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 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.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Durateq® ATV celebrates its 20th deployment: Part 2

Softeq's Assistive Technology Solution now at The David Wills House

While on the anniversary wave, here is a brief overview of another remarkable installation of the Durateq Assistive Technology system which we completed right before Christmas. This time the Softeq team took a flight to Pennsylvania’s Gettysburg to help the David Wills House become more accessible.

Read the official press release with Paul Fruia's comments on the project.

The museum, with its six galleries and recreated rooms, eternalizes the memory of President Abraham Lincoln and his brilliant Gettysburg Address, pronounced in a lynchpin moment of the Civil War. The Durateq technology helps people with hearing and visual disabilities enjoy an immersive guest experience in this patriotic place.

First Floor Gallery (assistive listening and audio description)

 It was very important for the Softeq team to set up all the Durateq infrastructure in the way it wouldn’t detract guests from the historic atmosphere and the unique exhibition. 

Lincolns Bedroom

      The ALiCE (Assistive LIstening and Captioning Engine) software, powering the DURATEQ ATV system, was customized to allow the user to switch between audio description of the Parlor area of the House and the video displayed above the fireplace by pressing the square “pause” button on the DURATEQ device. So, if the user is in the Parlor listening to the AD content, they could pause the content by pressing the square button and listen to the AD content for the video, when it is playing. Pressing the button again, resumes playback of the Parlor AD content, where the user left off.

Second Floor Gallery

The final hardware installation was as follows:
  • DURATEQ Handhelds
  • 5U Multi-unit Charging Dock
  • Break-away Neck Lanyards
  • TRACK Emitters
  • SPOT Emitters

Listen FM transmitters

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Durateq® ATV celebrates its 20th deployment: Part 1

We continue our long-term collaboration with the US National Park Service, and right before the 2013 calendar lost its last leaf we completed the DURATEQ Assistive Technology Version installations at yet another three locations. The total number of the DURATEQ installations has hit 20, and keeps expanding with the new projects of 2014.

Let’s take a quick look at the NPS landmarks we’ve helped make more accessible to visually and hearing impaired guests from all over the country coming there to delve into the patriotic and heroic atmosphere of resurgent history.

Monocacy National Battlefield

The first one to be featured is Monocacy National Battlefield, a park dedicated to a Civil War’s combat known as “the Battle that saved Washington, D.C.”. Here is the official announcement.

DURATEQ assistive technology at Monocacy Visitor Center
Visitor Center

The DURATEQ Assistive Technology System provides audio narration and assistive listening to allow people of all abilities enjoy the exhibition as on an individual guided tour.

assistive listening and audio naration at exhibition area
Battle Map
Audio description and assistive listening is provided in this exhibit area.

The battle map uses fiber optics to re-create troop movements of the battle synchronized to audio narration. Lighting of the portraits is also synchronized. The show is started via a button on the map board.

Union / Confederate Position 
Audio narration for this section is synchronized with the previous section
so they do not overlap.

Corner Room / Artillery

Stay tuned for pics from the next DURATEQ ATV deployment at the David Wills House in downtown Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and don’t forget to plan a trip and enjoy Monocacy National Battlefield!

Learn more about the DURATEQ assistive technology system

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Year 2013 Development Milestones Recap

“No more champagne, and the fireworks are through”… So was Abba singing back in 1980. While candle light and party sounds are fading into history, let us recall the events not that remote, yet no less exciting. 

But first of all, once again: Happy Holidays!

And now we invite you to look at our year 2013 in review and learn all the truth:

  • how we contributed to the BlizzCon fun,
  • where our firmware, mobile, and web development expertise has extended during the past 12 months, and
  • what exactly you will find under the hood of 80% of electronic smart gadgets in your home,
  • why Softeq’s Sales Director is wearing a Google Glass.

Click here to continue reading.