Weekly Digest #14: Microsoft’s AppSource and Apple’s TV Star Developers

July 15th, 2016

IT News // Zee

A Reality Show about Developers Coding in Real Time and other IT News

Last week, Microsoft launched their business app-store, Spark 2.0 was presented at the Spark Summit, and Apple is gathering developers to be a part of a TV show.


  • A team of mobile app developers from Facebook showed how they test the apps. They use 2,000 smartphones that have been placed in specially designed server cabinets with separate Wi-Fi power and therefore protected from any external influences.
  • In 2021, there will be 28 billion internet-enabled devices, including 16 billion that will be IoT-related. The growth of the Internet of Things devices segment is enhanced by the development of cellular networks and data exchange technologies.
  • Murphy, a Microsoft’s chatbot, is able to combine photos of famous people and book / movie characters or particular profession representatives. The Murphy project was created on the basis of Microsoft Cortana Intelligence Suite, using its components such as Microsoft Cognitive Services, Bing Image Search, and Microsoft Bot Framework.
  • IntelligentX Brewing Company from the UK is making beer using artificial intelligence. Customers choose their favorite flavors and the company adds them to a personalized version of the beer.

Business Applications Store and AI-platform from Microsoft

Microsoft introduced AppSource store for business applications - both the business apps by Microsoft’s own design and by its partners. Users can navigate the store via a search for the business sector and by name. The apps will be available for download in the fall and it already has apps like AFS “Retail Execution” for retail services, AvePoint “Citizen Services” tool package for disaster and accidents rectification of consequences, and Veripark “Next Best Action” package for financial services companies. Microsoft Dynamics 365, that will unite CRM and ERP solutions, will be launched in the fall as well.

Microsoft has been also working on artificial intelligence. They have launched Project Malmo, an open-source platform for studying artificial intelligence based on Minecraft. Its code is available on GitHub. Using Project Malmo, developers can create more sophisticated artificial intelligence for different tasks and therefore, such AI tool will be able to learn to make decisions and perform complex assignments.

Smart parking conquers the world

There were interesting IoT solutions presented last week dedicated to smart parking. Huawei and China Unicom revealed the decision to create smart parking based on NB-IoT (NarrowBand IoT) technologies. 4.5G network was launched specially for this project and 300 smart car detection sensors are connected to it. Smart parking system can find and book parking space as well as presents an option to pay for parking using a mobile phone. In the future, these NB-IoT sensors will be used for others tasks as well.

By the way, smart parking, or, to speak in more general terms, the smart traffic management will be one of the most popular areas for the IoT introduction. Juniper Research analysts presented a report “Worldwide Smart Cities: Energy, Transport & Lighting 2016-2021" where they note that the number of smart parking lots will reach 2 million by 2021.

MicroBot Push brings IoT to the older gadgets world

What can be cuter than a finger-robot? MicroBot Push is exactly that. This “creature” can control any conventional device that has buttons. Simply attach the robot to the appliance, for example, coffee machine or tea kettle, and then use your mobile (iOS or Android) device to send a command to push the button to turn it on. In this way, the robot will help to make non-IoT devices into semi-IoT.

Android Wear 2.0 and Apollo 11 for Developers

Google has unveiled a new preview version of Android Wear 2.0 for developers that meets all the requirements of Android 7.0 Nougat. The APIs that appeared in this version will allow the developers to use wrist gestures to control their own applications. For example, you can scroll lists, choose a ringtone, and many other tasks without touching the smartwatch that has Android Wear running. Earlier the control gestures were only available in system applications. The official release of the Android Wear 2.0 will be in the fall.

Apollo 11 onboard computer’s code was published on Github this week. It was this code that controlled the landing on the surface of the moon in the 1960s, more than 50 years ago. Programmers have analyzed the code and found bugs in it. You can read the analysis of this code in Quartz magazine.

Spark 2.0 was announced at Spark Summit 2016

The largest big data and data science conference - Spark Summit 2016 took place recently and Spark 2.0 was presented. The new version has an improved task scheduler with which the developer can optimize the code. Two more new features of Spark 2.0 are new spark streaming and an improved SparkSQL tool.

Much of the speakers’ attention has been devoted to the real-time analytics, distributed machine learning, and data analysis tools as well as Spark instrument as one of the main products for business analysts.

Blockchain Platform for Financial Services

Paul Taylor, a developer, and former Google employee has created a banking platform called Vault OS, based on the blockchain technology. He, of course, said that his product is a revolution in the banking sector and will make it much better, more convenient, and, most importantly, reliable. According to Taylor, blockchain is the most reliable and secure way to store transactions created in order to be used in the financial sector. Taylor notes that Vault OS does not need expensive data centers, the system can operate completely in the cloud and use distributed computing. This will allow banks to save billions of dollars in infrastructure investments.

Apple Developers as TV Stars

Developers have a running chance to become the heroes of a reality show. Apple is looking for those who are ready to become a TV screen star and who know how to write mobile software. Apple announced the launch of the casting for the “Planet of the Apps” reality show and is looking for 100 people whose task would actually be to write mobile apps.

To apply, you shouldn’t just tell about yourself, but also attach an example of your app whether for iOS, tvOS, watchOS, or macOS. It is difficult to imagine how the reality show will go and what its participants will do in real-time. However, if you read the description and press releases from Apple about the show, it can be assumed that developers will code and talk about their code.

The winner of the show will get $10 million to develop his own app and get premium placement in AppStore. All is left now is to wait until 2017 when the show will begin.


Author: Zee

Zee is in charge of the Marketing at the APP Solutions/Grossum. Her areas of interest include quantum physics, astronomy, new trends in the web & mobile development (especially in the areas of AI and machine learning) and digital marketing instruments.

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