Sourcetoad https://www.sourcetoad.com Cross-Platform and Hybrid App Development Wed, 12 Dec 2018 22:45:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0 Cruise Line Apps: How Often are they Updated? https://www.sourcetoad.com/cruise/cruise-line-apps-how-often-are-they-updated/ Fri, 06 Jul 2018 19:21:10 +0000 https://www.sourcetoad.com/?p=13344 Once an app is live, regular updates are important. As technology changes, operating systems are updated, and new devices are released, software has to adapt. Although the frequency of version releases is not indicative of the quality of an app, it does give us a general idea of how often developers are fixing bugs, responding […]

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Once an app is live, regular updates are important. As technology changes, operating systems are updated, and new devices are released, software has to adapt. Although the frequency of version releases is not indicative of the quality of an app, it does give us a general idea of how often developers are fixing bugs, responding to feedback, and making improvements.

Below is an analysis of how often major cruise line apps are update for iOS.

How often are cruise line apps updated?

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5 Mistakes Cruise App Developers Make https://www.sourcetoad.com/cruise/5-mistakes-cruise-app-developers-make/ Wed, 13 Jun 2018 15:19:59 +0000 https://www.sourcetoad.com/?p=13243 Designing software for cruise lines can be extremely tricky. Cruise ships are strange beasts; they have all the amenities and systems you would expect to find in high-end hotels, and also those you would find in restaurants, amusement parks, performing arts centers, and shopping malls. On top of that, they are built to withstand the […]

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Designing software for cruise lines can be extremely tricky. Cruise ships are strange beasts; they have all the amenities and systems you would expect to find in high-end hotels, and also those you would find in restaurants, amusement parks, performing arts centers, and shopping malls. On top of that, they are built to withstand the trials of intercontinental ocean travel or even arctic exploration.

Most software developers have never written code for such a broad, and yet specific, use case. Designing a calendar system for reservations is not a difficult task for most programmers. But designing a calendar system for reservations where the time zone can change up to three times a day is a different matter. Add in the fact that ship time isn’t actually related directly to a time zone, and most developers wouldn’t know where to even start.

Because this is such a strange way of thinking, I’m going to go over five mistakes that I’ve seen software designers (and all sorts of other cruise beginners) make when trying to build systems for cruise lines.

1. Overwhelming audiences

Picture an interactive TV system for passengers onboard a ship. If every available service and system had navigational guidance, it would be cumbersome and overly complicated. Now scroll to the Entertainment section. If this included dancing in the atrium, movies on demand, musicals in the theater, television shows, and streaming music options, it would probably make for a pretty confusing experience.

When it comes to deciding what to include and where to include it, context is also critical. There are only a few “states” the ship can be in:

  • Passengers move around physically on the ship,
  • The ship changes between sea days and port days,
  • The ship changes country or city,
  • And passengers change from being onboard to being out on excursions.

Knowing what these states are, and designing your information delivery around them, is key to a friendly, usable technology strategy.

2. Building in technology for the sake of having technology

Adding new technology is often seen as a competitive advantage in the cruise industry. But it’s important to consider whether that technology matches the intended audience.

Facial recognition is a useful tool for a crew member to learn about a passenger immediately before an interaction. But does this technology appeal to passengers who are 65+? Or would a cruise line targeting this group actually hurt themselves by incorporating and promoting it?

Technology should be appropriate for the passengers who will use it. An app that explores the nightlife of different ports would probably be out-of-place on a cruise tailored for families with young children. More tech is not always better, and unnecessary tech can lead to high operational costs for maintaining systems in the long term.

Couple on cruise with facial recognition3. Not accounting for intermittent connectivity or high latency

As mentioned in a previous article, no matter how “connected” a ship is, it is still an island. Satellite connections are getting faster every day, connectivity is getting cheaper, and throughput is increasing. However, cruise software is still unusual in that it needs to be able to work either offline or only on a local network.

The problem is that most programmers have never really encountered this challenge unless they were developing software before 2002. Any programmer under 35 has probably never really had to worry about serious intermittent connectivity issues, offline caching systems, and locally available content.

A typical solution to this is to create a screen that says, “We’re sorry, you appear to be offline. Please try again later.” But this isn’t the experience you want for guests.

4. Building for general, not specific audiences

It is very easy for an app designer to sit down and start working on a project from a few simple “user stories.” These are small problem-statements used by developers to describe what a user should be able to do with an application.

A typical example of a user story is, “The user is able to log into the app and immediately see their itinerary for the cruise.” This helps developers by allowing them to understand how the technology needs to be used, which empowers them to make decisions about how it’s designed.

The problem here is not actually the developers, but the user story. To target very specific demographics, income brackets, and levels of technological prowess, you need to create detailed user stories. If you are ever asked to write a user story for a cruise line application, start with a very strong concept of your “avatar” or “persona” (i.e., your ideal, novice passenger) before you even get to the tasks they should be able to complete. Describe them by name, give them a background, and preferably find a picture of “them.”

User story example

5. Thinking of a cruise ship like a floating hotel

Having hired developers who came from the hospitality world, but not the cruise world specifically, I’ve learned a few lessons about assumptions that even experts make. It’s important to understand that a cruise ship is not a floating hotel. Yes, it has a hotel onboard, but it is more than the sum of its parts. The analogy I’ve heard that struck a chord with me was “a floating resort,” but even that falls slightly short of the cruise experience.

Cruises are the transportation and the destination. The ship itself is an escape for many passengers, in the same way that a resort is a destination. However, this is broken up by port days, where even the most poolside-loving passenger is usually going to head into town. This means that there are radically different contexts for the technology used by guests.

A mobile device, for example, will be connecting to different networks with completely different backend systems. These backend systems will likely be unable to communicate with each other in real time. Concepts like this are crucial when creating a cruise-related application.

Interested in cruise technology? Learn about Cruise Director

If possible, it’s important to experience at least one cruise if you design technology for the industry. This is a great first step for ensuring that you don’t make the mistakes I’ve mentioned. The closer you can get to an actual product being used in the “real world,” the better you will be able to understand it. Check in, carry on your bags, book shore excursions, take in a show, book a massage, buy something from one of the concessionaires — whatever it takes to make sure you internalize the experience of a cruise ship.

If possible, try to interact with passengers. Building software avatars is extremely important, but nothing beats meeting the real life end-users of your systems. This also helps you to create even more accurate user stories. It humanizes everything you do, and it creates empathy, which is often missing in the process of engineering technology systems.

Questions or comments? Get in touch.

 

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Seatrade 2018 https://www.sourcetoad.com/cruise/seatrade-2018/ Fri, 02 Mar 2018 21:04:43 +0000 https://www.sourcetoad.com/?p=13050 Seatrade Cruise Global brings together buyers and suppliers in the cruise industry for a week of networking, sourcing, innovation, and education. Over 11,000 professionals and 700 exhibiting companies attended Seatrade 2017, and this year’s conference is expected to be even more successful. Sourcetoad’s leadership team will be at the conference all week (March 5-8), meeting […]

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Seatrade Cruise Global brings together buyers and suppliers in the cruise industry for a week of networking, sourcing, innovation, and education.

Over 11,000 professionals and 700 exhibiting companies attended Seatrade 2017, and this year’s conference is expected to be even more successful.

Sourcetoad’s leadership team will be at the conference all week (March 5-8), meeting with our partners and clients. If you’d like to chat, please get in touch or contact us on the Seatrade app. We’ll see you at Seatrade 2018!

 

Cruise Director Brochure

Interested in learning more about our solutions for cruise lines?
Download the Cruise Director brochure!

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Data Synchronization in the Cruise Industry https://www.sourcetoad.com/cruise/syncing-of-data-in-the-cruise-industry/ Fri, 23 Feb 2018 19:22:43 +0000 https://www.sourcetoad.com/?p=12967 For the past few years, one of the biggest trends in tech has been the transition to the cloud. Almost every industry is realizing cost savings by embracing cloud computing. After all, it’s fairly hard to compete with Amazon when it comes to economies-of-scale when building data centers. Perhaps more importantly, it allows a company […]

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For the past few years, one of the biggest trends in tech has been the transition to the cloud. Almost every industry is realizing cost savings by embracing cloud computing. After all, it’s fairly hard to compete with Amazon when it comes to economies-of-scale when building data centers. Perhaps more importantly, it allows a company to centrally manage a business process and disseminate that process to any location, no matter how remote, with no risk of human error.

One of the other big trends in tech that has facilitated the move to the cloud is the explosion of broadband connectivity everywhere. If a company wants to offload a business process to the cloud, that company had better have fairly reliable, always-on connectivity to that cloud system. In most cases, that’s not a problem.

Cruise is different. Satellite connectivity on ships may be good most of the time, but a company would hardly want to make a critical business process reliant on it. How then do cruise companies reap the benefits of cloud systems without the necessary infrastructure available to support it?

Sourcetoad has worked with a number of companies in the cruise industry trying to solve this problem in various ways. The solutions we have seen run the gamut. Some have been quite elegant. Others, however, have been as crazy as Drupal installs being compressed and sent over the satellite daily via a cron — a mutex nightmare of epic proportions.

Sourcetoad working on a cruise ship

Here are a few of the key lesson’s we’ve learned:

  • Satellite connections are pretty good, and they’re getting better. This means you don’t have to go crazy. The first system Sourcetoad built worried about Internet cutout so much that it had methodologies to resume transfers on files less than a megabyte. This turned out to be overkill. We have never seen a connection bounce up and down so much that something like this was necessary. The biggest thing to plan for is when the connection is down all together, which can and does happen for extended periods of time every so often. It’s definitely a bad idea to build a system that needs connectivity to work at all.
  • The business process operationally needs to match the design requirements of the system. A centrally managed system to store iTV entertainment metadata is great, but there has to be someone on the shore who can ensure this information is entered and synced to the proper ships. Deciding what to manage directly onboard a ship compared to on the shore needs to be well thought out. This is one aspect where the engineering is agnostic; it can do whatever is desired without much care one way or the other. The buy-in from all the teams to properly use the system is the hard part to obtain.
  • Care should be taken in both deciding what to sync and how often to sync it. This is probably the most important lesson. When the connection is strong, syncing in near-real time is possible, especially for small amounts of critical data. In actuality, most data are not critical. Anayltics of who watched what movies or TV shows probably can be a few hours, or even a day, old for decision-makers on the shore. Developing and adhering to a strict QoS system to decide what needs to be sent and when can leave your powder dry to ensure that critical information is available right away, rather than being held up by less important information syncing too often.

Centralized “cloud” management is here to stay. Cruise has an inherent technical disadvantage that cannot be easily overcome. However, with good planning and systems design, reaping the vast majority of the benefits isn’t out of reach.

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Learning About the Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing with Author Daniel Pink https://www.sourcetoad.com/events/learning-about-the-scientific-secrets-of-perfect-timing-with-author-daniel-pink/ Tue, 20 Feb 2018 18:22:34 +0000 https://www.sourcetoad.com/?p=12738 Many of us at Sourcetoad are “obsessive optimizers” — the kind of people who try to find ways to get the most of what we do, whether in our day-to-day work or lives outside the office (and yes, we have got them!). So when Daniel H. Pink, the bestselling author of books on work, management, […]

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Many of us at Sourcetoad are “obsessive optimizers” — the kind of people who try to find ways to get the most of what we do, whether in our day-to-day work or lives outside the office (and yes, we have got them!). So when Daniel H. Pink, the bestselling author of books on work, management, and behavioral science, announced that he was coming to Tampa to promote his new book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, we had to be there. Pink’s previous work includes A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, and To Sell is Human.

Sourcetoad product managers, Justin Downey and Joey deVilla, arrived in time to snag front-row seats to Pink’s talk at Oxford Exchange, Tampa’s combination bookstore, fancy gift shop, restaurant, coworking space, design studio, and event venue.

Pink’s talk, like his new book, was about the oft-overlooked importance of when we do things. Among the questions he would answer, either at the talk or in his book, were:

  • When should you exercise — early or later in the day?
  • Why should you never go to the hospital or schedule an important doctor’s appointment in the afternoon?
  • Why does beginning your career in a recession depress your wages 20 years later?
  • Why do both human beings and great apes experience a slump in midlife?
  • Why is singing in a choir good for you?
  • When during the year is your spouse most likely to file for divorce? “One of them is next month,” quipped Pink. “Check your email.”

“When we talk about units of time — things like seconds, and minutes, and weeks — you realize that most of them are completely made up,” he said. “They’re not natural in any sense; they’re things that human beings have created to corral time. But there are units of time that are natural, like the day… and that has a big effect on us.”

With that, he introduced a key idea from his book: that during the day, we experience a pattern that in turn affects the way we feel and how we perform.

Pink talked about a Cornell study using software called LIWC — Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count — to analyze 500 million tweets (“None of them written by the President,” he joked) for emotional content. The researchers of the study wanted to find out how emotional content varied through the day. This kind of study is called sentiment analysis, and in performing it on a large corpus of tweets, they found a pattern:

  1. In the early part of the day, they saw that “positive mood” has a peak.
  2. In the middle of the day, around the early afternoon, that general mood entered a trough.
  3. And finally, as the afternoon wore on, positive mood rose again, in a recovery.

He then pointed to research by Princeton’s Daniel Kahneman (a specialist in the psychology of judgement and behavioral economics and author of the must-read book Thinking, Fast and Slow). Kahneman has a process called the “Day Reconstruction Method,” in which he gives people diaries to track what they were doing and how they were feeling for every hour they are awake. Its helps to determine what activities make people feel better or worse (commuting was the daily activity that makes people feel the worst), but it also provides a look into whether time of day affects “net good mood.” According to the data, it does — “net good mood” experiences a peak in the morning, a trough in the afternoon, and a rebound in the evening.

The peak-trough-recovery pattern occurs in many places in our lives. While the pattern is hidden to many people, its effects are decidedly not.

In a review of students’ performance on standardized tests in Denmark, it was found that the later in the day a student took the test, the worse they performed. The effect of time-of-day was so pronounced that it was written up this way:

“For every hour later in the day, scores decrease… We find that an hour later in the day causes a deterioration in test score that is equivalent to slightly lower household income, less parental education, and missing two weeks of school.

Pink cited similar examples of time-of-day effects in the world of medicine:

  • Anesthesia errors are 4 times more likely at 3 p.m. than 9 a.m.
  • The crucial act of hospital workers washing their hands drops as the day goes on.
  • In colonoscopies, they find half as many polyps in afternoon exams as in morning exams.
  • Doctors are more likely to prescribe unnecessary antibiotics in the afternoon than in the morning.

“We’re very intentional about what we do,” said Pink. “We’re intentional about who we do things with — that’s why we have HR departments. We’re intentional about how we do things. But when it comes to when, we’re kind of loosey-goosey about it.”

One way to help mitigate the effects of time of day on how we perform is to determine your chronotype, which is a fancy way of saying whether you’re a morning person or a night owl. It’s simple to do: make a note of the time you go to sleep on “free days” (that is, a day when you don’t have to go to work the next morning) and when you wake up, and calculate the midpoint between those two times.

  • If the midpoint is before 3:30 a.m., you’re a Lark or morning person. 15% of people are Larks, and a disproportionate number of educators are in this category.
  • If it’s after 5:30 a.m., you’re an Owl or night person. 20% of people are Owls.
  • It it’s between 3:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., you’re a Third Bird — something in-between.

Larks and Third Birds follow the pattern of peaking in the morning, going through a trough in the early afternoon, and experiencing a late afternoon recovery. Owls go through the pattern in reverse: their recovery is in the morning, followed by a trough in the late afternoon, and a peak in the evening.

Whether you’re a Lark, Owl, or Third Bird, you should adjust what you do to match the peak-trough-recovery pattern:

  • During the peak, you should do analytic work.
  • When in the trough, do rote, mechanical work: administrative tasks and other things that can be done “on autopilot.”
  • The recovery period is one where your analytical powers are improved, and your mind is more flexible, which is great for insight tasks.

To prove the bit about the recovery phase and insight tasks, Pink presented the audience with a brain-teaser that many people get wrong, and when they get it right, it’s during the recovery period, when our powers of insight are at their best. We hadn’t heard this one before:

Ernesto is a dealer in antique coins. One day, someone brings in a beautiful bronze coin. The coin has an emperor’s head on one side and the date 544 BC stamped on the other. Ernesto examines the coin, and instead of buying it, calls the police instead. Why?

As this audio recording will show you, the evening is our insight time, and some of us are thinking about reworking our schedules to capitalize on that fact.

Since attending the talk, we’ve been giving more thought to the ways in which we schedule our days. We’re scheduling tasks that require analysis and vigilance during the morning, moving rote, “turnkey” work to the early and mid-afternoon, and saving creative and learning tasks for the late afternoon and evening, when the combination of elevated mood but lower vigilance lend themselves well to insight.

We’ve also been thinking about how when can apply the lessons of When to the design of our applications. Most software is built with considerations of what it will do, how it will be used, and who will use it, but not about when it will be used. As we make our software, we’re going to keep in mind that our applications’ user experience affects, and is affected by, the daily peak-trough-recovery pattern.

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DevFest Florida 2017 https://www.sourcetoad.com/events/devfest-florida-2017/ Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:06:50 +0000 https://www.sourcetoad.com/?p=12049 We spent last Saturday sponsoring and attending the 2017 edition of DevFest Florida, an annual conference for web and mobile developers and designers organized by the Google Developer Groups of Tampa Bay, Melbourne, and Orlando. The event was held at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, located a monorail ride away from the Magic Kingdom. This year’s conference […]

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We spent last Saturday sponsoring and attending the 2017 edition of DevFest Florida, an annual conference for web and mobile developers and designers organized by the Google Developer Groups of Tampa Bay, Melbourne, and Orlando. The event was held at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, located a monorail ride away from the Magic Kingdom.

This year’s conference featured four tracks, with presentations given by 31 speakers, covering a wide array of topics. The speakers came from a mix of companies, ranging from one-person operations to the likes of Google. Talks from Microsoft, Mozilla, Capital One, Viacom, and Comcast ran the gamut from design to development for web, mobile, and IoT (internet of things). We’ve seen conferences that charged five to ten times as much that didn’t have as good a lineup of presentations.

In addition to sponsoring the event and sending a good number of Sourcetoaders to attend, we also sent two speakers and a lot of our legendary “Code Naked” t-shirts.

In his talk, Attacking Android One Application at a Time, Sourcetoad senior software engineer, Connor Tumbleson, gave the audience a grand tour of the techniques that people use to reverse-engineer Android apps to find out how they work, and more importantly, how weaknesses in their implementation can be exploited.

Android is the world’s most popular mobile ecosystem. With over 2 billion monthly active Android devices in use, the most popular Android apps have large user-bases, which make them tempting targets for third parties to gain unauthorized access to their functionality and data.

Connor conducted a review of some of the most popular free Android apps and ran a number of reverse engineering tools on them. He found that security was often given little or no consideration. He gave the following examples:

  • A popular game, whose ads you’ve probably seen on TV, doesn’t encrypt its communications with its servers, making its messages ripe for interception, and opening the app to man-in-the-middle attacks.
  • Another app used files that appeared to be unreadable to unauthorized parties, until Connor did a little investigative work and found that adding 4 missing bytes to them revealed they were relatively ordinary compressed data.
  • Even when app developers made use of real encryption, they made critical mistakes, like embedding the encryption keys — the information required to unscramble encrypted data — within the app. This is the software equivalent of hiding the key to your house under the front doormat.

Connor isn’t just someone with an interest in reverse engineering. He’s also the maintainer of Apktool, an application that can take finished Android applications (the “apk” in “Apktool” refers to the standard abbreviation for “Android application package”) and convert them into the source code from which they came. It’s like a tool that can generate the blueprints for any house it’s presented with. He knows his way around the structure of Android applications and how unauthorized parties can take advantage of them. We feel that Apktool is a useful contribution to the Android developer ecosystem, and it’s why we sponsor its development.

The presentation was a fascinating, eye-opening look into how software on the computers that we always keep within reach is made, and how easily it can be compromised. It was also a reminder to application designers and developers that security can’t simply be treated as an afterthought or taken lightly.

Our lead product manager Joey deVilla opened with a couple of quick accordion numbers, and then started into his presentation, Native Android development for people who’ve been avoiding it.

Aimed at web developers who’ve been thinking about writing native Android applications but have been avoiding it because they’ve heard it’s difficult and time-consuming, Joey’s presentation was a live-coding exercise where he showed how Android application development has evolved since “the bad old days” of only a couple of years ago:

  • The development environment is better. Instead of using a development environment like Eclipse (which was literally designed by committee, and it shows), Android developers now use the much better-designed, easier-to-use Android Studio. It was created by Jetbrains, who specialize in building tools that developers love.
  • The programming language is better. Instead of Java, which was seen as revolutionary in 1995, but clunky in 2017, we now have Kotlin, a language that borrows from languages like Scala and Groovy, looks a lot like Apple’s popular Swift programming language, lets you write more functionality in fewer lines of code, and is making a splash in the programming world. Like Android Studio, Kotlin was also created by JetBrains.
  • And finally, native mobile development isn’t harder than web development; it’s just a little different. Besides, web development is just as complex these days.

After his presentation, Joey did an interview with Brian Hinton and Fred Weiss from the Gulf Coast-based tech podcast Thunder Nerds, who talked to a number of DevFest Florida speakers.

And finally, if you looked at DevFest Florida’s speaker lineup, you may have noticed something. 13 out of its 31 speakers are women, and of those 13, 8 are women of color. That’s unusual for most conventions, and for a tech conference, that’s downright unheard of. We believe that representation matters, especially in our line of work. A healthy technology ecosystem that produces things all people can use requires this kind of openness, and we’re happy to see DevFest Florida provided a forum and the opportunity for such a diverse group to stand up and be heard. That’s why we were proud to be sponsors.

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Hack Hospitality Cruise Challenge – LocalMotive https://www.sourcetoad.com/cruise/hack-hospitality-cruise-challenge-localmotive/ Fri, 03 Nov 2017 21:18:14 +0000 https://www.sourcetoad.com/?p=11993 At the Tampa Bay Hack Hospitality hackathon, Mitchell Garcia, Kevin Mircovich, Aaron Wasserman, and Akira Mitchell presented LocalMotive. The app aims to help passengers have a completely local experience when they dock by providing information created by city residents. Watch LocalMotive’s demo from the hackathon to learn more about it.

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At the Tampa Bay Hack Hospitality hackathon, Mitchell Garcia, Kevin Mircovich, Aaron Wasserman, and Akira Mitchell presented LocalMotive. The app aims to help passengers have a completely local experience when they dock by providing information created by city residents.

Watch LocalMotive’s demo from the hackathon to learn more about it.

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Hack Hospitality Cruise Challenge – The Iron Yard https://www.sourcetoad.com/cruise/hack-hospitality-cruise-challenge-iron-yard/ Fri, 03 Nov 2017 21:05:43 +0000 https://www.sourcetoad.com/?p=11992 One of the teams that chose the Sourcetoad Cruise Challenge at the Tampa Bay Hack Hospitality hackathon was The Iron Yard. Toni Warren, Jason Perry, Gavin Stark, and Angel Murchison built an inter-cruise communication system. The app works on a local network and allows you to chat with other members of your group and even locate where […]

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One of the teams that chose the Sourcetoad Cruise Challenge at the Tampa Bay Hack Hospitality hackathon was The Iron Yard. Toni Warren, Jason Perry, Gavin Stark, and Angel Murchison built an inter-cruise communication system. The app works on a local network and allows you to chat with other members of your group and even locate where they are on the ship.

Watch the team’s demo from the hackathon to learn more about the project.

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Hack Hospitality Cruise Challenge – BellBoy https://www.sourcetoad.com/cruise/hack-hospitality-cruise-challenge-bellboy/ Wed, 01 Nov 2017 15:47:16 +0000 https://www.sourcetoad.com/?p=11977 At the Tampa Bay Hack Hospitality hackathon there was only one team that included a robot — BellBoy. Austin Lubetkin, Eric Chan, and Paul Teleweck are working toward a world where you can order a martini in your cabin using an iPad, and in 15 minutes, a robot will arrive at your door with the cocktail. […]

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At the Tampa Bay Hack Hospitality hackathon there was only one team that included a robot — BellBoy. Austin Lubetkin, Eric Chan, and Paul Teleweck are working toward a world where you can order a martini in your cabin using an iPad, and in 15 minutes, a robot will arrive at your door with the cocktail.

The BellBoy app is intuitive and easy to use. You type in your cabin number and last name, and a menu pops up. You can then order towels, request delivery of your luggage, order ice, or order from the room-service menu. You can also add toothpaste, shampoo, and other small items. When you have placed your order, a countdown clock begins with your estimated wait time.

BELLBOY

BellBoy in action.

BellBoy is deployed locally using Bluemix, which means passengers can connect to the local network and use it. The robot’s interface is an iPad Mini, so BellBoy can greet other guests as it rolls down the hallway. This also ensures that BellBoy isn’t bumped and your martini doesn’t land up on the floor.

The team’s goal is to eventually have different-sized service robots to accommodate different needs. For example, a smaller version could bring you a bucket of ice, and a larger version could deliver your bag to you.

Austin

Austin Lubetkin presenting at the hackathon.

BellBoy has the potential to shake up the cruise industry, and Austin, Eric, and Paul aren’t stopping with the hackathon. They are currently developing version 2.0, with a focus on creating a BellBoy that can handle the motion of a cruise ship.

To learn more about BellBoy, watch the demo that Austin Lubetkin gave at Sourcetoad’s headquarters.

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Hack Hospitality Cruise Challenge – Team Cheeseburger https://www.sourcetoad.com/cruise/hack-hospitality-cruise-challenge-team-cheeseburger/ Tue, 24 Oct 2017 20:12:29 +0000 https://www.sourcetoad.com/?p=11954 The Tampa Bay Hack Hospitality hackathon brought together professionals with a variety of experience and talents. Team Cheeseburger (Douglas Radecki, Leon Dorado, Shenole Latimer, Miles Smith, Linggih Saputro, Lisa Pineda, and Veronika Keblinskas) was an example of a well-balanced group of designers and developers. When the team decided to create a booking app, they focused […]

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The Tampa Bay Hack Hospitality hackathon brought together professionals with a variety of experience and talents. Team Cheeseburger (Douglas Radecki, Leon Dorado, Shenole Latimer, Miles Smith, Linggih Saputro, Lisa Pineda, and Veronika Keblinskas) was an example of a well-balanced group of designers and developers.

When the team decided to create a booking app, they focused on addressing the following challenges faced by river cruises:

  1. Underutilized resources — When ships dock, most passengers disembark to go sight-seeing. Almost all of the facilities and services on the ship shut down during this period.
  2. Unreliable internet — Providing reliable Wi-Fi is consistently a challenge for cruise ships.
  3. An aging client-base — Bringing on a new generation of passengers is critical for profit and growth.

Team Cheeseburger

Douglas Radecki presenting at the hackathon.

The app’s user persona (fictional ideal customer) is Lisa, a 45 year-old tourist who is traveling with her friend. They’re trying to plan out the next couple of days and begin looking at restaurants on OpenTable.

  • Lisa sees an ad for a dining experience on a docked cruise ship.
  • She taps on the ad and is redirected to a landing page.
  • Here she reads more about the experience and books a lunch for two.
  • After paying, she sees exclusive offers for additional services on the ship.
  • She books post-lunch massages for her and her friend.
  • Lisa then receives an automated phone call confirming her bookings.

The app allows for a younger demographic to be exposed to the cruise line, which potentially creates a new wave of future passengers. The team addressed the challenge of limited Wi-Fi by using SMS to make bookings and updates on the number of positions left.

To learn more about the app, watch the demo that Douglas Radecki, Leon Dorado, and Shenole Latimer gave at Sourcetoad’s headquarters.

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