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Israeli start-up helps HP move into app testing market

NorthBit strikes deal with global tech giant to develop test automation software for mobile application developers

Testing a phone app (Pixabay)
Testing a phone app (Pixabay)

NorthBit, a small Herzliya-based cyber-security consulting firm announced Wednesday that it had struck a deal with international tech firm HP to develop test automation software for mobile application developers.

According to industry experts, the market for this software is currently $500 million, and as more smartphones come into use worldwide, is expected to grow to $1 billion within the next three years.

“We worked with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise in the past on another interesting product, where NorthBit placed the emphasis above and beyond the research to deliver a complete solution to the customer,” said Gil Dabah, CEO of NorthBit. “And indeed within a short period of time, a prototype for the solution was presented, and within a few months, the code was integrated into the HPE’s product. It’s the first product of its kind to completely support the new operating system of iPhone’s iOS 9.”

For mobile app developers, a functioning automated testing system means the difference between professional life or death. Before an app is released, it has to be tested for compatibility with an operating system, security, hardware and other software, and a dozen other things – and the testing has to be done on a plethora of operating systems (iOS versions past and present, nearly a dozen flavors of Android, Windows, Blackberry, etc.), as well as a flood of devices, each of which has their own special “tweak.”

Relying on manual testing methods would mean that an app would never see the light of day because of the time and resources – not to mention the money – that would be required to test apps properly. Hence the importance of an automated testing system, which can examine an app’s behavior in a wide variety of environments, 24/7.

With automated testing, app developers can simulate any mobile environment they want to test, without having to have access to hardware and software they want to test against.

With the market for app testing services growing significantly each year, HPE is hoping to parlay its market position and connections with enterprise into a leading provider of testing systems – and it turned to NorthBit to accomplish that.

The Israeli firm developed the new version of HPE’s Mobile Center testing system, a server-based system that tests apps, analyzes results, sets up virtual networks, and much more. Mobile Center is used by dozens of large customers, among them FedEx, HPE said. Mobile Center, with NorthBit-supplied technology, “simplifies the process and enables software companies to save lots of hard work when new versions of operating systems are released,” the company added.

NorthBit’s 20 researchers are graduates of the top technological units in the Israeli army. The company was founded by Dabah and Ariel Shiftan in 2012, and it specializes in “deep dive” understanding of operating systems, said Dabah.

For that to work, you need a very talented team – and NorthBit sports that as well, Dabah added.

“The most important resource of NorthBit is the people who work there. We go to great lengths to bring the top people in their field and make sure to provide the right atmosphere and challenges which best fit their talents.”

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