Mobile Product Development
Potential omnipresence of smart devices has been accepted by people and industries across the world. Mobility has also been one of the key aspects in growth of IoT development. Business tools/applications based on mobility services are hence sprouting rapidly. Applications developed for such smart devices help develop rich user experience, increased portability and numerous options of porting and migration.
With the ubiquity of the mobile devices various software and instrument product manufacturers are attempting to integrate mobile devices to their products. The mobile devices provide anywhere capabilities yet have their unique cross-platform constraints, for example limited power, memory, screen size and variations in screen sizes. The platform’s technology and user interactions nuances as well as app publishing methodologies add to the complexity. Above and beyond these, enterprise applications or human machine interactions for instruments have their own specific considerations. In mobile applications non-functional requirements like usability, performance, maintainability, extensibility, security to name a few, take more prominence than functional requirements. We differentiate with respect to thousands of app developers since we understand these aspects very well!
Application areas and Platforms
For the software products providing mobility is quite intuitive. The apps for software products typically follow client server architecture paradigm with offline/online workflow capabilities integrated with mobile device’s hardware capabilities like camera and GPS. We are capable of developing platform specific as well as cross-platform apps. We have developed apps for Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), Clinical Trial Management System. As per our customer’s requirements we have done development on cross-platform IDE like Xamerin to support iOS, Android, Windows as well as platform specific development on Android and iOS. However our speciality is in developing HMI apps. These category of apps not only have to be responsive and not hamper instrument performance while communicating with the instrument and/or sensor through USB, Bluetooth or WIFI.
When it comes to developing an app for a particular instrument there are two possible requirements a) monitor only or b) control & monitor. In first case mobile device acts as an additional HMI leveraging existing instrument to PC interface typically through serial interface. However we have also catered to the requirement where the communication capability had to be added to the instrument by making changes to the firmware. In second case of control and monitor, the instrument either works with the native interface if it already exists or the app. We have also worked with an instrument where we replaced legacy user interface of keyboard and LCD line display with Android device. In such cases firmware change is always necessary and the app has to be always in the foreground.
We can provide such instrument/sensor apps on Android and iOS platforms being most popular. In case of dedicated apps we have done development on Android platform using off the shelf devices or specially ported devices.
With our experience in development of medical and analytical instruments we have very good understanding of various standards like GxP, 21CFR Part 11, IEC 62304. This helps our customers to ensure the apps and/or associated instruments qualify the validation processes necessary for regulatory approvals and audits.
Due to Non-Disclosure Agreements with the customer, we can’t cite example of software integration apps. Following examples will give you an idea about our HMI apps experience.
Titrator (Automatic and Karl Fischer)
The customer intends to revamp the product range due to various reasons like obsolescence, difficulty in maintaining the firmware and upgrading for new customer demands, demands from certain customers to make instrument 21CFR Part 11 compliant, increase market share by differentiation, etc. We presented customer with two stage transformation roadmap.
In the first stage we provided device attached Android tablet based algorithm processing and graphical user interface. This mean we modified firmware to actuate burette and valves, monitor temperature, PH and balance, and to communicate data to Android app. The Android app starts as a default Home screen app, thus preventing user from launching any other app. The app runs algorithm for regular titration and Karl Fischer detecting the burette type automatically. The algorithm sends commands to the instrument hardware to control burette, valves, stirrer and balance. Instrument keeps on sending temperature, PH, burette status, balance reading, etc. as input to algorithm. The app-instrument communication happens over Bluetooth. The app can be optionally configured for 21 CFR Part 11 compliance.
The security certificate based engineering mode allows service engineer to upgrade app, configure printers and enable 21CFR since it is sold as a separate feature.
This has not only improved usability but virtually allows unlimited data, improved reports, printing on various types of printers, optional WIFI connectivity, data backup, instrument maintenance tracking. This making the instrument differentiating and increasing revenue.
In the second stage the instrument hardware will be replaced. However due to separation of concerns principal in the roadmap, there will not be any change required in the app!
Remote Diagnosis App
In India reach of healthcare is quite a challenge. The doctor to population ratio is very poor and doctors are not willing to practice in rural areas, as enough work is available for them in urban areas. We have with our associate come up with an Android app which addresses this problem to some extent.
This app interfaces with pulse oximeter probe and an endoscope through USB. The app is designed in such a way that various pulse oximeter probe can be easily configured to work with this app. The USB connectivity for pulse oximeter probe was a challenge due to electrical constraints of USB port on an Android device. For an endoscope challenge was to make external USB camera interface with almost any Android device due to OS level capabilities around camera differ by the manufacturers of the devices. The app now can run on virtually any Android device.
A typical scenarios are as follows.
A patient approaches the rural healthcare centre. The nurse enters patient’s name, age, sex and clips on SPO2 probe to patient’s finger. The app collects necessary data like pulse rate, which is uploaded to a server for a doctor to look at it in real time.
In rural India oral hygiene is a significant problem due to tobacco products. There are similar problems in the area of gastronomical track, skin, etc. The endoscope can be easily operated by the nurse with minimal training. The endoscope allows to capture information in visual form, which is again uploaded to the central server where the doctor can examine it in real time.
We are truly making a difference!
Support regulatory requirements
Domain : Analytical Instrumentation
Type : Software Product Development
BAT has supported an analytical instrument manufacturer transform their laboratory instrument to overcome hardware component obsolesce. BAT developed an Android based system controller and an embedded control system. The new platform enhanced the user Interface and improved the UX. The new system also supported compliance to standards and report generation.
Mobile Product Development
“The partnership with BAT has been a contributing factor in achieving the business goals for Waters MS division. We are pleased with the commitment and dedication exhibited by BAT practitioners and management. BAT has a team with strong domain and software life cycle expertise. BAT can be proud of its vision statement of solutions that make a difference”
“The BAT team are very professional, we have good communication and engagement with the team who are able to demonstrate a strong mix of life science application and software technical knowledge. This balance has delivered value in practice, allowing teams to get up to speed with our projects efficiently, and deliver on commitments without the need for constant supervision.”
“Shimadzu engaged Bio-Analytical Technologies (BAT) for an important addition across its software products suite. BAT designed and developed the application where we found that they are reliable service provider who treated Shimadzu as a valued customer. BAT delivered the solution with utmost flexibility yet as planned, on schedule which really made a difference to Shimadzu. At Shimadzu we definitely would consider BAT as a long term partner.”