Introducing Scheduler by SuperConnect! Find Meeting Times in a Snap.

SuperConnect is the newest division of Slalom, LLC. SuperConnect draws on our extensive experience working with enterprises large and small to help you maximize your effectiveness, be more innovative, and better support your most important assets—employees. SuperConnect helps companies and users work better by harnessing the value of four major trends emerging today: Mobility, Enterprise Gamification, Social Media, and Cloud Computing. To learn more about SuperConnect and what we can do for your company, visit SuperConnect.com.

Slalom Consultant Greg Martin

Greg Martin is the Practice Area Lead for Slalom’s National Application Development Team. His team focuses on solutions that range from traditional enterprise architecture and development to emerging technologies such as mobility and cloud computing.

I love my iPhone and I use it throughout the day to update my to-do list, stay on top of my email, capture notes and reminders, read documents, and most importantly, manage my calendar.

The iPhone’s calendar continues to improve with every major release of iOS, but as someone who frequently relies on his mobile device to schedule meetings with coworkers, it still falls short. If I’m running out the door and realize I need to find a time to meet with someone, there is no way for me to determine if that person is free or busy at any given time.

For the 65% of business worldwide that use Microsoft Exchange for email and calendaring, the ability to find a common, free time across a number of meeting attendees is a crucial feature that is supported by Outlook for Windows and Mac as well as Apple’s iCal but has yet to make its way to the phone. Read more of this post

What Apple’s New App Store Volume Purchasing Means for Enterprises and Developers

Slalom Consultant Greg Martin

Greg Martin is a member of the Slalom National Mobility team which incubates emerging technology solutions in areas such as mobility, user experience and alternative application hosting.

Last week Apple announced the upcoming App Store Volume Purchasing Program for Business.  This program promises to fill current gaps in the way that enterprises are able to buy and distribute 3rd party enterprise applications.

This is a big deal, both for enterprises and developers.  Anyone who has deployed iOS within their organization or built apps targeted for enterprise is aware of the existing limitations.

Currently the deployment of 3rd party apps within an organization requires that your employees procure the product from the App Store directly. If costs are involved, some sort of reimbursement process is necessary.  Additionally, if your organization deploys internally built applications along side 3rd party applications, it can be confusing to end-users when they are able to get some apps directly from an internal App Store, while others must be installed from the public one.

So what are the benefits (and potential downside) of this new program? Read more of this post

Jeff Barber at the AT&T 2011 Developer Summit

Slalom Consultant Greg Martin

Greg Martin is a member of the Slalom National Mobility team which incubates emerging technology solutions in areas such as mobility, user experience and alternative application hosting.

I’m excited to announce that my colleague, Jeff Barber, will be presenting “Differentiate Apps Using Network Services APIs” at the AT&T 2011 Developer Summit, co-located with CES in Las Vegas on January 5, 2011. Visit event site at http://www.2011devsummit.com to learn more and to register.

 

 

Read more of this post

A Microsoft Renaissance

Slalom Consultant Greg Martin

Greg Martin is a member of the Slalom National Mobility team which incubates emerging technology solutions in areas such as mobility, user experience and alternative application hosting.

It seems to me that Microsoft is going through a bit of a renaissance as of late.  Microsoft is a company that I feel no matter where your technology preferences lie, you’ve got to give them their due respect for, frankly, creating the industry we work in everyday.  Over the last 10 years or so it has seemed to me that Microsoft hasn’t been able to catch a break in a world of Googles and iPhones, but here we are in 2010, and to me, it looks like they are turning it around.

Search

Google hasn’t had much of a competitor in the search space for a while, and I’ll admit, when I first heard Microsoft’s latest effort was going to be called “Bing” I assumed it was yet another re-branding effort that wouldn’t amount to much.  Well I was wrong about that, at least if you look at their market share numbers which have been increasing steadily since launch.  I use Bing Travel all the time, I had been a fan of the technology since it launched originally as Seattle based startup Farecast, and their iPhone app is really quite good.

Windows

Windows Vista received a lot of criticism when it launched.  Many IT departments simply refused to adopt it, sticking with their tried & true Windows XP.  Windows 7 appears to have Read more of this post

Mobile Video and Advertising

Slalom Consultant Greg Martin

Greg Martin is a member of the Slalom National Mobility team which incubates emerging technology solutions in areas such as mobility, user experience and alternative application hosting.

Slalom Consulting extends its outreach to Midwest executives and the online community through an article on Mobile Video and Advertising, published today in Corp! Magazine online. The article was written by Slalom blogger Jeff Barber.

Follow Greg on Twitter: @slalomdev.

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More on iPad in the Enterprise

Slalom Consultant Greg Martin

Greg Martin is a member of the Slalom National Mobility team which incubates emerging technology solutions in areas such as mobility, user experience and alternative application hosting.

I’ve been quoted in the SF Chronicle in a recent article discussing iPad in the enterprise:

Slalom Consulting, which builds software for enterprise clients, has preordered several iPads. The company plans to use them not only to help develop applications for the device, but also to present information to clients during meetings.

“We demo a lot of things on our handset, but it’s not a great experience,” said Greg Martin. “It’ll be good to use the iPad as a demonstration and presentation tool.”

Read more:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/03/28/BUJ41CLUBP.DTL#ixzz0jXMT1rH7

The conversation we had went more in depth and we covered many of the points I made in my earlier post, such as how I feel that, due to the existence of the SDK on launch day, the iPad has a leg up on the iPhone from an enterprise perspective.

- Greg

iPad in the Enterprise

Slalom Consultant Greg Martin

Greg Martin is a member of the Slalom National Mobility team which incubates emerging technology solutions in areas such as mobility, user experience and alternative application hosting.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Apple launched a new product this week.  The iPad promises to fill the gap between your desktop/laptop and your phone as a multi-functional personal media center.  For months the rumors have been building and expectations for this device have reached extreme heights.  Due to those high expectations, rumors that our minds would be blown by how you interact with the device or by features it would have, many are coming down pretty hard on it.

This reminds me a lot of when the iPhone was first released.  The technology was cool, groundbreaking even, but there were still a lot of critics talking about what it didn’t do.  That was magnified when it came to enterprise.  It took a year for the iPhone to get Exchange support.  However, with the release of iPhone OS 2.0 we got Exchange plus a whole lot more with the addition of the iPhone SDK and the App Store.  The iPhone SDK changed nearly all of the “it cant”s to “it can”s almost overnight.  In the enterprise space, new and powerful mobile messaging, BI and CRM solutions are cropping up constantly.  And the ability for companies to create their own custom solutions, specifically tailored to how they do business, should not be discounted.

With the iPad, the hardware is not as groundbreaking as we experienced with the iPhone.  We’ve all become used to our iPhones and iPod touches and the impressive experience they provide.  The iPad is an extension of the iPhone and one can certainly come up with niche examples that would benefit from it, such as healthcare and education.

So does the iPad have a place in the enterprise?  I think so, but I think it’s up to the software developers and service providers to unlock that potential.

- Greg

My iPhone Enterprise Wish List

Slalom Consultant Greg Martin

Greg Martin is a member of the Slalom National Mobility team which incubates emerging technology solutions in areas such as mobility, user experience and alternative application hosting.

At Slalom we don’t dictate what mobile devices our consultants use.  Given the choice, about 40% of our consultants have chosen the iPhone, making it the most popular handset at Slalom.  We have developed a few internal applications for the iPhone using the enterprise deployment model, including an app called Cards.  Cards is a global address book that allows us to get in touch with any other consultant and understand more about them, such as the market they work in and their current client.

Distributing a consumer application through the AppStore is great.  Once your app is submitted and approved, it is there for anyone to install, either from their computer or over the air directly onto your phone.  Alternatively, the enterprise distribution method (similar to the ad-hoc method) makes it challenging for our IT organization to manage application deployments and upgrades across a growing user base.

Here is my wish list to improve enterprise distribution, and interestingly enough, a few of these requests are Read more of this post

Splitting an Entity in a CoreData Migration

Slalom Consultant Greg Martin

Greg Martin is a member of the Slalom National Mobility team which incubates emerging technology solutions in areas such as mobility, user experience and alternative application hosting.

This post assumes you have experience with CoreData and are generally familiar with the Introduction to Core Data Model Versioning and Data Migration Programming Guide.

On a current client project I was recently tasked to explore CoreData migration.  Simple migrations involving the modification of existing entities are pretty straight forward and well documented, however, one case that we wanted to verify, the splitting of an entity into two related entities, was not clearly documented.  The purpose of this post is to outline how this task can be accomplished.

Person entity attributes table

We start with a simple data model with a single Person entity that has some common person attributes, including address information.

Next we add a new model version, and create a new Address entity to move the address specific attributes from the Person to this new related entity.

person address tables

The next step is Read more of this post

iPhone vs. Android, a Developer’s Perspective

Slalom Consultant Greg Martin

Greg Martin is a member of the Slalom National Mobility team which incubates emerging technology solutions in areas such as mobility, user experience and alternative application hosting.

I should start this post with a bit of a disclaimer, I love my iPhone.  I’ve had one since the initial launch and the bulk of my projects since then have been iPhone related.  That being said, aside from it being my job to be knowledgeable in other platforms, I am also personally very interested in other mobile technologies.

A couple of weeks ago I received my Android Dev Phone 2 from the Android Market.  Any developer with an Android Market account ($25 a year) can order an unlocked development phone from Google for developing applications.  Right off the bat I found this to be a nice difference.  Without another contract I could start writing software and testing directly on a device, and if I do need to test on the network I can just pop in a sim from another device (be careful about data charges however).

The Hardware

The Android Dev Phone 2 is the HTC Google Ion (aka the HTC Magic or T-Mobile myTouch), specs can be found here, I will be comparing to my iPhone 3GS.  The Android device is physically smaller than the iPhone, and I had never really considered my iPhone to be bulky until setting them side-by-side.  Aside from the touch screen the Android device has a few more buttons than the iPhone, Home, Menu, Call, Back, Search, Hangup and a scroll ball.  Because of the touch screen, I don’t see any reason or value added with the scroll ball, maybe for one handed operation, but even then you still just gravitate to the screen.

It may be unfair to compare performance against the 3GS, but even compared to the 3G the OS is not nearly as snappy as the iPhone.  Apps tend to launch much more slowly and general responsiveness always seems to have a bit of a lag.  I am curious how this will compare on the upcoming Nexus device which is supposed to have a much faster processor.

The other major difference is Read more of this post

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