From pivot to success – designing a mobile app for sports gear dedicated to health-conscious urbanites
- Name: Urban’er (Smartwear Sp. z o.o.)
- Line of business: Smart wearable technology
- Founding year: 2019
- Size: 1-50
- Country: Poland (Gdańsk)
Bouncing back from a plot twist
The first challenge appeared unexpectedly with the outbreak of Covid-19, forcing the company to pivot from their original idea of creating a smart anti-smog mask to something more practical for everyday use, as outdoor activities decreased significantly.
After returning to the previous concept, after easing the restrictions, the key challenge was creating a mobile application to connect with the mask and collect data from the air pollution measurement system Airly in a very short time-to-market window resulting from the first pivot.
The team’s tasks needed a speedy process and included:
- Designing the application
- Backend and integrations, parts of the frontend
- Enabling the application to collect activity and filtered air data from the mask
- Implementing the integration with Airly – a crowd-sourced system for collecting air pollution data from dedicated sensors in the vicinity
Our tech stack
- React Native
- Firebase BaaS
- Apple iOS and Google Play implementation
- Airly integration
A clever idea with unexpected turns of events
The three Urban’er founders had an innovative idea to create a smart sports face mask for active urbanites. They wanted to adapt Bluetooth connectivity with a dedicated mobile app to display the duration of the activity, the equivalent of unsmoked cigarettes in air filtered by the mask.
The goal was to help those who live in urban areas with uneven air pollution landscapes to have an opportunity for comfortable and safer physical activities wherever they are. However, an unexpected twist of fate made them pivot from the original idea.
A sudden outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020 significantly limited the possibilities of outdoor activities in Poland. Thus, the company has decided to move from creating a smart sports mask to making a regular face mask with an exchangeable filter to filter out the PM 2.5 and PM 10 harmful air particles for protection during everyday activities. They wanted to focus on a modern design appealing to the public, comfort and functionality.
However, once the restrictions had been lifted, the demand for everyday protection masks dropped, allowing our client to return to their original plan. The mask used two HEPA filter layers with an FFP2 filtering standard, considered one of the most effective, that could filter out up to 95,8% of harmful particles. Moreover, they used locally-sourced materials for the design and production.
The time and budget were scarce, so the time-to-market window was narrow. They needed a team of experts to create a solution quickly and effectively.
Our small but effective team
Our team of experts comprised a full-stack developer and an assisting frontend developer. They were responsible for the app development and integration with the Airly system. Airly is crowd-sourced air pollution measuring system, and collecting data from the sensor allows insight into the current pollution level in the immediate area of the closest sensor.
Integrating the platform into the application gave the user real-time access to information on the air quality in their vicinity. The team worked on the complete solution within their short window.
The team worked independently, collaborating with the UX/UI expert on the client’s side. It allowed the creation of a coherent and stable product we then supported during the launch in the respective app stores.
Implementing the process to accommodate a small time-to-market window
Adopting React Native allowed for creating a modular and intuitive environment that can be easily modified. The app offered stable performance within the mobile operating systems. It also offered high code reusability across the platforms.
Using Firebase BaaS helped to speed up the development and streamline the tasks to the frontend to ensure the fast time-to-market product release.
Integrating with Airly allowed for data collection on air pollution and displaying live updates within the app.
Providing ongoing post-launch support to ensure that all the post-launch polishes were applied as necessary.
The creation process:
- Our team adapted React Native to create a stable application for iOS and Android devices.
- Quick streamlining of the tasks to the frontend via Firebase BaaS allowed us to accelerate the development process to accommodate the narrow time-to-market window.
- We ensured smooth integration with Airly to enable smooth data collection on pollution levels.
- Our team proceeded to a smooth launch in the app stores.
- Post-launch, the team was at the client’s disposal for six months to iron out any errors and inconsistencies as necessary.
How it turned out
The application was developed on time and worked precisely as intended. It also received a maximum rating in the Apple App Store. It measured the activity, average breath and the avoided pollution. It also displayed the mask battery and filter levels to indicate the necessity for charging or a replacement.