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Gaurav Mathur, HeadSpin: “enterprises need a solution with real-world testing that will ensure superior digital experiences”

The increase in application use puts immense pressure on developers, luckily most of the hurdles can be alleviated with the help of rapidly advancing AI-powered automation solutions.

While in the past few years companies were scrambling to secure their remote operations with VPN solutions and cybersecurity training, adopting new technology to automate time-consuming processes was not on the priority list for most organizations.

To discuss how automation can speed up and enhance the development process, we sat down with Gaurav Mathur COO of HeadSpin – an AI Testing & Dev-Ops Collaboration Platform.

How did the idea of HeadSpin originate? What has your journey been like since your launch in 2015?

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Palo Alto, HeadSpin is the world's first AI Testing & Dev-Ops Collaboration Platform.

HeadSpin was founded to address the need for a global testing, performance monitoring, and QoE management platform to help organizations assure optimal digital experiences across mobile and web delivery channels.

Our mission has been to help companies perfect their user experiences. We have worked with leading enterprise customers – mainly Digital natives, Telcos, Media & Gaming clients.

Since its inception, the platform’s extensive on-prem and cloud-hosted global device infrastructure has been expanded with machine learning-driven performance and quality of experience analytics to proactively test and monitor mobile, web, audio, and video applications in real-time.

Can you tell us a little bit about the HeadSpin Platform? What are its key features?

Combining cloud-hosted and on-prem global device infrastructure, test automation, and ML-driven performance and quality of experience analytics HeadSpin empowers app teams to assure optimal digital experiences throughout the development lifecycle. Apart from our core Platform, our add-on products include an Audio-Visual Platform, Regression Intelligence, Nimble App Code Profiling, and Create Your Own Lab.

HeadSpin can be leveraged for a wide range of manual and automated testing use cases like testing applications on different app versions, operating systems, network connectivity & carriers, locations, and device types. Customers also leverage our data science-based recommendations for network traffic analysis that help identify performance bottlenecks and measure metrics on outbound connections.

HeadSpin’s key features include global device infrastructure enabling end-to-end testing & monitoring with real devices in hundreds of locations on real carriers and WiFi networks worldwide. Customers can test their products anywhere with HeadSpin’s secure and portable, purpose-built patented appliance both for on-premises, cloud-hosted or hybrid deployment. The platform is hosted on-demand infrastructure deployed globally in 70+ countries and 100+ locations. It supports numerous browsers and device types, including phones, tablets, and OTT media.

Test automation & APIs allow seamless integrations into CI/CD workflows enabling functional and performance testing pre and post-release. Our performance, QoE & machine learning features automatically detects bugs and issues. The insights-to-actions feature delivers regression and aggregation insights throughout the digital experience lifecycle.

What would you consider to be the most challenging issues affecting engineering teams these days?

The pace of digital transformation is rapid. To strategize business alignment with these changes with a shortage of highly skilled software developers is challenging. Secondly, the multitude of telecom networks operating in every market also poses challenges of its own kind. Each network implementation is different and impacts the device that is connected to it. It also impacts the way apps work across it with multiple factors, including geographical location.

Real device testing is another challenge as lab tests do not provide complete test coverage for all test scenarios. There are also a growing number of apps, Android and iOS versions operating in the background. It is not just apps and devices that need to be tested and monitored for performance and functionality, but a holistic environment for the app has to be tested, right from server to network to endpoints.

Consumer behavior has changed with the increasing number of apps, and users prefer the ones that deliver superior user experiences. Thus, enterprises need an end-to-end solution with real-world testing and monitoring that will ultimately ensure superior digital experiences for users.

How did the recent global events affect your field of work?

While the switch to working from home hindered business communication and limited collaborative working for many organizations, the change of environment appeared to finally come with a silver lining, i.e., increased productivity. The COVID-19 pandemic definitely increased the focus of many organizations on DevOps initiatives. We saw progress on cloud migration. This also reflected a broader shift towards increased productivity in other sectors, so CRMs, communication platforms, and audio-video platform development were on the rise. Consumer behavior switched to availing products and services digitally which resulted in organizations shifting to apps as business enablers. And with the rise in apps, platforms, or software developments, there has been an absolute increase in demand for software testing. Every organization aims to deliver the best customer experience, so testing performance, security, and quality of experience are of utmost importance.

What are the best practices companies should follow when developing and when launching apps?

Developing and launching apps is an iterative process with updating OS and features frequently. The foremost thing to prioritize is the user experience, and the rest of the practices follow. To ensure the delivery of high quality of experience, it is critical to follow the practice of end-to-end app testing. DevOps teams need to subject the app to functional performance analysis, regression testing, security testing, and continuous monitoring across real devices and not just consider running basic tests.

Besides application security, what other best practices do you think every organization should follow to secure their operations?

Ensuring security compliance with an on-premises appliance is one of the best practices that organizations need to follow. Teams should incorporate automating voice and accessibility testing to verify if the audio output is a match to the text on the screen for all apps that involve audio-video capabilities. Organizations also need to test apps for locations where their users are to test latency, location-specific factors, and localized versions of apps. Tracking and monitoring user data access controls is also a great practice to improve data security. Additionally, enterprises should follow the practice of end-to-end testing with operational security.

What aspects of business operations do you hope to see automized or enhanced by technology in the next few years?

With 5G penetration along with IoT, we are looking at a huge potential for transformation for business across industries. The manufacturing sector can switch to smart factories with the help of automation, AI, and augmented reality. This will certainly streamline business operations, improve troubleshooting, optimize performance, and lower manufacturing costs. Secondly, the energy sector can leverage AI and advanced storage technologies. Energy suppliers can load voluminous databases from smart sensors. This way retrieving crucial insights into when and how much power to distribute or redistribute can easily be defined. Suppliers will have the much-needed advantage of achieving and streamlining a secure and stable power supply. There is also a huge potential in smart grid technology where 5G networks can be leveraged to integrate previously unconnected devices into new grids. I also see the mining sector to have huge scope for automation. There can be massive improvements in infrastructure and communication networks with 5G. A significant percentage of machinery damage can be prevented as 5G can enable monitoring in real-time. So mining operators can also experience maintenance cost reductions to a great extent. Self-driving cars can even be introduced to prevent accidents and injuries to workers. This will also enhance efficiency and reduce fuel consumption.

What predictions do you have for the future of the DevOps discipline?

Synthesis of DevOps and Agile is a possibility in the future. DevOps has the potential to complement rather than substitute agile in workplaces. We can also notice a competitive dynamic between vendor-supported choices and developers working on their own open-source products. Data science teams may also use development techniques of DevOps for remodeling conventional production models along with sampling and testing previously deployed models. AI, automation, and other evolving technological shifts will also contribute to making DevOps an exciting path.

What does the future hold for HeadSpin?

We are looking forward to collaborating with enterprise clients across industries to deliver top-notch digital products. We want our customers to experience the HeadSpin impact backed with our real edge infrastructure and enhanced data science. Our aim is to simplify and accelerate the digital transformation with our innovative products to enable businesses globally assure flawless digital experience to their end users.

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