We spoke to a sample of Canadian startup entrepreneurs using IBM Bluemix to support their apps, and found a key theme was the amount of time and resources saved by leveraging Bluemix technology.
The PlantID3 mobile app is used by agricultural professionals to monitor crop health. The service is in beta testing with 2,000 trial users and a soft launch is planned later this year in Australia.
Dylan Lidster, founder and CEO of PlantID3, says in agricultural tech, startup organizations clear a path for the larger corporations because they can pivot quickly and spend less money getting to market.
“The aging demographic of agriculture is quickly rolling over as a new tech sophisticated producer enters the market, open to change and moving swiftly,” he says.
In the app a farmer might take a picture of an apple tree with a disease. The app then searches through the database for pattern recognition and tags. The image is tagged and stored, and then feeds into recommendations for remedial practice, such as pruning techniques, fertilization or spray application. The database of image storage and tagging and the recommendation tree run off IBM’s BlueMix infrastructure.
Lidster is making sure that the customer base is involved at the early stages of development of the PlantID3 app, to ensure product fit with the interface. Being cheap and quick to scale is key.
“[BlueMix] saves many hours of labour and provides us with advanced services such as use of Watson that we could not achieve without the support of IBM,” says Lidster.
Speed and scalability are also paramount when you’re building an app that transmits health data. With SwiftPad, when patients take a photo of their prescription and send it to their pharmacy of choice, they can get real-time feedback on when their medication is ready and can opt to have it delivered.
Saif Abid, CTO of SwiftPad, says: “Currently, we have around 12 services running on IBM’s Bluemix network. To put this in a financial perspective, we’re spending around 75% less than we would with other competitors.” Among the services used are CloudFoundry, push notifications, and Watson.
“With Bluemix, we’re able to focus on engineering the best solution possible for our users without having to compromise the quality of tools and services we use,” says SwiftPad CEO and co-founder Amir Motahari.
Gregory Melchior, CEO of real estate software startup 4D Virtual Space, is using social media marketing as a key part of his growth strategy. His organization aims to replace floor plans for real estate developers. Instead of constructing a sales centre, realtors would use the app to show customers through a space, allowing prospective buyers to walk through and even visualize how their own furniture might look.
Feedback from users is vital, and quickly accessed. “With IBM Watson we’re able to get, per month, 500,000 documents analysed in social media immediately,” says Melchior. “We hit the ground running.”
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