Early in our collaboration with Netzkino, we discovered the need for a video player technology that easily integrates ads and works across all popular platforms, regardless of the output device. After extensive research, we realized that no such player existed which met our expectations as none of the available software was compatible to all relevant platforms and devices. We didn’t want to accept less than flawless software so we decided to build the perfect video player ourselves!
The result is Avoplayer, a state-of-the-art video and ad player that encompasses a 360° solution for monetizing content with the help of advertisements. It works similarly to regular video players with the added quality that it runs across all platforms, no matter the device or operating system a video is viewed on.
In order to deliver optimal performance, we take advantage of each output device’s native environment and are thus able to offer a smooth integration of video ads without delay. For Samsung, this means that when we noticed that the HTML5 player didn’t run perfectly, we used the Samsung player instead and integrated our own logic into it. Thus, we were able to smoothly include delay-free ads and create a satisfactory user experience that would not have been achievable otherwise.
Adhering to our aspiration to offer the best possible user experience, we built the Avoplayer to support Chromecast and AirPlay so that advertisements run directly on the output screen instead of the smaller mobile screen. Thus, the viewer is seamlessly presented with ads in a way that feels natural rather than disruptive.
Customers find our software very easy to use as we built a coherent framework that works across all relevant platforms. As such, our users enjoy the very experience, no matter the device they use or the platform they are on. This brings ad integration to a whole new quality level!
All ad-related tasks can easily be governed by the user. Ad calls can be effortlessly defined and placed within video content. Besides the support of various streaming formats such as HDS, HLS and PMD, users can also enjoy the straightforward placing of pre-, mid- and post-rolls as well as the inclusion of typical techniques such as “waterfalling”.
Of course, we also included tracking systems such as Google Analytics to allow maximal transparency to the user as basis to increase their revenue.
We have put a lot of work and inspiration into our Avoplayer and want to ensure its successful future development. Hence, when a customer purchases our player, we continue to offer support and make using this technology as fun as it can possibly be.
To learn more about Avoplayer, visit www.avoplayer.com! Vodafone, Netzkino, ComputerBilld, and TV Movie are already among the more than satisfied users of our latest project.
Netzkino is a German movie streaming company which offers an always-increasing range of movies that can be legally streamed and viewed for free without registration and without any hidden costs or obligations to the users. This is a long-lasting and deep collaboration that we are especially proud of.
When we first started, Netzkino only existed as an idea. Now, Netzkino is available almost anywhere where German consumers might enjoy watching their favorite movies. As their technological consultant and service partner, we delivered an all-encompassing technological solution from scratch, ranging from backend services and the creation of APIs all the way to various front-end solutions like the netzkino.de website and apps for iOS, Android, Windows 8.1, Windows Phone and SmartTVs. We always made sure that Netzkino would run seamlessly and use the best technologies that each platform has to offer. To make a long story short: Netzkino always feels familiar no matter where a customer might use it, but it also feels right at home on a smaller iPhone screen and on the big screen a SmartTV can provide.
Netzkino.de – it all began with this website. During the course of working with Netzkino, we often broke new ground. We were among the pioneers to implement video commercials (Online Video Advertising) that are shown before and after movies, so-called pre-rolls and post-rolls. We were also the first ones to advertise legal and free as the marketing beacons of what we were doing here. We stood up to much larger companies as they followed suit in this marketing approach. “Legal and free” is now in widespread use as our competitors, like MyVideo.de, have started to use those same terms. We built from scratch using the best technology available and made sure that every detail was done right. Our caching APIs and the cloud-powered back-end technologies for storing the movie files make sure that this website can handle 2 million and more visits and request each day. Load times are exceptionally fast due to deep optimization. We tweaked the website and its contents through the help of SEO methods so that users would quickly find movies hosted on Netzkino using their favorite search engines. Deep social media linking like Facebook Connect make it easy for the user to tell their friends what movies they are watching and which ones they recommend. All of this is also true for every app that we built:
Our Android app is optimized to work best with all Android versions, but will work especially well on devices running Android 4.0 Jelly Bean and above. We wrote this app with maximum performance in mind. It works really well on all Android-powered devices and on various screen sizes, ranging from 4″ over 7 and 8″ all the way to 10″. To accomplish that, we created an adjusted UI layout in portrait and landscape for each of the major screen sizes, making this app work well on phones, “phablets” and full 10″ tablets. For low-end devices, a special fallback option was implemented so that non-HD content was shown instead of the more demanding HD options, just to make sure this app would run on as many Android devices as possible.
This Netzkino app for iOS is available for all iPhones, iPads and iPod touches running iOS 6 and above. It specifically supports Retina displays and uses screen real estate best on both devices, portrait mode on iPhone and landscape mode on iPad. We accomplished something that other said wasn’t possible at the time: we were the first ones to implement pre-roll video commercials, even when everyone was saying that that wasn’t possible under the Apple guidelines. The app was ranked the No. 1 iPad app and ranked among the Top 10 free iPhone apps in the German App Store. We support full HD playback and users can even stream all content to their TVs via AirPlay, should they want to. Facebook Connect allows user to share their movie watching habits with all their friends.
This Windows 8.1 Netzkino app was written with the special features in mind that this OS has to offer. Smart Search is available on all pages, sharing is possible via the Charms Bar, server-side Live Tiles push new content straight to the user’s Start Screen and Snap View support makes sure the app works well in multitasking environments. Semantic Zoom can be used to scroll through the categories faster. We used Microsoft’s Ad SDK to implement advertising and brought over the familiar Netzkino aesthetics while combining them with the special clean, flat and multi-size grid layout used in Windows 8.1 apps. We were picked by Microsoft as a top partner since we were closely following their app guidelines and were therefore featured on the Windows Store start page as a top app in the entertainment section.
Netzkino for Window Phone is our latest member in the ever-increasing family of Netzkino apps. Just like with the Windows 8.1 app, we made sure that users would feel right at home: content is beautifully laid out in grids. Categories, new movies and highlights are just one wipe away from the start page thanks to the panorama view concept. Search and sharing are always available via the bottom bar. Content is key. That is especially true on smaller devices, so we automatically hide the Windows Phone status bar. The app supports all native Windows Phone screen resolutions. To achieve feature parity with all the other mobile Netzkino apps, we also built in Facebook Connect and feedback and app review buttons on the imprint page.
Being a quickly growing company with expanding and complex products, crealytics did not feel accurately represented by their old website anymore and wanted a change for the better. Being recommended by our client Bookwire, crealytics turned to us for this new project in which we were happy to support them. We were thus presented with the task of creating an entirely new website, including the development of a new concept, a pervasive and appealing design, as well as the optimal presentation and integration of the very complex products offered by crealytics. Luckily, we love challenges!
We used WordPress as content management system for the new website as it allows crealytics to easily edit and maintain their site’s content. In order to perfectly adapt to their needs, we developed a completely new WordPress theme for which we implemented a responsive design so that it adapts automatically to any output screen size. Furthermore, we continued in rearranging the content and merge it onto fewer pages, still keeping clear, visual barriers between the areas but allowing for a better and faster general overview. We also ensured quick navigation through the new website with the help of a navigation bar on the top of each page, making it easy for the user to find their way around.
A major goal of the new platform was to provide a superior design that would make the presented content more comprehensible to users. Thus, we built a simple but expressive layout which visually underlines the company’s strength. For conveying complex information and numbers, we developed icons that users can grasp easily. With a number of animated icons as well as auto-playing videos, we attract the user’s interested in the website and, consequently, in the company.
The core feature of crealytics can be found in their technically highly complex camato products – in-depth software solutions for paid search engine optimization and product advertising for international e-commerce companies. Presenting their products in the most accessible and favorable way was the key challenge for us. In close collaboration with crealytics, we committed to deeply understanding their work in order to represent it in the best possible way. Consequently, we were able to overcome this challenge by clearly separating the different work fields visually and by creating and implementing elaborate videos, images, graphs, and short text blocks which together help even non-specialized users understand the company’s product range easily.
Throughout the entire process, we have been working closely with our client in order to achieve an outcome that would not only satisfy but also exceed their expectations. With our innovative ideas and creative presentations of complex information, we succeeded to achieve that goal. We thank crealytics for their fruitful collaboration and wish them much success with their new website!
Being recommended by one of our clients, Hubertus von Treuenfels approached us with the idea to revolutionize the classical job application procedure. The concept behind the project called ‘66seconds’ is to enable employers to publish open job positions in short video films to which interested aspirants apply with individual video messages in turn. Being a team of innovative minds ourselves, we were excited to build the best website and app for this alternative to the old ways of job application processes.
Compared to traditional job boards, the advantage of 66seconds is the initial audiovisual contact between candidates and employers. This much more accurate first impression can spare both parties time-consuming cover letters, resumes, and plodding interviews. The candidates have the possibility to present themselves in a more personal way which increases their chances of making a positive first impression. This procedure also allows the company to asses right away whether the applicant fits the position and the company’s culture, and the other way around, and is particularly suitable for online applications with smartphones and other portable devices.
The app is currently available for all iOS and Android devices. By using Swift 2.0, the most recent and powerful programming language available for iOS, we succeeded in building an app that runs lightning-fast. The Android app was developed with Java which ensures fast and errorless working. The backend of the application was programmed with NoteJS in order to ensure an excellent performance and the ability to handle great demand, which is what we expect from 66seconds.
With the help of CanJS, we crafted the perfect one page application website in support of the app. The web page is clearly structured and aimed primarily at employers who can easily add and edit their job offers there.
Interested users can view the most recent job ads directly but more can be loaded quickly on demand. Due to our fast loading times, whenever the user clicks on a job ad, the player opens automatically and the video start playing immediately. If an aspirant wants to apply to a job opening, they are presented with the links to the available apps and asked to apply within them.
The name-giving feature of the app is that all videos have a limited length of 66 seconds. This ensures that information is presented in a compact format but also allows for the upload of potentially large video files. Hence, our first technical challenge was to compress the file size while still maintaining its high quality. We succeeded in compressing the video content from over 200MB to 20MB, which equals a reduction of 90%, and are thus able to guarantee quick loading times of high quality videos while keeping the data volume low. Now, videos can be filmed spontaneously and saved directly to the app or existing videos can be uploaded. Moreover, we ensured that every video dimension looks the same – regardless of whether the video was recorded in a portrait or landscape format.
In order to enhance communication, we built an entirely integrated chat system which allows employers and potential employees to share videos, photos, and text messages. Every time a new message or video is sent, the other party receives a push notification or an email through the app. By using 66seconds, both companies and applicants save time and money in the application process.
Users are able to sign in via email address, social media profiles (Facebook, Google and Twitter) and the professional networks Xing and LinkedIn. Inside the app, candidates are invited to set up their individual profile and find open positions in their area through a selected search radius. Furthermore, every job can be shared through various social media channels by making use of individual landing pages for every job video. These landing pages link back to the app so the user can directly apply for the offered position. This feature allows the distribution of the offered job positions to portable and nonportable devices alike.
Tips and Tricks in Mavericks was a more or less spontaneous idea of our CEOs Daniel and Fabian after Apple unveiled its plans for the 10th version of their desktop operating system for Macs, OS X Mavericks, during the World Wide Developer Conference in mid-June of 2013. The idea was to build a weblog where any new feature, bug or other changes could be talked about that both of them might find during the beta stages (Developer Previews) of OS X Mavericks in their daily routines of working with that new OS. With Ruben, a writer was quickly found and put in charge of writing the blog entries, looking after the blog comments and communicating the posts via social networks like Facebook and Twitter, among others.
Throughout the course of six months, 95 blog posts were written and published covering everything between the release of a new beta over the introduction of newly bundled apps to the smallest design changes in the user interface.
We set our goal to reach out as broadly as possible, not just through the use of social media, but also through on-page search engine optimization (SEO) of our website and our content. A dedicated SEO plugin was used to in this case. Knowing that that would only half do the trick, we made sure to link back and forth to other websites (off-page optimization). This way, we quickly became a top 10 recurring address for search requests on Google concerning tricks about OS X Mavericks.
We were able to work at scale from the beginning. With our cloud-based server solution and the rock solid WordPress content management system (CMS), we made sure that this website could handle suddenly increasing numbers of visitors. At first, only small amounts of visitors were noticed due to the nature of a closed beta program. However, after the public release of Mavericks, those numbers skyrocketed from around 350 visitors per day to over 12.000 visitors per day. We gained more than 500 likes on Facebook and more than 3.700 followers on Twitter, making our social media activities a far greater success than we had first anticipated.
User feedback was phenomenal, ranging from replies on Twitter (sometimes dozens per day) to comments on Facebook and on the website all the way to bug and feature reports via email from returning visitors.
For all of us at simpleTechs, this project was a big Thank You to the community. We just wanted to give back for all the hundreds and hundreds of hours that free resources on the Internet have helped us learn new things or figure out why stuff simply didn’t work the way we had hoped it would. Freely available knowledge is one of the best things about the Internet, and this project was our small contribution to that idea.
Being recommended is a smasher! This time, it was a close friend of CEO Daniel who recommended our team to a potential client. This led to Greylabelz, an online retailer in the fashion and lifestyle industry, becoming one of our most recent customers. The company approached us with the desire for a new website that would be designed specifically for their needs and, at the same time, function as platform to simplify their workflows and increase their sales. Of course, we were more than happy to help with them with this project.
Greylabels acts as intermediary between popular brands that have temporarily limited campaigns and third-party companies that distribute those offers to customers through online shopping platforms. On their old website, Greylabelz displayed a brief overview of the brands and their available products to potential customers in tables which were little user-friendly and lacked in features such as direct booking. Thus, the goal for us was to design and build a unique online platform that would present the offers and products in the most appealing way possible, allow customers to directly book the brands there, and include an administrative interface so that Greylabelz could more easily manage content and orders. We succeeded in building something extraordinary.
Within the new online portal, different brands are presented individually to ensure a clear arrangement. When clicking on a brand’s set card, more detailed information becomes visible, including product pictures, marketing material, prices, and sales volume. Moreover, product requests can be made directly and a campaign can be booked immediately. For that purpose, we implemented a calendar that is automatically displayed and includes the available time spans, as well as the respective contact information and responsible contact person. Hence, the structure of the platform not only simplifies the product evaluation for possible campaigns of online shops but is also an attractive way for brands to increase their brand awareness and their sales. Now, the distinct product overview and the simple booking process are valued most by users.
Having increased their sales and web presence with the help of their new platform significantly, Greylabelz was far more than satisfied with our efforts. The great feedback they received from customers shows that they were not the only ones excited about the new webpage. At simpleTechs, we are extremely proud of succeeding in combining such different technologies in order to create a unique online distribution portal for Greylabelz like no other on the market. We enjoyed working with Greylabelz and wish them a very successful future!