This interview was posted earlier on the contaractiq blog.
We’re featuring Boston Technology Corporation today as part of our Top App Developers Interview series. They’re an interesting company that specialise in Health Apps. Here we’re in conversation with their President, Shyam Deval, who takes us through the company’s journey & gives his view on the current state of the tech industry. Here are some excerpts from our interview with him:
Murali : So Shyam, firstly, congratulations on placing 3rd for Top App Developers in Boston. To start with, tell us a bit about your company – how you started out and how you’ve made it this far.
Shyam : Sure, initially Boston Technology Corporation started out in 2004 as a web-development company and around 2008, we ventured into mobile development. We have grown over the years (now into our 13th year) while consistently delivering value & quality to our clients. We have helped over 150 clients and successfully completed over 300 projects so far.
We branched out into different domains but really our current focus right now is healthcare and education. Mobile app developers fall into a number of different categories, as in there are some companies like ad agencies and design agencies that moved into mobile development. We are different. Our DNA is really of a back-end system integrator because of where we started and what we did over a number of years. In any mobile app development project, 70% of the work happens behind the scenes with system integration, security, platform and OS version support. Having a strong system integration background allows us to really adapt, and let us easily leverage new technologies that come up.
Murali : So, what would you consider to be your USP – anything that you’re especially known for?
Shyam : We tend to take a very collaborative approach when we work with our clients, and it’s one thing we really pride ourselves on. We strike deep relationships with our clients this way, and in a sense become their technology partners over time. We don’t shy away from innovative challenges for our clients, and we really take a look at their overall strategy & roadmap. We pride ourselves on being really nimble and having deep technical & domain expertise. We are known for the value we bring to our customers and the deep technology partnerships we have going on for 4 to 6 years with many of our clients.
Murali : What is the most common thing your customers ask you?
Shyam : I think it varies; some want to understand our methodology & processes. But over the last 18 months or so, lot of the conversations we’ve had are about our success in medical and clinical research. Our work with Apple HealthKit, Apple ResearchKit, Apple CareKit, ResearchStack (developed by Cornell Tech and Open mHealth) and Ionic ResearchKit frameworks has drawn a lot of interest
Murali : Okay. So now let us come to the new technology that’s coming up. Everyone are talking about Artificial Intelligence and BOTS. Are they becoming next thing? Are you thinking of adopting?
Shyam : Yeah, so it’s an interesting time to be in this business. If you look back at recent history, for 2 to 3 years, the convergence of big data, cloud, mobile and social have shaped a lot of experiences both for consumers and enterprises. I think that continues to happen with AI or BOTS and I think that convergence is still driving a lot of innovation. IoT is now fundamentally changing lot of things that we do in our daily lives. Even at industrial levels there are very critical components like human interface, AI and BOTS. This is getting a lot of attention and adoption from technology innovators. But when I think of how it will affect the broader app ecosystem, there’s still some amount of uncertainty. It’ll be interesting to see how AI & Bots will do when they become really mainstream. What we’ll look to do is continue, to stay current with these innovations and see how we could get involved in these new streams. I’m really excited about it.
Murali : Let’s now come to the brands associated with you. You guys have a diverse set of brands associated with you. Tell us about your experience with them.
Shyam : One of the things we take pride in is that our leadership team are hands-on in a lot of the work that we do for our clients. The goal is to work with these brands, and to understand what they want for their target audience and then really develop solutions and platforms that have the potential to become the best in class. A mobile app that we developed, won the ‘Best New Product’ award at the very prestigious ‘International Restaurant and Food Service show’ in NY. This was for an ‘app-based’ start-up that is pushing the boundaries on how ‘Farm to Table’ works and we are right here with them as their Technology Partners. So we help deliver high quality end products that really help them see the value in being partners with us.
Vishruth : One question from me – one of the things that really set you apart from the other teams is your content. There is extensive content whether it’s a blog or white-paper or case studies. Can you tell us a bit about how you go about managing it?
Shyam : Yes, there are two aspects to this. Within a couple of weeks, you’re going to see some changes to Boston Technology Corporation’s website. We’re making the blogs more searchable & categorised. We’re looking to introduce short snippets of content to website visitors. Our customers can also look at a lot of work that we’ve done, and the infographics that we have. On one hand, we put up a lot of content around what we really work on for our clients as well as new innovative areas we want to participate in. Right now that’s IOT and Apple ResearchKit. So this really fires our content strategy and companies that need to make a decision can be powered by this content.
Murali : Okay, so what kind of advice can you give to new budding entrepreneurs and I mean it would be really valuable for the people who read the blog that the people like you are giving some tips from that. Can you share some advice for them.
Shyam : One thing is to stay focused and stay away from a lot of everyday distractions. Sometimes those distractions are good but I think it’s important to stay focused and nimble. What I’ve also learned from my experience at Boston Technology Corporation is that it’s hard for entrepreneurs to ask for help. Lot of times they don’t talk to people and I think that there is such a benefit connecting to people by networking and asking for help. The other thing is to be selective in who you partner with and really embrace the one you work with, so that everyone benefits. What I keep coming back to that collaborative approach because that’s the way that both the company and I personally have been successful.
Murali: Great advice, for sure. So one final question – can you give an example of an interesting app that Boston Technology Corporation worked with recently and its core functionality which might have been very challenging for you?
Shyam : Sure, it was for a company called Glucose Advisor. The app is for people who have Type 1 diabetes – which is more restrictive, in the sense that patients need to constantly monitor their insulin levels & food intake. This app helps them stay active, provides recommendations & lets other people know where they are through an activity tracking mechanism.
The complexity of this app was multi-fold. First, we had to take all their existing algorithms (for tracking food, glucose intake etc.) and implement in the app to generate recommendations in near real-time. Next, the app reads from continuous glucose & heart monitors and this data becomes part of the algorithms as well. Lastly, we had to provide caregivers a means to track people so that they could help quickly when needed. It’s an app we’re really proud of, and it released around two-and-a-half months ago on both iOS & Android stores.
Murali : That’s really great to know. Thanks for sharing all this information. So I’m done with my questions. Is there anything you’d like to say before we wrap up?
Shyam : Yes, I think I’ll recap by saying that from a mobile app development perspective, the success of an app is great UI/UX. If the people are not functionally able to use it, then it’s not going to succeed. At the same time, it’s important not to lose sight of the 70% of work that goes into the backend. This also includes security, encryption, and application integration. Some of these areas don’t get the attention they deserve, leading to a lot project time and cost overruns. So, I think it’s important to put the focus not just on the front end but also all the other aspects of that value chain.
Murali : Great stuff, Shyam. Thanks a lot for your time, and all the best!
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