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Case Study: Maximum Controls

We like to help.

If it’s an app that needs fixing, we like to be the ones fixing it.

If it’s an app that needs improving, we’re there with a whiteboard and ideas.

If it’s an app that hasn’t been developed yet, sign us up for the problem-solving and late-night celebratory dinners at the OC Night Market.

Helping out with something that hasn’t even been developed yet is special. You get to go in on the ground floor, and build it from scratch, tweak it until it works just the way you want it to. Problems that happen happen, but because we’re there from the start, it allows us to do so much more than just fix it. We can adapt. We can change. We can make it a lot better than intended.

This is what happened with Maximum Controls, a gate-manufacturing company that wanted to keep their old school ideas but step forward into the future.


Admin Portal

iOS App

Android App

Mobile App

Admin Portal, Mobile Development,
iOS App, and Android App

Maximum Controls didn’t know what they wanted from the technology side. They had a hardware developer writing their code for them on how the gate worked, they had the manufacturing set-up already in place, and they needed a software developer to help turn their manual gates smart. The dialpad and manual clicker controls were out of date; they needed something better.

Our projects all start with our clients getting in touch with us. When they talked to us, it was about feasibility: could the project be done? How was it going to work with their hardware? Would it work with the schematics that they already had in place?

Mostly, they needed guidance. Straight talk and possibilities are good things to have in a client relationship, and they’re powerful: you always want to reach for better than you plan for, but then you need to make a decision and take a side. What they needed was someone to show them what the better side was.

Mostly, they needed guidance. Straight talk and possibilities are good things to have in a client relationship, and they’re powerful: you always want to reach for better than you plan for, but then you need to make a decision and take a side. What they needed was someone to show them what the better side was.

Early meetings focused on answering questions and understanding their vision. They wanted to create a smart-enabled gate that worked through an app, and they needed to understand what the software limitations were and what was better to work towards. Initially, the idea was to have a Wifi-enabled smart gate, but once they brought up that they had clients in areas with limited connectivity, we brought up the possibility of using cellular instead, to make sure that their clients didn’t run into problems.

An interesting problem to solve was how to build the communication process between the hardware and the software. Information between device and the cloud can travel both ways, allowing both the hardware and the cloud to talk to each other, or one way, meaning only the cloud can talk to the device. When it came down to designing the system, we thought two way communication would work better than one-way; this made communication near instantaneous.

To mitigate the delay even further, we used a web socket, built on HTTP protocols, to turn communication between the gate and the cloud into a constantly live connection. Think of how quickly you can message someone nowadays: whether on Facebook messenger, Discord, or other instant messaging services, the response comes back within seconds.

That’s how the Maximum Controls gate communication was built.

The benefits of the web socket system meant that any problem was immediately visible: if there was a disconnect, the system would tell you.

Then we had to deal with the data issue. Huge amounts of cellular data come to a big bill at the end, so we worked with their developer to minimise the information payload; we used hexadecimal, for shorter payloads, to help cut it down even further.

And, just for fun, we added in extra features. Every smart device has them: a list of users, an admin, two-factor authentication, a way of adding temporary access for guests. It just hadn’t been done for gates before, but that was no reason not to.

Finally, we made sure it was easy to on-board, and synced their tutorial on how to use the gate to Youtube.

If you can go beyond what’s possible, do it. If you fail, you’ll land closer to the ideal than to what you’ve set out to do - and it makes whatever job you’re working on a lot stronger. Pioneering solutions helps everyone: the client, mostly, but yourself too.

Talk to your clients. If you have an idea that would work better, it’s best to say it out-loud, especially if you’re in an industry like tech where the possibilities are endless. Giving your clients the ability to see a project through to the end with you means sharing as much as possible about what you’re visualising, what’s possible, and what else you could do.

What the client was most thrilled about was how we guided them through the process; from picking out what sort of communication network to use to adding in extra features, the Maximum Controls team really valued our input and advice, and we still keep in touch to watch how the project keeps developing.

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