Branding Superheroes: Customizing the Apple HomePod

By Jennifer Fujimori

This may seem obvious, but we tend to nerd out every time a new Apple product is released. Apple’s livestream product announcement events, typically happening once or twice a year and bearing charming names such as “Let’s meet at our place” and “Hey Siri, give us a hint”, are monitored closely in the Fusion of Ideas office. Part of this is because many of us are personally Apple fans, but the other part is excitement about the branding possibilities that come with a new device.

The R&D process begins at Fusion well before the device has officially hit the market. Our customization team gathers information about the materials the device is made of, the dimensions, the packaging and any accompanying accessories. We get our hands on a sample device or two as soon as we can and get to work testing out customization capabilities.

When the HomePod smart speaker hit the market in 2018, it was the first completely new device released by Apple since 2014, when the Apple Watch was announced. It also posed a unique challenge: the round, cylindrical speaker did not present many obvious options for customization. “The HomePod offered a challenge in that there is not a lot of surface area to customize,” said Chris Mancuso, Customization Manager. “It pushed us to think outside the box to come up with customization options that would fit with the sleek and modern design of the device.”

Working with the Fusion design team for artwork and production files (and inspired by our office-wide affection for the Marvel Cinematic Universe), the customization team did a bold color print of the red Marvel logo on the white mesh of the HomePod. The top of the speaker is outfitted with a clear color printed Stealth Armor version of Iron Man’s arc reactor. Rounding out the sample package is a custom sleeve and gift wrap, printed with vibrant images of Iron Man and the Marvel logo in its signature red and black colorway. “We really pushed the boundaries with this device and came up with some really innovative ways to brand the HomePod,” said Mancuso. “The Marvel-branded sample provides our business team with a great way to show clients what we can do with this device.”

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AirPod Trend

Since their release in late 2016, Apple’s AirPods have been flying off the shelves – and landing here at Fusion of Ideas, where we’ve been customizing unprecedented numbers of the wireless earbuds for our clients. We expect AirPods to be the most customized device during the upcoming holiday gifting season for the second year in a row – it’s an excellent portable piece of technology at an affordable price point for many of our clients. Customization options include the earbuds themselves, the charging case, and custom sleeves and gift wrap to tie everything together. Here’s an example of a recent custom AirPods project we did for a client that nicely showcases all of our available services.

Inside Look: Dassault Falcon Jet

By Jennifer Fujimori

Each month, the Fusion of Ideas blog will highlight a unique client project. We’ll be giving you an inside look at each client and project, including the customization details, the project, and the outcome. Keep reading below to find out how we partnered with an aviation company at the top of its field in design and innovation.

Who they are:

Dassault Falcon Jet is a subsidiary of the French company Dassault Aviation, a global leader in the aerospace field. Falcons are known for industry-leading technology and design, incorporating comfort, speed and efficiency into each aircraft. The Falcon family of business jets, the first of which was introduced in 1965, delivered its 2500th jet in 2017.

Their customization goals:

Dassault came to Fusion of Ideas with a plan to enhance the buying experience for its customers. Before each Falcon jet is delivered to a customer, the aircraft is outfitted with a custom iPod Touch, iPhone and customized case, custom iPad, or all four of those items. The inclusion of the custom devices aligns with the company’s reputation as a luxury high-tech brand, and makes a big impact on the customer.

The process:

At the beginning of our partnership with Dassault, we created a system to uniquely meet their fulfillment and deployment needs. We procure, customize, and ship devices based on preset requirements. The process is seamless and efficient; each of these steps is completed entirely by the Fusion team at our headquarters in Lake Forest, which works diligently to ensure a high level of quality and accuracy throughout the process.

The outcome:

Each device and case is custom printed with the sleek Dassault Falcon logo. Upon unlocking the devices, recipients see a specially chosen app layout against a black background with the Dassault Falcon logo in white. The devices are preloaded with the prerequisite Apple native apps, as well as four apps that were selected by Dassault. The finished product is polished and professional, contributing even more to the unique experience of doing business with Dassault Falcon Jets.

 

Milwaukee Brewers

By Jennifer Fujimori

The Milwaukee Brewers and their fans have a lot to be proud of. The team is currently just one game back from taking the lead in the NL Central division. Their closing pitcher Corey Knebel has recorded 14 saves this season. Legendary hitter Hank Aaron called Milwaukee home for his entire MLB career, and now serves as the senior vice president of the team. And perhaps what speaks the most to the integrity of this team is their commitment to giving back to their community.

The Brewers Community Relations program works actively with players and their families, coaches, and personnel to find and participate in events supporting various causes. Highlights include speaking engagements, youth baseball clinics, fundraising through events like bike rides and 5K runs, and a fan fest from which the proceeds are donated to Brewers Community Foundation youth recreation and education programs.

To recognize these achievements in community outreach, the Brewers organization presents each participating player with an annual gift. This year, the gift of choice was the sleek and lightweight Beats Pill+ speaker, which is a device Fusion of Ideas has customized for several past projects. When the Brewers club approached Fusion, their goal was to elevate the gift even further. They wanted the gift to be both a superior piece of technology and a token of personal appreciation from the team. With the help of mockup designs from our creative team, the client decided on a custom laser etched Brewers logo, which is a letter “M” with a sprig of barley underneath to represent Milwaukee’s brewery tradition.

The resulting final product sent a heartfelt message to the players that their team places a high value on philanthropy and giving back to the Milwaukee community. We couldn’t think of a better way to say thanks.

The Rock Gives Back

We got so excited that we posted on social media, but forgot to include the news right here on the blog.  Dwayne Johnson, also known as The Rock, gifted custom Skyscraper edition Xbox’s to a group of amputees. He’s seriously a huge role model.  We wanted to share a clip of the video of him giving them away, as well as some of the really cool product shots we got of the project before it left our doors.  We love working on projects that are used to do good in the world.

Construction Executive News Feature: Tips for Working with App Developers

Fusion of Ideas was recently featured again in Construction Executive, the magazine for the business of construction. In this article, we discuss these five essential tips for getting the most out of working with a mobile developer:

  1. Know the current reality
  2. Communicate what the company wants to accomplish
  3. Reality check on budget
  4. Be open-minded and willing to take risks
  5. Ensure all users have the same device  

To read the article, please visit:

http://constructionexec.com/article/tips-for-working-with-a-mobile-app-developer?utm_campaign=874447d06f&utm_medium=email&utm_source=ce_this_week&utm_content=volume_1_issue_26&utm_term&mc_unique_id=08e9fdec35&aid=3745

Neiman Marcus: The Ultimate, Interactive, Client Gifts

By Jennifer Fujimori

To many people, Neiman Marcus and other department stores might warrant the occasional stop when wandering the mall or looking for something in particular. But for an elite circle of customers dubbed the “Chairman’s Circle,” shopping at Neiman Marcus is part of a lifestyle – and one that comes with perks. Members of the Chairman’s Circle (the highest loyalty level under the InCircle Neiman Marcus reward program) must reach a designated annual spend using a private label credit card. Once they’ve met those requirements, customers unlock a treasure trove of exclusive benefits, including in-store dining, salon services, access to tickets for in-demand events, hard-to-get restaurant reservations, and premier getaways.

It was the last item on that list that Neiman Marcus sought to optimize with Fusion’s help. Working with the team at Neiman Marcus, our app developers created a completely custom mobile app for Chairman’s Circle members. When a user opens the application on an iPad (customized of course!), a message is displayed describing the purpose of the app, which is to detail the amenities available at Chairman’s Circle level. The app then shifts its focus to one particularly notable amenity: a complimentary trip to one of eight destinations around the world. Using the navigation at the bottom of the screen, users can tap an icon labeled “Itineraries.” This leads to a selection of clickable photographs with destination names, which users can click to view the details of the excursion and corresponding hotel.

To present this as a gift from Neiman Marcus to Chairman’s Circle members, we created a fully customized package including an iPad wrapped in matte silver Stealth Armor, a sleeve to house the iPad box, and a high-quality box with magnetic closure encasing the entire bundle. It’s the best kind of gift: one that contains another gift inside.

We have worked with high-end retail clients before and we dove into this project headfirst, gathering information from the client until we felt confident enough to build the app they were looking for. “Neiman Marcus knew they wanted to gift their Chairman’s Circle members with a free trip, but they were looking for a truly memorable way to package that information,” said Hollie Go, App Development Project Manager. “Instead of sending a letter or an email, this app is an interactive way for recipients to see full color photos and details about each destination.” With Fusion’s custom branding, packaging, and mobile app services, Neiman Marcus found the level of prestige they were looking for in a gift for their most valued customers.

The Fusion Glossary

By Jennifer Fujimori

Take a moment to recall your first job in a professional environment. Did you enter the workforce knowing the definitions of terms like OOO, B2B, SWOT, and EOD? How many times have you heard someone say they’d circle back, touch base, drill down, or get the ball rolling? We’re willing to bet most working professionals have at some point caught themselves saying things like “leverage” or “alignment” during work conversations.

The redundancy of corporate jargon may be maddening at times, but before you write it off, consider the values of using a commonly accepted lingo. It can be efficient, allowing you to deliver information using shorter messages; and it builds camaraderie between you and your coworkers, functioning much like an inside joke. In addition to those benefits, reducing ambiguity and the potential for misunderstanding can have an invaluable impact on business operations.

In business settings, this tends to happen easily and naturally. Even the term “lingo” has several different synonyms or words that mean essentially the same thing – jargon, slang, vernacular, lexicon, buzzwords – the list goes on. But it isn’t just universal business terms that tend to seep into workplace dialogues. Google, for example, refers to new employees as “Nooglers” and to their annual employee survey as “Googlegeist”. Trader Joe’s store managers are called “Captains” and assistant managers “First Mates”. Disney employees are guided by a “compass” with four points, one of which is a customer service approach they refer to as “Guestology”. And in medical and military fields, where precision and speed are critical, the use of shared and abbreviated terminology is not just a convenience but a necessity.

Here are a few examples of some of the jargon, some universal and some company-specific, that you might hear around the Fusion of Ideas office.

Mockup – high-quality images of several devices and design options, provided at the beginning of each client conversation about our customization services.

Asset Tagging – the process of scanning the barcode and serial number of each device so our system can track them.

Kitting – Fusion service that involves adding in (“kitting”) additional items to a package to be shipped neatly together. Examples include insert cards, charging cables, cases, and other device accessories.

Proof – final design file that is sent to the client for approval after our design team has finished making any requested revisions.

Production File – a production-ready file that has been prepared according to the specs of the specific device we’re customizing. The file is created by our design team and sent to our customization team.

Hybrid Etch/Print – combination of visible laser etch and color print. One of our most popular customization options.

Stealth Armor – protective, industrial grade film that can be customized and heat bonded to a device or product for style and protection.

Break/Fix – a replacement/repair service for damaged or broken devices. Under this program, Fusion will ship out a replacement device, then repair the damaged device and place it into the client’s inventory.

Digital Content – custom content that can be pre-loaded onto devices. Examples include apps, home and lock screens, videos, music, photos, and PDFs.

Device Depot – a client-specific inventory of devices which are stored and managed at Fusion and can be pulled from upon the client’s request. For example, we might pull from the inventory to replace a client device that was broken, lost or stolen, or the devices might be kept on hand and ready to ship to a new employee upon request from a client.

Mobile Device Management (MDM) – service that allows businesses to manage specific content, programs, apps, and settings on their devices. Updates and changes can be pushed remotely to the devices.

DCS (Dynamic Content System) – simplified custom mobile app option for displaying and updating content. Can be continuously managed by the client using admin portal.

Ordering Portal – A client-specific, easy-to-use web or app portal that allows clients order, ship, and manage their devices. The front end provides information about the program and device options. The back end allows for the client and Fusion to manage all orders and reports.

HQ – the “headquarters” of all our projects and related data, HQ is Fusion’s custom Client Relationship Management (CRM) software and project management database program. HQ houses all projects, proposals, client contact information, and notes.

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In The News: Lil Yachty Opening Custom Xbox and Controller

We love seeing people react when they’re opening a gift customized by Fusion. Today, the recipient happened to be @lilyachty. Check out this video of rapper Yachty showing off his brand new custom Xbox and controller.  

 Repost 7/11/18 video credit: @lilyachty on Instagram.

A few more photos we took at our Fusion headquarters before the project went out. Photos by Fusion of Ideas

 

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Fusion 2018 Softball Season Comes To A Close

By Jennifer Fujimori

If there’s one thing that unites all of us here at Fusion of Ideas, it’s good, healthy competition. Over the years, we’ve held countless games and competitions at our office in Lake Forest, and occasionally offsite. To name just a few: Mario Kart, foosball, Guitar Hero, golf, scavenger hunts, escape rooms, ping pong, Pogs (remember Pogs?), and our annual Office Olympics, which consists of seven separate competitive events. Take any activity, pit teams or individuals against each other, and you have a successful Fusion event.

So it should come as no surprise that a few years ago, many of our team members were hungry for more. Waivers were signed, a roster was assembled, and in 2014, the Fusion of Ideas team played its debut season of softball with the Irvine Athletic Department. To put it mildly, the competition was a bit tougher than anticipated. But our team soldiered on, savoring even the faintest taste of victory each time we reached a base, scored a run, or fielded a hard-hit grounder. “It’s rough out there,” said Director of Operations and starting pitcher Andrew Nielson. “Somehow, our opponents have been able to hit right through the gaps in our defense. We’ve been working on finding the right configuration of outfielders, tightening up our infield, making the easy outs on defense in general, and having more productive at-bats on offense.” When asked whether he’s optimistic for improvement in future seasons, Nielson said he was still hopeful.

You probably can’t help but think of the obvious parallels between this scrappy team and the 2002 Oakland Athletics in the movie Moneyball. Piecing together runs using a sabermetrics approach, as illustrated in the movie, has proven much more successful for Fusion than swinging for the fences. It takes patience and experience to recognize that bases on balls, smart base-running and well placed soft hits can be highly effective at manufacturing runs and creating momentum. But even this approach takes time to cultivate. The Fusion of Ideas softball team recently completed its fifth season. There were highs and lows, great games and not-so-great games, but never an absence of good sportsmanship and fun (for the most part). Everyone loves an underdog, and our team plays that role to a T. Here’s hoping the 2019 season is our best one yet.

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Picture Start: Making Your Mark as a New Business in an Elite Industry

By Jennifer Fujimori

Throughout our many years of customization experience, Fusion of Ideas has worked with clients in almost every industry – healthcare, education, food service, construction, entertainment, fashion – the list goes on. We relish the chance to impress our clients by customizing devices or mobile apps for their employees or customers. But for many of our movie-obsessed team members, it’s hard to deny that it’s especially thrilling when we get the chance to work with clients who are in the entertainment business.

PICTURESTART is a production company who set out to find a customized tech gift for 200 top clients and company executives. Our design and business teams went to work, collaborating with the PICTURESTART decision makers to create a sleek logo print for Apple AirPods. The PICTURESTART logo is printed on the charging cases for the AirPods, the stems of the AirPods are printed with a clean blue stripe, and to round out the project, we did a custom sleeve to fit over the AirPod box. PICTURESTART is focused on youth-oriented movies and shows, so the colorfully printed AirPods were the perfect way for the new company to announce itself as a fresh and innovative presence in the film industry.

The gifts you give your clients and the technology used by your employees offer unique opportunities for you to make a statement about your brand and the way you do business. By partnering with Fusion of Ideas, PICTURESTART created an impactful brand experience that recipients will recall every time they pull out their AirPods. “We’re finding that the AirPods have become a highly preferred gift in the year and a half since they were released,” said Russ Taylor, CEO at Fusion of Ideas. “They’re compact, useful, and can be customized in several areas. Plus, they have the appeal of being a relatively new Apple product, at a price point lower than an iPad or Apple Watch.”

Whatever your tech and design preferences may be, we can help you come up with an unforgettable gift. And if you’re on the fence, check out some of the finished projects on our website and Instagram account. We’d love to create your custom gift next!SaveSave

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Simple Content Delivery with DCS Apps

By Jennifer Fujimori

The mobile application landscape in 2018 is saturated with a dizzying array of apps, ranging from straightforward and simple to complex and colorful. Business owners are faced with the challenge of building an app that is visible, user-friendly, and detailed all at once. At Fusion of Ideas, we’re aware of just how easy it is to gravitate towards a “more is more” solution. After all, there are countless technologies and functionalities available in the app development world. But we also know that an excess of options can lead to a chaotic and overly complicated final product. That’s what pushed our app development team to come up with a much simpler app solution for clients: the Dynamic Content System.

Imagine that you are the owner of a small consulting business. You have a well-designed website with sections to address every topic of your business. But you’ve noticed that most of your competitors have mobile apps in addition to their websites, so you decide to seek out an app development firm. Your mobile app checklist might look something like this:

  • Simple design
  • Easy to use
  • Menu of 6-8 sections, each covering a service your business provides
  • Sections featuring photos, videos, and text
  • Ability to add, remove, and change content on an ongoing basis

The DCS approach, our version of what’s known as a CMS (content management system), can check all of those boxes without breaking the bank or overly complicating your app. It’s customizable yet simple – the general concept of displaying content using a list or menu view does not change, but the format, fonts, colors, designs, and logos can all be customized. As the client, you’re equipped with an easy-to-use web admin portal where you can continuously make changes to the content on display. This gives you a streamlined way to create and manage an app without having to hire a dedicated developer. After an initial design and development period with the Fusion team, the app is entirely yours to control. The end result: a cookie-cutter setup process with unique, personalized results.

This is the user view of the Kidd’s Kids DCS App.

One of our clients, Kidd’s Kids, is a nonprofit group that strives to bring joy to kids who are dealing with life-altering conditions and their families by sending them on an annual trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The organization was looking for a way to display event information as well as a photo of each child with their name, hometown, and favorite Disney character. The finalized app features the Kidd’s Kids branding and logo as a backdrop, with a simple menu of options to choose from. Each of the families received an iPad equipped with the app, so they could easily open it up and scroll through the photos or look for event details. The app placed important information at their fingertips, and gave them a simple way to learn about the other recipients on the trip.

This is the admin view of the Kidd’s Kid DCS App.

Fusion of Ideas strives to meet a higher standard than most other companies that offer a CMS-type service. Because our development team (which is entirely based at our headquarters in Lake Forest, California) have gone through several iterations to perfect our DCS solution, your app can be delivered in just a two week time frame. Our designers will also build a custom application icon with your company’s branding, logo, and/or artwork, depending on your aesthetic preference. Your app icon will be yours – not that of a third party app development company. You won’t see any Fusion of Ideas branding within the app either. The focus is completely on your company and your content.

Check out the complete list of what’s included in our DCS package below.

  • Custom application icon
  • 1 platform (iOS, tvOS, or Android)
  • Multiple groups and users (5 groups and up to 100 users)
  • Initial product training
  • Access to web admin portal to manage content being displayed to groups and users
  • Fusion customer support

Fusion can also provide additional design and functionalities, along with full custom development services outside the scope of the DCS solution. Contact us today to get started!SaveSave

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Fusion of Ideas Featured in Construction Executive

Fusion of Ideas was recently featured in Construction Executive, the magazine for the business of construction. Because we’ve developed several mobile applications for construction industry clients, we were asked to write an article about the ways our clients have used technology to solve business problems and to save time and money. The article details some of the types of tasks a custom app can accomplish, and the satisfaction that comes from embracing technology and moving in a positive, future-minded direction.

To read the article, please visit:

http://www.constructionexec.com/article/custom-mobile-apps-save-time-and-money

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Great Projects Start with Mockups

By Jennifer Fujimori

If you’ve ever hired a company to customize a product for yourself or to give as a gift, you might understand the anxiety that stems from not being able to see your finished product until it’s done. Or worse, the disappointment you feel when you’ve paid and waited patiently, only to come face to face with a result that’s not what you’d hoped for.

A vast and growing number of retail industries are placing an emphasis on custom products, from bespoke wedding dresses and men’s suits to vitamins and skincare. In theory, this is a great thing for consumers. But many companies require a deposit or even payment in full before providing their customers with a visual of the planned design, and that can be a recipe for disaster and disappointment.

Our mockup service at Fusion of Ideas aims to alleviate that risk. When we start a conversation with a client about customization and branding services, we take the time to gather as much information possible about the client’s business needs. Armed with that information, along with any artwork, logos, or images that the client provides, our creative design team gets to work. We then present a mockup of several realistic, high-quality images that showcase some of the device customization options for the client’s unique brand. “Mockups give us a chance to show a prospective client what we can do,” says Bryan Underwood, Creative Manager at Fusion of Ideas. “We pull ideas from the client’s website, logo, branding, and existing artwork and come up with several design concepts that compliment the devices we’re showcasing. In many cases, the client ends up going with one of our designs instead of their original request.”

In our experience, this paints the clearest possible picture of what a finished custom device might look like. The mockup sent to the client is formatted as a polished, elegant image that sets the tone for the Fusion experience. And because Fusion is committed to providing a truly elite service experience, the first mockup is always free of charge. Our Senior Business Development Manager, Jacob Sarabia, can attest to the effectiveness of mockups. “The initial mockup is our first visual impression on a client. It’s a great way to settle any fears or apprehension about our customization services, and to present a sneak preview of the quality of service you can expect to get from Fusion.”

Take a look at some of the examples in this post. Each mockup displays six customized service offerings. Our creative team incorporates the look and feel of your brand into each different device, which gives you multiple options to choose from. When you are investing in a high-value item such as a mobile device, you need assurance that anyone altering that device will treat it with meticulous care and attention to detail. Fusion of Ideas establishes that level of service from the start by putting diligent thought and effort into every individual mockup.

The Chicago Bulls pre-production mock up.
The Chicago Bulls actual completed project before shipping.
Pepsi Co. Mountain Dew pre-production mock up.
Pepsi Co. Mountain Dew’s actual completed project before shipping.

 

KUIU’s Mockup pre-production.
KUIU’s actual completed project before shipping.

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Happy National Donut Day From All of Us At Fusion 🍩

(Repost from Friday) Happy National Donut Day! The Fusion team celebrates donut’s every Friday (no joke, and we have Fruit Monday’s to counteract), so having National Donut Day fall on our Friday donut celebration makes it just that much better.  We hope you had a chance to grab a donut today!

HomePod Gets A Make Over

We’re predicting that the Apple HomePod might be at the top of many gift lists for the holiday season later this year.  The HomePod already gets major cool points as a gift, but when you add laser engraving, custom printing, custom packaging, and custom gift wrap, you take it to a whole new level.  Our Business Development Team made a very cool video to show how you can customize a HomePod. Check it out!

Xilinx AirPod Project

It was almost exactly a year ago that the Xilinx project went down in Fusion of Ideas history.  The new Apple AirPods had just been announced, and everyone was anxiously waiting for them to hit the market.  A few months had gone by since Apple’s announcement, and the public wanted to know when the AirPods would be arriving in stores.  Small batches of AirPods were released to stores, but were immediately sold out. Fusion was told that it would be awhile before businesses would have the opportunity to purchase them in large quantities, because production was just not fast enough to keep up with the demand.  Then Xilinx reached out to Fusion after being referred by Apple. They had 800 AirPods (a big deal, since stores hadn’t even received this many yet) and they wanted to find out more about our customization services.

Xilinx was planning to give AirPods to each of their employees as a special gift from their executive team.  They wanted to customize the AirPods’ white custom casing with the Xilinx logo. They also wanted to send the AirPods to employees in unique customized packaging to show their thanks and appreciation.  Fusion was their one-stop-shop for getting both of those things done in record time. The custom packaging included signatures of all of the executive team as part of the design, meant to show their appreciation.  

“Xilinx was looking for something cool to give their employees,” said Theresa Brown, Senior Business Manager at Fusion of Ideas. “Gifting the Airpods alone would have been nice, but the real wow factor came from outfitting the AirPods with logos and customized packaging including their executive team signatures. It took the gift to a whole new level.”

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(Not-So) Humble App Beginnings

A question we get a lot at Fusion: “You’re a well known customization company – what made you get into app development?”. We decided to take the time to answer that question and provide some history of how Fusion’s app development service came to be.  

“As with all truly successful innovative companies, Fusion is always looking out for the needs of our customers,” said Russ Taylor, CEO of Fusion of Ideas.  “We stay on top of technology, development, and our product offering so that we’re not only keeping up with trends, but offering truly custom solutions based on what our customers need.  Our app development service was born out of repeated request from our customers. The iPhone App Store opened in July 2008, and soon after that, our customers began inquiring about custom apps in addition to hardware customization services. We decided that if we were going to do this, we were going to do it right, so we set out to create create applications that reflected the same high-level reputation of our customization services.”

That’s when Taylor brought on Tyler Harmor, someone with extensive development and leadership experience, as CTO of Fusion of Ideas. Harmor was given the task of creating a team of developers and designers with the ability to understand the client’s vision, map it out in detailed a statement of work, and then produce each custom application on time according to their specific deadlines.  

Harmor was asked to do all this while adhering to the Fusion of Ideas commitment to being a one-stop-shop for all service offerings, which means all of our work takes place under one roof in Lake Forest, CA.  At that time, many companies were outsourcing their app development overseas. But clients were becoming increasingly frustrated with the disconnect, language barriers, and long waits for communication and updates.  Hiring all of our iOSdevelopers to work in one location would provide a high level of customer service in which clients could easily communicate directly with their application’s developers. Comprehensive details could be communicated with minimal miscommunications, and any questions or requests for app updates could be answered in minutes, rather than hours.  

So Harmor hired a team of the best developers in Southern California, and app development quickly became one of Fusion’s cornerstone product offerings.

“From the moment we let our clients know that we were offering application development, we were inundated with several exciting projects,” says Taylor.  “Our clients had experienced a high level of quality with our customization projects, and knew that we would produce the same high-quality work when it came to app development.  We truly value our clients and strive to give them our absolute best, so the decision to hire Fusion to develop applications was an easy decision for many of them.”

Less than two years after mobile applications were introduced to the world on a consumer and business level, Fusion had entered the app development industry.  Fusion’s first three clients were the New York Public Library, Jack Nicklaus, and California Pizza Kitchen, in that order.

“We came from not-so humble app development beginnings,” said Tyler Harmor, CTO of Fusion of Ideas. “We didn’t have to start small and build a reputation from scratch.  Because of the high level of quality in our customization projects, Fusion was poised for success when we began developing apps for some big names. And we were ready to show them what we could do.”

The first Fusion of Ideas app development client was New York Public Library (NYPL). NYPLneeded an internal application for their librarians that would serve as a liaison between their database of library assets. NYPL had worked with Fusion of Ideas on some other projects, and knew that Fusion would produce a top-notch product for them.

Integrating the outdated system into a custom application presented many technical challenges and required a significant amount of work for Fusion, but the end result was an app that successfully tied into the NYPL database and enabled librarians to search for publications and other assets. With the release of the new app, Fusion helped the NYPL step into the mobile age.

Following the NYPL app, in 2011, Fusion created an application for Jack Nicklaus, who was actively looking for investors for new golf course projects. They wanted to create a custom application that would loaded onto iPads and given as a gift to potential investors. The app would invite the recipients to learn about the business and potential investment opportunities.  Fusion created an application that housed information about the golf course, videos, brochures, and other marketing collateral. The “wow factor” of the project brought them back to Fusion for additional applications and services over the years.

California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) wanted to create an easy ordering app that would be used to test a Spanish language menu in some of its locations.  The application housed an ordering portal and detailed menu information, and was utilized in several CPK’s across the nation.

“These three initial app development clients, though several years ago, were early adopters, using apps at a time when other businesses didn’t even have an inkling of the importance of mobile technology,” said Harmor.  “Looking at our app development clients in 2018 – they vary quite a bit in shape and size. We have clients who are doing smaller projects, such as Dynamic Content Solution (DCS) applications, which includes a custom interface to house specific information like videos, apps, presentation and marketing materials, PDFs, etc.  We also have clients who are creating huge framework applications that run their business. We do it all, and we love the variety and the challenges of creating technology solutions for these companies.”

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What’s next? What will the next iPhone be called?

There’s been a lot of speculation as to what the next iPhone will be called. It’s no secret that Apple typically chooses consecutive numbers for its iPhone releases. But since the iPhone X deviated from that pattern, the name of the next iPhone is up in the air. Will it be called be called iPhone 11? Or iPhone X1?  There’s even talk of the lower-end iPhone being called iPhone SE. Rumors have been surfacing that the next generation iPhone might be getting a new name.

We asked our Fusion of Ideas team for their best guesses on what the new iPhone will be called.  The name that got the most votes was iPhone XI. Additional suggestions and name ideas included iPhone Xs, iPhone X-1, iPhone 9,  iPhone Elite, iConnect, and iPhone Pro.

“The X isn’t technically the 10, but just a roman numeral to represent the anniversary of the iPhone,” said our Creative Manager, Bryan Underwood. “That being said, I believe the next release in line is still the iPhone 9.”

Rachel Trotter, Administrative Assistant, thinks it’ll be named something completely different.  “I don’t even think it will be called an iPhone anymore,” she said. “I think it might be something like iConnect or iLink.  Something that implies an iPhone is far more than a phone, but also of a way to interact with the world.”

Junior iOS developer Long Le said, “I think they could keep it boring and just call it the iPhone Xs.”

Whatever it’s called, we’re excited for the debut of the new iPhone and all of its new features.

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What We Think of The New HomePod

Since the release of the new Apple HomePod our Fusion of Ideas tech expert and Business Development Manager, Jacob Sarabia, has been busy testing and utilizing the device since the moment we got it. Here is what he’s saying about it:  

What do you like and dislike about  the design?

Apple has done it again: blending art and technology to create the new HomePod. I personally appreciate the attention to detail on how seamless the fabric mesh covers the internal components. Every detail down to the power cable, which is carefully woven together, showcases the quality of Apple products. Additionally, there are no physical buttons that might distract you from the overall design. Apple accomplished this by placing a touch screen display at the top of the speaker. I had a hard time trying to find things I did not like about the HomePod design. When comparing it to the other speakers on the market, I still chose the HomePod.

We hear that you have to keep the cable installed into the HomePod. Have you found this to be a problem?

Initially, I did question Apple’s decision to make the power cable non-removable when comparing it to other speakers on the market. Technically speaking, it can be removed with some force, which I do not recommend trying (this leads me to believe it’s reserved for servicing the device).  If the HomePod is being used the way Apple intended it to be used, then there really is no reason for the cabled to be removed, so overall, this has not been an issue for me.

What’s the audio quality like? How does the HomePod compare to similar smart speakers?

Music has always been in Apple’s DNA, and they certainly proved this with the HomePod. They have upset the marketplace by offering an unparalleled audio listening experience that is like no other competing smart speaker. The audio notes are rich and clear with little to no distortion, even at a 100% volume level. Most of the other speakers on the market focus on AI technology first and speaker quality second.

Is it easy to use Siri on HomePod? Have you encountered any issues?

Siri is just as easy to use on the HomePod as on my current iOS devices. Of course, there are some limitations, but knowing that Siri is available practically everywhere in my home/office is great. One of the down sides to utilizing Siri on the HomePod is that it can’t distinguish my voice from someone else’s. If I allow full access through the initial set up process, anyone can ask Siri to read back my text messages, notifications, and so on. Also, I can’t set up multiple timers, which would be useful while listening to music and cooking. I really see the HomePod being used primarily for music and home automation tasks.

How would the HomePod be used in a business?

For now, the HomePod would be perfect inside of a conference room for taking calls – you can’t beat the amazing sound quality it provides. As Siri progresses, I can imagine a day when developers can integrate Siri into their web/mobile applications to run tasks or provide real-time information by simply asking a question. The HomePod would be the perfect gift for someone who is looking for not just a “smart speaker,” but also better sound quality at a reasonable price point. And it could be a great gift for employees or clients.

Are the HomePods customizable? What areas can be customized?

You know us – at Fusion of Ideas, we always push the limits to provide the best customized out-of-box experience. Every new product release poses new challenges for our team. Different shapes, sizes, and raw materials can all affect our capabilities. The services we currently offer for the HomePod include: custom packaging, laser etching, and our customizable film, Stealth Armor. Stay tuned for more exciting HomePod capabilities as we continue to go through the research and development process.