19
JUL
2017

The latest in Access Control processes

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Using smart tones.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/07/05/audio-tickets-end-long-lines-music-festivals-gigs/

Will it prevent “touts”, that remains to be seen.  Rival for RFID at venues, probably yes, especially since they are considering adding wallets using this technology to let patrons pay for goods at the venues.

 

https://ticketing.softjourn.com/en

Categories: Innovation, Ticketing |

6
JUL
2017

EMV Technology

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As EMV cards become the standard, it is imperative for software companies that work with financial institutions to upgrade their technology. But there are some distinct challenges involved in upgrading quickly and cost-effectively.

 

Advantages of EMV Technology

  • – Helps merchants reduce fraud
  • – Mitigate liability
  • – Give peace of mind to consumers because it provides greater security than conventional magnetic stripe cards
  • – Processing time is comparable to online transactions
  • – The microprocessor on an EMV chip card eliminates the possibility of counterfeiting

 

Upgrade Challenges

  • – Integrating a compliant EMV payment device with a software application can be a long and expensive undertaking because of stringent EMV and payment card industry (PCI) requirements.
  • – Technical issues may arise at the point of implementation because of incompatible software residing on a merchant’s client. In addition, store employees must understand how to use an EMV device and when to accept EMV payments with often with limited, or no, instruction.
  • – Chip cards take more time to process than mag-stripe and NFC payments.

 

Visit us at Softjourn.com to get more information about Upgrading to EMV Technology.

Categories: Finance, Innovation, Mobile Payments |

11
MAY
2017

Design Thinking: Walk through design in 5 stages!

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We’d like to tell you a story about how we put ourselves in our customer’s shoes and came up with a unique prototype following 5 stages of the design-thinking approach. The story ends with great design for a mobile cinema app, but let’s not jump ahead of ourselves. 

 

How everything started

One of our previous clients, a chain of movie theaters, decided to rewrite their mobile app for ticket purchases. The thing is, they wanted something completely different from what they already had. Something that would offer ticket buyers an innovative, cool design and a better experience. They called a tender among Ukrainian software companies and the main requirement for the new app was “it should provoke excitement and admiration—in other words, have the Wow! factor.” Softjourn couldn’t stand back from this kind of challenge, so we rolled up our sleeves and took part in the competition.

 

Key facts when preparing this prototype:

  • – a total of 6 days spent
  • – 6 hours that included:
  • – preparing a concept;
  • – coming up with the design;
  • – developing a prototype;
  • – presenting the result to the client;
  • – 41 cups of coffee consumed;
  • – 2 whiteboards and 93 stickers used while brainstorming.

 

Read our full story because you, too, may have ideas that you aren’t quite sure how they might work in real life. Or you may even not know how everything should ultimately look. If this sounds right, try following these 5 steps with your in-house team—or make the journey with Softjourn—and see your prototype come to life!

Categories: Innovation, Mobile Payments, Software Development |

10
MAY
2017

Tips to Develop a Blockchain App

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At Softjourn, we recently launched SJ Coins, a blockchain loyalty program for employees, and in this piece, we’re sharing the steps that will help you create a successful DLT solution built on a blockchain application.

  1.  Define your use case. (What pain point do you want to address?) Answering this puts you in a position to determine budget and launch date. It will also help you determine if you can do the development work internally or if you need outside assistance.
  2.  Define how you want to handle your blockchain database. Next, you need to decide whether your blockchain database will be public, private, or hybrid. This information should help you analyze the available solutions and decide among these options:

– Plug into a running, public blockchain: Use an open, public blockchain like Bitcoin or Ethereum.

– Create a private blockchain network: Install blockchain software on premises and run it privately without open access for third parties or create a private network with partners or trusted peers.

– Go with a cloud-based solution provider: IBM BlueMix, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Microsoft Azure offer blockchain as a service (BaaS). Monax’s platform is available on AWS and Azure.

– Start a public blockchain network: Run your own open-to-the-public blockchain instance, which enables anyone on the net to become a node.

  1. Test your idea with a POC. Because you need to show stakeholders that your idea is worth investing in, you’ll want to consider how to demonstrate that your use case will function in your environment as promoted
  1.  Begin the blockchain software development cycle. During this step, you must make sure that developers have their own “sandboxes” in which to test and modify the app. Of course, it is also critical that your app passes user acceptance testing.
  1.  Run your blockchain application in the production environmentThe final step in the development cycle is to run your app in the production. When it passes the user acceptance testing, it’s ready to be sold on the App Store, Google Play, or other appropriate outlets

 

Ask Softjourn about a workshop to develop some use cases that could work for you and how Monax’s smart contract SDKs could apply to your planned use cases.

Categories: Finance, Innovation, Mobile Payments, Software Development |

5
MAY
2017

Rise of Contactless Payments

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The rise of technology has made it possible to cut out many annoying-but-necessary interactions. But one of the most common yet “low-tech” of these is when you have to wait in line to pay for goods or services. That said, 2017 could be the year that contactless payments take over to replace cash in the majority of our sales interactions.

The real rise of contactless payments started back in 2014, when Apple introduced Apple Pay. It was the only major contactless wallet app on the market at the time.Since then, however, the market has seen many, many mobile wallets become available, with apps like Samsung Pay, Android Pay, Walmart Pay, Microsoft Pay, Chase Pay and even Kohl’s Pay now available. Today, there are many contactless payment options that each come with their own set of perks and benefits for customers who regularly use them.

Softjourn has previously talked about mobile payments and how not to get lost while developing such apps. This time, we’ll let you know how it works, how secure it is, and the technology behind it.

Categories: Finance, Mobile Development, Mobile Payments, Software Development |

7
FEB
2017

“APPMAKERS” VS NATIVE?

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While the various mobile dev camps, from the exclusively HTML5/JavaScript/CSS3 mobile Websters and the native code purists, to the hybrid mobile app fans, argue over which approach is better, the reality is that businesses simply need mobile applications that work for their employees, business partners and customers. And some companies have started looking more in a different direction – low-code and no-code mobile development tools.

At Softjourn, we’ve seen the evolution of cross-platform apps that have “learned” to do more and over a few years (see for instance, Xamarin – a great fit for some apps, It seems we are still comparing. Do we use PhoneGap or Titanium?). But what about the low/no code approach? Is it possible to build an app with no coding?

Today, we’re looking at a few mobile app development frameworks to understand if this is the next big thing to mobile app development. Not long ago, we heard from one of our customers that they were looking at Appmachine to create a video live-streaming app similar to http://liveairshow.com/, so we decided to look at that tool. In addition, we looked at BuildFire and iBuildApp to test what the three products can do.

Here is a quick overview of all three: LOW-CODE DEVELOPMENT PLATFORMS: “APPMAKERS” VS NATIVE?

Categories: Mobile Development, Software Development |

19
DEC
2016

Fintech Trends of 2016

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2016 has been a year of major changes in finance technology. Despite the many changes to payment processing methods, brand-new systems that were ushered in not long ago are already are widely used for everyday cash flow. For retailers who are interested in staying on top of the latest technology and the convenience that their customers expect, here are the nine top fintech trends that we at Softjourn noted in 2016 that are likely to continue into 2017. Some of them we originally saw at Money 20/20 in Copenhagen in April.

 

1. Banks and Distributed Ledger Technolgy (DLT)

Banks are now using the same blockchain data that is collected on cryptocurrency. As banks come up with alternative uses for blocking technology, third-party transactions will become more trusted and secure while offering a much less costly method for transfer between accounts. Blockchain technology could also work in drafting contracts, executing different kinds of permissions and transfers, and much more. 

At Softjourn, we decided to try out blockchain for ourselves and developed an in-house loyalty system based on a cryptocurrency called SJ Coins with smart contracts. Check here for the full success story and what Softjourners are saying about blockchain as users.

“We’re talking not specifically about blockchain so much as about distributed ledger technology, which has enormous potential to disrupt business models that have been used decades. We are living in interesting times when the financial sector is actively investigating what it could build using DLT. The spirit of innovation is leading to new use cases every day and we should see the first DLT production systems within a matter of months or at most a year or so.” —Anatoliy Okhotnikov, director for development at Softjourn.

Know your Customer (KYC) is possibly the most popular application of DLT today. Companies like Alloy counter false positives, which can cause a service to lose revenue by rejecting potential customers who are actually creditworthy. KYC and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance mean that every service has to remain cautious, but the flexibility offered by tools like Alloy’s means that companies can easily customize their own rules for verifying identity when taking customers on board. PS Softjourn especially loved their dashboard. At FinDEVr in Santa Clara, in October, this was a hotly talked-about topic. You can read our complete review of this conference here.

2. Moving from cash to bank cards

With many mobile payments linked directly to credit cards and to tap the technology and enhanced security available on many cards, consumers are moving away from cash. Not only do providers offer amazing bonuses for regularly using and paying down a credit card—it’s just much more convenient to carry one card that can handle every purchase. Customers are not only using plastic to pay for products online but also linking it to social media for money transfers. As mobile payments continue to grow and the ease of using cards at payment processing terminals becomes more evident, customers are switching to banking cards over cash. One Softjourn client, a prepaid business Visa card service provider called PEX Card, also developed mobile applications as an extension to their card service.

3. NFC mobile payments spread

Contractless mobile payments have become extremely popular throughout Europe and elsewhere. Mobile payment systems using Near Field Communication or NFC are now widely recognized for basic consumer uses, such as the London tube, cafés and restaurants, and more. “Contractless” is the hot term that’s being used to push this form of payment. With many ATMs across the UK increasing limits for contractless digital payment to £30, the convenience of this type of NFC technology is growing. Although the NFC payment option has been around since 2008, many supermarket chains are still not on board with this new trend. As contactless NFC payments become more versatile, we expect to continue to see demand for this type of payment grow. At Softjourn, we learned how not to get lost with mobile payment apps: you might want to try it, too!

4. Cryptocurrency on the march

As a way to manage online payments, cryptocurrency is of huge interest to investors. Bitcoin remains at the top of the heap as a trusted cryptocurrency and as it becomes more widely accepted and valued, cryptocurrency can only continue to grow by leaps and bounds through 2017. With more and more types of cryptocurrency being developed, it’s only a matter of time before we start to see the wide acceptance of other cryptocurrencies and potentially even a financial institution will come up with its own version of a cryptocurrency for customer use. For the most part, consumers appear to enjoy the convenience and the security of using this alternative payment method.Softjourners explored this particular trend at CeBIT 2016. You can check out our recent article about the impact of crypto-finance on financial services.

5. Cloud servers and “big data”

Moving data sets that are especially large or complex to cloud servers with point-of-sale (POS) applications and financial institutions could offer a number of huge changes that will have a positive impact on customers. This data could help improve security on every transaction, simplify the shopping experience, and make applications for loans or registers for new accounts much simpler. With wider access to big data on each consumer, marketers can enjoy better information to sell products and consumers can enjoy a much greater level of user-specific design and experience. Of course, the big challenge with big data is to manage security and privacy alongside data capture.

6. Online business lending

By using big data, a catalog of credit ratings, secure information and more on every consumer, the process of online business lending is becoming much easier. A number of financial institutionshave set up sites for small loans, and banking and credit card applications all aimed at small businesses and individuals. Rather than having to go into a financial institution to apply for a business loan, it’s now possible to fill in forms online and receive almost instant approval to start up a business. Third-party companies are using this same system to provide more opportunities and greater competition in the commercial loans market. With improvements to this technology and with big data being collected on each consumer, Softjourn expects the nature of online business lending to change. Not only is it easier to transfer money to clients, but through crowd-funding and resources like social media payments, it could become easier for a business owner to gain support from the average customer or investor.

7. Online transfers can improve credit ratings

Online money transfers are becoming easier than ever before thanks to online digital wallets and the development of payments over social media. In the past, using many digital wallets would not affect credit ratings. Today, however, digital wallets like PayPal are enacting a big data chain initiative that will actually affect their customers’ credit ratings. This means that when users send and receive payments through their digital wallet their credit ratings could actually improve when the digital wallet is linked to their credit card. As what we call the digital wallet is re-engineered, we are beginning to see how future online payments could change the average consumer’s finances and credit history. See how Softjourn dealt with iKobo’s online money transfer service.

8. UX—not just a buzzword

User experience is not only just a buzzword commonly used in application design: it also plays a key role in the research and development of virtual payments. Customers are demanding responsive technology that can actually improve their lives and increase the convenience of financial transactions. Applications like Amazon and Uber have designed a user experience in payment processing that is the new industry standard in customer service. Customers are now interested in informative applications like Netflix, which offer recommendations on the types of shows that the customer might want to watch with added convenience. Consumers are reacting positively to the availability of easy virtual payments via an application or a service-based product. With a less confusing payment strategy that’s all in one app or user experience, customers can save both nerves and time.

9. Fingerprints to reveal financial fraud

In 2015, there were a number of huge data breaches in the global financial sector. With new types of technology being introduced in cash systems, it won’t be long before Big Data is implemented with fingerprint technology at points-of-sale. With a record for each consumer that includes their fingerprint, it will be possible to better verify payments and to reduce fraud at POS terminals. To some, this may seem like an extreme measure, but it’s the future of preventing financial losses for everybody.

 

Keep these trends in mind when considering the next fintech changes coming in 2017. When you’re ready, contact us at Softjourn to brainstorm your ideas and decide how to bring them to life.

Categories: Finance, Software Development |

10
NOV
2016

Softjourn at FinDEVr

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Softjourn has visited FinDEVr conference on the 18th and 19th of October in Santa Clara, CA., which was focused on the tech side of new directions in FinTech.

The event showcased the latest tools, platforms and case studies from the technology side of fintech to hundreds of fintech developers, VPs of engineering, and CTOs.

fintech trends

While there were many topics of conversation, there were a few trends that stuck out:

– Know your Customer (KYC) – Companies like Alloy which fights false positives which can cause a service to lose revenue by rejecting good potential customers. KYC and Anti-Money Laundering rules (AML) compliance means every service has to be careful but the flexibility of tools like Alloy’s means a service can easily customize their own rules for verifying the identity when onboarding customers. Loved their dashboard.

– Blockchain – yet again, or still. A popular topic, but this time it seemed that more emphasis was on private network use cases than public. The IBM presentation, w/ “Implementation of Hyperledger Project at IBM Blockchain as a service” by Stefania Kaczmarczyk, proved very popular, as well as PwC’s Blockchain on Wednesday. A well-known uses case for Blockchain, Know your Customer, was also demonstrated by an Australian/Irish firm, Kyckr, which has developed a private Identity blockchain for corporate identity.

– API’s – Given that this was FinDEVr, the order of the day was to at least add something “technical” to your presentation, and very often that involved showing a services API’s, and how easy it was to integrate to them. Company’s like Tango Card presented their Rewards as a Service API. In addition to those API’s however, open API’s for financial institutions was still a topic.

– Predictive analysis – Established company in this market, Envestnet/Yodlee, presented their predictive analysis to provide more robust personal financial information. A surprise at the end of Day 2, Wootrader showcased its predictive analysis that assists everyone with making better stock trades, and it also featured the youngest presenter, its 18 year old co-founder!

As usual there was a lot to learn. Best in class awards were given out, based on attendee voting via Bizzabo, check out the winners!

Categories: Uncategorized |

28
SEP
2016

Introducing the ELK Stack

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It’s no secret that ElasticSearch is booming. Together with Logstash, a tool for collecting and processing logs, and Kibana, a tool for searching and visualizing data in ElasticSearch—known as the “ELK” stack—, ElasticSearch is being adapted more and more widely every day. When it comes to actually using ElasticSearch, tons of metrics are generated.

To sum up:

  • Logstash is a tool for collecting, parsing, and transporting logs for downstream use.
  • Kibana is a web interface that can be used to search and view the logs that Logstash has indexed.
  • ElasticSearch connects Logstash and Kibana, which can store logs in a highly scalable, durable and accessible manner.

The ELK stack (ElasticSearch, Logstash, Kibana) provides a powerful set of tools for log aggregation, visualization, and search across all manner of devices, servers and applications. Best of all, it’s Open Source.

This combination, along with ElasticSearch itself, is already known and used by many developers. This proven search engine has been successfully implemented by hundreds of companies.

Softjourn will continue to use the ELK stack in other projects as it’s proved itself to be fast and multifunctional—and it all comes in one package!

Categories: Uncategorized |

28
SEP
2016

M-COMMERCE ARTICLE: FEATURED IN INTERNET RETAILER

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Mobile commerce sales are booming and expected to explode in the coming years. By 2020, mobile commerce sales are forecasted to account for 49 percent of e-commerce or $252 billion, according to a 2015 report by Forrester Research. Compare that to a projected $142 billion in m-commerce sales in 2016 and $115 billion the year before.

For retailers keen on getting a hefty share of this growing m-commerce market, it’s imperative to have a mobile app with a payment system that eager consumers find both easy to use and secure and that also doesn’t give your back office headaches. The question is which mobile payment solution should you choose?

Softjourn helps our clients to choose based on three critical issues:

1.     The fees they charge

2.     Their geographic reach and the currencies they support

3.     The quality of their security

 

Click here for the full story.

Categories: Mobile Payments |