A Good Developer is Hard to Find: LifeShield Teams Up With Chariot Solutions

LifeShield, a company with nearly $12 million in annual sales, wished to update its mobile app, adding complex, future facing functions such as live video from inside the home. In order to enhance the customer experience, the company had an urgent need for highly skilled developers with expertise in building iOS and Android applications.

You’ve probably faced the same challenge: locate and engage tech talent quickly. But you know that good developers don’t just appear out of nowhere. That’s why LifeShield turned to Chariot. “They came to us because they knew the people we could bring to the table,” explains Grant Hartman, Chariot account executive. “Chariot provides an easy way to bring in senior level talent in a tight marketplace.”

Challenge: Build a Better Home Security App

Consider the old method of home security installation. A technician came into the home and installed equipment, drilling holes and running wiring throughout. And in the not too distant past, only the most basic tasks from mobile had been possible. Customers could arm and disarm the system remotely, and that was about it. The industry was ripe for disruption.

LifeShield envisioned a DIY, connected product with a security system that gathers data from the home and communicates to customers via mobile apps.

Solution: Collaboration Creates Robust Results

LifeShield came to Chariot for its stellar reputation for coding skills. The Chariot team acted as consultants and mentors for the LifeShield group.

“We began with a code assessment,” says Steve Smith, Mobile Practice Lead at Chariot. What Smith’s team discovered was of great concern: an unstable existing code base that was difficult to extend.

Using an agile approach, the Chariot team began from scratch and wrote a new iOS app with plenty of room to add features. “It was a very collaborative environment,” explains Chariot developer Mike Bell. Android development soon followed.

Agile scrum teams and standups allowed developers and product owners to work closely together to achieve rapid outcomes. The iOS apps were written in Objective C and Swift, using Core Data, JSON over HTTPs, and AVFoundation/MediaPlayer. “We worked so well as a team. When anything came up, one or the other of us had an answer,” says Bell. For the Android app, developers employed Java and the Android SDK. The result is a custom crafted source code.

Bell took hardware home to test it in a live setting and work out bugs. The system allows users to set up notifications. Thanks to Bell going the extra mile, LifeShield customers get that fly on the wall view. Like Bell, they know what’s going on in their homes; for example, when kids arrive home from school they can set up the system to send a notification that the front door opened. A glance at LifeShield’s video feed in the mobile app confirms that the kids are indeed in the house.

Result: Smart Security for Smart Homes

Steve Smith points to the quality of the software product. The app has a nearly nonexistent crash rate of one tenth of 1 percent, far lower than the industry average of over 2 percent. Additionally, Chariot worked closely with product owners and UX experts to deliver the app as envisioned.

Families with the LifeShield system can arm or disarm the system remotely, and that’s only the beginning. Customers view and record live video feeds from the app. A sophisticated notification system provides alerts when doors or windows are opened.

By concentrating on networked mobile home security, LifeShield has set the stage for future moves into the home automation market.

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