Invitation Event “Integrating Mobile Health and Wearable Technology” on August 14th

We are hosting another breakfast event in Perth. Are you considering leveraging mobile technology for your organisation? Save your seat! Press the green “Register” button on Eventbrite:

 

Invitation Event Wearables

We are hosting another breakfast event in Perth. Are you considering leveraging mobile technology for your organisation? Save your seat! Register here:

 

Apple announces a built-in health tracking app for iOS 8

In the scope of Apple’s annual WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference), held June 2-6th 2014 in San Francisco, we found very interesting what Apple has announced in the health space: An app simply called “Health”, plus a new tool for developers called “HealthKit”, allowing integration of third party applications.

Apple's "Health" icon

Apple announced the app “Health”, integrated in iOS8

“Health”  offers an “easy-to-read dashboard”, pulling in information from various sources, for example diagnostics, lab results, medications, nutrition and much more. It is already integrated in iOS 8. This means, everyone who will update their mobile Operating System to the new iOS version 8 or who buys a new mobile device which has iOS 8 already installed, will have it on their iPhone, iPad, iPad mini or iPod Touch. Soon, this app will be omnipresent in Australia’s population, bringing noticeable awareness to digital health.

Users can individually determine which data they want to share, for example with their doctors.

Health Data screen of Apple's app "Health"

Health Data screen of Apple’s app “Health”

Dashboard screen of Apple's "Health" app

Dashboard screen of Apple’s “Health” app

We as app developers could use HealthKit for clients in the health industry to tailor an app to their specific requirements; for example when data is collected from several different devices, brought together into their existing computer system, utilising it for a valuable outcome they require either in their workflow or for their patients. This opens up many opportunities for the health industry. Some of our developers have already installed the available version on their iOS devices.

Apple also said they have been working with innovative Mayo clinic for a while. Mayo uses an own app (= third party app) which is working with HealthKit. Individual parameters can be set for patients; for example, if a blood pressure reading does not fall in the parameter’s thresholds, the app can proactively notify health staff who then can help their patients quickly.

Apple's Health app is integrated in Mayo Clinic's app

Example of third party integration: Apple’s Health app is integrated in Mayo Clinic’s app (left)

The publication 9to5Mac has already released a first walkthrough of the Apple Health app as seen in this video:

We will monitor this space as we have been working for health clients and we also have an accredited CHIA in our team, a Certified Health Informatician Australasia. We are curious what Apple will eventually release around September/October. Apple’s website addressing Health and HealthKit can be seen here.

Perth’s iOS Developers Watched WWDC14 at Lateral Solutions

WWDC14 logoApple’s annual WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) in San Francisco is a much anticipated event every June amongst developers using the Apple platforms. This year, over 1,000 Apple engineers and 5,000 developers came together to see what the tech giant has incubated.

It has become a tradition that Lateral Solutions hosts the June Perth iOS developers Meetup around this happening, providing nibbles and beverages. As the time difference would not allow a convenient live screening at night, the Meetup group came together to watch WWDC’s recording; group members exchanged what they had heard during the day and demonstrated what they had downloaded on their devices. The Meetup was founded by our team lead Sam. Also Tim attended, our latest addition to our mobile team. Yesterday evening, around 15 Perth’s iOS developers gathered in our office, looking forward to what Apple has actually revealed – the rumour mill is always at its full spin prior to the WWDC.

Exchanging views before watching the WWDC screening at Lateral Solutions' office

Exchanging views before watching the WWDC screening at Lateral Solutions’ office

Opposed to rumours referring to new devices, it was not hardware but software that dominated this year’s WWDC, presented by Apple’s CEO Tim Cook and Craig Federighi, Senior Vice-President Software Engineering.

The main announcement was the new version of Apple’s Operating Systems: iOS 8, the Operating System for mobiles, and OS X Yosemite, the Operating System for desktop computers. Apple has made them working together; for example a user can start writing an email on an iPhone (mobile) and continue writing it on a Mac (desktop). Even phone calls can be taken via a Mac or iPad, using them as speakers to their iPhones. Both free updates for iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite will be released in the northern hemisphere’s autumn later this year, respectively Australia’s spring.

A novelty, specifically interesting for developers, was the announcement of Swift, a new programming language for writing iOS and OS X Apps. We will watch this space attentively.

Another anticipated tool was the HealthBook. Apple called it simply “Health” and offers a developer’s kit called “HealthKit”. Read more about it here.

Last but not least, HomeKit is another interesting announcement: Designed for home configuration and automation services in a user’s home, it can connect by voice with Siri and takes commands such as “get ready for bed”; it then could switch the outdoor lights off and the bed lamp on, as well as heating the electric blanket.

If you want to watch the presentation at the WWDC 2014 in full length (close to 2 hrs) including more features, watch this official Apple video:

 

 

 

PLD’s iPad App for literacy does well in the App Store

 

We are happy to see that the iPad app we have developed for renowned Australian Speech Pathologist and Educator Diana Rigg is doing well after being released in the App Store four weeks ago.

PLD's first Literacy App for iPad

PLD’s first Literacy App for iPad

Currently the app ranks number 6 in the Word Games category in Apple’s iPad Top Charts. Congratulations to Diana Rigg and the team at PLD Learning Resources, who are doing an awesome job helping kids with literacy delays.

PLDs first iPad app ranks currently 6th on Apple's iPad Top Charts for Word Games

PLDs first iPad app ranks currently 6th on Apple’s iPad Top Charts for Word Games

The iPad app named “PLD 2P Read 1a” is available on the App Store. Diana created it to be used by up to 2 players on each iPad, for use in the classroom or at home. It is the first in a series of apps designed to provide early readers aged 4-6 years old with multiple learning opportunities.

Download the PLD Reading App on the App Store and let us know what you think!

PLD app reviews as of May 13th 2

PLD app reviews speak for themselves

Our Team Lead Sam speaks at YOW!West Conference this week

 

We are thrilled that our Developer Team Lead Sam, who is also a founding member of the Perth iOS Developers Meetup, will be one of the high calibre speakers at the sold-out YOW!West conference this week. The conference takes place on May 13th and May 14th, followed by workshops on May 15th and May 16th.

YOW!West Conference Banner

Well established at the east coast providing cutting-edge content, YOW! comes now to the west. The best international, national and local experts will provide thought provoking and innovative talks in their field of expertise. The mission with YOW! is to build the next generation of IT leaders and encourage excellence and innovation amongst the Australian development community.

Lots of geeks at one place. Sam’s topic will be “Beyond SQLite & Core Data – NoSQL for mobile apps”. Go Sam!

Sam Ritchie, Lateral Solution's Team Lead, speaks at the upcoming YOW!West Conference

Sam speaks at the upcoming YOW!West Conference

Congratulations to Lateral Solutions’ first Certified Health Informatician Australasia (CHIA)!

 

By CHIA, we don’t mean the healthy seeds, but it refers to Certified Health Informatician Australasia.

CHIA has been developed by the Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA), the Australasian College of Health Informatics (ACHI) and the Health Information Management Association of Australia (HIMAA). It was introduced at the HIC conference in July 2013.

HISA’s aim is to contribute to “improving Australian healthcare through technology and information”. Since we have been helping clients  in the health industry improving their systems processes and health apps by building custom, industrial strength software, it is a great synergy for Lateral Solutions to be a member of HISA. We were delighted to learn about the certification CHIA  and were happy to be amongst the first approaching the exam as we love innovation.

Lateral's Thushara Weerakody sat successfully the CHIA exam

According to HISA, “the CHIA qualification has been designed to address the lack of formal recognition for health informatics skills in the Australian health workforce. It provides independent measurement and validation of Health Informatics skills, knowledge and abilities and demonstrates commitment to professionalism.”

Congratulations to our Managing Director Thushara who successfully sat the 2 ½ hour exam! He is now Lateral Solution’s first CHIA. We are sure the certification and HISA association will help Lateral Solutions continue to provide industrial strength and innovative solutions to our Health clients and the Health Industry.

(A definition of Health Informatics can be found here.)

 

CHIA (Certified Health Informatician Australasia) Certificate for Thushara Weerakody, Managing Director of Lateral

CHIA (Certified Health Informatician Australasia) Certificate for Thushara Weerakody, Managing Director of Lateral Solutions

CHIA Thushara Weerakody Managing Director of Lateral

 

 

 

 

 

“Industrial Strength Software” – Why Quality Matters

by Thushara Weerakody

When I talk to potential customers I always tell them we focus on building “Industrial Strength Software”. This is important to us because we believe it’s one of the things that defines who we are as a company.  Of course some of the customers then naturally ask what that is or why is it important.

Industrial GradeWhat it is; I base it on the definition of industrial strength, i.e. “unusually strong or effective; able to withstand great strain or use” (Source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/)

So with software, the elements that we believe are critical:

  • Security – information in the system is secure and protected
  • Robust-performance – it’ll handle rigorous use, it’ll handle unexpected occurrences
  • Integration – it doesn’t stand alone, it connects to existing systems to simplify work
  • Maintainability – it can be built upon and maintained without much effort and worry of collapse

Why is all this important. It’s a little bit like cars, some are engineered to higher standards of performance, efficiency and safety than others. You might pay a higher cost upfront, but the value is in the long run where the benefits come through or in the case of an unforeseen event, i.e. an accident.

In the new world of app development, Industrial Strength is more important than ever. Regardless of whether we’re doing Android development or in iOS developer mode the apps we build will in most cases have a cloud backend or need to integrate to an existing system. Being secure and robust are key. If it gets broken into or can’t cope it means significant loss of users, reputation and eventually revenue.

The problem is for most people if you’re not from the world of IT how do you know this stuff is in the software you want built. It’s not easy and you may need to quiz your software or app builder. Instead of accepting an answer of “yes sure it’s all there” ask them for examples of how they approach some of the critical industrial strength areas.

We recently had a customer come to us who already had an app built for him, it need to be able to handle lots of users, be secure and be enhanced easily. He had a feeling that something wasn’t quite right so he asked us to do a review. We found 32 issues around security & privacy, performance & scalability and code quality. Not all major, but some posed quite a bit of risk to what he wanted to achieve. Needless to say we are now helping rebuild components of the solution to ensure its truly industrial strength.

It’s often in the long run or unexpected that you really see the benefits of industrial strength software.