My Journey with android development so far..

Coming from a Symbian world, stepping into the vast system of Android was stunning at first. But, as days rolled on, the real charm of the Android ecosystem caught on with me, and I was another Android Fan out here. Unlike Symbian, in which one had to track feature compatibility with a multiple capability matrix consisting of Version, Feature Pack and Family, android has fewer capability determinations to pass.
These days when mobiles are getting smarter, mobile industry is getting competitive and  warmer than ever before. And in such a scenario, Android is taking lead in the market by its versatility and open philosophy.  Android does many things for the convenience of its users.  It provides users a way to share and communicate through applications.

A number of key applications come with the purchase of an off-the-shelf android device. Google market is a very aggregator and platform for quality applications.
Possibilities with the smartphones are widely extensible, from managing your daily routine tasks to creating and handling important documents, mailing via Gmail, navigating with the Maps,  social interactivity by tweeting and posting,  having hands-on exciting utilities, addictive games, diving into the web and much more.

Unlimited needs of the users  lead to android custom programming for applications, which inspires and motivates developers to create more powerful apps with better performance. Android’s focus has been to create a right mix of rich-user experience mixed with optimum device drainage. This is reflected in the granular settings level which enable a user to toggle status of each functionality of device as per his lifestyle and device-usage.

Thread based messaging, keeping things as Favorites, scheduling tasks, synchronizing useful data, and making best use of Widgets makes life simple and saves a lot of the time. Its sensible responsive features like Auto-complete text, calling, navigating and google search through voice are truly remarkable.

Its wireless service is impressively strong. Web pages load faster and refreshing rate is pretty good to give a high-speed Internet connection. In my view, Android rendering of Flash content has been the best among phones till now. Light-speed browser with a fast scrolling through the web pages lets you go flawless.

Android’s unified notification infrastructure is an another reason to dump any other OS. You are always in the know about things going on in your system via the notification tray. The notification system lets you stay on top of the things you care about without making the process overly cumbersome.

Being a developer its an amazing and exciting experience of learning and creating apps on Android. Android is really a playground with millions of applications to develop and  use. All the Java and mobile lovers surely like to be a part of this technology and be imaginative to any extent with it.

Android intends to motivate the creation of more innovative and creative applications for mobiles offering greater control to the users. More of its strength lies in its open source framework, extensibility, featuring powerful SDK and its collaborative approach of programming that keeps all resources separate while using each other.

With the availability of Android’s online full-fledged documentation guide for developers with number of examples makes it quite easy to start with your own First Android App. You just need to have Java Development Kit (JDK), Android SDK, Eclipse, Android Virtual Device (AVD) as a plugin inside the eclipse added with your imaginations, creativity….and you are ready to go!

Many of the Google APIs makes life easier and give us opportunity to become more innovative by implementing and modifying these APIs to any extent making many new things possible in mobile technology.

Android market place motivates developers to publish their smallest to biggest applications at one single place. Millions of applications can be found placed well in their categories. Synchronizing reviews and updates with the developers and sending regular update alerts to the users is managed efficiently by the store itself.

Publishing FREE applications is pretty *SIMPLE* and takes maximum of 24 hours, depending on the application to be displayed at the Market Place. So as per my experience with Android so far, it is not only interesting and inspiring but also experimental and full of fun too. It’s fascinating to play around such an interesting and open mobile technology.

The Android developer reference is also replete with full assistance to someone who is totally new to the domain. Develops should especially keep a watch on new API levels and new SDKS and components being added to the ecosystem on a regular basis.

This is the reason Android is emerging as a favorite of mobile app developers. Life should be made easy by technology, and Android can be the real platform to achieve this dream.

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IP PBX Advantages over traditional PBX Systems

We all have seen the need to keep pace with changing technologies, and the need to optimize communication solutions and costs. IP-based solution have proved to be a boon by replacing legacy and clunky systems for SOHO and enterprises. Today, we are going to discuss about IP PBX and their advantages.

  • Ease of Use and Low Maintenance – Since an IP PBX runs on traditional computers and web-based, the installation is as-easy as installing any other application. Simple Wizards make sure that even a non-techie can get the system up and running in no time.
  • Substantial Cost Savings – Since the cost of wiring has been now replaced with Ethernet network wiring, the cost of wiring is eliminated. Also, the VoIP Providers provide you the option to choose lesser priced alternatives to Long & International Destinations. You can cut down on costs by having multiple branches connected using the same IP PBX distributed extensions. Since you are now not locked into a vendor, the cost savings come out to be  much higher, since you can avail of price fluctuations using any VoIP Service provider.
  • Scalable – Unlike traditional PBX systems, which are bound by hardware port problems; IP PBX can be expanded by just creating and provisioning new SIP accounts and adding hardware phones to the network.
  • Hosted IP PBX – After realizing the need of enterprises who do not want an in-house management of their phone systems, Hosted IP PBX convey the best mixture of cost saving versus managing the phone system of your organization. Since the system is hosted on cloud, you remain free from the worries of managing your IP PBX system, and let the professionals do their job.
  • Business Features – Since IP PBX is designed grounds-up to work as a software, integration of legacy business applications/ERP/CRM/Contact Center Application is possible, hence offering you increased productivity and efficiency.
  • More Features for less – With IP PBX, it is easy to add Unified Communications features like E-Mailing, IM, Faxing, Audio-Video Conferencing, Contact Center Integration,  to make full use of  tools at disposal to extract the best efficiency in today’s competitive environment .

So, if you are an Emerging Business, or an Enterprise looking to go to next level, or a Multi-Location Organization looking to cut costs on communication, or a Contact-Center looking to integrate your business workflow with communication, you all now know what to do. IP PBX is the answer to your questions!

NextStag Launches HelpDesk Portal

NextStag has announced the availability of NextStag Helpdesk for its customers to enable them to track their submitted requests. The new helpdesk system is one more channel by NextStag to let.
NextStag Help-desk enable customers to use multiple conventional medium like Email or a dedicated portal to submit a request. The portal also enables them to view a ticket’s history and the resolution status. More options, like Escalation Management and Service Level Agreement enforcement are built into the system to assure customers of a guaranteed service delivery.
Besides simple and fast communication, the other benefits of NextStag Helpdesk are Transparency, and direct support.

The emphasis on direct support from NextStag cannot be emphasized enough by Mr. Pushpendra, Head of Delivery & Customer Services, who says “A direct communication with NextStag for resolution ensures that you will be served by our well endowed engineering team which knows our platform in and out. Rather than outsourcing our resolution process to a third party, we believe in handling services ourselves so as to fulfill the same guarantee and trust which our customers impose in us while starting a relation with us”.

The helpdesk enables customers to login from anywhere 24X7 and submit a request from any web-enabled device, or via any email client. Besides acknowledging receipt of your request, you have the peace of mind that a team of dedicated engineers has got on task to resolve your issue as earliest as possible, with quality. A resolved ticket is marked as “Resolved” by customer only, and not by our team, to ensure that you are satisfied with the resolution.

NextStag Launches Scalable Voice Infrastructure

NextStag has integrated and redesigned its Voice Platforms with a view to support scalability amidst a growing business traffic. The strategic decision was taken after a regular feedback campaign from existing patrons of the company. The product development and deployment team underwent a rigorous process to re-design the platform with a view to have scalability needs from day one.

“With a growing surge in traffic for customers, it became imperative to realize that our customers are demanding capacity. In such scenarios, scalability could not be an add-on, but had to be an implicit part of the platform base. Starting onwards, our all deployment will be made on the new platform to offer on-demand addition of voice resources. The commissioning time will be zero after you add a new resource, and you are ready to start using the benefits of newly added resource instantly”- says Ashutosh Kumar, CEO at NextStag.

NextStag has also informed existing patrons base of the changes, and existing platforms will be migrated to the new infrastructure in a gradual phased process. The customers stand to benefit from this Platform as they are in control of their platform, and their confidence of growing needs being matched by the underlying Platform.

General Security Practices in VoIP and NextStag Platform

As with any emerging and popular technology, one of the demerits associated with it the attention from rogue elements which is generated. It becomes not an option, but a necessity to be on toes to adopt best practices to prevent your infrastructure being compromised.

Apart from implementing good security practices, we regularly advise our patrons on good security practices, most important among which are the following:

  1. User Level Security.
  2. Operations Level Interfaces password should be strong and more than 8 characters. A strong password is  combination of digits, characters and special characters.
  3. Username and Passwords should not be same.
  4. Password should not be like date of birth, your name.
  5. Make it a habit to keep changing your passwords regularly.
  6. Password should not be shared or scribbled anywhere it can be seen by anyone. Even if you have to scribble it, make sure only you have access to it.
  7. Although NextStag platform has in-built fraud detection pattern built-in, still we advise to keep checking your call-logs periodically for abusive patterns.
  8. There should be one administrative user account. If there is need to have more than one, then Access Control List should be applied on more account.
  9. Do not save the password on the browser in case of Public PC.
  10. Keep a regular check on your payments and refills using the “Refills” module. Use the option of “Refill alert” to notify you via Email/SMS when a refill is made on any account above a threshold amount.

Security Practices by NextStag

At system or server level we use following:

  1. We do not use the default port of applications.
  2. Unneeded services and applications are stopped from automatic starting. This aids in system performance too.
  3. We have a firewall policy of “deny allow,allow selected” on packet level.
  4. Additionally, our platform had provision for automatic detection of flooding and brute-force on accounts. Furthermore, the originating IP address of such requests are automatically added to “drop” list.
  5. The system has periodic scan for weak and easy-sounding username and password pairs for SIP access (Eg:111,222 etc.)
  6. Starting this month, the web-access for platform has been changed by defaults to HTTPS over HTTP.
  7. Whole platform is Sql-injection proof and XSS proof.
  8. We have ICMP disabled on systems for port scanning.
  9. We do not use database default user and password.
Apart from the above basic practices, there a many others we have in kitty which aid us in keeping us and our customers data and facilities safe and secure.

Since we have our customers trust riding on us, we also design system for failures: i.e, we have systems and processes in place to mitigate risks and losses when system must go down. These include periodic backup, hot-failover of SIP links to geographically different datacenters.

NextStag Launches Hosted Voice Solutions

NextStag has launched Hosted Voice Solutions to enable growing businesses benefit from the immense large market of VoIP. The solution is also aimed at businesses having no prior experience in VoIP Business, and are hesitant to burn their hands.A hosted model enables them to enter the market with NextStag acting as their one-stop solution for everything in VoIP to start with.

“Our goal is to enable new players get a grasp in the industry and help them grow by offloading the platform worries and need for support in day-to-day operations in VoIP. We even go to the extent of recommending good vendors in termination/origination for players who are totally new and may need our Support. But, nevertheless, the customer should always do his own deliberations before tying up with any player, independent of our recommendations.”- Says Vidhya Sagar Dixit, CTO at NextStag.

The Hosted Model is also aimed at players who have experienced difficult times in the market due to unpredictable market-forces and fluctuating traffic trends. Aimed at significantly reducing your Total Cost of OwnerShip, Hosted Solutions benefit the customer in a way that the savings on platform can be used elsewhere, for eg:High Quality routes, etc.

“Since the model is pay-as-you-go, this Hosted Model entirely converts your capital expenditure(CAPEX) into minimal operating expenditure (OPEX). The benefits from this to the business is in terms of Scalability, Upgrade-ability, Increased Levels of Service besides not to worry about the IT infrastructure supporting the Platform, since everything is managed by one team. Customer’s increased focus on the business translates good for the whole ecosystem.”- says Ashutosh, CEO at NextStag.