Updated: Oct 6, 2021
Most business' digitalisation process passes through adopting new services - either internal or offered by third parties - that will take over a particular process or business domain. Testing the viability of these services is usually a rather easy activity, as they would offer simple onboarding mechanisms, and often a SaaS model for self-service subscription.
However, the nature of many verticals imply the need of interacting with physical devices, to fulfil part of their processes - e.g. warehouses, manufacturing plants, connected vehicles, and a growing etcetera. When these businesses proceed on digitalising their workloads, these devices may need updating, to continue being an efficient part of the business. However, testing viability of physical devices may be significantly more complicated, expensive, and time-consuming.
Accelerating any business transformation
As business enablers for digital transformation process, we wanted to empower businesses to rapidly visualise the potential of their modernisation efforts. Aftersignals Platform enables astonishingly fast application and workflow building, as well as instant adoption and inclusion and integration of external services. This velocity is a leverage customers use to rapidly iterate on their software designs, continuously measuring the resulting value, and fine-tuning the solutions to maximise it, effectively accelerating drastically time to market and operations.
Most of our customers have processes that need to interact somehow with physical devices - e.g. connected cameras, sensors, automated tracking and delivery devices, and so on. Specially on early stages of business digitalisation, we've observed an enormous impact in this adoption's momentum at the time these integrations were on-scope. Unknown specs, lengthy procurement phases, and very little room for experimentation made the prototyping phase of these customers' modernisation really challenging.
A hardware kit for physical engagements
We wanted to provide a similar prototyping velocity to customers when they require interacting with physical devices, by providing a set of prototype devices that can be quickly attached in the field, and immediately provide a tangible value to customers. These devices shall be quickly detachable so they can be moved around, and each of them would provide a set of ready-to-use features that customers can seamlessly integrate in their solution designs. We have now finished the design of our first device in the kit, which is being released as open source.
Once customers have introduced the device in the field and measured its viability, they can replace it with productive devices with similar capabilities, or have exact device specifications if custom hardware is to be built. With these devices, we aim to accelerate the prototyping of solutions involving hardware integrations, skipping procurement processes until exact requirements are found.
Our first device - Smart Camera
Our first device is a smart camera, that provides instant visual capabilities to customers workloads, to rapidly observe the potential value of adding a camera in the field, to serve a part of a given business process. This camera can be instantly moved around and attached anywhere, and provides out-of-the-box capabilities and integration with customers solutions built in Aftersignals.
Aftersignals Smart camera prototype
This battery-powered camera is bundled-in with WiFi, Bluetooth, a CMOS camera, a flash light, and a motion sensor. When deployed it provided us real-time video and networking capabilities for up to 12 hours, and can be attached virtually anywhere for field tests. Customers can immediately receive video and motion data that they can use in their Aftersignals solutions, and they can operate the device remotely, modifying appearance and settings, switching the lights, etcetera. These are some samples that customers can seamlessly prototype with these device:
Detecting and reading plate numbers of vehicles on premises.
Identifying employees using facial recognition.
Scanning codes - barcodes, QR, etcetera - for fulfilment processes.
Reacting to motion alerts for security use cases.
Detect anomalies in manufacturing processes using machine learning.
Operating cameras remotely for multiple use cases.
If you're interested in knowing more about this device and how we've built it, check out the GitHub repository. You can find the physical design in Thingiverse, where you can download the files to print your own. Stay tuned for more devices in this kit, and for sample solutions that we are building using them.
Now that we have a device to use you should start seeing content soon on how to enable camera-related use cases using it, and we'll keep improving the device to meet the requirements we observe in the field.
We have a few other devices to create to empower other sorts of use cases. We'll try to keep the pace and show you new devices soon, but hardware design is really time consuming, and we may need to get into other matters. As soon as new devices are ready, we'll share them with you!
Can we help you?
If you're currently prototyping your modernised workloads and would like to try our platform, please contact us! If part of your solutions require interacting with physical devices this kit may be useful to help you accelerate the journey.
Thank you for reading!