South Florida Business & Wealth Magazine Shines Spotlight on PeakActivity Human Resources

BOYNTON BEACH, FL, March 3, 2021 – Peggy Myers, Director of Human Resources at PeakActivity, has been selected as an honoree by South Florida Business & Wealth Magazine for its Excellence in HR Awards, an annual ceremony honoring South Florida’s outstanding HR Professionals who build and nurture talent in their organizations across a variety of industries.

The annual ceremony honors South Florida’s outstanding HR Professionals who build and nurture talent in their organizations across a variety of industries. This year’s ceremony will take place virtually on March 17th, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. EST. 

“As a growing company, the head of our HR team plays a critical role,” says PeakActivity CEO, Manish Hirapara. “While it’s important to be able to identify and hire the right kind of people from the perspective of a particular skill set, I would argue that it’s of equal importance to find people who are going to fit into our unique culture and embody our values. Peggy makes sure that culture is felt throughout the entire company by every employee at every level. She creates programs that help bring that culture to life. I’m delighted to see her receive this much-deserved recognition.”

Peggy Myers responds to the acknowledgment, “I’m humbled and honored to receive this recognition. I feel very fortunate to work for a company that puts so much emphasis on the value of its people. Not just in finding new talent but making sure that the people who already work here are doing what makes them feel happy and fulfilled. We’re very focused on always doing what’s right for our people and because we do that, it makes my job extremely rewarding.” 

PeakActivity partners with businesses to accelerate growth through technology, eCommerce, and marketing solutions. By providing valuable insights, leveraging industry leaders, and incorporating game-changing technology, PeakActivity helps its clients achieve long-term, profitable, scalable growth.

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What’s the Quality of Your Quality Assurance Program?

You hired a great software development team. They’re smart, fast, and have developed products that should leave the competition in the dust. But, lately, you’ve noticed a nagging trend. Revisions and bug fixes are starting to pop up with greater frequency. Projects are running behind schedule and over budget. Now, every time you hit the release button you say a silent prayer that the last code updates have not injected new defects.

Eventually, the original excitement that came as a result of being perceived as a market leader begins to erode, replaced by bad customer reviews and a rapidly demoralized team. 

Your Problem? Lack of Quality Assurance (QA)

QA is all too often treated like a red-headed stepchild when, in reality, it’s one of the most important steps in the software development process. It’s also one of the most misunderstood. Here are some of the more common QA issues that, if left unresolved can have devastating effects on your bottom line. 

The Wrong People May Be “Testing”

There is a misconception that anyone can test. It’s often delegated to developers, business analysts, product owners, stakeholders, and even end-users. Investing a lot of money into a product but not investing in the process to ensure its quality doesn’t make much sense. 

No matter how talented and experienced programmers are, it’s simply not possible for them to test their own logic without encountering “implementation bias.” The goal of a developer should be focusing on innovation, creativity, and writing code to solve user objectives. It’s not to run endless test scenarios. 

Enter the Software Quality Assurance Analyst

In contrast, the job of a dedicated Quality Assurance Analyst is to verify, validate, and explore the system to predict and prevent technical risks. Armed with that analysis, stakeholders can then make informed decisions. Quality Assurance Analysts conduct static requirements analysis, functional, integration, system, end-to-end, performance, stress, load, compatibility, and exploratory testing at all layers and environments of the software product. Analysts create testing documentation and detailed bug reports to ensure not a single defect is left unaddressed. 

The QA Practice is Not Fully Integrated into the Development Process

If your team is using the classic Waterfall methodology—where testing follows when code is fully written—then you’re creating an environment where QA is at an inherent disadvantage. Consequently, your time to market will increase as defects that could have been prevented in the earliest stages of the software development life cycle (SDLC) are left unidentified. And all too often, when a project is “completed” and testing is the bottleneck, code is pushed prematurely as business pressures mount to launch.

QA & Agile—A Match Made in Software Heaven

Adopting the Agile methodology brings more flexibility to the development process best captured by the mantra of “Test early, test often, test together.” Rather than viewed as adversarial elements, Agile brings Development and QA together working in close collaboration uniting team members around a common goal: create and deliver high-quality products on time and within budget. The role of QA is significantly advanced in an Agile team. Within Agile, testing is not considered a step in the process, it is the essence of the process. It should be built into the product from day one!

It’s Not Easy to Hire the Right Quality Assurance Analyst

While a Quality Assurance Analyst needs to possess such classic skill sets as test planning and execution, defect management, the role of a QA Analyst has changed. Equally important are:

  • Critical  thinking, mental agility, and creativity
  • Understanding end-user needs help deliver business value, improve software quality, and increase delivery velocity. 

Today, being a QA Analyst means being a quality advocate who spreads the culture of quality across development teams using the language of programmers. 

Automate Your Testing 

Regression test cycle has grown to the point that manual testing takes too much time and a regression test suite is hard to maintain. This is why you should automate routine testing. By doing so, you’ll be able to quickly provide development teams with critical feedback, reduce time to market, improve product quality, and reduce overall costs. Automated testing provides you with the luxury of running enough exploratory, usability, and acceptance testing against the latest builds, searching for unusual or unexpected behavior of the system. 

There are multiple approaches and tools, both open source and paid that you can use to automate your testing. But, it’s worth noting that choosing a tool is just the beginning of the process. You also need the right strategy and the right resources to administer the process. 

Some Questions You Should Be Asking Yourself

  • Are you satisfied with the quality of your software?
  • Does your company keep investing in technology development processes, but you still struggle with production defects?
  • Do your software engineers spend their time on testing rather than developing new features?
  • Does your HR/Recruiting department have expertise in hiring the right Quality Analyst for your company?
  • Is there a perception that testing is a bottleneck?
  • Would you like to scale your QA team?

If any of the above questions resonate with you, let’s talk!

PeakActivity can help raise the quality of your software product and software development process, achieving superior product quality standards while providing for an exceptional user experience. After an in-depth analysis of the product, requirements, development process, and stakeholders’ priorities our experts will:

  • Tailor a team of qualified professionals that perfectly fit your company’s needs and corporate culture.
  • Seamlessly embed our quality practice into the existing software development life cycle, making sure the development team feels comfortable and supported.
  • Develop a testing strategy that provides fast, efficient, and cost-effective end-to-end solutions. 

As a part of a development team, our Quality Engineers will:

  • Create company quality standards and guidelines.
  • Conduct all types of testing activities including usability, functional, integration, regression, performance, test automation, A/B testing, and more.
  • Provide static analysis of business requirements to identify unclear or missed requirements and prevent rework
  • Create and execute a regression testing suite, ensuring that the system is reliable and stable.
  • Provide automation of the testing process, utilizing up-to-date industry approaches and tools. 
  • Create test documentation, recordings of testing coverage, and test results.

Are you interested in elevating the quality of your Quality Assurance?

Fill out the form below or visit our Contact Us page.

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Augmented Reality: Experiencing is Believing

Brands have an endless array of digital tools to help target and persuade online consumers to buy their products or services. As a result, consumers are bombarded with a dizzying onslaught of marketing messages designed to stand out and grab their attention. The problem is that when a consumer experiences hundreds, if not thousands of digital sales pitches a day, they end-up blurring together into a cacophony of sight, sound, and little else. 

Ironically, by every brand trying their best to stand out in the digital marketplace, no brand stands out in the digital marketplace. And it’s not just the sheer volume of marketing messages that make it hard for a brand to break through the clutter. A digital experience that once dazzled and delighted us 20 years—even 5 years ago—now seems dull and dated. What once elicited a “WOW” from consumers now inspires “what have you done for me lately?” In our current digital ecosystem, users are completely overwhelmed with common experiences that are easily forgotten. To be truly memorable requires brands to not just attract a consumer’s attention but to tap into their minds. Augmented Reality (AR) presents brands with an opportunity to distinguish themselves from competitors with a unique customer experience. Through AR, brands can tell a more immersive, intriguing story through a means that consumers are much less familiar with. And, when you are less familiar with something you tend to pay more attention to what it is you’re hearing and seeing. This makes an AR experience more “sticky,” which creates a higher likelihood of a person not just retaining the memory of the experience but retaining it with greater clarity and for longer. Take, for example, a furniture company. By leveraging AR, they can provide their customers with the ability to actually see how that new sofa they’re considering purchasing will look with the rest of their living room furniture. Instead of the salesperson telling the customer to “imagine” what the sofa would look like, with AR, they don’t have to imagine. And AR can be used for more than just making retail experiences more memorable. It can also be used for education and training purposes. One study, in particular, illustrates what a difference AR can make in a classroom setting. In the study, the grades obtained by students that were taught using AR were better than the grades obtained by students that were taught using traditional methods. In fact, those taught using AR had increased memory recall of 2-4 weeks longer than traditionally taught students, and a 30% higher accuracy of what took place in the experience. Think of it like this. Which method do you think would be more effective in learning how to drive? Reading a manual that tells you how to drive, or, getting behind the wheel and driving? This is what makes Augmented Reality such a powerful tool: it’s based on the idea that an experience is more effective, meaningful, and memorable than an explanation. Augmented Reality is still in its infancy. But every day, its potential is being realized by more retail brands looking for a competitive advantage, and educational institutions and training facilities looking to help students better understand and retain knowledge.

Are you interested in elevating your business through the implementation of Augmented Reality?

Fill out the form below or visit our Emerging Tech & Innovation section.

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Top 10 (+1) Things to Expect From a Great Marketing Partnership

While you may understand the products and services that a technology and marketing company provides, what about things that are less tangible? Have you considered how a great partner should act? What a true 360º engagement looks like? Here’s a list of what to expect when you’re expecting a great technology and digital marketing partnership.

Expect to be Heard

A great partner should create an active-listening environment where you feel completely comfortable sharing your thoughts, objectives, and concerns, free of judgment or condescension. To be clear, your tech and marketing partner is expected to bring a clear point of view to the table based on knowledge of best practices and data revealed by analytics. Your voice, however, brings nuance and insights into your business objectives, particulars, and pain points, as well as those of your customer, thus completing the picture and making sure your project gets off on—and stays on—the right foot. 

Expect Transparency

Projects should be implemented in an iterative fashion. This will ensure that you’re well aware of the progress at any given time and will be afforded meaningful and regular opportunities to provide feedback. While that feedback won’t necessarily change the trajectory of the work in progress, it should be thoroughly and objectively considered and fairly discussed.

Expect True Partnership

Partners complete each other (yep, we’re not above paraphrasing movie quotes). Your partner should complement your organization. That means they should provide everything from leadership and strategic planning to tactical resources across the project. Your partner should fill the gaps in your knowledge, and be prepared to provide the resources and talent to provide 360 coverage and bring your project to successful completion.

Expect to Own Your Products

With the exception of licensed technology, you should expect to own your code. Should you decide to move to another partner, you should expect a smooth transition and transfer of knowledge and access to software and tools without the intervention of legal teams. 

Expect a Clear Post-Launch Path Forward

Delivering your initial product is just the first step. After your product launches, you should expect a partner to immediately and clearly articulate the next steps. Usually, that will start by building an implementation roadmap for fast followers—those items of importance that may not have made it into the minimum viable project (MVP) launch. From there, the sky’s the limit, but at the very least, a path to iterative improvement should be outlined.

Expect the Promotion of a Culture of Testing

Testing can represent a significant—and at times uncomfortable—shift for businesses. Your business initiatives may traditionally come in the form of directives from above or dictated by the loudest or most charismatic voices in the room. Breaking that pattern can be difficult. Testing is a great way to allow other voices to be heard, hypotheses to be presented, and the best data-driven solutions to rule the day and drive business success.

Expect a Range of Solutions Tailored to You

The world runs on relationships. Sometimes this is great. Other times, not so much. For example, your technology partner may have a preferred search vendor, but the pricing or functionality may not align with your specific requirements. Your partner should refrain from trying to shoehorn your needs into the wrong solution but should provide you with a number of options tailored to your needs.

Expect Right-Sized Tools and Services to Grow Your Business

Whether they can provide them or recommend someone who can, your partner should help you navigate the vast array of digital options available to you to grow your business after your initial engagement. For example, you’ve just relaunched your website, now how will you market it? Expect 360-degree solutions, or expect to under-leverage your investment.

Expect Your Partner to Speak Out of Turn

This may sound counterintuitive, but a partner who focuses on your business with blinders on does your business a disservice. Implementing search without discussing the state of the data is a miss. Running an email program without identifying underlying merchandising issues and shortcomings, is also a miss. Your partner should shine a light on your blind spots.

Expect Cross-Functional Coordination

If your partner is providing you with a range of services across multiple teams, expect those efforts to be clearly coordinated so that your product is consistent and efficiently run. 

Expect to Have Fun

Bringing your marketing solutions to life and growing your business is exciting stuff, and should be fun! Expect active, and enthusiastic engagement. Brainstorm, toss out crazy ideas, launch loon shots without fear. Your partner will lay out and test ideas, make them clickable before any expensive code is committed, run usability tests, iterate and improve and get a product in front of your customers that will delight them and enrich you!

Would you like to speak with us about a current marketing or technology challenge?

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PeakUniversity: A Leadership Perspective on Career Development

Just before the end of 2020, our Vice President of Operations, Aashish Amin, gave a PeakUniversity presentation on Career Development. We caught up with him afterward to pick his brain on how you should approach and incorporate Career Development into your day-to-day work.

 

Q: From a high-level perspective, what is Career Development?

A: It’s the process of self-development where an individual works to improve themselves with the goal of wanting something specific out of their career. It can be more money, a certain title, a specific job, or a promotion. For others, it can be just to maintain the role they are in. Quite literally, it’s the development of your career to achieve whatever goal you have set out for yourself. 

Q: In regards to Career Development, what was the best piece of advice you’ve received throughout your career?

A: There are two. The first one is to be humble. You may find yourself in a role that isn’t where you necessarily want to be. But through showcasing your hard work and talent, if you can demonstrate that you have more to offer, other opportunities will present themselves. And, you’ll be making your boss’s life easier, which is always a good thing. The second piece of advice, “dress” for the job you want. While this is a fairly common piece of advice, I still find it valuable. “Dressing for the job you want” really means you should perform at the level of the role you are aiming for. Career advancement should not be based on years of experience or time in a role but on actual performance.

Q: What can an employee do to develop their career on a day-to-day basis?

A: First, always know what their goals are. Second, always ensure that they are working to achieve those goals–seek feedback and opportunities, and implement them to always be improving. There is one example from my career that speaks directly to this, a former boss would often ask me with a sly smile on his face, “is this your best work?” Initially, this bothered me, but eventually, I realized that he asked this to push me to produce my best work.

Q: What do you think is the toughest thing about Career Development?

A: Two things–being honest about your performance and weaknesses, and having an open conversation with your boss about your career aspirations. First, one must know where they stand and what they need to develop in order to meet their goals. Second, it’s the employee that owns the conversation with their boss. As a boss, it can be a difficult conversation to hear that an employee wants something more or different in their career. But it’s probably harder as an employee to have that conversation. Because you may be telling your boss, “Hey, I like you. But I don’t want to work for you, I want to go do something different.” Sometimes bosses find really good people and are reluctant to nurture their growth because it could mean that the employee leaves them. It’s an unfortunate reality that there are bosses like that. And that’s why I’m using the word ‘boss’ specifically. There is a huge difference between a boss and a leader. While a boss may be hesitant to facilitate Career Development, a leader will say, “Hey, great, thank you for sharing. Let me see how we can help achieve your career aspirations.” It’s a leader’s job to initiate that conversation and to be open to supporting the employee’s goals. And it’s an employee’s job to begin that conversation, provide a framework for their career aspirations, and do the hard work to showcase their development. 

Q: What do you think is the biggest misconception when thinking about Career Development? 

A: A lot of people think that time spent in a role equates to earning a promotion. That’s not the case. It’s easy to think to yourself, “Oh, I’ve been doing this for a while, so if my boss leaves, I should just take over.” It’s not that simple. There may be other employees within the organization who may have a shorter tenure but have demonstrated stronger skills and more fervent ambition. More likely than not, that employee will earn the promotion. Regardless of your time spent with a company, if you become complacent and take your eye off the ball, your Career Development is likely to stagnate. That’s probably the biggest misconception. I had a boss who was a VP running a 100 plus person organization. He also was consistently thinking of ways he could grow his knowledge of other areas. It wasn’t just about his domain and his responsibilities. From learning other parts of the business, he knew he could be a more effective leader and a more valuable asset to both the company and his employees. One more thing that I think people overlook when it comes to Career Development is their personal brand. Consider to yourself, what do your colleagues think or say about you when you are not in a room or a meeting? In essence, this is your brand. 

Q: How can an employee improve and refine their personal brand?

A: The first step is to identify your personal brand and determine if it’s what you want it to be. I think that starts with having open and honest conversations with your boss and your peers to understand how you’re perceived today and is that the perception you want?. If there are perceptions you’re not happy with, then that takes a commitment of work to change. You must figure out how to improve and how to make that change and be driven to consistently represent yourself differently. Your brand is not defined by just showing up every day. To refine your brand, you must receive input, take it to heart, and use it as the basis for making a consistently demonstrated change. We have all had that coworker who was a pain to work with, for whatever reason. They show up late, don’t contribute their fair share, and so on. The point is, you probably already have someone in mind. What does that say about their brand? Don’t be that colleague. While it’s important to emulate the behaviors and work ethics of peers or leaders you respect, it’s also vital to learn from people you find hard to work with to avoid practicing the same habits that will negatively affect your brand. 

Q: How can managers and leaders foster Career Development among their employees?

A: As a leader, I think it is essential to know what your people want out of their careers. Some will want higher titles, others wish for different opportunities, and even others just want to be great employees with limited growth or responsibility. There are ways to be an effective leader and foster the achievement of your team’s goals. An effective leader provides people with the tools and opportunities to do more and broaden their horizons. However, there’s a very fine line here too. If your aspirations are title, stature, and advancement, yet you clock in at nine and you’re out at five, you don’t participate in meetings, you do just enough work to get by, there’s a disconnect there. Even if I, as a leader, know that that’s your aspiration, I’m probably not going to put a lot of effort into your Career Development because you are not putting in any concerted effort of your own. When employees demonstrate ownership in their development and consistent effort to improve, those are the ones that leaders are willing to help the most. 

Meet the Presenter:

Aashish Amin oversees the PeakActivity Marketing and Sales Operations teams. Hailing from the Midwest, Aashish moved to South Florida to escape the cold winters, eventually beginning his career with Office Depot that spanned 15-plus years working in multiple business units. Aashish brings a unique perspective in bridging the various operational needs of an organization. As a leader, he values creative, solution-centric thinking and is looked to as a trustworthy advisor who goes above and beyond to ensure successful end-results.

About PeakUniversity

PeakUniversity is a series of peer-to-peer, TedTalk-style presentations given by passionate subject matter experts to expand knowledge and generate interest in the subject matter of each session.

Are you interesting in taking the next step in your Career?

Check out our Careers page for open positions or fill out the form below to get in contact with us.

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What is Machine Learning?

We have all seen movies set in a dystopian future where Artificial Intelligence (AI) has sinister intentions to overrun humanity. While the scenarios depicted in these films are often far-fetched, the fact of the matter is that the fundamental building blocks of such technology already exist. There is, however, no need for alarm. The world will not be taken over by AI any time soon. In fact, the term “Artificial Intelligence” is often misapplied. Artificial Intelligence is actually the overarching category encompassing such technologies as Machine Learning (ML). This exciting field offers enterprising businesses across every industry, from retail to healthcare, the ability to enhance customer experience with near-real-time feedback and deliver a higher level of conversion and brand affinity.

Machine Learning is an application of Artificial Intelligence that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. In practice, Machine Learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can access data and use it to learn for themselves. 

Machine Learning allows businesses to provide a more personalized experience for their customers. As the system learns to study consumer habits, it provides eCommerce retailers the ability to analyze millions of interactions every day and ultimately target offers down to a single customer. 

Leveraging Machine Learning, digital marketers are able to create customizable user experience paths based on browsing habits, previous purchases, and aggregated user data. If you have ever been browsing your social media feeds and come across an advertisement for products that you have previously Googled, there’s a good chance you are experiencing ML at work. These targeted advertisements can be the fruits of Machine Learning’s labor, giving marketers the ability to predict the demand for specific products based on searches and forecasts from the data aggregated by Machine Learning. 

With the deployment of Machine Learning-driven marketing, businesses will need to further leverage their ML technology to ensure demand is met by sufficient supply. As demand inevitably increases, it is able to optimize the supply chain and order fulfillment using historical data ranging from orders to shipping and everything in between. It also offers the added benefit of refining key marketing messaging for “just-in-time” inventory management and purchasing based on product availability.

As it offers so much to gain, Machine Learning is sure to be a mainstay of successful businesses today and into the future. At PeakActivity, our Emerging Tech & Innovation team is developing and leveraging ML to provide added value to our clients. If you are interested in learning more on how PeakActivity can help you elevate your business with Machine Learning technology, fill out the contact form below.

Are you interested in elevating your business through the implementation of Machine Learning?

Fill out the form below or visit our Emerging Tech & Innovation page for more information.

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South Florida Business & Wealth Magazine Honors PeakActivity CEO Manish Hirapara with Prestigious Apogee Award

BOYNTON BEACH, FL, December 10, 2020 – Manish Hirapara, CEO of PeakActivity, was one of the Technology honorees at the 7th annual South Florida Business & Wealth Magazine Apogee Awards.

The Apogee Award is a unique program created by SFBW magazine to recognize distinguished leaders who hold C-suite positions in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties whose dedication to their industries and communities deserve particular recognition.

Judging of honorees by the SFBW editorial staff is based upon the nominee’s impact on his or her organization, clients, and the community.

“I’m humbled to be chosen as an honoree,” said Hirapara. “As any CEO will be quick to tell you, who you’re really honoring are the amazingly talented people that I have the privilege of working with every day. I share this recognition with each and every one of them.”

The honorees received their awards at a virtual ceremony on December 9th and will be featured in an upcoming edition of SFBW magazine.

PeakActivity is a digital technology and marketing consultancy committed to growing their clients’ online sales and elevating their digital presence. By providing valuable insights, leveraging superior talent, and incorporating game-changing technology, PeakActivity helps their clients achieve long-term, profitable, scalable growth.

South Florida Business & Wealth is the region’s premier business and lifestyle magazine serving Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. From the corner suite to the worlds of wealth management and philanthropy, to the finer things (real estate, travel, auto, yachts, design), SFBW is a curated guide to aiming higher and living well. The mission of SFBW is to encourage its readers to celebrate success, face and overcome challenges, enjoy rewards, and inspire the rest of the business community in work, investments, and leisure.

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Local Tech & Marketing Company Comes Together to Support Feeding South Florida

PeakActivity Led a Food & Fund Drive to Support Feeding South Florida, Raising $1,450 and Collecting Non-Perishable Donations

BOYNTON BEACH, FL, DECEMBER 2020 – ‘Tis the season for giving at South Florida digital technology and marketing company PeakActivity. This year the community involvement and philanthropic arm of PeakActivity, PeakCares, came together to organize a Food & Fund Drive to support Feeding South Florida. The company, despite working remotely due to COVID-19, was able to raise $1,450 and collect non-perishable donations to help support this organization’s mission to end hunger in South Florida.  

Now more than ever, organizations like Feeding South Florida need our help. Due to COVID-19, high unemployment, and a general sense of uncertainty, food insecurity is on the rise. The Food & Fund Drive supported the community in three ways; food donations to be given to Feeding South Florida, monetary donations, and the encouragement for their employees to bring non-perishables to their local food bank as some employees aren’t local to South Florida. 

“We are so grateful to work for a company that puts such an emphasis on showing up and giving back to our local communities, and for all of the support shown by our Peaksters during this holiday season,” noted Alex Shapiro, who co-leads the PeakCares team. Since the team’s inception in 2018, they’ve been a part of various fundraising efforts which have included fundraising over $2,500 for the American Heart Association. PeakActivity is humbled by their employee’s generosity and ability to come together to serve our community. 

PeakActivity is a digital technology and marketing consultancy committed to growing their clients’ online sales and elevating their digital presence. By providing valuable insights, leveraging superior talent, and incorporating game-changing technology, PeakActivity helps their clients achieve long-term, profitable, scalable growth. For more information, visit https://peakactivity.com/

Feeding South Florida’s mission is to end hunger in South Florida by providing immediate access to nutritious food, leading hunger and poverty advocacy efforts, and transforming lives through innovative programming and education.

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Unlocking New Perspectives: Windowed vs. Wearable Augmented Reality

 

If you ask most people what they associate with Augmented Reality, chances are they will say Snapchat and Instagram filters, you know the ones. Day by day, Augmented Reality is becoming more commonplace, reaching well beyond the ability to superimpose puppy ears upon your grandma’s head. This emerging technology is steadily becoming more accessible for customers, as more companies adopt Augmented Reality through both “Windowed” and “Wearable” experiences. This begs the question, what do Windowed and Wearable mean in the context of Augmented Reality?

 

Wearable Augmented Reality

Wearable Augmented Reality, as its name would suggest, refers to devices that require the user to physically wear them. Using computer vision systems, Wearable AR devices are able to analyze environments and provide feedback in real-time using spatial computing. Wearable devices, such as Magic Leap or Halo Lens, offer hands-free AR activity without the drawbacks of vertigo and motion sickness often associated with Virtual Reality experiences. 

The hands-free nature of Wearable AR technology naturally lends itself to highly interactive experiences. With these deeper, more meaningful interactions, including remote free hand-tracking, come a significant boost in cognitive performance. As we covered in a recent blog, Augmented Reality possesses the ability to imprint longer-lasting memories and cut through the noise that consumers are bombarded with on a daily basis. As a result of this enhanced ability to create memories, Wearable AR technology can provide more effective, impactful training experiences. The interactivity provided by this technology greatly improves the imprinting, retention of knowledge, and memories gained in a training setting. In a practical setting, Wearable  AR experiences have been deployed in environments that range from warehouses to science labs for training sessions to drastically improve the effectiveness of memory retention rates. 

Windowed Augmented Reality

The previously mentioned Snapchat and Instagram filters are, perhaps, the most widely known example of Windowed Augmented Reality. Using a camera-equipped smart device, Windowed AR uses the device’s screen (or, window) to overlay digital elements not present in the physical world, in real-time. Given that nearly everyone and their grandmother owns a smartphone, the barrier for entry to Windowed AR is inherently low. With no need to splash extra cash on a wearable device, this segment of Augmented Reality technology offers opportunistic businesses the ability to connect with consumers in uniquely effective ways.

Take the eyeglass industry for example. With Windowed AR, users can “try it on” when shopping for new frames online quickly swapping between frames until they find the ideal fit, while never leaving the comfort of their bed. Another real-world use case for Windowed AR resides in the retail furniture industry. If you have ever shopped for furniture online, you will be familiar with the thought, “I love this piece of furniture, but how well will it actually fit in my living room?” With Windowed AR, this is no longer a worry. Using the camera on a smartphone, users are able to see the desired product superimposed on their living space. Using pre- and post-experience customer surveys, you can easily track the effect that Windowed AR has on such metrics as customer confidence.

Prior to COVID-19, industry trends indicated that Wearable AR devices were the flavor of the week. As the pandemic surged and turned the world on its head, there was a shift in focus towards Windowed AR experiences using personal devices. As this emerging technology becomes more accessible through both windowed and wearable experiences alike, there will be a steady stream of Augmented Reality hitting the market in an ever-expanding set of sectors. 

Do you need help building Windowed & Wearable experiences that will surprise and delight internal teams and external customers?

Fill out the form below or visit our Emerging Tech & Innovation page for more information.

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A Holiday Shopping Season Like No Other

How a global pandemic is shifting the online shopping landscape.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Decorations are starting to pop-up here and there while visions of deep discounts and door-buster deals dance in our collective heads. And, while the season may very well end-up looking shiny and bright, there’s a more-than-likely chance that it’s not necessarily going to feel that way.

To say that COVID-19 has impacted our lives is an understatement of epic proportions. It has changed everything about the way we live, work, travel, and, as will become obvious in just a few days, the way we shop.

According to Adobe Analytics, in 2019 Black Friday shoppers spent $7.4 billion online – a $1.2 billion increase over the previous year. And 61% of all online retail transactions last year were from smartphones (a 16% increase over 2018).

As for Cyber Monday 2019, customers spent $9.4 billion online – a 20% increase from 2018. Mobile transactions accounted for $3.1 billion in sales, a 46% increase over the previous year. Impressive numbers, to say the least. But, that was before COVID changed, well, everything. Just a few months ago Google stated:

“More than a third of U.S. shoppers who normally shop in-store for Black Friday say they won’t this year. And half of U.S. shoppers say the pandemic will affect how they’ll shop for the holidays this year.”

If that statement turns out to be true, online retailers could be in for a record-shattering online holiday shopping season. In anticipation, many brands have ramped up their online presence and are feeling more prepared than ever. Here are just some of the strategies and tactics marketers are implementing to make sure that their customers find that special something for that special someone as easily, and as safely as possible. 

Turkey Day Will Just Be About Turkey

If there’s one thing you could always rely on come Thanksgiving, it was that the big box stores would be open on Thanksgiving. Not this year. Walmart, Best Buy, and Target have all announced that their stores will be closed on Thanksgiving. Given that fact, most of their holiday sales and promotions will most likely reside on their respective websites. 

Instead of Punches And Kicks, Discounts And Clicks

Shoppers will no longer have to risk bodily harm by throwing themselves into a pre-dawn shopping scrum. Doorbuster deals and massive crowds cued up for high-ticket items will be replaced by online discounts that start sooner and last for a longer time. 

Oh, Good, Another Acronym

During the early days of the pandemic, common household items quickly ran out of stock. Unfortunately, one usually didn’t realize the item was out of stock until one was already standing in the store. This is why BOPIS (buy online and pick-up in-store) has become so popular. Expect more retailers to offer this service that puts customer safety and convenience first, while still making cash registers ring. 

Time To Go Shopping

Just like making a reservation at a restaurant, some stores may require customers to register for a specific shopping time slot. By doing so, it limits the number of people in the store at one time, making for a safer, and certainly more unique shopping experience. 

That’s Not A Bell That’s Ringing

Chances are good that when a phone vibrates this holiday season it won’t be a BFF – it will probably be a retailer. Remember, last year 61% of online Black Friday transactions were made on mobile devices. Many brands will continue to use SMS or push notifications to offer deals, and let shoppers know that their online/mobile order is ready for pickup.

When You Absolutely, Positively Want Free Shipping

One of the most effective ways for online retailers to move merchandise is by offering free shipping. Most retailers offer free shipping once you hit a certain dollar amount. Some offer an entire day where every purchase is shipped free of charge. But, this year, when so many will be unable to celebrate in person with family and friends, shipping costs will be even more top of mind with consumers. So, it’s probably a safe bet that retailers will be in even more of a giving mood when it comes to offering free shipping. 

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