What was the scope of their involvement?
Cuttlesoft had a strong competency in a mobile app framework called Ionic. It enabled us to use a single codebase and target both iOS and Android devices. I had previously had a bad experience with similar technologies so I was suspicious, but Cuttlesoft was professional and articulate in explaining why Ionic would be probably my only hope of targeting both iOS and Android in such a short amount of time.
I was responsible for building the backend. Cuttlesoft had to work with the backends and the data-procurement teams on our side, as well as with my frontend designer. I was impressed with their ability to figure this out and blend with our respective personalities. My internal design resources also worked with Cuttlesoft on wireframing and prototyping.
The app displays data and images from one of our weather-stem sites. We go to schools or universities and set up weather and agricultural monitoring equipment and cameras. Many of the cameras have streaming components, serving live video from the site. I worked with Cuttlesoft in order to figure out how to do that in a mobile-app environment.
There was the added pressure of expectation of precision and accuracy. In an evolution of the app, what could be called a version-2, we added notifications to the platform. The original web app had been set up so that users could be notified of certain weather conditions like close lightning and excessive heat, via text messages or emails to a specified end-point. We wanted to have in-app notifications, and I was able to work with Cuttlesoft to engineer that. They took ownership of the code running on the device, around incoming notifications, and I worked on the backend on dispatching them via a third-party annotator.
What is the team dynamic?
We mostly communicated by email. I don’t know what the size of the team was, and I would never judge a company’s strength by the number of people it has. They get the job done, which is what I most care about.
How did you come to work with Cuttlesoft?
Someone whom I’d known for quite a while told me he’d worked with them, and that they did a great job. We set up a meeting and I introduced them to the high-level concepts of our platform. Cuttlesoft specified a proposal and budget and recognized that they would need to sacrifice a good deal of their Christmas holidays in order to fulfill it. They wanted to please me and my firm, helping us to have a mobile app component with the web-based software we would be introducing in January 2015.
How much have you invested with them?
The total expenditure to date has probably been in the low-6-figure range — more than $100,000, but less than $200,000.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with Cuttlesoft in November 2014, and completed by the start of the trade show, in January 2015. However, we do also have ongoing work.