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Automaker Partners with i2Integration on Mobile App Integration

i2Integration is helping Ford Motor Co. expand the connected car on a global scale, and setting the stage for a growing presence in developer program creation and management.

As the technology company behind the digital assets in the Ford Developer Program, the Lansing-based web and application developer is playing a key role in establishing the Detroit automaker as the leader in integrating mobile apps with vehicles.

i2Integration provides technology support for both developer and consumer facing resources within the Ford Developer Program for AppLink which is the Ford product built upon the open-source SmartDeviceLink (SDL) platform.

"Other automakers are picking up Ford's open source architecture," said Scott Burnell, who heads the Ford program. "This is a brand-new world for a very old industry, and it's going to grow -- exponentially.”

Right now, some 15,000 developers are part of the FordDev Program, from Pandora and Major League Baseball to one-person shops that span nearly 100 countries.

"What we really like about having i2Integration on board is, we’re a global company but we're still where the entire automotive industry began, in Michigan," Burnell said. "It's great to have a Michigan company working alongside us that can work at a global level."

For i2Integration, that global capability includes developing, establishing and managing systems, content and mobile apps for the development program in key locations worldwide, with each installation tailored for speed, reliability and accessibility.

“Our team is at the forefront of what is truly a transformation of the automotive and mobile app industries and the growth of the 'Internet of Things,'" said John Forsberg, CEO of i2Integration. “We're proud to be a key component in Ford’s lead in that transformation.

“There's also a real and growing need for industries to integrate their products with independent mobile app developers worldwide, whether that's retail, automotive, b2b or healthcare. i2Integration is perfectly positioned to support that need, and that is extremely exciting for us.”

 


 

Wireframing and Prototyping Seminar

On May 10th, i2Integration was proud to conduct an hour long seminar to the Michigan Information Systems Association, discussing the new technologies and processes in application wireframing and prototyping. Sounds dry and boring, right? Actually it’s pretty cool stuff that has fundamentally changed design and development and, in doing so, has shaved a TON of time (and money) from the process. Not so boring! i2Integration CEO, John Forsberg, Vice President, Sean McEvoy and Sales/Strategic Partnerships, Mark Stiles all presented in this informative one hour event.

Want to know more. Here’s the Prezi:



 Have questions? Give us a holler or email. We can talk about this stuff all day.

 


 

Geofencing: putting location and the internet to practical use

What the heck is geofencing?


Geofencing is the use of GPS satellites, Bluetooth or WiFi to create a virtual boundary around a specific location from which you can trigger an event for your mobile device. That device might be a car, a phone or any other type of connected device. These days even mattresses (insanely) are connected devices!

 

Here’s a quick example of geofencing: As you drive home from work, your phone reminds you to pick up a gallon of milk as you drive by the grocery store. For iPhone users, this can be done via the Reminder App. Implementing geofencing application used to be an expensive endeavor. Not anymore. Now, the hardware and application software costs have made geofencing available to everyone, whether that’s a business or a single individual.

 

For your organization, the possibilities are endless:

 

Automotive (Connected Cars)


Soon, instead of an annoying beep that your gas is low or when it's time for an oil change, your car will tell you where you can actually get gas or an oil change based on your regular commute and which places have the best deals. FYI, this “connected car” functionality happens to tie directly to our experience in developing and supporting Ford Motor Company’s connected car program. It’s an exciting time to be in technology for the automotive industry.

 

Internet of Things (Smarthome)


Today there are connected devices such as the Nest smart thermostat. Right now, Nest can determine when you are at home and adjust the temperature accordingly. But with geofencing, you can take that further. Soon you can have your cell phone “talk” to the thermostat as you drive home, and based on how far away you are, automatically start warming the house for your arrival.

 

Industrial Internet of Things (Manufacturing)


Here’s an example of how geofencing can save manufacturing thousands (or more): Say you have a product that requires First In, First Out. If the product doesn’t ship quickly, quality and cost suffer. With RFID chips and geofencing, the company can now be flagged when a product is nearing its critical delivery date and clear the flag automatically once it’s left the plant.

 

For those of us at i2, geofencing is like the ultimate “if/then” application. If something is here, then do this. Or, if something is not here, then do that. For 20+ years, those kinds of questions have resided solely within code on a server or workstation. Now, with geofencing, the doors are open and the opportunities are (literally) anywhere you want them to be. Pretty cool.

 

 


 

Draw.io: 7 reasons this app rocks for business

The web developers at i2 never stop impressing me with what they know about the best available technology, which they know not only because it's their job to know, but because they think knowing this stuff is just plain fun."


Recently, I needed to create a flowchart while working away from the office. I had my laptop and I had Internet access, but that particular laptop did not have Microsoft’s Visio flowcharting software installed.


Instead of downloading Visio, which would have taken forever given the living-in-the-woods speed with which I have become accustomed, Sean (i2's director of development) pointed me to a cloud-based flowchart and diagram application called Draw.io (www.draw.io).


Five whole minutes later, having already created my first simple chart, I said aloud: “Damn! THIS is how cloud-based apps should work!”

Here’s why:


1. It’s entirely browser-based. No software to install.


2. No login or registration required. Go to www.draw.io and just go to work. How refreshing – not having to give my email to yet another company.


3. Incredibly easy to use. Drag-and-drop, fast and intuitive.


4. Powerful flowcharting capabilities with tons of objects to use (and you can even create your own).


5. Can save files to your desktop, Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive.


6. Export to PDF, JPG, PNG and GIF.


7. Manage styles, fonts, colors, etc. to make your charts more prettier.




And it’s free, which is great. But what also truly impressed me was how Draw.io looks and functions like a traditional desktop software app. You would be hard-pressed to spot the difference.


If you need to knock out a quick chart or even something more complex, I recommend give Draw.io a look.


You were right again, Sean; that was fun.


 

Analytics: (Eye)-Tracking a Potential Game-Changer

It's always a lot of fun to learn about emerging technologies and imagine ways they can become game-changers for our clients. For instance, have you read about the new eye-tracking system from a Swedish company that's being used mostly by the gaming community? When I was introduced to it, my first thought was that eye-tracking could potentially have a huge impact on those of us who do website design. Turns out I wasn't the first to think that. 

As you read this, companies are in the beta stage of developing eye-tracking software that can be used to determine the effectiveness of websites based on where user's eyes travel (or don't).

Right now, the only things analytics can track are what is clickable. But those analytics don't tell us what has been seen, and that information can be huge. The questions – and answers – would be extremely useful to web developers, and ultimately to you. You could get rid of anything that clutters the message – and once and for all, prove to Sonja in Accounting that the dog scampering across your homepage has no tangible value whatsoever and is, in fact, clutter. 

Or are those competing banner ads your website committee insisted on truly doing their job? Is your call-to-action button being seen, or are anyone's eyes making contact with it at all? This is what's coming. The likely result: cleaner, more efficient websites. 

We work very hard to do this now with the tools we have: assure that everything on your site supports your message, so the mission of your site can be fulfilled. Innovations such as eye-tracking software will soon be an added tool beyond click-through analytics.


 

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