The Shuttles Project - Initial Success

Posted by on Apr 25, 2016 8:00:00 AM Drew Johnson  
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Wondering how our parking shuttle app project turned out? In this blog series, we last looked at using Neo SIMs for connectivity combined with AerCloud to create a data model. Here's the next step...

After completing the configuration of our tracking device, we installed one in each of the two shuttles that are carrying workers back and forth to the parking areas. The AerCloud console includes a mapping widget so confirming that the devices in the shuttles are sending correct data is a snap. We just need to click on the 'Containers' major tab, find the container we are publishing data to, select the device, and click on the 'Visualization' minor tab. This shows us that the device is publishing location data correctly. We can also select other data feeds from the device to quickly chart those right in the AerCloud console without building an application.

Neo Shuttles Project AerCloud

We decided that most of the workers in the building would appreciate a mobile application rather than just a web application. We could build the web application as a baseline to test out even on the mobile, but we all know that these days a native mobile-first application is far better than a web application displayed on the mobile. Of course, this means creating both an Android application and an iOS/Apple application. I took the easy web application, and two other developers each took the Android and iOS applications.

The web application was super-easy because I was able to leverage the live map tracking application in the AerCloud Application Express package. That package allows customers of AerCloud to have free source-code access to several components which can be pulled into the Application Express framework to create a fully-featured application with role-based access. In this case I used just the mapping application. Later, we will launch the full Application Express to support the property management use cases for monitoring and gathering statistics on the shuttles behaviors. The Live Map web application is written using JavaScript and the AngularJS framework.

Neo Shuttles Project web app

The Android mobile application was created with the Android SDK and then tested using TestFairy in Open Beta mode. We found TestFairy incredibly helpful in rolling out a pre-production version to many of the people in the building so they could help test in preparation for finalizing and publishing to Google Play.

The iOS application was written using the Apple Swift language. Testing of this version was performed using Apple TestFlight in Closed Beta mode. Since TestFlight requires an account on iTunes Connect and invitation, it was more difficult to manage across the building.

Once we got initial testing completed, we went through the process to officially publish the apps to the Google Play store and Apple App Store. You can find the Android application on Google Play. You can find the iOS application on the Apple App Store.

Neo Shuttles Project mobile apps

So that was pretty amazing progress. With three people working part-time for a couple of weeks, we had the web application, the Android mobile application, and the iOS Apple application up and working. Most importantly, the workers in the building who are the riders in the shuttles started being able to see where the shuttles are and became just a little happier.

Read part I herepart II here, and part III here!

Topics: m2m applications, Fleet Management, sensors