India is experiencing the Android boom. 97% of consumer mobile devices in India run on the Android operating system. From a consumer perspective, Android offers the benefits of affordability and ease-of-use. Virtually anyone can pick up an Android phone and learn how to use it quickly.
Similar factors are driving the adoption of Android for commercial use cases in India and the rest of the world. Being open source and globally adopted means there’s an enormous and rapidly-growing number of skilled Android developers available to hire. It also offers unique support for IoT use cases that involve data collection via sensors.
This boom in Android is leading DevOps to rise high in India’s industry. Esper, the first DevOps platform for an agile approach to the Android device lifecycle, has almost doubled their operations base in India in the last six months.
The Tech Panda spoke to Shiv Sundar, COO of Esper, about their journey into Indian industry and where India stands in DevOps in comparison to the world.
India is uniquely positioned on an international scale for mass adoption of DevOps and digital transformation at industry scale from every possible angle. There’s enormous incentive for organizations to deploy Android DevOps practices for better operating efficiency, cost-control, and agility
Currently, many Indian organizations and industries are slightly behind the adoption curve for DevOps compared to firms in EMEA or the Americas. DevOps practices are closely tied to automation and cloud adoption, and studies show that India is ranked 5th internationally for automation and 20th for cloud implementation.
However, according to Sundar, this is about to change.
“India is uniquely positioned on an international scale for mass adoption of DevOps and digital transformation at industry scale from every possible angle. There’s enormous incentive for organizations to deploy Android DevOps practices for better operating efficiency, cost-control, and agility,” he says.
Analysts predict India will lead the world in hybrid Cloud adoption and other measures of digital transformation in the years ahead.
“India is also on the brink of explosive economic growth due to the demographic dividend or massive number of highly-skilled young workers who are entering the global workforce. The firms who embrace Android DevOps and use it to transform can disrupt entire industries,” he adds.
To Deploy Applications Seamlessly
Co-founded by Sundar and CEO Yadhu Gopalan, Esper is a Cloud platform that automates application deployment and management for the entire Android device and application lifecycle. The company helps engineering and product teams deploy applications seamlessly and orchestrate the Android device-based application lifecycle.
The complete DevOps stack offers an API-centric and language-neutral approach to development, deployment, and maintenance. Using Esper, companies can configure and deploy Android devices for various use cases, keep them secure and help their business function seamlessly.
Esper in India
Esper’s complete set of cloud tools for Android DevOps are now available free for fleets up to 100 devices. Their robust freemium tier is designed to provide innovators and startups with an affordable way to design secure products and bring them to market. It’s also a convenient way for larger organizations to test Esper’s offering at a cadence that makes sense for their team.
Earlier this year, they released their advanced DevOps features that help customers create global pipelines to continuously improve fleet productivity and performance.
“Esper’s customers save 60% or more with DevOps compared to common alternatives such as mobile device management (MDM), so our technology has an enormous impact on our customer’s agility and fleet operating costs,” Sundar says.
India is also on the brink of explosive economic growth due to the demographic dividend or massive number of highly-skilled young workers who are entering the global workforce. The firms who embrace Android DevOps and use it to transform can disrupt entire industries
Recently, they’ve continued to expand their partnerships with prestigious Android device-makers like Honeywell, Zebra, Lenovo, and MediaTek. They offer a growing selection of enhanced, validated, and even purpose-built Android hardware solutions.
“Indian companies can use Esper’s Cloud tools to seamlessly and remotely provision single-purpose Android devices like mobile point-of-sale (mPoS), kiosks, and interactive digital signage. Our Cloud console makes it simple for IT operations teams to actively manage device health and security in real-time and send over-the-air operating system and app updates to devices in the field,” he relates.
He says that Esper’s plans in India in the future are connected to growth and customer expansion.
“We’re rapidly onboarding new clients across industries and simultaneously scaling our capacity for customer support. Esper has also partnered with a growing number of value-added resellers (VARs) and other channel partners in India who can scale our reach, especially into vertical markets,” he says.
Covid Impact on the DevOps Industry
Sundar reveals that COVID-19 has resulted in enormous demand for Android DevOps in India and other global markets. Organizations need meaningful tools and frameworks to control costs and achieve greater control over remote edge devices. Also, DevOps is a critical tool for technology success in uncertain times, which is a theme we’re seeing across industries.
DevOps practices use continuous testing, which is the only way organizations can cost-effectively innovate in unprecedented business conditions
“Our customers can’t exactly use historical data to predict anything, since entire markets, supply chains, and consumer behavior patterns have changed so drastically under pandemic conditions. DevOps practices use continuous testing, which is the only way organizations can cost-effectively innovate in unprecedented business conditions,” he explains.
Studies show that DevOps can lead to faster, more successful tech deployments and less costly downtime or failed deployments. Organizations can’t afford for their kiosks or mobile-point-of-sale systems to go offline, especially since self-serve customer solutions are often a primary customer touchpoint post-COVID.
Post-Covid Industry Rely on DevOps
As Covid’s impact has spread, certain industries have adopted DevOps in a big way. Sundar reveals that hospitality, restaurants, healthcare, education, and logistics are five industries with rapidly-growing demand for Esper’s cloud tools, although the details vary between these sectors.
“Each industry has unique requirements for Android mobility, but there are also many common patterns across sectors that Esper serves. All of our clients are cost-conscious and increasingly aware that agility is a business advantage. Also, every single customer we serve has experienced impact and change due to COVID-19 to a significant extent,” he says.
All of our clients are cost-conscious and increasingly aware that agility is a business advantage.
Hospitality and restaurants are using companies like Esper to launch self-service kiosks for customers to support efficient, socially-distanced operations. Healthcare organizations rely on them to quickly deploy and maintain kiosks for telemedicine appointments or contactless patient screening via thermal temperature scanner.
Esper is also helping global educators deploy secure student tablets and digitizing warehouse and last-mile delivery workflows in the logistics and transport sector.
Competitors in India
Esper is the first-ever Android DevOps solution built for the entire product lifecycle, including development, provisioning, deployment, updates, and remediation. According to Sundar, no other solution available anywhere in the world is specifically designed for the unique requirements of single-purpose device fleets.
“Our cloud testing capabilities and DevOps pipelines are truly unique, as is our ease-of-use for common customer use cases like locking Android tablets to kiosk mode and custom Android OS, and Esper Enhanced Android,” he says.
By every possible measure of success, including monthly recurring revenue and total number of customer contracts, we’ve been able to significantly exceed even the most aggressive growth targets consistently this year
As the first technology in the Android DevOps category, they don’t really have any competitors in India in the traditional sense of the word.
“But, many customers choose Esper after frustrating experiences using common MDM software solutions, especially MDM that isn’t built to accommodate non-traditional hardware,” he adds.
Since their Series A funding round in February 2020, Esper has doubled their employee headcount to 60+. Much of their team growth has occurred since social distancing mandates in late March.
“Currently, we have deployed 100k devices worldwide, and 40% of Esper’s customers are from India. We see that our revenue has grown 500% month-over-month since our Series A round. By every possible measure of success, including monthly recurring revenue and total number of customer contracts, we’ve been able to significantly exceed even the most aggressive growth targets consistently this year,” he says proudly.