Extensive IT expertise in a single cube
How can a large cross-section of inovex’s wide-ranging IoT expertise be represented in a single project?
The answer lies in a cube. The inoCube brings to life our passion for technology and showcases many of our services. A team of experts from the fields of product discovery, UX design, embedded systems, cloud, backend and frontend development, and data analytics have put together a creative and sustainable product which incorporates all these areas and highlights ways in which technologies can be creatively combined.
The initial plan was to develop a new product that depicted inovex’s strengths in a compact way – and to do so along the lines of a typical customer project. Appropriate framework conditions were defined, and the project was implemented alongside inovex’s day-to-day work. The project had a fixed budget and stakeholders and included a kick-off, product discovery and architecture workshops, prototyping, and a version 0.1.
Since 2021, the Internet of Things (IoT) and the development of embedded systems have been a strategic topic at inovex. Although we do have some case studies we can reference, much of our expertise is subject to NDAs and is, therefore, experienced only by authorised project participants. In a joint workshop, the team worked out how to present our enthusiasm for IoT projects to the outside world. This gave rise to the concept of a cube which uses multiple sensors to generate data. This data can then be called up in a web dashboard and compared.
With this in mind, we developed a vision to serve as our motivation and common goal. The inoCube should, for example, reflect inovex’s technological and methodical end-to-end expertise. It should illustrate how we develop and mentor a product iteratively and cross-functionally – from start to finish and beyond.
The project was also designed to allow all inovexers to contribute their expertise and try out new technologies together.
Iterative hardware creation
Even the hardware development was an agile process. The embedded device (Nordic Thingy:52) had to be enclosed. Due to its feel, appearance, and sustainability, the team opted to use a wooden cube for this purpose. Once the framework conditions had been established, the inoCube was modified and improved repeatedly, over many iterations. Questions such as how to open the cube, where the sensors should sit, or how the status LEDs should look preceded the product’s evolution from 2D and 3D sketches to the final walnut and oak prototype. Working with the wood presented a new and surprisingly complex challenge for the team, who had to resolve a number of new issues.
Architecture development and technology setup
The precise technological requirements were finalized during an architecture workshop, and the technical setup was planned. A cross-functional team of embedded experts, data analysts, frontend and backend developers, and cloud experts and product owners discussed the requirements and jointly defined the scope of the first version. Afterwards, the team organized a two-day hackathon, during which experts from all areas were able to work together on the product.
Once the asynchronous preparations were complete, everyone came together to develop an initial functioning prototype. Now, for the first time, the cube could be comprehensively programmed and tested. The data upload was developed, as were the data analysis functions and a suitable dashboard which displays the measurement results in a visually appealing way.
The inoCube will be continuously further developed. Its open platform lends itself to trying out new technologies and adding other areas. This enables other inovex teams to incorporate their expertise into the showcase and to supplement it with AI functions, for example.
With the inoCube, inovex has created as a platform which promotes cross-functional cooperation outside customer projects and which enables our experts to share their enthusiasm for innovative technology solutions with others.