Blynk Case study

How Blynk built a cross-platform app for high-precision environmental industrial sensors in just 6 months

INDUSTRY: FLOW METERING AND WATER LEVEL SENSORS

Environmental sensors to monitor underground water

Seametrics – an ONICON Measurement Solutions business, is a designer and manufacturer of a wide variety of flow metering and high-precision submersible sensor products:

• Pressure & Level Sensors
• Conductivity Sensors
• pH/ORP Sensors
• Turbidity Sensors
• Temperature Sensors
• Dissolved Oxygen Sensors
• Multi-parameter Sensors

Problems and challenges

1
Outdated software
Initial Aqua4Plus app was built in the 90-s and wasn't regularly updated. It became impossible for customers to use the app on newer versions of Windows OS because app was used to configure, calibrate equipment, and upload collected data to computer for analysis.
2
Sales decline
Outdated software led to a decline in sales as customers were unable to use the equipment on newer versions of Windows OS.
3
Increased load on tech support team
While Seametrics products are well-known for a high-precision data and outstanding build quality, problems with software created a significant load on a tech support team
4
User experience issues
Since app was developed long ago primarily by engineers, it had a lot of issues with usability, consistency and troubleshooting

Solution

Blynk.Studio - a team of highly-skilled software engineers and designers was called to create a new version of the application for Seametrics smart sensors. Major areas of focus were outlined:
• Modern user experience
• Outstanding quality and reliability to eliminate technology complexities
• Cross-platform (Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Ubuntu)
• Make software updates possible
• Cloud readiness
• IoT readiness

Process

1
Design research
Blynk.Studio's designers worked closely with Seametrics engineers, marketing, sales, and tech support team to highlight major flaws in user experience. Research outcomes led to a decision to completely redesign the app and build it from scratch.
2
New User Experience and Visual Design.
Based on research outcome, Blynk Design Team worked through each setting and each feature and presented a new vision of the Aqua4Plus 2.0

3
Sensor drivers development
To eliminate numerous issues when connecting the sensors to a computer or laptop and decrease the load on Seametrics tech support team, Blynk engineers developed a new set of cross-platform drivers that communicated with sensor firmware.

Primary goal was to build a scalable solution that can be propagated on the whole product line.

Secondary goal was to eliminate and cover all potential errors with sensor connection, detection, data upload, and configuration storage.

It was a very challenging process which also involved some reverse-engineering of the existing sensor firmware and protocol
4
Cross-platform desktop app development
It was decided to use Electron – a framework for creating native applications with web technologies like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

Blynk engineers developed the app from scratch.

What's next?

Aqua4Plus 2.0 is ready to for a next stage to remotely communicate with sensors without a need of a person with the computer on a job-site. Next step is to finalize and deliver a full-scale IoT solution for Seametrics and enable advanced usage of the sensors, such as:
• Remote data logging
• Remote configuration
• Real-time alerts on reaching certain thresholds

Blynk IoT platform is completely ready for this task

Results

Aqua4Plus 2.0 was successfully launched in December 2018

It's a cross-platform app that controls data logging, real-time data monitoring with a live graphing feature, and custom calibration setups. It can automatically detect user communication port and baud rate settings for a faster and more streamlined connection in the field with the communication protocol


6 Months to deliver
From first UX prototype to a complex cross platform desktop app in just 6 months
Sales increase
Sensor sales numbers are getting back on track and growing fast
Customer feedback
Seametrics got a lot of positive feedback from customers and sales representatives

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