Credits: Brainbuxa

Credits: Brainbuxa

India overtook the US to become the top country in the world in terms of interest in mobile developer courses in 2016. Search queries in mobile development courses from India saw 200% year on year growth in the last two years with Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra leading with bulk of queries from India.

As indicated by the report, mobile development courses make for 6 per cent IT-related courses that are in huge demand and it is expected that the volume will massively grow owing to the continuous rise in standard mobile developers in India.

“We have seen tremendous response for mobile developer courses from India, with 16,500 students enrolling every month, taking up Android development, mobile web development and learning new cloud-based technology courses,” said Peter Lubbers, Head, Google Developer Training, in a statement.

Mobile development courses are in huge demand in India and it is growing with each passing day. These courses are being offered online and offline both. Major training partners are Simplilearn, Udacity, Edureka, Koenig, Manipal Global, and UpGrad. These are key private partners to provide mobile development courses across India.

In a statement by Krishna Kumar, CEO of Simplilearn, he mentioned that 65 per cent of students in mobile development courses are either college students or fresh graduates’ when compared to US, where 60 per cent students are working professionals.

“While India leads the world in terms of education-related queries, demand for vocational training courses has been steadily rising, comprising 40 per cent of the total search volume growing at a healthy rate of 50 per cent year-on-year,” Google India said.

Beginning 2017, more than 40 private and state specialized colleges will offer the “Android Fundamental” course as a major aspect of standard educational modules.

Credits : Tgdaily

Credits : Tgdaily


There is a rush by mobile gaming apps developers to make the best gaming apps for gamers all over the world. This is due to the ever growing popularity of mobile gaming all over the world. In developing a mobile game app, developers must consider a few things to make the game attractive. In 2017, there are things that mobile gaming apps developers consider to improve gaming experience. Looking at a game like Dragon Ninja Rush, we will look at the developments taking place in the world of mobile gaming apps in 2017.


This framework is one of the most popular amongst game developers. In 2017, majority of developers will still be using Ionic framework for developing mobile game apps. This framework has optimum specifications that allow it to work perfectly on the latest devices in the market. As a framework, Ionic also allows mobile game app developers to create complex gaming apps with much ease. The framework works well with both iOS and Android gaming platforms.

Location-Based Services (LBS)

In developing gaming apps in 2017, developers will be keen to continue using LBS. This is mainly due to the availability of GPS on mobile devices. Today, nearly all mobile devices have GPS, thus, making it easy for game developers to incorporate LBS when developing game apps in 2017. It makes gaming quite easy and interesting since the location of the player can be tracked to help in improving his/her gaming experience.

Hybrid App Development

Hybrid app development is a trending technique used in mobile game app development. This technique has unending features that helps in improving mobile gaming. Furthermore, it is a cheaper option for game developers. It is also usable in more than one operating system. The demand for hybrid app development is increasing from the consumer side forcing mobile game app developers to use this technique in 2017.

Virtual Reality

Another major concern in the year 2017 will be incorporation virtual reality. If you think about the new Dragon Ninja Rush, you will know for sure that VR has its place in the gaming world in the year 2017. It is a technique that improves the gaming experience of many players.

Android Instant Apps

Major development in the gaming app will be the introduction of Android instant apps. When Google announced it would allow Android apps to run instantly, there was bound to be excitement by mobile gaming apps developers. In 2017, you will be able to run your gaming app instantly without downloading the app. With a single tap, you will be able to play your favorite game like the Dragon Ninja Rush. This feature makes it easy to play games on the go.

Cloud-Based Mobile Apps

Game developers are now keen on using cloud technology to maximize on space. All the best games require some good amount of space that only cloud technology will provide. For a game with heavy graphics and functions, cloud technology is the answer. Cloud technology is fast and allows for building games with no restrictions. Furthermore, cloud technology is secure and thus a favorable to many game developers.

App Security

One of the most important things that will be seen in mobile game app development in 2017 is improvement of app security. App developers will be dwelling much on securing gaming apps in 2017. This is due to the numerous security threats that are associated with online gaming apps. Gamers prefer secure apps that allow them to play without worrying much about their security.


2017 brings many changes in the development of mobile game apps. The above mentioned are some of the top things that you need to understand about mobile game app development in 2017 for they form the core considerations of what features in 2017 gaming apps.

Credits : Shutterstock

Credits : Shutterstock


The booming rise in smartphone numbers all over the world has also led to a surge in the number of apps that people use on them. Google Play houses 2.2 million while the Apple App Store has a mammoth two million apps – and this number will not slow down any time soon.

  • A comScore report says that mobile users surpassed desktop users way back in 2014
  • Gartner predicts that more than 268 billion downloads will generate $77 billion worth of revenue in 2017

Today, apps are built not just for smartphones anymore; they are needed for wearables, connected homes, smart cars, IoT-enabled devices and much more. Heading into 2017, this presents a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs and consumers and the space promises to be very exciting indeed. Cloud-based apps and services have gathered increased importance over 2016 and the ability to share and sync data in real time with the server and with other devices has driven many innovations. But it is now time to look forward, and here are some of the key mobile app development trends to look out for in 2017.

1 # Location-based services (LBS) to continue its rise 

With the availability and ease of use of GPS on all mobile devices today, location-based services (LBS) will begin to evolve further and give users real-time information or deals based on their whereabouts. Several key areas where LBS can be implemented and put to good use are indoor mapping, location-specific payment portals, retail offers, security features, navigation, travel and tourism and more. Leading tech giants have recently made huge purchases in the LBS space, and Beacon technology is also becoming increasingly popular. Since the service drains battery pretty fast, hardware advancements in this particular area can also enable developers and businesses to flourish in 2017.

2 # Integration of Augmented Reality (AR) into utility apps

Apps that use Augmented Reality (AR) have long been viewed as gimmicky for promotional purposes. But over time, a greater number of apps have started putting AR to more useful tasks as well. With the addition of wearables into the picture, AR tools can be used more effectively and productively than ever before. In that context, recognition of words or phrases is something that can be capitalised upon in messenger apps and the like. If someone sends a video, text, or audio with a particular catchphrase, a related actionable item can pop-up. For instance, detection of the word “cab” can open a taxi sharing app; detection of the word “coffee” can open a calendar request notifications. Other integrations such as social media syncing, location tracking, product links and more can also be made use of.

3 # Android Instant Apps to become a common trend

Google recently announced its Instant Apps feature that delivers exactly what it promises – it enables Android apps to run instantly. Such enabled apps do not require to be downloaded or installed and can be run with just a single tap. This “run-only-as-you-need” concept could change the app industry. Imagine conducting a search and then having a related app turning up on the results page that can be run instantly without installation. No need to wait for it to download, no need to use data to install it and best of all, no usage of precious memory space on the phone to store it. Such apps are generally preview versions though with a few advanced features missing, but they are perfect for quick insight and experience.

4 # Embedded AI within apps to become a norm

Imagine a picture that changes dynamically according to your mood or situations. With more developers enabling machine learning and AI into their apps, the implications of this can have a huge impact on the way in which the industry works. While photo filters are relatively easier to create, developers could soon start devising innovative ways in which self-learning apps could customise what they display to users based on their personal preferences or location-specific data. Also known as Neural Networks, such services can soon shift from data centres to everyday devices such as cameras, phones and IoT-enabled devices.

5 # IoT app integrations to continue unchallenged 

The IoT industry is in the midst of a major boom right now, and apps that cater to IoT and integrate the best will ride the wave the strongest. Companies in the fields of health, education, security, smart homes, automobiles and more have all started experimenting and integrating with IoT advancements so keeping that in mind during the development of apps will be a good move in 2017. For developers, such integrations will involve the usage of complex mobile platforms and enterprise backend infrastructure that can communicate and share data between all devices. Data analytics also becomes key here since all the data that is stored and shared needs to be accessed easily and efficiently.

6 # Application security to be more important than ever before 

The security of a smartphone has become more crucial than ever because of the sensitivity and sheer quantity of user data on it in the form of access that it has to other accounts and contacts. Surprisingly, a large number of people still do not take smartphone security as seriously as they should, and this is a huge concern for app developers as well. Apps with in-built security features can make a huge difference here and should be prioritised, either at the API level or with a simple code to access the app itself.

Additionally, coding for Apple’s iOS is now moving from Objective C to Apple’s own programming language, Swift. More developers are sure to adopt the use of this platform and this will be a game changer for many developers due to its ability to provide a better user experience and better features.

At the end of the day though, providing a premium and smooth user experience is the key for all apps to succeed, especially in 2017. Design skills and understanding the customer has become a priority for the best mobile app developers and remain at the heart of any trends that leave their mark. Rich media including rich images, videos, and audio that make apps better and more memorable are becoming crucial. Here’s to seeing some truly groundbreaking apps come our way in 2017 in a burgeoning market space.

Credits: Enterprisersproject

Credits: Enterprisersproject


In the early days of smartphones, the first enterprise mobile apps were often simple informational apps in public apps stores designed for a company’s end customers. Since then, many organizations have evolved to developing custom apps that streamline, automate or reinvent customer-facing and employee-centric business processes. As organizations try to cope with the ever-increasing demand from the business for more apps, we see the emergence of rapid development tools that empower the citizen developer and enable the business to move forward with their initiatives.

The pace of change is unrelenting and mobile is increasingly seen as less of a standalone app project and more integral to a wider digital initiative that spans the Internet of Things (IoT), business process management, data analytics, augmented reality, and more. New areas that are gaining attention and we think will grow in 2017 are ambient intelligence (AmI) and artificial intelligence (AI).

Mobile is getting smarter

While mobile apps continue to be a prime focus for the enterprise, there is an increasing interest (some might say hype) around artificial intelligence (AI) with chatbots and Personal Digital Assistants (think Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google) being the latest tech craze, driven by the leading technology companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook. Artificial intelligence, by definition, is intelligence exhibited by machines to display them as rational agents that can perceive their surroundings and make decisions. A rational agent defined by humans would be a computer that can realistically simulate human communication. AI is becoming a reality as technological advancements in natural language processing, big data, mobile, sensors, and cloud come together in a perfect storm.

At the same time, the term ambient intelligence is gaining momentum. A TechCrunch article this year described ambient intelligence (AmI): “Ambient intelligence is born of digital interconnectedness to produce information and services that enhance our lives. This is enabled by the dynamic combination of mobile computing platforms, the cloud and big data, neural networks and deep learning using graphics processing units (GPUs) to produce artificial intelligence (AI).”

One example of ambient intelligence is a smart building that can respond and learn from human behavior through the combination of advanced sensors and mobile devices that interpret human actions (location, facial images, temperature, etc.). Early examples of ambient intelligence are smart building systems that respond to the presence of people and their environment switching heating and lighting accordingly.

What enterprises need to know for 2017

2017 will see an increase in both the hype and the application of chatbots, especially in consumer-facing scenarios where “chat” offers a voice-controlled user interface. These so-called bots and personal digital assistants will play a bigger role in making apps more user-friendly, but more importantly, they will provide greater utility as we continue down the road of technology disruption in the enterprise.

While AI and AmI are hot topics that will continue to consume some mindshare among businesses in 2017, their use is still very much targeted at consumer-facing applications. To date, these technologies haven’t had much application in employee-facing processes, but that is yet to come. The path that AI/AmI will take is likely to follow that of mobile apps where initial experimentation will be around consumer-facing applications with basic features and simple integration. This will then evolve toward more complex applications that integrate with multiple data sources and extend to other internal business and employee workflows.

Likewise, the challenges that face AI may somewhat mirror those of mobile – i.e. security, adoption, usage, performance, integration, and data management. The pace of change will demand even greater speed of development and delivery that can be supported by platform technologies based on cloud native application development, microservices architectures, agile and user-centric processes, and modern technologies that support agility and scaling.

So although AI may grow in mindshare going into 2017, we don’t anticipate it being a significant business initiative for all but a small fraction of companies. For most companies, there is still a lot of work to be done in transforming their IT organizations for a digital, rapidly-evolving market and dealing with more tactical issues such as securing mobile access to data, backend integration of apps with legacy systems, implementing API-based architectures, and adopting agile development methods.

Multiple surveys reveal that while the majority of organizations have implemented a mobile app strategy, they still are not creating and deploying the volume of apps that would be expected. A recent survey sponsored by Red Hat among healthcare organizations in the United States and Europe showed that even in very large organizations with more than 7,500 employees, the average number of mobile apps created to date is only 19. That’s pretty low considering the opportunities that mobile apps can provide to enhance customer engagement and drive internal productivity. Can such businesses add AI projects to their digital strategy? Maybe, but they need to tackle some of the remaining challenges that they face in mobile app development and apply the learnings to adopting chatbots.

There has been a significant transition in the software industry in the last decade and a half, according to an IBM India executive. “The last 15 years have seen huge changes in the software ecosystem. We have transitioned from being focussed on big companies and enterprise-specific platforms to a far more wide-ranging set of clients,” says Mezjan Dallas, Country Head, University Relations, IBM India.

In a significant shift, the industry has moved from licensing models such as on-premise licensing to software as a service (SaaS) and from customised packages to accessible, easy-to-consume software available on the cloud, says Dallas.

He says such democratisation is great, not just for the IT sector, but for anyone wanting to start a business, especially mobile software development.

As head of University Relations at IBM, Dallas is enthusiastic about his company’s work with campuses across the country, its popular hackathons and the hands-on tech workshops it conducts.


“Perfecting the hackathon format down to a quick weekend contest has worked well for our immensely talented millennials (student community),” says Dallas, “as they get just about 36 hours to solve a problem we pose.”

He is amazed at the speed with which the hacks are arrived at, with participants often coming up with workable solutions in just two days. At BITS Pilani, students developed an app in just 12 hours! IBM has conducted several contests on its cloud platform Bluemix across campuses including IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIT Hyderabad and BITS Pilani.

Dallas says, “The workshops IBM conducts are fun. We encourage the students to be prepared before tackling the hackathons, and even conduct a few preparatory tutorials in the run-up to the event.”

Dallas explains that the students’ goal is to develop pure working software. IBM conducted a drone hackathon in IIT Hyderabad where, using IBM’s cloud platform and IoT, students had to program the drone to carry out tasks such as flying across industrial areas and pin-pointing polluting units, or operating inside a factory to detect gas leaks. The winners, who completed the task in six hours, got to take home the drone. The participants win prizes and stand a chance of having their resumes reviewed by IBM India’s recruitment team for potential placement interviews and internships.

Projects at IIMs

IBM has a tie-up with IIM Ahmedabad’s entrepreneurship cell and organises contests among the student entrepreneurs several times a year.

Dallas explains, “We have a separate track called Watson, for start-ups interested in using IBM’s cognitive solutions. We let them know what’s available to them from IBM on the cognitive side and what they can quickly leverage. Simple things like, say, a voice or tone

recognition API (application programming interface) that can assess if a person is angry or sad, and so on.

“These Watson APIs are our business differentiators. Our job is to make start-up enthusiasts aware of technology options from IBM. If they know about these advancements, they are more likely to launch start-ups around such ideas. At IIM Ahmedabad, it was a business model project. Entrepreneurs had to present business ideas, telling us how they would use cognitive as a differentiator in their start-up.”

At IIM Bangalore, students had to present a business plan and, like in IIM Ahmedabad, the response was very good.

The project threw open the playing field on how they would leverage the Bluemix platform, on which IoT or Watson are available. At this event, IBM tied up with Kalaari Capital. “It was a good combination as a technology partner and VC were both present to listen to and help entrepreneurs,” says Dallas.

Dallas says, “We want start-ups to understand how quick and simple it is to access these platforms and the difference between developing software the traditional way versus using Bluemix. IIT Kharagpur’s entrepreneurship cell holds a competition called Empresario across several cities, and we encouraged participants to leverage Bluemix.”

App development, too, is now a transformed activity. Last year, IBM had projects on campuses that resulted in working apps.

Using platforms such as Bluemix has shrunk the development time dramatically. An interesting feature offered with Bluemix is the PaaS (programming as a service) platform. Using this, one can also work on numerous languages. The services are charged on a ‘pay as you go’ model, depending on the number and extent of services used.

Connect with clients

Asked how IBM helps start-ups become viable and sustainable, Dallas says, “The core of what we provide is tech-related. But there are other ways we can help, chiefly with our connect to enterprise clients. Often, entrepreneurs want validation, or access to large customers, and we can provide that across various fields. We are a channel to connect them with our bigger clients.”

IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Programme is designed to help start-ups. Start-ups that get through certain filtering criteria have access to Bluemix for free for a while. The company also hosts IBM Smart Camp, a global pitch competition for early-stage start-ups; those that get to the finals can present their pitch to venture capitalists.


Credits: Mobilenapps

Credits: Mobilenapps


Hardware and software commercialism in Japan moved to a notch higher but still insufficient to drive Nintendo Wii U into extended shelf life. This significant sales drop over Japanese holiday Otoshimada and Nintendo Wii U will suffer this until the next few weeks.

Gifting tradition in Japan is different from that of the west in a sense that adults giving money to kids actually last until mid January. Nintendo Wii U and other gaming hardware plus software are primary beneficiary of this tradition. Basing on Media Create chart comparison from previous week up to current, the sales actually rose to 128 percent for software and 111 percent for hardware, DualShockers reported. Then again this translates a significant drop compared to last year so Nintendo Wii U suffered the impact.

The same report shows that Nintendo Wii U cuts a smaller this year due to lower figures in side by side comparison to same week of 2015. Albeit current rise, it is safe to presume that 2016 is lower by 77 percent on hardware sales and 73 percent on hardware compared to 2015. Nintendo Wii U dipped at mind-boggling figure, based on M-Create analysis.

On a layman language, Nintendo Wii U sold 80,000 units is Japan during 2015 holiday season. Comparably, this console sold just a little over 5,000 units since a week before Christmas.

It may be heartbreaking for Nintendo Wii U that banks on local sales in Japan even during late September when PlayStation 4 have overtaken them. Remember that Japan is supposed to be the strongest market for Nintendo Wii U since conception.

Here is another reason to blame for Nintendo Wii U demise; Japanese family have been looking for more family-friendly games. Yes, these are available on other platforms like PlayStation 4 that offers wider game library as opposed to Nintendo Wii U.

Lastly, blame it on Nintendo Wii U themselves after deciding that support is going to discontinue starting 2017. Support dies at the advent of Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Wii U died with it.

Credits: Iotbusinessnews

Credits: Iotbusinessnews

A first wave of automakers and industry suppliers – led by Toyota Motor Corporation – is adopting Ford SmartDeviceLink software – a huge step toward giving consumers more choice in how they connect and control their smartphone apps on the road.

SmartDeviceLink is the open-source software on which the Ford SYNC® AppLink™ platform is built. It provides consumers an easy way to access their favorite smartphone apps using voice commands. Automotive suppliers QNX Software Systems and UIEvolution also are adopting the technology, with plans to integrate it into their products.

By adopting this Ford technology, automakers and suppliers are helping accelerate an industry standard that will increase the number of apps available for in-vehicle use. With common industry software, developers can focus on creating the best experience on one platform – SmartDeviceLink – which will be available to customers of many brands.

PSA Peugeot Citroën is investigating adding SmartDeviceLink to its vehicles. Automakers Honda, Mazda and Subaru also are considering adding the software.

“Ford is making the software available as open-source, because customers throughout the industry benefit if everybody speaks one language.”

SmartDeviceLink software, including AppLink, is part of Ford Smart Mobility – the plan to take Ford to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics.

How an industry standard benefits consumers
SmartDeviceLink-equipped vehicles enable drivers to manage popular smartphone apps using display screens, buttons and/or voice recognition commands. Popular music apps such as Spotify and iHeartRadio, information apps including AccuWeather and MLB, retail apps such as Domino’s, and a growing list of apps from around the world are already available for Ford AppLink users.

Those apps become more readily available in vehicles equipped with SmartDeviceLink because developers have access to higher volumes of vehicles and new capabilities. For automakers and suppliers, SmartDeviceLink adoption broadens the choice for customers in how they connect and control their smartphones while on the move. Adoption also supports increased quality and security of the software as multiple parties can collaborate on improvements.

As part of Ford SYNC, AppLink is available on more than 5 million Ford vehicles globally. The technology is expected to reach 28 million more vehicles by 2020.

Industry-wide adoption of SmartDeviceLink will help the technology spread to new markets, such as China, Taiwan, New Zealand and Thailand.

Later this year, Ford will introduce the next version of AppLink based on SmartDeviceLink software, allowing customers to access their favorite compatible navigation app – much as they do on a smartphone – on in-vehicle touch screens. The upgrade brings smartphone navigation to the car, an important feature for customers worldwide.

Growing the connected car community
By making SmartDeviceLink software available to the open-source community, Ford is providing the industry a way to maintain differentiated, brand-specific entertainment and connectivity systems that deliver on customer expectations for smartphone app integration – regardless of smartphone.

Livio, a wholly owned Ford subsidiary, continues to manage the open-source project by working with SmartDeviceLink adopters to build the appropriate interfaces into each unique vehicle environment.

“Developing a safer and more secure in-car smartphone connectivity service – which better matches individual vehicle features – is exactly the value and advantage an automaker can offer customers,” said Shigeki Terashi, executive vice president, Toyota Motor Corporation. “We expect that many companies share our view and will participate in the industry SmartDeviceLink collaboration.”


Credits: Timesofindia.indiatimes

Credits: Timesofindia.indiatimes

MakeMyTrip chairman Deep Kalra has called for a stronger representation of companies in India’s $16-billion consumer internet industry , expecting that will pave the way for creating a level playing field without too many bumps. “There is an urgent need for the industry to co me together and have a cohesive voice,” Kalra said in an interview to ET.
“On a single issue, there are different voices that go out,” said Kalra, who heads the largest travel website in India, emphasising the need for internet companies -both Indian and foreign -to build consensus on policy issues, practices and standards.

“Whether under the aegis of Nasscom (the Indian software industry grouping) or IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India) or under a new body , I am agnostic. It’s important all key stakeholders or a majority are represented at the highest level,” he said.

“I am a big believer of level playing field. (But) the reality is in some aspects like two-factor authentication, which is a massive issue in digital payments, companies are actually disadvantaged,” he said. “You want to be proactive and together to respond to laws that can take the industry by surprise.”

Kalra’s comments also come weeks after Ola chief executive Bhavish Aggarwal red-flagged foreign companies, such as Uber, using profits from other markets to grab cab-drivers and consumers in India. Digital wallet MobiKwik’s CEO Bipin Preet Singh echoed the observation for his sector.The most vociferous voice has been that of Flipkart executive chair man Sachin Bansal, who cal led for safeguards against fo reign companies in India.

Kalra’s blueprint entails a single internet association with four or five divi sions under it represen ting travel, retail, finan cial technology and other large online sectors. “For a large industry , it will only be fair to have different verticals,” Kalra said.

Since 2004, IAMAI has served as a business association of nearly 300 companies for policy dialogue with the government on subjects such as net neutrality and proposed goods and services tax. The body,chaired by digital payments firm FreeCharge founder Kunal Shah, comprises groups for e-commerce, online aggregators, digital payments, fin-tech, digital advertising and other segments.

“When we need more specialised groups, we can create a new one,” said Subho Ray , president of IAMAI, adding that the association’s structures are working fine.

Ray agreed with Kalra, though, that internet companies need to build consensus on common practices and macro issues. While IAMAI is the de facto business association, Ray said the industry does need a “think tank” for companies to think beyond their individual interests. IAMAI has been working with the Nasscom Internet, Mobile and Ecommerce Council (NIMEC), active since 2014, on initiatives such as the recent Cash Mukt Bharat Abhiyan helpline to promote literacy on digital payments.

“As far as the government is concerned, Nasscom has been enormously influential,” says Prasanto Roy, head of NIMEC. In September, the council prepared a consultation paper on ecommerce before engaging with NITI Aayog, the government’s policy think tank. Nasscom also provided inputs for the Watal Committee on Digital Payments report that Roy said “has paved the way for digital payments in the post-demonetisation era.”

NIMEC is chaired by Sanjeev Bikhchandani, founder of online classifieds company Info Edge, with Kunal Bahl, executive chairman of online marketplace Snapdeal, as co-chair. It has 28 pure internet companies as members, apart from 60 companies that have internet operations among their other businesses.

But while Nasscom has the heft in policy circles, industry observers question its effectiveness for the internet industry , given its primary purpose of representing India’s IT industry.

Bikhchandani concurs with Kalra that all internet companies have common issues on regulation. “Both multinational and Indian companies need to deal with mostly the same government bodies – sales tax, service tax, income tax, excise, PF , labour offices, etc.,” he said by email.


Credits: Thinkstock

Credits: Thinkstock


Here’s a resolution for enterprise executives and IT leaders: This year – as you build your software products and solutions – resolve to give software estimating the focus it deserves. Any improvements your team makes will surely pay off by keeping your software on target.

If you’re not familiar with software estimating, it means specifying the time needed to create a software-based business product or service, which in turn informs and impacts go-to-market schedules and revenue goals. Project planning platforms, budget and financial systems, sales bids and pricing ingest data from these software estimates. Every software initiative needs an estimate to move forward, but the task is widely recognized as extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Still, we estimate

Steve McConnell, the CEO of Construx Software and author of Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art, believes people get sloppy about the meaning behind the term estimate. He explains in his blog how that leads to a key error: “One common mistake software professionals make is trying to create estimates when the business is really asking for a commitment, or asking for a plan to meet a target, but using the word ‘estimate’ to ask for that.” Thus, the estimate becomes a commitment to deliver a piece of software by some random deadline. That’s a setup for trouble, and trouble happens. Time and again, software projects fail because of estimation failures in some form or other. Some put that failure rate as high as 40 percent of industry software projects, according to an Open-works blog.

The fact that a software estimate is so important, yet acknowledged as “never accurate” makes estimating a puzzling thing. It depends on a clear understanding of what the software should do, user objectives and the skills of the programmers writing and testing the code — all nearly impossible to predict with any accuracy. Some call it a request to use unrealistic data to come up with a realistic amount of effort needed, calculated in man-hours or money.

Because there are so many moving parts that make up a software estimate, some professionals feel defeated before they even start developing the software. They know what’s ahead and understand the futility. A common practice is to pad the estimate, but by doing that, the estimate becomes inherently inaccurate anyway, so it doesn’t add much value.

It’s not surprising that novice software estimators overlook or miscalculate key areas. When you’re focused on software estimating, be sure to account for important areas such as these:

  • Engineer experience, availability and productivity.
  • Unforeseen defects, problems and last-minute requests.
  • Learning, briefings and ramp-up period.
  • Unanticipated testing.
  • Scaling, performance and maintenance issues.
  • Architectural flaws.
  • Time for R&D, design, architecture and prototyping.
  • Administrative and other related non-engineering work.
  • Time needed for wireframes, visual design and UX testing.
  • Enhancements and improvements requested by actual users of the software.

Software estimating and your outsourced team

If you outsource your software development, it’s tempting to just throw the estimating problem “over the wall” (or ocean) and let your offshore service provider figure it out. But how do you judge their estimating skills? That’s a serious level of responsibility to abdicate. Even if the supplier writes your software for a fixed-price bid, can you tolerate any delay if their estimate turns out to be badly off? There’s too much at stake to miss the mark. The bigger the software initiative, the better the estimate must be, but it’s also harder to scope at that scale. To circumvent this, make sure you work with a fully vetted or certified outsource provider for your software development, to help ensure the software estimates are more accurate.

A key advantage of outsourcing to experienced software developers is that their knowledge base is very deep. From their involvement in hundreds of projects or more, outsourced software teams have a broad foundation of data to draw on for much better estimating across a variety of software initiatives. There’s a consistency of trust, process and learning across teams that’s independent of the initiatives themselves. Good software development providers accumulate a trusted knowledge base that feeds into estimates and improves them over time. In-house teams don’t have that same exposure to many different situations, which can make their software estimating more challenging and unpredictable.

An estimate you can trust

However, while outsourcing supports better software estimating, a company should never make an outsourcing choice based on price alone; that leads to a less-qualified team, and the software initiative will likely overrun anyway (thus, the software estimate doesn’t really matter).

In the end, it looks like the best resolution for the new year could be to turn software estimating into the tool it was meant to be: one that keeps your software development on schedule. One way to do this is by outsourcing software development to a world-class team that’s highly experienced in software estimating. Another method is to focus on the often neglected areas listed above as you’re creating your own software estimate.

Credits: Thinkstock

Credits: Thinkstock


It’s estimated that there are 111 billion lines of new software code generated by developers every year, according to the 2017 Application Security Report, recently published by Cybersecurity Ventures and scheduled for release next month. (Disclaimer: Steve Morgan is founder and CEO of Cybersecurity Ventures.)

That’s a whole lotta code that needs to be tested and secured before it reaches the fingertips of consumers, businesses, and governments globally.

A software assurance report published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates that 90 percent of reported security incidents result from exploits against defects in the design or code of software. Those figures were researched by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), a not-for-profit Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) at Carnegie Mellon University, specifically established by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to focus on software and cybersecurity.

The thought of 2 billion lines of new code being released into the world every week is rather concerning in light of SEI’s research and the amount of insecure code that already needs to be addressed. Watson — IBM’s star cybesecurity pupil — states that there are currently 75,000 documented software vulnerabilities. The number of undocumented vulnerabilities is even greater.

Watson is poring through 10,000 security research papers that are published each year and 60,000 security blogs that are written every month — and is sure to be reporting on scores of new vulnerabilities in 2017.

Earlier this year, a CSO story took a look at how to remedy the epidemic of security incidents that result from exploits against defects in software. The big takeaway was that software developers aren’t baking security into their day-to-day development process (namely testing and scanning for flaws and vulnerabilities as they go) — and deferring to harden up web and mobile apps after they’ve been written.

When an app has been fully coded, there’s a rush to get it out the door. That’s hardly the best time to start thinking about security. At that point, it may be too late.

“The best thing (for software developers) to do is accept that security is just as critical to building software as safety is to building airplanes, and make a conscious decision to build security into your software development process” stated Frank Zinghini, founder and CEO at Applied Visions, Inc. (AVI), a software development company focused on cyber security, business applications, and command and control systems to government and commercial customers worldwide. “Worry about software security before you even start writing code, incorporate vulnerability scanning tools into your continuous integration system, and integrate security testing with your quality assurance process” added Zinghini.

There’s more than 18 million programmers in the world, according to a count by market researcher IDC a couple of years ago. Considering one survey that found two out of three developers are self-taught, it’s hard to know exactly how many new programmers are entering the field each year.

The SANS Institute 2015 State of Application Security Report helps explain the problem around securing code by stating that many information security engineers don’t understand software development, and most software developers don’t understand security. Troubling as that sounds, it’s hard to disagree.

In the U.S., students can graduate from any one of the top 10 computer science programs without taking a single course on cybersecurity. Computer science is a favorite major for aspiring programmers.

To sum up the problem… the world has a major application testing and scanning chore on its hands which has been created by self-taught and renegade programmers who’ve generated a massive amount of insecure code. Then there’s the younger programmers who lack formal security training and are charged with building new apps.

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Manual scanning and remediation of software code defects is simply not possible.

There is hope. Poor software development practices are being changed over at large enterprises and more experienced programming shops which are standardized on Static Application Security Testing (SAST) and Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) tools which automate the process of finding and eradicating harmful code.

Hybrid app security tools will gain traction in 2017, according to the Cybersecurity Ventures report. These next generation tools aim to bring real-time testing, analysis, and code remediation to developers.

Playing catch up is not a good place to be when it comes to security ​. Unfortunately, that’s the state of application security right now.​