What was the scope of their involvement?
The project was the first of its kind and wasn’t well laid out in terms of specifications. However, we had a good understanding of the direction we wanted it to go. Dom & Tom provided us with information on what was possible or impossible, and the level of effort that would be involved to create certain things we wanted. We had a few ideas that were a little far-fetched, but Dom & Tom made us understand and look at practical options, showed us what other apps were doing, and introduced us to some other solutions throughout the course of the project.
Dom & Tom worked through the requirements with us, and then worked throughout 2016 on different aspects of the project, including wireframes and information gathering. They video-interviewed people within our company to ask them what things they would like to see within an app, and how they would go about these things in specific details in order to help inform the design.
Everything lives within the app itself. We have a lot of services here that have open API sets, which is why we wanted to create something on our own to be able to communicate with that. It makes a lot of calls internally and externally to our reservation system. The app includes a feature called My Locker, which is a smart locker system. This feature allows a staff member to walk to a locker bank that has around 50 lockers, and through beacon technology, it will know which locker bank I am in. When the reserve locker button on the app is pushed, the locker pops open and informs the person which locker is theirs. This can be utilized as long as needed by unlocking and locking through the app. This involved various components; one was a locker API which was developed by a secondary developer, plus the furniture and hardware, and then the mobile app calls.
Another feature is our reservation system which allows someone to reserve a particular space in the building. While in the office, if a staff member would like to have a desk or a conference room, they can easily launch the reserve space feature. This can be in a full floor map view, or they can just search specific criteria and can book those rooms or desks on the spot. The app sends a meeting request confirmation, and it is reflected on the room screen display that the space is reserved. The feature is really cool, and has a fantastic UI. There was nothing like it that we saw on the market, a reservation system that had a full mapping interface. This was something that we wanted to do and was our requirement, and Dom & Tom built it out.
In addition to that, we have iPad minis at our workstations, and Dom & Tom built a companion desk reservation app as well, which communicates with our mobile app for checking-in purposes. A person is able to go to a desk, launch the mobile app through their iPhone, put the phone against the iPad, and through Bluetooth technology, it wirelessly checks that person into that desk. Another feature through the mobile app allows staff to upload personal family photos into the app, and once checked in, those photos then display onto the iPad minis that are on the desk. It serves as a photo album to thus personalize their space for the day. We have open seating here, so that staff can feel like this is their desk for the duration of their check in time, which is pretty much 24 hours. It also puts the person’s name and face on the iPad mini, which allows others that are walking by to see who is sitting there, even when they are away from the desk. If someone is looking for a particular staff member, they can check if the desk next to them is available via the floor map within the app, and reserve it.
Currently, we are going through a pilot phase on the second version of the app. When the first version was released, it had a multitude of kinks and bugs. We were pressed for time and didn’t really have a chance to give it the investment in resources to really pressure test the app to make sure there were no bugs. At this point, we are going through every single nook and cranny in this version, looking at every nuance, testing every scenario to make sure this is a bug-free, stable, solid app that we can distribute to our staff. We just didn’t have the time to really look at all those scenarios in the first version. We are really hoping that, with the second version, we can say the app is solid, and that it is going to work every time.
What is the team dynamic?
There were various people on their team that were working with us on this project. Initially, we had a team of 4-5 people, with a range of different expertise. We had a project manager, who was dedicated to us. We then had a lead mobile developer that has been with us since the beginning, and is still currently working with us. We had other architecture developers and creative consultants as well. Our project manager changed, but this was our decision.
How did you come to work with Dom & Tom?
There were a number of vendors that went through the vetting process for consideration. It came down to relatability. We felt they were a young enough company that would be able to translate our vision into a product that would be relatable to the young people starting within the company. Through our initial conversations with the team at Dom & Tom, we made a connection, and they grasped what we were trying to accomplish. They were easy to work with, and were very flexible in their approach. Through internet research of my own, I looked at reviews and saw the positive feedback from other clients that they’d worked with, and took it from there.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started our relationship with Dom & Tom in the latter part of 2015. We have been working with them since that time.