Posts by Bill Smith

IoT Product Launch – 10 Keys To Success

You have got a vision for an IoT Device that counts, measures or controls a wide network of people and things.  Maybe you even have a working prototype, but what’s next? How do you get to market and what preparation do you need to make before putting your device out in the wild?


Launching an Internet of Things (IoT) or any hardware product requires careful planning beyond creation of the MVP. In the excitement of creating a brand new product entrepreneurs frequently overlook much of the work needed to put a reliable, supportable product in the marketplace.


To help you plan and schedule a successful launch of your product we have collected 10 key learnings from our software & hardware product releases.  I’ll start with a few issues that most directly affect product development teams. Then I’ll mention where product development team frequently contribute to help launch business functions, such as marketing and customer support.

REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS

Be sure to research the government & industry regulations or standards will your device will need to comply with.  If your product dispenses anything, you will need to plan on Weights and Measures compliance. Does your device take credit cards? Be ready for PCI security?  Healthcare & biotech, be ready for HIPAA and ISO, COBIT, HITRUST, NIST, and CIS. Make sure you do your regulations and standards research as early as possible to minimize waste.  At the very least, envision your path to compliance before designing your minimum viable product.

TEST IN THE WILD - EARLY

Make sure to test your product “in the wild” as soon as possible.  Often, products that work great in the lab die in the field because of a noisy Wi-Fi environment. In many R&D labs there’s just one or two wireless routers competing for air time. When you deploy your system, in a bar, or worse yet at a trade show, you could be competing with 30 to 60 or more wireless routers and hundreds of wifi clients.  Test your earliest prototypes in the worst possible environments. In most cases we deploy a dedicated WiFi network to support our systems (rather than sharing the public WiFi). The benefits of investing in a dedicated WiFi include security and manageability,

PHYSICAL HARDENING

Who would think a beer cooler or a green house or a living room would be a rough environment? You’d be surprised. Cords get pulled. Equipment gets smashed. And what about rust and corrosion. Do you your connections need to be waterproof. What plans do you have for wire management? If you don’t have a product designer that specializes in your product environment, go there. Watch what happens. Observe other products already in the space, what hazards have they designed for.

LOGS, AUDITS & REMOTE CONTROL

With a new product there are always discoveries to be made when it first goes to the field. You want to be able to diagnose and repair issues as quickly as possible from the comfort of your own office. The costs of problems in the field are not only time and money but customer confidence. You need to be ready to resolve issues quickly and completely.  The investments you make in capturing detailed information on system events will save you hours and hours of embarrassing and inefficient problem solving. Data captured should be automatically sent back to your cloud-based system dashboard.

Likewise, you will want to have as much control of the individual IoT devices as possible. At a minimum you should be able to restart, configure and update software on all your devices from your web-based dashboard.  

Some applications and security standards will have strict audit requirements.  Audit logs are a great asset when diagnosing issues. Many a dev team to spend sleepless nights searching for defects when the actual cause was user activity.  Audit logs also provide great data for user experience (UX) analytics

MONITORING & ALARMS

Proactive, automated system monitoring helps us discover issues before our customer even notices. Make sure that you have both system-level monitoring and application monitoring at each device and the cloud servers.  System-level monitoring looks for overloaded server CPU, long database cues, and even high temperatures within your devices.

Application level monitoring should notify you when unexpected values come from the environment or gateway systems. Amazon Web Services’ Cloud Watch provides powerful tools for configuring alarms.  System alarms can be easily texted to a response team. We recommend going beyond what Cloudwatch can see.  Our application watchdog alarms notify our teams of issues which are only visible within the application: recurring timeouts, unexpected responses from system interfaces and other critical errors.

DISCOVERY & CONFIGURATION

When your product is first unboxed and plugged in it get’s one chance at making a first impression.  Can your product discover its environment and configure without an employee on-site or on the phone? If you plan to eventually shrink wrap and ship your product to the masses, you must invest in environmental discovery and self configuration. Think how easy it was to set up your last smart TV. My Amazon TV setup was delightful experience. I configured it from my phone in 3 minutes.  That experience was the result of careful planning and overcoming significant technical hurdles. Even if you don’t intend to have your product installed by field engineers, a simple discovery and configuration allows the field engineer to focus his/her attention on site-specific issues, ready to handle the unexpected.

SPARES & CONSUMABLES

You may not be thinking about it right now, but your hardware will not last forever. Consider including a package of spare parts, particularly to a location that has 50 or more of your devices. What items do you know will wear out? Consider these as you design your service contract package.

While you are at it, now would be a great time to design your service tech’s tool kit.  Carefully plan the tools, the spare parts, connectors, cable management, spare Pis and flash memory and even software they will need in the field.  Being prepared will save costly trips back to the customer’s venue.

SERVICE CONTRACTS

Service contracts are the bread-and-butter of many of the companies I have worked with.  Sometimes, service income is greater than new sales. Pricing service can be a scary proposition on a revolutionary new product. You simply don’t know how much time it will take to keep a customer happy. Start with a forecast that assumes two support calls per month. Be careful not to confuse installation support or beta support with ongoing support.  Installation and beta support are much higher.

If you anticipate a heavy support burden, you will need to be strategic communicating the value of support. Consider the revenue your device will generate for the customer. If you have a highly transactional device, like self pouring beer systems, consider pricing support into the transaction stream. Charging a few pennies per ounce (or any unit of service) will directly tie the value of the support contract to the revenue generated by your device.

Don’t obsess about covering every penny of service costs at first.  You will still be learning and dialing in procedure. Covering all costs before you have made efficiency gains can price your service too high.

CUSTOMER SUPPORT

Automate customer support for efficiency and for learning.  Direct emails phone calls to developers unnecessarily limit the growth of your product. Employ a support ticket system, and funnel all issues there. We feel that automating customer support is so important that we created our own ticket system.  Then we added a native mobile app for submitting support requests. The app makes it easy for our customers to submit location information, voice, video and images with their support requests. The any staff member can handle a fresh support request.

SALES & MARKETING

Technologists don’t always make great salespeople, but we can help by automating the sales funnel and/or onboarding process.  We frequently create systems that track and guide new customers through site survey, assembly, installation & configuration. keeping this data within the greater system dashboard helps to manage and maintain the network.  When necessary we can interface with the client’s customer relationship management system (CRMS) ensuring a smooth journey from prospect to customer.

VISIBILITY & VIRAL STRATEGY

Product development teams must help sales and marketing by creating remarkable systems.  Our systems should help to sell themselves.  Does your product get noticed? Does it follow up with satisfied customers? Is there a viral component that urges or rewards sharing with friends?

Our first hardware project (Audioair 2011) was a listening app for bars.  The challenge of this product was that it was invisible to new patrons. To make the product more visible, we proposed and created a digital signage system.  The signs had interactive features that complemented the app and ensured every patron was familiar with the product. As a bonus, the signage system created more valuable ad space than the app and even won a patent.  

Once you have your product design in hand, review the experience of every customer/stakeholder. Ensure that web, mobile, text, signage and social channels all complement one another. This way you provide the maximum benefits while grabbing appropriate exposure for your product.

SHIP IT

Some of this advice may seem like a distraction to the urgent need of getting a product in the field, but consider your other investments in building the business.  In our experience, product development and IT services account for about 20% of a startup’s budget. So be wise and be prepared.

Yes, rush your minimum viable product MVP into customers’ hands so you get critical real world feedback, but devote a realistic budget to making your technology robust, flexible and easy to manage.

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PCI Level 1 Tips

PCI Level 1 Certification – 5 Tips to Pass On Your First Attempt

PCI Level 1 compliance is required of any system processing more than 6 million card transactions annually, any system with a previous security breach, and anyone VISA/MC chooses to add. 85% of IT teams fail to pass PCI level 1 compliance on their first attempt. Time is usually ridiculously short and the teams are frustrated by any number of faults left by previous developers. If you require PCI Level 1 you probably already know you need to start with a Security Services Provider. We used ControlScan and were quite satisfied. This article share our tips for success at PCI Level 1 certification.

Back in 2015 E7 Systems had the responsibility to achieve PCI level 1 compliance for an operational system doing 10,000 transactions a day. The system as we found it was not compliant. Three months and 415 billed hours later, our client had their certificate and was free to continue operating. Here’s how we passed on our first try.

Cloud
If you are running a PCI level 1 system from your office data center, you had better be Amazon. If you are not Amazon, then host with Amazon Web Services. AWS has the highest up-time and they provide you with an attestation of PCI Level 1 compliance for their facilities and hardware, thus reducing your scope.

Scope
Scope is king. Move everything you can away from your account holder data. Every system that handles cardholder data in in scope. Every system or developer’s PC that touches an in-scope system is itself in scope. Therefore you cannot access PCI Level 1 servers from your laptop at an airport. You must establish secure “bastion” machines to keep your PC out of scope.

Creative
When faced with a daunting task, don’t dive in. Look for a way around. Since we only had 90 days, we were forced to be creative. For example, some of our developers worked from home offices. There was NO practical way to get their facilities certified PCI Level 1 compliant. Our solution was to have the developers move to cloud based workstations on AWS where we had certified facilities compliance and we could easily manage antivirus and software updates.

Negotiate
Engage your Qualified Security Analyst (auditor) as a constructive partner in finding the creative solutions you need to pass. We managed a network of ATMs. Many of them still ran on XP. After a day of back and forth with the QSA, we were able to remove them from scope as they were technically owned by the venues where they resided. Be persistent, respect the QSA’s expertise, and you will find a valuable partner.

Team
Dedicate at least 3 people to your PCI project. Our first try for PCI Level 1 required us to make major architectural changes to the system and its security. We had to upgrade operating systems, certificates, add log aggregation, automated alerts & audit trails, policies and procedures, and we had to meticulously document everything. So you should dedicate 3 types of people a big picture/negotiation lead, a tech guru (or two) and an amazing security librarian keep everyone on track & prove it got done.

Finally, know that PCI level 1 only protects cardholder data. PCI Level 1 compliance is not a realistic security policy. Other kinds of personal financial data are more attractive to hackers and much harder to clean up than getting a new credit card. Be certain to protect all of your customer’s data with the same energy you put into PCI Level 1 Certification.

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Project Rescue Professionals

Software Project Rescue Depends on Process

Project Rescue Process:

Do you know anyone with an overdue software project? Perhaps they have spent their entire budget and more. The deadline is right around the corner, but still no working software. Distressed or failed projects are all too common. ZDNet reports that 2 out of 3 of IT projects fail.

E7 Systems is frequently called upon for project rescue. One E7 client had spent over 2 million dollars and still did not have a reliable system, until they called us. About half the projects we take are project rescues. With the help of an amazing team, we have delivered on every one of these.

Our proven process for project rescue is based on this 5 step program to rescue a failing hardware or software project.

1. Review the Scope
The number one reason projects fail is that requirements were poorly understood by client and developer. We validate the functional requirements before we begin to ensure no work is wasted. We also review requirements driving the deadline. Frequently we can buy more time for the project by satisfying the needs behind the original deadline. Finally we always review the scope vs. budget. Since most of the original budget may already be spent, it is crucial to review what we are trying to accomplish and at what investment. Reaching shared understanding and consensus on the scope is essential to all the work that follows.

2. Address Risk with Spikes
Spikes are essential to project rescue. We don’t have a moment to lose. So it is essential to know that any roadblock are encountered and dealt with early. A spike delivers just enough code to prove that the unproven algorithm or hardware component or external system can be connected to and integrated. When roadblocks are encountered early we have maximum leeway to solve the issue. Spikes normally take about 3 man days per risk item, a sound investment on any serious project.

3. Build Roadmap Consensus
Concurrent with the spikes, we detail the deliverables for the project in terms of tasks which should take no more than 2 days. This roadmap should communicate to both the client and developers and is the basis for future project management and execution. All billing should refer to roadmap items. No item should be so large as to allow it to get bogged down without being noticed.

4. Develop with Agile
Project rescues absolutely require agile development. Recovering a project in trouble presents all the risks (schedule, requirements, communication) that agile was designed to solve. Working in 2 week sprints, we make frequent deliveries and demonstrations to elicit customer feedback. This ensures that we stay on track and reserve well informed customer expectations.

5. Release Frequently to Production
Frequent releases will accelerate your return on investment. More importantly, frequent production releases are the only way to get 100% validation on requirements. In many industries, like restaurants, the only way to determine the suitability of a system is in the heat of battle. Until a server has survived a busy happy hour with their new PoS, all requirements are just educated guesses.

Project rescues have massive challenges: super tight deadlines, suspect requirements. Perfect planning is impossible. We strive to communicate and create a shared understanding of goals and challenges. Our frequent demos and releases help restore our client’s faith in developers. Above all, we employ the above principals, to aggressively drive risk and waste out of the effort.

We have helped to create over one hundreds of million dollars in enterprise value through project rescue. Please don’t slide  even one more day.  To see how we can help your distressed project, please contact E7 Systems today.

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App Development Costs

5 Ways to Crush the Cost of App Development

Have you got an idea for a mobile app, but you think it’s just too expensive? Your next mobile app might be cheaper to do than you think. It might just even be free. Read on dear friend, for I will reveal 5 of E7 Systems’ most closely held secrets of affordable app development.

Reusable Software

After a decade of app development, we have automated all the core functions found in most apps. For your project, we can piece these functions together and add your unique ideas to our base.  Our reusable codebase includes: admin dashboard, user management, notifications, blogging, user messaging, bar codes, RFID, geo-fencing & more.

App Content Manager

Does your app idea contain a lot of content, articles, video?  Check out E7’s  content management system for mobile apps.  Our customers can now define their own content without programming. Adding and updating content in your app is as easy as filling in a web form.  There’s no need to pay a programmer to do what you can do for yourself, unless you want to.

Shared Hosting

Configuring and maintaining a separate host for each and every application takes time.  For a simple app with no special hosting requirements, we add the app content to our shared app server and in no time the new app is ready to go.

Client Partnerships

Have you got an idea for an app that’s worth investing in?  Then contact us.  We have recently worked on 2 great apps where we partnered with the app owner to share revenues.  In my next post, I will introduce the perfect partner app, a 30 Day Weather forecast.

App Leasing

Your app will give you many years of value. Why pay for app development all up front?  E7 Systems can work out an app lease, where you pay for your app over time.  We can work out a plan where the monthly payments are in balance with the income or savings that the app brings to your business.

Mobile App Cost Calculator

If you want to see what your app might cost, come visit the App Cost Calculator at E7Systems.com.

 

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Mobile App Dev Cost Calulator

Mobile App Cost Calculator

E7 Systems has developed dozens of mobile apps and with each one we have simplified the development process and added to our collection of reusable code. We can now estimate the cost of many apps with simple formulas.  Try our cost calculator with your app idea. Just select the parameters that describe your mobile app and see the effects on cost in real time.  The parameter explanations are below.

Calculator
Total
Content Delivery FREE $0.00
User Management FREE $0.00
Admin Dashboard FREE $0.00
Broadcast Notifications FREE $0.00
Blogging FREE $0.00
Notifications User Alerts NoneMany/Complex $0.00
Geofence $0.00
Community Messaging NoneComplex $0.00
External Data Gateway NoneComplex $0.00
Custom Functions NoneComplex $0.00
Post to Your Existing App Store Account $0.00
Set up Your New App Store Account $0.00
Host on Your Server SimpleComplex $0.00
Ads NoneComplex $0.00
In App-Purchases NoneComplex $0.00
Free & Pro Versions $0.00
Native Coding $0.00
High Design Template NoneComplex $0.00
Simple Content Pages NoneAround 20 $0.00
Complex Content Pages None4 or so $0.00
Likely totals $0.00
Contact Information How much is my app worth? How do I make money on my app? How do I promote my new app? For the answers to all your app questions, complete the contact info and get a free consultation call with an app business & development expert.
Name
Phone
App Description

Here is how E7 estimates the cost of a mobile app, repeatedly and accurately.  If you want to skip the explanations, you will find our app cost calculator at the bottom of this article.

Bidding a Mobile App

In creating a bid for an app we nail down 10 variables which determine your cost of building the complete app.

  1. Functions
  2. Content
  3. App Hosting
  4. App Store Posting
  5. Paid or Free
  6. Native App or Cross Platform
  7. Client Factors
  8. Interfaces
  9. Fixed Price or Time and Materials
  10. Discovered Requirements

App Functions

What is the app supposed to do? The most basic app functions are now standardized and fairly cheap, e.g. streaming audio/video, GPS and notifications.  

Many other app functions are already encoded in the E7 Systems code base. They merely need to be turned on for your app.

  • User registration
  • Location
  • Content pages
  • Business directories
  • RFID

Completely custom functions, like calculating the grams of carbs, fats and proteins in any meal, those are more expensive, possibly as much as $20k.

App Content

Sometimes clients ask us to build beautiful apps, filled with detailed content. Collecting this content and bringing it to production quality can be enormously time consuming.  Fortunately, many customers already have most of the photos and articles they need. In the case where  you can supply their own content, you only pay a small price to format it for mobile.  

To further reduce costs, we created The E7  Mobile Content Management System, which enables your business to enter your own content via your web browser and to update it as frequently as you’d like in the years to come without the cost of programming or releasing new versions.

System Interfaces

Does the app need to share data or functions with another system or piece of hardware?  Some interfaces, such as encrypted credit card readers or managed care providers can be very difficult to work with.  Other platforms, like web point of sale systems, can be fast to Integrate.  In this we let experience be our guide to best suit your requirements.  

App Hosting

Nobody thinks of hosting costs, but most every app needs interaction with the outside world. For example, our weather app needs a new forecast every day.  Does your app require users to log in, send messages,etc? If it does then it will need a host.  Hosts can be rented for $20-$200 monthly, depending on the workload and size of your user base.  Setting up a cloud based host in the customer’s name will cost between $500 and $1000.

App Store Posting

Mobile Apps are distributed via the Apple App Store for iOS and Google Play for Android.  In the simplest case, we can publish the app in the E7 developer accounts for App Store and Play.  If  the app is designed to generate revenue, then you will want your own App Store & Play accounts. With simple apps, the store posting and launch can be 30% of the work.

Paid or Free

Choosing the right revenue model is key to the success of any app.

  • Free – if you want a large audience.  
  • Paid – for exclusive experiences & specialized functions
  • In-App purchases – Offers revenue & large audience
  • Paid by advertising – Monetize your free app.

These models can be mixed in many creative combinations. Here’s how they affect cost:

  • Free – no additional cost
  • Paid – small additional cost in posting
  • In-App purchases – more costly, must design packages and add logic for “fulfillment”
  • Paid by advertising – small additional cost – mostly design

Having launched dozens of apps, E7 can assist you choosing a revenue model best suited to your app..

Web app, Cross Platform Mobile or Native App.

Web Apps

Do you really need a mobile app?  E7 can save you 75% by creating a responsive web application that looks just like a mobile app.  Mobile apps are only necessary when you need a store presence or need direct access to deeper functions within the phone.

Cross-Platform Apps

If you want to reach everyone with an Android or an iPhone you need to create 2 different apps.  When possible E7 uses Ionic, cross-platform development tool, to write the app once and publish it to each store and even the web. There is a small cost in performance and user experience, but a cross platform tool, like Ionic, can save 30% on app development.  

Native Apps

Native programing (Swift or Java) is used to get the best app performance, slick user interfaces (think games) or deep sensor interaction.  Native programming is the most expensive as we need to write the software twice.

As a part of our service we help you to determine the best platform formatting for your app.

Fixed Price vs Time and Materials

Do you  insist on fixed price?  If so, most contractors build in a safety margin. We prefer time & materials so that we can accomodate discovered requirements and provide whatever level of service the client desires.  E7 time & materials contracts always state an estimate which we will not exceed without your permission.

Discovered Requirements

At the start of a project there is no way to foresee all of the features that you require.  Inevitably, good ideas come to light when we hold our new app for the first time.. At E7 we try to account for discovered requirements in our bidding process.  

Our discovered requirements budget is based on 2 factors, feature set and agility in purchasing.  

Some apps have features that are open to discovered requirements, like games. Apps like engineering calculators have fewer discovered requirements.

Larger companies who have only one chance to budget may need more funds set aside for discovered requirements.

Client Factors

A realistic estimate must account for the following questions:

Are you  in a rush?   Rushing is great for amusement apps. For financial transactional apps rushing can increase costs by 200%.

Are you  good at communication? You’ll want to be available  to discuss, review or approve your work.  Are you  a large organization or a smaller business entity? Will there be multiple parties involved in app approvals?

E7 Systems’ App Pricing Process

E7 Systems has built apps that forecast the weather, apps that stream audio and video, apps that track your adventures, apps that track your diet and calculate your nutrients, apps that configure solar systems and water blast tools.  Much of the non-proprietary software we have created in 15 years is available for reuse.  Reusing core features saves every client thousands of dollars on their new app.  E7 makes every effort to save your app project budget.

Here is a menu of costs in creating an app based on the criteria above.  Each item has a low to high range.  Of course, there are exceptions, but these ranges represent 90% of the projects we encounter.

 

Criteria

Low Price

High Price

App Functions

1000

100k*

App Content

1000

20k*

App Hosting

200

5k

App Posting

2000

6000

Paid or Free – In app Purchases

0

4000

Native App or Cross Platform

+30%

Project overhead

500

Discovered Requirements

300

50000

Fixed Price Safety Margin

30%

Likely totals

$5,000

$175,000

An example mobile app for the low range price of $5,000 might be a content app where you have time to communicate. You have well organized content.  Maybe your app requires a simple data feed and the ability to communicate with users.  A marketing or training app might be a good example here.

An example of a mobile app that costs $175,000 would be a product like a point of sale app for restaurants that has extensive features and is entering into a market with several competitors.

Right-sizing your mobile app budget

Over the years, we have developed products for many startups.  Although the technology is the core of their business, our clients regularly spend 20% on technology and 80% on business development.  There is little to gain by trying to cut the 20% to 10%.  

Many new clients come to us after another developer has failed to deliver. Inexperienced developers frequently underbid apps and lose interest when the budget is gone. In many instances we can take the knowledge learned from an incomplete app plan and expedite its proper final development phase.

No matter who you choose, please budget a reasonable amount for technology.  It will help ensure you pay for your mobile app development just once.

E7 Systems has developed dozens of apps getting more efficient with each effort.  Every app we build incorporates new innovations

UI

Content

Server

Store Posting

After developing our first few mobile apps we discovered that there was too much duplicated effort.  So we set to work making the process more efficient.  After developing a few dozen apps, we now only have to develop the modules that are absolutely unique to your app.  We handle all web services from an existing cloud server

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Content Manager

Content Management System App

Content Management Systems have made web site creation fast & easy. Now mobile apps are just as easy to create. To lower the costs of mobile app development, E7 created the mobile content management system (MCMS). Our clients can now complete development of their mobile app in a week by repurposing content or creating new. Their app gives the content new life and exposes their work to the app store audience. MCMS apps can be free or paid, and include any unique functions that you desire.

Business Goal:

We created a content management system app so that the client could quickly add content and change content, at will, without needing to call their  programming team.  The client can now add virtually unlimited content into one low cost mobile app.

Simplicity of use has been an overriding goal, as owners and managers do not have the time to become computing experts.

Cost: $

Technologies:

Ionic, Ruby, Javascript, Angular, MYSQL, Youtube API, notifications via Golang

 

Innovations:

Full featured Content Management System for Apps. Displays Q&A, events log & sequential information pages.  Simple to use editors make new content fast & easy.  Each page of the app contains similar elements arranged to the purpose of the page:

  • Short Introductory Text

  • Multiple Photo Slideshow

  • Embedded Video

  • Full Page Text

  • More Information Link to Web URL

Clients can send app notification to all app owners, alerting them to vital events in the community & app domain.

Deliverables:

  • iOS and Android content & community building app

  • Admin dashboard & content management system

Outcome:

This app is soon to be in the Apple App Store and Google Play.

The app content management system is available to build new apps at lightning speed.

Content Management App Builder

The user friendly Content Management App Builder allows anyone with basic web skills to create their own app. Making new pages, uploading photos and embedding you tube videos are as easy as ordering on Amazon.

You can easily send app notifications to all your users.

Each Page in this app can have any or all of these elements:

The CMS admin dashboard gives a clear overview of all app pages.

Adding a new page is as simple as sending an email.

Images, video, & web links are automatically formatted, and the app ensures consistent presentation of all content managed by the app.

This paid app also helps the client build their on-line community.

Interactive Questions and Answers allows app customers to ask any question of the app owner.  The owner can choose the best questions to answer, automatically curating the Q&A section of the app.  Automated messages are sent to the asker upon answering.

Connecting this app to a Youtube live video feed was a big requirement.  With some query and formatting tricks we made the Youtube live stream looks like just another part of the app.

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Drone RFP Estimator

Business Goal:

Drone technologies have dramatically decreased the costs of inspecting utilities assets such as towers and power lines. Our client asked us to create a tool that would enable commercial drone operators to create sound estimates for complicated projects.  These estimates are then converted to standardized contracts which are submitted to utility customers.

 

Cost: $$

Calendar Time: 3 Months 

Technologies:

Ionic, Ruby, Javascript, Angular, MYSQL

Innovations:

Import facility for ARCGIS “shape” files to describe the assets to be inspected. Business rules and formula engine to convert project parameters to an estimable scope of work. Supports multiple site uploads and multi-point support through a mapping application. 

Deliverables:

  • Responsive web app
  • Dashboard
  • PDF Contracts

Outcome:

Interactive and user friendly map application used to add custom site location points.

Import Utility Asset Lists from Arc GIS to scope the project.

Simplifies the process of bidding complex jobs. The utilities get faster service, and the operators get more business with fewer bidding errors.

Create a rich description of project details.

The app accounts for travel and other project expenses. 

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Diet Coaching App

Business Goal:

Enable a busy dietitian to serve more clients by automating her routine tasks.  Open up her schedule so she can spend more time on the deeper more meaningful work of a registered dietitian.

Unlike other dieting and fitness apps, we endeavored to create an app with a focus on managing a group of clients.  Reporting and messaging features save time, keeping the coach and client in touch on matters of program success.  By automating the role of monitoring client meals, the coach can now focus on discussions of goals.  With the time freed by the coaching app, the client can serve more clients and increase her income 50%.

 

 

Cost: $

Technologies:

Ionic, Ruby, Javascript, Angular, MYSQL

 

Innovations:

Daily Planner and Meal Builder functions allow clients to diary their performance within the dietary program.

Automated and personal messages affirm accomplishments and guide clients who may be struggling.  Direct chat between coach and client free up inboxes and her personal messaging apps.

Daily assessments pages link dietary program success with energy & satisfaction

Clients can graph how their aesthetics have improved over their time in the program.

Leaderboards call out the clients who are most successful and most improved in the program.

 

Deliverables:

  • iOS Coaches and Client app
  • Admin dashboard for managing clients

Outcome:

Client is using the app with everyday clients. Clients are logging meals and tracking program success with the way they feel.   

Our intention is to partner with the client in marketing the app to other Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.

Diet Coaching App Demo

Please enjoy the first of 8 videos demonstrating the Diet Coaching App. 

For access to the rest of the videos please contact us.

Built specifically for dietitians who need to manage and motivate clients and grow their practice and income.

Clients get instant affirmation as they log their meals.

Clients track program success vs having more energy and feeling better.

Graphs help clients keep track of their progress on their personal diet goals.

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Self Pour Beer & Wine

Business Goal:

Craft beer is an exploding market. Customers love the opportunity to explore craft beers, especially when they can taste and compare a dozen beers without overindulging.  Our client is a restaurant in Orange California with 55 taps, and rotating kegs to offer new deliciously tasting craft beers every few days. Our goal was to enable this small restaurant to operate in a small space with minimal staff and create a model which would be repeatable in other venues.  And of course, we wanted to deliver a remarkably awesome customer experience.

Cost: $$

Calendar Time: 6 Months

Technologies:

Ionic, Ruby, Javascript, Angular, Raspberry Pi, RFID, MYSQL

Innovations:

Many dozen small innovations went into making the experience seamless for customers and staff. We created a system based on off-the-shelf hardware as much as possible, Every piece of hardware is low cost and field replaceable.  Where no existing hardware was available, the E7 Systems hardware design team prototyped a proprietary PCB and then contracted for mass production.

Deliverables:

In lean fashion, we proved the viability of the highest risk project elements first. There were many elements of this project that we needed to know would work in our environment so we delivered prototypes of each before moving forward with the construction of the 55 taps.

  • Software spike
  • Prove accuracy of flow meters
  • Single Tap Demo
  • Two tap prototype in venue
  • Seven 8 tap units
  • 56 keg side controllers

Outcome:

The restaurant is now a full time self-pouring bar. Patrons love the choice, convenience and novelty of being  their own bartenders. Staff love the freedom from having to pour flights.

Installations are underway for the eSports Lounge at the Rio hotel and casino in Las Vegas Nevada and Splash Kingdom Waterpark in Redlands California.

Development has commenced for a rapid install and deploy version for your kegerator.

55 user friendly taps in a small space used to maximize sales and create excitement for patrons.

Accurate measurement to 1/10th ounce.

All of the hardware was created by E7 System and our local partners from the tap cabinet all the way to the custom PCB.

What customers are saying about the beer tasting

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Restaurant Point of Sale

Business Goal:

We set out to build a Point of Sale system tailored to the fast paced casual dining and bistro environments.  We built a beautiful, solid, flexible, high performance POS system, and we integrated it to all of the technology in the environment.  

 

Cost: $$$

Calendar Time: 6 Months

Technologies:

Ionic, Ruby, Javascript, Angular, Raspberry Pi, RFID, MYSQL

Innovations:

There are many small innovations that make our POS system a hit with staff. In general, our system is more fully featured and flexible to their needs over the Square POS that we replaced.

The major innovation and 60% of project effort was delivery of the self-pour beverage system.  For more information on our self-pour project click here, See the Self-Pour Beverage project summary.  The self pour system requires deep integration with the POS.  The POS must be able to inventory, sell, and properly account for beers and wines sold in bulk, with precision of a tenth of an ounce.

Deliverables:

The Restaurant POS suite includes

  • Mobile app for servers
  • Kitchen & expeditor app
  • Self pour beer & wine app
  • Venue administration web app
  • Digital signage Menu displays
 

 

 

Outcome:

Working point of sale and self-pour beverage hardware and software were delivered into a busy restaurant in 6 months. A one month cut-over period ensured continuous operation of staff into the new system which changed 100% of their IT procedures.

Agile and lean methods were employed to ensure that the highest risk items were under control before the client invested in the bulk of the project.

E7 Systems drew upon internal resources and local partners to perform all the hardware engineering, case manufacture, assembly, and PCB manufacture required to deliver a business ready, professional looking prototype to the first restaurant.  

We are presently working on plans for installs to other venues in the chain and beyond.

Tiki POS is designed to keep up with busy servers.

With our self pour system, patrons pour their own beers and their tabs are updated automatically.

Lightweight design is flexible for the unique requirements of the casual food and bistro environments.

Integrates with the E7 Systems designed pour it yourself beverage system.

App Screenshots

Wow, ordering an entry has never been easier with the app’s flexibility!

Keep up with the food orders, and easily modify seats or tabs.

The Cooks and expeditors love the power of the kitchen command screen.

Payment is extremely flexible; the app is capable of splitting the check by seat or even by item.

Don’t pull out your hair trying to split the tab; let the app do the work.

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