Categories
AI

Codeless test automation platform Virtuoso raises $13M

London-based Virtuoso, a startup that offers codeless test automation solutions to enterprises, today announced it has raised $13.3 million in a series A round led by Paladin Capital. The company will use the investment, which also saw participation from Mubadala Capital and a few existing investors, to further develop its automation platform and expand its sales team.

Even though testing solutions have been around for a while, they haven’t been able to keep pace with the rapidly evolving app development lifecycle. In Capgemini’s 2019-2020 World Quality survey, more than half of the organizations said they lacked the right tools for testing and couldn’t automate to the level needed. As many as 60% also said that cost was the greatest challenge to quality assurance. The tools and automation figures improved a little in the next year’s report, but the cost aspect had grown worse, with QA budgets constrained due to the pandemic.

On top of this, just 37% of the organizations said they were getting enough return on the investment made to make the automation effort possible.

Virtuoso’s intelligent automation platform

Founded by Adil Mohammed in 2019, Virtuoso offers a SaaS platform that leverages machine learning and robotic process automation to solve such challenges. The solution uses an advanced NLP and capture engine to allow coders and non-coders to write automated tests in plain English and reduce the time typically taken to test software for bugs and errors.

“You tell our bots what actions to perform, and the bots oblige. We tested this against real user data, and our bots’ accuracy exceeded 95%,” Mohammed told VentureBeat. “By creating tests in this way, you can properly shift left the testing by authoring fully functioning automated tests from requirements or wireframes even before a single line of code has been written. And by using ML, we make sure that the tests are self-maintaining so the effort required to keep them updated is basically zero. The tests are then executed in the cloud.”

Virtuoso claims its platform can cut down the testing time by up to 10 times and decrease QA costs by a significant 80%-90%. Multiple large enterprises have already adopted the solution, including Jato, Macmillan Learning, and Harbr.

Competing companies such as Mabl, Leapwork, Testim, Accelq, and Functionize are also active in the testing automation space. However, Mohammed says that the market is currently very fragmented, with a majority of companies offering human-driven solutions characterized by a high degree of manual testing and non-system-driven automation with little to no ML or RPA.

“Virtuoso is way ahead of the curve in terms of versatility, the tech stack (execution and deployment speed), and ease of use,” he said, noting that the ability to explore and test applications at scale and autonomously using bots is unique in the market. “It lets you do as much without code as you could with code. This point, fundamentally, separates us from the other test automation players.”

Long-term vision

With the funding, Virtuoso will further develop the SaaS platform, transforming it into a fully autonomous testing solution with little to no human interaction.

“The first step in that vision is creating a truly codeless and intelligent test automation platform, which we have done now. We have some major releases coming up in the next 12 months that will advance us towards our long-term vision of autonomous testing,” Mohammed said, without sharing specific details. The company plans to grow its market share in the U.S. while taking the product to software and testing teams in new markets with the support of Paladin and Mubadala Capital.

According to Markets and Markets, the global software testing automation market is expected to grow from $12.6 billion in 2019 to $28.8 billion in 2024.

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Categories
Computing

Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT Review: Good Beyond Gaming

Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT

MSRP $269.00

“Corsair’s Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT isn’t perfect, but the way it offers the practicality needed to replace both your gaming headset and everyday headphones puts it in a league of its own.”

Pros

  • Great chic looks
  • Excellent build quality
  • Versatile connectivity
  • Can replace two headsets
  • Convenient RGB mic-mute indicator

Cons

  • Below-average battery life
  • Short wireless range
  • Expensive

Shopping for a gaming headset isn’t easy. It can be, if you set your expectations low, but if you’re shopping for something a little upmarket, then the thought of dropping $269 on a wireless gaming headset can be a bit daunting.

That’s the cost of Corsair’s latest flagship gaming headset, the Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT, and while it certainly looks worth its price tag, lets find out if the stuff you can’t see is good enough. Unlike many headsets, there’s a lot to cover with this one, so lets dig in.

Build quality and comfort

Build quality of the Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT is excellent, as expected. The headset uses a lavish amount of pleather and metal, giving it a highly chic look and feel. Corsair’s back-to-basics elemental design also plays well here, as it gives the headset a very ‘contemporary headphones’ look, rather than the look of many garishly styled offerings.

I quite like the design, actually, and because the microphone is removable and it supports Bluetooth with Apt-X, you can easily get away with using this set on the go, in public. The light bit of RGB might even draw in curious eyes.

When it comes to comfort, the Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT is generally good, but a bit of a miss – that might be a personal observation, but I find the earcups too shallow. Of course, that’s done to keep a slimmer profile for the modern look, but it presses against my right ear a little, leading to discomfort with prolonged use.

That’s my only complaint with comfort – the pleather is soft, the cushions are … cushiony, and clamping force is minimal, so it’s not going to give you a headache. If your ears fit better than mine, which is more likely than it is not, you’ll find the Virtuoso XT plenty cozy. For bigger ears, Logitech’s G Pro X (Wireless) headsets are generally more comfortable thanks to more spacious earcups.

Control ergonomics are also excellent, with most buttons at the bottom of the right earcup. The only button that’s on the left cup is the mic-mute button, and actually, it’s on the microphone itself, right at its base where it connects to the headset.

The microphone even has an RGB light ring at the end of it, and I think it’s brilliant, even though it’s not strictly an ergonomics thing. It shines bright red when you mute the mic, and participates in whatever light show you have going when it’s not. That might seem like a small detail, and it is, but tell me, when’s the last time you forgot you muted yourself and found yourself wondering why your friends won’t respond? Yesterday? Today? Yeah, me too. Every headset needs to have this.

Connectivity

Most wireless PC gaming headsets come with two or three types of connectivity. First and foremost, there’s a wireless interface with its own dongle, then a 3.5mm jack for when you need the cable anyway, and they often work over their USB charging cable as well.

But Corsair throws in one extra goodie: Bluetooth with support for the Apt-X codec. On most gaming headsets, this wouldn’t be quite as important, but this one looks quite good, and it’s nice to be able to connect it to your phone for use on the go. Pull the mic off, and nobody would say it’s a gaming headset. The closest alternatives with this set of features are the Steelseries Arctis 9 and Arctis Pro Wireless headsets as they also support Bluetooth, but they don’t do Apt-X and still look very much like gaming headsets, making them less suitable for wearing in public.

The headset also supports multiple device inputs simultaneously, which is another nice practicality feature. Having the headset connected to your PC over the dongle, and to your phone over Bluethooth, is great not only for easy on-the-go switching, but you also don’t need to take the headset off when you receive calls. Music quality is also better over Apt-X.

A quick range test showed disappointing results. In my apartment, I have my office at one end, and most headsets can reach all the way to kitchen midway through while maintaining a stable connection. The very best headsets will stay connected all the way to the other side of my flat, but not the Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT: I was barely able to take a step out of my office into the hallway.

Audio quality

Sound quality is always a bit of a mixed bag with gaming headsets, especially wireless units. Of course, this makes sense: The drivers are tuned to help you pick up the enemy’s footsteps and reloading noises, and to give an engaging amount of bass for explosions. And since the wireless connection is tuned more for low-latency than audio quality, you end up with sound that generally doesn’t please audiophiles.

And while the Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT is no exception to that set of premises, it actually fares quite well, especially over the Bluetooth connection when using a source device that supports the Apt-X codec. Music is enjoyable, voices are clear and there’s enough detail to please most listeners. It’s not going to compare to the best hi-fi headphones out there — it’s not even in the same league — but for a gaming headset that has the practicality to double as your everyday headphones, it’s more than adequate.

But again, keep in mind that audio quality will suffer a bit with the included 2.5 GHz dongle on PC – this isn’t something you’ll notice in game at all as most games don’t have rich enough audio quality anyway. The incoming voice streams from multiplayer chats also aren’t any good, but if you’re playing music for enjoyment, you may prefer to run that from your phone or using a wired connection. The only catch is that battery life on dual devices is quite limited – you’ll be lucky to reach 15 hours.

Our take

Corsair’s Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT is a stunning wireless gaming headset that tries to achieve it all. And while it doesn’t do a perfect job, it offers up a ton of practicality with its excellent connectivity options, great control ergonomics, beautiful production quality, and decent comfort. If you’re asking whether the $269 price tag is worth it, I’d say probably — if you need one headset that can do it all. Just keep in mind that wired headsets often sound better, the battery life isn’t the best, and it has a very short wireless range.

Are there any alternatives?

There are always a ton of alternatives in the gaming headset space, but few look as good as Corsair’s cans and practicality remains an issue – Bluetooth often isn’t present on many models and a mic that isn’t removable, along with garish gamer styling, makes use as an everyday, outdoors headset a tough sell on many units. With this combination of connectivity features, the Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT is in a league of its own. The closest alternative would be Steelseries’ Arctis 9 and Arctis Pro headsets, but they don’t carry the same visual appeal, nor do they support the Apt-X codec for high-quality sound over Bluetooth.

If you’re looking to save some money and don’t mind skipping Bluetooth altogether, Logitech’s G Pro X Wireless headset is a great alternative that’s more comfortable, but less practical.

How long will it last?

This headset should last you about three to four years, depending on your usage style. The delicate pleather is likely to fall apart first after intensive use, and I have my concerns about battery life over the years as it isn’t the best to begin with.

Should I buy it?

If you’re in the market for a new wireless gaming headset and want it to double as your everyday, go-to headphones, the Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT is certainly worth considering. It’s a little pricey, but as it can replace multiple headphones, the price is justified.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
AI

Auto data startup Wejo explores SPAC merger with Virtuoso

Elevate your enterprise data technology and strategy at Transform 2021.


(Reuters) — Wejo is in talks to go public through a reverse merger with blank-check company Virtuoso Acquisition in a deal that would value the British connected car data start-up at more than $1 billion, two people familiar with the matter said.

The deal has not closed and terms could still change, according to the sources, who asked not to be identified.

The sides also have not closed a deal to raise funding from investors to support the deal, the sources said. This type of funding, which is referred to as Private Investment in Public Equity (PIPE), is typically crucial to complete an acquisition by a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.

Officials with Virtuoso and Wejo, which is backed by General Motors, could not immediately be reached to comment. Bloomberg earlier reported Virtuoso’s involvement.

SPACs are shell companies that raise funds to acquire a private company with the purpose of taking it public, allowing such targets to sidestep a traditional IPO to enter public markets.

The valuation would be a step down from the more than $2 billion that sources told Reuters in March the company hoped to achieve.

The SPAC market has cooled off recently amid fears of frothy valuations and last month the SEC suggested warrants issued by SPACs should be accounted for as liabilities instead of equity instruments.

Wejo organizes data from about 15 million connected vehicles for such clients as GM, Hyundai Motor and Daimler, and companies can use the data to develop apps and services for fleets, smart cities and individual consumers.

Wejo is being advised by Citigroup and is led by Chief Executive and founder Richard Barlow.

Founded in 2014, Wejo has raised $157 million according to PitchBook from such investors as GM, which acquired a significant stake in 2019, German auto supplier Hella, DIP Capital and the British government.

On Feb. 1, Wejo’s Israeli rival Otonomo said it would go public in a SPAC merger with Software Acquisition Group Inc II.

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Repost: Original Source and Author Link