How to Create a Chatbot

Chatbots are present on almost every website that is selling a product or service nowadays, and it is a great way to quickly assist your site visitors who may have questions regarding what you offer. Many companies are looking to incorporate a chatbot on their site to get more leads, and here is everything you need to know about how to create a chatbot.

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a virtual assistant that greets the visitors when they visit your website. It is an especially effective tool to have as it enables the users to have constant communication with the app developers and makes them feel important. In addition to this, chatbots are either free to make or cost very little money for a basic chatbot that greets the visitors when they visit the website. Chatbots are powered by AI and are governed by rules. They are designed to learn and mimic human conversations to the maximum possible extent. In addition to this, the more chatbots are running, the more they learn and adapt to the conversations that humans initiate. 

What are the benefits of having a chatbot?

Having a chatbot present at all times is a great way to let the customers engage with the app and allow them to be heard. Furthermore, as the users have the majority of their needs being met via Instagram, Facebook and other platforms, it is pointless to develop a new app just for the sake of having a chatbot. A smarter way to approach it is by integrating the chatbots into the poplar platforms and learning from their interactions with the users.

In addition to being proactive when it comes to customer service, chatbots come in handy when the customers come on to the messenger to talk to someone. If you do not have a customer service executive available, the customers can engage with the chatbots, keeping them on the line. By doing so, the customer service executive can then take over the conversation by then, 

If the app is gaining traffic but cannot convert it into sales, then the chatbot can reach out to the customers with a form to ask them why they did not purchase anything. By doing so, the developers will have a clear idea about the reasons and have the data necessary to ensure that they can work on those issues and convert the traffic into sales. 

Here are some additional benefits of having a chatbot.

How to create a chatbot?

If you are a coding geek, you can code a chatbot framework into existence; however, if you have no clue about coding and want to create a chatbot, you can do that too. This article will go over both coding and non-coding options to create a chatbot.

Non-coding options

Several platforms are quite popular when it comes to creating a chatbot and are easy-to-use. Every step of the way you’ll be asked to enter relevant information which will be used to determine how the chatbot will perform. Follow the following steps to better help you understand what your chatbot needs to be:

1. Know the kind of chatbot you want – This is where you ask what the chatbot needs to achieve. It can either be a simple chatbot that responds to greetings and is governed by rules which dictates how it performs. On the other hand, it can be an adaptive AI-powered chatbot which enables the chatbot to learn from the user interactions and grow.

2. Select the platform for the chatbot’s use – Where is the chatbot going to be deployed? Facebook, Instagram, or will it be hosted on your website? In any case, know where it is going to be deployed, and again, it all boils down to the goal that you are trying to achieve with the chatbot.

3. Opt for the right technology stack – Once you have decided what the chatbot is going to be doing and where it will be working, you can move on to the next step, which is choosing where and how to build it. You can either opt for a chatbot developer to design the bot for you or use the DIY platforms available online. 

4. Design the Conversation – This is where you teach the bot what to do, and if you have opted for chatbot development options of a developer, they’ll get it done for you. But if you have opted for DIY chatbot platforms, then the process is as simple as dragging and dropping. Once done, then you can move on to testing and then deploying the bot in the field.

Coding Options

If you decide to code the chatbot into existence, you can opt for Python, which is the most popular option for most chatbot developers. Developers opt for Python because it is equipped with Artificial Intelligence Markup Language, which makes life easier for developers when they create syntax for complicated chatbot features. In addition to this, Python is used to create all the conversational aspects hosted by the server.

If you do not know anything about coding and are not happy with the no-code options, you can hire a reputable software company that offers chatbot development services. Let the developers handle the entire process from start to finish as you tell them what exactly you are looking for in a chatbot.

Sunvera can help you implement the right software solution for your business while helping you reduce costs and improve operational efficiency. Contact us for a FREE 2-hour consultation. 

What is PaaS in Cloud Computing?

PaaS stands for Platform-as-a-Service, a ready-to-use platform that keeps the architectural structures behind the scenes so that the programmers can focus solely on coding. It enables the developers to keep their attention on the coding aspect without spending time on the infrastructure needed to develop and launch apps. The service is similar to FaaS, which is function-as-a-service. The PaaS service allows the developers to use their servers’ hardware and software, which frees up the developers’ time. In addition to this, many organizations view this as a good option which enables them to operate cost-effectively. 

What does PaaS provide?

PaaS will not transform the existing IT infrastructure of a company for developing the software. It is supplied with the hosted infrastructure of a cloud service provider. Developers often use a web browser to access the services. To provide solutions like hosting an application and Java development, PaaS can be delivered through public, private and hybrid clouds. This includes other PaaS services:

  • Coordination of development teams
  • Development of applications
  • Evaluating and implementation of applications
  • Integration of Web Services
  • Safety of information
  • Integration of the database

The main advantage of PaaS is user-friendliness and convenience. A large number of infrastructure and other IT services are provided by the PaaS provider, which users can access through any web browser. The pay-per-use option allows companies to reduce their operating costs for hardware and software at the premises.

Advantages and Disadvantages of PaaS

Accessibility of service or consistency may be an issue for PaaS. If a provider suffers a service breakdown or other infrastructure breakdown, this can negatively affect clients and lead to expensive productivity deficiencies. Even so, PaaS providers are reasonably busy. There is also a possible issue with organizational change to a PaaS product. For instance, if a PaaS provider does not support the current programming language or chooses to use another set of design tools, it can have disruptive effects on users. 

To know the implication of the provider’s plan on their environment and capacity, customers must adopt the PaaS service provider’s blueprint. Lock-in vendors are another significant issue since many of the knowledge and programs from one PaaS product to another competing product cannot easily migrate. When selecting a PaaS provider, users must assess the corporate risks of service downtime and vendor lock-in.

PaaS products are aimed at the development of software. The platforms provide computer and storage facilities and text editing, versioning, compilation and evaluating services that allow developers to efficiently and decisively develop new software. A PaaS item also allows project managers, irrespective of geographical position, to cooperate and work together.

PaaS architectures hide from developers and other users their underlying infrastructure. This means that the cloud provider handles and operates the server and controls the distribution of resources, which is similar to the serverless computer and function-as-a-services architecture. 

Types of PaaS

The different types of PaaS, are as follows:

  • PaaS Public
  • PaaS Private
  • PaaS Hybrid
  • PaaS Communications
  • PaaS Mobile
  • OpenPaas Open

The most suitable and viable option for developers is Public, as it has enabled them to public cloud applications. Public PaaS allows users to control the deployment of software, while the cloud provider manages the delivery of all other major IT components required for hosting applications, including hardware and software, databases, servers and networks of storage systems.

Public PaaS retailers offer middleware that increases the scope, without the need for infrastructure setup, configuration and control of database servers. PaaS consists of several main processes for cloud infrastructure such as servers, networking systems, hardware and software, storage services, micro-ware, and databases. The PaaS service provider owns, sets up, and manages all of these various technologies.

These managed solutions reduce the client’s administrative burden of IT and provides customers with an attractive financial argument. This is mostly a good option if the developers cannot invest in these essential IT elements to not use them to the most significant degree. PaaS also offers tools like development tools, languages for programming, libraries, database management systems and other such devices that are needed to operate the cloud systems. 

Since PaaS is a cloud-based service, it has many risks involved such as security threats. PaaS is built on the notion of using common resources like networks and servers. Therefore, security risks include installing sensitive data in this setting and stolen data from hackers or other wrong actors because of unauthorized access and attacks. However, the leading cloud services have been better able to prevent such violations than the typical data center. The risk of information security is not what many in IT loathed at first.

Sunvera can help you implement the right software solution for your business while helping you reduce costs and improve operational efficiency. Contact us for a FREE 2-hour consultation. 

5 App Interface Mistakes to Avoid In 2021

With the ever-changing landscape of apps, the needs and demands have changed as well. Keeping this in mind, the most important aspect to note when developing an app is ensuring that the users have an easy time navigating the app. However, if the user interface is too buggy or complicated, then chances are that the users will not return to use the app anymore, and all the time, resources, and energy spent will go to waste. This article highlights five app interface mistakes that developers need to avoid in 2021.

1. Being oblivious to the demands of the users 

One of the most common mistakes that developers make is that they do not know who their users are and who the target audience for the app is. No matter how good the app is, if it is not marketed to the right people, then random traffic will start to visit the app, and the developers will not be able to gain anything out of it as the app will not reach the people who are supposed to be using it in the first place.

Over time, the app will change and evolve, but it has to lay down the right framework to build upon. UCD or User-Centric Design is an approach that most developers take to understand the audience and keep in mind at every step of the development process. Market research will help the developers to understand the needs of the users and cater to them accordingly. 

2. Stuffing Features

Having an app that is focused on a specific use is what the developers must hope to achieve right from the get-go, and if they try to stuff it with loads of features, it will ruin the users’ experience. An app must know what it is trying to achieve and if it does not know that, it will try to do everything and end up doing nothing. An easy way of doing this lies in designing the app with the users’ intent in mind. Having an app that does everything is not necessarily a bad thing, but in that case, have a navigator tool in place so that the users are guided through everything that the app is capable of and how they can use it to achieve what they want to. In addition to this, make the app’s design easily understandable so that first-time users do not get caught up in the app’s intricate design.

3. Using technical terms that the users cannot comprehend.

It is understood that each profession has a specific language that is common among the communities of the practice. However, this language is not known by everyone, and if someone reads a language that they don’t understand the meaning of, they will be put off. It cannot be stressed enough that the app must be presented in a universal language for everyone and even if the need arises where you have to use such words, let the users know what it means. In addition to this, keep in mind that you are designing an app that will most-likely be used by people all over the world, all of whom come from different backgrounds and speak other tongues. The language may be known in the geographical region of the developers. However, if the app is designed for everyone everywhere, then this will not work. 

4. The app UI design is grouped.

When a user tries an app for the first time, the app should not throw excessive features and information in the user’s face where they don’t know what to do. Streamline everything and make everything linear so that the app users understand what they are doing and how to use it in the most efficient way possible. You do not want to have so many pop-ups about your sales that it causes hindrances for the users. Keep it simple, make it visually appealing, and you will have a successful app.

5. Unable to retain the newcomers of the app

The end-goal for every developer is to retain as many users as they can on the app. However, that may not always be the case for numerous reasons, but if the first impression of the app is designed smartly, keeping in mind the newcomers of the app, there is a good chance of retaining them. According to Localytics, 1 in 4 users never return to the app, and it is because they did not have an enjoyable initial experience. 

Let Sunvera build your next million-dollar app with the perfect app interface to attract users. Contact us for a FREE 2-hour consultation. 

How Much Does it Cost to Build An App?

Mobile phones have become a necessity in our lives, and a phone without apps is a useless screen. Around 90% of the time people spend on their phones is on an app. With more than 2.9 million apps available for downloads, it is clear that apps are an effective way to engage the audience and build brand credibility. This article will lay down the roadmap of app building costs and what route to take.  

When it comes to app development cost, there is no specific answer to how much it can be as the price depends on various factors. The cost of developing an application is anywhere between $20,000 and $80,000.

When you set out to develop an app, you can take several routes to ensure that your project does not go over budget, and you can also opt for freelancers instead of going for development companies.

One of the most widespread beliefs in app development is that the more money you cough up, the better the app will be. This is not true because you could opt to work with a freelancer who would charge you significantly lower than what a company would. You could also talk to an app development company and look for areas that are not needed in your app at the moment and remove them, thus driving the cost down.

The cost of app development depends on where the developer is situated. For example, North America and Australia are some of the most expensive app development regions at $150-$200/hr and $168-$250 for iOS. In contrast, the most pocket-friendly options would be India, Indonesia, and Pakistan, each ranging between $11 to $70, respectively.

Local Development or Outsource, which route to take?

There are pros and cons of both of them, but if you know what your app needs and what constraints you are working under, making this choice becomes more effortless.

If you opt to go for the outsourced route, then know that you will have access to a larger talent pool to choose from; you will get lower rates and much more flexibility. In addition to this, there are some cons with it as well such as communication problems which can be due to several reasons. One reason could be different time zones and it may get difficult at times to coordinate appropriately. Lastly, there is a lack of personal involvement, or as the saying goes, things may “get lost in translation.”

But, if you decide to go with local development, you get access to the developers, and you can meet them whenever you want as you will not be limited due to location. In addition to this, you can meet the team to communicate your ideas much more effectively. However, it can go against you if you are working on a tight budget because there may be little talent available, which may be expensive for you.

How much time does it take to develop an app?

How long it takes to develop an app depends on a number of factors. How many platforms are you gunning for? What features are you trying to add to the app? The rough estimate of how much time is needed for an app to be fully developed is as follows:

  • A basic mobile app takes 400-700 hours
  • Apps that have advanced features can take up to 700-1000 hours
  • Highly complex apps that have technologies such as AI, ML, or VR development can take up to 1200 to 2000 hours.

It is worth keeping in mind that these times are right estimates, and in reality, the times can go up or down depending on how swiftly the development teams are working on your app.

How much does app maintenance cost?

When users download an app, they expect regular updates to improve the app and ensure that the app is compatible with all the latest versions of the operating systems. In addition to this, there are often bugs in the app that require sorting out to ensure that the user experience is up and up.

When it comes to calculating how much it will cost to maintain your app, then a good rule of thumb would be to take the 20% of your app’s original development cost, and that will be the cost of maintenance.

When you maintain an app, you are not just paying for the cosmetic changes; you are also paying for the server costs, development costs, content costs, and other such features that ensure that your app is enjoyable in the longer run. Longevity is something that you need to go after because once you rack up those users, you want them to stay, and to do that, you need to give them constant updates.

Sunvera can help you implement the right software solution for your business while helping you reduce costs and improve operational efficiency. Contact us for a FREE 2-hour consultation. 

Apps That Need To Be Invented

With millions of apps taking over the online marketplace, app ideas seem to be in shortage. Here’s a rucksack of ideas for apps that need to be invented. Give it a read and see how there is a gulf in the market that needs to be filled by launching these apps.

Design Your Room With AR

There have been times when we brought a piece of furniture home to find out that it does not go with the décor or that it cannot fit in our homes. To curb those issues, we can have an app that uses augmented reality to help us see whether the piece of furniture would look good or not. By doing so, we will be opening up a whole new pathway for the customers. You could also strike partnerships with furniture companies to let the customers access their wares from the app.

Camera PDF Converter

Converting pdfs is always a task that we have to go out of our way to do. However, there is a need for an app that converts the documents directly into pdfs and stores them for you. By doing so, you will be saving yourself the hassle of storing all the documents in a file and such. Another benefit that this app could be giving to the users is that it gives the users options to store their files as .jpeg files or as multipage pdf files.

Medical App Ideas

There are hundreds of interesting medical apps in the market, but there is also room for more apps that need to be invented. How about an app that looks after you by reminding you of the meds you need to take and what you should eat, keeping in mind your health restrictions? It can be a great app as it can provide the users with the healthy recipes they need; professional chef-bloggers could post recipes on the app and use those recipes. You can also filter out the recipes by letting the app know what health issues you face. For instance, if you suffer from high blood pressure, then the app lets you know of recipes specifically good for people with this issue.

Lastly, the app could be connected to the local grocery stores, and it provides the customers all the grocery stores that have the ingredients they need and if they are available to order.

Uber for Railway

We have apps for almost all modes of transportation. However, one mode that still lacks development are railways. Letting the users know what time the train will be at the station and what stations it goes to and the prices of the seats will greatly reduce the congestions and huge crowds that we often see at railway stations. This app has a chance to be popular because of the rush hour congestions that many countries face. These are two huge markets that the app could start from and then go from there.

Carpooling but Not in an Uber Way

We have many ride-hailing apps, but what we suggest is an app where people post about their trips, such as when and where they will be going, and the people can contact them and hop on to get a ride. There can be a payment method such as both the rider and the passenger can split the gas fare 50/50 or something else that works for them both. By doing so, both the passenger and the driver can get to their destinations without paying a lot for the fuel. In addition to this, this is a great alternative to Uber, where you would not have to pay as much as Uber.

Voice Translation App

One of the biggest barriers that we face when we go abroad is the language barrier. But what if there was an app that converted speech in real time like it listens to what we are saying and translates it into the language that we need. In addition to this, the app could also provide language lessons to the users who would enhance their language skills further.

An App That Helps You Figure Out What to Gift Your Friends

We have all been in the position of having to figure out what we need to gift our friends and family members. This app would be great for people who need help figuring out what to gift, and the app would scour their social media profiles, determine what their likes and dislikes are, and suggest you a list of gifts you could give them.

Sunvera Software provides effective and powerful mobile solutions for business. Whether you need an app to drive eCommerce sales, or attract more clients by providing greater flexibility and easy access to your products and services, we have a solution for everyone. Contact us for a FREE 2-hour consultation.

AWS Migration in 5 Easy Steps

What is AWS?

AWS stands for Amazon Web Services and is a cloud-based solution that is provided by Amazon. AWS is currently being used by millions of customers, businesses, and government agencies. In addition to this, it has 175 web services with data centers across the globe. Furthermore, AWS is scalable, customizable, and innovative.

What is AWS Migration?

In essence, AWS migration is the transferring of data from one cloud service to Amazon, or it could also be the transfer of data from on-premises to the cloud. A lot of data that businesses generate every day and store on-premises is a costly and ineffective process, so transferring the data to the cloud is a much safer and reliable measure since AWS gives you tools to take care of the data, including AWS auto-scaling.

Why should we migrate to AWS?

As per the recent stats, it is predicted that more than 1/3rd of the data would go through the cloud by 2020. Keeping this in mind, there are other reasons as to why you should seriously consider migrating to AWS, such as:

  1. Update your current IT base
  2. Equipt yourself for the future
  3. Minimal setting up costs
  4. Security
  5. Ramp up the business agility
  6. Your website is now getting heavy traffic
  7. Recover data in case of loss

How do we migrate to AWS?

Well, if it is an on-premises server that you used to store the data, then you can migrate your data to AWS using the following steps:

Step 1

Opportunity & Evaluation

It is well documented that 70% of IT projects cannot succeed, and an additional 60% of dev-ops are unable to achieve or bring nothing to the table. The problem can be rooted back to a lack of understanding in the planning process. It would help if you kept in mind numerous core things when you consider migrating, such as your property, the apps, the data, motivations, stakeholders’ goals, and the budget. One of the first things that you need to keep in mind is the Business Architecture Overview; to develop this, the following items need to be done:

  1. Understand the business requirements.
  2. The vision
  3. Stakeholder buy-in
  4. ROI and business plan

Step 2

Portfolio and Planning

In this step, you need to inspect configuration management databases (CMDBs) and tools like AWS Discovery Service or RISC Networks to understand better what’s in the environment. Once you have this knowledge, you can create a strategy to approach critical phases of migrations, i.e., Application and Data Migration.

  1. The licensing process is a complex one, and you need to keep this in mind with AWS migration.
  2. In case you operate a large mainframe, you might need to integrate them accordingly with an SOA/Cloud-Native Application, which will create a hybrid architecture.       
  3. If any of your apps are dependent on one another, then you may need to create a strategy to move them to the cloud without disrupting the order in which they are dependent.

Step 3 & 4

Designing, Migrating & Validating Applications

When migrating, you need to move the least complex app, learn the target platform as you relocate, and then slowly migrate all of your more complex apps onto the system. In addition to this, the team’s Cloud Centers of Excellence help the companies to migrate more effectively without running into any problematic issues. As you move towards the AWS servers, you need to test and decommission the old system simultaneously. These two systems need to be run parallel to ensure that everything is being tested in real-time.

Step 5

Modern Operating Model 

The best strategy to optimize AWS is to automate everything. In addition to this, DevOps is also a practical path that businesses can take to achieve this. Once you have done this, you need to go back to the ROI and the business plan to ensure that the stakeholders are satisfied. The end-users are happy that management changes have taken place to facilitate the shift of the DevOps-centric structure. Lastly, it would be best to evaluate whether you are using the AWS foundation architecture to transform the business because the business plan’s transformation is the primary goal of shifting to AWS.

Sunvera can help you implement the right software solution for your business while helping you reduce costs and improve operational efficiency. Contact us for a FREE 2-hour AWS consultation. 

Applications of AI Across Different Verticals

The term ‘artificial intelligence’ was formed in 1956 at a conference in New Hampshire, and since then, the world has seen a number of milestones with different adoptions of AI. From virtual assistants such as Alexa to self-driving cars, AI technology is helping consumers improve their lives and make everyday operations easier. But what about businesses? How will they be using AI to attract customers, manage their business, and save time? It turns out, different verticals have their own applications of AI to scale their business and overall growth. 

Artificial Intelligence Software Market Growth

As the world continues to adopt AI practices, the software market is growing, as expected. According to Statista, the market is expected to reach $126 billion by 2025. Applications will include natural language processing, robotic process automation, and machine learning. 

COVID-19 Propelling the AI Movement

A major question to address is: Has COVID-19 propelled the AI movement? The answer is yes. 

In a survey by RELX, more than a thousand senior executives were surveyed on the topic of AI adoption during the pandemic. The majority of respondents (68%) increased their investment in AI technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic, 48% invested in new AI technologies while 46% invested further in AI technologies already in use at their companies. Similarly, 63% of business leaders polled reported having a positive experience with applications of AI technologies, as it helped their business stay resilient during rough times.  

However, it is crucial to note that the companies are using AI to increase worker productivity, not necessarily replace labor. That is not to say that AI is not being used to replace labor at all, it just means that those were not the results that were yielded from this survey. 

How AI is Being Used in Different Industries

Healthcare: As healthcare is rapidly transforming, especially during the pandemic, AI is increasing its presence in the vertical through various ways. Check out 5 Ways AI is Transforming the Healthcare Industry. Some other advanced healthcare methods that involve AI and ML are applying it to reduce diagnose errors, improving patient convenience, and assisting in delivering telehealth services.

Agriculture: The terms ‘smart farm’ and ‘farming 4.0’ are spreading fast within the agriculture sector. Both terms are synonyms for automation in farms which involve the application of AI. Robots are ready to take over farms and carry out various processes involved in the food chain including detecting weeds and packing. This will likely take over human jobs as mundane tasks will be handled by advanced technology. 

Manufacturing: Another sector which requires mundane processes to be handled, manufacturers are constantly looking for several tasks to be automated. Luckily, AI is here to save the day again. Common applications of AI include product development, price forecasting for raw materials, and customizing the look and feel of the products as well. 

Retail: Artificial intelligence is changing the way stores operate, both in-store and online. The main goal here is to improve customer service. Whether that is through helping customers find a product in a store, reduce long lines during checkout, or even robots that recognize customers by face and determine their likes and dislikes. The possibilities are endless.

Real Estate: You may have heard of various technology disrupting the real estate scene before, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) online tours. Well, AI is also transforming the way realtors do business in various ways. Realtors can take advantage of this technological shift by incorporating a chatbot to their site, examining Big Data to have more targeting marketing campaigns, and better manage their properties. 

I want to Incorporate AI Technology to My Business, Where Do I Start?

Artificial intelligence can get complex, so you need to partner with a reputable software development company that has decades of experience to examine your business properly and craft the perfect AI solution to scale your business. From AI strategy consulting to development, we got you covered every step of the way. 

Sunvera is one of the top AI companies in Orange County, and can help you implement the right software solution for your business while helping you reduce costs and improve operational efficiency. Contact us for a FREE 2-hour consultation.  

How Precision Farming Produces More and Better Crops

As the world moves towards Industry 4.0, so does the agriculture world. Farmers are becoming more technological with how they grow and sustain their crops, and many are turning to precision farming to be able to produce more crops which can be properly maintained. As a greater number of farmers are seeing great results by using this method, it is clear that this advanced method of farming will take over the agriculture industry in the coming years. 

What is Precision Agriculture?

Precision farming is a method where you use a management system to input every detail you apply to your farm (ex. how much soil is being used in a particular area, how often you water a specific crop etc.), which is then used to make more informed decisions in the future. So in short terms, precision agriculture is a greater level of farm management which yields increased productivity, sustainability, and can help you produce more crops while increasing your harvesting rate. 

Precision Farming Software Market

The software market for precision agriculture was valued at $993.24 million in 2019, and is expected to have a CAGR of 16.7% from 2020 to 2025. These stats indicate that precision farming is one of the fastest growing trends in agriculture. 

Precision Technology in Agriculture

On the more technological side, there are a number of tools that can be integrated with precision agriculture practices. Let’s go over the top three tools being used by farmers.

  1. Global Positioning System (GPS): No, a GPS is not just used for you to navigate through a new area. Farmers need them too! A good GPS system allows farmers to easily locate their crops. GPS also allows for farmers to collect soil samples, map out weed locations, determine what areas of their farm can be harvested, and a lot more. 

  1. Automation: As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to replace human workers with robots, the agriculture world is experiencing the same shift. Automation is quickly taking over farms to handle mundane tasks such as spraying, seeding, harvesting, and packing. 

  1. Sensor-based technology: Sensors are being implemented in farms to determine what actions should be taken based on weather patterns, temperature, pH etc. These further actions can be done either manually or with automation, depending on how technological your farm is. 

You can read about more farming technologies here. 

Where to Start?

Now that you have learned a little bit more about precision agriculture, one of the most important questions may come to your head. How do I implement it, and how easy is it to do so? The answer we have for you is: it depends. It all comes down to which software company you partner with, and how their reputation is. 

Our employees at Sunvera Software have 30+ years of software development experience and have worked with numerous agricultural clients in the past, helping farmers increase their crop production while lowering their farm management and operation costs.

Sunvera can help you implement the right software solution for your business while helping you reduce costs and improve operational efficiency. Contact us for a FREE 2-hour consultation.  

A Guide to HIPAA Compliant Video Conferencing

The COVID-19 situation has prompted thousands of healthcare organizations to turn to online video conferencing to serve their patients. With numerous video conferencing platforms that claim to be HIPAA compliant, many doctors and physicians do not think twice before switching to one. However, there is a lot more you need to know before making the transition to serving patients online through video. It turns out, the current video conferencing platforms in the market may not be HIPAA compliant after all, and the issue of privacy and security persists within these offerings. 

Let’s start from the very beginning so you can get a better idea of what HIPAA compliant really means and how you can securely implement it for your healthcare organization. 

Who Needs To Comply with HIPAA?

Covered Entities: There are three types of ‘covered entities’ under HIPAA. These are health plans, clearinghouses, and certain healthcare providers such as doctors, dentists, pharmacies, clinics, etc., as long as they transmit data in an electronic form that is in connection with a transaction for which HHS has adopted standards.

Business Associates: These are people or entities that carry out tasks involving the use or disclosure of protected health info on behalf of a covered entity or to provide services to them. Some examples are a CPA firm who needs to access protected healthcare info to provide accounting services to a healthcare provider, or an outside medical transcriptionist providing transcription services to a physician

Organizations That Do Not Need To Comply with HIPAA

According to ShareCare, the following organizations are not required to follow HIPAA guidelines:

  • Life insurers
  • Employers
  • Workers’ compensation carriers
  • Most schools and school districts
  • Many state agencies, including child protective agencies
  • Most law enforcement agencies
  • Many municipal offices

Issues with Current ‘HIPAA Compliant’ Video Conferencing Platforms

Zoom: As one of the most-used video conferencing platforms right now, whether it is for a family reunion or a telehealth appointment, Zoom has quite the reputation for being a reliable platform for communication. However, several issues about Zoom not being HIPAA compliant have come into light this year. From hijacking attacks to malware threats, Zoom has undergone a lot of stress trying to solve the various security concerns. Although they may have found a solution to some of the privacy concerns, this popular video conferencing platform is still not deemed entirely HIPAA compliant as there are still remaining issues to fix.

GoToMeeting: Another widely-used platform to schedule meetings online, GoToMeeting also fell prey to online security concerns this year, including a unique vulnerability that exposed its customers to a lot of risk. They were able to resolve it, but no one can predict when something like this can happen again. 

These are just some of the platforms that are deemed as HIPAA compliant, even though they pose numerous security issues. 

Skype and Facetime Are NOT HIPAA Compliant

It is crucial to note that Skype and Facetime, while they can be good platforms for informal communication, CANNOT be used for telehealth services. The reason is because they do not fully meet the criteria that we are about to cover in the next section. There are a number of healthcare providers who think that Skype and Facetime are reliable platforms when they are far from being HIPAA compliant. 

So How Do You Implement HIPAA Compliant Video Conferencing?

Here are some components of HIPAA compliance that you need to know before implementing this technology.

End-to-End Encryption: When implementing a secure video conferencing for your healthcare organization, the very first feature to look out for is end-to-end encryption. This means that only the sender’s device and the receiver’s device can encrypt and decrypt messages sent back and forth, offering a much higher level of security. 

Business Associate Agreement (BAA): A step that covered entities often forget, you need to make sure you have a Business Associate Agreement in place to further protect healthcare info and comply by HIPAA guidelines. You can read more about BAAs here

Peer-to-Peer Sessions: For enhanced quality and security, you also want to check and see if the video is routed directly to the patient’s device, or if it involves a server. Direct peer-to-peer sessions without the need for a server is the best route to go. 

For best practices, your video conferencing solution should have all three of the features listed above. 

With that being said, instead of going forward with risky platforms that yet need improvement, it is best to find a good software development agency with decades of development experience including telehealth solutions to craft the perfect secure video conferencing platform for your healthcare organization, which meets all HIPAA guidelines. 

Sunvera can help you implement the right software solution for your healthcare organization while helping you reduce costs and improve operational efficiency. Contact us for a FREE 2-hour consultation.  

Product Cost Reduction in Manufacturing: 5 Ways

Every manufacturer is looking to reduce product costs involved in the manufacturing process, but many do not want to sacrifice their product design to save money. The part you may be overlooking is that there may be features of your product that do nothing to offer value to customers, and are costing you a load of money. In this article, we go over exactly what you need to look out for in your product design, and what you should eliminate for product cost reduction. Luckily, there are other smart ways to reduce the amount of money that is spent on manufacturing as well which do not involve product design and we want to shine some light on these tips too.

What Can You Do To Reduce The Cost of Manufacturing?

  1. Lean manufacturing: This method is widely used in the manufacturing world, and it is one of the best ways to gain maximum manufacturing cost savings. To put it in simple words, lean manufacturing is efficient production that maximizes productivity while minimizing waste. The waste can come in many forms: time, overproduction, defective products, too much spent on features that customers do not care for etc. There are 5 different components of lean manufacturing which directly translate to product cost reduction, including:
  • Defining value: This is a customer-centric approach. Manufacturers need to define what value means to the customers and focus their efforts on manufacturing a product with the valuable features and nothing excessive that will give a poor return on investment. 

  • Mapping the value stream: Going along with the first point, you now need to decide what route to go to provide a valuable product for the customers. The best way to do this is to first map out all of the processes that will be involved, and then separate the different features of your product into two categories: not valuable but necessary and not valuable and unnecessary. Here’s an example. The cord of a hair dryer is not something that adds value to the hair dryer so the customers naturally do not care about it. However, it is necessary (unless you are going for a cordless hair dryer) for functionality purposes. The features that customers will care about may be the size of the hair dryer, the different buttons that perform various functions, etc. Any extra design on the hair dryer that will do nothing to give customers a good experience with the hair dryer should be eliminated. 

  • Creating flow: After the features of your product have been finalized, you want to balance out the production process to make sure the product is developed efficiently. All of the employees should have a clear idea of what to do. That is essentially what creating flow means.

  • Establishing pull: Since excess inventory is a huge problem that manufacturers often face, it is crucial to have a pull-based system. This is to ensure that you will have all of the materials you need in just the right quantities and the products can be manufactured in time. 

  • Pursuing perfection: They say perfection does not exist, but if you have the mindset of pursuing perfection, you will not be too far off from it. If every employee strives towards perfection and finds different ways to keep improving their product and process, manufacturers will have outstanding results.

  1. Implement smart manufacturing processes: Smart technology has taken over practically every industry such as real estate, healthcare, and now manufacturing. There are endless ways to incorporate smart technology to improve the manufacturing process, including self-driving vehicles for material handling, IoT sensors, and other smart factory monitoring technologies. Smart technology is an attractive option for many manufacturers as there is already a labor shortage. With smart factories, you can have smart technology take over repetitive and mundane processes while employees can work with more complex processes. This can help you cut your manufacturing costs while improving productivity and efficiency. 

  1. Examine your supply chain management software: A good manufacturer will track every step of the process, as well as all of the costs associated with production and availability of resources. A good supply chain management software is an all-in-one solution to keep track of everything. Here are some of the key features of a good supply chain management software. Organization is key to reduce extra unnecessary costs and excess inventory. 

  1. Reduce energy costs: Examining the current energy consumption costs is another good route to go when looking for ways to reduce cost of manufacturing goods. Do you need to upgrade any equipment? Have you installed LED lighting? Is there equipment running when it is not necessary? Ask yourself questions like these and take appropriate actions. 

  1. An employee scheduling solution: An overlooked tip is that of employee scheduling. Since manufacturing is done in a dynamic environment, and employees do not have regular 9-5 jobs, It is critical that the employees are on-site when needed, and they know exactly what their function is. Otherwise, it can result in MAJOR costs as processes can go wrong. An employee shift scheduling solution allows you to assign shifts so you can track exactly who will be at the site and what their job function will be. These solutions can also have a feature for self-scheduling which employees really like. 

Manufacturing processes are making a positive shift to produce more in less time, while saving costs. The best way for you to optimize production with product cost reduction is to utilize both advanced technologies and simple methods to produce smarter while meeting customer demands. 

Sunvera can help you implement the right software solution for your business while helping you reduce costs and improve operational efficiency. Contact us for a FREE 2-hour consultation.