Tomislav Car is the CEO at Infinum. He graduated from the Zagreb Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing. Together with his friend Matej Špoler, he started a company when he was 19 years old. He likes to say he’s unemployable because he never worked anywhere outside Infinum. Tomislav is a big fan of motorcycles and music. He’s got two bikes, one in Croatia and other in the US, as well as a Blade Texas Vintage 57 guitar.
What is Infinum and how are you positioned in the market?
We are a software design and development agency with offices in the US and Europe. We’ve been around for 11 years and have since earned the trust of over 300 companies from all over the world.
I’d say we’ve positioned ourselves as a high-quality software company and a good partner. We’ve helped grow many businesses and have been awarded numerous awards that confirm the quality of our work.
Demand for software is steadily growing, but taking into consideration that our marketplace is global, it’s also quite competitive. There’s never been a dull day at the office.
What types of clients do you work with?
Taking on projects and developing competencies across industry verticals is something we’ve been very proud of. We work with clients ranging from financial, telecommunications, healthcare, automotive to FMCG, media and leisure sectors.
We don’t have a specific type of client, but all companies that partner with us have something in common. They all recognize the importance of digital products and consider it a vital part of their business.
I’d say they also understand the value of great user experience and place it into the foreground when building digital projects.
What geographies are you focused on and where are you seeing the most growth?
We’ve seen a lot of interest and opportunity in the US, that’s why we decided to extend our operations by opening an office in San Francisco. We’re happy about our work quality being recognized, especially because the Bay area is known for being the global center of technology. Apart from the US, western Europe has been a big market for us, mainly Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands. Still, we’re very much a global company, meaning our clients come from anywhere in the world.
What are your main tips for successful mobile app development?
I’d pinpoint three major things:
- Dedicating time to think about user experience is vital. The entire UX research process, more often not, opens a multitude of questions client didn’t think about beforehand. That’s why, before starting sketching or coding anything, we always recommend running discovery meetings, design sprints or workshops with clients. This will definitely reduce chances of failure in the future.
- Another important, but not so obvious factor is code quality and maintainability. We pay a lot of attention to the underlying technical implementation. This enables us to be fast in updating our clients’ apps and to introduce new features on time. There is a term called technical debt, and we recently wrote an article about that. The morale of the story is: keeping the code tidy will save you and your client stress, money and even bankruptcy in the future.
- Ultimately, I cannot stress enough the importance of quality assurance. We have an in-house QA team, and they work closely with designers and developers from the beginning to ensure every app we release meets our standard. There are things that can be automated in QA, but every iteration of the app is thoroughly inspected by our team, and we even do usability tests with focus groups.
What do you think the big themes for mobile app development are going to be in 2017?
We’ll see a wider roll-out of Augmented Reality and Machine learning tech over the next year. Take the latter for example, apps that use ML are going to get better at predicting our behavior.
These changes aren’t going to be revolutionary. They’ll rather creep in, in a way general population won’t be able to see major differences. At this point, it’s a multitude of incremental innovations that enable this.
Take Uber for example. If you keep calling a car approximately at the same time from the same location, it’s obvious the app will suggest a familiar destination and present you with all relevant information like price and ETA upfront.
What are your thoughts about the current state of the Machine Learning tech?
Machine Learning has basically three core elements: algorithms, hardware and large amounts of data. The last part required is the proficiency to connect these elements together.
The current state is that we’re seeing advances in all of these areas, and more will come this year.
Also, the dynamics are changing because data has become such a large factor and not all companies have large enough data sets (or they’re not structured, labeled or accessible) to be able to leverage Machine learning.
That means that collecting data, processing data, and grabbing more data – this will also be something that’s going to be important for companies wanting to work with ML.
Companies will also have to adopt a “hit-and-miss” mentality. Not everything in this field works (most of it doesn’t, actually), but you don’t know what doesn’t work until you’ve tried it.
In what business vertical(s) do you see the highest level of IoT technology adoption?
I’m not a fan of the term IoT because it’s kind of an umbrella term that can mean everything and nothing.
But if we’re talking about connected devices – the fact of the matter is that everything is getting s chip eventually, whether we need it or not.
To answer your question – Home automation is there already, we’ll just see more devices, more ecosystems emerging here and interesting plays on interconnectivity (why doesn’t my Amazon Alexa work with my Google Chromecast).
What kind of people work with you in the team at Infinum?
There’s a certain culture we’ve always had. We help each other out, we’re honest with each other, we like to have fun, and consider ourselves friends outside of work as well.
It’s challenging to pass this kind of company culture along as we grow, but that’s something we work very hard on every day.
We invest a lot in our people, their education and even the community. There’s a bunch of initiatives we run, most of them can be found the section of our website called “our stuff”.
What mobile devices do you use?
I’ve been a dedicated iPhone user for almost 10 years now. I currently have an iPhone 7.
What are your favourite apps?
My favorite apps at the moment are Medium, Slack, Spotify and Productive.
Do you have any smart sensors in your home? What are your thoughts about making your house smart?
I have a Smart TV, lighting via the Philips Hue lights, cooling via WeMo switches and an Amazon Alexa to control it all.
I think the level of home automation you can do today with off the shelf solutions is already amazing. The voice control aspect with Alexa is actually the most amazing part.