• Mobile App Development Krasamo App Factory

    Krasamo is a team of experienced UI/UX designers, software developers and testers located in Dallas, TX

  • Creating Smarter Apps with Geofencing

    We are starting to see a new wave of apps that combine the power and mobility of a user’s phone with that of small sensors and devices that communicate using Bluetooth Low Energy

    Read more about how geofencing works
    Mobile Geofencing Smart Apps
  • Featured App: TI Gas Sensor

    The TI Gas Sensor App allows customers to interface with and display results from a TI Gas Sensor Platform with Bluetooth Low Energy Reference Design.

    Check out more Apps in our Portfolio!
    TI GAS SENSOR Mobile App
  • Bluetooth Low Energy iOS Android Development

    Bluetooth Low Energy: Bridging the gap between mobile devices and all other kind of embedded devices

    Bluetooth Low Energy, a.k.a Bluetooth 4.0, is bringing to life a new kind of smart wearables and mobile gadgets that communicate with each other, with smart phones and tablets near them, and have the potential to improve the quality of life at an unprecedented rate.

    Read more about the status of Bluetooth Low Energy

Services

We make mobile app solutions that fit your needs.

Mobile App Prototyping and Research

Research and Prototyping

Have a crazy idea that you think it can be applied for your business or product? Would like to spend a fixed budget amount to prove try it out? We can help you apply and prove out new ideas and technologies in the mobile space to help you form a solid strategy. In fact, this is a big portion of what we do and it can not be in our portfolio.

User Interface Design User Experience

User Interface Design

We can design (or re-design) the user interface for your app. Provide you with a story and common user scenarios to help you choose a user experience that is tailored to your customer’s needs. Good ratings not only come from a clean UI and consistent UI, but also by providing the user with the functionality they expect.

Mobile App Development

App Development

From the beginning states of designing technical specifications, system architecture, a proof of concept, to production quality development and software maintenance, we can provide a variety of these services. Our team has broad software and hardware expertise, and we are flexible to consider requests for services not listed here.

Mobile App iOS Testing

App Testing

We develop test plans that are designed for the depth you require. Our testers are technically savvy, saving us time and resources. The well-being of your app is not only measured against the amount of issues fixed and resolved, but we also provide provide performance and memory reports for our (and yours) piece of mind.

Mobile App Publishing and Localization

Localization, Publishing

We have expertise in designing flexible UI that works when translated. We also work with translation companies to help us get accurate translations for your app. We believe non-English speaking communities are currently misrepresented in the mobile space, and we can help (Yes, we speak Spanish and Spanish translation is on us!). Whether you are publishing your app on an AppStore or simply releasing it in-house, we will help you along the way according to your needs.

Web Design Mobile Web Design

Web and Server Side

Mainly focused on iOS and Android mobile platforms, we also provide server-side solutions and hosting to go along with the client. Depending on your needs, we might suggest going with HTML 5 or a Web interface to save you money and time. More than often, an app does not stand by itself, but it is part of a bigger ecosystem.

Mobile App Accesories BLuetooth Sensors

Mobile Accesories

Mobile devices make a perfect platform for interfacing with the world around you. Think of temperature sensors, O2 sensors, heart rate monitors, pedometers, a watch, your sun glasses, etc, feeding you critical information around you, when you need it, using a mobile app. We have the expertise to engineer creative HW/SW solutions that go beyond a mobile app.

Mobile App Analytics

Marketing, Analytics

Before an idea is turned into an app, some marketing research must be done. Think of your revenue strategy, in-app purchases, whether to provide adds, or offer a subscription models, etc. We can provide you recommendations and insights to increase your revenue, get your app raked higher, and become more visible. Also, investing into integrating analytics in your app will help you gather interesting stats and insight of your customer’s usage patterns to help you in making decisions.

Mobile Apps Made in USA

Made in USA

We are proud to say that we do not outsource and produce all of our work in-house, locally. We believe the “Made in USA” label has many benefits for you, including: same timezones, fast turn-around, meetings in person, better testing, faster incorporation of feedback, and less waisting time. Therefore, it will end up costing you less, delivering a higher quality product, and we can show you that it does not have to be more expensive.

Portfolio

Samples of Our Work.

  • TI Gas Sensor

    The TI Gas Sensor App allows customers to interface with and display results from a TI Gas Sensor Platform using Bluetooth Low Energy.

    • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
    • UI/UX Design for iPhone and iPad
    • Open Source Core Plot Integration
    Bluetooth Low Energy Mobile TI Gas Sensor App - BLE
  • BSDR Player

    BSDR Player (Bilateral Sounds Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an app used by psychotherapies and patients using EMDR therapy. It generates bilateral beeps and allows the user to customize many aspects of this kind of binaural stimulation.

    • Medical App
    • Cross-Platform
    • Audio Engine
    • 4 Languages
    Mobile Medical BSDR Player App
  • Someone's PC

    Someone's PC is a useful and fun tool to use while playing Pokemon. It helps you train your game companion and keep track of all the partners you have collected!

    • Pokemon Game Companion
    • Character Tracker
    Pokemon Trainer Mobile App
  • Barbitoya

    • Mobile Catalog (2500+ products)
    • Tailored to Wholesalers
    • Server Based Logistics Automation
    • Localized in Spanish
    iPad icon
    Mobile Catalog App

Key Technologies

Geofencing

Creating Smarter Apps with Geofencing

Geofencing is a term used in the software field to describe a virtual perimeter around an object (this object can be stationary like a store) or a subject (like a human being that can move around). The use of geofencing became increasingly popular in the mobile space when Apple introduced it to the Reminders App in iOS 5.

Technically, a geofence always has a: 1.) Center (location coordinates such as latitude and longitude) and a 2.) Radius (distance in miles or meters). A user with a mobile device can have many different geofences registered with the Operating System (OS) but the maximum number of geofences an App can register is usually limited. iOS limits this amount up to 100 but on Android it does not appear to be such limitation. When using a geofence, the user typically sees an icon in the status bar, for example, a hollow purple location arrow on iOS.

I started working with geofencing for mobile devices before iOS 5 became an accepted minimum OS version to support, and before they were introduced on Android. A quick rundown of how we accomplished geofencing on iOS before actually having geofencing APIs was through the use of “Significant Changes In Location.” This is a service provided by the OS that notifies the app when the user moved a “significant” change in location. Based on this location, the app would then determine if the user was in a given region. This concept can still be used but it has been phased out with the introduction of new interrupt mechanisms, sometimes at the hardware level, that make it possible for iOS devices to be notified instead of polling the location hardware every so often (typically 5 to 10 minutes). Therefore, this results in more accurate algorithms, apps that perform better, and significant battery life savings.

In order for mobile devices to alert the app that the user has entered or exited a geofence, at the low level, you can say the mobile device is tracking the user’s location to some extent, although the app does not need to know the details of where the user is exactly located. Depending on the accuracy of the geofence specified by the app, this tracking can be more or less accurate, resulting in different battery implications.

If we setup a set of geofences around a static location or center, each geofence being bigger in radius than the previous one, then the last geofence will create a region that encompasses all other concentric regions created by the smaller geofences. This important to keep in mind specially if a user is moving away from the center, then the app receives “exit” geofence notifications, and if the user is moving towards the center, the app receives “enter” geofence notifications by the system.

With iOS 7, there is a new interesting spin on geofencing. Using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, the concept of geofencing has been further enhanced so that a geofence can work without tracking the user’s location. This approach is much more scalable and it uses low-power Bluetooth signals to determine if a user has entered or exited a geofence. The way this works is as follows: the user can download an app for a particular store (this app specifies a unique key or “beacon” identifier). A beacon is a device that acts as a BLE peripheral by advertising a service. A beacon could be a small hardware device designed for this purpose or a generic device like an iPad or iPhone acting in peripheral mode. The advance to this is that for example, a retail store with many locations, can set up a beacon in every store, and as long as the user has an app that registers a geofence with this key, the user will be notified of entering and exiting a geofence around these beacons. This also means more stores can be added to work with this app, by simply purchasing more beacons, without the user having to update the app or setting up geofences for new stores in the app.

A quick background on BLE (and if you want to read more about it you can check out our other article). This is a fairly new technology, already supported on the latest iOS devices, and soon to be released in the next version of Android (4.3). It can provide a range of 50 m, a data throughput of 1 Mbit/s, it requires very low power (< 15 mA), and it provides an easier way to pair devices than Classic Bluetooth. Apps that use BLE are starting to show in all areas such as healthcare, fitness, home automation, entertainment, etc.

The combination of using BLE and beacons and geofencing using location services is very powerful and has many potential applications. We are starting to see a new wave of apps that combine the power and mobility of a user’s phone with that of small sensors and devices that communicate using BLE. For example, just a few ideas that come to mind that could use this technology:

  1. Retail stores. An example is the ability to send coupons to customers and promotional adds as they enter a store and the ability for the store to also obtain customer information, let’s say for getting the user registered in the store’s mailing list. Also, knowing when the user is near a cash register or has left the store can provide even more functionality, like emailing a receipt after a purchase.

  2. Grocery stores. Using beacons, these large stores can provide the user with a map of where certain kind of items are located in the store. Beacons can be set up for each of the store’s departments or sections and based on the received signal strength of the beacon and in combination with indoor map capabilities (already supported by Google Maps), it could provide great context aware applications for stores.

  3. Museums. A museum could set up a beacon for each painting or piece of art. The user would download the museum app when going to the museum or exhibition and as the user walks around the museum, they could choose in the app to listen to an explanation, in any language, of the artwork in from of them. This app can even be generic to work for all museums. This would eliminate the need for those sometimes complicated audio devices and reduce paper printed guides.

  4. AppStore integration. iOS will in turn use this technology to advertise to the user of apps available that would be useful to the user at a particular moment in time depending on where the user is located. For example, if the user goes to a park, and the park has a beacon, the AppStore app, listening for “any” beacon, can notify the user that an app for this park is available such that if downloaded, more information about the park can be obtained (for example, like a map of hiking trails inside the park).

  5. Home automation. Light switches or lightbulbs can detect when a user is nearby without requiring motion sensors. This is in some cases preferable than motion sensors. Another use in the home can be for manipulating thermostat settings automatically for the user once the user get home (as opposed to prior to the user getting home which would require the other type of geofence tracking and could be more battery intensive). Another usage can be for opening the garage door of your home when you arrive (eliminating the need to find the remote and hit the button).

  6. Security. Beacons can be used to open doors and gates that require authentication or passwords. Granted that for security reasons, this may be less secure, but for applications like securing strangers don’t enter a bathroom at a public office this could work. This type of applications also imply that only certain users would be able to have the unique key that corresponds to this beacon, and this must be secured somehow.

  7. Traffic Control. This may seem far fetched, but it would be useful to know if you are at a traffic light looking at your phone if the traffic light changed. However, this is a challenging problem to solve, but we could make headways by equipping traffic lights with inexpensive beacons. The traffic light beacon could broadcast a signal when changing colors. As the user approaches the intersection, the geofence is triggered. The catch is that an interaction can have multiple traffic lights and the ability to provide the user with information about the traffic light that applies to the direction the user is traveling could be tricky.

As you can see, if you think about your daily small struggles (that for the most part we seem to be used to), it seems that the possibilities for creating context aware apps that provide useful solutions, specially when combining technologies such as geofencing, Maps, and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), are endless. If you can think of something you want to happen when you or someone is near something, it can be done with the use of geofencing and BLE. I expect to see affordable BLE sensors and beacons that communicate with mobile devices to be embedded in almost everything and users having mobile phones with apps that act as the gateway for interfacing with the real analog world.

Bluetooth Low Energy BLE Coming to Android

A Quick Status of Bluetooth Low Energy in the Year 2013

What is BLE? Bluetooth Low Energy, a.k.a Bluetooth Smart and/or Bluetooth 4.0, is bridging the gap between mobile devices and all other kind of embedded devices. This technology is bringing to life a new kind of smart wearables and mobile gadgets that communicate with each other, with smart phones and tablets near them, and have the potential to improve the quality of life at an unprecedented rate.

We can say that Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), is a fairly new technology. Already supported on the latest iOS devices, it is very soon to be released in the next version of Android 4.3 (Already available to developers). In a nutshell, BLE can provide a distance or range of 50 m (or 160 feet) and a data rate throughput of approximately 1 Mbit/s. It requires very, very low power (less than 15 mA) and it also provides an easier way to pair devices than Classic Bluetooth. The easy paring and low power features are making BLE the de-facto standard for accessories of mobile devices including wearable technology.

We can say that Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), is a fairly new technology. Already supported on the latest iOS devices, it is very soon to be released in the next version of Android 4.3 (Already available to developers). In a nutshell, BLE can provide a distance or range of 50 m (or 160 feet) and a data rate throughput of approximately 1 Mbit/s. It requires very, very low power (less than 15 mA) and it also provides an easier way to pair devices than Classic Bluetooth. The easy paring and low power features are making BLE the de-facto standard for accessories of mobile devices including wearable technology.

Examples: Appcessories and Wearables Mobile apps that use BLE are starting to show in all areas such as healthcare and medical, consumer electronics, sports and fitness, home automation, entertainment, construction, roads, retail stores, and others. Few examples of new accessories and apps are currently in the market are smart watches, weather monitors, pedometers, heart rate monitors, thermometers, skin sensors for diagnosis, activity tracker, shoes, construction tools (such as levelers, sensors for reading the temp. of objects), home automation locks, planter pots, tennis and golf balls, tire air pressure gauges, remote controls, etc. According to Suke Jawanda, Bluetooth SIG CMO, “hundreds of products were launched this year using Bluetooth Smart technology.“ But we are not only seeing gadgets, BLE is powering the “wearables” revolution as well.

Wearables, or wearable technology, are clothing with tiny integrated computers performing a specific task. IMS Research predicts the wearables market will grow to over $6 billion by 2016. From wearable fashion (like Asher Levine’s line of trackable couture 2013 Fall collection) to augmented reality wearables (like Google Glass), we are also starting to see implantables, or in-body chips, that range from Sensortech Smart Insert devices to blood testing chips.


The Market / Trends

There are already millions of BLE devices in the world, and the number is growing. BLE enabled “appcessories” (accessory + companion app) are projected to experience massive growth - 220 million units this year to nearly 1 billion per year by 2016 (ABI Research). As already mentioned, BLE, being an open platform, with low power, low cost, small footprint, and high security, make it the standard for mobile devices ecosystem. According to IMS Research, the market for BLE accessories are expected to be the fastest growing mobile phone accessory market in the coming years.


Android / iOS & BLE

This year, July 24th, BLE support was released as part of Android 4.3. According to Google, more smartphones and tables use Jelly Bean that any other Android version. Developers that already have experience with the Core Bluetooth Specification vs. 4.0 on iOS, will have a relatively easy time migrating existing BLE apps from iOS to Android since the BLE Specification make it very similar across mobile Operating Systems. iOS devices that support BLE are the iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, and 5S, iPad 3rd Gen. and newer, iPad mini, iPod Touch 5th Gen. For Android, the BLE supported devices list is growing, currently we know of the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 (you will need the BLE Enabler tool to turn it on), Samsung S4, and HTC One. The Samsung Galaxy S4 and Samsung Galaxy S III are planned to get the latest Android 4.3 software update in October this year. This is the first and only version of Android that supports BLE. This means the recently launched Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smart watch, will work with these mobile devices very soon, in addition to the Galaxy Note III devices.


TI’s BLE Platform

The TI’s SensorTag app for Android 4.3 makes Bluetooth Smart app development easy. The award winning CC2541 based $25 SensorTag kit jump starts the development of BLE apps on Android. The app is available at www.ti.com/sensortag-app-android. The CC2541 based SensorTag comes with six commonly used sensors on a single chip and can run for literally years on a single coin cell battery. The sensors it comes with are a gyroscope, accelerometer, humidity, pressure, IR temp. sensor, and magnetometer. When thinking about producing your own gadget, you can purchase just one CC2540/CC2541 BLE chip for as low as a couple dollars and the prices get better as the quantity increases.


Bluetooth SIG’s Developer Portal

The Bluetooth SIG’s Bluetooth Developer Portal (http://developer.bluetooth.org/Pages/Bluetooth-Android-Developers.aspx) is offering developers a head start with Android 4.3 by introducing the Bluetooth Application Accelerator. This tool provides developers with the source code to quickly develop native mobile apps for Android, iOS, Window 8, and Blackberry 10. You must register your company first, for free, with the Bluetooth SIG, before gaining access to the Bluetooth Application Accelerator.


Conclusion

This was a quick run down of what is going on in the world of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) right now (As of September 2013). As you can see, the possibilities are truly endless when we combine the power of BLE with cheap, low power sensors, therefore enhancing the experience of an already mobile and high tech population.



Sources

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