Is REST Going to Rest in Peace?

Is REST Going to Rest in Peace

Recently I came across one tweet saying “#Rest APIs are now #RestInPeace APIs”. Working with Rest APIs since last so many years, something like this was really intimidating to envision. Though I heard about GraphQL, which in some ways is being seen as the replacement of REST; however is this really the case? Is GraphQL going to do the same to REST which JSON did to XML? Is it just the server round trips which will cost REST its existence?

I spent few a days educating myself looking into various aspects, differences, doing some tests etc. to try to come to a conclusion on this.

REST (Representational State Transfer) evolved at a stage when the server was dominating the web application domain. Most of the complex business rules, heavy processing etc. was done at the server end. So it was the server, which was eventually in command. Depending on the requirements, you will have to create different endpoints to fetch relevant information. However, adding more features on top of this, you may end up making four, five or even more different API calls to fetch the relevant data as per extended functionalities or complexities within the same set of data. You can still manage it up to a level, but eventually it would mean maintaining multiple API codes, just to ensure that it works for both, new and old clients, and in turn offering tightly coupled services to clients. I hope you are well aware of the nightmares involved in handling this after a certain point.

This is primarily the area where GraphQL tends to fill in the gap and provides a mechanism to retrieve a broader data schema and then allowing the client to pick exactly what he requires. So it puts the client in command to specify what data is exactly required. Developers who have been working with REST since long time now may feel uneasy going ahead with GraphQL but I feel it is not that hard. It is definitely worth a try and looks pretty mature in handling what is expected out of it. It is certainly an overhaul and the choice of usage should be done based on various factors like the type of application, the nature of API’s, etc. Regarding REST, I do not see a mass exodus right away,but GraphQL may be used as an auxiliary interface to the endpoints for now and hence can work in conjunction with REST.

Final Words:

In today’s world of rapidly advancing technology, the existence of any technical platform has been always in threat,  but still there are technologies (like REST) which have seen tremendous acceptance and usage worldwide. The core principles and guidelines will always be the stepping stones for newer technologies and this battleground will continue to bring out the best of the lot.

The Pain and Promises of the Beacon Technology in the Retail Sector

The Pain and Promises of the Beacon Technology in the Retail Sector

Technology is advancing at a rapid pace, turning science fiction into reality gradually. The beacon technology is one such technological advancement that was once a figment of the imagination of countless researchers. Let’s glance through at how beacon technology is sprouting and changing our business world.

What is a Beacon?

A Beacon is a small, battery-powered, wireless sensor with a built-in Bluetooth device (chip) that works on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). It allows the Bluetooth enabled devices to receive data within short distances.

The beacon device is purposely designed in such a way that it can be fixed anywhere easily and be efficiently used by everyone. It constantly broadcasts a radio signal, and when a device receives this signal, it reads the ID of the beacon and hence triggering the action in the smartphone app. What makes a beacon technology different is its ability to ‘awaken’ an app that has been downloaded on the smartphone but is not open.

Diving Deep into the Beacon Technology

Most beacons use the BLE technology as it requires low energy consumption and operation costs. The technology only allows for small amounts of data transmission, and hence is the reason why most beacons only transmit their IDs.

Beacons consist of three values:

•  Universally unique identifier (UUID)
•  Major value
•  Minor value

The purpose of transmitting this ID is to differentiate a beacon from all other beacons in an area. The major and minor values are the integer values given to the beacon for greater accuracy in identification. The beacons also carry information about its signal power to determine the proximity of the source.

iBeacon

Presented at the World Wide Developer’s Conference in 2014 as part of Apple’s iOS 7, iBeacon is a brand name created by Apple Inc. It is a technological improvement by Apple that has been implemented in the location framework in iOS 7 and the newer operating systems. As described earlier, iBeacon uses BLE technology to sense propinquity and transmit UUIDs that trigger actions in an attuned app or operating system.

Eddystone – A Game Changer

In response to the iBeacons, Google came up with its beacon project, known as the Eddystone, with more open and flexible approach. Eddystone is Google’s cross-platform, open-source BLE beacon format. Unlike iBeacons, it broadcasts not only the UUID but also pre-programmed web page URLs and thus does not require the installation of specific apps.

The Empowerment of the Beacons

With this sweeping rise in beacon technology, companies are investing in this technology to generate greater revenues. Below is a brief detail about how the retail industry is utilizing and availing the benefits of beacon technology:

The swiftly growing e-Commerce industry has resulted in the decrease of footfall and in-store sales for both the small retailers as well as big brands. In-stores have understood that they have to imitate e-commerce in the expanses of personalized offers and shopping experiences.

Therefore, retail is a critical area where the beacon app development services are expected to bring a huge impact – from proximity marketing to contact less payments to in-store analytics. By the end of 2017, 85% of the retail industry is expected to leverage the beacon technology. Despite the hype, the technology has some great revolutionary aspects to offer. Let’s learn a few:

Beacons send location awareness alerts, updates on merchandise/products, and promotional notifications to lure a passerby to enter the store. It can also be used to analyze customers who walk past the store and their visit duration. This analysis will help in making strategic decisions on product display.

Beacons use in-store navigation and provide real-world analytics like:

•  The areas and items a customer likes to explore
•  Where a customer spent most of her/his time
•  What and when s/he makes a purchase
•  Most in-store rushed locations
•  In-store deserted locations
•  Busiest days of the store
•  Number of people who walk into their store per day

These data provides insight into customer behavior and store performance. This analysis will help the retailers to organize their products, prices and place their products in strategic locations on strategic days and time. By knowing the repeated visitors to the store, retailers can reward those customers with loyalty benefits for their purchase.

Beacon makes a customer’s in-store journey personalized and unique. It fetches data from the wish list of a customer and notifies him when he comes across that particular product. It also recommends products based on price, quality, and offers to provide better in-store experience.

The customers who have already set up their payment information through their smartphone can use a connected beacon and complete their purchase by processing their payment without waiting in long queues. When a payment is done, the stock will be automatically updated (Worth Reading: The Sporadic Growth of Mobile Payment Gateways).

The beacon development services are progressively spreading, not just in the retail space but in the various other sectors as well. Beacons help businesses to attract more customers and to understand the demands of their potential customers. It is a cost-effective and targeted marketing technique that promotes your sales and generates higher revenues.

What Virtual Reality Means To Marketing?

What Virtual Reality Means To Marketing

VR Technology has always been a cool and fun idea. We all have seen it in movies and televisions, where the driver consumer thirsts for the level of immersion that leads the characters experience while using it. Finally that fun idea has turned into an actual reality. Since the splash of functional VR has hit, website development companies have been taking a hard look at the virtual reality to see what exactly VR means for marketing. Let’s dive deeper into this subject:

Where VR is today

Virtual reality has progressed from the ‘cute’ technical phase to the ‘interesting-possibilities’ phase, as the technology has made significant advances over the past few years. It all started when Facebook launched the Oculus Rift in 2012, which was then followed by Google’s release of Cardboard in 2014, Samsung’s Gear in 2015 and PlayStation’s VR in 2016 with HTC’s Hive.

At present, there are more than 40 million VR users all around the globe. The Google Cardboard app has been downloaded over 10 million times and there are over 250 VR apps on Google Play. Most of the VR headsets sold are geared to work with mobile devices.

Marketing ad numbers look fantastic at the moment with both install rates from ads and ad success rates with over 1000% of mobile. However, these numbers need to be measured with a grain of salt since the experience is so new, people are more inclined to check everything out as compared to how many people presently tune ads out on mobile devices and computers.

As it stands, VR market is growing at a stupendous speed and has a lot of interest from consumers, including a large segment of Gen Z. From the marketing perspective, VR should look like a freshly wrought field that is just waiting to be sown.

How can marketing fit into VR?

Marketing and virtual reality idyllically will combine in the same way that video content and marketing did. In some ways, VR is a glorified version of that medium. Thus we can draw some parallels on how it can be used.

To be fair, some businesses will not need to worry about VR. For some businesses, the idea of VR will not decode into something useful for their brand because their audience would not want or need to see them in the VR world.

With that being said, here are some ways VR can and should be used to help in marketing products or services:

VR Instructions: VR Instructions sport instructions of all types, how-to style videos or anything that currently exists as an instructional video has the ability to become better via virtual reality.

VR Tours: Businesses that fall under the hospitality genre such as hotels, theme parks, or wineries can all look at VR as a way to give customers the perfect tour to showcase what your business has to offer.

VR Conferences: If you are hosting a live speaking convention, you can now allow other people to enjoy it through virtual reality.

VR Content: Video content is something that is currently being digested by users, who can upgrade to VR content or at least should consider as something to be upgraded.

If you are planning to use VR, the main thing to remember is that you should be aiming to provide a complete experience for a user that is better than how they can currently digest content. That means being more immersed, have the ability to see and explore everything you offer, and have a sound that matches up properly.

You don’t want others to feel like you have provided them some cheap content that is being utilized simply because it is VR. Instead, they should feel the experience is better than what they could find in a two dimensional offering.

Summing Up
The bottom line is that Virtual Reality has gone from the fantasy stage to a reality that is really exciting. Now that the technology is permanently involved with our imagination enough to make this useful, it is a matter of determining the best means to apply the tech to a business situation in a pleasing, impressive manner. How well we can do that eventually will show what VR can mean to marketing.