June 2020 Development Blog
Welcome to our second DEV (Development) Blog. Our goal with these is to keep you informed on what the product development team is doing here at Go Connect. I know you are excited to see the line of products that we will began releasing later this year. We are too.
Hundreds of hours a week go into developing products like these. While we can’t get too deep into the details, it will give you some insight into what we are doing. You’ll see a development blog at least once a month but likely more frequently as we make more progress.
What Our Teams Are Working On
Hardware (Device) Engineering
Go Connect Travels!
Go Connect hits the road! Our device had its first real world testing in hotels and Airbnbs as part of the Alpha test. This is pretty exciting. It was great to see how quickly and easily we could get half a dozen devices online at a hotel, without complicated interfaces. No setup screens to go through. Open app, select, connect, captive portal done.
However, it wouldn’t be a real world QA and Alpha test without some bugs. We certainly discovered those. We’ve had some issues with heat under heavy and sustained use. We discovered some heat issues during some of our development tests as well. While significantly better, we still have some tweaking to perfect this.
Real world testing also helped us determine that we need a little more work is Range. While good in most use cases we tested, we discovered that for Airbnb’s we wish we had just a little more. More range would go a long way to covering full houses. However, at hotels and single room Airbnbs we are pretty happy with the range and signal strength we got.
Board Design – Chip Selection
Last month we mentioned we are still working on chip selection for the final hardware design. While we continue this process, and expect to do so through our entire Alpha process, much research and work remains before we finalize.
So what’s involved in the Board Design Chip Selection? Lots of little steps. As we mention above – heat is always a concern. So is power usage, as we are actively considering a battery in one of the products in our line. Chips that are fast tend to create a lot of heat and consume a lot of power. We can use a lower power consuming chip but the experience may suffer. It’s a balancing act that requires a lot of testing.
It really important to our team to not just balance the technical aspects, but understand the real world impacts on real users. This is a big part of the reason we are doing our Alpha testing before final hardware design. We want to know how our decisions are impacting real users.
Streaming Service Performance and Reliability Test
One fun project the team got to do this month was compare the performance and reliability of 10 of the most popular streaming services. The test put each of the services through a series of increasingly bad WiFi experiences to see how it impacted the user experience. This testing was important to our teams for a couple of reasons.
First, it gives us a sense of the tolerances we need to shoot for. While most products on the focus on stats, we wanted to understand the experience. We can claim all of the technologies in the world, but if you can’t stream the show you want to watch, when you want to watch it, those stats don’t mean anything. Same with that critical email or presentation.
Second, it gives us the opportunity to ensure our devices work great with the popular streaming services. While streaming is just one of the many uses on the go for our devices, its an important one. This gives us a chance to try all of the popular services on our device to see how they are impacted. It ensures our security framework doesn’t break any of the streaming services or too greatly impact performance.
We are doing a full blog post on our findings because so many people seem to ask about whether certain streaming services are more reliable than others. We see it regularly on on Reddit and other forums.
Software (App) Engineering
No big changes from the mobile app team. Primarily responding to bug fixes from the Alpha test. As we’ve gotten out into the real world with our initial testing we’ve discovered a few things. Mostly minor and annoying.
The biggest one has been screen refresh. Real world WiFi and systems are not pristine so things take a little longer. That has impacted some of the experience. This is why you do extensive real world testing. We’ll be working on resolving this before moving on to our next phase of testing which is an expanded Alpha test.
Finally, our software development team has begun planning for our next phase of features to be developed. This includes continuing to enhance our security integration and the next level of our enhanced stability.
Business/Organization and Marketing
While last month we launched our website, this month we kicked off promoting our social media accounts. We’ve already passed 100 Facebook likes in just under 2 weeks, and it’s picking up.
Another area we’ve been focused on is all of the different ways travel routers are used. While hotels appear to be far and away the most common use we also are beginning to see more and more people looking for WiFi solutions for their TV, tailgating an gaming on the go.
We’d love your feedback on the features we implement for the final version. If you are interested in sharing your thoughts, send us a note with the features you’d like to see. You can submit feature thoughts here.
Upcoming for the end of June and July we are going to continue our live user testing of the product. We expect to find more things to tweak. The other area we are excited about is furthering our product development. We are hoping to have some announcements about new specific features with our next development blog.
As you may have seen in our product roadmap – we are not just building a hardware device here. We are investing significant effort into the user experience and features with software. This gives us a lot of opportunity to enhance the product without changing the hardware. That means new features as we develop and refine our product, and likely software releases with enhanced features after we launch the physical hardware.
All of our features though are focused on our core virtues of being easy (user experience), being reliable (things “just work”) and secure (use it anywhere without fear).