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Showing posts with label Disruptive Technologies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disruptive Technologies. Show all posts

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

How to Select the Right Set of Devices for Mobile Testing?

Mobile phones have been a great revolution of mankind. Big static land phones have slowly got obsolete and mobile phones are now an indispensable part of our everyday life.  In today’s world, almost every person owns, at least, one phone and a few have more than one. The smart phones’ entry into the market have made people go crazy and it is the gadget in which people are so dependent that without it they would feel lost. It is now very evident for almost all the industries that it is easy to reach customers via apps. Most of the mobile solutions are dependent on the new age disruptive technologies. Compared to other computing devices the reach of mobile/ smart phones is huge. With its accessibility/ availability to the high profile business magnets to a road side tea seller, mobile phones have filled up the so- called “digital divide” to a larger extent.

From its traditional role as a mere communication tool, mobile phones have now become multipurpose gadgets used for both personal and professional uses, which creates opportunities as well as challenges like both sides of a coin. Technology shifts, proliferation of devices/ operating systems are creating challenges for hardware manufacturers and application developers in terms of developing and rolling out new products or updating it. The mobile application testing across various devices and platforms has now become even more challenging. As there are quite a lot of mobile makers in the market it is almost impossible to ensure that proper mobile testing is done on all the devices, and to a certain extent, it is not required as well. Digital modernization has encouraged people of any age group to manage their important data or images in the cloud, rely on apps that can work as reminders, use messengers to keep in touch and many more. As the wants have now become basic needs, one of the key areas that should be in focus is the Customer Experience. The user’s geo, age group, and the targeted group of customer’s info is crucial in deriving the best customer experience the user can have. However, yet another point to be remembered is that in the competitive mobility  arena ‘go to market’ time has reduced much and if you delay, someone else will take over that place. Hence, quality has to be ensured in a short span. These facts will drive anyone to be choosy about the devices when it comes to validation.

Let us have a look at the various devices that need to be considered for any mobile application testing.

By considering a couple of parameters, we can nail down on the devices on which app needs to be tested.

Parameters to be considered are –
1.    Type of devices
2.    Form Factors
3.    OS

Type of devices –
Now a days, most of the apps are made available in almost all types of devices and hence we need to ensure that the User Interface and User Experience Testing parameters for the app are met in all types of devices including phones, tablets and phablets.

Form Factor –
In most of the cases, the size of the screen is miss-understood with the resolution of the screen. These are the two exclusive parameters to be considered. Resolution is the number of pixels on the screen, irrespective of the screen size. How the app looks and objects placement on the screen are dependent on this parameter. There could be two devices of screen size 5 inch but their resolution might differ.

Mobile Testing

OS (iOS, Android, Windows and BlackBerry) –
The app is always built with the combination of new development and third party features or services, in the end product. There is a possibility where a developer would have tweaked third party features to meet the product’s requirement. Hence, we need to ensure that the combination of all these features works fine in multiple OS and their different versions that are majorly in use. There is no point in testing outdated versions of OS as the users will keep on moving towards the updated versions. But this has to though through as to which is the oldest version that we need to support for.

Matrix of devices shortlisted for testing
Note –

1.    Below information is as per
2.    Only iOS and Android is considered in the below matrix to explain the exercise.

Device Resolution OS versions Size (inch) Test Type
Android Tab Nexus 10 2560 x 1600 5.X.X 10 Func & UX
Android Tab Nexus 7 800 x 1280 5.X.X 7 UX
Android Tab Micromax Canvas Tab P470 600 x 1024 pixels 4.4.x 7 Func & UX
Android Phones Sony Xperia Z5 2160×3840 5.1.x 5.5 Func & UX
Android Phones Nexus 6P 1440X2560 6.x 5.7 Func & UX
Android Phones Samsung Galaxy S4 1080×1920 4.2.2 5 Func & UX
Android Phones Moto G 720×1280 5.1.1 5 UX
Apple Phones iPhone 5s 640 x 1136 iOS 7 4 Func & UX
Apple Phones iPhone 5s 640 x 1136 iOS 9.x 4 Func
Apple Phones iPhone 6 750 x 1334 iOS 8.x 4.7 Func & UX
Apple Phones iPhone 6s 750 x 1334 iOS 9.x 4.7 UX
Apple Phones iPhone 6s Plus 1080 x 1920 iOS 9.x 5.5 UX
Apple Tab iPad Air 2 1536 x 2048 iOS 9.x 9.7 Func & UX
Apple Tab iPad mini 2 1536 x 2048 iOS 8.x 7.9 Func

Though the above list is handpicked list of devices, it looks exhaustive and very difficult to test in all of them. The idea here is to cover all the form factors, OS and types of devices with different brands and hence the list seems to be big.

There is no shortcut if we have to validate the functionality in different OS versions and User Interface & User Experience factors in different form factors. Hence, the combination of devices and OS selection are done keeping these facts in mind. For different versions of OS, functionalities are validated to ensure that the newly developed piece of code and third party features are working fine without any functional flaws. For different Form Factors, UX parameters are validated to make sure that all the object in the screen are fitting properly  inside the screen as per the decided mock ups and there are no overlaps or partially hidden objects.

While we do functional validation on different devices it is obvious that you will make out the UI and UX glitches. So when you are testing only User Experience related scenarios you would know what is covered along with the functional testing and more focus has to be shown in the other areas.
One should always keep an eye on the market to know about the new devices or versions of OS or browsers that come to market and see if they fit into the above table. With this exercise, it is easy to arrive at the devices to be considered for testing.

Despite the short development cycles, go to market pressures and increasing competition in the mobility arena, it is key to do the mobile application testing across multiple devices and platforms and it is daunting too. Effective and timely mobile testing can enable device makers and application developers in collecting appropriate metrics that improve the overall quality of products and will be able to deliver amazing customer experiences.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Our Primary Focus is Disruptive Technologies

Happiest Minds is a next-generation digital transformation, infrastructure, security and product engineering services company, with 100+ customers and 1600+ people, spread across 16 locations. Happiest Minds’ philosophy is simple - 'Happiest People make Happiest Customers'.

In this interview for the Design in India series, Babu K C, General Manager and Head, Hardware Practice, Kiran Veigas, Associate Director, Corporate Strategy and Marketing, and Divya Sasidharan, Engineering Manager, from Happiest Minds, talk to Dilin Anand and Priya Ravindran of EFY.

Happiest Minds
Q: Could you introduce us to Happiest Minds?
A: Happiest Minds is the youngest information technology (IT) services company in India. Having started about four years ago, today we have 1600+ people catering to more than a 100 clients. Our geographical focus areas are the United States (US), Europe and India, in that order. Like the company name suggests, our vision is to keep the employees and customers the happiest.

Q: What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?
A: Hardware practice at Happiest Minds works on all the phases of a product design from concept to production. Given the high-level requirements of the product, we work with the customer to understand their needs and arrive at the specification document, after weighing the viable alternatives. Once the specifications are approved, we go about the product drill, from design to testing and certification, till the product is ready for manufacturing.  Having the capability to offer a turn-key product solution, involving hardware, field-programmable gate array (FPGA), firmware, mechanical design and application software is our unique selling proposition.

Q: What are the niche technologies you work on?
A: Our main focus has always been disruptive technologies. About 85 to 95 per cent of our work revolves around this and that is how we bring about a paradigm shift in the way we think and the way we execute. Next-gen technologies like big data and analytics, cloud, mobility, middlewareare all part of this package.

Q: Your speciality is disruptive technologies. Do you have a separate team for this?
A: Our three business units are Digital Transformation & Enterprise Solutions, Infrastructure Management & Security Services and Product Engineering Services.

Digital Transformation group enables organisations to make a tangible impact in areas like customer experience, business efficiency and business innovation, by taking a disruptive approach in building platforms, integration, processes and insights.

Infrastructure Management and Security Services group helps organisations to improve agility, flexibility, security and interoperability of the enterprise infrastructure for next generation digital transformation.

Product Engineering Services is focused on four specific domains. They are the Enterprise Domain that caters to enterprise independent software vendor (ISV) customers, Customer Platforms focusing on e-commerce, media and entertainment, Internet of Things (IoT) focusing on industrial, automotive and building automation, and Data Center Technologies (DCT) focusing on software-defined networking and data centres.

Q: Could you take us through the post-production support you offer?
A: Post-production support becomes very important as there could be changes coming in at the component level or even from the customisation front, after design closure. Over the last few years, post-production support has become a lot easier with the fabrication house also experiencing a variety of designs. Today, it is not always required that the engineer has to personally go and interact with the fabrication house; a lot of it can be done remotely.

Q: How would you go about telling your clients what you do?
A: We go by experience. Having worked in this field for about four years now, we have loyal customers who come back to us for their next product. They also spread the word, and the references increase our customer pool. Also, with the slowly increasing trend of research and development teams facing the media, thought leadership at events and technical publications, the 'getting-to-know' part is becoming a lot easier.

Q: Tell us about a few of your projects.
A: We have done several processor board designs in the past, mostly based on Intel/ARM processors. Recently, we designed an ARM-based storage server that was quite interesting and challenging too. The interesting part was that it was powered using a 64-bit octa-core ARM processor, a new entrant to the server family. This is a multi-processor system that uses peripheral component interconnect express (PCIe) Gen 3 technology for interconnections to numerous boards.  Currently, we are designing a similar system based on Intel Xeon and Atom processors for micro-server applications, which uses high-speed technologies such as PCIe Gen3 and double data rate fourth generation (DDR4) memory modules.

Q: Could you tell us about your work in the industrial domain?
A: Another interesting area is industrial automation and control. We are presently working on one such system for controlling heavy machinery. The system will have precision sensors that sense target parameters like position, velocity, direction and temperature, which are then compared with pre-set values. In the case of a deviation from the desired outcome, the system has to take corrective actions like varying the speed or updating the position of the tool.  The precision and timing required to realise such a system is utmost challenging as everything has to happen in real-time, not forgetting the fact that it has analogue, digital and high-voltage signals, all running on the same board. So, the choice of the processor becomes extremely critical. To guarantee real-time performance, we are using field-programmable gate array (FPGA) for some of the critical paths such as proportional integral derivative (PID) loops, high-speed counter interface and analog-to-digital converter/digital-to-analog converter (ADC/DAC)  interfaces.

We have also worked on other single board computers (SBCs) targeting industrial applications based on high-end Intel processors.  We are looking forward to working on more such challenging projects from the industrial domain.

Q: What about your interests in the test and measurement (T&M) sector?
A: We have been working on an array of T&M boards dealing with high-speed interfaces like serial-attached small computer system interface (serial-attached SCSI), PCIe Gen4, serial advanced technology attachment express (SATAe), universal serial bus (USB) 3.0, DDR4 and a variety of form factors ranging from small form factor(SFF)-based storage devices to small-outline dual-in-line memory module (SODIMM), unregistered dual-in-line memories (UDIMMs) and a few custom form factors targeting specific end-customers. These boards tap high-speed signals from live systems-under-test and are expected to induce minimal noise into those systems. The main challenge here is the speeds at which these interfaces work and the kind of signal integrity (SI) that has to be achieved. During design, these boards are run through multiple levels of SI simulations to ensure that the highest level of signal quality is achieved. In many cases, the high-speed traces are exposed, so as to have minimal propagation delay through the printed circuit board (PCB). Sharp bends are not allowed on these traces, and instead, arcs or curves are used. Back-drilling technique is used to make sure that the stub length on these traces is a bare minimum. In short, the layout of these boards demands the most stringent constraints.

Q: From a PCB perspective, what are the factors that determine signal integrity?
A: The choice of materials used to fabricate the PCB and even the type and quantity of solder used to assemble the components can create an impact on the signal quality and these are very carefully selected.

Q: Talking about boards for T&M equipment, how do you go about testing those boards?
A: Simulation rules the roost here to arrive at the best design. First, a golden board is arrived at, which behaves exactly the way we want it to. All other boards are then tested against this board.

Q: Tell us what you do in the IoT arena.
A: We have a separate practice for IoT projects.  We are already developing new IoT products and also adding connectivity to existing products for our customers. We do all the building blocks for IoT including the hardware, firmware, mechanical enclosure, cloud interface and complete product compliance certifications, and deliver ready-to-manufacture designs.

Q: What is the most exciting IoT project you have worked on?
A: We worked on a lighting control solution project recently. Instead of walking to the switchboard and manually turning on/off lights, you operate it via a mobile phone. You can also access your lights remotely from anywhere in the world, as long as the devices are connected.

Q: How do you see the growth of independent design houses (IDHs) in India?
A: India-based product design houses have a good future. There is a lot of untapped potential for services companies offering hardware/firmware design services. There are several players in this field already, but there is space available for more.  India is traditionally known for software outsourcing, but our hardware or complete product design capabilities are not well-known as it is not marketed well like the software. I think people should come forward and start new ventures to offer product design services for India, as well as for global clients. There are challenges like lack of component industry in India, complicated customs rules and related delays in importing parts, but these can be solved with appropriate help from the government.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Disruptive Technology Roundup - Product Engineering Services

Cloud computing is the foremost among the disruptive technologies that rule the IT industry.  Organizations are leveraging public cloud for reducing the infrastructure costs and also for a faster delivery of technology projects. Since the data moved into the cloud is often dependent on the application that creates and maintains it, it is vital to integrate the SaaS apps in the cloud with the existing on- premise software. Configuring these multiple SaaS applications to share data in the cloud is crucial in determining the success or failure of cloud projects. Instead of choosing the richest SaaS application, organizations should consider the performance of the app and its ability to integrate into an overall portfolio. It is crucial that the app purchasing decisions need to consider operational performance metrics beyond features and functionality, and how new SaaS apps will contribute to the way the business runs in the future. In this age of Big Data, where large chunks of data are analyzed for churning out Business intelligence and insights, organizations should consider the SaaS vendors that provide access to their own data with better performing and efficiently integrated SaaS applications. 

Businesses are moving into an age of innovation and disruption with the influence of new age disruptive technologies including IoT and Big Data. When everything and everyone gets connected into an integrated global network, the safety of data from unauthorized access, dissemination, and usage is a matter of greater concern. Organizations are now searching for new ways and means to protect their assets from cyber security breaches. At a time when traditional security measures become inefficient, a major rethink of the existing cyber security systems and strategies is the need of the hour. The global cyber security industry is going through a fundamental change and is growing to address the cyber security challenges in the age of IoT. With IoT creating innovations and disruptions in the business world, parallel innovations are happening in the cyber security space also to address the IoT security threats.

Technology space is witnessing a major upheaval with the new disruptive technologies changing the way businesses are carried out. Cloud, Social, and Mobile are converging and accelerating one another to give rise to a constant access paradigm consisting of:

Continuous Services – solutions will increasingly need to be cloud-based to ensure they are always available on-demand and can be consumed on demand.

Connected Devices – proliferation of the number and types of devices that allow users to be continuously or intermittently connected to the internet and with one another.  
Product Engineering Services

With a combination of agile methodology, experienced architects and pre-built components, Happiest Minds deliver Product Engineering Services on 4 specific domains: Enterprise Domain catering to Enterprise ISV customer, Customer Platforms focussing on E-Commerce and Media & Entertainment, IoT focussing on Industrial and Automotive & Building Automation and Data Center Technologies (DCT) focussing on Software Defined Networking and Data Centres. A strong team of technical experts to offer Architecture and Engineering services, well-defined methodologies, frameworks and product engineering processes and standards make Happiest Minds a preferred partner for Product Engineering Services.