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Archive for the ‘Innovations’ Category

 
Machine learning

A breakthrough in the technology of artificial intelligence and its active use in practice is the trend of the last two-three years. If earlier the creation of a high-quality machine translation system required a decade, now startups can offer consumers quite a competitive product in this area within one year.

Machine learning is a new approach to information processing, it turns the machine into an intelligent device very fast. In many ways, the development boom based on machine learning programs happened due to the fact that almost everything you need can be found among free software. It is enough to download the development environment, a number of libraries and read the manual. For a week or two, you can write, for example, a program recognizing wine labels or even individuals.

AI opened a completely new universe that humanity will explore for centuries. This means that robots are getting smarter and can learn independently. They are even capable of transmitting their knowledge to each other. To do this, of course, communication infrastructure is necessary. With its help, the program, which has recently invented a new universal language, could teach the other machines.

By the way, people did not expect artificial intelligence to create a new language, it was a by-product performed while teaching machines to translate from different languages. The program has learned how to translate from the languages it hadn’t been asked to by itself. Hence, the researchers concluded that a computer system uses meta-level language for communication, a new sort of Esperanto, a universal language.

 
Robots and VR
 

Analytical agencies called 2016 the year of virtual reality technologies. According to the Digi Capital forecast, by 2020 the virtual reality market will come up to $ 30 billion. Today we have every reason to believe that in 2017 VR-technology will finally become mass.

This trend has affected robotics as well. Complex machine control via VR-helmets and screens shows that augmented reality is gaining popularity. At MWC in Barcelona 2016, all visitors were offered to try themselves as excavator operators, controlling real excavators via Oculus Rift helmet.

This is one of the main scenarios of applying VR in industry and business, which will be used in a variety of situations: unmanned vehicles control (trailers, drones, trucks), surgical operations, exploring out of reach places (the ocean bottom, mines, permafrost). However, the automation trend of the last decade is increasing in order to completely avoid people’s participation in these processes.

 
Artificial Intelligence
 

The idea of intelligent robots has been exciting minds for a long time. We are used to different fiction anthropomorphic golems, androids, perfect voice assistants. Moreover, the success of HBO Westworld recent show demonstrates that the interest in artificial intelligence is rapidly increasing.

Meanwhile, the representatives of different professions were asked to imagine AI as a professional assistant at work or even in the role of a leader. Intelligent Apps have the potential to transform the workplace by making everyday tasks easier and its users more effective. The prospect of getting help from the robot frightens 25% of people, 40% are against the robot leader. However, the majority of people can easily imagine robots among their colleagues- 35% want to see a robot as a personal assistant. Every fourth looks positive on robots to take a leading position.

 
Internet of Things

The internet of Things has been labeled as “the next Industrial Revolution” because of the way it will change the way people live, work, have fun and travel, as well as how governments and businesses interact with the world.

Most of us are used to applications, which allow us to switch tracks on the audio system, to open our cars, turn on the lights, change the temperature in the room. According to Ericsson ConsumerLab research, two out of five people expect applications to remember users’ preferences and configure home appliances in the nearest future. It is as a good way to save personal time that can be spent on tasks that are more important.

 
Unmanned vehicles
 

They can either be remote controlled or remote guided, or they can be autonomous vehicles which are capable of exploring the environment and navigating on their own. With the right technology, multiple cars could “talk” to one another and reduce the chance for crashes.

Every fourth interviewee said he would feel safer if all the cars would be driven by robots. Meanwhile, 65% said they would prefer to have an autonomous vehicle rather than drive themselves.

Self-driven cars – futuristic, comfortable and safe. However, at the moment none of the existing systems can completely take over driving. Even the most sophisticated systems can fail.

 
Augmented reality
 

Approximately four out of five users believe that a complete blending of real and virtual worlds will happen just within three years. Half of the respondents are already interested in buying special gloves or shoes that would control VR-objects (for example, for playing virtual instruments).

A well-known game Pokemon GO is a good example to demonstrate the real potential of augmented reality. Many people want to use similar possibilities not only in the games but in real life as well. More than half of users would like to have AR-glasses to see better in the dark and, for example, to be able to observe criminals. One out of three would like to use augmented reality to get rid of unpleasant elements of their landscape, such as graffiti and litter. Many people dream of not seeing street signs, uninteresting shop windows and billboards.

 
Security Paradox of “smart” devices
 

More than half of the respondents use applications and trackers that transmit alarm and danger warnings. Using such apps people expect to increase their personal safety level. The paradox is that 60% of those who feel more secure with a smartphone admit that would try to avoid those situations while not having a phone in the pocket. People rely on their smartphones capabilities too much. Meanwhile, they won’t know what to do if they lose the device or the battery dies. Three out of five people, who believe that the smartphone makes their lives safer, are in a bigger danger.

 
Social fragmentation
 

For every third respondent social networks have become a main source of information. However, social networks do not connect people from all around the world, on the contrary, they form small groups and communities. There is a chance that this fragmentation will only increase: every week, every day individuals exclude each other from friends or refuse to accept connection requests based on the opinions of other people.
 
We all know that making predictions about the course of technology’s future is challenging. Surprises can appear in any direction. Now we can only imagine those amazing opportunities we are going to explore in the nearest future.

Feel free to share your thoughts about technology prospects for the near future in comments below!

 

Darya Bertosh

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Augmented reality – AR, is a world-known term nowadays. Nonetheless it is not that new as we are used to think. We’ve been seeing versions of AR for quite some time already. The concept is pretty simple: take a real-life scene, or a video of a scene, and add some kind of explanatory data to it so that you can better understand what’s going on there, or who the people in the scene are, or how to get to where you want to go, for example sports coverage on TV.

“AR has been around for ages,” says Andy Cameron, executive director of Fabrica, an interactive design studio which works with Benetton, “maybe going back as far as the 1970s and art installations that overlaid real spaces with something virtual.” He mentions in particular the work of pioneering computer artist Myron Krueger.
 

 
Nonetheless AR changed a lot in recent years. It became much more accessible. AR has come within reach of all sorts of developers – and millions of people gained access to using AR every day, often in the palms of their hands.

The appearance of powerful smartphones and computers with high-resolution photo/video cameras means that you don’t have to wait for the AR effects as you do with sports TV channels. They can simply be added into real life.

Without doubt, in next few years we will see rapid development of AR and experience it in various spheres of our lives.
 
Industry/military/medicine

Industrial, military and medical applications concerning the validation of designs or plans are a specialization of Augmented Reality. When soldiers need information on their surroundings they can receive detailed 3D maps. If a doctor is performing surgery, a live image of a human subject is accessible. Important occupations in need of crucial information use Augmented Reality tools to visually superimpose their solutions.
 
Navigation

A surgeon performing a complicated procedure or a firefighter trying to find his way out of a burning building can visualize a much more accurate and safe course of action with the help of augmented reality. Similarly, you can see a particular place through your augmented reality incorporated smartphone camera, and immediately find out the nearest cafes, bookshops, dining places.
 
Education

Educational resources are emphasized by Augmented Reality systems and can be used to re-create historical events, activate regular books into 3D images, or even present structures of the galaxy; all superimposed in real-time. Augmented Reality is extremely useful for educators in classroom settings or during presentations and allows students to gain a deeper understanding on the topic at hand. By merging content to media the reading experience is enhanced and the reader is fully engaged. The text and images are on a page as usual, but Augmented Reality allows you to see dynamic, 3D computer graphics “hovering” over it.
 
Shopping

E-Commerce / M-commerce applications will offer a virtual fitting room where apparel can be tried on live.
 
Housing/interior decoration

Innovative technology is providing value for all audiences in the interior design industry. Manufacturers, designers, and the end consumer are all finding use in these technologies in relation to traditional methods. Soon new tech will become the standard, as it helps shoppers make quicker, more informed purchase decisions through personable experiences. If you are interested in creating a more interactive and meaningful experience for your clients or customers, Augment offers custom AR solutions to allow your shoppers to bring your products to real life.
 

 
These are just several spheres where AR solutions will be further developed. At Altabel Group we are keeping track of AR innovations and are ready for new challenges in AR development. And what about you?

Feel free to share your thoughts about AR prospects for the near future in comments below!

 

yana-khaidukova

Yana Khaidukova

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Artificial intelligence gives us more and more opportunities every day. Chatbots and their developing for client-communication are the hottest topics today. Many experts say that chatbots are the future. Let’s get a short review.
 
Who are they?

Chatbots are essentially programs pretending to be people that you can interact with through text or even voice. They are closely connected with a wide messenger’s distribution and I believe everyone has been already acquainted with them. It’s obvious that chat- bots’ popularity is starting to take off.
 
How can they enhance e-commerce?

1. First of all chat bot doesn’t get tired, being late or absent – it assists your clients 24/7 365 days per year and get significant workload on its shoulders. That is why they seem to be the best answer for e-commerce business owners to manage thousands of one-to-one conversations with customers.

2. The second point is that chat bots can understand natural language and communicate with people in the same manner making conversations realistic and trustworthy. So chat bots give online shop owners an opportunity to provide pleasant shopping experience for customers.

3. Chatbots are proactive. They can understand what the particular customer wants not only through a simple conversation, but also through analysis and collecting of personal and profile page data ( smartphone data, cookies and so on). All this information might help to improve the marketing strategy and provide customers with the best user experience.

4. Additionally, chatbots simply save customers’ time. You don’t need to waste time for searching the appropriate item, click on mass of characteristics, study a market and etc. You can simply say : Hey, I want to buy an efficient computer for my child. Bot does it for you with a great pleasure and at a quick pace.

5. Finally, all this points give more advantages for businesses: services become much more better and faster, the conversion becomes higher, sales increase, operational costs and salary charges reduce.

 

 
Fresh examples of using

The most outstanding example is already occurring in China, where consumers are using WeChat to fulfill their daily living and commerce needs. Soon, this system will gain prominence in the United States.

Further more brands like Walmart and Hyatt are testing customer service and shopping within apps on the new Facebook Messenger for Business App. A free messaging app, called Kik, has a bot shop for companies such as Sephora, Vine, and H&M. So it can be said that the part of the technology is already there.

Amazon’s voice bot messaging has brought the idea of personal assistant to the next level. Customers can talk to the bot and ask it to order items through Amazon Prime, get a pizza, purchase flowers and call for an Uber. Voice commands are making shopping easier than ever, but there are still many issues to work out.

 

 
What’s Coming in the Future?

Voice-based AI and mobile chatbots are the dominant trend right now, but it’s not crazy to think that this could evolve into something more personal and user-based. E-commerce data is there to help you segment and automate email messaging to certain customers, so it’s not silly to assume that this data will eventually merge with bots.

Imagine a personalized bot that talks to you, and only you, when you shop on the Target website. They’d know the last items you bought, deliver the most relevant products and even stock your shopping cart with suggestions. The days of taking hours to shop online will soon knock the pad. In the near future, all the work will be done for you.

Are you ready for this?
 

Kate Kviatkovskaya

Kate Kviatkovskaya

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The demand for healthcare services is growing at rapid pace due to constantly increasing number of people with chronic diseases. These days approximately every one of two individuals has one or more chronic diseases, and one of four has two or more chronic conditions. At the same time, there are more medical information today about different diseases and their treatment options than ever before.
 

According to IBM, healthcare data doubles every 2 years. It is also calculated that doctors would have to read 29 hours each workday to keep up with new professional insights. Obviously while dealing with this huge information flow, doctors don’t have enough capacities to decide how appropriate an option might be for a specific patient.

Additionally, the most expensive part of healthcare is the human resources, which adds to the supply-and-demand issues. I guess no one will doubt the fact that professional healthcare is costly.

These insights bring up several questions. How can we benefit from explosion of information in healthcare industry? Is it possible to cut the costs for people who seek healthcare treatment without sacrificing the quality of such services? Or even improving it? How do we find a balance after all?

The answer lies in two words: cognitive computing. It is a system that can handle massive amounts of unstructured data to enable a new class of data interpretation and learning systems. Cognitive systems process information by comparing it to a teaching set of data. So that the more data such a system can analyze, the more it learns, and therefore the more accurate it becomes with the course of time. To mimic the way the human brain works cognitive systems use data mining, pattern recognition and natural language processing.

The main advantage of these machine-learning systems is their ability to find patterns in datasets too large and complex for human brains to embrace. For doctors this means assistance of paramount importance in keeping track of records and making accurate clinical decisions. IDC predicts that by 2018 somewhat 30 percent of healthcare systems will be running cognitive analytics against patient data and real-world evidence to personalize treatment regiments. What’s more, IDC projects that during the same year physicians will tap cognitive solutions for nearly half of cancer patients and, as a result, will reduce costs and mortality rates by 10 percent.

For patients the ability of cognitive computing to act as an advisor and give an additional opinion allows an extra level of assurance in the service provided by the healthcare sector. Eventually the patients will have more confidence in the service they are receiving. Besides, involving cognitive computing into healthcare means availability of remote check-ups, including areas with relatively little healthcare provision. It is predicted that in the U.S., for example, in the nearest future 40% of primary care encounters will be delivered virtually, which will be possible thanks to cognitive systems.

Summing up, cognitive computing can help:

  • Healthcare specialists to manage all the data that is available to make more precise conclusions over the patients’ conditions
  • Patients by advising, and providing answers to the questions they have
  • Decrease costs for healthcare services

As data becomes more complex and diversified, cognitive computing will have an incredible impact on the healthcare industry.

In conclusion, let me give you one single real-life example. Watson (famous IBM cognitive system used to diagnose patients) was able to determine a rare form of leukemia in an old woman, while oncologists at the University of Tokyo had puzzled for about a year over her illness. After analyzing 20 million research papers Watson came up with the proper diagnosis. It took the system no more than ten minutes. Impressive, isn’t it?

 

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Alexandra Presniatsova

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Technological progress doesn’t stand still and products like Google Home and Amazon Alexa have already made a splash this year and will continue to grow next year. GSV Asset Management VP Li Jiang made a list of the more nascent and emerging products. Li points out that majority of projects are connected with robotics, alternative energy resources and augmented reality. So let’s see what new products the world’s expecting in the upcoming year.
 
10. Snap Spectacles

The Snap Spectacles allow you to move around, make videos from your perspective and stream them to Snapchat. Such spectacles are already available in California and in 2017 will get a much broader expansion.

 
9. Starship Technologies

Little delivery robots are believed to revolutionize the whole delivery processes. In late 2016 first robots appeared in Washington D.C. and Redwood City, CA and have already rolled around 11,600 miles and made 1.8 million people happy.

 
8. Electron (Rocket Lab)

Electron, Rocket Lab’s latest launch vehicle is going to deliver small satellites to low Earth orbit at an unprecedented frequency and at a dramatically decreased price. The company unveils its product as having revolutionary design, plug-in payload, carbon composite materials, avionics and has an ambitious goal of launching more than 100 rockets a year.

 
7. Zipline

Zip is a small robot airplane designed for delivering important lifesaving medicine. At present they are working in Rwanda and other markets to drop medical supplies and expected to go worldwide.

 
6. Remedy

Meet Remy, the world’s smartest medical AI. Remy works alongside your personal doctor and, using data from numerous other cases and its AI engine, can treat 70% of cases remotely and quickly find additional help for you as needed.

 
5. Tesla Solar

Tesla is making cost-effective roofs serving for saving solar energy for domestic use and as a backup energy source. The new lineup includes attractive roofing tiles that contain solar cells inside. Integrating solar cells inside roofing materials is a natural way to accelerate solar adoption.

 
4. Anki Cozmo

Cozmo is a miniature robot on tracks which is believed to become a part of your family. Endowed with AI, it has a talent to recognize people, remember their faces, change expressions on its ‘face’ and communicate with people. Cozmo is managed through an iOS or Android mobile app. It’s already launched on the market, but a bigger roll out is expected for 2017.

 
3. Octane AI

Octie is a real breakthough in the entire chatbot industry. Octane AI lets your business create a basic chatbot that will showcase products and answer customer service questions. Octie is easily customized, integrates with all possible social networks and makes real-time analytics. Real profit for business owners who prefer to focus on bigger strategy work.

 
2. Tesla Model 3

Not all technical characteristics are revealed yet, but Model 3 is expected to be most affordable among Teslas, expected starting is $35,000 before incentives. All Model 3s come with full autopilot hardware and can receive ever improving self-driving software updates over the air, i.e. your Model 3 would be able to get you to the office and back home itself.

 
1. Magic Leap

If Magic Leap releases its product in 2017 and it works the way the teaser videos show, it would be a real Magic Leap forward. For now we can just watch teasers and imagine how such a product will change our lives and attitude to technology.

So my question to the audience is: which one you will buy first?:)

 

Yulia Nenadovich

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The history of filmmaking can be traced back to as early as the 17th century, where magic lanterns were used. Back then, films were all made in shades of black and white only. Also, many of the times, special effects are done manually by workers.

As time progressed, technology improved the quality of films largely, thus producing colored films. However, such improvements do not halt there. Movie makers and producers worked endlessly to create films that leave people in awe. Therefore, the creations of computer-generated imagery, animation and 3D have been invented and improved. Such creations have moved the movie industry one step forward.
 

But now we can observe that the development of modern technology has also allowed producing games that are not inferior to high-budget projects in the movie. According to recent research the market of computer games have outgrown the motion picture industry. West countries were the first whose major entertainment companies have long invested in the development and promotion of games, as well as in movies and TV shows.

Industry and technical components also influenced on the active development of the game. I mean the popularity of mobile devices, which allows you to run games in good quality. The user of such device is more likely to spend free time playing than go to the cinema. What is more the availability of mobile Internet has given the opportunity to play in popular network games and now it has become so popular that even has grown to the size of a single universe. Users spend real money not only to pay for Internet or account in the game, but also for the purchase of virtual items that give them a number of advantages in the game. As a result the amount of money involved in the game world, exceeded box office results of all movies in the cinemas.

Many experts consider that today “lazy” users bring most of the profits to the games. The availability of media products has led to the fact that the consumer is looking for a content that will satisfy his needs in entertainment and communication with people. And as we can see modern games have all these qualities, that’s why they are becoming so popular.

What more psychologists think is that movies do not give such interactivity as it is offered by games. That is why while watching the film people are only able to imagine yourself as a magician or superhero, but in the game they have a unique opportunity to transform, to control their speech and actions.
 

But it’s not so simple as it may seem, as a mass product not always has a high quality, it is more often designed for consumption. As a result new solutions in design or gaming technology are becoming smaller, it leads to mass copying, so in most of the games we can see that only the main characters are changed.

Scientists from the UK tried to find out the average age of players. It turned out that experienced computer gamers are not only teenagers. The statistical average player is an adult, a married man of 35- year old (man and woman). The most common group of people playing online games is office workers – they spend about 12 hours a week on playing.

These results may be useful for producers of video games as an existing stereotype is completely wrong, producing a video game, you must orient on a completely different consumer. Video games don’t have to be something reserved only for children and young people. It’s a big business which must be refocused and produce more games for adults than for minors.

In conclusion we can say that the gaming industry will only grow. Users can choose the platform that suits them. Most of their free time will be spent on playing or “pumping” the character of online games. And as a result the movies will never gain the popularity that they had before.

 

Kate Kviatkovskaya

Kate Kviatkovskaya

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Introducing ASP.NET Core:

ASP.NET Core is a new open-source and cross-platform framework for building modern cloud based internet connected applications, such as web apps, IoT apps and mobile backends. ASP.NET Core apps can run on .NET Core or on the full .NET Framework. It was architected to provide an optimized development framework for apps that are deployed to the cloud or run on-premises. It consists of modular components with minimal overhead, so you retain flexibility while constructing your solutions. You can develop and run your ASP.NET Core apps cross-platform on Windows, Mac and Linux. ASP.NET Core is open source at GitHub.

The framework is a complete rewrite that unites the previously separate ASP.NET MVC and Web API into a single programming model.

Despite being a new framework, built on a new web stack, it does have a high degree of concept compatibility with ASP.NET MVC.

ASP.NET Platform exists for more than 15 years. In addition, at the time of System.Web creation it contained a large amount of code to support backward compatibility with classic ASP. During this time, the platform has accumulated a sufficient amount of code that is simply no longer needed and is deprecated. Microsoft faced a difficult choice: to abandon backward compatibility, or to announce a new platform. They chose the second option. At the same time, they would have to abandon the existing runtime. Microsoft has always been a company focused on creation and launch on Windows. ASP.NET was no exception. Now the situation has changed: Azure and Linux occupied an important place in the company’s strategy.

The ASP.NET Core is poised to replace ASP.NET in its current form. So should you switch to ASP.NET Core now?

ASP.NET Core is not just a new version. It is a completely new platform, the change of epochs. Switching to ASP.NET Core can bring many benefits: compact code, better performance and scalability. But what price will be paid in return, how much code will have to be rewritten?

.NET Core contains many components, which we are used to deal with. Forget System.Web, Web Forms, Transaction Scope, WPF, Win Forms. They no longer exist. For simple ASP.NET MVC-applications changes will be minor and the migration will be simple. For more complex applications, which use a great number of .NET Framework classes and ASP.NET pipeline situation is more complicated. Something may work and something may not. Some part of the code will have to be rewritten from scratch. Additional problems may be caused by WebApi, because ASP.NET MVC subsystems and WebAPI are now combined. Many libraries and nuget-packages are not ready yet. So, some applications simply will not have a chance to migrate until new versions of the libraries appear.

I think we are waiting for the situation similar to the transition from Web Forms to ASP.NET MVC. ASP.NET Framework will be supported for a long time. First, only a small amount of applications will be developed on ASP.NET Core. Their number will increase, but sooner or later everyone will want to move to ASP.NET Core. We still have many applications running on the Web Forms. However, no one comes to mind to develop a new application on the Web Forms now, everybody chooses MVC. Soon the same happens to ASP.NET Framework, and ASP.NET Core. ASP.NET Core offers more opportunities to meet modern design standards.

The following characteristics best define .NET Core:

  • Flexible deployment: Can be included in your app or installed side-by-side user- or machine-wide.
  • Cross-platform: Runs on Windows, macOS and Linux; can be ported to other OSes (Operating Systems). The supported OSes, CPUs and application scenarios will grow over time, provided by Microsoft, other companies, and individuals.Command-line tools: All product scenarios can be exercised at the command-line.
  • Compatible: .NET Core is compatible with .NET Framework, Xamarin and Mono, via the .NET Standard Library.
  • Open source: The .NET Core platform is open source, using MIT and Apache 2 licenses. Documentation is licensed under CC-BY. .NET Core is a .NET Foundation project.
  • Supported by Microsoft: .NET Core is supported by Microsoft, per .NET Core Support.

The Bad:

  • As for the “cons” one of the biggest issues are gaps in the documentation. Fortunately most of the things for creating and API are covered, but when you’re building an MVC app, you might have problems.
  • Next problem – changes. Even if you find a solution to your problem, it could have been written for a previous version and might not work in the current one. Thanks to open source nature of it, there is also support available on github. But you get same problems there (apart from searching).
  • Another thing is lack of support in the tooling. You can forget about NCrunch or R# Test Runner. Both companies say they will get to it when it gets more stable.
  • ASP.NET Core is still too raw. Many basic things, such as the Data Access, is not designed for 100%. There is no guarantee that the code you are using now will work in the release version.

The Good:

  • It’s modular. You can add and remove features as you need them by managing NuGet packages.
  • It’s also much easier and straightforward to set up.
  • WebApi is now part of the MVC, so you can have class UserController, which will return a view, but also provide a JSON API.
  • It’s cross-platform.
  • It’s open-source.

ASP.NET Core is the work on the bugs of the classic ASP.NET MVC, the ability to start with a clean slate. In addition, Microsoft also aims to become as popular as Ruby and NodeJS among younger developers.
NodeJS and ASP.NET have always been rivals: both – a platform for backend. But in fact, between them, of course, there was no struggle. The new generation of developers, the so-called hipster developers, prefer Ruby and Node. The adult generation, people from the corporate environment, are on the side of .NET and Java. .NET Core is clearly trying to be more youthful, fashionable and popular. So, in future we can expect the .NET Core and NodeJS to be in opposition.

In its advertising campaign, Microsoft is betting on unusual positions for it: high performance, scalability, cross-platform. Do you think that ASP.NET “crawls” on the territory of NodeJS? Please feel free to share your thoughts with us.

Thank you in advance!

Ref: MICHAL DYMEL – DEVBLOG

 

Darya Bertosh

Darya Bertosh

Business Development Manager

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altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

E-mail: contact@altabel.com
www.altabel.com


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