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Around the (Route 128) World in (About Two) Days
Two days. Seven companies. A snapshot of the application-development market.
The trip in and around Boston’s Route 128 high-tech corridor began with a stop in Waltham at Verivo, which offers a software-mobility platform that enables customers to create, deploy and manage applications across multiple devices.
But before getting into details, a few overarching themes emerged over the two days. Developing applications for multiple mobile devices and the cloud seems to be what the enterprise customers of these software tool providers want. They want to know how they can build apps that run well on all sorts of tablets and smartphones, and how they can manage access, security, performance and more.
Second, these companies see this as their growth opportunity for the near future. Of the companies visited, two had just moved into new, bigger, ultramodern office spaces. Another was waiting for furniture and equipment to move into a contiguous space that added about another 9,000 square feet of space. And still another has taken up its current space within the year.
All this moving and construction was meant to accommodate more employees, and to give them the space they need to work comfortably, to collaborate (every wall is a whiteboard) and to relax. In one back-to-the-future moment, two developers were seen playing foosball in a kitchen area near an outside patio with great views of the changing New England foliage.
Mobility on three pegs
Verivo was founded in 2001, creating enterprise CRM applications for PalmPilot and Windows CE devices used in financial institutions, and then building an underlying platform that gave the company the ability to deliver tailored applications and updates in a more flexible, agile way.
Today, according to Chris Willis, Verivo’s CMO, there are hundred of millions of devices in use, and he said 75% of employees will be mobile by next year. They will need back-end data connectivity, not just to their own company’s data, but also to third-party analytics and other services. Further, companies will need to manage those applications for compliance and security.
Thus, Verivo has created a mobility platform on three pegs: AppStudio, the company’s no-code, drag-and-drop development environment; Verivo Server, for enterprise management services and connectivity; and a client collection that delivers the mobile applications to specific devices.
Marc Rosenbaum, director of sales engineering for Verivo, demonstrated configuring an application in AppStudio by dragging screens into a console and selecting mappings to data sources. “You build the app centrally, define it once, and the application is deployed by platform desired,” he said. “Once an app is on the device, changes come down as data. There’s no need to re-download.”
Data for the app is pulled from such disparate data sources as SAP or Siebel systems, news feeds, weather feeds, or whatever the developer desires, into a customizable front end. Users can choose to present contacts, for example, in an alphabetical list form, or as pins on a map that users can “pinch” to expand or shrink depending upon the desired views. Further, all styles and colors (for buttons, grids, backgrounds, logos, etc.) can be selected, defined or changed as required, he said. This kind of configurable application, he noted, can be updated on the fly in a seamless way, and the user will automatically have those changes the next time he or she opens the application.
“We are fully native,” he said. “The controls you use are native, and behave how the API dictates and how users expect.”