Thought Leaders in Mobile and Social: Interview with Steven Levy, CEO of Verivo Software (Part 2)

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by Sramana Mitra

Sramana Mitra: In that case, let’s start by describing what that technology is and then we will get to the use cases.

Steven Levy: Our primary product is a software platform. This platform is used to both build and operate in run-time and managing control the apps enterprises need. If I wanted to build a field service app, that app is going to have a bunch of characteristics that make it an enterprise app. I can design that app using Apple’s Xcode platform or using HTLM5 tools. There are lots of different technologies for how I am going to design the front end of the app, but I am going to quickly be affected by some problems. First, the application I am building is going to interact with the corporate systems – not just getting data but updating data. That interaction has to recognize that the mobile app may go out of coverage. The connection between it and the back end systems may be interrupted. But the app generally has to continue to operate. So, if I am operating a field app and I have to go to somebody’s basement to fix their cable and I am not getting any signal, I can’t stop working. I have to record all the changes. Then, when I get back into coverage, it has to sync back on. Building apps like that is challenging.

[To continue by reading Part 3, click here. Follow this link to read Part 1.]

SM: So you cache some of that data on the device itself?

SL: Yes. Our platform makes it easy for the developer who is building the app and who may not want to deal with data management issues, caching, and synchronizing. They just want to design and build the app, and they are using an underlying library or platform and saying, “This is the data I am interested in. Please keep me up to date as I change it, as the back end changes and as I go in and out of coverage.” This makes it easier for a mobile app developer to build the app without having to become a data management developer.

SM: It sounds like your greater value proposition is in building enterprise apps that actually do go in and out of coverage areas.

SL: That is one of them. I’d say enterprises have four big challenges in building these enterprise apps. One of them is getting the apps to integrate with their corporate systems and letting the apps to continue to operate both in and out of coverage. A second one is that these systems have to be secure. Before you can interact with those back end systems, you have to authenticate; that is, confirm who you say you are. You may have to get authorization to operate against three or four different back-end systems – a CRM, an inventory control, a shipping system, a financial system, etc. All of those might have different authentications and permissions on them. All of that has to be managed.

You can imagine that a developer who just wants to build the app’s functionality does not want to get involved with that stuff. Simplifying the authentication and permissions and all issues around security is the second issue you have to deal with. If you are caching data and you are also worried about security, you have to start talking about how to encrypt that data – how you make sure it doesn’t become available to somebody who might steal the device. With each of those issues, you are making the mobile app increasingly complicated. Our job is to let developers build an app by designing a front end and business logic, and using a library to access and interact with back-end systems that handle all of those things.

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