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Start-Up Emerges from Stealth with AI Bots for Mobile App Testing Grunt Work

A company called Mesmer has emerged from stealth mode with Intel-backed funding and a plan to relieve mobile app developers from the drudgery of software testing, putting AI-powered bots to the task.

Specifically, the firm is targeting customer experience testing, a part of the testing process that's more difficult to automate, as opposed to unit testing and API testing.

Mesmer, a robotic process automation (RPA) specialist, said customer experience testing is unpopular among developers and has prompted many organizations -- facing a years-long shortage of skilled software engineers -- to offloaded testing to third-party firms who do the manual grunt work, resulting in a $40 billion industry.

The company hopes to capture a slice of that $40 billion pie with its trademarked and patent-pending Deep Learning Automation (DLA), leveraging computer vision and natural language processing to work through apps from a user perspective, peeking ahead to see what's next to be explored, a process it likened to Tesla's autopilot.

"Our software robots crawl through every nook and cranny of apps recognizing objects on the road ahead, such as login buttons and credit card fields, constantly in search of any obstacles -- or bugs," company co-founder and COO Ahmed Datoo said in a July 10 post. "The solution covers the full-stack, with bots doing everything from building out testing infrastructure and performing UI testing to documenting bugs and executing user acceptance testing, or UAT." The announcement post is titled "The future of app testing is here: Bots do the grunt work, humans do the fun work."

Such verbiage is likely to appeal to developers who, according Mesmer, reportedly spend 40 percent of their time on testing. It's also likely to appeal to enterprise development managers who, according to Mesmer, are limited by the difficulty in finding software developers.

"Companies are already having a hard time finding software developers, and the skilled labor shortage is only expected to grow in coming years," Datoo said. "For example, an estimate by the US Department of Labor projects that there will be 1.4 million computer science-related job openings by 2020, yet only 400,00 computer science graduates with the right skills to fill them."

Mesmer is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., and funded by Intel Capital and True Ventures.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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