Friday, March 27, 2015

Cards face-up: Any Reasons to Celebrate?

In the article about the interview with Head of Softeq’s Web Development Competency Center, we recalled the strategic plans and objectives set for our Web Team in mid 2014. At a glance, one can find them quite ambitious: continue specializing in content-heavy scalable web development and high-performance solutions, delivering a number of comprehensive line-of-business solutions with powerful back-ends while cooperating with mobile and embedded teams, and, last but not least — doubling the resource base.
Now we are going to reap the fruits of the 9-month “web race”. Well, what have we here?

What a Piece of Work is a Web
The solutions delivered by our Web Team differ surprisingly — in terms of both technological complexity and scope of application they are much more advanced than what one usually expects from a web app. Let us take a look at some of our projects, already implemented or nearing completion.

Comprehensive Sensor Data Acquisition and Management System
Meeting the security requirements to the computer laboratory equipment, the SaaS-based solution features retrieval and transmission of data from multiple distributed humidity and temperature sensors to a web solution with a powerful interface. A complex laboratory equipment management system consists of hardware, embedded software and web components to acquire, process and store statistics from multiple sensors. Full description is here: http://www.softeq.com/featured_projects/saas_based_sensor_data_acquisition_and_management_system


eGovernment Platform Re-Engineering
The product is an upgraded solution for a complex eGovernment platform, optimizing case management process and electronic filing with detailed reporting and stats. The development involved a complex of network, integration and software engineering services. It is remarkable for complex non-trivial workflows and virtual interview technology automating a comprehensive process of case intake.

The solution is integrated with payment and SMS gateways, supporting functional and technological module updates. The solution’s revamped architecture is scalable and allows high load — in terms of simultaneous users and heavy content processing — while keeping the performance high-speed. Selenium framework serves as a base for the product’s test automation, while the stress and load go tested with Apache Jmeter. Learn more: 


Samsung Smart TV App
Having the digital video content server-based, the app provides instant access to the list of categorized movies and TV programs displayed along with trailers. The development allows the user watching videos in a player fashion, purchasing chosen ones with the credit card. The product has been approved by Samsung, making the list of its Smart TV applications. The app is portable to Sony, Toshiba, LG, and Phillips as well. Read more at http://www.softeq.com/featured_projects/samsung_smart_tv_app


eLearning Platform for Medical Students
The application contains two portals: one is for overall administration of testing procedures, the other one is for users — prospective medical students across US and Canada preparing for Medical College Admission Test.

The Admin Portal serves for creation and modification of tests, setting the time and difficulty parameters, browsing through the test results and exporting an Excel file with the report.
The User Portal provides the possibility to take full-length and mini-tests, even free ones for non-registered users. Getting finished the test, users look through the score report, which then goes exported into an Excel file. Users can run the test once again with the correct answers visible. See more at http://www.softeq.com/featured_projects/altius_elearning_platform 


Web vs. Mobile: Friend or Foe?
In the light of spinning up web development of high complexity and spreading the word about the skilled engineers of Softeq, expanding the manpower was a task that the Web Team performed easily, doubling its might. At present, the core Web Development team reaches 45 people, numbering two dozen barely 9 months ago.   

This is partly explained by the fact that apart from pure web and desktop solutions our Java, .NET and PHP professionals get often involved into our mobile projects to help build more robust and feature-rich enterprise mobility solutions.

Mobile Solutions – another core competency center of Softeq that houses cutting-edge developments for Nike and NVIDIA – is gaining momentum. The global trend is to turn mobile business apps into efficient tools meaning they require powerful web back-ends for data access, transfer and processing. Speaking about our recent projects in this space, there’s been a dozen that saw the light thanks to the helpful cooperation between Softeq Web and Mobile teams. Let’s look at a couple.

NVISION: A Content-rich Interactive News App
This user-friendly client-server app for Android covers the hottest gaming and hi tech stories handpicked and published by the Dialect editors with visuals and video of high definition. The solution is integrated with social media, while the content feeds are accessible through both the mobile app and a full-scale NVISION website. Read more at 


Inteliscope: Smartphone-powered Interactive Riflescope
The multiplatform mobile client-server application was debugged, enhanced and delivered within the cooperation of Softeq’s Web and Mobile teams. The solution transforms a mobile phone into a riflescope for tactical rifles, airsoft guns, and paintball markers. Using built-in smartphone’s sensors, the app captures and displays the environmental data on the screen making the shooting experience more immersive. Full information is here: http://www.softeq.com/featured_projects/interactive_riflescope_with_sensor_based_data_processing_capabilities 


An iOS Client-Server Dating Application
Developed and graphically designed from scratch by Softeq, the Unity-driven dating app resorts gamification in order to deliver more entertaining experience to its users. Being integrated with several analytical tools, the solution offers more targeted in-app messaging, providing an effective user engagement and higher retention. Read more: 


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Encapsulation of Behaviors in Action Objects in Unity

Softeq will demonstrate its Mobile Game Development expertise at Unity Day 2015, the major regional event for the Unity game development community in Belarus, taking place on March 19, 2015. The audience expects several top managers from Unity Technologies to join them at the after-party.


Not many know that Softeq's gaming team was born within the Mobile Solutions Department back in 2008, and then separated under the newly estbalished brand zGames to start its own professional journey. The team was growing, maturing and over the years it became a trusted firm with strong skills in game design, game development and porting as well as game art design (2D/3D) delivering contract work for clients in the US, UK, Germany, Canada and other countries.

Unity is one of our core competencies, and one of the leading tech experts was invited to the Unity Day 2015 to showcase the team’s expertise and share best practices.

Presenting Unity game development best practices at Unity Day 2015

The report “Encapsulation of Behaviors in Action Objects” is aimed at presenting our experience in the form of tips and advice pieces for the community to help Unity professionals create less code describing objects behavior while enabling game designers tune it later on in a convenient manner.

Learn more about zGames services and explore the game portfolio at www.zgames.com. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

9 Months: Is It Enough for Softeq’s Web Team to Make a Baby?

Long time no see: it’s been 9 months since we had a conversation about the development strategy of the Enterprise Web Solutions team with Paul Filipovich, who heads Softeq’s Web Development Competency Center. Quite a symbolic period it is, recalling Fred Brooks’s statement turning into the old gray hair joke: 9 women can’t make a baby in a month. In other words, people involved into a grand project need to take their time in order to gain momentum.
As well as any weather forecast — some time the weather is in line with expectations, another time it is not even close to what was promised. Now it’s our turn to check up whether our Enterprise Web Solutions team implemented all the envisaged objectives fully.  


In Web We Trust
By virtue of having at its disposal a collection of low-level and mobile specialists of great skills and insight to complement web and desktop development competences, Softeq has been destined to build high-performance end-to-end enterprise-class software solutions. Interviewing Paul Filipovich in early July, we wanted to find out how the Enterprise Web team in particular is going to rock it.

Paul stated that many clients, especially larger companies and Fortune 500 we work for, prefer comprehensive packaged offerings from a trusted vendor having an established service record, instead of allocating smaller tasks to various vendors: one delivering the web part, second — mobile apps, third graphic design and UX etc. It is not for nothing, taking into account the specifics of solutions in demand.

In our case, most of custom software solutions under development are large, scalable and content-heavy ones, handling a large amount of mixed data, receiving and processing it on multiple levels. Softeq’s unique tech differentiator is the expertise of building robust sensor-to-web solutions from scratch when raw data is retrieved from industrial sensors, smartphone’s cameras or drones and then transferred and processed on the web, in the cloud or in any third-party system.


Eternal Sunshine of the Zealous Mind
Quite a number of projects were in the pipeline at the moment of our discussion back in July. For instance, Paul described some features of the JBoss-based SaaS solution intended to process, analyze and store data collected from temperature and humidity sensors installed in labs. All the changes in statistics and dynamics’ indicators come easily accessible through a powerful sensor web interface.

Among the custom projects of highest importance for the Web Team, there was also re-factoring, modernization and functional enhancement of a high-load eGovernment platform. Softeq’s dedicated team was planning to deliver significant improvements to the electronic filing, case flow, complex workflows management and financial reporting and other features that would enable the client to efficiently operate in line with current federal court practices.


Half a Kingdom for a Pro
Above all, Paul was anxious for the manpower of the Enterprise Web Solutions team. He noted that the department would expand, gaining maturity and maintaining high skill level through continuous internal trainings and scrupulous knowledge management and experience sharing. Back then, the team’s key experts were certified SCRUM Masters, Java engineers, Microsoft and more. Thus, Paul emphasized that doubling the resource base while re-integrating the team’s best practices was a matter of high priority for the Enterprise Web Competency Center.

Sounds quite ambitious, doesn’t it? In view of this, didn’t it come above the Web Team’s ability to fulfil all the goals set? Subscribe to our blog to stay tuned or make sure to come back soon — we will reveal the whole truth in a few days.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Everything Illuminated and Resounded: DURATEQ® at the Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve

Good news! Our DURATEQ® Assistive Technology System continues revealing the beauties and curiosities of the colorful world around for the people with visual and hearing impairments. Now they can soak up a rich palette of impressions at the newly renovated visitor center of the Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve.


Quite a sight it is! During cave tours and hiking trails, one can enjoy the unique atmosphere of a prehistoric corner of the earth along with a fantastic chorus of sounds within the caves. Crawling under the low roofs, guests should be ready to meet some really frightening figurines of cave-inhabiting creatures.

Previously the monument occupied 480 acres, but now the territory expanded by an additional 4,000 acres, providing a comprehensive range of opportunities for entertainment and recreation. The renovated park is to begin accepting guests in the spring of 2015. Thus, very soon numerous visitors of the Oregon Caves will lodge the refurnished guestrooms and go ahead hiking, hunting and enjoying unexplored ranger programs having our DURATEQ® in their pockets.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Softeq Knows the Score: Clutch Extracts Secrets about Mobile Apps

Having an intense ardor to discover some cutting-edge or off-the-beaten-track methods of mobile app development, Clutch continues interviewing leading experts within the area. Softeq’s VP Engineering Paul Fruia highlighted a number of crucial points that enable our team to build bug-free apps meeting all the customers’ expectations and quality standards.


First Issue to Fix


Choosing the most appropriate platform and device standard before giving a go to the app project.

A Truly Competent Approach to Hybrid Apps
Hybrid apps are not necessarily an applicable solution. In terms of information security in particular cases, it is better to implement native apps for each platform.  



Still Paranoid — First iOS or Android?
Choosing a platform for the future app, the developer is to put priorities — whether it would be focused more on covering a wide customer audience or moneymaking — as Android devices are much more numerous in the market, while the Apple ones are considered more promising for earning profit.

Major Pricing Factors
Features are above all! Total app cost is directly related to the complexity of functionality to be developed.

Defining a Minimum Budget — Is It a Must?
In order to deliver a functional app that meets all business requirements, it is necessary to set up the entry point. That doesn’t mean that all the low-budget projects should be rejected, it just comes in handy while defining clients’ expectations. 

An Ideal Corporate Management Recipe by Softeq
Having a solid remote team of skilled specialists along with U.S.-based project management makes a great deal of success. Disregarding geography, the project success depends on how well the vendor understands the client’s business needs and how mature and responsible the production units are. 


Read the interview further in details in the original article



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Winning Combinations for the IoT

Let us look at that: at present, the IoT market is reminiscent of a battlefield in anticipation of fight between experienced knights armed with truly workable decisions. We suppose that the distribution of forces and strategies would be somehow cleared up during the M2M World Congress in April. Still, apart from major security problems we discussed in the previous article there are other challenges to deal with. So, what are the fields for IoT developments in the highest demand?

v  Healthcare
Definitely the noblest area for truly vital developments: optimization of data for medical reports, taking control of state of health by electronic measuring and even saving lives by early diagnostics of terminal diseases. For Softeq’s team it is a great honour and privilege to be involved in such projects. Having lucky experience in creating proprietary products, we are eager to help those who seek implementation of their IoT ideas. Our specialists also tapped hardware design and embedded programming expertise to carry out comprehensive R&D works for implementing a feature-rich multi-component wearable telecare solution.



v  Transportation and Traffic Administration
Overall enhancing road capacity and saving fuel resources are also at the top of “to do” list concerning M2M communication projects. IoT developments for proper regulation of traffic flow and prevention of collisions are needed more than ever. Smart Parking, Solar Freaken Highways are already invented by brilliant heads, but the source of innovation plans within the sphere is inexhaustible.

v  Housing and Communal Services
Remarkable ideas in Housing and Communal Services area are greatly welcomed. Smart decisions for reducing energy consumption and cost, as well as for optimization of services would be for sure in high demand. A classic example is Russian telematic service by MegaFon, which collects the information about housing consumption of resources.

v  Public Security
The IoT R&D for public security purposes would never be ignored, perfectly catering to an array of customers and markets — from transportation to law enforcement. Instant delivery of data from heterogeneous sources to a portable somewhere out there in the middle of the concrete jungle is already a reality. Japan’s police use digital cameras with innovative SD WORM memory cards inside to capture forensic images and store the evidence securely for up to 100 years.



v  Entertainment
The media and entertainment business requires innovation and the wow-effect like no other. For a tech company it is always challenging and exciting to help test the feasibility of such advanced solutions as a new wearable for the entertainment industry giant. The innovative form-factor — a Bluetooth-powered badge shaped as a popular cartoon character — is pinned to the visitor’s clothes to receive and transmit data from infrared sensors installed at the venue to an iOS app for further analysis from the customer care and marketing perspectives. Among Softeq’s projects within the area, there is also creation of wirelessly controlled LED lighting device for public events and show biz performances.



v  Manufacturing
Experts claim that one of the priority objectives in the age of “Industry 4.0” is quality R&D in manufacturing. There are plenty of tasks that remain to be short of ingenious decisions: orchestration of manufacturing processes, detection and control over technique operability. All of them are among major concerns of IT market leaders. For companies operating in high-risk environments smart robotics and advanced wearables are the solution of choice. You would be surprised to know how technically complex, both from the hardware, software and engineering points of view, the modern Oil & Gas equipment and drilling tools are.



We do our best to stay at the forefront of technological progress and help our clients bring to life and hit the market with next-gen wearable tech solutions. Are you ready to jump into the new era of IoT with us?


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How to Survive Among IoT Splendour: Atlas Shrugs

Standing aside of discussion about the Internet of Things is out of Softeq’s character, as we get highly enthusiastic about the achievements within each of our IoTprojects.
The ideas of IoT, as well as the great number of developments within the sphere, remain to be the targets of venomous criticism. Many analysts call into question the viability of the Internet of Things for a wide controversy surge around it.



Epic Fails
Tracking the results of experts’ investigations one can distinguish a pretty full set of sore points of some IoT inventions.

v  Unreliable developers often configure their devices with poor hardware and unsafe platforms, making them easy pickings for hackers.

Implementation of such IoT items can seriously damage both customer’s budget and reputation. For instance, not a single human would like to walk in shoes of Booking.com managers who had to cope with noise around a severe hack attack. Fishing scammers had got access to email details of tourists in order to steal money intended for hotel reservations.


What concerns increasingly numerous inventions of “Smart House” attributes, the estimates develop a blatantly skeptical character. Particularly, new IoT lighting management systems gain reproaching comments for being overcomplicated as compared to simple switches.

v  “Technology for technology’s sake” it used to be called.

Armed with a wealth of engineering experience, our team have learned that a genuine product should be bug-free one demonstrating high performance and reliability. Thus, our QA Lab is our environment for advance.

“Plug In Baby”
Despite having a large map of sore points, the IoT development is undoubtedly essential and inevitable. Although not possessing those “Smart House” attributes most of the Internet users get more and more involved into the IoT whirlpool. Personal gadgets become experts at their owner’s habits and interests, helpfully suggesting ads according to the latest requests.
Rather significant seems the statement about the approaching disappearance of the Internet made by Google chairman Eric Schmidt at the World Economic Forum in Davos.


Conceptually, it is already true, as for many users the Internet became a day-long habitat. The Web has just dispersed among numerous devices no longer associated with Internet as such.

Survival Rates
Finding ourselves scraping through the IoT era cataclysms, our #1 mission is to make the system work seamlessly and smoothly. All adapters and opponents of the IoT development unanimously agree that the main concern still remains information vulnerability and the lack of security. 


Thus, the future of the IoT development does not significantly depend on exercising our talents in creation of unimaginable gadgets. Indeed, what is severely important for carrying forward the process is finding appropriate solutions for fundamental problems of the IoT, such as the following ones:

v  Normalization and optimization of data transmission processes
v  Database hosting and management
v  Information privacy and security


Do we look pessimistic? No way! Continue reading to find out which application areas we find the most welcoming for the Internet of Things. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Myth Busters: What are the Most Common Stereotypes About IT Life?

New years close up with round-ups, forecasts and predictions for a coming year, past and future trends, and of course myth-busting. Softeq joins the line of traditional new-year discussions regarding assessments of, reassessment of and making conclusions about past and future events. One of the oldest IT-related online periodicals in Belarus has recently asked the Softeq team to comment on some of the common stereotypes, reigning in the IT sphere in Belarus. The most memorable of them have made it to the newspaper’s Top 10 list and have been published in one of its recent articles. Our colleagues along with other representatives of the Belarusian IT industry have shared their vision on the topic.

 

Myth #1: Newbies are not for serious IT companies


Nick Dzneladze, Head of zGames – a mobile game development studio within Softeq:
"It depends. In each particular case you have to look at the candidate himself or herself. We often take on promising juniors and seniors. Many companies do not employ students, because they are put off by the idea that junior specialists will leave the company as soon as they get some hands-on knowledge, and the training expenses for such candidates won’t pay off. My personal stance is that you have to create a work environment that encourages employees to grow and develop their professional skills within your company, and excludes any intention on their side to leave your company.”

Myth #2: Software engineers must have a good command of English


Nick Dzneladze: "At the beginning of your professional path in IT you need to have at least elementary level of English to be able to read tech documentation, which is often written in English. Modern IT industry has no boundaries and is hardly tied to the confines of a particular country. That’s why, to feel comfortable and at ease, IT specialists must have a good command of English and never stop perfecting their language skills.”

 

Myth #3: IT guys can’t wait to settle down in the USA or Western Europe


Benjamin Groiss, Sales Manager at Softeq Development:
"There is not much difference between software developers and the rest of us. All of us are in search of a job that is not only financially lucrative, but is rewarding as well. But programmers have the skills that are in high demand these days, which creates more opportunities for labor migration. People opt for a comfortable place to work and certainty of their future. And this is something that is not dependent on geography – it remains solely in the hands of a certain company that has to create a productive and pleasant work environment for its employees. Brain drain issues are not on the agenda at Softeq. I personally moved to Minsk from Germany 5 years ago, and Softeq has become my first company to work for and I am still onboard with Softeq. To tell the truth, I have no plans to come back to Germany.”

More about other IT myths can be found in the original article "10 Myths About Working in IT Industry(Russian version).

Though we are more interested to hear your personal take on this!

What other myths and stereotypes about IT life you’ve confronted or share?
Let’s make up an alternative Top 10 list by voicing our personal experiences in comments below!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Enterprise Infrastructure Is Changing its Face with Hardware

Are you witnessing the upsurge of hardware proclaimed to become the new software by tech folks and the Silicon Valley crowd? We certainly do. 


To add more to that, it turns into a more and more commodified line of business. The enterprise doesn’t remain aloof either. In fact, it almost never was, with enterprise tech solutions often representing a complex architecture that takes in all three levels from hardware through data to client software. 


Hardware is on the rise 

That said, this extended enterprise infrastructure has caught the new tech trend – a more lightweight mobile type of “enterprise” on the client side and hardware embracing both portable gadgets and add-on hardware thingies. 

Read an elaborated take on the topic in the article “Smart Enterprise – Entwined Software, Data and Hardware Levels” by our Sales Advisor Alex Timoshenko, with 10+ years experience in the software space.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Getting cultured in far off lands

Korea is a unique place where advanced technologies meet exquisite nature and rich culture, making every business trip to the beautifully neighbored capital city a trip to remember.

A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since our firmware development experts first landed in Seoul. Here is another bunch of photos from the recent trips of the Softeqians to the so far away yet so close and charming Korea.









P.S. Enjoy more photos on our Facebook page.