A Unique Solution for Concrete and Steel Manufacturers
Idencia is a world leader in Internet of Things (IoT) technology for the precast concrete and steel industry. Leveraging a patented RFID tag embedded into concrete structures and attached to steel components, their solutions are used by leading companies to manage the manufacturing, quality control, proof of delivery, and inventory processes.
The solution is comprised of a custom mobile app that runs on Android-based industrial RFID readers, a fixed RFID reader for automated scanning on the production line, a cloud-hosted IoT platform to process the data, and a web-based admin portal.
Creating a Pathway to the Cloud
When we first engaged with Idencia, their product consisted of a Windows Mobile app running on a Motorola RFID reader and a Windows Server application running on premise at their customer locations. As the company grew, this arrangement became increasingly difficult to support. Updates needed to be distributed to the field and hours were spent on remote support and troubleshooting. The RFID readers were finicky and often had to be rebooted due to the app locking up.
We were brought in to support the current platform and create a strategy to move to the cloud. We outlined a strategy that included three key concepts: eliminating on-premise deployments, enabling configuration to eliminate customer-specific versions, and moving to contemporary RFID readers running Android instead of the outdated Windows Mobile operating system.
Completing the MVP Two Months Ahead of Schedule
A challenge we faced as we started to execute on our proposed strategy was the volume of functionality in the existing product, which had been built over the previous five years. We worked with the client to apply agile principles and “ruthlessly prioritize,” focusing on the most-important features first.
A benefit of this approach came about five months into the new software engineering effort. We projected that there were about four months left to complete all of the features outlined for the initial “minimum viable product” (MVP) release. The problem was the client recently learned of a trade show only two months away, and he really wanted to demonstrate the product.
We said, “No problem,” and worked closely with Idencia stakeholders to move less-critical features to version 1.1, This allowed us to complete the MVP two months earlier than planned.
After the product was released, we continued to move it forward based on customer feedback and today, all of the earlier headaches of on-premise deployments and old mobile operating systems are a thing of the past.