Technology Makes Women Feel Safer
After a solo sojourn through South America, Yasmine Mustafa envisioned a simple wearable device to make the world safer for women. She founded ROAR, and brought on Anthony Gold as a co-founder.
ROAR’s flagship product, Athena, is a small, stylish accessory. Its simple design conceals complex technology. Years of trial and error resulted in today’s effective, reliable product. The accessory is available in three colors, and connects via Bluetooth to the user’s mobile device.
When activated, Athena emits either a silent or loud alarm, and alerts pre-selected contacts by way of a mobile app for iOS and Android.
Quick to Market
Mustafa and ROAR partner Anthony Gold initially approached Chariot Solutions several years back. Chariot built a hardware prototype and PhoneGap app for Android and iPhone. The ROAR team reviewed its software budget, and opted for another software developer that initially appeared more cost effective.
Taun Chapman is ROAR’s current software engineer. “When I started, the existing Android app had poor implementation. Per dollar it had been built more inexpensively than if ROAR had originally chosen Chariot. At the end of the day, the app was challenging to use.”
Athena launched amid much positive press and began shipping to beta users. Then the customer service calls started coming in. Chapman was busy with fixing firmware, both iOS and Android apps, and addressing the Bluetooth problems. “I needed real help.” The ROAR team came back to Chariot.
Clean Code Saves the Device
Don Coleman, Chariot Solutions’ Chief Innovation Officer, recalls that while Android users made up just 20 percent of ROAR’s customer base, they caused 80 percent of the problems. “We started looking through the source code,” says Coleman. “It was not written optimally.” The Chariot team discovered problems in the Bluetooth configuration. The solution was to rewrite Bluetooth code to simplify the pairing process, reduce battery usage, and automatically connect in the background.
Coleman says that while the fixes didn’t take a lot of developer time, they resulted in huge positive changes in the way the code behaved. “As a developer, I really care about clean code and maintainability. With a consumer product, you need to err in favor of getting things exactly right. If not, you waste a lot of time and money.”
Taun Chapman is enthusiastic about ROAR’s choice to hire Chariot Solutions. “They gave us a solution that worked, without any major issues. What more could you ask for? If you are a company that wants to have Bluetooth that works, you need someone who knows what they are doing. Chariot understands Bluetooth.”