What was the scope of their involvement?
We’re new in the app world. This was the first wireless solution we were trying to bring to market. To have the Flint Hills Group come in and help us define what we wanted was priceless.
We had attempted to make the app ourselves, but it was very clumsy and hard to use. They gave us a lot of suggestions and ideas to improve the app. They went through the user interface to really change the way the app functions, so it’s intuitive for the user rather than confusing. It’s now all seamless, and the way it works is obvious.
The app basically does two things. First, it configures the meter. The meter can be set up to display measurement units a certain way, such as gallons or liters per minute. You can define how the display behaves. You can program in some calibration information. When the meter appears to be out of calibration out in the field, you can use the application to configure it for greater accuracy The app also sets up features that allow you to communicate with the meter through another piece of hardware that’s hard-wired to it. The wireless application lets you configure that hard-wired interface. The app also allows the user to record and store data on the meter, then later retrieve that record from the meter.
There are some web components to it. The app runs on a smart device that can be Wi-Fi equipped. All we need on our side is some sort of server. The customer can essentially set up an account and be able to log data and record things, from an IoT perspective. That’s what we hope for in the future, but not what’s intended right now.
We’re working with three different engineers within the Flint Hills Group. One is defining what the app needs to do, one is writing the code, and the third is helping to implement the firmware in our product that will support the new features we’ll be adding.
How did you come to work with Flint Hills Group?
We were originally talking to an employee from a different agency. We were interviewing him to come in and do the software development of the app for us. He was laid off from that employer and subsequently found a different employer. He led us to the Flint Hills Group, as he knew the founders. From the initial interview we had with Dave [Cunningham, Founder], I could tell he felt that he had something pretty special with his company. I knew they had years of experience under their belt. Actually, I thought they might even be over-experienced. But they were absolutely fantastic.
How much have you invested with Flint Hills Group?
We’ll have invested $75,000-100,000 by the time we’re done. We’re about halfway there right now.
What is the status of this engagement?
The project began at the end of January 2017. The project is broken up into a few different phases. Phase one is going to wrap up in the middle or end of May. Phase two will be defined as the first three-month effort for new features that didn’t make phase one. Phase three is potentially moving into an iOS app. We’re talking about that right now, but we haven’t decided whether we'll really go through with it.