REDMOND, Wash. — Feb. 12, 2013 —The founders of emotive, a middleware service for developers, set out to provide enterprise customers all the benefits of the mobile experience.
Paul Butterworth, co-founder and chief technology officer at emotive, is a distinguished engineer, having spent years at Oracle and Sun Microsystems. He co-founded emotive to help create intuitive mobile apps for enterprise customers.
emotive executives Dipock Das and Paul Butterworth discuss how emotive uses Windows Azure to help developers create apps for enterprise customers.
The top issue he set out to address was to help create secure and easy access to information for enterprise customers. To do this, emotive built solutions to help developers create apps that continue to run when offline or when bandwidth is limited and automatically update when connectivity returns.
“Mobile devices are not good at talking to enterprise systems, and corporate IT is wary, at best, of mobile devices in the enterprise,” Butterworth said. “We take advantage of the cloud in our next-generation solutions, which bridge the gap between enterprise and mobile software.”
Established in 2011, emotive draws on the engineering-laden experience of its founders and staff members, who are steeped in database infrastructure, application development platforms, enterprise software, mobile and system management.
Scott Crawford, chief operating officer at emotive, understands the challenges enterprises face, as well as their demanding work environments. His deep experience at IBM and his record of success working in enterprise software sales helped him develop an end-to-end solution for developers and their customers.
“emotive empowers software developers to build applications that deliver a user experience in tune with their mobile devices, laptops and desktops, as well as robust, security-enhanced access to enterprise information assets,” Crawford said.
Bridging the Mobile-Enterprise Divide
By creating a middleware solution for developers, emotive is helping to bridge the divide between how enterprise and mobile applications operate. Organizations that rely on multiple enterprise systems are ideal candidates for applications built using the emotive platform.
Depending on your location, mobile connectivity can be inconsistent. A user might lose a mobile connection while walking from one area in a building to another or while riding in a car or train. Yet enterprise applications are built with an assumption of continuous connectivity.
“We can’t solve underlying mobile connectivity issues, so instead we work around them,” Crawford said. “Our technology allows applications to be written to tolerate communication interruptions and bandwidth variations, so they deliver much better performance for interactive applications.”
For instance, a multinational company that has a network of sales reps within extensive geographic territories can benefit from emotive’s platform. Typically, sales reps rely on distributed mobile apps for managing inventory. Those apps become useless when they lose connectivity, which happens frequently in the field. This forces employees to resort to using pen and paper to record inventory data, then later enter the information into the application to catch up — wasting time and resources.
Applications built on the emotive platform have offline capabilities built in, so when the sales reps lose connectivity, they can continue to enter data. When connectivity returns, the emotive-based apps automatically update the data.
“emotive does much of the technical ‘heavy lifting’ involved in mobile enterprise application development — things such as mobile-optimized data displays, interrupt-driven messaging, asynchronous communications and pre-caching that are hard for developers to do themselves,” Butterworth added.
Taking Advantage of Windows Azure and BizSpark One
The company originally decided to move to Windows Azure for the ability to scale without compromise. emotive now takes full advantage of the platform, including the following:
Hosting all the company’s back-end systems in the cloud
Running its collection of servers as apps in the cloud environment; the apps are provisioned, loaded and kept running in the cloud
Using the Windows Azure virtual machine capability to store database information and logs
Drawing on Azure enterprise features such as distributed cache and the ability to test apps in their local development environment and instantly deploy them into the cloud, where they are accessible by virtually any device
In the future, emotive plans to add more capabilities, such as security and hosting, to existing enterprise applications.
Just as important as the technology benefits of Microsoft’s cloud platform have been for the company, emotive is taking advantage of the business development resources through the BizSpark One program.
“Microsoft has unparalleled credibility in the enterprise,” Crawford said. “Access to the Microsoft and Windows Azure ecosystems accelerates our learning curve and provides exposure that would otherwise be difficult for a startup such as ours.”
Connections and exposure are also what appealed to emotive about the BizSpark One program.
“Long before emotive, I had worked closely with Microsoft,” said Butterworth, who is on the Microsoft Interoperability Committee. “But even for someone with established ties, the BizSpark One program provides a great, clear entry point to Microsoft resources and to the ecosystem around Windows Azure. We use a ton of open-source software, and our BizSpark relationships have connected us with the people within Microsoft who have the expertise to run open-source software optimally in the Windows Azure environment. It’s helped us overcome all kinds of technical hurdles and get to market faster.”
Butterfield and Crawford continue to extend emotive’s platform through strategic planning and using input from its growing customer base. As it evolves, the company expects the flexibility of its platform, in concert with the technical and business opportunities afforded by its Microsoft and Windows Azure connections, will help erase the barriers between mobile experiences and enterprise resources for developers, organizations and their customers worldwide.