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Situation

Worldwide, 5.5B people cannot easily access pain relief drugs and 70'000 people are dying from consuming too much medication.

Our Client, a Swiss manufacturer, ambitioned to administrate drinkable pain medication in an individual, remote and secure way. To do so, they designed a hardware (smart bottle), coupled with a software suite composed of a desktop and a mobile application. The desktop application was mainly used by doctors to parameterize the smart bottle according to the patients’ prescription. The mobile application, still a prototype, was used to track the patients’ drug consumption and trigger replenishment. Both applications were communicating to the smart bottle leveraging infrared technology.

Open Web Technology was contacted to bring the bottle’s software management suite to the next level, from a functional and technical perspective.

Approach

For this project, we followed a 3-step approach:

​​​​​​1. ​Technical handover

First, OpenWT experts audited the architecture and code of existing applications. The conclusions were twofold: the desktop application could be reused whereas the mobile application Proof-of-Concept needed to be redeveloped. Then, our Team progressively took over the desktop application, working alongside the Client’s team. After one month, the transition phase was over, and our team had the lead on the architecture and user interface.

2. Blueprint

During a second phase, the OpenWT team designed a new concept to enhance the interactions between the hardware and the software management suite. The concept was centered around a “thing” (the smart bottle), a connectivity solution based on NFC protocol replacing infrared, the mobile and desktop application, a secured cloud and a link to big data analytics.

We identified 4 main users of this IoT ecosystem, with the following roles:

  • The Doctor: define the prescription, check the treatment, assign the caregiver(s)
  • The Pharmacist: review the prescription, parameterize the bottle, follow the drug consumption
  • The Patient: take medication from the bottle
  • The Caregiver: follow the patient, allow dose administration

Together with the Client’s team, our experts specified the solution, answering the questions: what are the use cases to cover? What functionalities for the mobile application resp. desktop application could bring users value? Which technology stack should we use to build the solution? What are the security layers to protect the data? After validating the user interface and overall user experience, we created a story backlog, centralizing a list of prioritized functionalities. At the end of the blueprint, we delivered a user flow description, detailed use cases, mock-ups, technical specifications and a development plan.

3. Development

During the Blueprint phase, the Client’s and our teams agreed on developing the application with the following technical stack: Android, Angular and Java FX technologies, including a Spring web-based platform, REST Web Services, NFC communication and MongoDB storage.

Technology stack of an IoT project by Open Web Technology

OpenWT used agile methodologies during the development phase. With sprints of two weeks, our team implemented the prioritized user stories, deploying incremental improvements bringing value to the users. On top of it, OpenWT also supported end-to-end testing efforts on the platform to ensure a smooth roll-out.

Results

Within a few months, we generated tangible benefits to both the solution manufacturer – our Client - and the users. Our Client is now able to bring innovative services to the market, with a robust infrastructure supporting them. The patients can consume drugs in a secure and remote way. Caregivers have increased control and flexibility along the patients’ journey. Finally, Doctors gain insights on the patients’ behaviors and can optimize treatments thanks to big data analytics.

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