Softhouse weekly #4 and Happy Easter

Dear Colleagues, Clients & Community,

I want to begin by wishing you all a joyous and happy Easter! What does Easter mean to you? Easter eggs, candy, a holiday, good food and family? For many in Sweden it’s an occasion to cook up a nice lamb roast, and like many other Swedish holidays, have some pickled herring.

I took a look at Wikipedia to find out more about Easter, and found ample reading: There’s the Christian holiday of the resurrection, but also the Jewish tradition of passover, or ”pesach”, a word which has traveled for thousands of years through Hebrew (pesaḥ) to Aramaic (pasḥa) to Ancient Greek (páskha) to medieval Latin (pascha) to eventually become the Swedish word ”påsk”. As old as these traditions are, ultimately the meaning of Easter is in the eye of the beholder.

I don’t mean to overanalyze Easter or make things complicated, but rather hint at one of the ingredients for Softhouse Day: the importance of values and perspective. What perspectives should we bring to bear on our own work, and what does Softhouse mean when seen from these perspectives?

We’ll be exploring what Softhouse means for us colleagues, for our clients, and for our community. I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you then and hearing your thoughts on what’s important and valuable.

Until then, have a great easter.

Glad påsk!

Välkommen till Hackathon i Karlskrona

Den 14:e-15:e April bjuder vi till Hackathon i Softhouse lokaler i Karlskrona för att tillsammans hitta spännande och praktiska användingsområden för all den öppna data som Karlskrona kommun och Boverket gjort tillgänglig för allmänheten. Redan idag har Karlskrona kommit väldigt långt i sin digitalisering, något som uppmärksammades 2017 när staden kom tvåa i en tävling att bli Sveriges digitaliseringskommun.

”Vi har lyckats med att koppla ihop digitaliseringen med både utvecklingen av vår egen verksamhet och nyttan för våra invånare,” berättar Fredrik Sjölin, utvecklingschef för IT på Karlskrona kommun, för framtidenskommuner.se

Första platsen gick kanske oförvånande till Stockholm (som har nästbäst skärgård, eller vad säger ni?), men Karlskrona har redan idag över 100 aktiva webbtjänster, och på vårt Hackathon hoppas vi hitta nästa spännande användningsområde! Erfarna ingenjörer från bland annat Softhouse, HiQ och Sigma kommer finns på plats, och vi tror att idéerna kommer flöda under helgen.

Signa upp till vårt Hackathon redan nu, antingen själv eller med ett par kamrater. Registrering, mingel och tillgång till datan börjar redan på fredagen den 13e, så vi hoppas att vi ses då! Vi på Softhouse ser fram emot att stötta både med mat och lokaler, men också med resurser att hjälpa till att bygga och lansera de bästa idéerna från helgen, så kom och kavla upp ärmarna så ser vi tillsammans till att Karlskrona fortsätter vara en ledare inom digitalisering.

Making room for collaboration

Collaboration is both a boon and a curse to creativity, as anyone that has ever tried to organize a large meeting can attest to. It can be almost comically difficult to arrange for a group of people to sit together in peace and quiet. Finding the right people, the right time, the right place and the right agenda is difficult enough to perhaps warrant its own meeting.

To make life a little easier for aspiring collaborators, Certus went on a mission to make room for creativity. Their product, a hybrid of custom hardware and clever software interfaces, is a room manager – a stylish device hung outside your company’s meeting rooms that clearly communicates the room’s availability throughout the day, and enabling immediate ad hoc bookings on the touch screen interface.

It’s been a tremendously successful concept, and the device and platform is now used by companies big and small, from the US Senate to Microsoft, Coca-Cola and Accenture.

”The room manager is not just a nifty gadget, but an essential productivity aid”

The cost of a meeting is multiplied by the number of participants, and the same goes for difficulty arranging the meeting. Six people roaming the hallways for 10 minutes trying to find a spot to sit is an hour’s productivity lost, and these costs quickly mount to become significant drains on a company. Factor in the emotional costs of frustrations and distraction and you quickly realize that a room manager is not just a nifty gadget, but an essential productivity aid.

Once rooms were connected to the device and platform, several other opportunities quickly presented themselves – by creating an open API the device allowed for smart use cases like having the air conditioning automatically turn on a few minutes before the meeting. A large company may have several dozen meeting rooms, and when each room is connected to the device, which in itself is integrated with many popular calendar solutions, it becomes significantly easier to find the space to collaborate, literally.

“A lot of things had to come together to make this work”

Apart from an award-winning stylish touch screen dashboard, the device runs a custom Linux version that handles the devices’ MeteorJS applications, networking and security needs. The current version of the product line was built by a cross-functional team distributed across continents, with the hardware and firmware being handled in Taiwan and Sweden, and the software being handled by teams of skilled engineers in Bosnia and Sweden.

Softhouse was brought on as a partner to lead the software development and agile practises out of their office in Sarajevo, and over the last two years we’ve helped build servers, applications, APIs, integrations and user interfaces to aid Certus in their vision of making companies more efficient.

“A lot of things had to come together to make this work,” explains Softhouse scrum master Amir Caluk. “The device has to connect to and interface with the many calendar solutions in favor by big organizations. For the platform to be accepted by the big companies that would really benefit from using the room manager, we had to integrate with Google Calendar, Office 365, Exchange and IBM Domino.”

”Every single line of code is double and triple checked”

For these larger companies, security also becomes a pressing concern,

“We’ve had several security reviews over the last year. We have to put a lot of emphasis on both performance and security to build trust with the users,” says Damir Dizdarevic, the lead Softhouse engineer responsible for the platform.

“Getting it right means we have to be meticulous with both our code and our own culture,” he continues. “We do things properly with unit tests, regression tests, pair programming, all kinds of best practices. We really put a lot of care and effort into making sure that every single line of code is double and triple checked.”

Apart from delivering the software, Softhouse has taken the lead on organizing the cross-functional team, and enforcing best practices.

”The project has been a perfect case study for agile principles and scrum,” says Amir Caluk. ”We have followed the framework without compromise, and we can see the results. We try to lead by example, and provide a cultural protocol for everyone to operate under.”

”Ambition on both sides of the table is essential to a successful project”

”Certus’ product owner has also been exceptional, and that has really helped the project move smoothly,” says Vernisa Rejhan, COO of Softhouse Bosnia. ”To have someone be so knowledgeable and involved on the client side means that there’s always a will and a drive to get the best results. Ambition on both sides of the table is essential to a successful project, because it challenges you to deliver something great.”

She continues to describe the working relationship with the product owner: “Our developers are very familiar with the product and its value, so when the client comes over twice a year for workshops and retrospectives he also asks for input from the developers themselves because he knows our developers have valuable expertise.”

With intimate knowledge of the product and business, Softhouse has also undertaken the second tier support. When issues aren’t easily solved by the frontline support staff, calls are forwarded through to dedicated personnel in Bosnia that has a full technical overview of the project.

”We were often breaking new ground”

The project has also been both challenging and interesting, explains Damir Dizdarevic, because of the many modern technologies used. “When we started building the applications in MeteorJS there was very little help and documentation available online. We were often breaking new ground, and we have had to spend a lot of time reading every day just to keep abreast with the latest developments.”

“I have seen more new stuff and been more challenged, at Softhouse in the last two years than in all of my previous years as a developer, doing projects for the likes of the banking industry. All clients are demanding and challenging, but you don’t always have the opportunity to grow by testing new things. Some of my colleagues here were hired straight out of school, and seeing how they have evolved in our culture is really stunning,” says Dizdarevic, himself a senior engineer with a decade of experience.

“It’s a great project to work on because you know you’re making a difference”

The room manager has been very successful, and although the competition is getting tougher it is one of the market leaders.

Vernisa happily summarizes why it’s been such a success: “It’s a great project to work on because you know you’re making a difference. The time and energy saved will be put to more valuable use, so each booked meeting is a small contribution ion to the productivity of our clients and the world.”

Softhouse weekly #3

”We must always strive to pass on both our competence and our attitude”

If you want to become a master in something, you should try to take on teaching others. It’s sometimes said that if you can’t make something easy enough to understand you don’t understand it well enough yourself, and that’s why I think that education is such an important aspect of what we do.

We aren’t only engineers, coaches, and management consultants – we are problem solvers and educators, and we must always strive to pass on both our competence and our attitude. Our culture is what makes us different, after all. This is reflected in our work from our quick internal lunch seminars, where we learn from each other and make each other aware of great new opportunities, to our popular open seminars and our exclusive and tailored education packages spanning several days.

Our open seminars are a good way for us to pass our knowledge on to the community, but also for us to build relationships with future clients and colleagues – we show our competence and attitude by teaching with confidence and show our audience that we’re reliable and knowledgeable. Education has been a driving force for our business development, but also a central component of our internal company culture.

Softhouse makes you grow has to be a commitment to spread and cultivate knowledge. We teach ourselves and mentor our colleagues, but we also make sure to always leave our clients a bit wiser than when we met them. We don’t only deliver solutions, we help the client grow their own competence and encourage them to think bigger.

We also make sure that education is a part of how we interact with and contribute to our community. I’ve already mentioned our open seminars, but we also take the time to teach at universities. I myself have taught at BTH, the alma mater of many of our engineers, and so have several other of my great colleagues at Softhouse. I am sure that next time we go, the next time we show our values by teaching, we’ll meet some of our future colleagues.

For more information contact: 
Bengt Gustavsson, CEO Softhouse Consulting Sverige AB, at 076-883 24 69 or send an e-mail.

Oopsie makes it easier to build scalable applications

After twenty years of working in the IT sector, Nicolas Gullstrand came to the realization that enormous amounts of time and money were routinely wasted when developing software. Developers were always far removed from customers, with a costly communication ladder going through salespeople, on-site technicians, and project and product managers. Ultimately, Nicolas realized, the cost of all of this was pushed onto the customer – so he decided to do something drastic about it.

“The idea was to reduce the amount of programming required to get started”

“I wanted to make a platform where you can create systems in collaboration with the customer so that the customer can give immediate feedback on your work,” he explains, now the CEO of Oopsie.io, a Backend-as-a-Service offering that recently launched a well-received beta of his vision. “The idea was to reduce the amount of programming required to get started so that customers and developers could work together in real-time when prototyping out a backend.” Together with CTO Andreas Törnström Andersson, formerly with Softhouse, Ericsson and the IST Group, they started building a first prototype of the ambitious project two years ago. The goal was to allow for the simple creation of a distributed backend, complete with users, API keys, and security, with just some quick modeling and the push of a button.

“We wanted to allow our customers to focus on developing the business logic of their applications, and not have an initial skill set in distributed systems,” continues Nicolas.

If your application will handle thousands of API requests per second, you will need more than a single server to handle the workload. Distributed systems are costly to set up, tricky to maintain, and can be difficult to scale up and down based on usage. Oopsie gives you an out-of-the-box but customizable distributed backend, complete with auto-scaling, so that building your first prototype becomes a question of building out the relevant business logic rather than the supporting big data infrastructure. Within minutes of starting, as demonstrated in this demo video, you can have clients connecting and sending data to the backend, to have the data stored in a robust Cassandra implementation and ready for querying.

The initial beta was released in November, and the live version is slated for release later this year. Signing up for the beta is free, so you can try the modeling tools and see for yourself. Should you decide to build your application on Oopsie, the Backend-as-a-Service will simply charge you monthly based on the amount of traffic, computation, and storage that you use. To make it even easier to connect clients to the backend, a suite of SDKs will be released with the live version later this year. 

”We believe our most powerful ally will always be developer ambassadors”

Oopsie was almost entirely bootstrapped, having only taken in 6000 dollars from Swedish investment institute Almi Företagspartner, which was spent on a target Facebook marketing campaign for the beta launch. “We wanted to reach out to developers, rather than executives and entrepreneurs because we believe our most powerful ally will always be developer ambassadors that push to use our technology,” says Nicolas, explaining that both companies and individuals signed up for the beta. But building something like Oopsie is not easy. Knowing that the backend would have to handle tens of thousands of API calls per second, have a distributed database handling data on the order of terabytes, and support automatic scaling of the hardware to ensure performance and cost efficiency, Oopsie enlisted Softhouse to help build the beta.

“Softhouse’s Google Cloud competency was instrumental to us, and helped ensure that our backend would be performant and scalable,” explains Nicolas. “I knew that they had previous experience with IOT projects, a market that I think Oopsie is well suited to target, and their expertise on Google Cloud made them a good partner from the get-go. ”The beta version already supports collecting and storing the data, together with some basic APIs for applications to access the data, but the live version will feature more robust streaming and batch analytics, with customizable performance.

Empower businesses to try new ideas faster, at lower cost.

“The reality is that no two customers have the same needs when it comes to analytics. What one application may need analyzed in real-time might be fine as an overnight job for another application, so it is important to us that our customers never have to pay for more hardware than their application actually requires. Ideally, the customer should just allocate a budget or define a desired performance, and the technical work of allocating and scaling hardware will be handled by Oopsie. Making it easier to launch and manage new big data applications, without needing to understand distributed computing and databases, promises to help democratize entrepreneurship and empower businesses to try new ideas faster, at a lower cost. By radically lowering the barrier to entry for other startups, maybe Oopsie has a found a way to solve a real need in a way that helps society move faster.

“We are very passionate about projects like Oopsie,” says Softhouse CEO Bengt Gustavsson, “because they align so well with our company philosophy. We get to work on a challenging project that makes us grow, help our client bring their ideas to life, and have a positive impact on the community. It’s all about applying talent with a purpose.”

Swedish startup puts a face on job applications

Hiring the right person for the job is always tricky, and it can be difficult for the applicant to put their best foot forward in a static, impersonal resume. In an attempt to help employers and potential employees connect better, Swedish startup Pitchler tries to make it easier than ever to send out a video resume that captures your personality, attitude, and competence in a way that traditional resumes struggle to do.

”You need to match personality, values and company culture”

“In order for the individual to perform well and for the company to excel, you need to match personality, values and company culture,” explains Evelina Göthberg of Pitchler. The platform allows applicants to create compelling profiles and video resumes for themselves and even features a jobs portal where employers that would like to receive video resumes can post their job openings. To help the applicant put their best foot forward, Pitchler guides you through the process of creating a good video resume and shares inspiring content that can help you find your voice.

“We’re building a smart platform on the latest technology, to be able to match competency with requirements, and personality with culture,” says Pitchler CEO Peter Thorin.

Softhouse provided and mentored an intern developer that built the first proof of concept

But getting from 0 to 1 is a difficult step, especially for a new and cash-strapped startup. To help Pitchler get some initial momentum, Softhouse provided and mentored an intern developer that built the first proof of concept. Six months later, with real progress to show, Pitchler raised some startup capital, and what had once been an idea became a business.

“One of the benefits of working on a startup is you get to use new technologies and frameworks,” says Robin Lundin, who went from being an intern on the Pitchler project to a member of the Softhouse expert pool. “We built the app in Ionic 2, which was brand new at the time.” Having been intimately involved with the project, Softhouse’s investment arm joined the round and Pitchler ended up enlisting Softhouse to be their development team. As a Google Partner, Softhouse also helped Pitchler get 10 000 dollars worth of sponsored cloud hosting from Google, and development could start ramping up to meet the needs of Pitchler’s clients.

“Swedish startups have done very well internationally, and we’re hoping that our added financial support to the local startup ecosystem here in Växjö will make the region even more competitive,” explains Henric Westergren at Softhouse Invest. The fund has been active for a bit over a year, and has been helping both local startups and established businesses get the necessary capital, connections and culture to grow, alongside the development efforts of Softhouse’s engineers.

Modern architecture will allow Pitchler to never pay more for hardware than is necessary

“We initially helped Pitchler build their mobile website, and then their web-based app,” says Jonas Eckerström, one of the Softhouse developers involved with the project. “We built the platform on the Google Kubernetes Engine, getting rid of all third party software. In the end, Pitchler had their own containerized video streaming solution, supporting automated horizontal auto-scaling. This is the strength of using Google’s container solutions; when more computation is needed, the platform can automatically scale horizontally by adding more nodes, and you pay by the minute, so the automated flexibility and elasticity of the solution is quite unparalleled. All of this was built and brought to market in a year.” This modern architecture will allow Pitchler to never pay more for hardware than is necessary, while also ensuring that the platform always has enough power behind it to deliver a premium user experience. With Softhouse as both an investor and development partner, Pitchler is a great showcase of how Softhouse makes you grow.

Softhouse supported Pitchler with competence, capital, and connections

From initial concept to a funded startup with a scalable solution in production, Softhouse supported Pitchler with competence, capital, and connections that helped Pitchler go from great idea to an operational business. Robin Lundin got to kickstart his developer career by working on a demanding project with new technologies, and employers are connecting with their future employees in a more engaging way.

“Softhouse supported our business with their technical skills as a development partner. And having Google as a partner through Softhouse is allowing us to take our first steps into the global market with our pitching app,” concludes Pitchler CEO Peter Thorin.

Download Pitchler: App Store & Google Play

Softhouse weekly #2

Softhouse makes you grow

One of the greatest benefits of working with the extraordinarily talented team at Softhouse is seeing just how much can be achieved when talent is applied with a purpose. By the very nature of our business, we routinely find ourselves tackling the most challenging problems for some of the most inspirational and impactful clients in the world. Whether we’re working with global titans or local businesses, Softhouse is a trusted expert and valued contributor because we reliably solve the toughest problems.

To bring up just one example from over the years, we have had the privilege of boosting the economy of several developing countries by providing mobile commerce infrastructure together with a major international telecommunications company, changing the lives of hundreds of millions of people for the better. We are lucky to have the opportunity to build technology that can touch and improve lives, and the effortlessness of using what we’ve built is the ultimate testament to our expertise and the hard work and long hours we’ve put in.

We brought in the right attitude, not just the right competence

We delivered an entire team to the client, quickly integrated ourselves into their large and demanding environment, and delivered value straight away, by providing both the right competence and the right attitude. Our team made it a priority to produce clean code and to make time for regular code reviews – something that is extremely important in a large development environment, but can easily become one of the things sacrificed when time becomes limited. We know that sacrificing code quality and code review is not a sustainable way to reach your milestones and that an insistence on the right methodology will keep the project on track for the long haul. We lead by example, and our methodology has spread organically to other teams in the client’s organization. That we brought in the right attitude, not just the right competence, has had a clear and positive influence on their organization.

Our product is our company culture

That is, in essence, our value proposition. Our product is our company culture. The way we cultivate the right competence and the right attitude makes us a valuable partner to our clients, a force for good in our community, and a great place for us to work and grow.

“Softhouse makes you grow” is not just a slogan, but a mission statement that will continue to guide us as we expand. It means we take an active role in making sure that the communities we serve grow, that the clients that trust us grow, and that we help each other develop skills and attitudes that will help us grow as individuals and professionals. I learn from my colleagues at Softhouse every day and take great pride in seeing how our clients, and the communities we help, change for the better with every lovingly crafted line of code we deliver.

These projects have a real impact on communities around the world, help our clients excel in their fields, and countless colleagues at Softhouse have become recognized experts and leaders in their field. Through our hard work and enthusiasm, Softhouse has become an engine for growth that will hopefully continue to drive positive change long after you’ve left for your next great mission, and I hope that our culture will inspire more companies to follow suit.

Thank you to all my colleagues at Softhouse, for being ambassadors for positive change, and for the craftsmanship you have brought to these projects. The world is better because of it.

For more information contact: 
Bengt Gustavsson, CEO Softhouse Consulting Sverige AB, at 076-883 24 69 or send an e-mail.

Coding the infrastructure for commerce in developing countries


Fitting modernity into an old paradigm – how 400 million people were given mobile bank access in developing countries

As the world population approaches 8 billion people, the number of people connected to the world by cell phone has been skyrocketing. It is estimated that almost five billion people have a cell phone today; more than have access to a modern toilet. This rapid expansion of the mobile infrastructure that ties us together is providing incredible new opportunities for developing markets and is helping much older technologies and industries penetrate where they have previously been unable to reach.

Consider that two billion people in the world have no access to a bank account, and are very limited in their financial freedom because they don’t have access to banking facilities. Without a bank, it is hard to move and safeguard the money you have, but it also limits your potential to earn money. For two billion people in the world, this lack of banking is creating a barrier to their growth and their quality of life. In developing and rural areas, where reliable internet access is still far in the future, it may be incredibly difficult to travel to the nearest bank, and unrealistic to make frequent trips. So what can you do?

1.7 billion of the people without access to a bank account did have access to a mobile phone

This was what our client set out to solve, a mission we have taken great pride in supporting for 8 years. Our client realized that 1.7 billion of the people without access to a bank account did have access to a mobile phone. The vision was simple, but execution would require some remarkable engineering under arduous constraints:

  • Make banking possible on a feature phone with limited access to only a GSM network.
  • No smartphones. No apps. No 3G. Incredibly limited data transfer.

The challenge is to squeeze as much of modernity as possible into a very limited interface. Using a protocol called USSD, or Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, that’s normally used for simple things like checking your phone balance via text message, Softhouse helped our client create an entire mobile money and banking solution that made it possible to transfer money between friends and relatives, send money back home, conduct business and keep your money safe. When a user sends a text instruction to the telecom provider, the message is sent to a dedicated cluster of machines that execute the instruction and send back information to the user. The user’s cell phone, outdated by the standards of modern smartphones, gets to act as an interface to a modern and much more complex distributed computing solution handling over 33 million transactions every day.

Today the system is used by 410 million people

“I worked in the telecom industry, with development and architecture, for 16 years before joining Softhouse,” says Tobias Jönsson, a Softhouse engineer that joined the project last year. “It’s been very fun working with the Softhouse team, and I’ve learned to use a lot of new tools and technologies already, like IntelliJ, Gradle, Git and Gerrit.”

Today the system is used by 410 million people on both feature phones and smartphones across the developing world, in hard to reach locations in Africa and Pakistan, and has dramatically improved the economic vitality and quality of life in these places. It is a project we are proud to have worked on, and another great example of why we believe that Softhouse makes you grow. By applying talent with a purpose, we’ve helped change the world for the better in some of the most underserved places, helped our client provide a life-changing service to 410 million users, and we’ve learned a lot along the way. It’s been a challenge for our most experienced engineers, and a place to cut your teeth and learn for many of our new recruits that got to work on changing the world straight out of school.

Tobias Olandersson, a Softhouse engineer involved with the project, highlights how providing both the right competence and attitude to the client is important. “From day one we made clean code a priority and made sure that code review was an integral part of our workflow, even during crunch time. ”Our attitude that all code must be reviewed eventually spread to other teams in the organization, and as a result, the quality of the overall codebase has improved.”

”Our product is our company culture”, explains Softhouse CEO Bengt Gustavsson. ”The way we cultivate the right competence and the right attitude makes us a valuable partner to our clients, a force for good in our community, and a great place for us to work and grow.”

Reducing carbon emissions with IoT for freight

Softhouse helped local Swedish company Yellowfish revolutionize how companies monitor and manage their freight assets, such as containers and wagons, drastically improving efficiency. Today they’re a thriving international business. In this post, Christian Lundgren of Softhouse shares his experience building transformational technology.

Christian Lundgren has been part of the expert team at Softhouse for a decade now, and among his many contributions is his long-standing involvement with Swedish company Yellowfish and their service Fleetmonitor. As a trusted advisor and collaborator at Yellowfish, Christian has helped build an extensive software architecture from the ground up and helped run and maintain it for ten years – work that has required collecting, storing and analyzing millions of data points and resulted in dramatically improved efficiency, reduced carbon footprint and emissions, and a whole new way of managing the logistics of unpowered freight containers.

Getting from point A to point B can be tricky, but for Yellowfish’s demanding clients it can involve  dangerous goods, strict temperature requirements, and sensitive materials. To get the perfect piece of chocolate to your local grocery store, manufacturers have had to move ingredients, unfinished and finished products efficiently and with great care: any sudden change in temperature could ruin the product.

When these kinds of sensitive products are moved locally they’re often shipped in trucks, where the container is connected to a power supply that allows for rudimentary monitoring, but Yellowfish wanted to go above and beyond and provide even more sophisticated management and analytics for the unpowered containers that get hauled on railroads and larger freight ships. Rather than just providing measuring equipment and a simple monitoring UI, Christian helped Yellowfish build Fleetmonitor to be a complete end to end solution, where Yellowfish takes ownership of making sure that the relevant measurements are made, stored, and presented in a timely fashion.

This involved building a robust and input-agnostic ingestion engine that allows for a simple modular approach to taking in data in the format of the client’s preferred hardware partner. Everything from XML to JSON has to be handled by the ingestion engine, and stored away for immediate real-time analysis by the client – and in some cases, the client’s clients.

These requirements have put extreme demands on the responsiveness and flexibility of the architecture – millions of data points have to be accessible to clients with poor internet connectivity, and ingested from all over the world. Getting the right information to the right person at the right time is incredibly important, and as a part of a 2014 re-architecture Christian and his colleagues at Softhouse helped Yellowfish bring the average time of a query down from 9-20 seconds to lightning fast 50 milliseconds.

“Initially we had depended on the MySQL database to serve the consumer’s queries, but when we re-built the UI in 2014 we also made a switch to using Lucene,” explains Christian.

At the time a query in the multi-tenant environment would already run over millions of data points, and even though the data volume has tripled since then, we have managed to cut the query time by several orders of magnitude.

Christian and his colleagues at Softhouse also had to build an extensive admin backend to allow Yellowfish to handle the complex demands of serving their clients, with the tricky requirement that some of their clients wished to supply Fleetmonitor as a service to their clients in turn. The real-life implication for Yellowfish and their clients have been remarkable. Fleets have been made more efficient, increasing their effective capacity, and in some cases the clients have been able to dramatically reduce the size of their fleet, and society benefits from the reduction in emissions and the smaller carbon footprint. One client reduced the amount of empty containers being shipped between locations by a whopping 80%, and increased the fleet’s capacity by 10% while simultaneously reducing the transport costs by 20%.

That Yellowfish has worked with Christian and his colleagues at Softhouse for a decade shows how powerful it can be to bring experts to bear on your problem, and the results speak for themselves. These kinds of use cases, popularly called the Internet of Things, are becoming increasingly more popular and are solving decades old problems with new technology and fresh ideas.

“When we started building this 10 years ago the term Internet of Things was not even a thing, so the team at Yellowfish has been rightfully resistant to the term – we solved a real use case together before there even was a word for what we were doing, and some of the team members at Yellowfish have been tinkering with similar solutions since the late 90s,” says Christian, when asked about if he thinks of IoT as a trend.

When Christian joined the project he was fresh out of school and quickly realized that what he had learned in school was decades out of date. He felt tremendous anxiety that first summer, but since then this project has taught him basically everything he knows.

”I learned how to handle databases, how to build modern web applications, using both SOAP and REST architectures, and how to design and build micro-services,” says Christian, explaining how much he learned from his mentors and colleagues, and the client. “The most fun and challenging thing about this job is having demanding clients working on meaningful problems.”

The partnership with Yellowfish is a perfect example of our motto Softhouse makes you grow, and how we strive to help our community, our clients and our colleagues grow with every project. When our clients make money by saving the environment, and our colleagues grow by being at the absolute spearhead of emerging technology, we call that another job well done.

Softhouse weekly #1


Yesterday we got to meet a new colleague in Växjö, Johan Lindblom, who came in and introduced himself to the team. After many years as a happy customer, with no less than three different companies, Johan is finally taking the step to join the Softhouse team and will be shouldering the role of CEO of Softhouse Småland in April.

Johan is a well-known and respected profile in Växjö and Karlskrona after fifteen years at companies like Ericsson, IST, and GTECH, and even studied under our legendary developer Peppe at BTH many years ago. Outside of his professional engagements, Johan coaches the ice hockey team Växjö Lakers. We are very excited to have Johan join the Softhouse family, and you will have an opportunity to meet him on the Softhouse Day.

Henric Westergren is staying with Softhouse, taking on a bigger role in our sales organization until he moves to Softhouse Invest in May, and we look forward to seeing how he will grow our brand and presence within the thriving Swedish startup community.

As we gear up for Softhouse Day we’ll be putting a lot of work into our communication and messaging, both internally and externally. You’ll be hearing from me every week, but we’re also releasing a series of articles highlighting a selection of the coolest projects we’ve contributed to over the last decade. You may already have seen the article we just released on Fleetmonitor, a long-time client of the Karlskrona office, that is providing a valuable service to logistics companies, resulting in dramatically improved efficiency and reduced carbon emissions.

One of the things that I really want to bring into focus with these articles is how our company culture provides value to ourselves, our clients, and community as a whole. One of the principles that have been guiding me, Softhouse makes you grow, is a commitment to make sure that our work results in growth for our colleagues, growth for our clients, and positive impact on the communities we serve.

We are much more than your traditional consulting company – our value proposition, our product, is our company culture: We bring the right expertise and attitude to each project. We recruit and foster great engineers and coaches, to help our clients solve their most challenging problems, and in turn, make measurable improvements to communities all over the world.

 

For more information contact: 
Bengt Gustavsson, CEO Softhouse Consulting Sverige AB, at 076-883 24 69 or send an e-mail.