What Soft Asks Are and How to Use them By Naike Romain

Installing a new app is a big commitment, so you don’t want to hurt your relationship with your users by asking for too much up front. Soft asks are the polite marketer’s way of getting users to opt in to push messages or location services. By providing information about why those permissions improve the app experience and what users get in return for allowing them, you’ll likely see a higher opt-in rate, which leads to more opportunities to connect with your users.

But let’s start from the beginning. What is a soft ask?

Soft asks are in-app messages that serve as a customized request for push notification or location tracking permissions. By default, iOS and Android will deliver a plain in-app prompt for permission requests that aren’t all that customizable and can only be triggered once.

The soft ask message is delivered before triggering the stock iOS or Android permission prompts. By using the custom in-app message first, you’re able to provide context, in your own words, for why you want those permissions and how often users can expect to hear from you. Plus, when creating your our own message you can design the request to look more like your apps UI and less intimidating.

null

With the changes in iOS 12, you might think that it’s not as important to use soft asks since, with Provisional Auth, users will receive messages “quietly” until they decide to fully opt in or out of notifications. However, with Provisional Auth alone your messages aren’t making it to your users home/lock screens, so they’re more easily missed.

If your app uses location data for things like a store locator or geo-push notifications, then it’s important to realize that iOS 12 and Provisional Auth doesn’t change how you gain users’ permission to use their location. That means you need to make an effort to gain your users’ trust and ask nicely before they allow you to collect that information.

Here are some best practices you can use for getting soft asks right.

Be specific

Part of the problem with the generic permission prompts iOS and Android automatically generate is that they’re restrictive. You can customize the content slightly and there are limits on the size of the message. Use your soft ask to avoid generic message copy that doesn’t give your users a compelling reason to allow push notifications or location tracking. Be sure to provide detail on the features that are enabled and the value they’ll unlock by granting your app’s permission request.

Design with the user experience in mind

Be mindful of when you’re asking users for permissions. A lot of apps make back-to-back permissions requests on the first app open. I get it. They’re probably thinking that with the rate of app user retention being so low, they may not have another opportunity to ask.

There is another way to go about it. You can design your app’s onboarding experience in a way that highlights the features that you most want your users to see and take advantage of. Then when a user goes to take an action that requires using location services or notifications, show them the soft ask permission request. This way there is inherent understanding of how your request is tied to what they’re doing in the app and they have a built-in reason — your app feature — to accept the request.

Image from iOS (1)

Image from iOS

Follow up with users who remain undecided

If a user doesn’t grant permissions on your first request, that doesn’t mean they never will. You should follow up with users who dismissed your initial request without opting in or out. Sending a soft ask lets you give them a nudge and direct them to their app settings. If you’re using Notification Channels on Android or Message Categories on iOS, you can give your users options for the types of notifications they want to receive instead of asking them to grant permission for all types.

Screenshot_20181031-153325

Image from iOS (2)

There is a fine line between following up and being annoying, so err on the side of caution here. Don’t ask more than 2-3 times and definitely don’t send another permissions request right after your first soft-ask is dismissed. Give your users at least a few weeks before trying again.

Following those steps will get you started on the path to great user experience and more users opting in to push notifications. If you’re just getting started with soft asks, here are a few more things you should know:

  1. iOS uses an opt-in method when requesting permissions. You have to ask permission to send users push notifications or capture location data. On Android, users are automatically opted-in to Push Notifications by default, although users still have to opt-in to location tracking. In other words, on iOS you’ll want to use soft asks for both push and location opt-in. On Android, you only need to show a soft-ask for location.
  2. iOS only allows you to trigger the stock permission prompts once. If users don’t grant permissions on your first attempt, you’ll have to direct them to the app settings to allow them to select the permissions they want to enable or messages they want to receive.
  3. The Localytics in-app builder is a free tool for our customers that supports the creation of all types of in-app messages but also can help you create soft-ask messages that can be uploaded to Message Builder and used right away.

If you haven’t started using soft asks as part of your app engagement strategy you could be missing out on opportunities to drive app engagement with push messages and location-based messages. Get started today!

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2PqwG8v

Advertisements

Are You Sure You Want to Build that Data Warehouse? By Telmo Silva

Cloud-based Data Warehouse Business Intelligence

Be honest with yourself.

Would you want to build your own CRM or accounting application?

I’m guessing you’ll say ‘No.’

And why not? Because it would be too complex, too time consuming, too costly, and require management of developers and development of infrastructure?

Yes, yes and yes.

So tell me this: Why are you building or maintaining your own data warehouse?

The Doomed Birth of a Data Warehouse

A few years ago, when several in the company I was working for wanted to upgrade our Microsoft Office software to its latest version, we were told we couldn’t. Why not? Because, we were advised, it would compromise the company’s “business intelligence” system. It seemed to us like a needless conflict of interest.

When I mentioned the incident to a colleague, he told me his story of a doomed effort to birth a data warehouse.

He told me that at a previous place of employment, an intern with some bright technical skills had been asked to put together some metrics around a sales effort. Having an affinity for programming, but given only modest means to proceed, the intern used MS Access to build it. He installed a prototype on virtually every computer in the company. Soon, a jumble of cross-application Access and Excel charts and tables were flying around. Eventually, a few managers—many of them lacking an actual understanding of the metrics in the reports—liked the prototype so much that they elevated it to become the reporting standard for the company.

Not much later, the intern left, having gone back to school or gotten a job elsewhere, leaving the IT Manager to fend for herself to find someone that could turn the application into a reliable reporting system for the company. But who could help? A database analyst? A business analyst? A BI specialist? A reporting developer? The IT Manager was plagued with questions about cubes, OLAPs, drilldowns, rollups, scorecards, dashboards, data marts, data lakes, big data, self service. The list was endless, and she was overwhelmed.

A budget was eventually approved for the project, but it was barely enough to give the IT Manager the means to build a team, much less construct a company-wide BI platform. The logic behind the decision? Well, after all, “an intern did this before. So how hard can it be?”

Three years later, the company finalized an Oracle database with beautiful star schemas and a few other sophisticated features. Everybody was ready and waiting to plunge into the next phase of the project, as they were still operating with a minimal budget. After all, the business had yet to see any results from the efforts so far.

But before they could add some of the more practical features like data visualization, they were told that, due to the new Office 365 apps being installed, they would have to move everything they were doing to the Cloud.
But they couldn’t.

Turns out that the young intern’s “data warehouse” was still lingering around the system, and it wasn’t compatible with the new version of Office. Most of it hadn’t even been refreshed in ages (it had been three years, after all); many of the metrics were no longer accurate; and product codes in the system were outdated and no longer being used. But some people somewhere were using the antiquated code; they had built additional reporting and other macros that were too embedded in everything to be able to pull it out cleanly and simply.

Three Reasons Why People Mistakenly Choose Data Warehouse DIY

It’s a bit disconcerting that, while most companies easily move their transactional systems such as CRM, ERP, and Finance to the Cloud, when it comes to reporting, they still do their own “cooking.”

I talked with numerous colleagues and clients who attempted to build their own data warehouse to better understand their motivations. I discovered there are three basic reasons people attempting to set up a data warehouse have for not considering using a cloud platform. They were:

 

  • We don’t know what we don’t know
  • We like to tinker
  • We like to be in control

 

Here’s my response to each of those answers:

We don’t know what we don’t know

Unfortunately, many companies decide to implement a transaction system and then think about what metrics they want to measure. Truth is, you need a “playground” to investigate what data you have and what you can do with that data. The BI implementation person needs to get their “hands” in the data by putting the data right beside them or even in their own laptop. In other words, don’t be satisfied with not knowing. Find out.

We like to tinker

We data people love to tinker, it’s true. We love databases because they do our will. We group and partition and select. We aggregate or divide. We filter and roll up. And the database does it. But more than that, we love figuring out how to do things ourselves. We tell ourselves that by doing so, we build more robust processes, better stored procedures, and anyway, we will migrate to a more powerful database running on super machines, so the performance will come later. At what cost do we tinker?

We like to be in control

Now, much like early 2010, there are still people preaching against the Cloud. They mistakenly think that moving their CRM and financial systems to the Cloud is equivalent to giving the core of their business away. But even if your business is the data, you won’t be giving your business away in any way, shape, or form. The myth of lack of control abounds: control of how the data would be kept safe and secure; control over who can access it; and concern about knowing it can be accessed at any time. The non-believers have diminished in numbers, but data warehouses are still often seen as the “heart” of the data and many companies still defend against it being moved for fear of lack of control. They don’t realize that cloud-based data warehouses offer stunning levels of control.

What’s Wrong with Doing it My Way?

Simply put, do it yourself, and your data warehouse will become a problem as soon as it is built. Whoever set up your data warehouse set up some “interesting” flows of data from a variety of systems and databases using SQL code, custom code and connectors to connect to APIs, and a few macros to connect to local files. Plus, they likely set up a local database to hold some supporting data. The data warehouse becomes a supported system— and it must be backed up and maintained like all other IT systems that are critical to the company. Once launched, a few things will inevitably happen.

 

  • People will want data visualization

 

A data warehouse really provides no value for a business unless the data can be accessed and the decision-makers can get the dashboards, reports, KPIs, alerts, and insights they need to do their jobs. But those who built the data warehouse are not UI experts or developers. They are data folk not programmers. That means that IT will need to look for charting software to plug into their data warehouse. Yet they won’t want to pay licenses per user, build additional systems, or buy new servers. But they will have to—there is no other way of going about it. The data is where it’s at. The data viz and user access will work better if they are close to each other.

  • Systems will change and software will need upgrades

Cloud apps might change their APIs, system upgrades might be coming soon, and you just might discover that the person who built your data warehouse has been promoted or left the company for a better job. The fixes might be harder than expected to accomplish.

Or maybe the database storing your data needs a new version to make it security-compliant. Or maybe the volume of your data has become so large that backups are taking too long or even failing. That’s when you start looking for ETL tools, a DBA, and a few other costly resources and people to just keep the engine alive.

  • Users will want more

It could become a truism; if it was built well, users will want more. Let’s face it: nothing is static in business very long. Your unwieldy data warehouse will need changes, and IT—if you even have IT—will be responsible for making those changes. Otherwise, people will lose interest, and your project will join Windows 95 in the annals of history.

Conclusion

The brutal truth is, there’s really no good reason not to move your data warehouse to the Cloud anymore. If you choose DIY, you’ll be facing an upgrade soon that will undo everything you’ve built, and you’ll waste a lot of time and money. If you choose the Cloud, worry not. You can still tinker, you can still be very much in control, and you will still be able explore and leverage all of your data in the Cloud. The only requirement is that you have internet access. How easy is that?

Cloud Data Warehouse

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2T1eAYV

Is Artificial Intelligence the Future of Business? By Warren Knight

Artificial Intelligence (or AI) remains a much misunderstood technology, and many business leaders (perhaps you among them?) are either wary of it, or simply don’t yet see how it applies to their business.

That’s partly because there are so many myths and half-truths being circulated about AI that it’s hard to separate the real from the fanciful, and the positives from the negatives. But make no mistake, AI isn’t all about robots and driverless vehicles. Its potential for business transformation is huge, and to keep ahead of the competition you need to be thinking now about how your digital transformation strategy incorporates AI for future growth.

What do we really mean when we talk about AI?

AI isn’t a new term; it was first used by Alan Turing around 1950. It refers to using machines to simulate or do ‘intelligent’ things – things that would normally be done be by people, using their cognitive faculties. The use of AI has accelerated in recent years (and continues to do so) because of the exponential growth in the availability of both computing power and data – today we all have supercomputers at our fingertips with our smartphones, (and are already using AI every time we use the spellcheck as we’re typing). Many e-commerce sites are also using AI as well as statistical methods when it comes to suggesting other things you may be interested in buying, or reading. So developments are going deeper and deeper into the capabilities of AI technologies.

As this McKinsey podcast transcript outlines, AI broadly encompasses five areas:

  • Physical AI – robotics and autonomous vehicles;
  • Computer vision – image and video processing;
  • Natural language processing – particularly spoken language, but also involving some written language;
  • Virtual agents or conversational interfaces – enabling systems to converse with you by voice or chatbots;
  • Machine learning – perhaps the area with most growth potential right now – a good example of machine learning would be Siri or Alexa, every time you use it, it gets better at finding what you need.

Obviously, not all of these will be relevant to every business. So what you need to do is identify which areas are, or could be applicable to yours.

What does strategy AI-driven transformation look like in business?

Where companies are willing to invest, and use it to gain competitive advantage, AI can deliver real value. Marketing is an area where companies typically first recognise the potential, but AI can be used across all operations to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

This chart from techemergence shows the results of a survey of 50 executives at the forefront of using AI for marketing, designed to find out which AI and machine learning applications are driving

WK blog AI

Source

According to Andrew Ng, a premier AI researcher, the businesses taking AI seriously are “engaged in multidimensional chess games to collect the data they need to compete,” and having both mindset and capability to do this is essential for success.

AI, and in particular Machine Learning, could provide the most powerful tools to take your business to the next level. But don’t see it just as a bolt-on. If you look at where you already have a competitive advantage, that’s where you have the greatest strength, and where AI could give you the quickest ROI. What’s the next step? Where do you have the best data – machine learning requires a huge amount of it – and can start building competencies?

As Madhusudan Shekar. Principal Evangelist, Amazon Internet Services Pvt. Ltd, says in his techemergence podcast, “if you have an advantage over your competitors in the same area, applying machine learning could potentially give you a generational advantage. To do that requires a lot of clean data.”

Telecoms and financial services can use AI across functions, in customer services and in their core areas; the automotive industry can use it to improve operations, but also in vehicle development, including self-driving technologies.

You can listen to or read the full podcast here.

Whatever the areas of strategic investment in your business, also remember that AI can only build on the processes you already have. If your processes aren’t solid, and working well under human management, AI won’t fix them. In fact, it could augment problems.

This webinar from MITSloan covers five strategies for getting the most from AI in more detail.

What does AI mean for people and employment?

One of the big perennial myths surrounding AI is that it will replace the need for people, or leave only the low-skilled, menial jobs left for them to do. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Like any other technology, AI takes over the simple tasks and does them more efficiently. That leaves the humans free to concentrate on the more complex, or creative aspects of the business, and creates a need for different skills. AI can’t compensate for the need for human interaction, relationship building or critical thinking. But it can take over simple tasks and make them more efficient.

There’s an in-depth article at Forbes.com that illustrates this idea really well.

So what we mustn’t forget is, that for every penny we invest in AI, as business leaders, we need to invest the same in people – whether that’s in training them to use data-driven new technologies, or in changing their mindset to help them embrace change. You need to lead from the top down – and drive that culture change. You might not be the data scientist yourself, but you may need to be able to have meaningful conversations with them about the applications your business is going to use, so you’ll need to get a bit clued-up yourself.

Where will AI add the most business value?

If your business is new to the AI arena, you can learn a great deal from those early adopters who have already invested in it and are now starting to reap the benefits. Retailers, particularly online retailers, rely on AI robots to control stock, and utility companies use AI to forecast demand.

It’s all about data quantity and quality, so the moment, it seems likely that online businesses will benefit most from AI technology. ‘Bricks and mortar’ businesses have bigger challenges when it comes to streamlining their data collection and management. And businesses which already collect large quantities of data will have a better platform to build on.

McKinsey’s survey of over 3,000 companies globally who are already using AI showed that they tend to be operating in the digital arena, use AI to increase revenue as well as reduce costs, in the core part of the value chain, and, that, crucially, AI initiatives are fully supported by the executive leadership. At the moment, these companies also tend to be larger firms within their sector, mainly because of the level of investment involved.

The techemergence survey further identifies the sectors most likely to be engaging with AI, and particularly Machine Learning:

WK blog AI

Source

But whatever your business type, the first things to assess, before beginning to invest in AI, are where you already have an advantage and what you want to do with it. You need to ask yourself how you are collecting data and what kind of data it is, as well as assessing how reliable your data sets are.

Consider whether your best data sets are in your customer data or in operations.

Madhusudan Shekar points out that you may be able to use ready-made solutions like Amazon Polly or the Amazon Lex chatbot (he’s an Amazon Evangelist, you’ll find other options out there), which are available off-the-shelf so you can deploy them quickly and efficiently. But even with these solutions, the business value you get from them is only as good as your data. Around 80% of the work in machine learning is making sure your data can be trusted and is clean and organized. Because that’s all your AI technology has to go on. Unlike a person, it’s not going to intuit – at least, not just yet. In five years’ time, who knows?

What is certain is that AI is here to stay. Your digital transformation strategy needs to recognize this and to identify where your business strengths can be further bolstered by the accumulation of high quality data, and the adoption of the right AI technologies for your business.

Originally published here.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2OFUL68

Disaster Recovery on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud: Head to Head By Gilad David Maayan

Nikin / Pixabay

Cloud disaster recovery turned the world of business continuity upside down. Instead of investing millions in setting up and maintaining a backup site 250 miles away—or settling for nothing, which is what many companies did—it became possible to replicate data or entire applications to the cloud and run a DR site completely on demand.

I’ll review the three common cloud DR models, explain the advantages of setting up DR with the big three cloud vendors—AWS, Amazon and Google—and provide a snapshot (no pun intended) of each cloud’s home-grown DR offering.

3 cloud disaster recovery models

The following models are commonly used to create disaster recovery environments in the cloud:

  1. Backup and restore data only—synchronize data with a cloud service like Amazon S3, and plan to pipe it back on-premises if a disaster occurs.
  2. Replicate and fail over entire VMs—at regular intervals, package machine images of your critical applications and save them to the cloud. They can be dormant and started only upon disaster; running in a warm-backup “pilot light” mode; or fully active and participating in a multi-site setup.
  3. Fail over entire applications / managed DR—packaging an entire on-premise business application with multiple VMs, network configuration, etc. and moving it to the cloud. On-premise and cloud sites will be frequently synchronized to enable immediate failover to the cloud site.

The more of your application you move to the cloud, the lower RTO and RPO values you’ll be able to achieve.

Why work with the big three cloud providers?

There are dozens of providers of Cloud DR services today, ranging from large cloud providers who give you the tools to do it yourself, to independent vendors who promise to package everything in a Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS).

Small DRaaS vendors have matured over the past few years and can provide an excellent solution for many use cases. However, working with the big three cloud providers—Amazon, Microsoft and Google—has a few distinct advantages:

  • Trust—because disaster recovery is such a critical business infrastructure, using a small vendor could raise some concerns. Do your due diligence, prefer vendors backed by strong partners—or use the big three and trust issues fade away.
  • More control—on most cases DraaS providers use one of the major clouds as the underlying infrastructure. They are essentially reselling those cloud resources with a management layer on top. Using the cloud directly will give you more control to achieve exactly what you need (while it may be more complicated).
  • Cost—for the same reason as above, in some use cases working directly with an IaaS vendor will lower DR costs (get the lettuce directly from the farm).

What do the big three cloud providers offer?

Amazon Web Services Disaster Recovery

Amazon suggests that you build your DR solution on top of its plain vanilla cloud services. AWS does not provide a purpose-built DR service, nor does it offer a fully managed DRaaS solution. The assumption is that for those already running on AWS, setting up DR would be easy enough.

How it works

Amazon provides a reference architecture for four levels of disaster recovery:

  • Backup/restore—syncing data to S3 and loading back if disaster strikes.
  • Pilot light—setting up a minimal environment on Amazon which you can scale up upon disaster.
  • Warm standby—setting up a full environment on Amazon, but one which is not actively accessed by users, and switching to it in case of disaster.
  • Multi site—setting up a full environment on Amazon and load balancing users between main and backup site.

Costs

No additional costs for DR. You are charged at the regular Amazon pricing, which has per-usage fees for compute instances, bandwidth and special data operations.

The good

It’s AWS—if you love it you love it. You’ll get the tools to do exactly what you need, but go and get yourself an Amazon-certified IT pro.

The bad

While the backup/restore option is easy, all other options require you to model your application on the Amazon cloud and ensure it is identical to the on-premise environment, which is not trivial to achieve.

Google Cloud Platform Disaster Recovery

Like Amazon, Google did not go out of its way to create a packaged DRaaS offering. Instead users are encouraged to build their own disaster recovery solution using Google’s regular cloud services.

How it works

Google’s disaster recovery cookbook explains how to setup disaster recovery in several tiers:

  • Replicate storage to Google Cloud storage using the Carrier Interconnect or Direct Peering service
  • Replicate application data by creating a Google machine image of your database server and running it on Amazon Compute Engine.
  • Google suggests running the database server at all times on a minimal machine instance, and creating additional machine images for application servers, which can be run on demand when disaster occurs (like the Amazon “pilot light” model).
  • For more aggressive RTO/RPO values, the application servers can be run at all times.

Cost

Like Amazon, Google does not charge a separate fee for DR setup. Consult the general pricing for Cloud Platform. Google’s Carrier Interconect provides a dedicated uplink with 1 Gbps bandwidth for $1700 per month. Direct Peering costs $0.04/GB in North America.

The good

Compared to Amazon, setting up your environment within GCP should be easier. It’s also easy to convert existing virtual machines or cloud machine images from other providers into Google’s format.

The bad

Do it yourself, but with less configuration and optimization flexibility than Amazon provides. Like Amazon, you have the challenge of creating an identical environment on and off the cloud to enable smooth failover and failback.

Microsoft Azure Disaster Recovery

Azure goes further than AWS and Google, to provide a fully-fledged DRaaS product, called Azure Site Recovery (ASR). ASR is a no brainer if your on-premise infrastructure uses LDAP, SharePoint or other heavyweight Microsoft infrastructure.

How it works

In a nutshell:

  1. You create an Azure account and install the Mobility Service (an agent) on each on-premise server you want to protect.
  2. You create a Vault in Azure Recovery Services, setup a Source Environment and assign an on-premise server as a Configuration Server. A special master agent is installed on this machine.
  3. Via the Configuration Server, ASR discovers other VMs in your on-premise environment and you can add them to your Source Environment.
  4. Define a Target Environment composed of Azure machine instances and other services.
  5. Define a replication policy.

While this is simplified, most of the process is guided by a point and click interface and is not rocket science. As soon as you’ve verified connectivity and installed the Configuration Server, you are most of the way there.

Cost

For customer owned sites, Azure pricing is $16/month/instance protected. While a detailed price comparison is beyond our scope, for many use cases this will be vastly cheaper than per-hour pricing on AWS.

The good

Great for Microsoft shops, also applicable and relatively easy to setup for other infrastructure. Inexpensive.

The bad

Somewhat restrictive prerequisites for on-premise machines, including a limit of 1TB for hard disks and support for VMware virtualization only (at the time of this writing).

Conclusion

Amazon and Google make it difficult to set up your cloud-based DR environment. They provide cookbooks and ask you to step into the kitchen. On Amazon at least you have extreme flexibility for special configurations—on Google less so.

Unless you already have your on-premise environment replicated on either of these clouds, the effort required to setup full DR (not just data replication) would be large. Consider and compare costs of out-of-the-box-DRaaS services, such as N2WS for Amazon or CloudEndure for Google.

As for Microsoft—the built-in DRaaS offering, Azure Recovery Services, works and will pull your on-premise environment into the cloud with a guided point-and-click process. If you meet the prerequisites for on-premise services (note a limit of 1TB for local disks), this looks like the best option.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2qBvj7U

Notability Review: The Best Note Taking App? By Brendan Toner

Notability currently stands at the top of the Productivity App Store rankings. In this Notability review, I will be taking a look at what put this note taking app there.

Notability

Pros

• Elegant user interface
• Effective search and handwriting recognition
• Reasonably prices

Cons

• Voice note navigation

Bottom Line Note taking on tablets has finally come of age with Notability. A fully featured note taking App, that enables efficient digital note taking with all of the associated benefits to boot!

Notability Review Introduction

Making handwritten notes has been around since cavemen discovered interior decoration and it won’t be going away any time soon.

Notability, and other Apps of this note taking ilk are essentially the modern-day equivalent of pen and paper, but with benefits. It is these benefits that are the real motivation to move to digital note-taking. Off the top of my head, I can think of four big advantages that digital notes have over their inky counterpart,

  • The ability to search notes
  • Addition of supplementary digital media such as web clippings or pictures
  • Addition of complementary voice notes
  • Quick and easy sharing of notes

If you don’t really need these kinds of advantages then you may want to think again if digital notes are really what you need. Pen and paper may well fulfill your needs, especially with the kind of pimping this has been receiving from the likes of bullet journals.

Such features are a relatively new phenomenon, enabled by a new wave of powerful tablets and accompanying accurate(but expensive!) stylus. I still remember my old palm pilot from many years ago. Back then, the user had to learn a new alphabet in order to digitise their handwriting. Thankfully, with recent tablets and powerful handwriting recognition, the need for learning another alphabet has been removed.

An early indication of script to text, the Palm Pilot

Beyond handwriting recognition, modern tablets have a raft of the other bells and whistles that compliment note taking very well. Internet connectivity, cameras, audio and so on all can now be integrated with your handwritten notes. If all of this is sounding good, then progress with this Notability review.

Notability User Interface

Generally speaking, the user interfaces of note-taking apps are none too complicated, and nor should they be. Any user should be able to get up to speed with it in minutes. The same can be said of Notability. The interface is shown in the screenshot below and as you can see it is uncluttered with self-explanatory icons along the top.

Notability user interface

Those icons allow you to control the main functions necessary to make notes,

  • Add typed text
  • Add handwritten text
  • Eraser
  • Cut
  • Navigate

Beyond these basic features for adding notes, you can also access more complicated features from this main screen such as adding voice notes, search features and adding multimedia content – internet clippings, pictures from your gallery and so on. In the end, I found it easy to get to grips with. I will discuss these features a little more in the next section of this Notability review.

Notability Features and Functions

In this section, I will not waste any time on the basic features in this Notability review. I want to get to the stuff that I find worthy of mentioning.

Handwriting recognition

I did not have a newfangled Apple Pencil to use for the review and so I had to resort to an old-school rubber tipped stylus. Even with that, and my handwriting which closely resembles a three-year-old’s scribble, Notability’s handwriting handled it admirably. It was not 100% and nor would I expect it to be. For the words that tripped it up, I could also barely recognize the letter. So, I rate Notability pretty highly here.

To access this handwriting to text feature you need to select the text to be converted using the cut tool and then push the “convert to text”, button. I can imagine if you want to do this a lot it could be a bit tedious though. There is no automatic, wholesale conversion to text feature.

Personally, I would not really bother with this due to the Search feature, which I will now describe.

Search

Initially, I had some concerns about the search feature. I wondered if I would have to go through the handwriting to text procedure every time I wanted the text to be searchable. Thankfully these concerns were completely unfounded. Much to my pleasure I have seen that even handwritten text is searchable. So, in the example below you can see that when I search for “handwriting”, that Notability also finds the handwritten instances of this also. What this means for you the user is that you can easily do a word search within or indeed across all of your notebooks. This is really a killer feature that sets it apart from pen and paper notes. No more flicking through all those pages!

Notability search function, even for handwritten text!

Audio Notes

Assuming you don’t mind people thinking you are talking to yourself, you may want to avail yourself of the audio notes feature. This allows you to quickly add voice notes to accompany your written notes. My only qualm with this is the handling of multiple voice notes. If you have several recordings, it takes three buttons to access them (drop down voice notes > hit three dots > manage recordings. Moreover, you don’t know if these recordings exist unless you go through those steps. A more direct access would be nice along with some indicator of how many recordings exist.

Cloud access

Just a brief mention that you can send your notes to all of the major cloud providers – Dropbox, Google Drive and Onedrive.

Multimedia

Addition of pictures from your tablet gallery, take a new picture and add it directly, web clippings, Figures or even a Sticky.

Eraser

This may seem like a curious choice as a feature to note. However, this is not like the erasers you may see in the likes of MS Paint where you have to repeatedly scour the area to get every little trace of the writing removed. In Notability, a single swish of the Eraser is all that is necessary to erase a word. It is effective.

PDF Import

You can also import PDF documents and scribble all over them if you wish. So, useful in that way for reviewing documents.

Notability Import and Export

Having cobbled together a pile of notes in Notability you may want to export them by email, to cloud storage or to provide them to some other lucky punter who need not make their own notes. In such cases, Notability has your back. You can send to any of these locations in one of three formats – PDF, RTF or in Notability’s own native format for other Notability users. Naturally, you can also export to other iOS apps that can read these formats, particularly PDF.

You can also import PDF documents into Notability should you want to annotate them. And, for such imported PDF documents, the text is searchable which again is quite nice for being able to quickly and easily find the stuff you are interested in.

Notability Price

Notability is currently priced at a very reasonable $9.99.

Notability Review Summary

So, should you buy Notability? If you are interested in the four reasons for adopting digital notes listed earlier, are in possession of an iPad and accurate stylus, then yes. Now, with that decision made and this Notability review completed, time for a beer!

Cheers!

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2SYbvsm

Notability Review: The Best Note Taking App? By Brendan Toner

Notability currently stands at the top of the Productivity App Store rankings. In this Notability review, I will be taking a look at what put this note taking app there.

Notability

Pros

• Elegant user interface
• Effective search and handwriting recognition
• Reasonably prices

Cons

• Voice note navigation

Bottom Line Note taking on tablets has finally come of age with Notability. A fully featured note taking App, that enables efficient digital note taking with all of the associated benefits to boot!

Notability Review Introduction

Making handwritten notes has been around since cavemen discovered interior decoration and it won’t be going away any time soon.

Notability, and other Apps of this note taking ilk are essentially the modern-day equivalent of pen and paper, but with benefits. It is these benefits that are the real motivation to move to digital note-taking. Off the top of my head, I can think of four big advantages that digital notes have over their inky counterpart,

  • The ability to search notes
  • Addition of supplementary digital media such as web clippings or pictures
  • Addition of complementary voice notes
  • Quick and easy sharing of notes

If you don’t really need these kinds of advantages then you may want to think again if digital notes are really what you need. Pen and paper may well fulfill your needs, especially with the kind of pimping this has been receiving from the likes of bullet journals.

Such features are a relatively new phenomenon, enabled by a new wave of powerful tablets and accompanying accurate(but expensive!) stylus. I still remember my old palm pilot from many years ago. Back then, the user had to learn a new alphabet in order to digitise their handwriting. Thankfully, with recent tablets and powerful handwriting recognition, the need for learning another alphabet has been removed.

An early indication of script to text, the Palm Pilot

Beyond handwriting recognition, modern tablets have a raft of the other bells and whistles that compliment note taking very well. Internet connectivity, cameras, audio and so on all can now be integrated with your handwritten notes. If all of this is sounding good, then progress with this Notability review.

Notability User Interface

Generally speaking, the user interfaces of note-taking apps are none too complicated, and nor should they be. Any user should be able to get up to speed with it in minutes. The same can be said of Notability. The interface is shown in the screenshot below and as you can see it is uncluttered with self-explanatory icons along the top.

Notability user interface

Those icons allow you to control the main functions necessary to make notes,

  • Add typed text
  • Add handwritten text
  • Eraser
  • Cut
  • Navigate

Beyond these basic features for adding notes, you can also access more complicated features from this main screen such as adding voice notes, search features and adding multimedia content – internet clippings, pictures from your gallery and so on. In the end, I found it easy to get to grips with. I will discuss these features a little more in the next section of this Notability review.

Notability Features and Functions

In this section, I will not waste any time on the basic features in this Notability review. I want to get to the stuff that I find worthy of mentioning.

Handwriting recognition

I did not have a newfangled Apple Pencil to use for the review and so I had to resort to an old-school rubber tipped stylus. Even with that, and my handwriting which closely resembles a three-year-old’s scribble, Notability’s handwriting handled it admirably. It was not 100% and nor would I expect it to be. For the words that tripped it up, I could also barely recognize the letter. So, I rate Notability pretty highly here.

To access this handwriting to text feature you need to select the text to be converted using the cut tool and then push the “convert to text”, button. I can imagine if you want to do this a lot it could be a bit tedious though. There is no automatic, wholesale conversion to text feature.

Personally, I would not really bother with this due to the Search feature, which I will now describe.

Search

Initially, I had some concerns about the search feature. I wondered if I would have to go through the handwriting to text procedure every time I wanted the text to be searchable. Thankfully these concerns were completely unfounded. Much to my pleasure I have seen that even handwritten text is searchable. So, in the example below you can see that when I search for “handwriting”, that Notability also finds the handwritten instances of this also. What this means for you the user is that you can easily do a word search within or indeed across all of your notebooks. This is really a killer feature that sets it apart from pen and paper notes. No more flicking through all those pages!

Notability search function, even for handwritten text!

Audio Notes

Assuming you don’t mind people thinking you are talking to yourself, you may want to avail yourself of the audio notes feature. This allows you to quickly add voice notes to accompany your written notes. My only qualm with this is the handling of multiple voice notes. If you have several recordings, it takes three buttons to access them (drop down voice notes > hit three dots > manage recordings. Moreover, you don’t know if these recordings exist unless you go through those steps. A more direct access would be nice along with some indicator of how many recordings exist.

Cloud access

Just a brief mention that you can send your notes to all of the major cloud providers – Dropbox, Google Drive and Onedrive.

Multimedia

Addition of pictures from your tablet gallery, take a new picture and add it directly, web clippings, Figures or even a Sticky.

Eraser

This may seem like a curious choice as a feature to note. However, this is not like the erasers you may see in the likes of MS Paint where you have to repeatedly scour the area to get every little trace of the writing removed. In Notability, a single swish of the Eraser is all that is necessary to erase a word. It is effective.

PDF Import

You can also import PDF documents and scribble all over them if you wish. So, useful in that way for reviewing documents.

Notability Import and Export

Having cobbled together a pile of notes in Notability you may want to export them by email, to cloud storage or to provide them to some other lucky punter who need not make their own notes. In such cases, Notability has your back. You can send to any of these locations in one of three formats – PDF, RTF or in Notability’s own native format for other Notability users. Naturally, you can also export to other iOS apps that can read these formats, particularly PDF.

You can also import PDF documents into Notability should you want to annotate them. And, for such imported PDF documents, the text is searchable which again is quite nice for being able to quickly and easily find the stuff you are interested in.

Notability Price

Notability is currently priced at a very reasonable $9.99.

Notability Review Summary

So, should you buy Notability? If you are interested in the four reasons for adopting digital notes listed earlier, are in possession of an iPad and accurate stylus, then yes. Now, with that decision made and this Notability review completed, time for a beer!

Cheers!

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2SYbvsm

How Mobile Apps will Change your Event Management By Jeanette Maister

Event management can be a difficult skill to master for even the most experienced of recruiters. But, it is something they are responsible for so that candidates can have a harmonious experience when it comes to battling it out with everyone else at high-volume events. To provide this, recruiters need a system that’s simple to navigate and easy to access during every aspect of the event. Technology in the recruiting world is no joke these days. If you’re not using something to make event management easier, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities in your events.

Mobile apps are determined to change the way we look at event management! Make sure your business stays ahead of the competition by understanding the tools available to simplify your next recruiting event.

Transform your event recruitment…in an instant!

High-volume recruiting isn’t everyone’s specialty. Luckily, there are tools out there to help you understand what you’re struggling to implement in events and help you get on the right track to hire the right diverse talent faster. Some of the most common struggles a recruiter faces are time management and planning skills. All these can be amended on an accompanying mobile and tablet app — ‘nuf said.

Typically the time it takes to implement a recruiting events solution is lengthy. To truly get ahead of the high-volume game, recruiters need something that’s easy to set up and quick to show results.

Prior to the Event

Having a tool to kick-off the recruiting magic before the event starts is important. A tool to collect information on who will be attending and gather data on each individual. 43% of HR professionals believe cultural fit is the most important quality job seekers can have during the hiring process. These reports provide information to determine if there are individuals you should spend extra time with because they might be a great fit for your team.

This data can also define how businesses promote their attendance for an upcoming event on social media. If attendees have similar interests in a certain area (i.e. AI technology for unbiased recruiting), they can target their promotions towards candidates by including the upcoming event hashtag, relevant information and curated content.

Overall, these tools are not only resources companies need to provide for the recruiting teams, but they’re something their candidates will also benefit from. Providing your candidates with a hassle-free tool they can use to easily register, upload their information and engage with candidates is the key to a great candidate experience.

Attending the Event

Candidates should be able to register at the event plus upload their profile and CV or resume all from their device. On-site event registration needs to include auto-generated QR codes making it easy and user-friendly for candidates. Having mobile accessible tools tell candidates at events, “We’re germ-free! Try out this awesome tool get where you need to be in the palm of your hand.”

When looking at a mobile tool, consider these things. Does it…

  • Have flexible registration forms to enable recruiters to collect key information they need from attendees?
  • Have real-time feedback functionality, so when you meet someone amazing, you can record notes immediately?
  • Have a CV or resume snapshot so you can capture and view the attendee’s papers on any device?

Huge crowds form as candidates await the opening of the career fair and can jam up the flow of people to the booths they want to see. Make sure attendees have something at their fingertips to get ahead of the competition. SSelf-check-inon candidates’ devices versus registration via employer devices (iPads or similar tablets) significantly speeds up the process.

After the Event

Once the event is over and the candidates have gone home, recruiters have a surplus of email addresses from people who attended the event. Having a strategy to address this can be a huge help when sealing the final deal with a qualified candidate. Recruiters need to send a follow-up email to show they’re truly interested in the candidates they met with. 35% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line alone, make sure to have a convincing title like “We Want You!”

If you are struggling with event management, remember all the benefits of mobile app-based events technology:

  • Less Stressful. More Eventful.
  • Makes Your Hiring Events Next Level.
  • Instant Gratification and Captures More Talent.

Get more measurable value out of every recruiting event. From earlier engagement with top candidates to streamlining logistics and follow up for your internal teams, mobile apps get recruiters the information they need from the candidates at the top of the list.

Originally published here.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2DbbID7