Blog Feedblog.bluegrassdigital.com21/11/2017 11:38:00umbraco v4Blog feed of Bluegrass DigitalenWe are building the Reservation Solution for restaurants using React Nativehttp://blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/november/9/we-are-building-the-reservation-solution-for-restaurants-using-react-native/Sam Gqomoblog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/november/9/we-are-building-the-reservation-solution-for-restaurants-using-react-native/

Bluegrass Digital has been tasked by Dineplan to develop a new consumer mobile app using REACT NATIVE for Android and IOS platforms.

Dineplan is an online booking system for restaurants which is designed to be intuitive and easy to use. It is currently a B2B platform, however this application will serve the consumer with the main objective in delivering the best restaurant instant booking application in South Africa.

Restaurants can register on the platform and users can navigate through the database to check availability and make real time bookings.

React Native has made this project a great challenge for our software engineers. With React Native, you don't build a “mobile web app”, an “HTML5 app”, or a “hybrid app”. Y

ou build a real mobile app that's indistinguishable from an app built using Objective-C or Java. React Native uses the same fundamental UI building blocks as regular iOS and Android apps. You just put those building blocks together using JavaScript and React.

Dineplan

Bluegrass Digital has been tasked by Dineplan to develop a new consumer mobile app using REACT NATIVE for Android and IOS platforms.

Dineplan is an online booking system for restaurants which is designed to be intuitive and easy to use. It is currently a B2B platform, however this application will serve the consumer with the main objective in delivering the best restaurant instant booking application in South Africa.

Restaurants can register on the platform and users can navigate through the database to check availability and make real time bookings.

React Native has made this project a great challenge for our software engineers. With React Native, you don't build a “mobile web app”, an “HTML5 app”, or a “hybrid app”. Y

ou build a real mobile app that's indistinguishable from an app built using Objective-C or Java. React Native uses the same fundamental UI building blocks as regular iOS and Android apps. You just put those building blocks together using JavaScript and React.

Dineplan

Magento vs. Episerverhttp://blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/november/16/magento-vs-episerver/Bluegrass Marketing Teamblog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/november/16/magento-vs-episerver/

There is no denying that Magento is a strong player in the ecommerce market.  Magento has significant market share and a large community of developers.  Magento Enterprise has strong ecommerce functionality.  It can be customized to meet a variety of needs, and it offers a marketplace of extensions that enable you to enhance your store with functionality that has already been developed by others.

So why not choose Magento?  I believe that a platform needs to meet the needs of all parties involved.  So let’s look at this from a few different points of view:

For Marketers: Content marketing is known as the most popular and most effective tactic for B2B marketers.  (Source: Forrester).  Content builds relationships.  Relationships are critical in the world of B2B ecommerce.  Magento is not a Content Management System.  Can you edit content in it?  Sure.  Is it built for marketers strategically using content to grow their business?  No.  To leverage content with Magento you will likely use extensions with limited content capabilities, or you will stand up another web platform next to it.

For IT: Extensions may have conflicts with one another.  Extensions may not be compatible with your next upgrade.  As you customize Magento for your company’s needs, you will increase the costs to maintain and upgrade it in the future.  Your team will need to provide technical support for multiple platforms due to the fact that your company will need other tools to handle content, intranets and other web portals.  

For End Users:  The user experience will be limited by the platform.  Improvements in the user experience increase technical debt, increasing the costs of maintaining the system overall.  Assuming another platform is being used to handle content, users will likely see a disconnect between the content and commerce.  This may evidence itself in the following ways: menu navigation changes between the commerce site and content site, marketing content doesn’t lead users into related products, search results won’t bring back products and content; or multiple logins may be needed to interact with access to company resources.

For Business Owners: Magento Enterprise’s licensing is revenue-based.  While there can be a rationale for this, as a business owner myself, I don’t like it.  A major selling point of ecommerce is enabling companies to leverage ecommerce for profitable growth.  As you increase your revenue, I would rather not be giving that up to my ecommerce platform.  In addition, maintaining customizations and managing extensions through upgrades will be labor intensive.  Instead of using development dollars to innovate, you end up using development dollars to keep your platform alive.

Why is Episerver a better fit for B2B Ecommerce?

For Marketers: Episerver was created around content management and offers powerful marketing capabilities that are intuitive to maintain.  Episerver is in its third year as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management, and it is one of only 2 vendors in the top 10 (with Oracle) of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce that offer native web content management capabilities.  Episerver’s best-of-breed approach supports connections with leading marketing platforms, like Marketo, Salesforce (CRM and Marketing Cloud), IBM Marketing Cloud (Silverpop), Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Oracle Eloqua and Hubspot.  In addition, Episerver’s focus on leveraging machine learning to personalize the user experience means less work for marketers with better results. 

For IT: You can build every web platform your company needs on Episerver (public site, distributor site, vendor portal, etc.).  With fewer systems to maintain, your job becomes easier.  Episerver offers cloud and on-premise licensing options, offering you the ability to select the path that makes the most sense for you.  Episerver’s API enables other company applications to be driven from the data stored in Episerver.  Your developers will love the architecture of Episerver.  The product is technically elegant.

For End Users:  Episerver’s personalization features (i.e. visitor groups, personalized product recommendations, and personalized search results) give users an experience that was built just for them – with minimal maintenance time for your marketing and development teams.  Even better, you can design the experience that will be best for your user, not starting from what already exists on a given platform or extension, but simply considering what interface will be best for them.  The technology gives freedom to user experience design.

For Business Owners: Upgrade costs are minimized through a strong technical architecture.  You spend money on functionality that drives revenue instead of keeping your platform alive.  Episerver is a platform that enables you to innovate and to compete strategically.  You are no longer simply matching the functionality that your online competition is offering, you are offering your customers resources and tools that no one else does that cause them to return to you again and again.

Looking at the Bigger Picture

Amazon is a disruptor.  While this was first most noticeable in retail, it is increasingly impacting B2B markets as well.  B2B has an advantage as compared to retail because the buying process is more complex.  This makes it more difficult to recreate online.  Difficult, but certainly not impossible.  Amazon Business is competing for B2B business as well.

At the end of the day, no one can out-Amazon Amazon.  If you want to compete through online commerce, you need to think about how to play the game differently.  I believe that content is one of the key strategies for doing that.  How do you believe you can use the web to compete in a new way?  If content will play a role in your strategy, I would recommend including Episerver in your platform research.  

Source: http://www.episerver.com/learn/resources/blog/guest-blogger-lori-mcdonald/magento-vs.-episerver-why-choose-epi-for-your-b2b-ecommerce-site/

There is no denying that Magento is a strong player in the ecommerce market.  Magento has significant market share and a large community of developers.  Magento Enterprise has strong ecommerce functionality.  It can be customized to meet a variety of needs, and it offers a marketplace of extensions that enable you to enhance your store with functionality that has already been developed by others.

So why not choose Magento?  I believe that a platform needs to meet the needs of all parties involved.  So let’s look at this from a few different points of view:

For Marketers: Content marketing is known as the most popular and most effective tactic for B2B marketers.  (Source: Forrester).  Content builds relationships.  Relationships are critical in the world of B2B ecommerce.  Magento is not a Content Management System.  Can you edit content in it?  Sure.  Is it built for marketers strategically using content to grow their business?  No.  To leverage content with Magento you will likely use extensions with limited content capabilities, or you will stand up another web platform next to it.

For IT: Extensions may have conflicts with one another.  Extensions may not be compatible with your next upgrade.  As you customize Magento for your company’s needs, you will increase the costs to maintain and upgrade it in the future.  Your team will need to provide technical support for multiple platforms due to the fact that your company will need other tools to handle content, intranets and other web portals.  

For End Users:  The user experience will be limited by the platform.  Improvements in the user experience increase technical debt, increasing the costs of maintaining the system overall.  Assuming another platform is being used to handle content, users will likely see a disconnect between the content and commerce.  This may evidence itself in the following ways: menu navigation changes between the commerce site and content site, marketing content doesn’t lead users into related products, search results won’t bring back products and content; or multiple logins may be needed to interact with access to company resources.

For Business Owners: Magento Enterprise’s licensing is revenue-based.  While there can be a rationale for this, as a business owner myself, I don’t like it.  A major selling point of ecommerce is enabling companies to leverage ecommerce for profitable growth.  As you increase your revenue, I would rather not be giving that up to my ecommerce platform.  In addition, maintaining customizations and managing extensions through upgrades will be labor intensive.  Instead of using development dollars to innovate, you end up using development dollars to keep your platform alive.

Why is Episerver a better fit for B2B Ecommerce?

For Marketers: Episerver was created around content management and offers powerful marketing capabilities that are intuitive to maintain.  Episerver is in its third year as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management, and it is one of only 2 vendors in the top 10 (with Oracle) of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce that offer native web content management capabilities.  Episerver’s best-of-breed approach supports connections with leading marketing platforms, like Marketo, Salesforce (CRM and Marketing Cloud), IBM Marketing Cloud (Silverpop), Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Oracle Eloqua and Hubspot.  In addition, Episerver’s focus on leveraging machine learning to personalize the user experience means less work for marketers with better results. 

For IT: You can build every web platform your company needs on Episerver (public site, distributor site, vendor portal, etc.).  With fewer systems to maintain, your job becomes easier.  Episerver offers cloud and on-premise licensing options, offering you the ability to select the path that makes the most sense for you.  Episerver’s API enables other company applications to be driven from the data stored in Episerver.  Your developers will love the architecture of Episerver.  The product is technically elegant.

For End Users:  Episerver’s personalization features (i.e. visitor groups, personalized product recommendations, and personalized search results) give users an experience that was built just for them – with minimal maintenance time for your marketing and development teams.  Even better, you can design the experience that will be best for your user, not starting from what already exists on a given platform or extension, but simply considering what interface will be best for them.  The technology gives freedom to user experience design.

For Business Owners: Upgrade costs are minimized through a strong technical architecture.  You spend money on functionality that drives revenue instead of keeping your platform alive.  Episerver is a platform that enables you to innovate and to compete strategically.  You are no longer simply matching the functionality that your online competition is offering, you are offering your customers resources and tools that no one else does that cause them to return to you again and again.

Looking at the Bigger Picture

Amazon is a disruptor.  While this was first most noticeable in retail, it is increasingly impacting B2B markets as well.  B2B has an advantage as compared to retail because the buying process is more complex.  This makes it more difficult to recreate online.  Difficult, but certainly not impossible.  Amazon Business is competing for B2B business as well.

At the end of the day, no one can out-Amazon Amazon.  If you want to compete through online commerce, you need to think about how to play the game differently.  I believe that content is one of the key strategies for doing that.  How do you believe you can use the web to compete in a new way?  If content will play a role in your strategy, I would recommend including Episerver in your platform research.  

Source: http://www.episerver.com/learn/resources/blog/guest-blogger-lori-mcdonald/magento-vs.-episerver-why-choose-epi-for-your-b2b-ecommerce-site/

Managing the Cloudhttp://blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/november/14/managing-the-cloud/Bluegrass Marketing Teamblog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/november/14/managing-the-cloud/

We design and build solutions that stretch across your data centre, our data centre and the public cloud. Our end-to-end solutions provide you with the combination of people and expertise to design, build and run your hybrid cloud platform.

Moving to the Cloud

Most organisations are already on the cloud. When taking the leap and migrating your IT infrastructure off-premise there are a few things to consider. The most significant concern for those considering the move to the cloud is security.

Immediate recommendations include:

1. Ensuring you have an enterprise grade firewall and optionally, if you are running public facing websites or apps a web application firewall. Ensure that these are fully integrated with your cloud security monitoring tool.

2. Implement a specialised cloud security solution which includes anti-malware, Intrusion detection, application scanning and encryption as a minimum. Ensure that you have an effective patch management solution and patch daily where change management allows.

3. Use threat behavioural analytics to scan for anomalies in user account access, scan both your fabric and applications for vulnerabilities on a regular basis. Use a log analytics solution to consume data from all parts of your infrastructure, including identity management, virtual machines, appliances and networks, this will allow you to have a unified view of potential threats and can give you the capability to act automatically with automation.

Managing the Cloud

The public cloud is a fast-moving environment with major implications for networking, identity and user access. As an early adopter of the cloud, we can help you navigate this world and manage your public cloud environment for you.

 

We design and build solutions that stretch across your data centre, our data centre and the public cloud. Our end-to-end solutions provide you with the combination of people and expertise to design, build and run your hybrid cloud platform.

Moving to the Cloud

Most organisations are already on the cloud. When taking the leap and migrating your IT infrastructure off-premise there are a few things to consider. The most significant concern for those considering the move to the cloud is security.

Immediate recommendations include:

1. Ensuring you have an enterprise grade firewall and optionally, if you are running public facing websites or apps a web application firewall. Ensure that these are fully integrated with your cloud security monitoring tool.

2. Implement a specialised cloud security solution which includes anti-malware, Intrusion detection, application scanning and encryption as a minimum. Ensure that you have an effective patch management solution and patch daily where change management allows.

3. Use threat behavioural analytics to scan for anomalies in user account access, scan both your fabric and applications for vulnerabilities on a regular basis. Use a log analytics solution to consume data from all parts of your infrastructure, including identity management, virtual machines, appliances and networks, this will allow you to have a unified view of potential threats and can give you the capability to act automatically with automation.

Managing the Cloud

The public cloud is a fast-moving environment with major implications for networking, identity and user access. As an early adopter of the cloud, we can help you navigate this world and manage your public cloud environment for you.

 

What is machine learning?http://blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/october/19/what-is-machine-learning/Bluegrass Marketing Teamblog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/october/19/what-is-machine-learning/

Machine learning is one of the most useful and widespread manifestations of artificial intelligence currently in-use in a commercial context. A machine learning system is an algorithm with the capability to independently optimise its own processes by analysing and acting upon the data generated by its own activities. With this data, machine learning simulates the human decision-making process by using predictive analysis. This technology is already used across a huge range of web applications.

it’s important to note that machine learning is not the same as AI. While they are currently being used interchangeably, they have some clear differences. Here are some of them:

What is the Difference Between Machine Learning and AI

AI is the broader concept of machines undertaking tasks in a way that us humans would consider intelligent. In other words, AI is when a machine can undertake a task as well, if not better than a human would.

Machine learning is a subset of AI, whereby we provide a machine with data and it then learns on its own. Instead of being programmed to do something, machines are given the information they need to do it themselves. Simply put, machine learning is one of the applications that is driving AI development. With that in mind, it is crucial that we get the machine learning right so that we can grow the AI side of things.

Machine learning is one of the most useful and widespread manifestations of artificial intelligence currently in-use in a commercial context. A machine learning system is an algorithm with the capability to independently optimise its own processes by analysing and acting upon the data generated by its own activities. With this data, machine learning simulates the human decision-making process by using predictive analysis. This technology is already used across a huge range of web applications.

it’s important to note that machine learning is not the same as AI. While they are currently being used interchangeably, they have some clear differences. Here are some of them:

What is the Difference Between Machine Learning and AI

AI is the broader concept of machines undertaking tasks in a way that us humans would consider intelligent. In other words, AI is when a machine can undertake a task as well, if not better than a human would.

Machine learning is a subset of AI, whereby we provide a machine with data and it then learns on its own. Instead of being programmed to do something, machines are given the information they need to do it themselves. Simply put, machine learning is one of the applications that is driving AI development. With that in mind, it is crucial that we get the machine learning right so that we can grow the AI side of things.

Contextual local experiences on a global scalehttp://blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/november/7/contextual-local-experiences-on-a-global-scale/blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/november/7/contextual-local-experiences-on-a-global-scale/

Our connected world presents exciting opportunities for companies to do business in new markets Episerver’s digital commerce platform makes this easier than ever. It includes functionality to enable global collaboration while supporting local experiences, payments and fulfillment.

Finding the balance between global brand consistency and tailored content and services for local markets can be tricky.

Episerver provides a number of features that enable you to efficiently grow your global business, collaborate across markets, and curate the best localized customer experiences.

  • Global scale for local markets – Define local markets and create targeted, localized customer experiences, with local product assortments, content and services.
  • Collaborate to curate – Support any business structure with roles, approval flows and real-time collaboration across the business.
  • Scale with ease – Refine your global presence as you grow using a single solution. Episerver allows you to quickly configure markets with local content and connections to services as you grow.

 - Source EpiServer.

Our connected world presents exciting opportunities for companies to do business in new markets Episerver’s digital commerce platform makes this easier than ever. It includes functionality to enable global collaboration while supporting local experiences, payments and fulfillment.

Finding the balance between global brand consistency and tailored content and services for local markets can be tricky.

Episerver provides a number of features that enable you to efficiently grow your global business, collaborate across markets, and curate the best localized customer experiences.

  • Global scale for local markets – Define local markets and create targeted, localized customer experiences, with local product assortments, content and services.
  • Collaborate to curate – Support any business structure with roles, approval flows and real-time collaboration across the business.
  • Scale with ease – Refine your global presence as you grow using a single solution. Episerver allows you to quickly configure markets with local content and connections to services as you grow.

 - Source EpiServer.

Innovation Dayhttp://blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/october/26/innovation-day/Sam Gqomoblog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/october/26/innovation-day/

We recently visited the Nelson Mandela University for the annual “Innovation Day” project exhibition. We got to check out the amazing third year software development, support services and communication networks projects.

Projects varied from pharmaceutical apps and websites to projects that solve education and transport solutions. Well done to the students. We hope that you will join our team one day!

Inno

We recently visited the Nelson Mandela University for the annual “Innovation Day” project exhibition. We got to check out the amazing third year software development, support services and communication networks projects.

Projects varied from pharmaceutical apps and websites to projects that solve education and transport solutions. Well done to the students. We hope that you will join our team one day!

Inno

Migrate your website to HTTPS http://blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/october/20/migrate-your-website-to-https/blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/october/20/migrate-your-website-to-https/

Many company’s approach their web hosting company or web developers to advise on the HTTPS migration, who make it seem like a simple ‘switch’. While it appears fairly simple on the server side, unless they are an SEO specialist - or are completely aware of Google’s recommended process to switch to HTTPS to prevent SEO or ranking issues - they are not likely aware of the impact of switching to HTTPS without a proper SEO migration plan. 

Over the past few months, we have seen a number of websites, who have failed to apply a proper HTTPS migration plan, suffer massively in their rankings and leads due to duplicate content and indexing problems, as well as a host of other complications.

Warning: Attempting to switch to HTTPS without a proper SEO migration plan will hurt your rankings. Do not make the switch without consulting with an SEO expert.

If you and your SEO Specialist feel comfortable attempting the migration to HTTPS on your own, then perhaps this checklist below may serve as some guide.

Many company’s approach their web hosting company or web developers to advise on the HTTPS migration, who make it seem like a simple ‘switch’. While it appears fairly simple on the server side, unless they are an SEO specialist - or are completely aware of Google’s recommended process to switch to HTTPS to prevent SEO or ranking issues - they are not likely aware of the impact of switching to HTTPS without a proper SEO migration plan. 

Over the past few months, we have seen a number of websites, who have failed to apply a proper HTTPS migration plan, suffer massively in their rankings and leads due to duplicate content and indexing problems, as well as a host of other complications.

Warning: Attempting to switch to HTTPS without a proper SEO migration plan will hurt your rankings. Do not make the switch without consulting with an SEO expert.

If you and your SEO Specialist feel comfortable attempting the migration to HTTPS on your own, then perhaps this checklist below may serve as some guide.

The LEAN Startup methodology http://blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/october/17/the-lean-startup-methodology-for-startups/Nick Durrantblog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/october/17/the-lean-startup-methodology-for-startups/

The Lean Startup Methodology is a key driver in getting the desired products to customers' hands faster. This methodology has been widely adopted for managing and teaching startups how to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere and grow a business with maximum acceleration.

Many startups adopt an “on the fly” approach and fail to use tailored management practices. By using the Lean approach, companies can create order by providing tools to test a vision continuously. Lean isn't simply about spending less money. Lean isn't just about failing fast, failing cheap. It is about putting a process, a methodology around the development of a product.

By the time that product is ready to be distributed widely, it will already have established customers. It will have solved real problems and offer detailed specifications for what needs to be built.

The Lean methodology can make the process of starting a company less risky and is recommended as it it favors experimentation over elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition, and iterative design over traditional “big design up front” development. 

The Lean Startup Methodology is a key driver in getting the desired products to customers' hands faster. This methodology has been widely adopted for managing and teaching startups how to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere and grow a business with maximum acceleration.

Many startups adopt an “on the fly” approach and fail to use tailored management practices. By using the Lean approach, companies can create order by providing tools to test a vision continuously. Lean isn't simply about spending less money. Lean isn't just about failing fast, failing cheap. It is about putting a process, a methodology around the development of a product.

By the time that product is ready to be distributed widely, it will already have established customers. It will have solved real problems and offer detailed specifications for what needs to be built.

The Lean methodology can make the process of starting a company less risky and is recommended as it it favors experimentation over elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition, and iterative design over traditional “big design up front” development. 

Bluegrass Digital takes over the world!http://blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/october/12/bluegrass-digital-takes-over-the-world!/blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/october/12/bluegrass-digital-takes-over-the-world!/

Over the years we have partnered with brands and agencies to harness the opportunities of the fast-changing digital media landscape, while finding new ways to connect with their audiences in a more responsive and engaging way.

We’ve been around for 20 years and have partners like VCCP and AKQA to vouch for the work we have done in several sectors.

We have the best team of software engineers in the game because they’re passionate about what they do. They get excited about bringing results the clients need, on time and on budget.

Our partnerships are built on shared values of greater impact and endurance because these harness the strengths of each team to solve a common challenge where everyone is vested in the outcome.

Bg -office

Over the years we have partnered with brands and agencies to harness the opportunities of the fast-changing digital media landscape, while finding new ways to connect with their audiences in a more responsive and engaging way.

We’ve been around for 20 years and have partners like VCCP and AKQA to vouch for the work we have done in several sectors.

We have the best team of software engineers in the game because they’re passionate about what they do. They get excited about bringing results the clients need, on time and on budget.

Our partnerships are built on shared values of greater impact and endurance because these harness the strengths of each team to solve a common challenge where everyone is vested in the outcome.

Bg -office

Will AI replace humans?http://blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/october/11/will-ai-replace-humans/Bluegrass Marketing Teamblog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/october/11/will-ai-replace-humans/

Advances in artificial intelligence should be used to help humans and machines work together, rather than to create competition between them in everything from chess matches to the job market.

Ai

Here are three ways that AI can be integrated in the business.

1.Understand the benefits AI presents

AI is an evolutionary technology that gets smarter and smarter as it learns. In a few years time, many things won’t seem as “futuristic” as they do right now.

 2.Choose the right talent

AI is all about choosing the right talent. AI requires developers to develop algorithms that drive the logic.

 3.Use the platforms that are available

Businesses can build upon many new AI platforms. focus instead on the business value we want to drive out versus platform issues.

Advances in artificial intelligence should be used to help humans and machines work together, rather than to create competition between them in everything from chess matches to the job market.

Ai

Here are three ways that AI can be integrated in the business.

1.Understand the benefits AI presents

AI is an evolutionary technology that gets smarter and smarter as it learns. In a few years time, many things won’t seem as “futuristic” as they do right now.

 2.Choose the right talent

AI is all about choosing the right talent. AI requires developers to develop algorithms that drive the logic.

 3.Use the platforms that are available

Businesses can build upon many new AI platforms. focus instead on the business value we want to drive out versus platform issues.

Breaking down the Azure Migration Processhttp://blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/october/10/breaking-down-the-azure-migration-process/Staff Writerblog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/october/10/breaking-down-the-azure-migration-process/

Azure provides customers with VMs that are all running on “host” servers. Each VM will run a workload (in most cases, a “guest” operating system).

Microsoft manages the host servers and is responsible for their operation, including updates, patches and other maintenance.

The VMs and their “guest” OS is where you take over, and you stay in charge up through the applications running on the guest OS. If you think about it, that’s really no different than running your own physical servers or VMs on-premises. 

When you deploy a guest OS, the “osVersion” is one attribute that gets set. This indicates the OS in use and the Azure version that’s currently installed. The osVersion attribute can easily be set to allow the newest versions of the guest OS to be updated upon release.

But again, you should test to make sure the new version doesn’t break any of your application software before committing to it. To do this, choose the manual method in which you manage updates and patches or have a managed service provider like Agile IT handle it for you.

Azure provides customers with VMs that are all running on “host” servers. Each VM will run a workload (in most cases, a “guest” operating system).

Microsoft manages the host servers and is responsible for their operation, including updates, patches and other maintenance.

The VMs and their “guest” OS is where you take over, and you stay in charge up through the applications running on the guest OS. If you think about it, that’s really no different than running your own physical servers or VMs on-premises. 

When you deploy a guest OS, the “osVersion” is one attribute that gets set. This indicates the OS in use and the Azure version that’s currently installed. The osVersion attribute can easily be set to allow the newest versions of the guest OS to be updated upon release.

But again, you should test to make sure the new version doesn’t break any of your application software before committing to it. To do this, choose the manual method in which you manage updates and patches or have a managed service provider like Agile IT handle it for you.

New migration tools for Node.js developershttp://blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/october/4/new-migration-tools-for-node-js-developers/blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/october/4/new-migration-tools-for-node-js-developers/

By partnering with nearForm Microsoft Azure is now bringing their multi-year expertise in architecting, designing and supporting Node.js apps to developers as they adopt Azure and build on top of our cloud.

Node

Every day, more and more Node.js developers choose to build and deploy on top of Azure, and Microsoft continues in its commitment to make investments in the area. 

nearForm is a provider of "full-stack JavaScript solutions" and specializes in training, consulting, and support for companies, with its main focus being Node.js. The firm has even put together a conference centered around this runtime.

This partnership will yield something called the nearForm Migration and Developer Support Services - taking a page out of Microsoft's naming handbook - which seeks to help developers move their Node.js apps to Azure, while at the same time, providing "enterprise-grade" support for those who wish to do so.

By partnering with nearForm Microsoft Azure is now bringing their multi-year expertise in architecting, designing and supporting Node.js apps to developers as they adopt Azure and build on top of our cloud.

Node

Every day, more and more Node.js developers choose to build and deploy on top of Azure, and Microsoft continues in its commitment to make investments in the area. 

nearForm is a provider of "full-stack JavaScript solutions" and specializes in training, consulting, and support for companies, with its main focus being Node.js. The firm has even put together a conference centered around this runtime.

This partnership will yield something called the nearForm Migration and Developer Support Services - taking a page out of Microsoft's naming handbook - which seeks to help developers move their Node.js apps to Azure, while at the same time, providing "enterprise-grade" support for those who wish to do so.

PaaS or IaaS?http://blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/october/3/paas-or-iaas/Staff Writerblog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/october/3/paas-or-iaas/

Selecting the right cloud services platform -- usually between IaaS and PaaS - on which to deploy a microservices architecture and develop microservices is never easy.

With IaaS, the organization gets the big package of infrastructure services, including hosted network, server, storage and development tools. The pros and cons of IaaS for microservices development and deployment are the same: The organization has to use IaaS and sometimes third-party tools to build its own DevOps platform. The big questions here are: Does the DevOps team have the skills and, more important, the time to build? And would the broader customization options of build your own be valuable?

That's not to say customization isn't possible with most PaaS offerings, but the key value of PaaS is its packaged and integrated one-stop toolkit. The need for speed is a top driver for choosing PaaS, which comes with automated development, deployment, provisioning, security and other application lifecycle management tools. While a build-your-own IaaS development platform requires maintenance by the in-house DevOps team, the PaaS user gets updates and maintenance services from the provider.

Selecting the right cloud services platform -- usually between IaaS and PaaS - on which to deploy a microservices architecture and develop microservices is never easy.

With IaaS, the organization gets the big package of infrastructure services, including hosted network, server, storage and development tools. The pros and cons of IaaS for microservices development and deployment are the same: The organization has to use IaaS and sometimes third-party tools to build its own DevOps platform. The big questions here are: Does the DevOps team have the skills and, more important, the time to build? And would the broader customization options of build your own be valuable?

That's not to say customization isn't possible with most PaaS offerings, but the key value of PaaS is its packaged and integrated one-stop toolkit. The need for speed is a top driver for choosing PaaS, which comes with automated development, deployment, provisioning, security and other application lifecycle management tools. While a build-your-own IaaS development platform requires maintenance by the in-house DevOps team, the PaaS user gets updates and maintenance services from the provider.

Three examples of augmented reality in retail appshttp://blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/september/29/three-examples-of-augmented-reality-in-retail-apps/blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/september/29/three-examples-of-augmented-reality-in-retail-apps/

BIC

Stationery brand has turned to AR ot design an app for kids, called Drawybook, which  adds a gamification element to colouring – acting as an alternative to standard mobile gaming apps that children often turn to. The ‘Draw & Scan’ feature encourages kids to create their own art by bringing it to life with special overlaid effects.

Bic

Dulux Visualiser

Dulux Visualiser uses AR in their simple but highly effective home interiors-related app. Like most AR apps, it works by using your smartphone camera to detect wall edges and surfaces, letting users select the specific area that should be virtually painted.

Dulux

Sephora Visual Artist

Cosmetics retailer Sephora,  AR technology lets beauty consumers see what certain products might look like on their own face. To do so, it uses Modiface technology to scan lips and eyes, before overlaying different lip colours, eye-shadows, false lashes and so on.

Sephora

BIC

Stationery brand has turned to AR ot design an app for kids, called Drawybook, which  adds a gamification element to colouring – acting as an alternative to standard mobile gaming apps that children often turn to. The ‘Draw & Scan’ feature encourages kids to create their own art by bringing it to life with special overlaid effects.

Bic

Dulux Visualiser

Dulux Visualiser uses AR in their simple but highly effective home interiors-related app. Like most AR apps, it works by using your smartphone camera to detect wall edges and surfaces, letting users select the specific area that should be virtually painted.

Dulux

Sephora Visual Artist

Cosmetics retailer Sephora,  AR technology lets beauty consumers see what certain products might look like on their own face. To do so, it uses Modiface technology to scan lips and eyes, before overlaying different lip colours, eye-shadows, false lashes and so on.

Sephora

Welcome Alexa to the Bluegrass Familyhttp://blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/september/29/welcome-alexa-to-the-bluegrass-family/blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/september/29/welcome-alexa-to-the-bluegrass-family/
We've added a new member to the Bluegrass Family! 

Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses the same far-field voice recognition as Amazon Echo. Dot has a small built-in speaker—it can also connect to your speakers over Bluetooth or with the included audio cable. Dot connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more— instantly.

 Echo

  • Uses the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, read the news, set alarms, control smart home devices, and more using just your voice
  • Connects to speakers over Bluetooth or with the included audio cable to play music from Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn
  • Includes a built-in speaker so it can work on its own as a smart alarm clock in the bedroom, an assistant in the kitchen, or anywhere you might want a voice-controlled computer
  • Hears you from across the room with far-field voice recognition, even while music is playing
  • Controls smart home devices like lights, switches, thermostats, and more with compatible connected devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, ecobee, and others
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features and skills
We've added a new member to the Bluegrass Family! 

Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses the same far-field voice recognition as Amazon Echo. Dot has a small built-in speaker—it can also connect to your speakers over Bluetooth or with the included audio cable. Dot connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more— instantly.

 Echo

  • Uses the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, read the news, set alarms, control smart home devices, and more using just your voice
  • Connects to speakers over Bluetooth or with the included audio cable to play music from Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn
  • Includes a built-in speaker so it can work on its own as a smart alarm clock in the bedroom, an assistant in the kitchen, or anywhere you might want a voice-controlled computer
  • Hears you from across the room with far-field voice recognition, even while music is playing
  • Controls smart home devices like lights, switches, thermostats, and more with compatible connected devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, ecobee, and others
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features and skills
IoT - The mother of all Infrastructureshttp://blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/september/27/iot-the-mother-of-all-infrastructures/Staff Writerblog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/september/27/iot-the-mother-of-all-infrastructures/

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been called “the mother of all infrastructures”—and it’s a revolution that has arrived. IoT is no longer just a niche solution for a handful of businesses but a core technology that’s fundamentally transforming how we work and live. And interestingly, it’s spurring an entirely new computing model called edge computing, which promises to forever alter how businesses interact with the physical world.

Io T-edge -hero

Edge computing refers to data processing power at the edge of the network, closer to the source of data. With edge computing, each device—whether it be a smartphone, drone, sensor, robot, HVAC unit, autonomous car, or other intelligent device—takes some of the data processing performed by the cloud and packages it up for processing and analysis at the edge.

Consider this: In just two years, 45 percent of all data created by IoT will be stored, processed, analyzed, and acted upon close to or at the edge of the network. And in just three years, 5.6 billion devices will be connected to an edge computing solution.

Several factors are fueling the growth of edge computing. As the cost of sensors and processors decreases, the number of intelligent devices has been skyrocketing. By 2020, it’s predicted that 50 billion things will be connected to the Internet. These devices will send trillions of messages—exponentially increasing loads across the network as well as the quantity of data that can be turned into actionable insights.

At the same time, the pace of business is intensifying, with instantaneous reaction times becoming a critical competitive advantage for many industries. Edge computing can help businesses very rapidly and inexpensively analyze and store portions of their data closer to where it’s needed, making it an important complement to cloud computing.

Source: Microsoft.com

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been called “the mother of all infrastructures”—and it’s a revolution that has arrived. IoT is no longer just a niche solution for a handful of businesses but a core technology that’s fundamentally transforming how we work and live. And interestingly, it’s spurring an entirely new computing model called edge computing, which promises to forever alter how businesses interact with the physical world.

Io T-edge -hero

Edge computing refers to data processing power at the edge of the network, closer to the source of data. With edge computing, each device—whether it be a smartphone, drone, sensor, robot, HVAC unit, autonomous car, or other intelligent device—takes some of the data processing performed by the cloud and packages it up for processing and analysis at the edge.

Consider this: In just two years, 45 percent of all data created by IoT will be stored, processed, analyzed, and acted upon close to or at the edge of the network. And in just three years, 5.6 billion devices will be connected to an edge computing solution.

Several factors are fueling the growth of edge computing. As the cost of sensors and processors decreases, the number of intelligent devices has been skyrocketing. By 2020, it’s predicted that 50 billion things will be connected to the Internet. These devices will send trillions of messages—exponentially increasing loads across the network as well as the quantity of data that can be turned into actionable insights.

At the same time, the pace of business is intensifying, with instantaneous reaction times becoming a critical competitive advantage for many industries. Edge computing can help businesses very rapidly and inexpensively analyze and store portions of their data closer to where it’s needed, making it an important complement to cloud computing.

Source: Microsoft.com

Online Shopping in South Africahttp://blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/september/26/online-shopping-in-south-africa/Sam Gqomoblog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/september/26/online-shopping-in-south-africa/

The online shopping that is happening in South Africa is primarily the purchasing of commodity goods.

Because of this, the number one selling online item in South Africa is electronics. People don’t have time to shop and then return items, so instead they are primarily buying devices like smartphones because they know exactly what they are getting.

This is in contrast to buying something like a clothing item and hoping its the right size and colour, or trying to guess the quality of food.

This issue is not unique to South Africa only. Online retailers around the world are battling with the perfect “ideal” of online shopping because they could not handle the logistics involved.

Using Amazon as a reference, it is incredibly costly for the company to have to deal with returns, as well as trying to offer the same level of service to everyone.

It is predicted that the online stores that are likely to do the best in South Africa are those that offer an incredibly specific or niche product (likely based around electronics) and offer a high level of service.

The online shopping that is happening in South Africa is primarily the purchasing of commodity goods.

Because of this, the number one selling online item in South Africa is electronics. People don’t have time to shop and then return items, so instead they are primarily buying devices like smartphones because they know exactly what they are getting.

This is in contrast to buying something like a clothing item and hoping its the right size and colour, or trying to guess the quality of food.

This issue is not unique to South Africa only. Online retailers around the world are battling with the perfect “ideal” of online shopping because they could not handle the logistics involved.

Using Amazon as a reference, it is incredibly costly for the company to have to deal with returns, as well as trying to offer the same level of service to everyone.

It is predicted that the online stores that are likely to do the best in South Africa are those that offer an incredibly specific or niche product (likely based around electronics) and offer a high level of service.

Keep your eyes on Contextual Content Marketinghttp://blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/september/20/keep-your-eyes-on-contextual-content-marketing/Sam Gqomoblog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/september/20/keep-your-eyes-on-contextual-content-marketing/

Content marketing has completely changed the digital game. Companies and agencies are working tooth and nail in becoming their own publishers and pushing out educational and engaging content. Consumers no longer respond to promotional and product-centric content.

Content marketing was ranked as more important than Big Data. Marketing automation, mobile marketing, and social media marketing are also up there on the list.

Why contextual content marketing is the number one priority for marketers.

Contextual marketing is a way of offering targeted advertising to the user based on user identity and content searched by them.

It is using the convergence of technology and media to provide a context when marketing to consumers.

Consumers respond to what speaks to them directly. By combining context with content, businesses can create a new kind of experience for customers and prospects which enhances the customer experience and provides utility. 

Contextual Marketing

Content marketing has completely changed the digital game. Companies and agencies are working tooth and nail in becoming their own publishers and pushing out educational and engaging content. Consumers no longer respond to promotional and product-centric content.

Content marketing was ranked as more important than Big Data. Marketing automation, mobile marketing, and social media marketing are also up there on the list.

Why contextual content marketing is the number one priority for marketers.

Contextual marketing is a way of offering targeted advertising to the user based on user identity and content searched by them.

It is using the convergence of technology and media to provide a context when marketing to consumers.

Consumers respond to what speaks to them directly. By combining context with content, businesses can create a new kind of experience for customers and prospects which enhances the customer experience and provides utility. 

Contextual Marketing

Static websites are a thing of the pasthttp://blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/september/19/static-websites-are-a-thing-of-the-past/Sam Gqomoblog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/september/19/static-websites-are-a-thing-of-the-past/

Static website contains Web pages with fixed content meaning each page is coded in HTML and displays the same information to every visitor.

Content personalization is a strategy that relies on visitor data to deliver relevant content based on audience interests and motivations.

Personalization is having a dramatic effect on how companies do business.

Topman

How will you recognize the difference?

Notice how products are programmatically generated and the words “Recommendations for You” appear everywhere on the site.

Publishers and brands alike have been creating content based on audience profiles for years; the difference today is the technology behind the process. As data collection, has gotten more sophisticated—and technological functions like attribution, automated optimization, and tagging are more widely available—personalizing content has become easier in some ways, and more complicated in others.

Static website contains Web pages with fixed content meaning each page is coded in HTML and displays the same information to every visitor.

Content personalization is a strategy that relies on visitor data to deliver relevant content based on audience interests and motivations.

Personalization is having a dramatic effect on how companies do business.

Topman

How will you recognize the difference?

Notice how products are programmatically generated and the words “Recommendations for You” appear everywhere on the site.

Publishers and brands alike have been creating content based on audience profiles for years; the difference today is the technology behind the process. As data collection, has gotten more sophisticated—and technological functions like attribution, automated optimization, and tagging are more widely available—personalizing content has become easier in some ways, and more complicated in others.

Three Frameworks for Mobile Hybrid Appshttp://blog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/september/15/three-frameworks-for-mobile-hybrid-apps/Bluegrass Marketing Teamblog.bluegrassdigital.com/blog/2017/september/15/three-frameworks-for-mobile-hybrid-apps/

PHONEGAP

This is the most popular cross-platform framework for mobile hybrid application development. From the team behind Apache Cordova, the Adobe PhoneGap framework is an open source distribution of Cordova framework. With Phonegap, you can reuse existing web development skills to quickly make hybrid applications built with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for multiple platforms with a single codebase so you can reach your audience no matter their device.

 Phonegap

IONIC FRAMEWORK

Ionic Framework is a complete open-source SDK for hybrid mobile app development. Built on top of Angular.js and Apache Cordova, Ionic provides tools and services for developing hybrid mobile apps using Web technologies like CSS, HTML5, and Sass. Apps can be built with these Web technologies and then distributed through native app stores to be installed on devices by leveraging Cordova.

 Ionic

XAMARIN

Xamarin is a Microsoft-owned San Francisco, a California-based software company founded in May 2011 which has cross-platform implementations of the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) and Common Language Specifications (often called Microsoft .NET).

With a C# shared codebase, developers can use Xamarin tools to write native Android, iOS, and Windows apps with native user interfaces and share code across multiple platforms, including Windows and MacOS.

PHONEGAP

This is the most popular cross-platform framework for mobile hybrid application development. From the team behind Apache Cordova, the Adobe PhoneGap framework is an open source distribution of Cordova framework. With Phonegap, you can reuse existing web development skills to quickly make hybrid applications built with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for multiple platforms with a single codebase so you can reach your audience no matter their device.

 Phonegap

IONIC FRAMEWORK

Ionic Framework is a complete open-source SDK for hybrid mobile app development. Built on top of Angular.js and Apache Cordova, Ionic provides tools and services for developing hybrid mobile apps using Web technologies like CSS, HTML5, and Sass. Apps can be built with these Web technologies and then distributed through native app stores to be installed on devices by leveraging Cordova.

 Ionic

XAMARIN

Xamarin is a Microsoft-owned San Francisco, a California-based software company founded in May 2011 which has cross-platform implementations of the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) and Common Language Specifications (often called Microsoft .NET).

With a C# shared codebase, developers can use Xamarin tools to write native Android, iOS, and Windows apps with native user interfaces and share code across multiple platforms, including Windows and MacOS.