What was the scope of their involvement?
We gave Cinnamon Agency a concept of what we wanted, which they translated into what was possible within Android architecture. We didn’t have an idea of how to implement our desired functionalities onto the operating system.
The app provides an ERP billing system on the client side. From it, we receive all information on client meter numbers by address. These are imported to a server solution on our side, and, from it, displayed on mobile devices through web services. On the mobile side, there is an overview consisting of the client name and address. We have GPS functionalities, through which users can see the placement of meters on a map, and navigate to different places.
While in front of a meter, there are several possibilities for reading it. One is with the help of a Bluetooth adapter. The application connects to it in order to exchange commands and read the meter. Another possibility is connecting to a radio receiver, from which we can read meters without going into a house. There is also the possibility to reading out meters manually when there is no digital interface present. For old analog meters, users can enter numbers manually. There is a plausibility check in this case—whether the number is lower than the last one, or whether it is too high. It’s also possible to take pictures of the meters, for fraudulent activity. Those pictures are stored on our ERP or the client’s server, along with a meter number and date and time stamp.
The apps needed to be very stable, given that employees going from house to house are generally very busy, and don’t have a lot of time to waste. We also have backups for the data being collected by employees. The power companies are sensitive to this, as they cannot issue bills without that data.
What is the team dynamic?
We worked closely with Cinnamon Agency, using tools like Slack. As the CEO, I was not directly involved, but I could follow the exchange of information between our chief developers and the Cinnamon team.
I don’t know what the full size of the team was, but we had a main contact person. We had one or two developers, one of them was part-time.
How did you come to work with Cinnamon Agency?
We found them online, but I don’t remember the name of the platform.
How much have you invested with them?
The cost of their work has been around €80,000 [$95,000].
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with Cinnamon Agency in December 2015. We are still in development, but don’t have a lot of work at the moment; it’s mostly maintenance. We will continue with Cinnamon Agency when we have additional functionalities to add.