Simple product idea with two significant pivots
The three founders of Urbaner – a European startup – had envisioned an innovative smart anti-smog face mask with changeable filters for active, health-conscious urbanites living in city areas with high air pollution.
Unexpected turn of events
However, with the unexpected outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, their business model and plans required an immediate change. They had to pivot from creating an intelligent mask with digital functions to a stylish and practical face mask for everyday wear. The new benefit was simply increasing your safety outdoors and making you look chic. This worked well.
Enriching the physical product with data
Founders also wanted to inform their customers about the amount of pollution avoided during their busy times due to wearing masks. To make it even more punchy, they also aimed to show how much-polluted air you'd avoid as an equivalent of unsmoked cigarettes.
Mobile apps to the rescue
An app development connected to the mask and external data sources were needed. Our team has been thus tasked with delivering the mobile Urbaner applications for iOS and Android. The app aimed to collect and store data on air pollution and give feedback to its users regarding the total decay avoided thanks to wearing the mask.
Moreover, Urbaner required extremely fast time-to-market to quickly pivot back to its original idea after accommodating other needs during the worst time of the Covid-19 pandemic. Two pivots have understandably put a heavy dent in their runway, and needed a comeback with a bang.
We advised on the best, most helpful technology to accomplish that and went with React Native. The advantages of this approach were significant:
Code reusability for easy app creation on different platforms (Android and iOS in our case)
UI-focused for seamless user experience
It makes the integration of third-party plugins and other apps easy
Data collection for supporting the app users
Our developers have built the data-gathering backend platform for Urbaner since the mask was not equipped with suitable sensors. To get precise pollution data, we proposed and implemented an integration with the Airly crowd-sourced city pollution monitoring system and the municipal open data platforms to fetch current particle levels and CAQI scores gathered by the nearest sensors.
These integrations allowed receiving the correct air pollution information for the specific location, which added much-needed context to the geographical differences in the landscape.
Our engineers proposed architecture based on the modern backend cloud computing architecture utilising Google Firebase. This allowed the client to:
Being a part of Google will enable access to extensive and reliable databases
Seamless integration with Google Analytics
Versatile cloud messaging for cross-platform use
Technological milestones and for the development of apps and features
Adopting React Native allowed developers to create a modular and intuitive environment that is easy to modify. It also offers strong performance in mobile environments with strong code reusability
Using Firebase BaaS help to speed up the development and streamline the development tasks to frontend, to ensure the fast time-to-market for the product would be achieved
Ongoing full support on launch to iron out all the post-launch quirks