The Approachable Cloud

This guest blog post is written by Geoff McCleary. Goeff is the VP and Group Director of Mobile Innovation at Digitas Health, consulting with key pharmaceutical clients on important marketing & policy issues across a number of fields including social media and emerging channels. In addition to these responsibilities, he is also a leading industry mobile marketing evangelist, advising internal teams and external clients on Mobile Marketing strategy and programs.

Every day I try to take a walk at lunch. Not too much, a mile or two to push my step count up for the day. Enough that my fitness-tracking band may see fit to reward me near the end of the day with a celebratory fanfare of blinking LED lights and a badge on my dashboard for a job well done.

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During that walk, I invariably sync my data to my phone, check Facebook, or send out a tweet or two. On a rare occasion I may even check-in at a landmark or store I want to look up later when I have veered too far off course. When I do (pardon the geek moment here) I tend to look up and imagine all the bits and bytes of data zooming overhead into the virtual clouds for me to access later.

It’s tough not to take for granted, especially when it’s baked into so many of the services and apps we use today. With over 60% penetration of smartphones and tablet ownership rising higher every day, the need for multi-screen access is clear. In fact, it’s become such a standard in apps like Facebook, Twitter, Chrome, etc. that I actually take it as a personal affront when a service I use doesn’t provide it.

But that’s the enterprise. I should expect that from major global brands, right? I shouldn’t put that expectation on my client’s brands and properties; that is an enterprise issue. The sheer number of meetings we would need to have to discuss setting that up are prohibitive. Let alone actually deploying it. Right?

But now my client’s customers have an expectation. Provide a little info, enough to login, and now they can share, save, manage and modify content and experiences for convenient viewing when they want, on a screen (or two) of their choosing. Are enterprises turning away customers if they can’t provide this experience to them?

Mobile has brought a lot of changes to the world of brand marketing. Smaller screens — and in the case of tablets, slightly larger smaller screens — and an understanding that customers want to access information whenever they want, on whatever screen they have with them at that time. Not only do they want on-demand multi-screen access, but they want seamless resumable experiences that they can effortlessly continue when they put down one device and pick up another.

Nowhere is this more important than in healthcare. Our customers aren’t buying a product or consuming a good, they are in many cases, trying to save a life. This isn’t a one time visit experience. They seek information across multiple screens, across multiple visits, and they are building a library of information – mentally, digitally and in print. We don’t want to make them work harder; we want them to work more efficiently towards the right solution for their patients.

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At any given time, a brand may have a site that supports disease-specific information, a more drug-focused site (both of which will have mobile and tablet versions) as well as an app for patients already using the drug. In addition, the brand will have information for physicians across multiple screens, and may even have an interface for physicians and patients to share information together in the exam room. These screens need to talk, learn and share with each other in preparation for the next visit.

But to do this we need a singular identity and sign-on for each of our participants, we need a system that can associate that identity with all forms of content and past/present/future interactions across multiple properties. We also need the tools that can collect and manage the data generated by all of the unique interactions between these personal and digital constituents and can enable the tools that we need to better understand daily interactions. And we need it for individual brands.

Not some massive infrastructure project that takes years to get off the ground and is a one size fits all solution. Not some custom work for hire solution that requires precise configuration for even a chance at success.

We need something that is implementable and intuitive, that powers engagement and understanding. We need something so powerful and scalable, yet so easy to implement and manage.

We need an approachable cloud.

A cloud that comes out of the box and is ready to deploy with little configuration, a cloud that can be plugged into properties both old and new, a cloud that can work with hundreds of APIs and plugins but can be deployed by a single brand.

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The cost of creating something like this in house can be a daunting expense of resources, time and money. Many of the enterprise solutions are rather complex to set up, require significant investment to maintain, and are not easily deployed or integrated with existing client data. And on top of that, none of them understood even the basics of compliance let alone something as complex as healthcare’s HIPAA regulations.

Our partnership with CloudMine has provided Digitas Health with the solution to these challenges and more. CloudMine’s offering has been essential to our realization of an Approachable Cloud, and our ever-evolving multi-screen/mobile cloud strategy and services.

10 Reasons To Use A MBaaS

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First, MBaaS stands for “Mobile Backend as a Service”. It’s backend for your mobile or web application.

MBaaS is the future of client development. Whatever you’re developing the next killer iOS app or an awesome web interface, you would probably want to use a MBaaS offer. Why? Well, I can see 10 reasons for you to use it. There may be more (you tell me), but here’s why I always use a MBaaS when I start a new project.

 

1. You’re working on a client-server solution

This is dumb, but true. Don’t even go further in this blog post if you’re working on a mobile app that does not need internet connection or save data in the cloud. MBaaS is for connected apps.

MBaaS provides SDKs for most client platforms (Javascript, iOS, Android…) that will take care of client-server communication.

2. You’re the only developer

If you’re working on a project alone, you have limited development capabilities. You have to be fast and efficient, and focus on what really matters: what your customers will use. No matter how you good you build what’s behind the scene, only what your user can see matters.

3. You suck at server-side development

Well, with MBaaS, server-side development is reduced to the minimum. You will only need to code your business logic, and most of the time in a language that is a client-side language (Parse uses Javascript for example).

4. You’re lazy

I am. I don’t like to reinvent the wheel. Why would you spend your time developing model and DAO classes to persist data? You’ve probably done that a hundred times. You won’t learn anything doing this one more time.

MBaaS pre-chewed all the work for you. You can focus on your business logic, not on technical aspects.

5. You don’t have money

Lucky you, most MBaaS offers will let you use it for free. Whatever you choose the open-source alternative Usergrid, or the Facebook-owned startup Parse, or another, you will be able to use it for free at the beginning. It won’t cost you a dime. You can focus on your business and stop worrying about money.

For example, Parse is free until 1 million transaction per month. This is largely enough to start a business.

6. Pay per use

This one does not concern open-source MBaaS solutions. But in most commercial offers, service price depends on the platform usage you make. For example, Parse charges 199€ for 15 million transaction per month. The day you need more, you will negotiate the price depending on your volumes.

7. No server setup

Server side development generally requires a lot of setup, if you want to do things properly. You need at least one server for your development, and one for your production. You might need an integration environment too, to test feature before Depending on the technology you use, it can cost you a lot of time. MBaaS offers make this setup easy. Forget command line instruction, most of the job is done with your mouse or trackpad.

8. One push to rule them all

MBaaS offers pre-digested the work for you (for this one it’s more than a simple pre-chewing). You don’t need to implement all the push notification connectors, you can simply use the same piece of code to use APNs, GCM, MPNS… MBaaS will take care of interfacing with those services to deliver your push notifications to your apps.

9. Automatic scale

Scalability can be very tricky. If you don’t think about it at the beginning, then it might be a nightmare the day you have a lot of customers.

With MBaaS, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is to find the money to pay for more transactions, or more power.

10. DBAA, be a rockstar

Ok, this one not very valuable. But the fact is that today, a lot of people still don’t know what is MBaaS. I work in a big company. A lot of my colleagues are stuck with early 00’s technologies. They are skilled. Very skilled. But they do not focus on the most important.

MBaaS is a revolution. It’s a new way to develop. Be an evangelist. They first might think you’re insane, but then, when they read about it on internet, or when their boss / architect / project manager ask them to use it, they will understand the true power of MBaaS, and you’ll be a rockstar for them.

Some MBaaS:

https://www.parse.com/

http://cloudbase.io/

http://www.appcelerator.com/

http://www.apiomat.com/

Win $20,000 & a trip to Hawaii in the Kii Cloud App Challenge

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Building a mobile app is hard work. But building a mobile app with a scalable backend, all the while managing user acquisition and retention, marketing, and distribution can seem like scaling Mount Everest without any equipment.

That’s where Kii Cloud comes in, to save the day and give you a backpack full of hiking gear in the form of cloud technology and distribution services. That way, you can focus on what you do best — building a killer mobile app.

Kii Cloud’s new challenge for mobile developers is to introduce apps that best illustrate the capabilities and breadth of features offered by Kii Cloud and its partners. If you win the challenge, your app could be distributed to China and to over 260 million end users that are part of the Kii partners’ network.

Oh — and did we mention the winners get a trip to Hawaii? Forget the chill of Mount Everest and get ready to pack that surf board and sunscreen. Register now for the Kii Cloud App Challenge!

Like software competitions? Discover more, and sign up to hear about the latest ones at ChallengePost.com.

2013年 クラウドのトレンドは「MBaaS」

2012年はクラウド業界にとってどんな感じだったか振り返ると、国内も IaaS が出そろってサーバを買う代わりに IaaS を使うことが常識化した。PaaS は Heroku の一人勝ち状態は変わらないが、他のサービスも含めユーザの認知は深まった。ということろだろう。

さて今年はと考えると、これはもう昨年から登場してきた MBaaS に間違いないと思っている。 Mobile Backend as a Service は簡単に言えば、モバイルに特化したクラウドサービスで、モバイルアプリケーションのバックエンドサーバとして動作する。

アメリカではすでに幾つかのサービスがローンチされていて、2012年末にテック系ブログで比較記事が載っていたり1、MBaaS の各プレイヤーの資金調達規模の比較をしている記事もあり2。(大体 midsized のスタートアップたちはシリーズAラウンドまで行って、$7M程度の資金調達規模)

日本企業でグローバルカンパニーである Kii も2012年10月に MBaaS のローンチを発表した3

2012年にかけてホットになってきているのが MBaaS で、ユーザへの浸透が本格的に始まるのが2013年だろうと思っている。

MBaaS が流行るとする理由を以下にまとめる。

Smartphone > PCs な時代に入る

これは、モーガンスタンレイが2010年に出した、2012年にスマートフォンがPC台数を超えるとの予想4。まだ実測値でどうだったかのデータは出てないようだが、マーケットはすでに動いている。

これはとても大きな出来事で、ビジネスのメインフィードが変わる。ビジネスを捉える視点(マーケット、ユースケース)が今まで異なることになる。

MBaaS 市場は2012-2017年まで毎年104%ずつ成長して、2017年には$7.7Bまで成長するだろうとする予想もある5

PC用Webではなく、ネイティブアプリ+スマートフォン用Webがメイントラフィックになる。 市場のフィールドがPCからスマートフォンになり、ネイティブアプリ・関連サービスが主役になる。

スマートフォンアプリが増え、それを支える MBaaS の利用が促進されるのは、この予測 = マーケットの流れと合致する。

サーバの考慮が一切いらなくなるコストメリット

言ってみれば、IaaS はOSまで入ったサーバ貸し、PaaS はWebホスティングサーバであり、モバイルのバックエンドサーバに仕立てるためのセットアップが必要。 何がしかのサービスを提供したくてクラウドを利用しようとすると、どこかの部分でユーザがサーバのセットアップに関わる必要があった。サーバが正しく動いているかどうかはユーザの責任分界点の内側だっったとも言える。

MBaaS はユーザ側がサーバのセットアップに関与することなく、予め用意されている機能を利用するのみの関係になる。とてもシンプルな関係。 すべての機能はAPIベースで利用可能であり、iOS/Android用SDKを使うことで簡単にサーバリソースを利用できる。

Cloud Services | セットアップ工数 | 用途範囲
-------------- | ------------- | ----------
 IaaS          |       大      | なんでも
 PaaS          |       中      | Webサービス全般
 MBaaS         |      None     | モバイルバックエンド

モバイルアプリに特化したサーバと絞り込んだことで、目的にマッチしやすいしシンプルな機能構成にできる。 割りとなんでもござれなスタンスの IaaS/PaaS に比べると、ユーザも利用用途が明確で、最初からニーズにマッチした状態で使えるので利用しやすい。

ターゲットと用途に特化すると利便性があがる好例だろう。

では、日本ユーザは何を使うか。

Parse を利用し始めているブログも見かけるが、サーバはだいたい Amazon EC2 で US-east リージョンだと思うので、レイテンシーが気になるところ。日本ユーザにやさしいのは日本にリージョンを持ちマニュアルも日本語を用意してくれている Kii Cloud あたりになるのではないか。 Titanium Mobile 環境ならば Appcelarator がCocoafishを買収して提供している Appcelerator Cloud Services (ACS) が利用しやすいだろう。

  1. http://www.raywenderlich.com/20482/how-to-choose-the-best-backend-provider-for-your-ios-app-parse-vs-stackmob-vs-appcelerator-cloud-and-more 

  2. http://www.broadbandconvergent.com/opinion/analysis-shakeout-coming-emerging-mobile-backendasaservice-mbaas-space/ 

  3. http://jp.techcrunch.com/archives/jp20121010kii/ 

  4. https://media.blackhat.com/bh-ad-11/Spitler/bh-ad-11-Spitler-Software_Security_Goes_Mobile_Slides.pdf 

  5. http://www.myprgenie.com/view-publication/backend-as-a-service-baas-market-worth-77-billion-by-2017 

DreamFactory Launches Updated MBaaS Services Platform for Mobile ...

DreamFactory Launches Updated MBaaS Services Platform for Mobile …

DreamFactory Launches Updated MBaaS Services Platform for Mobile
DreamFactory Launches Updated MBaaS Services Platform for Mobile Enterprise App Development. Enterprise. Wednesday, May 21, 2014; – 10,616 views. Posted 5/21/2014 9:42:03 AM by RICHARD HARRIS. DreamFactory Launches Updated MBaaS …
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Forrester: "Backend as a service, the new mobile middleware" – Explained in graphic detail

Being the designer amongst 7 hardcore developers who specialize in different niche worlds of software has been an interesting experience. Because designers and developers inherently solve problems, I thought it would be beneficial to merge these two areas of thought. Leveraging my understanding of visual storytelling and our developers’ understanding of french bistros – we’ll get to the bistros later – I designed an infographic to help explain backend-as-a-service, which can sometimes be nebulous.  

A little background

I am wrapping up my second month as CloudMine’s UX/UI designer. Previously I was a web analyst in Boston serving clients such as Comcast, Liberty Mutual and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Most recently, however, I obtained my Masters in Industrial Design with a focus on Human Centered Design

Developers work very differently than how I am accustomed. To start, they speak in a completely different language. Many times it’s like being in a French bistro when I only know a little bit of Spanish, catching a word or phrase here and there. It’s not too soon that I realize they are speaking 19 different languages, and I decide that simply eating a croissant and sipping an espresso are much easier tasks. Secondly, the bulk of their work has to happen at the screen of their computer; printing out thousands of lines of code isn’t really going to help their workflow – not to mention the resources of the Venturef0rth printer.

Wrapping it up

There are clear professional and cultural differences that I have come to realize, but it’s humbling to know that these differences are not siloed to my experience at CloudMine, nor are they particular to the world of design and development. Because it is sometimes difficult to explain exactly what it is we do at CloudMine, and because backend-as-a-service (BaaS) is still a new industry, I’ve designed a visual overview to help convey what BaaS companies do – that is, without going into the oft foreign language of development. 

This infographic should serve as a first pass into a visual explanation of BaaS. This visual is built off the basic storyboard of a smartphone application not dissimilar to Instagram. Providing an overview of the multiple stages involved in developing an application, the graphic highlights the specific areas of development that make up the bulk of the work when coding an app. And in the end, it shows what a backend service provider would take care of for our users (the developer). 

Enjoy! Please leave any comments below, or send us a tweet or an email.

An Alternative to Hiring Full-Time Engineers

Imagine you sign a new client project after giving an estimated delivery of 9 months. Congratulations! But wait — you’re already at capacity and have spent the past two weeks fighting off the major scope creep your new client is stacking onto your shoulders. The stress is piling up and you consider hiring new engineers, but haven’t found a match during your preliminary search.

You know this project is somewhat like a first date, and that if you exceed expectations you’re likely to be offered a waterfall of groundbreaking work — but here you are with no idea how to deliver!

Just when you thought there was no hope at all, we’re here to tell you otherwise.

What if you could take this 9 month project and have it shipped and delivered in less than a third of the time, without having to go through the exhaustive process of hiring new developers?

From the onset, this is a difficult topic to approach. However, it’s something that comes up in our daily lives as we grow CloudMine into a leading technology solution for agencies and enterprises. We’ve talked with agencies employing teams of engineers all scrambling to get their projects out the door. One agency was so strapped for development bandwidth that it had PHP developers writing Objective-C, HTML/CSS developers cutting their teeth on Node, and iPhone developers building Android interfaces. While it’s great to have a team that tackles any problem thrown their way, we can’t help but note that there must be a better, more efficient, less stressful way.

We’ve also had several conversations with prospective partners who are looking to expand their engineering team, specifically by hiring one or two back-end engineers to help maintain large multitudes of server-side stacks that have been cobbled together over the years. While this is the way business has traditionally been done — hire when you want to grow — we’re here to tell you there is a new, technological solution to your problem. First, however, let’s take a moment to run down some bullet points on traditional hiring and on-boarding processes and how they may stack up against a Backend-as-a-Service solution.

  • Hiring Process
    We’ve learned this takes an average of 6-10 weeks (per engineer) and a tremendous amount of time, energy and effort from many members of the current team. Additionally, hiring is often responsible for delaying engineering progress. Sourcing candidates, first-round phone interviews, face-to-face meetings, offers, negotiations and finally, acceptance — this is a long arduous process to endure for each new hire especially when in the middle of crunch-time.
  • On-boarding, Training & Ramp Up Time
    On-boarding can take, on average, 3-4 months. What will your new hire be responsible for? How will she blend with an existing team? Who’s going to take time out of their workday to train the new employee and bring her up to speed on current projects? How long does it take for a new engineer to become comfortable in her new environment, with her new project and her new mission? This last piece varies greatly person to person.
  • Salary, Benefits & Equipment
    It’s a known fact that full time employees cost significantly more than pure salary expenditure. Taxes, healthcare, 401k accounts and other benefits eat up a lot of these costs. Additional expenses like equipment, office space, digital services and more are also all rolled up in the total cost of a full time employee (Source). For example, here in Philadelphia it costs around $123,500 per year to employ a single full-time senior engineer. And in San Francisco, it’s even worse: it can cost upwards of $161,200 (or higher, where competition is fierce) per year.
  • Actual Development Time, Labor & Costs
    Once your new team member is hired and brought up to speed it’s time to actually start digging into the task at hand. This will include writing code, creating or expanding technical architecture to meet the company’s ever-changing needs, and making sure everything is working all the time. Maintenance is perhaps the largest nuisance of all. Servers have to have OS and security patches applied, firewall rules monitored, performance tweaked and re-tweak, and software tested and deployed. And when those servers crash, your employees are pulled off of their primary objectives and sent into crisis mode to discover and fix whatever went wrong. All of this costs significant time and money that would be better allocated to improve the product in ways that more directly affect the end user.
  • Risks of Hiring the Wrong Person
    Hiring mistakes are often considered the biggest expense a company can face, but these expenses are more than just monetary. Bad hires suck energy from companies and breed distraction, process disruption, and can have strong negative impacts on both company’s morale and overall productivity. If done properly, a good hiring manager will know how to choose the right person for the right position; but bad hires happen quite frequently, and as a leader you’ll need to be prepared for the fallout. According to one source, one bad hire could cost a company two and a half times their annual salary, turning a $100,000 salary into a $250,000 expense. Crazy! (Source)
There is another way

When you make the choice to step away from all this nonsense you’ll find that there’s a much better option. One that doesn’t require seeking out talent, crossing your fingers that there’s a culture fit, waiting for ramp-up, dealing with churn, managing any other unforeseen difficulties thrown your way, and then finally hoping the product gets delivered on time.

By leveraging CloudMine’s solution and expertise, you and your company are free to create what makes you and your product unique without needing to scale your back-end engineering team. Gone are the days of breaking your back to provide your customers with the data they need on the device they want. Simply plug existing data sources into CloudMine and your information is immediately available to be accessed by any endpoint imaginable: mobile apps, APIs, wearable computers, smart watches— the list is endless.

Any device. Any information.

Let CloudMine be your entire back-end and data integration suite, ready to go out of the box. Say goodbye to sourcing resumes, awkward interviews and “hoping the newbie works out”, and say hello to a new world of product-oriented bliss.

Come talk with us to see how we can help.

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jadi kemarin gue iseng ke real estate expo nih di JCC. pas di sebelahnya ada wedding expo, nah demen lah itu kakak dan abang ipar nongkri di sana, membiarkan gue sendiri menikmati atmosfir artis karena dateng dengan penampilan seperti artis di hari terakhir real estate expo:

"mba ini mumpung lagi promo hari terakhir harganya diskon banget. doorprize motor lagi belum ada yang ambil" boro-boro motor, mobil aja masih terseok-seok nyetirnya.

"kalo condotel begini hobi dibeli bule deh mba, apalagi menghadap ke laut begini. mba pacarnya bule kan? kelihatan… suruh beli ini mba, investasi oke banget ini" #colekpaketandukbanteng

"minat yang mana mba? ayo masuk aja dulu liat-liat maketnya" WHAT? OH NOOO saya lagi reppppressing mbaa, tau ga sih saya deppppressing mbaaa ngeliat maket-maket, jadi keinget ngiris-ngiris jari di atas maket yang saya bangun 4 tahun non stop

dan jalan ibarat jalan di red carpet dengan tangan menggapai-gapai ke gue. dan dikejar-kejar minta no.telepon (buat telemarketing palingan…). dan panen selebaran. ok thanks bisa gue pelajarin gue jadiin alas makan atau diloak kalau udah tanggal tua.

habis energi. untung ada stand telkomsel, jadi sempet beli no cantik baru kartu Halo yang 10 digit #masihadaayaampun #thanksGod

tapi gue gatau lagi gimana cara menginfokan ke orang-orang kalo udah ganti nomer LAGI… ini aja ada yang sekalinya ngehubungin, eh isinya amukan massa T^T abis bete ah axis suka gaada sinyal huhuk, terus nyuruh-nyuruh gue terus buat ganti simcard ke konter xl, sekalian aja deh ganti tsel. wleee :P

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Alhamdulillah. Akhirnya yah. Selamat ya mas mbaa. Semoga rumah tangganya sakinah, mawadah, warahmah🙆🎉 with August and Ria – Watch on Path.

built.io Joins The Mobile Backend On-Premises Gang

Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) is an increasingly important sector. It’s a space chock-full of competition. Parse (acquired by Facebook), Kinvey, Xamarin and solutions from Amazon Web Services all aim to make it easier for organizations to create mobile application solutions. It’s a natural enough thought that if organizations are delivering mobile applications, they’re likely happy enough to do so using the public cloud. However that’s not the case, often there is a use case that demands that vendors use tools on-premises to deliver all of their application requirements. Be it regulatory requirements, internal compliance reasons or plain old-fashionedness, sometimes people want an on-premises option. Just recently Kinvey caused a stir when it announced an on-premises offering of its MBaaS and today it is the turn of built.io to do similar. It is announcing a dedicated solution which is available on VMware’s hybrid cloud offering, vCHS. The interesting thing about the built.io dedicated solution is that it is available seamlessly on public or pruvate infrastructure. Indeed one of the advantages of vCHS is the commonality that it offers between different cloud deliver options. built.io covers off many of the functional areas that you’d expect from an MBaaS solution including:

http://twt.lu/1spVRlk

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