Mobile Marketing Made Easier & Smarter: Urban Airship Launches New Publishing & Reporting Tools

first_imgWhat it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Cross-platform mobile push notification and in-app purchase service Urban Airship announced two new features this morning that mobile savvy marketers are sure to find compelling. In a world fast becoming more mobile, more real time and more data-centric, these technologies are very well timed. Hopefully they’ll be self-correcting enough that app users won’t be driven crazy. The company’s new Push Composer is a simple web-based publishing platform for publishing messages that will be delivered to app users’ iOS, Android or BlackBerry screens. Messages can be scheduled ahead of time and delivered to groups of users segmented by a variety of tags. The second new feature, UA Reports, displays daily metrics about notification open rates by time of day. With nearly 10 million notifications sent each day, Urban Airship says it intends to offer mobile marketing benchmarks, best practices for maximizing engagement through push and more data-centric insights in the near future.An Unusual CompanyWe first wrote about Urban Airship eighteen months ago, when the then tiny startup unveiled its plans to act as a technology middle-man for app developers interested in outsourcing the infrastructure required to take advantage of the new push notifications and in-app purchasing on the iPhone. The company was founded by a scrappy group of engineers with a bizzarre story: their previous employer collapsed overnight, offering company computers in lieu of final checks, they built and sold an online bacon delivery website and a number of them were fortunate enough to receive unemployment payments for bootstrapping entrepreneurs under an innovative program from the state of Oregon. Then they built Urban Airship. Led by serial innovator Scott Kveton, the company started landing customers fast and furious.Fast forward to today and the now venture-backed startup says it has more than 7500 customers, using the company’s services in almost 16,000 different apps, and adds an average of 43 new customers each day. In addition to push and in-app sales, the company was powering some of the first experiments with iOS content subscription. Urban Airship’s list of customers is long and interesting, from Target to the Guardian, Warner Brothers, the Vancouver Canucks and Groupon. That’s right – this little startup powers the push notifications for the fastest growing tech company in history. Say what you will about Groupon (I’m no fan) but that’s impressive.As we discussed in depth when it was revealed that push notifications were coming to the Twitter iPhone app, push enables new forms of interaction with mobile apps. Beyond increasing user engagement, push offers users opportunities to interact with apps in ways that are real-time, synchronous and rich with flow. The interruptive nature of push allows for finer-tuned prioritization of certain messages from certain sources. Push is a big deal, and Urban Airship makes it easy and systematic for app developers to implement it.From its humble beginnings, the startup has now grown to 25 employees, has taken over a spacious office in Portland, Oregon and is quickly hiring many of the most cutting edge engineers, designers and sales people in that tech-rich town. The building now houses a number of mobile startups, including former Twitter engineer Alex Payne’s forthcoming BankSimple. A publicly available mobile device testing lab is in the works as well, gathering devices from manufacturers around the world for anyone to come and test their apps on. Moving Beyond Speaking to GeeksUrban Airship says that companies come to it to save time and money on deploying push notifications, but there’s far more than can be done once the customers are in the door. The startup is building new features quickly – some go over well (like RSS to push) and others have been slower to gain adoption, like the feature the company calls “rich media push.”The two features the company is releasing today speak to a new audience, though. While the legacy product is ultimately an API play, the new features adress the needs of marketing organizations. Both features are being tested with existing customers but will be made generally available once that testing is complete.The new Push Composer is like a little blogging platform, or a Twitter client, but for writing Push Notifications. An attractive UI allows anyone to compose short messages, schedule them for delivery and segment the audience based on tags that users may have opted-into or that a mobile app provider applied to people themselves. For example: one group of recipients might like the Portland Trailblazers, another group may be people who have opened a push notification within the previous 24 hours. Tagged groups can be whatever you like. Click send and boom, the message will be sent and received in seconds.At launch the Composer does not allow users to determine what screen in an app gets opened when a notification is viewed, but the company says that may be offered in the future. Right now when recipients view a notification, the app simply opens up its front page.Even more interesting are the new UA Reports. At first the reports are simple. They just track app opens, time in app, and push volume over time.In time, Urban Airship hopes to see what kinds of data their customers want and to offer a wide variety of information based on that data it collects, cross referenced with other data sources. The company says it believes that app developers will eventually make decisions based on the data the reports deliver: what kinds of notifications get the most response? What kinds of features are users best alerted to by push? Which features or content types should be more prominent in the experience of the app? marshall kirkpatrick Related Posts The company says, for example, that one of its magazine customers found that push notifications and icon badges for its mobile apps were being opened more often at 9 PM than at any other time of the day. In response, the magazine now regularly pushes new content and notifications around 8:30 to prime the pump for evening readers.Push notifications are great for keeping users engaged with apps, but some mobile devices handle them better than others. On iOS they are frankly terrible – though rumors are flying that drastic improvements may be forthcoming. Will putting push composition in the hands of marketers lead to notification overload, a declining user experience and consumer backlash? That seems like one of the risks, but one that Urban Airship hopes to tackle with data-based education about best practices. The company says it has one full time engineer dedicated to metrics right now, but does not offer any formal training or guidelines in pushing just right instead of too much.“2011 is the year that mobile apps need to prove their value,” says Urban Airship’s Jason Glaspey in the company’s announcement today. “With thousands of apps fighting for consumer attention and an average app lifespan of one month or less, developers and marketers need powerful tools.”With a full-speed-ahead attitude and plenty of momentum, Urban Airship will now try to provide just that kind of tools. Hopefully the data analysis the company shares with its customers will help keep trigger-happy push composers in check and not lead to an overwhelming flood of notifications. Time will tell. It looks like this new mode of communication is about to become easier and smarter than ever before. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Tags:#mobile#web The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

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How to Heat a Garage

first_imgIf you’re lucky enough to have a garage, you already know it can be used for more than keeping your car out of the snow. As Kent Jeffery explains in a Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor, garages also are useful for car and equipment repairs, and for storing garden vegetables, cans of paint and anything else a spouse may not want in the house.But in order for a garage to serve those purposes, the temperature has to be above freezing — and for much of the country that means a source of heat.Jeffery is in the midst of a house construction project, but already is thinking ahead to what his heating options might be for the garage. He’d like to keep a temperature of 45°F with an occasional boost to 65°F while he’s working on a project.The options he’s considering include a direct-vent natural gas heater, electric resistance heat, a ductless minisplit heat pump, an unvented natural gas heater, or a portable heater used only when he needs it.Any suggestions? That’s the topic for this Q&A Spotlight. His 1989 house is anything but superinsulated, so WD added some insulation to the access doors, put clear plastic over the windows, and added 2 inches of polyiso foam insulation to the moveable garage doors (not an easy task).“The result was a garage that was noticeably warmer in cold weather and cooler in warm weather,” Jeffery writes. “It’s about 5°F warmer than ambient during cool weather. I’ve used the garage for winter construction since then and wore a jacket but didn’t need additional heating.”The bottom line, he adds, is that “I had little or no justification for a heater.” If Jeffery’s garage is going to be superinsulated like the rest of the house, he may find that the last option (heat only with a portable heater when it’s really necessary) is worth a try.That’s essentially the approach also adopted by Nick T. in Minnesota. He recently added insulation in the garage attic, and at least in mid-November was enjoying temperatures 30 degrees above outside ambient air.When he needs heat, Nick uses an electric infrared heater plus a box fan in the door between the garage and house. His high-efficiency furnace does most of the work. The no-heat optionWriting from the Chicago area, GBA reader WD tells the tale of a neighbor who installed a fancy gas-fired furnace in his three-bay garage but then found he rarely uses it. Maybe that’s because an attached garage picks up enough residual heat from the house, as WD found in his own case. RELATED ARTICLES A radiant floor with a direct-vent water heaterChuck Jensen decided to heat his 24 foot by 26 foot detached garage in Climate Zone 6b with a radiant floor system consisting of PEX tubing buried in the concrete slab.“For the heat source I used the smallest on-demand Rinnai propane direct-vent [water heater] available,” Jensen says. “It is set up with a Taco pump feeding the input and a manual bypass valve for circulating without the Rinnai in the loop. Control is just a timer that runs the pump at intervals for a short period. There is no thermostat. The Rinnai fires up when the pump runs due to the flow.”The heating system “buffers nicely,” he adds, and keeps vehicles and tools good and warm, and he likes the arrangement so much he’s repeating it in a new detached garage that he’s building at a new house. “Very simple and requires very little room,” he says.But when the concrete floor has already been poured, this good advice comes too late, Jeffery replies. In fact, Jeffery has a natural gas boiler and PEX radiant heat in a detached garage/shop — too bad he can’t use this approach in the garage. Using a Tankless Water Heater for Space HeatEnergy-Efficient Garage DoorsShould I Insulate My Garage Door?A Stupid — and Illegal — Way to Air Condition Your Garage Q&A: Garage Wall InsulationGreen Basics: Water HeatingGreen Basics: Green Heating OptionsFrom Fine Homebuilding: Heating Options for a Small Homecenter_img Gas or electric infrared heatersFor temporary heating for a weekend project, Charlie Sullivan suggests an electric infrared (IR) heater, a simple unit with a quartz element and reflector but no fan. “If you want to go all out you can mount those on the ceiling so there’s IR heat everywhere,” he writes, “but you can also get a portable one and just put it where you are working.”IR heaters might be a good solution, Jeffery says, but the goal here is to protect canned goods, not so much provide personal comfort. “So,” he says, “really looking for a low-level ambient heat of air and objects… at low cost.”Dana Dorsett suggests the heating load would probably be about 10,000 Btu/hour, but a 30,000 Btu/h heater might not be too much if the garage were normally at 45° or 50°F and Jeffery wanted to bring the temperature up fairly quickly.“Non-condensing air-delivery gas-burners are going to have a problem at 45°F indoor temps, but a condensing version could work,” he says. “But ceiling or wall-bracket mounted gas radiant heaters don’t have that problem, and would be far more comfortable while the place is still coming up to its temperature, since it is heating the objects in the garage (including the humans) directly, not heating the air first.”These heaters are common in large warehouses, he adds, “since comfort can be achieved at lower temperatures, limiting the comfort shock and shortening the comfort recovery when large doors get opened and closed.” Our expert’s opinionHere’s GBA technical director Peter Yost:I think we all can agree on these points:1. Insulating a garage door can be cheap and easy (either DIY or with one of many commercially available solutions, such as this one), but air-sealing a door is really hard. I checked in with local builder members of the Sustainable Energy Outreach Network and they all agreed that while gasketing between individual door panels and the concrete floor can be done, air sealing at the head of the door and along the side tracks is damn near impossible.2. True radiant heating (not in-floor “radiant”) is the best heating solution for quick response and situations where there is a lot of air leakage.3. Radiant floor heating systems — hydronic or electric — are high mass, not quick to respond at all, and not a good match for situations with lots of air leakage.Jeffery is actually asking for two types of heating: background, steady heat for perishables and intermittent task heating. That is a bit of a tall order. Fast-acting radiant systems are well-suited for the latter because thermal comfort is based largely on the operative temperature (about 50% contribution from air temperature and 50% from mean radiant temperature) and in a garage you can quickly boost the mean radiant and achieve comfort with a reduced air temperature.But that low air temperature and high mean radiant temperature can’t be sustained over long periods of time because delivered radiant heat is inevitably re-expressed as conduction and convection. The air temperature will gradually rise, unless you have a lot of air changes. So while there is greater thermal comfort and efficiency of fast-acting radiant systems for task heating, those advantages don’t translate well for background steady space heating.The bottom line? Insulate and air seal the garage as best you can to minimize what you need to deliver for background steady heat and use fast-acting radiant heat for your tasks. (For more information, see Space Heaters).I would recommend electric ceiling radiant heating panels for these reasons: they provide good, unobstructed “viewing” angles up and out of the way on the ceiling; they’re easy to wire and more panels can be added as needed; and they modulate for both background steady heat and fast-acting radiant task heating.The only drawback may be that their surface operating temperatures (around 165°F) may not lift the mean radiant temperature enough for all tasks in the garage, but you could augment the ceiling panels with a task panel installed on the underside of a shelf above your workbench; the task panels are standard wall plug units. (The ceiling panels are hardwired either for 110 volt or 220 volt service.) Be cautious of benzene threatDonald Endsley points to a concern about attached garages that applies regardless of a heating system: elevated levels of benzene inside the house. “Benzene is a chemical pollutant that basically evaporates from gas and oil stored in the garage, and also enters the garage through unburned hydrocarbons in vehicle exhaust,” he says. “Basically to counteract this the garage needs to be at a lower air pressure than the house is. That means you really need to add a continuous exhaust fan to the garage.”Longterm problems associated with exposure to benzene include anemia, leukemia, and possibly non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma, he says. It’s a known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level.Although he hasn’t confirmed his hunch with any tests, Endsley estimates that a fan moving between 15 and 30 cubic feet per minute would be about right.last_img read more

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Callum Wilson has shown character – Mark Robins

first_imgAccording to Callum Wilson’s former Coventry manager Mark Robins, he has shown ‘character and determination’ to bounce back from injuries and score on his England debut.Wilson was on target on his England debut as they defeated the United States 3-0 in Wayne Rooney’s 120th and final cap.The Bournemouth striker started his football career at Coventry and despite series of injuries, scored 22 goals in 49 appearances between 2009 and 2014.Robins, who managed Wilson at Coventry says his debut is a proud moment for the West Midlands club.“When I was here the first time around Callum had quite a few lengthy injuries and to come through that and get back to playing, never mind to the level he’s performing at, shows character and determination,” Robins told Sky Sports.Jadon Sancho, Borussia DortmundCrouch: Liverpool could beat Man United to Jadon Sancho Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Peter Crouch wouldn’t be surprised to see Jadon Sancho end up at Liverpool one day instead of his long-term pursuers Manchester United.“Eddie Howe takes a lot of credit for that because he has molded him and developed him again and obviously he deserves his opportunity in the England shirt because of his performances for Bournemouth.“He’s taken that well and I was delighted for him, I was willing him on to score last night.“I would have liked to see Wayne Rooney score a goal as well with the stick he’s taken for playing in a game like that.“These players who have been stalwarts for England, who have been top, top players and who have broken records for goal scoring deserve that recognition.”last_img read more

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