Capital Advisors Group Survey Finds Venture Debt Lenders Are Open for Business

The COVID-19 economic slowdown has stopped many startups and emerging growth companies in their tracks, but lenders who provide needed cash to them during good times are still open for business, according to a national survey (Webcast: https://www.capitaladvisors.com/pressrelease/survey-finds-venture-debt-lenders-are-open-for-business/) conducted by Capital Advisors Group. At the same time, lenders have tightened conditions for approval of loans, requiring more assurances that borrowers are positioned to emerge from the crisis with operations and business models intact.

“Of more than 65 lenders surveyed, 92% said they are still closing deals and negotiating new opportunities for young, emerging companies seeking cash,,” said Stefan Spazek, Capital Advisors Group EVP and director of debt placement. “But requirements are more stringent, and typical timelines to close new deals will likely be extended.”

“Even if lenders are much more cautious during the next one to two quarters, the survey indicates that capital will continue to flow now and as we emerge from the pandemic,” Spazek said. “But it’s also clear that most lenders will be, first and foremost, concerned about investments in their existing portfolios.”

Challenges for a multibillion-dollar specialty debt market

Capital Advisors Group has been advising growth-stage companies on debt financing transactions since 2003. The survey targeted specialty lenders who operate in a multibillion market serving venture backed startups and emerging growth and lower-middle-market companies. Many are still in R&D mode or early product development in high-growth sectors, such as technology, biotech, and healthcare.

“Venture debt” is a broad term that refers to loans that help new and emerging growth businesses extend cash life beyond the venture capital they have raised to reach development milestones. Borrowers may not be profitable or even generate revenue in some cases and may need additional financial support to continue product development, rollout new products or reach profitability. Therefore, they often fall outside the boundaries of normal commercial bank lending criteria.

The market for specialty venture debt financing is estimated at between $10 billion to $20 billion a year in the U.S. Lenders include venture banks, public and private funds, credit arms of business development companies (BDCs), private equity and hedge funds, and other specialty finance companies.

Lending continues with more stringent requirements

Capital Advisors Group fielded the five-question survey in early April to determine how specialty lenders are reacting to market disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lenders were queried on whether they are pursuing new deals and funding transactions already in the pipeline, if and how their underwriting philosophies have changed, if they are still traveling and meeting in person to close deals and, if not, whether they are finding alternative virtual communications options are sufficient.

Among the vast majority who are continuing to lend, most said they have adopted more conservative guidelines for lending. Comments from respondents indicated they are requiring that borrowers have plenty of cash on hand as well as supportive equity sponsors and strong enough balance sheets to raise additional equity and debt in the future.

Virtual transactions replace in-person meetings

When asked how disruptive the pandemic has been to their normal course of business, 77% stated more than somewhat disruptive, and 23% stated it has been extremely disruptive. Nearly all (94%) said they are no longer traveling for live meetings to close deals as they once did.

However, the survey also indicated that sheltering at home during the pandemic may be driving some acceptance of virtual deal-making. More than half of the respondents (58%) said video conferences and other means of communication are sufficient to close deals.

The biggest disruption in venture debt lending since 2008

Spazek said that while the COVID-19 pandemic has created a significant disruption in the venture debt marketplace, there is cause for hope that debt financing for growth companies will remain more readily available than in 2008.

“In 2008 and 2009, equity and debt markets virtually froze for the kinds of emerging growth companies we work with,” Spazek said. “But there is now far more capital in this space than there was then. And the COVID-19 crisis is not driven by the same kinds of fundamental breakdowns in the financial sector that we experienced during the credit crisis.

Building a truly Agile enterprise with QA

Contributed by Cigniti Technologies.

The clarion call to embrace digital transformation is accelerating the pace of software development. Development teams are under pressure to deliver software quickly in response to increasing customer demand. However, going to the market as a first-mover can backfire if your software is not quality-compliant. In a technology-driven world where customer experiences have become the final differentiator in staying competitive, QA is integral to the development pipeline. If your enterprise is not delivering digital experiences of high quality, you risk becoming alienated from the end-users. Further, your market reputation can be damaged and market share lost should your software turn out to be bug-infested. Surprisingly, to beat the competition, enterprises often resort to transforming their software development and delivery processes without prioritizing software quality assurance.

As a result, QA teams are often stuck with ineffective and legacy solutions that are part of the waterfall model. So, as long as enterprises use the waterfall model, their digital transformation journey is bound to remain incomplete. This is due to the fact that in the traditional software development process where software QA testing is done at the end of development and integration, there can be issues galore. The reasons for the issues to remain entrenched in the software are as follows:

  • In the waterfall model of quality assurance and testing, bugs often remain unidentified due to the constraints of manual testing.
  • Since manual testing is taxing for the software quality assurance services, especially concerning repeated regressive testing, testers can falter in testing every piece of code.
  • The scope of testing gets reduced, especially when it comes to testing the code on a slew of platforms, browsers, devices, and networks.
  • In case any bugs are identified, the cost and time required for their removal can be huge. This is because the process would then entail unscrambling the integrated software suite to reach the right bug-infested unit.

To overcome the inadequacies of the waterfall model, enterprises should adopt the agile testing approach. In this, the software development process is shifted left wherein QA is conducted alongside development and not afterward. Let us understand the process better and find out as to what it takes to build a truly agile enterprise with QA.

What is the agile testing approach?

In agile, enterprises aim at becoming robust and flexible to prepare for unexpected events, challenges, or even opportunities. It incorporates policies and procedures that are focused on driving speed and transformation. This way enterprises can achieve continuous delivery of quality software products and services, quickly and consistently.

Any agile testing service has automation at its core. It helps testers by allowing a test automation suite to conduct repetitive tests saving time and cost in the process. Moreover, since the test automation suite can run tests under various test conditions for any number of times, the chances of identifying bugs are significantly high. Besides, running test automation can release manual testers to be deployed for other critical jobs.

How to build a truly agile enterprise

Agile can truly be transformational, provided it follows certain procedures. Let us discuss them in some detail.

Involvement of stakeholders: Since every organization follows a typical ‘work culture,’ which may not be congruent to the agile scheme of things, stakeholders must be taken into confidence. This is important as status quoist working in silos may challenge any change. This can create roadblocks for initiating the change. To overcome such a situation, the management should articulate a clear vision and enable the organization’s culture to be aligned with the vision.

Break the silos: This is a follow-up to the entrenched ‘culture’ where people working in departments or processes (read silos) may not follow a similar process across the organization. The agile process should take explicit steps to get rid of such silos and streamline the overall working environment. This entails better communication that is aligned with the vision of the organization.

Communication at the heart of scrums: In agile methodology, teams are supposed to follow processes that are transparent. To achieve the same, purposeful communication should be established across the scrum-led value chain.

Responding to change: Agile entails quick response to changes instead of following a fixed plan. The changes can come from customers’ feedback, the advent of new technologies, growing competition, or within the organization. So, in a ‘perform or perish’ landscape, agile will allow your enterprise to remain adaptable, sustainable, and result-oriented.

Conclusion

Agile has become a critical requirement for enterprises to remain competitive and cost-effective. It is arguably the way forward to address the changes that are driven by technology and customer preferences. QA has become the ultimate lynchpin upon which enterprises can ride their way to success or oblivion depending on the efficacy of their agile transformation.

Top Mobile App Development Tools for 2020

Contributed by Curotec.

Mobile application development is no longer an afterthought. Smart companies have moved to a mobile-first approach for both web and app creation, considering the features and functionality that will be most important to someone working on their phone or tablet before tackling the desktop version.

Whether you work for a mobile application development company or a company that is building an app for their teams or customers, it’s crucial to be aware of the tools that will make your job easier and ensure a better product. But mobile app development tools are constantly changing and evolving to adapt to device advancements, standards, and capabilities. We’ve compiled a list of modern tools that will help today’s mobile app developers create stunning and highly usable applications.

App Development Frameworks & Cross-Platform Development Tools

Xamarin

Despite being purchased by Microsoft in 2016, Xamarin remains cross-platform. It extends the .Net platform for mobile development and adds both cross-platform and platform-specific libraries, editor extensions, and support for XAML for building dynamic mobile apps using C#. Xamarin is free and open source.

Ionic

Ionic offers a number of tools for developers, including the Ionic Framework. This free, open-source UI toolkit for mobile development enables developers to create native apps for iOS, Android, and the web from a single cross-platform codebase.

Appcelerator

As its name implies, Appcelerator’s purpose is to accelerate the development of mobile applications for iOS, Android, Windows, and HTML5 applications. Pricing ranges from free for a single user to a Pro account with expanded features at $200/month. Enterprise licenses are also available. Appcelerator allows you to write cross-platform applications in JavaScript that run natively on devices.

PhoneGap

PhoneGap is Adobe’s answer to Microsoft’s Xamarin. Developers can use web development skills to create hybrid applications easily using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript giving you a single codebase to maintain. However, hybrid mobile applications come with compromises, so developers should consider the trade-offs of easy development and maintenance with reduced potential for functionality.

BuildFire

BuildFire marries no-code application development with custom development capabilities. It’s drag-and-drop interface makes it simple for devs and even business users to create interfaces quickly but also backs that with a developer SDK. BuildFire comes with hundreds of templates as well as plugins for common services like YouTube and Shopify.

Mobile Testing Tools

Experitest

Experitest is a powerful suite that offers mobile test development, execution, performance testing, and test analytics. Experitest integration with your IDE, allowing you to run Appium and Selenium test without changes. It works with a variety of testing frameworks, and tests can be developed in C#, Python, Java, Ruby, and more.

TestProject

Both cloud-based and free, TestProject is a community-supported end-to-end test automation platform for web, mobile, and APIs. As an open-source project, you can share actions with the community and leverage ones that other developers have built or download addons for the platform. And it’s built on Selenium and Appium.

Appium

Appium is a test automation tool for iOS and  Android versions from 2.3 and up. It’s open-source and supports a wide range of programming languages. It’s compatible with any testing framework. One of the most impressive things about Appium is the breadth of applications you can test, from hybrid and native applications to mobile web apps, making it a useful tool for web development companies that also do mobile development. 

Augmented Reality & AI Tools

Easy AR

The EasyAR SDK simplifies the development of augmented reality applications and functionality. With multiple subscription levels, app developers can use the SDK to create sparse and dense 3D mesh maps in real-time, track motion and relative positioning, and map and track 3D objects and planar images.

TenserFlow Lite

While TensorFlow opened machine learning to everyone with its open-source library, TensorFlow Mobile (and what will likely be its successor, TensorFlow Lite) open the world of AI for mobile development. TensorFlow Mobile gives developers access to functionality for speech, gesture, and image recognition, optical character recognition, voice synthesis, and object localization, and more. 

Geolocation & Push Notifications

Pusher

Pusher offers a number of tools to help mobile developers create rich experiences. Pusher’s APIs enable real-time communication features, including in-app chat and programmatic push notification. It’s cross-platform capabilities are offered through hosted APIs and offers automatic scaling and high volume throughput and batch processing.

Amazon SNS

Amazon’s Simple Notification Service (SNS) offers a fully managed solution for many-to-many messaging. Not surprising, but SNS can manage high-throughput, push notifications. It’s backed by AWS, so reliability isn’t a concern, and the system is heavily focused on decoupling publish and subscriber services.

Urban Airship

Urban Airship has been around for a while, but it’s still a top application to help companies reach their customer in the moment they are needed – what Google refers to as “micro-moments”. With Urban Airship’s push notification service, brands can reach out to customers with personalized messages that are specific to their actions and attributes. 

13 Ways To Onboard Happy Employees and Increase Retention

A good onboarding process can help you increase retention and make sure new hires get up and running quickly. Get our favorite tips for better onboarding.

The onboarding experience is a crucial first impression for your new hires. As an employer, it offers the opportunity to set people up for success within your company, and feel that they’ve made the right choice in joining your team.

In this way, onboarding is also helpful for employee retention. A great onboarding process helps new hires become effective employees sooner, which builds their confidence and helps them grow.

Read more.

For further inquiries please contact Melissa Putterman: [email protected] || w:929-236-9750

Why independent software testing is the best way to approach Quality Assurance

Contributed by Cigniti Technologies.

Today, everything boils down to customer satisfaction. The technological advancements taking place across the industries are being undertaken to deliver enriched customer experiences and improve the user satisfaction ratio. Customer satisfaction, in today’s market dynamics, rely on three key factors – speed of delivery, cost effectiveness, and, most importantly, quality. If the customers are able to derive value from a product/service, their satisfaction levels will rise proportionally.

During 2019-2023, the global market of software testing services is expected to grow by USD 29.84 billion, accelerating at a CAGR of over 12%. Software companies are trying to break away from the legacy processes and methodologies as well as the old-school approach toward software development, where QA was placed at the bottom of the priority scale.

For companies to build quality offerings, they need time, which they do not have in spare due to fierce market competition. In order to align both quality as well as delivery speed, automation becomes the key. Consequently, the test automation services market is also growing exponentially along the software testing services. In fact, software test automation is one of the key reasons for the rising market share. However, neither automation nor quality comes cheap.

Hosting a test environment, maintaining test tools and test cases, developing the infrastructure is all too cumbersome and cost-intensive. Independent software testing services prove to be a boon here. Partnering with an external QA vendor for Independent software testing services allow you to leverage the advantage of a dedicated testing team without the challenges of maintaining such a team. Let us discuss why independent software testing is the best way to approach Quality Assurance:

Quality of testing

The developers who have written a code are often unable to look at it objectively, which means that there is a high chance that they will miss a critical bug. An independent testing team brings an unbiased and impartial view to software testing, which helps in maximum defect detection and minimum defect leakage to the production. This is all about bringing in a fresh perspective and a new outlook toward assessing a software for errors and glitches. More the number of defects found and resolved, higher the quality of the final product and better the performance.

Less effort, more focus

Traditionally, developers were expected to write, integrate, as well as test a code. This would lead to burnout, and therefore subpar quality of codes and a lot of defects in production. With an independent testing team to back them up, developers can center their focus entirely on writing an effective code while the hired testers will bear the responsibility of finding the bugs. Testers also come with knowledge of industry standards and compliance, which results in an end-product that is developed following the best practices.

Cost effectiveness

An independent testing services company has its own set of the required testing infrastructure. This removes the need for businesses to set up the hardware or software required for testing or to maintain testing practices, test environments, and tools. Also, as there is minimum defect leakage into production, the iterations for each software development cycle is decreased. All of this collectively results in reduction of overall costs.

Faster releases

With a separate testing team taking care of the quality aspect, development and testing can occur in parallel with each other. The automation expertise of the independent software testing services provider adds to the ability of delivering a quality software in shorter turnaround time. A dedicated testing team becomes key to ensuring success of such contemporary software development methodologies such as Agile and DevOps.

In Conclusion

As per Forrester, “much of the recent growth in outsourced application services has been fueled by customers engaging independent testing services where the development provider is separate from the provider performing the testing.” Independent pure-play software testing providers have all their resources dedicated toward quality assurance. They have all the required tools, infrastructure, processes, and resources, along with the expertise and experience.

The Next-Gen Technology Landscape of the Healthcare Sector

Contributed by Cigniti Technologies.

The healthcare sector is expected to touch $390.7 billion by 2024. Let us discuss the next-gen technologies that are going to impact the healthcare sector.

  • Internet of Things (IoT): Sensor-embedded devices exchanging information over the internet (IoT devices) are finding their way across technology landscapes. These have found usage in the healthcare sector and are making a profound impact on the health of users. By redefining or reshaping diagnostics, disease management, and preemptive care, IoT devices, including the wearables, will become more common in future. To ensure the success of these devices so that they are able to manage life threatening conditions, healthcare software testing should be the norm. Let us understand how IoT devices can be of help in the healthcare sector in the days to come.
    • Tracking locations in real-time: One of the major challenges the healthcare staff needs to grapple with is locating medical devices in real time. For example, portable devices like nebulizers, scales, defibrillators, and ECG devices, among others, are often moved across the healthcare facility. They are often left at places where finding them can become a challenge, especially when there is an emergency. However, should these devices or apparatus be equipped with IoT sensors, they can be easily monitored in real-time. This can help the stakeholders to monitor and manage the healthcare environment.
    • Share health data: Physicians are often challenged by the lack of data concerning the vital parameters of patients. These may include blood pressure, heart rate, and calories burnt, among others. In the absence of such data, carrying out correct diagnosis can become difficult leaving the patients in limbo. However, wearable IoT enabled devices can allow the sharing of vital parameters of patients leading to a quicker and accurate diagnosis. To make sure these devices perform to their optimum and do not suffer from glitches, conducting healthcare application testing becomes a critical requirement.

As IoT based devices capable of providing real-time data become commonplace, efficient diagnostics and care will increase. They will help healthcare professionals in saving lives with the help of data, analytics, and better decision making.

  • 3D Printing: This technology is used to create physical objects from digital data. The examples of 3D-printed prosthetics and human heart model are helping amputees and medical professionals, respectively. The global market for this technology is expected to reach $2,319.5 million by 2020. Let us discuss the latest innovations in 3D printing.
    • Prosthetics: One of the major challenges amputees face in wearing prosthetics is a lack of customization. Prosthetic devices made in the assembly line are made as per general measurements. This is where 3D printing has come as a godsend for physically-challenged patients. Here, patients’ exact specifications concerning the body part(s) are obtained digitally and personalized variants of prosthetics are built. These provide greater maneuverability to the patients, helping them lead their lives with ease.
    • Tissue engineering: The technology helps to recreate damaged tissues and intricate body parts – printed ears, hands, livers, eyes, or hearts. This can be of great help in trauma cases where patients have lost a body part, organ, or tissue. Tissue engineering helps to create functional constructs for damaged tissues or organs. Here, engineered materials combined with stem cells can create the required cell type.
    • Surgical tools: Surgery is becoming more precise with less incisions to be made. This calls for personalized surgical tools to help surgeons in making precise incisions and implanting medical devices. 3D printing with its disruptive application can bring about greater personalization and cost benefits.
  • Artificial Intelligence: This is defined as machines induced with intelligence having the ability to mimic human brain functions. The healthcare sector can benefit immensely by embracing AI. It can drastically improve patient outcomes with medical professionals leveraging AI-enabled medical knowledge. AI-enabled systems can help medical professionals with real-time, relevant, and quality information to derive suitable inferences. These can help in reducing the cost of treatment, elimination of unnecessary procedures, streamlining workflows, and building patient-centric treatment protocols.

AI systems can help in diagnosing chronic health conditions like diabetes, coronary heart disease, and cancer, among others, within minutes. They can do so by analyzing the vital parameters of patients saved in electronic records. Thus, the systems can reduce the need for unnecessary biopsies or even surgeries to diagnose a condition. However, these systems must be subjected to intense healthcare compliance testing to ensure they function as per the expected outcomes.

  • Liquid biopsy: Today, the diagnosis and monitoring of cancer are costly, time-consuming, painful, and invasive. With liquid biopsy, cancer cells can be extracted from a blood sample without having to conduct costly and painful recurring biopsies. The technology will help to monitor tumors in a non-invasive manner even better than a CT scan.

Conclusion

The healthcare industry is going to face disruption thanks to the advent of advanced technologies. To ensure these technologies perform to their optimum and deliver expected outcomes, they should undergo healthcare QA testing. Moreover, since technology is not always flawless and can engender a number of glitches, even driven by human factors, healthcare tech QA can be of help. It can ensure continuous testing of the devices or built-in software as part of the delivery pipeline. Healthcare tech QA can lead to reduced technical errors, better compliance with regulations, and save lives.

 

How To Choose A Mobile App Development Company That’s Right For You

Contributed by Curotec.

According to the Pew Research Center in a report from June of 2019, 96% of Americans now own a cellphone, and 81% have a smartphone. For an entrepreneur, that’s a huge potential audience for a mobile app.

If you’ve got an idea for a mobile app – whether it’s to promote your brand, provide mobile access to an e-commerce experience, or offer a charitable solution to a community challenge – you’ll likely find yourself needing help bringing your vision to life. Finding the right mobile app development company is as important as coming up with a great idea.

How do you choose the right development company? Here are a few tips on making your search as productive as possible.

First, get your ducks in a row

One of the most important steps needed in finding the right mobile application development company for your idea is to flesh out the idea first. Knowing what you want to create, and what you need help with to do that will narrow your search.

If all you have is the initial concept and the goals you’re hoping to achieve with the mobile application, that’s ok. Your search should include full-service companies that can help you carve out your requirements and define the features, as well as design and develop the product. You may need to go as far as to find an organization that can help with marketing and testing, but you’ll also need to be prepared to pay for that kind of end-to-end product development.

If you have the product well defined, you may be looking for a development firm that can help with design, usability, and development. If you have a design or have worked with a designer to outline the look and feel and user interface, you may only need a partner that can execute the development work.

Whatever stage you’re at with your application, be honest with yourself on where you need help. Understanding where you’re short in planning and development will guide you in choosing the right partner or partners to build what you envision.

Locating the right company

Once you know what help you need, you can better identify the right firm. There are a few ways to go about that.

Ask your network

If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve likely got a network of like-minded individuals who have explored similar projects. Reach out to your trusted network and ask for recommendations. Your network can steer you to – or away from – companies they have worked with or those that they have networked with.

Referral Sites

A boon to entrepreneurs who don’t know where to start, referral sites like Clutch.co can help uncover highly qualified companies with the capabilities you need. Many of these sites allow you to filter results by ratings and reviews. If you’re looking to work with a local company that you can meet with face to face, you can also filter by zip code or location.

Online Search

Telling you to “Google it” might seem like obvious advice, but it’s less about searching and more about what you search for. Again, if you’re looking for a local firm that you can meet face to face, you’ll want to try searching for something like “mobile application development in Philadelphia”. 

Another thing you can try looking for is something like “web application development in Philadelphia”. Many web development companies have capabilities in mobile development as well. However, as we’ll discuss in the next section, you’ll want to be sure that they have actually created mobile apps and not just mobile-ready websites. The upside is that a web development company with mobile development capabilities should also be able to help you with a marketing site to support your mobile app’s release.

Ask the right questions

Once you’ve found a few mobile development companies to consider, it’s time to talk to them and ask the hard questions. At this point, you’ll want to share specifics with them, so it’s best to have an NDA ready to go that will allow you to share details of your application without the fear of losing your idea.

Before talking to anyone, prepare a list of questions that will uncover their experience in the areas most important to you. Don’t shy away from subjects like cost and cost containment. Here’s just a few potential questions to start with:

Have you built mobile apps from the ground up?

What is your application design process?

Once started, what will the development process look like for me?

How do you set feature priorities?

Talk about your experience with two very different mobile applications you’ve developed.

What is some of the most challenging features you’ve needed to develop?
How do you ensure that you stay close to your estimate?

How do you handle cost overruns?

What other services do you offer that would compliment my project?

How will you scope the project?

 

You should also request customer referrals. If available, follow up and talk to their former customers to find out what their experience was like. While a provided customer referral is likely to give a positive review, it will also give you the opportunity to dig into what it’s like to partner with the company.

The key to finding a great mobile application company in Philadelphia or anywhere else is to keep your eye on the ball. Understand what you’ve got and where you need help, and don’t be afraid to ask hard questions. A skilled mobile development company will be able to show you their work and speak confidently about your challenges and what to look forward to as you watch your vision become a reality.

Why Choose Magento for Your e-Commerce Solution?

Contributed by Curotec.

Remember in high school when some kids would do the popular thing because lots of other people did it, and others avoided that same thing, for the same reason? When you got older, you discovered that the popularity of something wasn’t a good reason to do (or avoid doing) a thing. 

Yet, sometimes, even in business, there is wisdom in crowds. When an application is superior to others – when it’s more stable, has more features, and increases opportunities – it’s not uncommon for many companies to flock to that solution.

So when more than one-quarter of the e-commerce sites in the world turn to a specific platform, it’s worth it to take notice. 

In other words, if you’re implementing an e-commerce site, it’s worth it to pay attention to Magento. Giants like Coca-cola, Ford, and Nestle use Magento for their businesses. And unlike many other enterprise solutions, it’s possible for small business owners to use as well as Fortune 500 corporations with the Magento Opensource and Commerce options. 

If you’re wondering why you should choose Magento, that’s just the start.

Purpose designed for e-commerce

E-commerce functionality is available on nearly every web platform today. Whether you’re using WordPress or Wix, there is an e-commerce plug-in or add on available.

Those platforms were not built specifically for e-commerce, however, and that means that they are limited in what can be added. Worse, it’s difficult to ensure that those plug-ins are completely secure.

Magento was built as a an e-commerce solution from the very start. The result? Functionality to support a seamless customer experience and ease of use on the backend were built with intent, not added on later. Magento doesn’t try to be all things to all people. It does one thing, and it does it very well.

Mobile Ready

It’s never been more important that an e-commerce site be mobile-ready than it is today. Mobile searches have surpassed those completed on a desktop computer, and SEO algorithms return sites on a mobile search with a preference for sites that are mobile optimized.

Without a mobile shopping experience, merchants are willingly walking away from a lot of sales. In 2018, e-commerce resulted in $6.2 billion in sales with nearly one-third of that coming from smartphones.

With Magento as your site’s platform, there is no need to customize and adapt your site for mobile. With HTML5, image scaling, and more, Magento sites are inherently responsive, ensuring customers get a great experience no matter how they access your site.

Extensible, customizable, and scalable

Magento made the choice early on to be open source, and developers have responded well. Not only does this give companies a free option for use of the software, but it also created an environment where developers can and have created additional modules and extensions so that the platform works the way you want it to. Also, the community is always testing and enhancing the platform, keeping it secure and bug-free.

Magento is also customizable to match an organization’s branding, look, and feel. From colors to layouts, the style of a site can be completely defined by the merchant. If customizing either front end or back end is outside of your abilities, there are experienced and skilled Magento e-commerce agencies with the ability to help you get exactly what you want.

But probably one of the biggest features of Magento is the availability of APIs. Using these application interfaces, Magento can be integrated with a multitude of other applications, including billing, CRM, and 3rd party logistics.

Expert developers and support

If customizing and extending your e-commerce site is outside of your abilities, you’re likely considering hiring experts to help. The process of finding the right partner to stand up your e-commerce site can be nerve-racking.

Magento has been around long enough for developers to have gained expertise in implementing the platform. Magento also offers a certification exam, giving developers an opportunity to prove their knowledge to potential clients. Finding a reliable e-commerce agency or consulting firm that offers Magento e-commerce support services is less daunting when you know that they have proven themselves by attaining certification. 

Whether you’re just launching your e-commerce business or considering migrating to a new platform to give you a secure, scalable, and extensible solution, Magento is worth looking at. Almost 200,000 online storefronts can’t be wrong.

If you’re looking for a Magento agency in Philadelphia, contact us. We’d love to hear about your project and let you know if we’d be able to build a flexible and well-designed e-commerce site for you that your customer will love using. 

Future of Caregiving is Here

Written by Joe Cellucci, Founder & CEO, Xverity, Inc.

Support for care-dependent older adults has basically remained unchanged and largely disjointed for generations. The usual care circle has included a physician who diagnoses and prescribes medications and unpaid family member(s), possibly supplemented with professional home health and social care aides who help with daily needs and routine tasks. Traditionally, there has been little or no communication among them often resulting in confusion and conflicting care protocols.

Although the principal players haven’t changed, the conventional caregiving model is being challenged by the convergence of unprecedented forces building to a perfect storm:

  • Aging population – 76 million Baby Boomers will be older than 65 by 2030 and older Americans will make up 21% of the population.
  • Multi-morbidities – Nearly 80% of Medicare beneficiaries have at least 2 chronic conditions, more than 60% have at least 3 and estimates are that 26% of the US population will be living with multiple chronic conditions by 2030.
  • Aging in place – 76% of Americans age 50 and older prefer to remain in their current residence and 77% would like to stay in their community as long as possible.
  • Rising health care costs – Medical expenses for the elderly more than double between the ages of 70 and 90, exceeding $25,000 annually for a person in his or her 90s based on Medicare data.
  • Families are half the size they were 50 years ago, and adult children are employed, making caregiving difficult. In addition, nearly half of adults live, on average, 700 miles from family.
  • Looming caregiver crisis – Experts project that by 2030 there will be only 4 potential caregivers available for each person 80 or older, down from a high of more than 7 in 2010.

The fallout from these forces has placed a heavy burden on the historically disconnected, inefficient US healthcare system, creating a need and opportunity for innovation. In response, rapidly emerging assistive technologies deployed within the hospital and beyond its walls are now enabling healthcare providers to assure older patients with chronic conditions an uninterrupted, efficient continuum of quality care at lower costs.  The new model also emphasizes the criticality of engaging and empowering the caregiver, the care recipient and other members of the care circle.

This scenario illustrates the utopian vision for digital home care: Charlotte Wilson, 70, a tech-savvy diabetic who lives alone in her “smart” home, is awakened each morning by a housekeeping robot when it detects that Charlotte is in her lightest sleep phase.  She takes her 3-D printed medication containing all the drugs prescribed for the day; puts on biofeedback clothing made of fabric that continually monitors her vital signs and moods, indexes her overall health well-being, and enables her to move about without a walker; beams her three grandchildren into her home for a quick visit using holographic technology, and rides to her doctor’s appointment in an autonomous vehicle available on demand. Charlotte is digitally connected to an interactive, personalized ecosystem that anticipates and adapts to her needs, is accessible on demand 24/7, and is designed to assure safety, security and peace of mind for her and for the members of her caregiving circle. Sensors are continually monitoring her for problems with balance, signs of depression or prolonged periods of loneliness so that appropriate remedies can be dispatched.

Plausible?  Absolutely! From my vantage point as a serial entrepreneur in solutions technology and founder of Xverity, Inc., a technology-enabled caregiving services company, I believe it’s  conceivable that under the right circumstances, AI and robotics will make it possible to provide care for seniors without a human even being present.

At Xverity, we’ve created CAREGIVERASSIST SM   , a high-tech/high-touch caregiving ecosystem to support caregivers and care recipients. Our primary goals are to help relieve some of the stress caregivers experience, especially those who hold full time jobs, and avoid the feelings of isolation and dependency that lead to bouts of depression among older adults. Addressing the social determinants of health is at the core of our solution for continuous, quality caregiving.

Subscribers access the CAREGIVERASSIST  Services Hub built on a SaaS platform for on-demand, direct access to an array of needed services such as transportation, home delivery of prepared meals and groceries, home maintenance and repair, medication alerts and refills, in-home monitoring and communication devices and a host of other social services to keep the care recipient engaged, comfortable, safe and secure with dignity.  Also available is a prepaid card to pay for transactions, keep track of purchases made through the Hub and mitigate fraud risks by people who prey on older adults.  A monthly statement of transactions is a useful record of eligible expenses reimbursable under Medicare. Recognizing the value of non-clinical services, CMS now offers social determinants of health benefits such as meal delivery, rides to the grocery store, or a service that would make a care-dependent older adult’s home environment more conducive to healthy living.

For added peace of mind in the event of a question or a need for an intervention, CAREGIVERASSIST  provides 24/7 access by voice, web or text to a Help Center staffed by trained advisors.

The Internet of Things Genie is out of the bottle, allowing communication pathways between devices, timely sharing of actionable data and remote command and control of multiple diagnostic, monitoring and telemedicine treatment systems.  Much of the futuristic technology needed to help reduce hospital readmissions and avoid unnecessary visits to the ER by older adults already exists and is being applied at an accelerated rate in virtually every area of caregiving for adults with chronic illnesses and disabilities.