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Whitepaper- The Engineer’s Guide to Fleet Management Solutions: Increasing Competitive Advantage and Employee Productivity

July 22, 2015 | By | No Comments

If you are part of an organization that has a mobile fleet, you are likely finding it difficult to maximize your bottom line.  Fleets are a necessary part of many businesses, but they can easily become a huge source of financial waste and inefficiency.  However, with an appropriate engineering solution, a fleet can become a productive addition to an organization instead of a financial drain.  Cost cutting, competitive advantage,and ROI are just some of the implementation results of fleet management systems.

14 Oranges has extensive experience with fleet management systems that have a measurable impact on our clients. We are experts at creating a solution that makes sense for your business and will have tangible result on your bottom line.  No company fleet is identical, so no engineering solution should be the same.



15 Jul


There’s An App For That! 14 Oranges Staff Reveal Their Favourite Mobile App and Why (Part 1)

July 15, 2015 | By |

Smartphone users expect there to be an app for pretty much anything they can think of these days. Since a lot of apps are free, people download and store them without a second thought.  As such, I was curious about which apps people use the most and why, so I posed the question to the 14 Oranges staff.  As part of an ongoing series, and in no particular order of importance, I present three 14 Orangers and their favorite app. Let us know if you like them or have never heard of them!

Eric Chan


PhotoSync is an easy way to backup photos from your device to your computer. PhotoSync allows you to transfer your photos & videos between your iPhone, iPad, Mac or PC over your local Wi-Fi network. It also supports sending and receiving photos and videos to and from popular cloud & photo services, mobile storage devices and NAS.

Holy crap, this app is glorious!  When I transfer photos I email them to myself which is basically one step above above a man on a horse delivering them. – Kirsten



Luis Moscoso

SkyView® Free Android or iOS

I love this app because it allows me to stargaze using my phone. The phone screen shows the location of most celestial objects in real time so I can tap on a object and find out more info. Want to find the planet Venus in the sky? Run the app and look around the sky until you find it. Don’t know the name of a visible star or planet? Point the phone at the object and click on the screen for more info.

I used this app at a BBQ on the weekend to try it out because I can never identify any kind of star formation.  Everyone stands around pointing out big and small dippers while I nod along but this time I was going to be the know it all.  I whipped out the app and easily identified the constellations around me.  Victory was mine! – Kirsten



Sasan Naderi


Working in development can mean that you’re managing many different devices simultaneously and it can be challenging if you want to pass information between them. Pushbullet allows you to communicate with all your devices including your desktops by installing an add-on to your browser. This app solves cross device communication for me and makes it simple to share links, notes, photos and files with others as well.

Since I don’t know much about development I didn’t get too much from this app.  I can understand its appeal if you’re working with a few devices because it really streamlines sharing. I could see it being useful if you were at someone’s house and wanted to show them a video on your phone. Cat videos need to be shared with everyone – Kirsten


Stay tuned for the next instalment of our favourite apps!

08 Jul


Chomp Chomp: Take a Bite Out of The Two Best Shark Week Mobile Apps

July 8, 2015 | By |

This has been one of the warmest (and smokiest) Vancouver summers that I can remember which means it’s the best time to indulge in some Discovery Channel Shark Week.  Personally, I think that Shark Week should be a national holiday because who doesn’t enjoy scaring themselves with Great Whites terrorizing the waters?  Sharks are my worst fear (feel free to ask about watching Jaws when I was 10 and we were in Hawaii.  I couldn’t set foot in the water) yet I can’t help myself when it comes to watching Shark Week. So in honour of the greatest week of TV ever, I have researched Shark apps and decided upon two favourites, so you don’t have to make such tough choices.

Global Shark Tracker

This app was so much better than I expected it to be!  My favorite part of this app was picking a shark and following him or her as they swim around.  It sounds so silly but you get really invested in your shark (oh wait, just me? Ok, cool).  Using satellite tracking technology, sharks with trackers are ranked on the app by how recently they have surfaced.

I chose a Great White named Einstein to track and he’s been pretty active around the coast of Texas and Mexico.  The app has some really great features that include social media connections like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so I can let everyone know what Einstein is up to (sorry to my friends that are subjected to Einstein updates).  He comes pretty close to the beach so hopefully he doesn’t eat anyone.

Einstein’s swimming around looking for his Theory of Relativity

Meet Pablo. He enjoys terrorizing the coast of Santiago

Meet Pablo. He enjoys terrorizing the coast of Santiago

Another cool feature of the Shark Tracker app is that you can donate to shark preservation and preserve the glory of Shark Week for future generations.  There are lots of sharks that are endangered and donating to the OCEARCH non-profit on the app is a really easy way to give back.

This app was logical and easy to use and it’s available for Android and iOS.  While you’re watching Shark Week, make sure you keep updated on your favourite shark!

Sharknado Game

Sharknado was a cultural phenomenon when it was released in 2013 because it was just as ridiculous as its name.  With washed up 90’s and 00’s stars like Tara Reid and Ian Ziering, this TV movie was guaranteed to be a smash hit.  It has since spawned two sequels, so a mobile game was the logical next step.

The premise of the game is that you (appropriately named Fin) have to save New York City from the flying sharks using select weapons.  It’s pretty fun to run down the street with a tornado of sharks and beat them off with a baseball bat.  However, since I don’t take naturally to games, I did run head first into the shark more times than I want to admit (oh the shame, the shame that is my life).

This will be a fair fight

This will be a fair fight

The best part of the Sharknado franchise is how it embraces its campiness.  For example, as you level up in the game, you’re able to ride a surfboard into the tornado and use a chainsaw to kill the sharks.  Yes, it is as fantastic as it sounds.

Seems reasonable

Seems reasonable

I’m not a gaming expert but overall the Sharknado game was fun; it kept my attention, and was relatively easy to learn.  The structure and navigation weren’t exceptionally clear because I had no instructions for how to play the game, I just messed around and learned as I ran into shark’s mouths.  The visual aspect of the game was something I really enjoyed because it was relevant and appropriate.  The interactivity was not too high since there were no social media links or anything to connect me outside of the game.  It’s probably for the best though so people don’t know I played Sharknado the game… My overall experience was positive because it was challenging and fun- I had a blast playing the Sharknado mobile game.  It’s less shameful during Shark Week so make sure you check it out!

Enjoy Shark Week even more by downloading these awesome mobile apps!

02 Jul


To Sit or Stand, That is the Question: IKEA Sit/Stand Desk Review

July 2, 2015 | By |

Anyone who has worked in an office in the last 10 years has heard about standing desks and how amazing they are supposed to be for your health.  The core benefits range from reducing the risk of obesity to reducing the risk of cancer, so it’s understandable why a lot of companies are taking notice.  That being said, standing all day can also have some negative effects on one’s body so many desk manufacturers make desks that can move up and down either manually or at the touch of a button. Until this year, most of the standing desks were rather pricey ($1000 to $5000); however, this year, IKEA unveiled the Bekant Sit and Stand Desk for $599 (CDN) As such, we at 14 Oranges decided to get a standing desk and do our own research in the name of science (yeah science!) based on nothing more than our personal user experience.

It's like we are running NASA

It’s like we are running NASA

Our experiment was off to a slow start because the Bekant IKEA desk was backordered for weeks but when it finally arrived we were off to the races.  The first thing that we noticed was that it was surprisingly easy to put together which is rare for anything from the Jenga prison of IKEA. Also, the desk even included a little net underneath so you can stash all your computer cables neatly (finally I won’t rip them out when I cross my legs!). As advertised, the desk moves neatly from a low position of 22” off the ground, all the way to 48” inches ensuring support for even the tallest of people (myself and Iain included). Not sure about LeBron though, he isn’t returning my calls. Raising and lowering the desk is stupidly easy- just a push of a button.  It also has a key so that every time you come back from the bathroom your desk isn’t at a new height. The desk is very sturdy and doesn’t wobble even at its highest position.

Desk Buttons

Buttons to move the desk and the key

One of the issues that we found is that desk in only one size (63” by 31 ½”) compared to the stationary version of the Bekants that come in 3 sizes. Most of our workstations were designed to be 60” so unfortunately we could only get one to start with and share it.

The desk net for cords

The desk net for cords

So far, our usage as varied. We have Iain (shown here) and Sylvain (sometimes) that typically likes to start their day on it but then move back to their stationary desk after lunch. I have tried it but found that standing at the desk for long periods of time wasn’t for me.  Here’s what I officially had to say about it:

“I worked retail for six years and by hour three I’d be hunched over the counter with an aching back.  I definitely felt that ache again, but this time I could just succumb to my sloth and sit down.  I also noticed I tended to shift my weight from one foot to the other which doesn’t seem like the wisest move”

The other use we found with the desk is that it is really easy to collaborate on a task with someone side by side. You don’t have to worry about the chairs bumping against each other.

Our conclusions so far are quite positive. It is not for everyone but for those that want to have the option to stand for some periods of the day, the Bekant Sit and Stand desk is quite a nice solution, especially for the price.

The desk in all its glory

The desk in all its glory

One thing we will try in the next few weeks is to “Frankenstein” a desk using a tabletop from the 55” stationery Bekant desk line with the base assembly from the Sit and Stand line. All that is required is to cut two long metal bars by a few inches and drill two holes in the bar. Then drilling holes in the 55” tabletop so the base can attach properly.

Stay tuned for more on that experiment!

26 Jun


Ping Pong, Getting Locked In Stairwells, and Airplanes: A 14 Oranges Open House

June 26, 2015 | By |

Moving is one of the nine circles of Hell so when I joined 14 Oranges and learned they had just moved offices and I wouldn’t have to move anything, I was overjoyed.  The old office was small and didn’t fit enough of us since we keep adding new staff so a new office space was in order.

The BCIT aerospace campus that we moved to is beautiful and entertaining since it’s all glass and we can watch the planes fly right over our heads. Though it can be alarming at times when I’m convinced that the planes are too low and won’t clear our building so I duck like I’m driving through a tunnel.

One special part of having a great office like ours is inviting clients and guests to come see it.  It can be a bit of a trek but we promise it’s worth it.  On Wednesday we had our Open House to celebrate our move and guests couldn’t stop commenting on how cool it was to watch the planes. Planes are clearly the best backdrop for any party. Most parties are delightful because of the food and drinks and ours was no exception.  The food from BCIT was a hit with the crowd and the cold beer certainly hit the spot on such a warm day.

Our clients and neighbours had a great time and we’re thrilled everyone enjoyed themselves.

It was exciting to see all our staff in the office since most people work from home. Catching up with co-workers usually happens over the watercooler but that is more difficult for us logistically.  Normal days include me terrorizing Iain by accidentally revealing Game of Thrones spoilers or eating all the gummies and hoping no one noticed (if anyone asks, it was Sasan). In addition, Manu, the pillar of 14 Oranges plays ping pong every lunch break so it was expected he would convince guests at the party to take him on.  Clarence stepped up to the plate and a heated game ensued.  On our way back from the ping pong game Clarence and I got locked in the stairwell and had to call Sylvain to save us (from hero to zero in 10 seconds).

Thank you to everyone who came out to support us, we really appreciate the effort!

18 Jun


The 14 Oranges Guide to Planning a Mobile App

June 18, 2015 | By |


Working in the App development field for the past 6 years, we have found that many of our customers come to us with an idea but have no idea where to start. We work to help them understand the process for developing their business and their app. App development, as with most businesses, starts with a market and an idea. Taking that idea and turning it into an app can be a daunting task. If you follow some basic steps in the planning process, it can be greatly simplified and much more effective for your audience.

The planning process begins with the Business Model, moves through to establishing app requirements and a minimum viable product and finishes with a phased plan to managing the project.

The words Apps - Where to Begin asking if you need help choosing the best app programs or software to put on your mobile device or smart phone, or how to develop applications

The words Apps – Where to Begin asking if you need help choosing the best app programs or software to put on your mobile device or smart phone, or how to develop applications

Business Model

We have many customers approach us with nothing more than an idea, most people don’t consider a business plan. You certainly do not need to have all the details (pricing, categories, options) sorted out, but when planning an app, you should consider how you intend to make money with it. You are more than welcome to create an app for philanthropic reasons, but we can’t all be Bill Gates so it’s imperative you think about how to make money from your app as one of the planning steps. Is your app going to be a paid for app, free, freemium, or a subscription service? There are multiple options to consider so let’s explore them below.

Apps Available for Purchase

The first and most basic model that was available on the various app stores was to provide apps for purchase. Users pay a one time fee (ranging from $0.99 to $999) to purchase the app with the bulk of apps being at the lower end of the spectrum. Now with that being said, Apple probably didn’t do anyone any favors by pushing the typical price of apps to be in the $0.99 range compared to the more typical $20 to $50 range that is very common for desktop apps. Now in some rare cases like Angry Birds, the $0.99 model worked like magic, but in general, selling apps for $0.99 can be very difficult considering that developing an app for a smartphone can be just as time consuming and costly as a desktop application. Moreover, with Apple and Google taking 30% of your proceeds, it makes getting a decent return on investment quite difficult. In order to make a $0.99 model work, your app idea must be earth shattering or you must be prepared to spend a huge amount of money on advertising to achieve global outreach and market wide penetration. Viral apps exist out there but those are few and far between and should not be counted on.

In App Purchases / Freemium

A variation of the straight purchase model is to offer the app for free (or even a small price) and offer additional features in the app as “In-App purchases”. Perhaps your app is restricted to a few records, a few basic features, and the more elaborate capabilities are offered for purchase. That model allows customers to pay for exactly the features they need and can maximize your revenues (if I recall my Microeconomics 101 course properly). The one factor to consider is that it can make testing the app a bit more involved as you have to test for all the different combinations of features. Once again, with In-App purchases, you are subject to the 30% store taxes.

This model is a very cost effective way to attract potential customers; however, be ready to expect somewhere in the 3% to 5% conversion rate for the paid features.

74_application management

Membership/Subscription Model

With most apps requiring some type of cloud service, one of the most effective revenue models is the membership or subscription model. In this model, users are asked to pay a monthly, yearly, and/or per consumption fee to use your app. With this model, you actually have two choices. You can rely on In-App purchases, allowing users to purchase items using the built in In-App purchase mechanisms provided by Apple or Google to pay for their subscription, but again at a cost of 30% to your bottom line. Another option to curb that “tax” is to create your own subscription service using one of the many payment providers (Stripe, Beanstream, Moneris). Now it does involve more work as you typically would need to include a website / user portal for users to manage their accounts and buy the service but that additional work/cost can quickly be recovered with the improved margins on your sales. One thing that you must be aware of is that in order for an app using your own subscription payment service to be approved by Apple, there must not be a single way for users to learn about and proceed with payment within your app. If there is a way, Apple will find it and your app will be rejected. They are quite good at protecting their revenue sources, which seems obvious given their staggering profits.

Basically, your customers will need to learn about your service outside of the app. The one exception to this rule is if the content they are subscribing to is consumed outside of your app. For example, maybe you are selling a gym membership within your app. The app acts as a point of sale but in the end, you are not using your app to consume your membership.


The last form of generating money from your app is advertising. Advertisers will pay to show their ads to your user base and there are a few ways to approach this scenario. One option that is quite popular with start up apps is to have a one or more ‘app sponsors’. When the app is being developed some of the costs can be offset by selling sponsorship opportunities. Often this will result in a banner type ad being placed in a prominent place within the app. These sponsors can be transitioned into long term advertisers once the app is live. A second approach to generating advertising revenue is to incorporate a third party advertising network into your app. These ad networks will automate the display of ads within your app, paying you for clicks or views of the ad depending on the arrangement. If your app is likely to generate lots of users and frequent use, this may be the optimal solution for you.

Some key factors when exploring Advertising Revenue Models are:

  • App traffic – how many users and how often will they use your app
  • Demographics – the more focused the demographics of your audience the more targeted the ads resulting in higher click through rates

Ad revenue can be a very effective method of generating money from your app, the rates for clicks or impressions are very low, all things considered, so the traffic needs to be there for it to make sense.


After putting together your thoughts on the business model, the next thing to consider when planning out the app itself is the apps functionality. Creating a list of these requirements will be very helpful in scoping the work involved in completing the app. Software development can be extremely complicated and what might appear to be small features could actually involve hours of R&D.

One simple example of this would be time based triggers on iOS. For example if you want your app to perform a task every 15 minutes this would logically seem like a simple task. In reality, this is quite challenging to complete.

Here are some questions to ask when putting together your requirements list:

  • What platforms will be supported? (iOS, Android etc..)
  • What devices types will be support? (Phone, Tablets, Phablets)
  • Will the user need to login?
  • Will the app need to know the user’s location?
    • If so, how precise and how often
  • Will push notifications be required?
  • Will payments be accepted inside the app?
  • Will the project require a website?
  • Will the project require an admin panel?

If you are finding it difficult to write requirements, try sketching things out on paper, screen by screen or use a software tool like Balsalmiq to help you design this. This will help you visualize the pieces of the app from which the requirements will be derived.


Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Once you have created the requirements list for all the possible features to complete your dream app, it is important to be pragmatic and break out the Minimum Requirements to take your app to market. Time and money are the key factors at play. First Mover Advantage can be a huge factor in app rollout and defining an MVP allows you to get to market quickly while managing your costs.

Phased Approach

Most apps, once distilled, focus on a single concept surrounded by nice to have features that help manage and utilize the concept. Approaching app development using a phased approach has a slew of advantages.

Budget management is the obvious first advantage to a phased approach. If you develop the MVP and take the app to the market, you can often begin generating revenue which can then be reinvested to the features development.

Another advantage of a phased approach is the ability to build to your customers wishes. You can poll your user base, look at comments in the app store and build in the features your customers are asking for. Sometimes this will line up with your original concepts but often times the users will ask for things your team had not even thought of which is a fantastic way to connect with your customer base.

Adding features in a phased approach can also help with user engagement. Users can be notified of new features and that can bring them back into the app on a more steady basis. Many apps struggle to get users to come back to their apps on a regular basis so new features and updates can give users a reason to return.


Once you have worked your way through the planning process outlined above, you are ready to get started. Think about the business model, define your requirements, decide on an MVP and put a plan in place.  Don’t forget to reach out to your targeted customer base and ask them what features and ideas they want to see implemented in an app.  Most app users are tech savvy and would have some brilliant insight into your plan.  If you follow this simple process you will be ready to sit down with your development team and get the project underway.
If you need help or have questions during your app planning process, contact 14 Oranges.


08 Jun


WWDC 2015 Day One: Beatlemania for Developers

June 8, 2015 | By |

My first day at WWDC 2015 is over and now is a good time to reflect on a crazy day.

I woke up at 4:45am in order to save a good place in the keynote lineup. I arrived at 6am and the lineup was almost around the block of the Moscone Convention centre. The line started to move on and off throughout the morning and I was inside the convention centre by 7:30am. Apple had breakfast available for the people in line inside the convention centre so I did not have to starve waiting in line before the keynote started.

I managed to get a good seat at the keynote and the atmosphere was electric. The cheers coming from the audience were genuine and developers were very excited that Swift is going to be open sourced later this year. They were also thrilled that newer tools will be introduced to make their lives easier. Apple Music and the news app are not geared towards developers so these features generated the least amount of cheers.

Some people will find WWDC boring because no splashy new feature was announced. The new versions of OS X, iOS, and watchOS are evolutions, not revolutions. The features introduced today will improve user experience, help users keep their old phones longer, and make it easier for developers to produce great apps.  Overall I’d consider that a huge success!

I also attended the Platforms State of the Union event. The event is geared towards developers and it provided more technical information about some of the iOS and watchOS features announced in the keynote. Their session also included live code demonstrations

I am looking forward to the start of the sessions, labs, and events that start tomorrow.

Follow us on Twitter for live updates

04 Jun


Apple WatchKit: Disappointment or Foundation for the Future?

June 4, 2015 | By |

After adding the Apple Watch support to our infamous Radio Apps, I would like to share some of my experiences developing on this new platform and the hurdles I encountered.

Adding WatchKit App to Your Project

In order to add Apple Watch support to your app, you will need to learn the new framework called WatchKit. Essentially, the watch interface is built off the WatchKit SDK. Adding the Watch target is pretty straight forward in Xcode.

1) From the Xcode menu, select File > New > New Target

2) In the template chooser, pick iOS >  and navigate to the Apple Watch section

3) Select WatchKit App

4) If you plan to implement a glance or custom notification interface, select the appropriate checkboxes.

Xcode configures the targets for your WatchKit app and WatchKit extension and adds the needed files to your iOS project. The bundle IDs for both new targets are configured automatically, based on the bundle ID of your iOS app. The base IDs for all three bundles must match.

Here is the official link from Apple to get you started

Mobile vs Wearable

The Apple watch is referred to as a wearable device where the operational aspect of its apps should be inherently different from applications designed for mobile devices like the iPhone. Apple watch apps shouldn’t merely copy all functionalities from its parent app. The watch app should complement its parent app rather than replicate all functionalities just so they are available in a smaller form factor.

iOS Simulator Screen Shot - Apple Watch Jun 3, 2015, 1.48.33 PM


– Storyboards only. The watch user interface can only be built via storyboards. All the xib lovers will need to suck it up and go this route.

– WatchKit apps require an iPhone to function. When implementing Apple watch applications, all storyboard files for the watch app are copied to the watch device; however, the code to update the Watch ui is loaded to the phone as an extension (similar to the Extensions feature introduced in iOS 8). Stand alone native watch application is coming this fall according to rumours, but we will see soon enough at WWDC 2015.

– Limited API access. Since the WatchKit app mainly works along the iPhone, there is no API to access the hardware sensors on the device.

– Lack of certain controls. All the watch UI elements are new and some of those traditional iOS controls are not available. This problem is understandable as we are dealing with a totally new paradigm with very limited real estate. However, there are certain controls like the Audio Volume (especially important for a radio app) that have not been added to the SDK, making the app less useful in some cases.

– Layout. Unfortunately, there is no AutoLayout support. The WatchKit Storyboard does the on-screen layout automatically for you. I was hoping I could move some controls and overlay them on top of an album art image but it didn’t work. Also, there are several layout rules that we need to get accustomed to. For example, Apple introduced a new layout component called Group where controls can be placed within the group.

– Navigation. There are two ways to navigate between views within a watch application. Hierarchical (like navigation on iOS device) vs Page (navigate between pages by swiping left and right) base model. Unfortunately, there is no way to combine the two models. Developers will need to make a decision ahead of time and stick with it for the entire app.

Round Up

In conclusion, I was disappointed by many limitations imposed by the Apple Watch SDK and its features; however, there is no reason why developers shouldn’t add the watch support to their app now and get excited for the opportunity this new platform will bring us in the future. Despite the lack of features, the watch app implementation cycle isn’t too long and developing on WatchKit is relatively straight forward. Because Apple is launching the WatchKit framework in a very conservative fashion, there is no doubt that things will drastically evolve in future releases when Apple has more time to flush out the platform.

I hope you found this article useful. If you are looking to develop your own Apple Watch app but don’t have the time or expertise, contact our sales team at and I will be glad to talk to you more about it

03 Jun


Apple’s WWDC 2015: Expect the Unexpected

June 3, 2015 | By |

As a newer 14 Oranges employee, I didn’t expect to be invited to the Apple WWDC this year, especially since I am more adept at Android than iOS.  However, it’s like being chosen by the ghost of Steve Jobs and you don’t say no to that! Employee training is a cornerstone for successful tech firms so being encouraged by 14 Oranges to attend felt like they are invested in my continuous learning.

I am thrilled to attend the WWDC in San Francisco because I am looking forward to attending the famous opening keynote. I am sure there will be at least one surprise in the keynote that the rumours have not mentioned and the atmosphere is going to be electric.

I am hoping to learn more about the upcoming versions of iOS and the Watch OS. I am curious to find out which new features will be added to the operating systems, how the interaction between the iPhone and Apple Watch will evolve, and the performance of the new operating systems in older devices.

I am also excited to learn more about Apple’s plans for Swift programming language. Swift was introduced last year out of the blue and the language has improved throughout the year. Will this be the year Apple makes the move to replace Objective-C with Swift as the development language for iOS apps?

Finally, I am looking forward to attending the workshops and exchanging ideas with fellow developers. I am hoping to bring back knowledge that will make our current and future iOS and Apple Watch apps better.

WWDC may not be as exciting to the general public as the events where new iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches are unveiled, but the developer tools and features unveiled will shape the apps that will be coming in the next few years. Thus, as a developer, WWDC is the most important Apple event of the year.

01 Jun


The CHEK News Mobile App Has Landed

June 1, 2015 | By |

14 Oranges is on TV! Download the CHEK News mobile app and stay connected with breaking news stories.

To learn more about developing a mobile app, contact 14 Oranges.