Construction Project Management Software

Ayoga Wins 2 of the Prestigious Finances Online Awards in the Construction Management Software Category

We are happy to inform that Ayoga was awarded two of the prestigious Finances Online awards. We won their Rising Star Award for 2017 and Great User Experience Award for 2017 for their top construction management software category. Such a recognition both by software experts and customers proves our mission to be on right track with a quality product.

Ayoga bridges the gap between Design, Construction and Project Management through collaboration. Ayoga connects Engineering, Project, Design, Resources, People, and Location data and that’s something Finances Online, one of the most popular business review directories, find particularly impressive during their review.

In their Ayoga review, the platform’s SaaS and B2B experts keep a close eye on construction management and award the ones that do a great job solving the existing problem of construction industry using cutting edge technologies. The Rising Star Award is usually given to products which are doing exceptionally well in a short period of time.  The Great User Experience Award is given to products contributing significantly to the quality of user experience. Ayoga ActBOT simplifies project management and that provides excellent user experience.

Finances Online experts were really impressed by Ayoga’s power to enable our customers to collaborate and work together with accountability, connecting Location data with Design and Project Management data for effective decision making. Also, the way it simplifies Project Management using new technologies like ChatBOTs, Cloud, Mobile and IoT in one platform

We are happy to receive the award with utmost pride and satisfaction, and promised to commit ourselves work even more towards solving our customer problem with the help of technology.

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Pacific India chooses Cloud based Collaboration software, Ayoga for their Enterprise

Bengaluru, India, March 22nd, 2017: DesignSense, a technology startup today announced the adaption of their innovative, cloud based collaboration and project management software Ayoga by Pacific Development Corporation Limited, New Delhi. The product brings disparate technologies like CAD, Web, Mobile, ChatBots and IoT together in one platform for various stakeholders to plan and manage their projects effectively.

Mr. Nainar Ramaswamy, Managing Director of DesignSense said, “Our mission is to make our customers successful by reducing cost and complexity of engineering. Ayoga platform is a big step towards our mission and it leverages penetration of smartphones in a big way for the engineering and construction industry. We connect Engineering, Project Management, and Location data intelligently, tie it to the processes adapted by our customers to provide information in the platform of choice of our users.  We are very excited to have Pacific as our esteemed customer”

The product enables customers to set up projects/users quickly in a simple web interface. Once set up the single sign-on enables authorized users to access project data seamlessly on the platform of their choice, be it the CAD Software, Web browser or mobile device or IoT device. The project planning can happen in the cloud, while individual members get notified through push notifications on their mobile devices through a chat-bot, of the issues and tasks related to the project real time, cutting down the time taken for decisions, reducing work in progress, thereby saving cost and complexity.

Mr. Jagdev Sharma, IT Head – Corporate of Pacific Development Corporation Limited, who evaluated Ayoga and other products said, “We have chosen Ayoga for our projects. We chose Ayoga for collaboration between our team members primarily because of the product’s simplicity and integration of various technologies including IoT.  Their Checklist feature connects well with our QC processes and that being available on the mobile devices made it easier to adapt. We are looking forward to working with Ayoga team to integrate Ayoga as an enterprise collaboration tool, connecting project management and ERP system we have which is a challenge we have now”.

The product is available on flexible subscription pricing model. For more information about the product visit https://www.ayoga.in.

About DesignSense Software Technologies Pvt Ltd

DesignSense is a technology start-up incorporated in 2013, to develop software products for the engineering community. Headquartered in Bangalore, the company has a suite of Productivity improvement products for AEC industry called CADPower and GeoTools. With Ayoga the company makes foray in the Collaboration and project management space. In a short span of operation, the products have won many reference customers worldwide and are being used widely.

To know more about DesignSense Software technologies, visit www.thedesignsense.com or call +91-80-2677-1311 or email info@thedesignsense.com.

About Pacific Development Corporation Limited

Driven by the zeal to make a mark in the commercial sector of the country, Pacific India a privately owned and operated group of companies is conducting endeavors and operations with a remarkable degree of dynamism since past 3 decades.  The group is steadily emerging as the notable realty and infrastructure developer providing distinctive and specialized services in Real Estate, Hospitality, and Education sector. With more than 50 multi-crore projects in all its domains like retail, residential, education & hospitality the matchless domain expertise of the conglomerate has been proven time and again. The group’s different successful projects are produced by the great minds and expertise of the people associated with it.

To know more about Pacific India, visit http://www.pacificindia.in/ or call at +91-120-4044000 or email at bsrawat@pacificindia.in

 

For Immediate Release

DesignSense Software Technologies Pvt Ltd
825, Das Complex, JSS Circle, Jayanagar 7th Block
Bengaluru-560082, India
Tel: +91 80 26771311

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Agile at DesignSense

As someone who saw a behemoth shifting from traditional Waterfall model of software development to Agile, thought it is easy in a startup. And how wrong I was. The challenges with a behemoth were of one kind but with that of a startup was quiet different. I have seen both to a large extent and it is very enlightening.

One of the key component for successful performing Agile team is the Team itself. While the behemoth has very qualified, highly skilled people in place but the process of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing is the same. The process of storming and norming took a lot longer because of their decades of silo mode of working. It also took a lot of effort to get them at the same table, sharing the ideals of the product. The job of the Product Owner is to create a shared understanding was very difficult as the techies used to go in a tangential direction. The demands on the Scrum Master and Product Owner were humongous. With a hierarchical organisation in place, different stake holders had different reporting hierarchy that the team caused its own pitfalls. We learned and took almost a year for the teams to get into a predictable mode.

When we started DesignSense, it was a classic case of new product development. It was chaotic initially till we had a prototype which evinced interest of prospects. Then the investments came and we expanded the team. From having just one fulltime employee, that is the founder, we grew  gradually to two developers and a tester to a full scrum team strength of @13 people doing different things. Along came the challenges.

Team Forming, Storming and Norming

The team itself was new with mixed set of skills and aspirations.  For some it is their first job.  The best part of this team is they were like raw clay and could be molded easily to any shape. They absolutely have no fear of failure. Or take nothing to the heart when something is pointed out to them. The team Forming and Norming process was pretty fast compared to the behemoth. Some took the leadership role seamlessly, some became the Goto guy for technical questions. The team found its rhythm much faster than expected. One of the conscious decision that we drove was to have a Friday evening get together for the team. We got beer and food and generally talked, nothing about work. It made us know each other as person rather than just a co worker.  It helped immensely for the team to understand and trust each other.

Friday bash
Friday bash

Being a startup, most of our learnings are self driven. Over a month’s time the process of Agile development was given to the team in dosages that could be consumed. It was done at the lunch table, at dinner time, regular chit chats and not one formal session was conducted. When we sat for the first sprint planning we already had certain amount of understanding of us as a team. We took one big feature, Billing,  and made the entire team work on it. It was such a brilliant idea that the team got together as a racing machine sharing ideas and solutions. And when they saw the feature taking shape quickly it motivated them even more.

Sprint Planning

Creating a shared understanding of the product is a key component of Agile and the responsibility lies squarely with Product Owner/Product Manager. We used different schemes to do that. Each sprint has a broad outline which is communicated through various means. Again not just in sprint planning meeting but in doses throughout.Sprint Outline

 

The sprint planning is something that brings the entire team together for detailed breakdown of stories. The Product Management team breaks down the stories and we use various schemes to communicate the designs. This a sample flow diagram drawn by Anu, part of the PM team who does multitude of things and one of the most creative person of the team.UX Diagram1The key point being the next sprint outlines are communicated in smaller doses to the team so that when they come to the sprint planning they know what is coming. And the job of Product Owner is a lot easier. We put the story points for each stories, deliberate and wrap up the plan with the number of stories we are picking for that sprint. Rest gets carried to the backlog.

 

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Product Owner Prakriti explaining a story

.And the PM Team. We go around showcasing our product and this is at one such event.

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Daily Standup

This happens diligently. Required a bit of prodding initially in the first two sprints but after that it became like clockwork. It takes anywhere between 15-30 minutes based on the issues on the table. We also use this as an opportunity to share our experiences with prospects, demos we did on the product front. Though this is a deviation from the standard Agile practice, we like it a lot.  It helps in the team understanding how the product is received by the prospects and how important the thing that they thought is little.

Progress Monitoring

We use Ayoga itself to manage our sprints. The stories become milestones, and each task under the story becomes a subtask for that milestone. With our planner being Target driven, we assign the Story point as the target. On completing the milestone the Story point gets added to the sprint. We became the first hand users of the new stories being developed. It is an interesting thing we did and exciting as well.

SprintProgress

Retrospective

Retrospectives took a couple of sprints to sink in and for the team members to vocally come out. It also required the Scrum master to make it clear that the retrospective is not criticism of individuals but what worked and what did not work. It was heartening that me, the founder of the company gets roasted as well when there was a major power problem. Once the team develops the trust that they can bring forth the challenges to the table, solutions come in automatically. We list down the things that worked and did not work, pick the top three things that worked to be continued and find the top three things to improve upon. The things to improve upon generally gets an owner.

Retrospective

Its a given that there is always the banter and it never is a boring discussion. At times some one might loose their cool and talk vehemently but the team listens intently and let it pass without getting into an argument. From the initial days of Agile to today, we have improved drastically. Our sprints are three week sprints and we pick one week to fix bugs, At Sprint 9, I would say we have come a long way in becoming predictable.

Sprint Planning

 My Learnings

  •  Spending quality time in the initial days of forming/storming/norming days with the team.  This applies to the Product Manager especially. Know your team and let them know you and each other. The strengths and shortcomings too. That builds trust.
  • Take the things that work for your team not necessarily sticking to definitions and books. The team is like a river and it finds its own path. Make sure that the path leads to your destination but let it take its own course.
  • Team that has fun working together runs faster, covering up for each other. We make it a point to do that every week. And if someone misses one such fun day, we make them jealous by doing this.

fridayfun

 

It took us less than five sprints to become a performing, and predictable team. We turn things around much faster now. Sub teams inside the sprint team get formed automatically based on the story complexity.  And inputs from customers, every demos we do get back to team on a regular basis enabling us to punch way above our height. Personally it is an enriching experience for me, and every day I look forward to learning something new from every colleague of mine.

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Apranje Estates Limited chooses Cloud based Collaboration software, Ayoga for their enterprise

Bangalore, India, October 27th, 2016: DesignSense, a technology start up today announced the adaption of their innovative, cloud based collaboration and project management software Ayoga by Apranje Estates Limited, Bangalore.The product brings disparate technologies like CAD, Web, Mobile and IoT together in one platform for various stake holders to plan and manage their projects effectively.

Mr.Nainar Ramaswamy, Manging Director of DesignSense said, “Our mission is to make our customers successful by reducing cost and complexity of engineering. We do that by bringing disparate technologies like CAD, Web, Mobile and IoT together. Ayoga platform is a big step towards our mission and it leverages penetration of smart phones in a big way for the engineering and construction industry. We connect Engineering, Project Management and Location data intelligently to provide information in the platform of choice of our users. We are very excited about the product and the value it brings to our customers.”

The product enables customers to set up users and projects quickly in a simple web interface. Once set up the single sign on enables project members to access project data seamlessly in the platform of their choice, be it the CAD Software, Web browser or mobile device or IoT device. Ayoga has a Document Management System also built in, for stake holders to manage revisions of documents, be it drawings, or office documents, either from the CAD software itself or from windows explorer. The project planning can happen in the cloud, while individual members get notified through push notifications on their mobile devices of the issues and tasks related to the project real time, cutting down the time taken for decisions, reducing work in progress, thereby saving cost and complexity.

Mr. Saurabh Kumar, Director of  Apranje Group,  Chief of IT Initiatives, who evaluated Ayoga and other products said, “We have chosen Ayoga for our villa and apartment projects. We chose Ayoga for collaboration between our team members primarily because of the product’s simplicity and integration of various technologies including IoT. The field staff access project data in their mobile devices and information exchange is real time. Very soon we will expand the product to our customers as well, enabling us to provide best home buying and building experience to our customers”.

The product is available on flexible subscription pricing model. For more information about the product visit http://www.ayoga.in.

About DesignSense Software Technologies Pvt Ltd

DesignSense is a technology startup incorporated in 2013, to develop software products for engineering community. Headquartered in Bangalore, the company has a suite of Productivity improvement products for AEC industry called CADPower and GeoTools. With Ayoga the company makes foray in the Collaboration and project management space. In a short span of operation, the products have won many reference customers worldwide and are being used widely.

To know more about DesignSense Software technologies, visit www.thedesignsense.com or call +91 80 2677 1311 or email info@thedesignsense.com.

About Apranje Group

Apranje Estates Ltd. is a company offering uniquely-created ‘one-of-their-kind’ homes and plots for discerning customers in select locations. The company is an initiative of Apranje Jewellers one of the most respected brands in premium jewellery, diamonds, and precious gems and a name committed to the fine art of jewellery making since 1961. Apranje Estates brings a unique passion to creating lasting abodes. All their projects are cherished for excellent choice of location, innovative design, and fine craftsmanship. Since inception, they have taken a boutique approach to real estate – all their projects whether plots or residential projects are exclusive, are in highly-prized locations, and have design and execution as strong differentiators, a reflection of their illustrious lineage in creating timeless jewelry.

To know more about Apranje Estates Limited, visit http://www.ApranjeEstates.com/ or call at +91 7676 363636 or email at info@apranje.com

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ESRI Regional User Conference 2016 – Great insights and ideas for entrepreneurs

ESRI needs no introduction and are one of the pioneers in GIS technologies. DesignSense is a technology startup in Cloud,Collaboration space and we got enrolled with ESRI Startup program. The program has helped us a lot, in leveraging their GIS technologies for the things we want to do in our product. As being part of the startup program, DesignSense was invited to their Regional User Conference. It was a great experience for us, and and the insights we got were very useful.

Even before the event, we started integrating some of the ESRI technologies in our product Ayoga. We were in constant touch with their Startup Program Manager and their technical team on how to integrate their stuff. We being cloud based, and so was ArcGIS Online, integration was super quick. The level of documentation and support made available to us made it all possible and we could integrate our IoT and Visualization stuff double quick with ESRI Maps.

We were being considered for showcasing our product to their user base and the level of professionalism shown by the ESRI team is way above the norm. The Marketing Head and Technical head, spent quiet sometime with us before the event to see how valuable our solution will be. The questions that came up made me realise that is going to be for a top notch audience and we were geared up for it after showing the demonstration to ESRI Team.

On the day 3rd August was the Developer summit. There were some 300+ participants, all from developer community using the ArcGIS solutions. From the looks of it they were all looking for what is new in ArcGIS Online. That is me and my colleague Ms.Sonia Kaushal all eyes and ears for the event.

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The day started with registration and a compelling graphic of  Applying Geography Everywhere hilighting what the event is going to be about.

The inaugural address was by Mr.Harpreet Singh, Head, Marketing and Partner Ecosystem. One of the profound statement made by him was “Location Platform”. It struck a chord with me immediately. We generally get questions like what to do and when to do. But where to do is another key question and Location Platform plays a key role. It set the tone for the two day session on how location data is going to play an important role in everything we do

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GIS will evolve as a system of engagement, as mobile devices, IoT devices and GIS work together providing powerful tools for people to stay connected and make right decisions.

This was followed by technical session on ArcGIS Online. I had a de javu moment looking at the presentation. As pure desktop product companies move to cloud, the challenges are quiet a few. Having experienced that myself, it was quiet interesting to see how ESRI is moving things to ArcGIS Online.

As we got our slot to present our product to ESRI Users on 4th August, we had to make sure things work flawlessly. Having started the integration just two weeks before the conference and the vagaries associated with software we were working pretty late in our hotel. That is two my colleagues Sonia and Anu working furiously in their computers, making sure the visualization works fine. And it is 12:30 in the midnight. Thank you guys for the hard work.

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August 4th was the User Conference with key note address by Mr. Dean Angelides. He was very passionate about GIS and the relevance of it in everything we do. He gave great insights on how different pieces of technology can come together to make world a better place. Be it handling natural disaster or recovery operations. He also threw a few challenges to us, the audience on five ideas. One thing that struck me the most is Democratize technology and Mapping with your workforce. It is such a powerful initiative empowering the global workforce to adapt technology and technology companies to make those tools affordable. ESRI is doing its bit by giving support to startups like ours and we hope to do the same to our customers.

What followed as key note by Dr.Krishnamurthy of NRSC. He spoke not only like a true scientist but also like an entrepreneur. “Take Technology to every one and show value. Without value Technology is of no use”. Very succinctly put but of great value to practice.

This was followed by two great story telling sessions. One by a 13 year old Mahika who used ESRI Maps to tell the story of India starting some 2000 years ago till today. Superb effort by her to showcase the history of India as well as how easy it is for some one to use ESRI technologies.

The second story was by a physician,Dr.Venkata, who used GIS data to provide right services to prevent underweight children from fatality. That is the power of the using GIS data along with other data to make the right decision. One of the audience was very right in congratulating their effort, saying we techies have to learn a thing or two from them on how to make “Little Useful Data” out of “Big Data”.

A series of ESRI Product demonstrations ensued. Some of their capabilities to build 3D models from GIS data were quiet interesting for companies like us to look at. And their City Engine looked promising too.

Post lunch we gathered again for another ESRI demonstration session. Next to come up was demonstrations by startups. Two of the startups show cased their solutions. The first one was using Drones to generate survey data. This Bangalore based startup has really pulled off how you can use drones and high resolution imagery to build terrain maps and with ESRI platform leverage GIS Data. Very interesting presentation.  This was followed by another presentation on how Geospatial information was used by INCOIS for Ocean information services.

This was followed by our presentation, on “Connecting IoT, Location Services and Project Management”. It was a great opportunity to showcase how Location data is very important in construction and infrastructure projects and how our product Ayoga leverages ESRI technologies for that. We are just starting to use ESRI technologies in our product and our road map includes using some of their features like Geo fencing, Heat maps and Geo Event processor for our IoT operations. It is going to quiet interesting working with those new things from ESRI.

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The last session of Panel discussion was the icing on the cake. The panel had eminent persons in their respective fields and moderated by Mr.Rajesh Mathur. It started with Dr.Bergvinson talking about how GIS technology can enable equitable development profitable agriculture. That is so true, that technology is not only for the riches, but it is for everyone and will bring value to the lowest rung in the society when democratized. It was a profound statement and I was totally in agreement with him on that.

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The other panelist Mr.Jay Krishnan, CEO, T-Hub made a significant point that Indian entrepreneurs have to stop copy pasting of business models that worked elsewhere. The challenges faced in India can be solved only by applying local knowledge of the market. We are based out of Bangalore, else would have been a pleasure to work with some one like him.

Mr.JSRK Sastry of APCRDA spoke about how the Amaravati Smart city is being planned. No one should travel more than 2 kms for accessing public transport and similar such goals were setup in planning the city. He even cited how they used GIS data that is more than 100 years old to predict flooding situations and the preventive measures buit in the city.

The other panelists  Maj.Gen. Dr.Sivakumar ( retd ) spoke about GeoSpatial bill how it will bring GIS technologies available to normal citizens. Prof.Dr.MuraliKrishna spoke about manpower planning for a GIS aware India.

The final vote of thanks by Mr.Asheet Makhija, Sr.VP of ESRI. When he spoke about DesignSense he recollected our product tag line, “Create Connect Collaborate”. Thank you very much sir. We were also given a memento for having presented our product at their conference. That was a very touching gesture from ESRI.

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We wrapped up the day after great sessions and networking with different people. One of the ESRI staff was kind enough to take a picture of the three of us from DesignSense together.

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Over all it was a great two days spent with some of the best brains in GIS area. Our personal take aways have been many, but the key ones are

  • ESRI has such a vast GIS technologies which we were not very aware. This conference gave us an opportunity to look at what all is available.
  • The support ESRI gives to start ups like us, has been super helpful for us to experiment, build prototypes and validate ideas. It is a great initiative and we hope to leverage them to the most.
  • The panel discussions were a great idea to showcase what is coming up, not only in technology space but at the policy level as well.

We thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and interactions we had with various participants. It was two days well spent. We drove down to Bangalore from Hyderabad with our IoT device tracking our location. Here is the screenshot as seen in our product Ayoga with ESRI map as basemap.

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And we had our share of fun too, while driving back. Thats me, Anu, our Customer Engagement Engineer and Sonia, our Software Developer.

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Anu and Sonia played some cool songs while I was at the wheels. From being a software developer Sonia transformed into a punjabi rock star and Anu got designated as resident DJ of DesignSense.

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Thank you ESRI for the opportunity. Looking forward to leveraging the technologies and making ESRI as the preferred “Location Platform” for Ayoga.

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Hackathon – the fun way of doing things at DesignSense

Hackathons are fun ways to do new and cool things, pushing people out of their comfort zones, try new things, technologies with a reasonably well defined goals. DesignSense had its hackathon on 4th and 5th July.  Two days of intense collaboration fun and hardwork, but the plan started two weeks before.

We lined up ideas for the hackathon, with the goal to leverage our existing platform Ayoga to do new and cool things. We wrote down the ideas and put it up in the wall, with broad sketches, flow diagrams.

Then we asked the participants to vote for each of them on a fixed scale. The ones which got maximum votes were picked for hackathon.It brought every participant onboard on what their interest levels. Shamelessly, I put a huge voting number to push one of my idea. Liberties one can take as a founder!!!

What got picked were two ideas. Ayoga Messenger, with the aim to use IoT,Mobile devices and chat on Ayoga platform. The second was visualisation of IoT data with appropriate dashboards, maps, charts etc. The participants very well understood the reason behind the ideas and it started on 4th.

July 4th happens to the Independence day of the US. It was such a fun day for us. We gathered at our office at 9:00 AM and first team to be formed and storm is Ayoga IoT Visualization team.

The mockups were done, and dusted in double time. The key question was what mapping technologies to use. We are Emerging partner of ESRI and we can use Bing Maps as well as part of our already existing solutions. ESRI was looking very promising. The team split the work and decided to gather again after a couple of hours after some research.

10:00 AM: – Ayoga Messenger Team got together to discuss the involved issues. We wanted to build a two way communication channel between users, groups of users as well communication channel to Ayoga itself, on mobile, and desktop computers. The challenge went through series of iterations. We have our own push notifications using GCM and APNS. Our goal was to see if we can build a two way channel between Ayoga server and the mobile device using Azure Event bus or IoT Hub. After few discussions we zeroed in on one way to do it using Azure IoT, Stream Analytics and Notification Hub.

12:00 PM: We figured out Azure IoT libraries are not available for Android studio. They are available only for Xamarin.  And Xamarin requires some 3.5 GB download, and that download is not copied in the disk. Each installation has to download that monstrous 3.5GB. And to add to the woes, the installer would not proceed many times and it is by sheer luck it started in one of the machines.

4:00 PM: No success with Xamarin downloads yet. While it is happening the Messenger team huddled up, looked for alternatives. None is visible as as a native development environment. REST APIs were available but we were looking for IDE for doing the mobile app. The other reason being if we do it in Xamarin we can have it in iOS as well.  It took a while to download and install. On the server side things were going smoothly, being able to the backend logic of moving from our own GCM/APNS messaging to Notification hub which started coming together well.

Despite all these initial road blocks we were all motivated and having fun. It was great to see people working together as teams, exploring, trying, helping each other with that extra zing.

7:00 PM. We ordered Pizza and beer in copious quantities. We recollected the fun we had, miserable time we had going through some of the documentations and of course bangalore traffic.

11:00 PM: We got our first Xamarin installation done and make it talk to Azure. We could compile a sample code and make it talk to Azure IoT And that is when you do this.

We also downloaded a Telemetry code using IoT and tried to understand and tweak it to make it work seamlessly with our IoT hub. It was going on now that Xamarin started working after endless trials. Another machine got ready with Xamarin.

2:30 AM: Time for a quick break. We got a PS4 for us to try our hands when bored with some video games. These two dudes were busy playing football and Kevin handed out humiliating defeats to every one. And this was some 7-1 score line I guess.

3:00 AM: Yes, we were still going strong at 3:00 AM, trying to put some pieces of the puzzle together. We need the APIs to make the messenger app get appropriate Azure data from our server and these two were doing that at that ungodly hour.

We went back to our desks and some of us took a quick nap and dispersed by 6:00 AM. Yes, 20 hours of work in one day!! And that his how we were at the wee hours.

Day 2 10:00 AM: We regrouped. What we figured out is there is no IDE environment for working with Azure Service bus on mobile platform. The .Net client has rich support but unfortunately when combined with Xamarin nothing much could be done with Service bus. We could build a desktop console application easily but on mobile is a no go. That is exactly what we wanted to do and it came as a bummer to all of us. But we got the IoT integration working and Xamarin based mobile app could send data to Azure IoT hub. That is a positive.

12:00 PM: The entire team regrouped, and the unanimous decision was to drop Service bus idea. Had it worked it would have been ideal solution for us. But we had to dump it. So, we had to look for alternatives to send and receive messages from the mobile devices. The research started again.

4:00 PM: We got the Azure notification hub based messaging working after a few fiddling here and there. But then sending information back is a challenge we have to solve anyway.

6:00 PM: Windows messenger team got going to build their application and could make it talk to various Azure services but they dont have a SOAP support for the version our server supports which is needed as well for us cross platform messaging.

After two days of relentless efforts, what we learnt are these things.

  • Every one of us played with Azure services in some form or the other, with different technologies,  using .Net, REST and PHP. While .Net support has been great REST support for the things we wanted to do were not there or we could not find it.
  • We validated the idea with few prospects and they all were very excited by it. That gave us further impetus to take the learnings and make sure we build this solution around Ayoga to bring value to our customers.
  • Things look hunky dory in paper, but when you hunker down and start doing is when you realize not only how much fun it is, but also the road blocks and finer points being missed when drawing the big picture.

We are taking the learnings forward to build this new exciting feature to our product Ayoga enabling construction companies to reimagine themselves with all our suite of products.

Overall, my take away has been that it is a great experience, of bringing together the people, make them work together. Our team bonding got stronger. Food and beer made us lighten up and relive some of our good times.

Kudos to the team for the fantastic effort and the next hackathon is not far away.

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ThinkNext 2016 – An invigorating experience

Being part of Microsoft ventures opens up avenues for startups like us. The effort putin by Microsoft Team to make this work has been phenomenal. From the day we got listed as Extended Portfolio company, we keep getting regular technology updates, events, mentoring sessions and a lot of support from the startup ecosystem. ThinkNext2016 is one such event for all the startups to listen to some key note addresses by successful people, showcase by some startups and an opportunity to meet fund managers.

DesignSense was shortlisted for the event for a couple of things and I had the privilege to attend the event at Leela Palace, Bangalore. It was my maiden venture to attend such a Microsoft event. Extremely well organised, with volunteers and Microsoft employees assisting us delegates. And my badge was prepared in a jiffy. And it was cool blue color, like our DesignSense logo.

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They also had a nice looking infographic showcasing how Indian startup ecosystem has grown over the years.. Have a read about it here .

The event started with cool sand art hilighting things one can do with things as simple as sand.

Cool sand art

What followed was a introductory speech by Mr. Ravi Narayanan of Microsoft. What stood out in his address is that Indian startups are going to address the next six billion people! It was exciting to hear that from the giant.

Ravinarayan

What followed was keynote by Mr.Nandan Nilekhani. Being part of the government having driven Aadhar programme, the insights he gave about Indian government’s initiative to embrace technology was eye opening. He was bang on stating the growth of India is not going to be driven my manufacturing, not by large corporations and not exports. Guess whos is going to do that? SMEs.

Nandan

The other thing in his key note speech that excited us, was India Stack. Governments initiative to embrace JAM to make it possible even a garage startups to use governments authentication systems to make payments mobile to mobile. It will enable these startups to disrupt giants like Apple Pay or any other such large payment systems. And all this is driven by government, given out for free. It was great hearing such initiatives being driven by the government, amply supported and executed by leaders like Nandan.

India Stack

Chairman of Microsoft India, Mr.Bhaskar Pramanik gave an insightful information on how startups can increase their value, especially in the enterprise side. Industrial Revolution 4.0 is about technology spends going to control 85+% of the GDP of the companies. That covers computers, mobiles, connected places and things. His advice of not looking at capturing the IT Market but try addressing the real problem using these and increase the value proposition than vying for the 5% IT Budget.

IT Budget

A few startups  made a pitch about themselves. One company that appealed a lot was an Industrial IoT company that is focusing on factory automation using IoT devices. There were some aggregators, ( schools, baby care services, delivery platforms ) etc.

Afternoon we had an interesting event of speed dating with VCs. Some 12+ VCs were sitting in tables and each startup was given a 3 minutes window to talk to each VC, introduce themselves and see to setup a follow up meeting. I have personally met people to do pitching and did in investor forums also, but this format was quiet interesting. It was supposed to be  5 minutes as we were told and we prepared for that. But at the venue, time was cut down to 3 minutes. Think of unknowns being thrown and how well you cope up is a measure of your competence. This was a perfect example of that.

Speed dating

Overall it was an invigorating experience for startups like us, who look for business opportunities, networking, information and generally stay connected to the ecosystem.

A big thank you to Microsoft and applause for the Microsoft Ventures team for putting up a stellar show. Looking forward to participating in more such events.

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Ayoga is a Cloud based, Project driven collaboration product. With its single sign on, enables stake holders of the project to look at the status of the project in the platform of their choice. Be it a browser, CAD Software or mobile devices. With its rich messaging system and push notifications, project infromation is availble 24×7 to the stake holders.

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