Hampshire-based Inflowmatix provides smart technologies to water network operators, helping them to optimise their services and keep customers supplied.
The company’s innovative sensor products can be used to map customers’ networks and expose dynamic pressure variability, generating invaluable performance insight that can in turn be used to make better, faster decisions around behaviours such as pressure surges, unusual usage patterns and asset misbehaviours.
With the water industry under mounting pressure to reduce waste, Inflowmatix is in the perfect position to help network operators meet Ofwat’s leakage targets and continue delivering value for home and business owners across the UK.
The main objective
Inflowmatix came to Lumico Digital looking for help in creating a robust, intuitive web app to complement its network sensor technology.
While the company has its own in-house development team, the project’s considerable size meant support was needed for Inflowmatix to meet its original delivery schedule. It needed to bolster the team quickly and had no room for error, so our expertise and experience in working on similar applications made us a perfect fit.
Inflowmatix had already built the foundations of a supporting web app and initially wanted help rewriting certain elements and completing the build, but during our early discussions it chose to restart the project from scratch.
Our biggest challenges
Every company has its own unique way of doing things, and Inflowmatix is no different. When we work on a project alone, we’re free to operate in the manner we’re used to, but this time we were supporting a wider development team that had its own specific processes to follow – different review and testing regimes, for example.
Thankfully, the experience we have in working closely with other clients means we’re able flip into the right mode when called on. Using the information gathered in our earliest meetings, we quickly adapted to Inflowmatix’s working style and essentially became a temporary extension of its own staff.
The Lumico approach
Inflowmatix choosing to re-build the web app from the ground up was a blessing as it allowed us to offer and apply our own recommendations right from the start.
We might be developers at heart but we believe strongly in the importance of great design. We recommended bringing in a specialist User Experience (UX) designer to help create an intuitive interface that would really get the most from our back-end work, and it certainly paid off.
We also used our extensive AWS (Amazon Web Services) knowledge to help Inflowmatix move from internally-hosted servers to a serverless cloud model. This immediately improved the app’s scalability and made it possible for more people to get involved as and when necessary, without having to be introduced to any proprietary technologies – ideal for when new employees come into the company.
Where are we now?
The app’s current iteration is now being used by both water networks and academic researchers, all of whom are investigating the potential of smart water.
Being a web app, the product we’ve helped Inflowmatix build can be utilised through any internet browser, making it ideal for use in large organisations – like major water companies – where IT security restrictions can prevent software downloads.
Looking forward, we’ll continue building new functionality into the app to make it more valuable for Inflowmatix’s customers in the utilities sector. One thing we’re focusing on at the moment is making it easier for users to identify certain types of events, such as pipe fractures, through the web app’s data.
Since starting this project in April 2018, we’ve become a vital part of Inflowmatix’s in-house development team and still continue to provide support both remotely and at its offices in Southampton. We’ve taken the time to fully understand the company’s way of working and have learned a lot from its rigorous testing and quality-checking processes.
Lumico brought technical skill and experience, business acumen and flexibility to augment and blend into the Inflowmatix team. They spent time listening and learning a new domain and by recommending their UX partner, elevated our web offering above that which we would have delivered alone.
I would have no hesitation in recommending Lumico to other organisations faced with similar challenges that we had.