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Start-Up Uses AI Bots for Mobile App Testing

Leveraging computer vision and natural language processing, start-up Mesmer has emerged from stealth with AI bots to relieve human developers from the time-consuming task of customer experience testing of mobile apps.

Customer experience testing (CXT) includes UI, end-to-end, functional, integration and visual testing, which the company describes as "the stuff that's fragmented, tool-intensive, and notoriously hard to automate."

The AI bots being developed to take over the drudgery of CXT use the company's trademarked and patent-pending Deep Learning Automation (DLA) technology, which reportedly acts like autopilot technology on Tesla automobiles to see what's ahead in apps from a customer perspective.

"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, reads a July 10 announcement post from company co-founder and chief operating officer Ahmed Datoo.

The company said its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) 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."

Mesmer described Deep Learning Automation as its "secret sauce."

"Our patent-pending Deep Learning Automation (DLA) makes our bots smarter than any others on the market," the Mesmer Web site says. "DLA uses Artificial Intelligence, specifically computer vision, NLP, and other ML path planning models to enable the bot to perform 10,000+ skills."

Because CXT is such manually intensive work, mobile app development organizations and managers facing a shortage of skilled developers have tended to offload the time-consuming work -- reportedly taking up 40 percent of a developer's time -- to third-party testing firms, resulting in a $40 billion industry, the Palo Alto, Calif., firm said.

Mesmer's approach to put AI to the testing task has resulted in funding from Intel Capital and True Ventures, both of whom weighed in on the start-up's emergence from stealth mode.

"Customer experience testing is a universal pain point for developers, and Mesmer has been able to demonstrate a clear ROI to a diverse and growing base of enterprise customers, all obtained with no marketing or sales team," said Nick Washburn, senior managing director of Intel Capital. "Using artificial intelligence for this task is disruptive, and we look forward to working with the team to address this growing need in the industry."

"The value proposition to customers is pretty straightforward," said Puneet Agarwal, a partner at True Ventures, which seeded Mesmer with $4 million in 2017. "Mesmer pairs software robots with software developers to make their time exponentially more productive."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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