Codrin Arsene, Senior Product Manager at Y Media Labs Talks Mobile App Development

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Posted: April 13, 2017

Codrin Arsene is a digital marketer and senior product manager. His areas of expertise include digital marketing strategies, UX design, bottom-of-funnel conversion, and optimization. You can make his day by following him on Twitter @csarsene.

What is Y Media Labs and how are you positioned in the market? 

Y Media Labs is an award-winning creative technology firm headquartered in Redwood City, California. We partner with brands to create products that have a lasting impact.

What types of clients do you work with? 

We work with Fortune 500 brands and high-growth companies. Our products are used by over 300 million users. Some of our notable clients include American Express, Apple, eBay, EMC, First Data, L’Oreal, Staples and Western Union. We have also worked with  Facebook, PayPal, Sesame Street and KeyBank.

What geographies are you focused on and where are you seeing the most growth?

Our clients are geographically distributed – as is our global team of digital strategists, user experience professionals and developers. We believe in a truly global need to create amazing user experiences that wow and delight customers and produce real value to the businesses we work with. We see massive growth in fintech, retail and healthcare.

We are really excited about the potential of fintech companies and how they reshape how people make, manage, spend and interact with money. We are also very optimistic about the future of retail and ecommerce. We are hedging our bets that the future of online transactions is tied to creating amazing user experiences that are intuitive, sleek and easy to use. And we staffed our company accordingly with some of the greatest design and UX experts in the field.

What are your main tips for successful mobile app development?

They key to a great mobile app is… well, complicated. There’s no one cookie-cutter recipe for success. But there are a few strategies and implementation techniques that collectively lead to a successful digital product. First, successful applications solve for one or two key use cases. They’re not overly complicated. They do a few things but they do them very well. You want the user to always have your app in mind when thinking about the task that can be best served by your mobile app.

Second, a great app has a great user experience – from both a functional perspective and a look and feel perspective. You want users to feel good about using their app. You want your app to be so easy that the user is not even thinking they’re inside your app.

Third, a successful app dev project puts a lot of emphasis on security measures and overall architecture and performance. The best apps are fast – no page load time higher than 2-3 seconds – and very secure. Executives should have these three rules as minimum viable product requirements for their mobile projects.

Fourth, ideas are cheap. What really matters is exceptional execution. As we’ve argued before, everyone – from a bootstrapped startup to a Fortune 500 company – needs a clearly defined mobile strategy to turn great ideas into great mobile products.

Do you use / plan to use machine learning technologies in apps you develop?

Yes. We are currently working with a few clients (that I can’t yet publicly speak about, unfortunately) to implement machine learning into their recommendation algorithms.

In addition, Y Media Labs has launched the Innovation Labs development team – an internal team of product strategists, developers and UX experts that are constantly experimenting with emerging technologies and trying to leverage existing platforms to solve new problems in a unique and innovative way.

We’ve already discussed chatbot technologies and their benefits in an in-depth analysis of the current market and its future potential. In addition, we’ve been working with our friends at Box to imagine and execute a future scenario in healthcare, applying Amazon Alexa and Box Platform to the challenge of tracking medications and compliance to a medication regime for patients in the home. (You can check out our proof of concept here.)

So yes, Y Media Labs is already experimenting with machine learning and artificial intelligence and we’re really excited about what the future will bring in this space.

What areas of IoT do you think are the most advanced at the moment?

Internet of Things is a very broad industry. Y Media Labs has already launched a few IoT products over the last year, and we’re actively working with different clients operating in this field. The idea that inert objects can come to life through technological advancements is very appealing and we are actively pursuing opportunities in this space. In 2015, Y Media Labs announced the introduction of the Kontrol app for Apple Watch and iPhone. As a Works with Nest developer, the Kontrol app can allow users to easily control and adjust the temperature on the Nest Thermostat by tapping up or down from within the app.

Earlier this year our creative and development teams joined forces to build and launch Kontrol for Tesla, a new mobile application available in the iOS App Store that Tesla owners all over the world can use to make their driving experience easier, better, more convenient and more efficient. Our app allows Tesla owners to start their car with Touch ID, remotely heat up their cars, unlock, honk and check battery status with 3D touch and more.

I think IoT as an industry will become more and more advanced in gathering, interpreting and producing automated reports with a focus on efficiency and productivity in the enterprise sphere. In the consumer space I think more and more products will come to life, making people’s lives easier and better.

In your estimation what platform does get more traction with IoT at the moment – iOS or Android? 

I don’t think it’s an either/or scenario. Most companies understand that in order to get mass adoption they need to build products on both platforms. As we’ve mentioned before, the answer on whether companies should choose Android vs iOS is dependent on a company’s needs, reach (niche app, local focused, national or international scope), time to market, customer base and long-term mobile strategy. I do strongly recommend that companies launch native applications on iOS first because that’s where the highest earners are at who are willing to experiment with digital products and even pay a premium for a limited amount of functionality. But the answer is always contextual to the overall business needs of a company.

What kind of people work with you on the team at Y Media Labs?

We are a team of individuals who not only possess the curious nature and product skills of a talented mobile enthusiast, but also the motivation to grow, build, and help cultivate an unstoppable team. We have people who dream big, execute bigger and have fun while doing it. We’re an extended family of 240+ professionals who are like-minded, who adopt and embrace change and who love to be on top of the latest technology trends that are shaping the future of innovation.

What mobile devices do you use personally? 

I use an iPhone – still the best mobile phone 10 years later.

What are your favorite apps?

I love the Starbucks app – for its simplicity and elegance; Paypal – for its user friendly interface and stunning design and Staples for their exceptional and intuitive user flow.

Do you have any Internet-connected devices at home? Any plans to buy / add new ones?

You name it and I have it 🙂 Nest thermostat, smoke detector and  Nest camera. August smart lock. Peeple-connected peephole. Do Amazon Echo and Google Home count (of course they do!)? Dash buttons from Amazon. Tile Bluetooth keychain finder. Eight Sleep smart mattress cover. Philips Hue-connected smart bulbs. And Wink to use them all.