It has been almost half year since we released our first version of iomando in the Barcelona area, and we couldn't be happier about the response it had since its introduction. During those six months we've learned a lot from our customers and also from our installers, and we will try to embrace all this feedback in order to further improve our product.
First of all we wanted to thank all of you who have taken the time to get in touch and give us feedback. We really appreciate your feedback and we encourage every customer to write us about the experience, what feels right or what could be improve. This is our main guidance to deliver better products in the future, so the more the better.
Since February we've installed iomando in 90 garages of the Barcelona area (that's one every two days and way more than we expected) and registered more than 1.000 active users. We have also closed deals with almost 30 installers and partners that will help secure our installation and distribution network. More on that later.
All these news are great, but there's more. Today we are so excited to announce the first major update to our product. Since the introduction of our first version we've updated the app a couple of times to deliver minor improvements and some fixes, but today we are releasing 2 new features and a big announcement that deserve to be explained in detail.
iomando is all about access. When we designed our mobile experience to access and open doors we want it to be fast, reliable and secure.
- Fast because no one wants to stare at the door waiting to be opened.
- Reliable because we want it to work properly any time.
- And secure, well, because we care about what's behind that door, so we better protect it.
Because our interaction model is primarily based on software, we are able to improve the experience as we better understand our customers needs, in a way a key or a remote can't. For this reason, our first update today is about the experience.
- iomando is getting faster: we aren't going technical in here, but we've reduced the amount of time from the moment the open button is pressed, to the open signal reaching the electronic board at the door by an 80%. And that's a lot percent.
So, how we've done that? Well, we are not going into the specifics, but we've worked in three fronts to achieve a combined improvement. 1/ we have updated our mobile app: now it is more responsive when it comes to process the requests to the server. 2/ the server side: where almost all the gainings come from. We've revamped the communication protocol between the server and the electronics making it faster and more efficient. 3/ we rolled out an OTA update to all of the installed devices out there, so now they can better handle the requests, oh, and by the way, consume less energy :)
- iomando is getting more reliable: here there's some technical stuff, too, but we are going to skip it altogether. Instead, we are going to focus on what it means for the user. Before this update, when the open button was pressed, there was a moment of disconnection between what was happening and the information that was displayed on the smartphone. This uncertainty, despite being a few seconds, caused a lot of anxiety. We felt that, too. That's why we are rolling out a new technology that communicates devices and doors, in real time. That means that the state of the operation is being reported in real time to the mobile. So if the server detects that there's any problem with the door, the user will be updated in real time. No more surprises.
- iomando is getting more secure: we've discussed before why a cloud-based access system is more secure than a key or a remote. But we wouldn't stop there, we wanted even more. The technology we used to make iomando faster, it turns out it's also a lot more secure. That is because the devices in the field are not in reach for other people, only us can access to them from our servers. Think of a walled garden where the only way in or out is your home. You can't access from the outside. So, now you also know what a VPN is.
iomando is not only an app to open the door, it's also a management tool for the customers who want to restrict permissions to their places. Right now we have an online panel where administrators can login and assign people in their properties. But everything is going mobile, so do we.
With the new release of our mobile app, if you are an administrator, you'll notice on the top of the screen two new buttons to manage your spaces natively and right from your phone.
In addition to that, we've added the possibility to select the period of time in which the user could access. For example, if you want to invite your friends over dinner, but you want them to access only that day, now you can limit for this period of time, too.
We hope administrators will find great value in this feature when it comes to assign permissions to people that has restricted schedule. We've already talk with parking and building managers, but we are eager to see what our customers will make of it.
We are expanding across the country
Six months ago we launched in the Barcelona area because we wanted a controlled environment to release the very first version of the product. Despite some of you could install the product by yourselves, we wanted to include the installation experience as part of the service. We expect iomando to "just work" so we want to remove as much friction as possible by also providing the installation service.
The installers don't work "directly" for us. They are part of a network we are building as we grow, but building this network is hard because we have to select, interview, train and explain them every detail of the service. It is a valuable process, but it is also painfully slow because we want to ensure that every new installer meets our quality requirements. We started in the Barcelona area with five installers we trusted. But during those six months we've worked so hard to grow our distribution and installation network and we are ready to ship and install to any city of the country with just one day notice.
So on one hand, we feel more confident about our product thanks to everything we've learned during those months. But on the other, we also have the infrastructure to support our growth across the country with a trusted network of more than 53 authorized installers.
So, just to recap, today we are announcing three updates.
- Better open experience: Fast, Reliable and Secure.
- A whole new mobile management tool and new management features.
- Distribution and availability across the country.
We are thrilled to announce these new features and we can't wait to share with you all the new stuff we have already planned for the coming months. Stay tuned!
 Believe it or not, every time we opened a door with version 1.0 we sent an SMS to the door. Yes I know how you feel about that, I feel it, too. That was because our telco provider wasn't able to provide static addresses to the SIM cards, so we couldn't rely on they changing at any given time. That's why we pointed to the only fixed parameter we had to open the door, and that was the SIM phone number. Despite being so (cost) ineffective, that gave us time to deploy the VPN with local IPs that we rolled out with version 1.1.
 We discussed a few alternatives, but we felt like node.js was the best fit to create the layer of communications on top of the solution, that could provide real time data across the board.