Ideal Networks - Portal and Cloud-Based Results PlatformApril 10th 2019
Ideal Networks were in need of a system that could easily record and compare the results from the tests they were conducting. We built them a desktop application to sync with the new website application we created, making it easier to connect to and use and showcasing all the results.
Ideal Networks are a manufacturer of cable and network testing equipment. They have devices that can test copper and fibre cables to see if there are any faults within that cable. All cables must meet the industry standards and a number of tests are carried out in order to ensure this. These tests show the quality of the cable for a number of frequencies and lengths, therefore showing what cables are best used for certain instances. This is done by sending a series of signals down the line and recording the analogue responses that are received back. They required a system where they could easily record and compare the results retrieved by these tests.
Ideal Networks only had a desktop application and so this meant that they had to distribute the software to every site in order to read the results. Although the desktop application had some of the current functions, such as inputting the tests to the devices (at the same site), it was not to the extent that their current application now has. Another issue that was present was that the old tester wasn’t WiFi enabled which meant that they couldn’t sync the tests in real-time, resulting in a less efficient use of time as the test could not be synced unless it was in the same room as the desktop computer. Being able to sync it to the software, thanks to WiFi, means that the tester can use the device knowing that the test is ready, and that they will receive results quickly after.
Our suggestion of a cloud-based platform would show benefits such as being able to access and share results seamlessly and sync their new devices on site without needing a laptop. Having done this, it allowed them to pull down a job from the cloud, execute the job and then upload the results from the device back to the cloud. It also supported collaborative working between office admin and the device user, meaning that tests were able to be synced to the device and results were shown quicker.
We built a cloud-based results platform which would upload test results straight from the device into the cloud where the all staff are be able to see the results of the tests in clear and concise graphs. This is a user portal that uploads the test results but in doing so, the portal will read the plot points made in the test, draw pictures with values and create graphs that would be used for reporting and allow you to go into further details by looking at the wave itself. A similar test was done for network testing as well to see if the network was fit for purpose.
How did we design the portal? We went through a Discovery Phase where we then did some information architecture which gave us information such as how it could work and how a system could link and get information passed to the necessary people. This is where we completed an event storming session where we looked at the functions they currently have, and the functions that they want to have. We made these new applications and new platform based on their requirements and needs, so we created and designed something bespoke to Ideal Networks. Once done, this architecture informs the wireframes with how they need to look and function.
A website application was needed to upload the data to so that it can be analysed and put into reports. Introducing the portal: this was required in order for the people in the office (those not in the field testing) to create tests that can be synced to the testing device so that the people in the field can link this to the network cables and conduct the tests. This is beneficial as the engineer doesn’t have to configure the test to the device, they can just turn up and do their job and the device is already configured, therefore resulting in better productivity. We also redesigned the new UI on the actual testing device as well in order for it to align with Ideal Network’s branding and also so that it could easily be read and directed around. We also built a desktop application to sync with the website application that we built so that it was altogether, connected and easier to use.
Another functionality that we built was a flow with various users such as logins for admin, logins for regular etc. This choice means that there can be restrictions set on who has what access to what information. This ensures that certain people have certain access and controls over what can be viewed so data is secure.