Meet AC Chakrabarti, CEO and co-founder of AnyPresence, a cloud-based platform that allows non-technical users the ability to assemble and deploy HTML5, native iOS, and native Android apps without having to write code or install any software.
AC is no stranger to start-up success. He co-founded Clear Standards along with Richard Mendis and Rakesh Rao, which rapidly became the market leading and award-winning SaaS solution for carbon, energy, and environmental compliance. That company was venture-backed, and later acquired by SAP, where AC eventually became Global Vice President and General Manager leading the carbon and energy related cloud-based solutions business.
AC spoke with WashingtonExec about reducing the costs and improving the efficiency of integrating mobile development in the workplace, the HTML5 revolution, and how to maintain a secured network using mobile apps.
WashingtonExec: Please tell readers about the goals of AnyPresence in the mobile app space.
AC Chakrabarti: AnyPresence has 3 fundamental goals that will revolutionize mobile app development within the enterprise:
- Transform most of the today’s code-based mobile development into a natural drag and drop paradigm where business analysts can build compelling mobile apps on top of existing IT infrastructure.
- Change the cost paradigm of deploying mobile apps by eliminating the need for installing multiple mobile SDKs, reducing code writing, and publishing apps to the cloud instantly.
- Create an app extension ecosystem where popular consumer services like Twitter, SMS, and Dropbox, can be seamlessly integrated with apps built in AnyPresence in a plug-and-play manner. This ecosystem will also enable independent developers and companies to build extensions on the AnyPresence platform, which can be installed into an app for free or for a fee. This will alter the power and capability of every app built in the AnyPresence platform.
WashingtonExec: Explain how your self-service mobile apps improve customer service, foster business efficiency and help reduce customer support costs for companies.
AC Chakrabarti: As most consumers begin relying on their smart device as they would their laptop, businesses must react and enable the “mobile channel” to provide customers access to important services and products via their mobile devices. Our self-service apps are pre-built solutions that give organizations a strong head start in launching a user friendly mobile channel without making wholesale changes to the backend databases or software. Imagine trying to access your local power company’s website on an iPhone to make a bill payment or request service which most utilities will struggle with and it’s virtually impossible to login using the usual website of many service providers who don’t have a mobile optimized experience.
This is where AnyPresence comes in. We can detect a mobile device and present the customer with a mobile friendly app that is both functional and aesthetically meaningful on a smaller smart device form factor. Net/Net- now more than ever, most companies must enable access to essential products and services through functional mobile apps and AnyPresence bridges that gap with pre-built customer service apps.
WashingtonExec: Is HTML5 the future to developing mobile apps with better graphic and video support?
AC Chakrabarti: HTML 5 is certainly emerging as an efficient way to create rich interactive mobile apps that scale well across many platform browsers like Safari on iOS and Chrome on Android. The other important reason behind adopting HTML5 is that it potentially circumvents the entire app store process, as it’s not a native app that has to be downloaded onto a device. Therefore, most business rolling out HTML5 apps will get the power and near native app benefits without the cost or tax of submitting to app stores.
While the specifications for improved graphics and native device feature support are available in HTML5, we are still some months away from mature browser support of those features. Therefore, we are taking a holistic approach to support both native mobile apps and HTML5 web apps.
WashingtonExec: What are the 3 advantages that AnyPresence brings to enable BYOD and mobility in the federal space?
AC Chakrabarti: AnyPresence brings the following 3 advantages to the federal space:
- A very simple and rapid way to get apps built on top of older software infrastructure with minimal code writing, which allows agencies to quickly assemble and test apps, and then take them into production sooner
- AnyPresence has an extension ecosystem where developers can create add-on extensions that can be leveraged for other agency apps. For example, an SMS extension can be used by a one department of a federal agency and simply installed on another app for a different department, thereby creating economies of scale and reducing redundant development
- Deploy apps securely in the cloud or on premise as an HTML5 app or native app from a single code base without having to download SDK’s or installing software. This will fundamentally reduce the time and cost of getting apps built and apps deployed across multiple mobile platforms.
WashingtonExec: How does maintaining a secured network for your clients coincide with your mobile app platform?
AC Chakrabarti: AnyPresence ensures that apps built on our platform have the essential enterprise security features such as encryption, roles, visibility, authorization, etc. The data flowing into AnyPresence apps are typically encrypted over secure protocols and we work obsessively with customer network and device management tools to ensure our apps comply with industry standards.
WashingtonExec: What are your goals for AnyPresence this year or the next three years?
AC Chakrabarti: Our goal this year is to create broad base market awareness. Our longer-term goal is to be recognized as the number one mobile platform that is 100% cloud based, providing businesses with the most critical mobile functionality needed to accelerate the creation of compelling business applications for customer and employee engagement.
WashingtonExec: What are some recent trends in mobility that have peeked your interests? What’s on your iPad?
AC Chakrabarti: I’m really excited about new mobile commerce capabilities and the possibility of smartphones replacing the need to carry my wallet. I’m also eagerly awaiting the possibility of voice-activated services like Siri simplifying many of our everyday tasks. The two essential apps on my iPad are Flipboard for reading media content and Street Fighter IV Volt for good old-fashioned action gaming.
WashingtonExec: What is on your summer reading list or what book has made the most impact on your life?
AC Chakrabarti: My summer will be packed with new novels from Tom Clancy and James Patterson. I’m still waiting for that life-changing book to come along.