developing) it supports various platforms, ranging from iOS and Android to Windows, macOS, Linux... 5. Apple ARkit, One of The Revolutionary AR Frameworks And it was pretty much around the time when iOS 11 introduced ARKit in the digital arena that app developers' “mad race” to build their own next big thing started. Did you start planning your own AR solution around the same time? Running on Apple 9, Apple 10, and A11 processors, Apple ARkit empowers you to create and deliver augmented reality experiences to your users both on iPhone and iPad (obviously!). Now let us highlight the top-notch functionalities that will empower your app development team to put together not “just” AR experiences, but some truly realistic, immersive ones: VIO (Visual Inertial Odometry) combines core motion data with camera sensor data, enabling your future AR app to accurately track the environment it's capable to detect horizontal surfaces (e.g. floors and tables) and objects on smaller feature points it's equipped for plane, scale, and ambient lighting estimation fast motion tracking it can be used with third-party tools such as Unreal Engine and Unity, with SceneKit and Metal 6. EasyAR Here's another SDK “overloaded” with cutting-edge functionalities on our augmented reality tools list here! And even if you go with the free version of the EasyAR kit (which won't provide you with certain of its functionalities, such as SLAM, 3D tracking, and screen recording), you still get an impressive load of features: cloud recognition 1000 on-device targets storage unlimited recognition queries And where do you add that getting it up and running is just a matter of registering your account and generating your Bundle ID's plugin key. Its list of top features would have to include: cloud recognition app cloud packaging 3D object recognition environment tracking The END! These are the 6 augmented reality tools that you should consider selecting from if you're decided to go ahead and build your first AR solution this year. Good luck checking them off your New Year's resolutions list!
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jan 03'2018
Robust, conveniently scalable, fully (and easily) customizable... What else? Oh, yes, it should definitely be a 2-in-1: CMS & e-commerce platform. This is pretty much how your “wishlist” looks now when you're choosing the best eCommerce solution for your website, right? Would you be able to check off all the “wishes” listed there if you want to build a Drupal eCommerce website? That is the question! What makes Drupal not just a good choice, nor just the best one, but the most SUITABLE one for your own e-commerce site? One that would meet all its needs (quick and easy integration with third-party systems, a flexible content editing process, easy to control SEO etc.)? Well, here's OPTASY team's top 10 good reasons why you should “bet on” Drupal: 1. It Shortens Your E-Commerce Site's Development Time And it's pretty much... self-evident: Compared to a standalone eCommerce platform (e.g. Prestashop or Magento), with Drupal you get Drupal Commerce built right on top of it! Built, from the ground up, to seamlessly integrate with your CMS. In short: with Drupal (&Drupal Commerce) you get one tightly integrated platform system simultaneously serving as a content management system and as an e-commerce platform. Save the time you'd otherwise invest in: custom-integrating a CMS with your standalone eCommerce platform making them “play well” with one other “joggling” with 2 platforms (or a 2-platform system, if you prefer) instead of one and investing twice as much time and effort in their ongoing management and maintenance 2. It "Plays Nicely" With Third-Party Systems And this is not even an advantage, but a vital functionality drawing a line between effective and ineffective e-commerce solutions. As a (current or future) e-commerce website owner, your “jam-packed” list of specific needs does include integrating systems and apps such as: Paypal Verisign Authorize.net … and so on and extending your site's functionality all while enriching user experience, right? Luckily, Drupal, and implicitly Drupal Commerce, integrates seamlessly with third-party getaways via RESTful API! 3. It's Both Free and Open Source One of the many valid answers to your “Why Drupal for ecommerce use?” could be: “Because it's free to use!” Moreover, by being open source, the no-fee feature doesn't translate into poorly supported modules! With Drupal, you don't have the “premium plugins” concept otherwise specific to WordPress or Magento, yet you still get to explore a plethora of free modules. Modules which, moreover, are backed up by a worldwide Drupal community. In a few words: you get default “premium” modules without the price tag on! 4. A Drupal Commerce-Powered Site Is Conveniently Easy to Handle And this “convenience” derives from 2 major “requirements” that your future Drupal ecommerce website easily meets: that it should empower you and your team to operate with one set of tools only that this “toolkit” put at your disposal — which you'll be using for carrying out specific admin tasks — should include flexible and fully configurable tools only Checked, checked! 5. You Get a 2-in-1: CMS & Ecommerce Platform And this might just be one of the strongest arguments to build a Drupal eCommerce website! Not only that Drupal Commerce is built on Drupal, from the ground up, deeply “rooted“ in it which enables it to explore and exploit the CMS's power to the fullest ... but it's actually the ONLY commerce platform built on a CMS! And this translates into: a unified, rich and seamless user experience less development and maintenance time resources for you to invest 6. You Get to Leverage Its Granular User (and Role) Management System And this is, indeed, a superpower that Drupal puts in your hands! Basically, you're given full control over who's accessing what, over which functionalities and features (from your CMS and your online shop) your: team members (who are granted different user roles and levels of permission) and your site visitors … gain access to. 7. It Streamlines Your SEO Efforts It's quite obvious that a tightly integrated platform grants you easier control over your entire SEO strategy. As compared to a 2-platform system. It streamlines your efforts to constantly improve the customer journey on your online store. 8. Why build a Drupal eCommerce Website? 'Cause It's Flexible Needless to stress out this feature even more: Drupal's already way “too” famous for its modular nature empowering users to configure and to “custom-tune” their websites to meet their needs to the slightest detail! Add on new modules, mix and match them to your liking and use Drupal's modular power to the fullest! 9. It's Conveniently Extensible: It Seamlessly Accommodates Sites of All Sizes Another strong reason for building a Drupal eCommerce website: it seamlessly adapts to all sizes and levels of complexity. Hence, whether it's: a small ecommerce site handling basic transactions or a content-heavy, high trafficked ecommerce website ... that you're building, Drupal's got you covered! It's built to effortlessly power all sites, large or small! 10. It's a Content-Driven Ecommerce Solution Since Drupal is, primarily, a content management system! And content is the driving force of any successful e-commerce site or, better put: all e-commerce efforts are centred on content! With Drupal and the ecommerce software deeply integrated within — Drupal Commerce — you're empowered to: deliver a rich and unified user experience on your site … by easily linking your products/services to corresponding content (descriptions, banners, icons...) that tells the story behind and creates added value And it's content that engages your customers, that ultimately drives sales and builds brand loyalty! That builds communities. END of the list! These are, in our opinion, the 10 reasons strong enough to tip the balance in favour of choosing Drupal for your ecommerce website!
Adriana Cacoveanu / Dec 21'2017
I know that one of the tips from my previous post was to start preparing for the event a month before or so. And yet: there's no such thing as “too early” preps for the Web Summit 2018 The future belongs to those who plan ahead, especially if you're a startup founder! Nevertheless, irrespective of a company's size or for how long it's been on the market there's plenty of networking potential to be seized and to be leveraged at the conference. For everyone. So, why not start your pre-conference preparation by going through my handful of valuable advice and top tips based on my experience there representing OPTASY? Tips on how to create your own networking opportunities and how to fully “exploit” them. Hence, today I'll be sharing with you some of my experience at the Web Summit from a company's perspective, along with insights and advice from the standpoint of OPTASY's assignee there (me). 1. Do Your Pre-Conference Homework Like a Pro' Plenty of research here included! My advice, from the previous post on this topic, to take your time to properly prepare for the event applies, all the more, if you're attending the Web Summit 20918 as a company. With so many big names and start-ups striving to maximize their opportunities to build connections and meet potential partners — before and while at the conference— reaching out to people and scheduling meetings long time in advance becomes... common sense. Read bios, make yourself a list of the people you'd love to “chat” with and... drop them a line. Make contact, schedule valuable meetings... 2. … and Do Show Up At Meetings With All Your Homework Properly Done By “homework” I do mean 2 things: improvisation is definitely overrated; instead of relying solely on your personal charm and persuasion skills to win them over, try to collect (and to memorize) as much key information about the people (and their companies) you'll meet as possible: projects, shared values, success story, objectives, approach to disruptive technologies etc. don't deliver them just plain, rigid numbers and statistics, but tell a story, your company's unique story; in this respect, again, don't rely exclusively on your spontaneity, but craft and repeatedly polish your story long time in advance 3. Write Down Notes After Every Single Meeting: They Are True Lifesavers “Specific” notes I should add. You can even write them down (the notes) right on the business cards that you'll receive. OK, so you may not be interested, at first, in someone's plans to travel around the world or in his golden retriever's name, but, believe me: These seemingly insignificant details will turn out to be powerful information once the summit ends and you go back to the office! This is the kind of personal information that will “fuel” your follow-up emails to those people, helping you add that personal touch that's not to be underestimated. Take these on-the-spot notes as the surest way to remember all those people that you'll chat with. To quickly put a face on each name written on a business card. 4. Follow Up on The Very Same Day The best way to “carve” a meeting in your interlocutor's memory is to send him/her a follow-up email the very same day. One where you express, once again, your intention to help him/his company. Patience might be a virtue, but when it comes to fully exploiting your networking opportunities at the Web Summit 2018, quick reactions, real-time follow-ups, are a must. 5. Be Alert, Meet and Mingle Once at the web summit: sharpen all your senses! Keep your eyes “wide shut”, ready to: “detect” any “big” company/startup celebrity name on a badge listen to people chatting around you mingle with the crowd Networking opportunities are “floating” there, everywhere, the cafeteria here included! 6. Set Up a Goal and Never Lose Sight of It Why do you plan to/will be attending the Web Summit 2018? What are you hoping to get out of your attendance to this major tech conference? Is it for getting your company's name out there? Is it it for promoting your brilliant, innovative business idea? Is it for meeting potential clients/finding investors? Or are you looking for an inspiring mentor maybe? Just don't show up there without a goal! With nothing but pure... enthusiasm. Define your main objective long time in advance and build your powerful strategy around it! 7. Try Out Different Networking Methods While at the Web Summit 2018 Remember: your time in the spotlight, when you get the chance to exhibit, lasts for just one day. Therefore, it's crucial that you plan out the other 2 days left in detail. A highly effective approach to planning is to try a mix of different networking strategies: hand out fliers take a tour of all the booths there go to your scheduled meetings attend conferences and try reaching out to speakers after And, most of all, as you “juggle” with all these networking methods, stay creative and you'll stand you! You'll get noticed! 8. Don't Formalize: Meet People Over a Drink And speaking of “meeting and mingling”, don't hesitate to invite your interlocutors to chit-chat over a drink at one of those night events at the Web Summit 2018. Turn the Pub Crawls, get togethers and, most of all, private dinner parties into some great (if not the very best) opportunities to make connections. Mingle with the crowd, a glass in your hand, and interact while trying to have some fun, too. To enjoy your experience there, as a (startup) company attendee! And this is it! OPTASY's 8-step guide on how to network like a champ', how to seize and value all the opportunities of making new, valuable connections, as a company, at the Web Summit 2018. Good luck with that!
Serge Karpyuk / Dec 08'2017
My first time at the Web Summit! And it's been almost... “surreal”, I'm still having trouble believing that I did, indeed, attend it (has it been a month already?). You go over all the numbers (60000 names, 1200 speakers etc.), you scan through the overwhelmingly long list of participants (packed with awe-inspiring names) and you start to feel just like a... kid going to Disneyland for the first time: Am I really going to attend these talks? Be in the same room (even if in the very last row... these are just details) with all these... tech and business giants? Get close to all these inspiring innovators (I know, I know: I start to sound like a fanatic)? And last but definitely not least: get to immense myself in this astonishing city? Of course, once you go through the list over and over again, you use the app day and night and you burst with over-excitement, you gradually... cool down and start doing your homework. To properly prep for meeting all these influencers. For you do want to make the most of your staying there and not waste anyone's time. But before I go on with my list of tips and advice on how to prepare for a Web Summit — whether you're a startup founder or a tech enthusiast — allow me to share with you some glimpses of my actual experience: 1. Got There Pumped Up for the Event and Left Head Over Heels in Love With... Lisbon! For it's simply... breathtaking! Lisbon lures you in to explore it, then it crawls into your heart and... gets stuck to it! The cosmopolitan city basking in the sun has been the host of “the best technology conference on the planet” for the second year in a row. And this after the conference had spent its “childhood” in Dublin and... well... got a bit... too much for the Irish capital city. And organizers couldn't have picked a better “host”: the city of Lisbon had the capacity to easily accommodate the heavy influx of participants it took me about 40 minutes to get from the venue to the city centre, by subway I got (thank God!) stable internet connection throughout my staying there there were no discouragingly large crowds gathered around the exhibit stands 2. Attended Talks and Conferences: My Top Favorites For even though some more experienced Web Summit participants might advise you to watch the speeches on YouTube — and instead, while there, to network like there's no tomorrow (or a next web summit to attend) — I stuck to my own schedule. It would have been inconceivable for me not to attend the conferences and talks that I was so looking forward to. And here's a short list of the ones that I loved best: Stephen's Hawking's Talk on Disruptive Technology, on how “Artificial intelligence comes, and this can become both a major success and the main failure of mankind “, that if it's not geared exclusively at SERVING humanity (and not the other way around) Bryan Johnson's (the CEO of Kernel) Talk on Prioritizing Humanity, above all, and the stringent need for people to learn to adapt to the newly emerging tasks that disruptive technologies assign to them Margrethe Vestager's, The European Union's Commissioner for Competition, Talk on Fair Play and Tech (filled with self-evident examples of invasive usages of technology and of tech giants engaging in tax invasion) Dana Settle's (Greycroft) and Jim Breyer's (Breyer Capital) Speech answering the legitimate “Where to Invest in 2018?” question: in core technologies, practical and simple apps, (e.g. virtual, personal health assistants) in AI, machine learning; a talk with a focus on China as the world's second largest AI development center 3. And Now: My Top Pre-Event Preparation Tips and Tricks Let me switch from what might look like me bragging about my experience at the Lisbon Web Summit 2017, to me sharing some practical tips with you. Some advice on how to properly plan out your attendance and prepare like a pro' for the event: First of all: start your pre-conference preparations long time in advance (a month before or so) Next, download the Web Summit app; and this is a true power placed in your hands if you know just to harness its full potential Then, it's time you do your homework: delve deep into the wide list of participants (luckily you'll find them all right there, listed in the app), scan them through, read bios, do your research work and reach out to them (be perseverant), make connections, schedule meetings The event's app will be your most reliable ally thanks to its conveniently easy-to-use and time-saving filters: don't be afraid to use them Rely on keyword search, as well, and put together a list including ONLY those people whom you'd just die to meet and chat with, who inspire you, whose story you're fascinated with, who are most likely to provide you with information that's 100% relevant for your industry Put together a schedule of meetings, for once you get there... you risk to be swept by the “whirlpool”. It will help you stay focused, stay organized and maximize all your networking opportunities once you're at the summit In short: there's no easy way to properly prep for the Web Summit 2018; no quick trick or secret recipe to making connections and scheduling meetings so that you land in Lisbon with a solid strategy at hand, that you'll just need to... execute to perfection. It's all about kneeing deep in the discouragingly rich database of participants, running a rigorous selection and reaching out to people. 4. Web Summit 2018: My Advice on How to Make the Most of It So, with your list of contacts plus your schedule of meetings in one pocket and your Web Summit app in the other one you... arrive in Lisbon. Now what? Here are a few tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your next/first web summit attendance: Schedule all the talks and conferences that you want to attend; in this respect, the recommendation feature and the event calendar — 2 of the app's key features — make some really powerful tools Next, remember that people connect more easily outside conference halls and that networking at Web Summit doesn't end at sunset; be ready to attend some of the night events (parties here included!) scheduled for the Night Summit; pub-crawl, interact, make connections while you're having some well-deserved fun, as well, after a full, hectic day But probably the only really “strict” advice to follow while at the Web Summit is: Be creative! Don't be shy to reach out to people, you'll be surprised to discover that some of them are really willing to share their experiences/expertise (for that's why they go there after all, to network with people passionate about innovation, with disruptive technologies enthusiasts, like you, after all), to create your own networking opportunities And this is my (first) Web Summit experience in a few words and my tips for you if you're planning to hit the 2018's tech conference! Stay tuned! In our next post we'll be sharing with you a tried-and-tested step-by-step guide on how to network like rockstar — as a startup company — at Web Summit 2018!
Serge Karpyuk / Dec 06'2017
Long gone are the days when AR and VR used to be associated (strictly) to roller coaster simulations, the gaming industry or true-to-life aerial experiences. Today we can be talking about an ever-wider range of innovative use cases for augmented reality in enterprises. About a niche technology turning... mainstream and, moreover, going beyond purely entertainment purposes. Moreover, AR's potential for improving performance, boosting efficiency and enriching customer experience has long ceased to be a “privilege” of the top most valuable brands. And since it's ceased to be an “exclusive” technology, why not harness its potential? Why not capitalizing on AR's potential in your own organization, too? “What specific use case best suits my particular business needs?” ... you might be wondering. Here are some of the most interesting current uses of augmented reality in enterprises: 1. Remote Workforce Supercharged With AR Power Just take this scenario: You have two teams working on the same project — an in-house one and a remote one — and you get to leverage AR's power to actually immerse your remote team in the project. … to bring together all your employees, scattered around the globe, in a collaboration enhanced by that strong feeling of “being there” that AR instils. Or you can go for the second scenario: use AR to easily monitor out of location employees. And this feature gains a critical importance if we're considering 3 specific types of employees working “off-site”: engineers on an oil-rig medical first respondents linesmen on power lines 2. Step-By-Step Guidance Overlaid on Work Areas via AR Displays Another one of those efficiency-boosting (translated into manufacturing error rate cut down by almost 90%) use cases for augmented reality in an enterprise is overlaying instructions. Practically via an AR display the manufacturer — take one manufacturing an aeroplane wing or one assembling an automobile, for instance — gets hyper-explicit guidance overlaid precisely on his work area. With instructions being conveniently visualized, overlaid right on the work area, the employee practically gets step-by-step guidance for carrying out his tasks of high precision with utmost accuracy. Where human error possibility should be whipped out of the process, AR comes to bring out-of-this-world precision into the real world! 3. Using AR Geared at Improving Warehousing and Logistics Efficiency A potential that DHL knew just how to exploit to their benefit: streamlining warehouse pick-and-place operations through the use of smart glasses which are pointing out the shorter routes for the employees to take; and implicitly cutting down the error rate, too. An unbelievable efficiency booster that you, too, can leverage in your organization for cutting down costs on logistics and warehousing resources and reducing human error. 4. Enriching Your Design/Engineering Team's Experience By their powers combined, AR and VR will help you: enrich your customers' experiences by bringing design concepts to life; take a scenario where a family planning to renovate one of their bathrooms can walk right in its virtual replica and visualize precisely how it's going to look enrich your designers'/architects/engineers' experiences: 3D objects/environments represented on two-dimensional screens vs 3D representations in real size; practically engineers/architects/construction workers/designers get to visualize their work in progress and spot the areas that need adjustments with far more accuracy and in a timely manner It's one of those use cases for augmented reality that will empower you to increase your team's performance and create richer, immersive customer experiences. 5. Real-Time Data Vizualization … at an enterprise level. And this is one of those scenarios where you get to turn AR into a... superpower. Just think about it: Visualizing data in real-time and, moreover, projecting these data visualizations onto different surfaces will not only: enhance a more in-depth understanding of that specific data ... but even enable larger groups of managers to collaborate far more effectively and make data-driven decisions based on a shared understanding of that data And this is one of those augmented reality business use cases that can go as far as projecting board-room-seized 3 D views of your business! There you can get an even more accurate view of your entire data infrastructure, with all its strong and “sore points” to focus your efforts on! 6. Augmented Reality Training: One of The Most Valuable Use Cases for Augmented Reality Will you join the AR revolution in staff training and professional development? And since nothing beats practical examples, here are some current uses of AR as a powerful training tool: using AR to quickly empower staff to get a grip on using highly complex equipment, machinery using AR to enhance the learning of complex concepts using AR to enhance collaboration during staff training via virtual, true-to-life presentations, field tests etc. using AR to a supercharge a “learning by doing” type of training, where real-life situations would be too dangerous to (re)create: such as performing surgery or flying a plane using AR to recreate specific environments/scenarios/reality augmented workplaces in order to improve your employee's “soft skills” (public speaking, dispute resolution, decision making under stress); you even get to tailor your AR training to each team member's profile To sum up: using AR in training processes helps you “unleash” all that potential of creativity and efficiency otherwise limited by the “conventional” type of trainings. Take AR as far as your imagination takes it and create your own use cases for augmented reality suitable for: your team(s)' specific needs your organization's specific goals for maximizing your team's potential Final Thoughts Now guess what: all the above-mentioned use cases for augmented reality are not “lab experiments” or “projects about the far future to come”. They're being implemented, as we speak, in real-life workplaces. AR technology is now commercially available and has become and is continuing to get even more accessible. And its potential for enhancing both the customer and the employee experience is huge. … you just need to “power” it with content — your unique content — and to harness its potential in use cases of augmented reality perfectly suitable for your own organization!
Adriana Cacoveanu / Dec 05'2017
You sure didn't expect it to take more than... 2 minutes (3 at most) to add a Drupal 8 Webform to a content type on your website and yet... What's the “catch”? Is there a "magic" tab that elopes you? Haven't you installed your Webform Drupal module properly? Or maybe it's the UI itself the real culprit for turning what should have been a "ridiculously intuitive operation into a time-consuming (and hair-pulling) one? Let us lend you a hand! Let us help you put an end to your "turmoil". But First: A Few Words About the Webform Drupal Module Surpassed in popularity only by the Views Drupal module, Webform shouldn't miss from your Drupal toolkit. For it makes the most "usable" tool to rely on for building your custom contact forms/user registration forms/surveys. A far more efficient solution than building content types leveraging the Field module or using CCK. Drupal 8 Webform Module ... ships with a whole different code base than that of its “predecessor” and makes an even more powerful, feature-richer form builder enabling you to put together: flexible rich maintainable … webforms on your Drupal 8 website Moreover, its capabilities don't limit to the forms' building and publishing, but extend to: sending confirmation forms and client notifications collecting, storing and downloading form submission data as CSV Your Current Scenario Here's how we see your current “situation” in... 4 steps: First, you installed your Drupal 8 Webform module Then you rushed to add a webform to a content type … so you went to admin/config/content/webform and checked your content type, next you saved your webform settings And then ... you “hit a blank wall”! No clue whatsoever where to go next to attach your webform to your content type... The Solution to How to Add a Webform to a Content Type Now the above screenshot's “transcription”: You navigate to your Content type's edit page: /admin/structure/types/manage/[ContentTypeName] See the “Webform” tab, on the bottom left side of the screen, right under the “Menu Settings” tab? Just go ahead and enable it and your webform will get automatically attached to that specific content type Tada! This is how you add a webform to a content type in Drupal! You just knew it couldn't be anything more complex than a two-minute job, right? How to Embed a Webform Inside a Node Content: 2 Solutions In other words: no matter which way you take it, you'll reach the same “destination”. Here are the 2 methods available to you: you go ahead and put together a custom Panel page for your node; one with the content area incorporating both the “node being viewed” and the custom block displaying your web form you leverage the Webform module's power: simply create your web form via the module's user-friendly UI and then just add your form to your “target” content type Tada... again! The END of our more or less “enlightening” little tutorial on how to add a Drupal 8 Webform to a content type on a Drupal site. Good luck with your... form building!
Adrian Ababei / Nov 30'2017
It's overwhelmingly lengthy, it's discouragingly “crowded”... it's your checklist to follow when choosing the right CMS for your content-heavy website! And there's no way around it: you need to check them ALL off, all the must-have features and functionalities included there. For you can't afford to make compromises on security for a boosted performance, for instance. And you sure can't get away with trading high speed for easy authoring, right? Or with accepting anything less than “the very best” editorial experience for the sake of easy-to-customize design, for example. It should be an all-in-one CMS solution! Well, it looks like Drupal is the only platform to fit the profile: it lives up to your legitimately high standards and is capable to meet your content-packed site's specific needs. Here's why: 1. It's Ideally Flexible & Conveniently Extensible Dare to dream big, for your Drupal site's content infrastructure is built to grow, seamlessly and almost organically, at the same rate as your future plans! For any performance, security, content management-related, or any other heavy-content site/industry-specific functionality that you might need to add... there is a Drupal contributed module! … or there is a team of Drupal developers ready to write custom code for you and build your custom-fit Drupal module from scratch! And here are 2 possible scenarios where you could capitalize on Drupal's impressive flexibility and extensibility: you need to integrate SalesForce with your website: there isn't just one, but several Drupal modules that you can use for injecting this type of functionality into your website you need to add an Apache Solr to your search bar for indexing results (a critical integration for any large-scale, content-heavy website): Drupal turns this type of integration into a... breeze Whether it's a blog or a content-packed, high-trafficked website that you own or plan to build: Drupal's conveniently extensible to fit any size, any business needs. 2. It Provides a Both Flexible and Rich Content Authoring Experience Here's another strong reason why Drupal's the right CMS for your content-heavy website: it makes content authoring unexpectedly easy! “Armed” with the WYSIWYG editor — which makes such an easy to use content management and editing interface — with URLs, taxonomy, custom lists and tags, your editorial team gets to: craft edit publish perfectly structure … content on your site. Podcasts, articles, infographics, guides, e-books, case studies... your heavy infrastructure gets ideally easy to manage with Drupal as your site's backbone-CMS. 3. It Ships With Impressive Database Accommodation Capabilities Not only that your Drupal CMS's built to seamlessly accommodate your large and enlarging database, but it ships with organizing and sorting features, as well. Features/functionalities delivered to you in the form of dedicated modules. In other words: setting up your customized, ideally structured, perfectly usable library calls for zero custom code writing when using Drupal as your website's CMS! 4. It's Open Source, Making It a Perfectly Suited CMS for Your Content-Heavy Website Drupal's open source nature opens the door to a whole world of possibilities (free of charge) to you! Just imagine this scenario here: Your heavy-content website has a huge influx of regular visitors and then...all of a sudden... a big nasty bug attacks! And it's just inevitable when we're talking about a content-rich website, with content being added and updated almost on a daily basis! What do you do then? You reach out for a patch digging deep into all the free resources put at your disposal by the Drupal community! Just think of all the costs that you'll be cutting off when building your large-scale project with so many modules, site elements specific to your use case and features out there for you to just... “grab” and implement. 5. It Meets The Highest Government Online Security Standards High waves of traffic and a robust content infrastructure do come at a cost: the cost of the highest levels of security. And it's by far the most important point on your checklist to finding the most suitable CMS for your content-heavy website. Drupal's already built a solid reputation around it as the CMS that powers government and high education websites. Need we add more? If it's powering and safeguarding the White House's website from cyber threats, then it must be built with high-security standards mind, don't you agree? Where do you add that, in addition to its robust built-in security features, there's always the worldwide large Drupal community out there to “alert” if something goes bad. A community constantly monitoring Drupal's status at a security level. 6. It's Highly Customizable in Terms of Design How to design content for heavy websites? The best example in this respect is the Panels module that Drupal puts at your disposal. Harness its power to create layouts perfectly tailored to each specific use case. How? With drag and drop! Put together the custom layout and then just fill it in with its corresponding content. Hence, you get to personalize each page on your website all while keeping a visual continuity throughout it! The END! Do you find these 6 reasons strong enough for you to start seeing Drupal as the most suitable CMS for your content-heavy website? What other must-have features (if any) would you add to your checklist?
RADU SIMILEANU / Nov 23'2017
What are Drupal 8 distributions anyway? Why bother using one: what would you gain by using one instead of building your Drupal 8 site from scratch? And, most importantly: which are the best Drupal 8 distributions to choose from? … the top-rated ones, both by other companies already using them and by Drupal experts, as well? There are lots of different Drupal Distributions: Commerce Kickstarter, Open Atrium, Drupal Commerce, etc. build for different versions of Drupal. Which ones are the best? Let's jump straight ahead to the answers you're looking for now, shall we? First Things First: What Is a Drupal Distribution After All? “A Drupal distribution packages a set of contributed and custom modules together with Drupal core to optimize Drupal for a specific use case or industry." (Dries Buytart, Distributions Remain a Growing Opportunity for Drupal) Take it as an all-in-one-place or a conveniently quick and easy-to-install package. One which, once “unwrapped”, delivers you all the site-specific features and business use-case/industry-specific functionality that you need: Drupal core precisely those contributed and custom modules that you need themes predefined configuration installation profiles libraries Bottom line: it's Drupal + additional software components (strategically assembled and preconfigured) that you get with a Drupal distribution software. One that will turn setting up your use-specific Drupal 8 site into a breeze! “How to install a Drupal distribution?” quickly turns from a hard nut to crack into nothing but a child's play. Just imagine how much time and valuable resources you'd otherwise invest in: scanning through the overwhelmingly rich collection of Drupal modules figuring out which are THE ones catering to your specific use case or industry installing all the needed elements (and here we're not referring to Drupal 8 modules only) one by one And here we can talk about 2 types of Drupal distributions: the full-featured ones the quick-start tools Key Advantages of Using One Over Building Your Site From The Ground Up Before we push forward, into the spotlight, the best Drupal 8 distributions to choose from, let us outline what you'll gain, precisely, from making this decision: Using a Drupal distribution over setting up your website from scratch. launching your website turns into a matter of a few... hours; instead of delving into a load of thousands of modules yourself, the preconfigured site that you get by choosing a software distribution delivers you everything you need in a single download: wrapped up in one installable package! by comparison, the “traditional” way of setting up your site would grant you access to Drupal core only; any additional functionality needed calls for... additional downloads maintaining your whole ecosystem of modules and other site components becomes less time-consuming: one single update is enough for all Drupal modules and features (vs “hundreds” of them in a conventional Drupal site build scenario) And now since selecting the proper Drupal distribution, the one that best suits your specific type of site, your business use case, and industry, is key, let us reveal to you the top-rated ones to consider choosing from: And Here Are The 7 Best Drupal 8 Distributions 1. Lightning Empower your editorial team and you'll get (even) better content on your Drupal 8 site! With the Lightning Drupal distribution for enterprise, you get to turn crafting, adding, editing, and publishing content into a rich authoring experience! How does it work you say? Practically Lightning's built to "fuel" the editorial experience with these 4 modules' powers combined: Workflow, Media, Layout, and Preview. Hence, content editors get all their feature/functionality needs satisfied for creating great content (and handling content editing operations) with great ease. 2. Varbase The "nitty-gritty" of any Drupal web project! This is what you'll get once you "unwrap" your package with the "Varbase" name tag on! Basically, the essential modules, configurations, features, and functionalities that any Drupal 8 site needs are all bundled up in this starter kit, at a click's distance! Get all these necessities downloaded and installed and give your site's development a major speed boost. 3. Contenta Planning to jump on the decoupled Drupal bandwagon? To progressively decouple your Drupal 8 site maybe? Then Contenta, the API distribution for Drupal 8, makes your best "ally" in turning your decoupling Drupal project into a success story! What it does, precisely, is it eases the overhead of making a decoupled architecture work (or simply “trying it on”, to see first whether it fits you or not): it provides you with an API-ready platform (admin configuration here included) ... demo content ... and even example front-end applications 4. Reservoir Here's another API-first Drupal distribution, (still) an experimental one, that you can rely on for supporting your Drupal decoupling initiative. ... if you were looking precisely for a flexible and easy to use tool for building a Drupal content repository that your front-end app could easily access via HTTP APIs. But what makes Reservoir one of the best Drupal 8 distributions? it takes the burden of modeling and managing content off your shoulders it enables your team of developers to set up a basic, yet functional content back-end, all while preserving the rich content editing experience (with all the functionality and features that editors get "spoiled" with) that Drupal 8's well famous for Note: surprised that Contenta and Reservoir have made it to our "best Drupal 8 distributions" list? Don't be! The 2 API-first distributions might still be community-driven experiments. Yet, all the potential they "promise" to unlock in a digital landscape where the channel/device/design-agnostic trend and the API-first approach rule is not to be underestimated. 5. Thunder Out-of-the-box publishing technologies (Riddle Interactive Content, Facebook Instant Articles) and modules from industry partners (Valiton, Nexxt.tv, Acquia) is what you'll get along with your Thunder "package". In short: all you need in an all-in-one the bare necessities and more addressing all your professional publishing needs! 6. LISSA Kickstart A Drupal distribution built to help you streamline your events and client notifications management and publishing process. What you'll get specifically is a Drupal-based technology stack for real-time messaging in second screen apps. One which, as a media company, you get to leverage for: pushing notifications to your clients publishing video stream (live or on-demand) ... with convenient ease 7. Open Social By far one of the most popular Drupal distributions, Open Social couldn't have possibly missed from our top including the best Drupal 8 distributions. Go for it if it's a: social community platform intranet solution portal or any other Drupal-powered social project that you're planning to build It will dramatically speed up the development process as it provides you, right out-of-the-box, with all the elements that your social community site could need: Notifications Timeline Events Follow Groups And this it IT! Our own selection of the very best Drupal 8 distributions to consider as "candidates" for your own specific Drupal project. Select the one that best fits your project's specific use case, then weigh its advantages and... decide how you'll invest the time that you will have saved using it (instead of building your site from scratch).
Adrian Ababei / Nov 23'2017