Mobile Video is a Growing Trend: Vendors Should Jump the Train

Auriga, number-one engineering services provider worldwide (as rated by Datamonitor), shares its opinion on the 2011-2012 multimedia mobile development market trends.

To be on the roll in the fast-paced world of software R&D, vendors have to keep a sharp eye on the most promising technologies and market trends. Mobile development—the area that has significantly contributed to Auriga’s client list in recent years—is one such “hot” area.

Though it still makes sense to discuss the competition among various hardware platforms and operating systems,* the main focus of the industry is drifting towards the increasingly growing role of mobile content and apps over mobile platforms in defining user behavior, the overwhelming growth of mobile audio and video traffic, and the efforts manufacturers and developers have to make to meet user expectations.

* At the Mobile World Congress, Android was the leader, accounting for 55.6% of the represented operating systems; iOS followed at 20.5%. The other players included Windows Phone 7 (18.8%), Symbian (3.7%), and Palm (1.5%).

Issues that are even more important are the increased audio and video traffic load and the user demand for high-quality online audio and HD video content. Social networks and mobile apps for business and entertainment generate truly huge mobile data traffic. One of the most evident trends is the expected flood of mobile data** that could hit the mobile-carrier networks within two years. A forecast by Cisco Systems predicts that mobile video traffic will more than double every year from 2010 until 2015, when it will constitute two-thirds of all mobile data.

** For example, recent data from Bytemobile reveals that video generated 40% of all data traffic in 2010 and that 9% of subscribers generate 38% of that video traffic, which demonstrates that the potential for growth is huge.

To deal with this, companies need solutions and platforms designed to optimize mobile video traffic and support the growing video-streaming volume on all types of mobile carrier networks. Moreover, these mobile video solutions must support all popular mobile platforms and be easily integrated with existing legacy backend services such as content-management and e-commerce systems. Auriga’s recent experience fully confirms this trend—among the latest Auriga projects are cloud-based media-sharing solutions for a large multinational companyand anew-generation videoconferencing platform for a highly innovative and ambitious start-up.

One of the solutions delivered by Auriga is a multipoint videoconferencing service that allows PC and mobile-device users to take part in the same conference. To provide a significantly better user experience, the solution transcodes the video-streams on the fly to ensure that higher quality video is enjoyed by PC users with thick network connections, while for mobile users participating in the same conference, it automatically degrades to the level that can be handled by a mobile connection channel. Auriga was responsible for the research, best-solution selection, algorithm selection/optimization, and testing/software development of the server side as well as the Android SIP client for the customer’s proprietary solution. This innovative service has all the advantages necessary to win users across the world and is extremely appealing to corporate users.

Another project involves the development of an Android/iPhone/iPad mobile-media file manager for dealing with pictures, video/audio clips, and PDF documents. The best user experience and highest application performance are achieved through modular server architecture enabling features such as automatic decoding, content streaming with the HTTP progressive download, and media searching. Similar to the multipoint videoconferencing service, this solution has a unique feature crucial for mobile users: While only a single copy of a multimedia file is stored in a cloud-based repository, the quality of the media stream is automatically adapted to match the end-device and channel capabilities. This is achieved by using Amazon Auto Scaling, Amazon Cloud Watch, and Elastic Balancer technologies. The solution helps Auriga’s Customer to deliver a high-quality consumer experience to users.

To gain insight into Auriga’s mobile-development expertise, get in touch with our experts, or visit the Auriga Mobile website.

Modern HR Approach to a Tricky Software Engineers’ Market

Auriga’s General Manager, Andrey Pronin, shared his views on recruiting and HR development practices, tips, and Auriga “know-how” in an exclusive interview with Software Russia.

It’s a well-known fact that finding reliable and qualified software engineers has become a tricky task in today’s modern world. Whether you want to establish a high-tech start-up or just launch an innovative software product, finding great talent is all that matters at the end of the day. Consequently, you’ll need to grow your talent from scratch, poach it, or engage a software-services provider, like Auriga, that helps clients solve such issues. The abovementioned problem is global in nature—whether you are in the U.S., Europe, Russia, or India, it cannot be completely ignored. So how do outsourcing providers solve this recruiting task for themselves? Auriga’s General Manager, Andrey Pronin, talks about the right recruiting processes, employee-development approaches, and labor-market trends in an interview with Software Russia.

Auriga is proud to be one of the best customer-rated service providers in the world. Providing such service requires engineers and managers that not only have the right technical skills, but also possess the right attitude and culture. “Traditionally, we have preferred to take on more experienced employees—no matter whether they came to us from the labor pool or from another company. Currently, no more than 10 percent of our engineers have less than a year’s experience. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit people that possess the necessary technical skills, and who also match our corporate culture. So now, we are moving towards another model and looking for more junior staff with brief experience in other companies. In this case, we can not only provide them with necessary skills but also instill our approach to challenge handling, client interaction, and similar matters.”

Besides the right attitude and culture, Auriga considers a sense of the development process as one of the most important skills in the modern R&D world. “Usually, the term ‘process’ is interpreted too narrowly, so I need to explain what I mean. Overall, we are talking about the ability to obtain new and relevant information quickly, to learn new systems, to understand unfamiliar architecture, and to compare multiple platforms in order to choose the best for the project. Obviously, proficiency in these practices comes with time, but the basic foundation should be laid during the initial training.”

As the education system provides little help in teaching the students those essential skills, Auriga works on developing those qualities in ‘freshers’ through the internal training system. Graduates of technical universities go through “the initial training period, consisting of intensive courses focused on a specific engineering area, and working under the supervision of a formally assigned mentor, [this] takes about three months […] the result of these efforts is just a good, junior-level engineer who can already be used in real-life projects, but who still has a long way to go.”

In addition to the training courses offered by the company, English language proficiency is also something that Auriga looks for and then helps its employees develop. “The knowledge of English is much better than it was seven to ten years ago. […] a basic level of English is obviously not enough, unless a person intends to stay at the junior level for years.” As a part of its training program, Auriga “partially subsidizes the cost of training, with the remainder being paid by the employee to encourage motivation. When someone invests their own money—even a small amount—they treat the process more seriously.”

To read the entire article, please visit the Auriga website.

Mobile Banking at Auriga and the Key Takeaways from the Mobile Finance 2011 Conference

Market research shows that electronic commerce and mobile Internet are definite growth areas in Russia*, and that makes Russian market a promising area for mobile banking solutions.

This year, to gauge the perspective of mobile banking software development and meet the Russian banking and electronic payments community, Auriga visited the first cross-industry conference “Mobile Finance 2011: technology, business, regulation”. The most prominent players of the Russian mobile banking & finance area gathered in Moscow with government officials for a face to face discussion of the industry perspectives and issues.

The conference on the whole was a vivid and a representative event, with 285 attendees from Russian banking & finance industry, as well as telecommunication & mobile, e-payment companies, software and hardware development companies, content and service providers.

In wide perspective, the most prominent issue of the agenda was the relation between the three parties involved in the mobile payment process, that is, banks, electronic payment systems and the regulating institutions. Despite the bustling growth of the mobile payments sector on the Russian market and the apparent increase of demand for such services, there is a huge gap in the Russian legislation in this area, and almost no best practices or unified protocols and technologies to back on.

Speaking of hands-on solutions represented at the event, we would like to note one characteristic feature of the Russian mobile banking software sector: there are virtually no ‘domestic’ solutions for mobile banking. The systems presented at the conference were in fact adaptations of the software historically intended for US users. This is clearly a point of growth for local software vendors and service providers.

In line with the history of the Internet banking services in Russia, the majority of solutions Auriga traditionally provided for its customers were related to banking systems integration and implementations of complex back office systems.

Following the increased interest for online and mobile banking solutions, Auriga developed a mobile banking application that enables safe, fast and convenient banking for mobile device users. It provides such functionality as checking account balance, carrying out payments and transactions, such as paying mobile phone, Internet and utility bills. It will also provide access to general information such as the locations of the nearest bank offices, ATMs, and currency rates.

Alexandr Videnev, Financial Software Expert at Auriga comments on the unfolding mobile banking trends:

“At Auriga I work on a number of projects for large scale financial institutions, and I know that there is still space for growth and improvement in this field at the local mobile software market. However, I would say that the next big direction for mobile banking penetration is the small business sector.

As soon as mobile banking solutions are easily available to SME and individual entrepreneurs, a whole new dimension for business growth and support will unfold, with fast credits and micro-credits that can be accessed right via mobile gadgets. The managers and business owners will use their mobile devices to direct transactions with their suppliers and partners, as well as monitor payments received from their customers. Managing financial transactions for business will be secure, easy, and fast.”

* In just one year (2009-2010) the share of those who trust electronic money among Internet users grew three times (Source: Romir), while the number of mobile Internet users showed a 45% increase (Source: ComNews Research).

Auriga Regional Offices Expansion – 200% Growth Expected by the End of 2011

Auriga is pleased to see the upsurge of the engineering teams in Nizhny Novgorod and Rostov-on-Don.

At the beginning of this year Auriga started expansion projects for both of its regional Russian development centers that experience rapid growth.

Auriga’s Rostov-on-Don regional office is relocating to a new, spacious business center. Launched in December 2009, this Development Center has increased sevenfold in terms of headcount, and is expected to grow up by extra 50% as compared to the current size by the end of FY11. The center is mainly focused on development of diverse enterprise and web-based solutions. In 2010 Auriga’s Rostov-on-Don Center started several spectacular projects including development of a radically new Enterprise 2.0 collective intelligence solution and an innovative personalization service for mobile users.

To accommodate the increased company growth, Auriga has recently added more space to our office at the “Orbita” business center in Nizhny Novgorod.

Auriga Development Center in Nizhny Novgorod has turned 5 years old this January, and the recent year has been marked by its significant escalation. Started in 2006 as an extension of the Moscow-based team dedicated to one of our key customers, Auriga-Nizhny has grown more than ten times (both in terms of the employee headcount and the number of projects).

Today Auriga-Nizhny works on an impressive array of projects for a variety of accounts including Auriga US and EU customers, as well as regional branches of the leading Russian and international companies.

Auriga-Nizhny is a full-featured delivery center staffed and equipped for brilliant management and delivery services. Over the past few months Auriga significantly broadened its operations by increasing ongoing investment and development, and also enforced its participation in local initiatives aimed to attract the young crowd to the team. In particular, Auriga

  • sponsored the Programming Contest at the Nizhny Novgorod State Technical University
  • presented a seminar at the Information Technology Department of Nizhny Novgorod State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering
  • participated in the Nizhny Novgorod career fair, an important local event with over 2000 attendees.

“We are planning to add more customers to our portfolio over 2011, and to double Auriga-NN team. With these prospects, Auriga has a good chance of climbing even higher among the top companies offering software development job opportunities in the region”,

– Ildar Gabdulline, Head of the Auriga – Nizhny Novgorod Delivery Center 

Auriga’s Internship Program – Emerging Opportunities for Software Engineering Talents in Nizhny Novgorod and Rostov-on-Don

Auriga Training Center, operating since 2005, enters a new maturity stage. Auriga launches an internship program allowing Training Center graduates to start a full-time job on a real-life software development project and gradually blend in with mature Auriga engineering team.

This program poses a lot of benefits for Auriga which is naturally interested in attracting highly motivated software developers trained in relevant software R&D areas, as well as for the interns who have a great chance to apply up-to-date software development knowledge from the classes to live projects.

Auriga Training Center was created in November 2005 at the premises of Moscow State University, and has been running and expanding to new locations ever since, providing senior students, graduates, and postgraduates with advanced IT training and hands-on experience in top-notch technologies, highly demanded by Auriga’s customers.

Every semester, several groups of students in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod and Rostov-on-Don are formed from the applicants that meet the entrance level requirements. There is no tuition fee, and the course is unique in its combination of practical skills training with academic-level theory knowledge. Auriga is especially well-known for its programs in system-level programming technologies such as Linux Kernel Programming Fundamentals and Advanced Linux Kernel Programming. Today the available training programs also include courses on Java, .NET, software testing, and a newly introduced course on banking core systems tools.

“We are glad to offer an intern placement to highly-motivated candidates with solid knowledge and practical skills. The three-month internship program combines working on actual software development projects with training and learning tasks. This can be viewed on as a probation, after which the best graduates get a work placement at Auriga (actually, the most talented and proactive program participants have proven to make it even faster)”.
– Ksenia Zakharova, Training & Development Manager at Training Center Auriga

The Training Center has confirmed its evident efficiency as a source of talented young engineers. The best graduates are often invited to join Auriga engineering teams. One of the Training Center interns in Rostov-on-Don has received Auriga’s monthly corporate award for the best contribution to Auriga projects.

“We are glad to see the program already working – there are at least five currently functioning project teams that received a boost after the arrival of the Auriga Training Center graduates who joined the company in 2010. These promising and dynamic people bring a wealth of ideas, energy, and creativity. We are planning to introduce more complementary classes and elaborate the internship program further”.
– Ildar Gabdulline, Head of the Auriga – Nizhny Novgorod Delivery Center