We make mobile better with quality assurance solutions through a worldwide network of mobile enthusiasts.
The mobile ecosystem, with its thousands of devices and multiple fast changing operating systems makes quality assurance complex and hard to manage. As the Global 5000’s mobile strategies mature, they’re recognizing the unique challenges of mobile performance testing relating to sensor handling, user interface, networks and gateways and power consumption. It’s expensive and hard to keep up with the required test infrastructure – devices, networks and operating systems.
Mob4Hire offers Testing as a Service (TaaS), with access to wide range of testers, devices, languages, and mobile networks, with expertise, crowd-services and a scalable open architecture that truly enables mobile first quality assurance.
Paul Poutanen, CEO, Board, Founder
Allen Poutanen, VP-BD, Board, Founder
John Carpenter, PT CTO
Richard Cooke, PT Technology
Keith Cook, Mobile Testing Pioneer, Sunnyvale
Tony Fish, AMF Ventures and Wireless Industry Expert, London
Bob Hayes – Ph.D., Customer Loyalty Scientist, Seattle
Peter Kinash – CA ICD.D, CFO and Director at Replicon, Calgary
Bob Knight, COO at Jupiter Hydro inc., Calgary
Jonathan Kohl, Thought-leader, consultant, speaker and author, Calgary
Stephen King, CEO TCELab.com, Calgary
Laura Marriott, Mobile Marketing Executive, Victoria / Denver
Lisa Oshima, Mobile Business Development, Strategy and Marketing Consultant, San Francisco
Marc Wachmann, Mobile Development Pioneer, Calgary
Danis Yadegar, Managing Partner,EUMAX Innovations Capital , San Francisco Bay Area
The Light Bulb Moment … The Story Behind Mob4Hire
This story originally appeared in Sony Ericsson Developer World in Aug, 2008
Imagine yourself pitching your killer mobile application to the largest carrier in Europe. You are high up in some glass office tower. The room is full of suits, all of them looking expectantly at their handsets as they download your application. There are a few beeps and then…nothing. Blank screens, blank looks, and you staring blankly out the window as you fly back home, wondering what went wrong.
Mobile application developers have access to enormous markets, but they’ve also got to prove their product does exactly what they claim. Carriers are anxious to have the best applications available for their customers, but they need them to work on every handset they support. Unfortunately, what an application that works perfectly on a Nokia 6300 in New York likely doesn’t work on the same phone in London. The ugly truth is that applications don’t work seamlessly across multiple platforms on multiple handsets. Every single scenario needs to be tested and proven successful before a carrier reaches across the table and says “We’ve got a deal!”
The Fragmented Mobile Ecosystem
There are hundreds of thousands of mobile application developers out there working on their next great thing. 750 carriers operate around the world. Each of them supports dozens or even hundreds of the 25,000 handsets currently on the market everywhere from Bahrain to Beijing to Baltimore. Comprehensive quality assurance testing is key to launching any successful mobile application. The only way to ensure your application will function properly on a specific handset supported on a carrier’s network is to physically go within range of their network and try it out.
Professional testing houses exist, but they are always limited to testing on the networks which serve their physical area. That’s great if you want to sell your application to carriers in a specific region, but it leaves the rest of the globe off limits. Who’s got the time or resources to travel the world to test their new application? Paul Poutanen didn’t, but he sure tried.
The Light Bulb Moment
At great expense he flew his development team to San Francisco, purchased every phone supported by his client’s carrier network, subscribed to the phone service, and spent three days in a hotel where they ran their application on every single handset.”At the airport on the way home, I see a guy talking on his cell and I realized that if only I knew him, I could have simply stayed home and asked him to test my application on his phone,” recalls Poutanen. “It would certainly save all the time and costs for travel, handsets, and paid subscriptions to networks I’d never be using again.”
It’s ironic that the mobile industry – free of wires, communicating with satellites, keeping the world in touch – still requires physically moving people around the globe to download some software and push a few buttons to see if it works. That’s the reality, and it doesn’t make the already complex testing phase any easier. Testing your software is the most onerous part of application development, and the most critical. Your product needs to work flawlessly to be of any value. It’s hard enough to test and work out bugs in your own office, but things become infinitely more complicated when trying to incorporate a range of foreign platforms, unique languages and carrier requirements, then multiplying that effort by whatever number of handsets they support. On the flight back home, Paul Poutanen began to consider how crowd-sourcing could be applied to mobile application testing. What if that one person at the San Francisco airport was part of an enormous, informal community of testers? Technically savvy people live everywhere in the world. If they were tapped into a network of application developers who need their service precisely because of where they live, it could be an ideal meeting place for both communities.
Would developers be interested in having qualified individuals do their testing work for them, at a fraction of the cost of traditional location-based testing? Would savvy early adopters, who already own their handsets and subscribe to their local carrier, be prepared to try out some new software in exchange for some money? The answer is yes. Poutanen launched Mob4Hire, a brokerage house where application developers post their testing requirements online and testers with active handsets in the right geographic area bid on the job.