KoCloud – not the component or some part of your system, but a complete solution, the architecture of your project. There are many solutions for developing Internet of things, most common is a combination of the CPU or MCU with communication module, or so-called gateways IT. All this implies creating, debugging not easy hardware, communication protocol development, authentication etc., building architecture and interaction with the backend. All this can be done – if you high-end team of engineers in electronics and software. But what if you want to update or add functionality? Update version of the protocol, change the firmware and software.
But all this can be replaced by a single chip (SoC), which will be implemented all inside. Communication, the hardware implementation of the protocol to communicate with the cloud, hardware mapping data on the internal registers, memory or external interfaces directly to cloud.
The era of CRM, ERP, and other corporative systems fields are our history. This is not a trend but our vision of future in business of program software. We firmly believe that business should be managed from a single place and, more precisely, by one complex software package which solves problems of a particular company but not all and sundry. You receive the software which is needed right for your business but not an abstract set of CRM, ERP, MRP systems from different vendors which should constantly be supported and which require tracking the interrelation between all blocks. Besides, with each update of one of the enterprise blocks, the company has to call for integrators to help. mCloud is the business environment which includes three components: a set of tools, knowledge base, and experts. All this is in one place. You can keep the project using the best world practices which are programmed as application and excellent interface. You also have an opportunity to get knowledge and updates about the market and products from branch resources which are integrated into the environment. You can work with your team or even impart an outside expert with a worldwide reputation to your project with a few clicks in mCloud or simply using a credit card.
The product was born at the joint of three branches: marketing, knowledge management and IT. We managed to befriend the world leaders from these areas and to involve them in the project. And now we can proudly say that responsible for the marketing in the project are Lack Trout, Steven Mann, Vadim Shiriaev: for knowledge management – Ron Young, and the technical part we took upon ourselves. mCloud is the respond to time. A business could only dream about something like this two or three years ago. Now this is as available as any other new gadget. Just take it and use it!
Today mCloud is a separate growing business with more than 50 offline schools around the world which are used by thousands of business leaders and owners.
After the success of idbm, we started to think about expanding the range of marketing devices. Once, during a visit to an exhibition, we noticed an interactive floor. In those days, the system consisted of a projector, a monitor sensor, and a football game. The idea was mind blowing, and we liked it very much, but its execution was evidently poor. That was the moment when we decided to raise the ante in technology in this field and started working on the creation of a new system - kolight. The first step was the development of a motion pattern classifier system. In those days, the technology in this field was quite weak; so we had to "invent" many things. We investigated many variants of both hardware and mathematically-algorithmic parts. We had already had experience in working with artificial intelligence, but this was our first project in the computer vision field. Initially, we set as a goal to make a device as compact and portable as possible, that's why we were limited in computational resources. We had to use incredible ways of optimization of our algorithms and even technology of parallel computations, which were overseen during the development of high-load websites.
During the whole period of existence, the platform and the core of the system passed almost a dozen of stages, and so did the progress and inventions in fields of computer vision and the increase of the processors' computing power. Kolight is still at the top of progress as the branch of artificial vision is one of the priorities in development for the majority of modern universities. Next we turned to creation of interactive effects, and then it became the sore spot of such systems. Effects were often recast to a specific task and didn't allow flexible manipulation of content: everything that could be done was to change the background to another image. And here our system shone: it allowed one to create full effects using just a mouse. A user could completely change the atmosphere and branding of each of 50 pattern effects in only 10 minutes, and could create a custom one after just a week of training. Besides, the extended Pro system used personal professional graphical and physical packets to give an access to super-modern and realistic content. Of course systems could synchronize through the Internet, stitch images into huge canvases, work with video and supported augmented reality. It is hard to list all possibilities. Kolight became the sure step in the new direction of the company.
(300 m optionaly)
This project became the first stage of the complete rebirth of the company, and because of the project, the modern Kodisoft Company appeared. It was this project with which the company entered the market of marketing. The sparkle was, in fact, a small application – an addition to the self-service terminal which allowed one to download a file one liked using Bluetooth. We had been experimenting with it for a long time, and during one of discussions we had an epiphany – this is a completely new channel of communication. We can install our micro device in a public place, and all people passing by will receive a message from us. The device will determine people and prepare a personal message for each of them. And all this is as interactive as possible: a user can choose what to download or to unsubscribe. This became the basis for the application, and then our fantasy started working.
We added a package dispatch, a lottery, identification of the lottery’s user, quizzes, feedbacks and other things. Lots of time was spent on choosing the maximally secure and compact platform. We tried a number of very exotic operating systems, tested all possible Bluetooth networks and transmitters, and tried a great number of processors. In the end, it was worth it as the device turned out to be very compact, reliable, and clever. After the completion of development, a sample case became the install of the device on a food court for one well-known brand, then another one, then – foreign brands and so on. The technology began to grow: new whole networks for content transmission appeared, devices began to communicate with each other, and lots of creativity came from us and our partners. The originality of promotions held with the help of our technology impressed companies with its competence and uniqueness. So, in time, idbm grew into a full-fledged platform for conducting any promotions in the area of mobile marketing, and it remains one of our flagship products even day.
All modern mobile phones have one weak spot – security. To be more precise, passwords are that weak spot. Of course, you can try to enter long 16-letter passwords on a small display using touch-screen keyboard. You will see all the inconveniences at once: you waist lots of time, such password can be easily seen by others, and who can remember such a password. Our friend and partner from the USA thought up a very simple but fundamental concept. What if your password will be not a text but a picture… or a melody, or your position on the map? Generally speaking, it could be any audio or visual information. Plus, what if the password will be changed automatically after each launching, making guessing almost impossible? This idea was titled as “dynamic audiovisual password”, or, in short, avimir. And this was just the beginning. The main advantage of avimir is that it is unique and custom for each user.
For example, one can create my avimir out of 10 random photos and for entering one need to choose two with a dog. Others may like avimir where they need to get into the rhythm of their favorite song while there are three other unknown melodies playing in the background. Another would like his avimir to open each time he comes back home. But these are not all its possibilities. Avimir is a complete tool for marketing and brand recognition. A brand can create a personal account for each user with the help of avimir: a bank might have its own avimir, a supermarket chain may have another one. Moreover, our avimirs are designed so that they can be backward compatible with common passwords; all mechanics on transformation are fulfilled by our program. Avimir is the first personal security.
Today this is the top evolution of the “SpecOffice” package: the project combined all advantages of previous products. We have an employee for whom the sphere of bookselling is very close, that is why the application was created almost for ourselves. We knew all problems of this business from inside out. The first thing that we had to emphasize was work with clients. Such kind of trade should first of all be based on personal relationships. Each client has own preferences, each loves some certain genre and expects special novelties. It is an impossible task to track all this for any person. So here our CRM system will help. It completely frees the mind from any troubles: the system keeps a diary, remembers possible interactions with clients, automatically reminds his preferences, history of purchases, complementary goods, and much more. And the most important feature is one can receive information about everything at any time you want. The second important part of the business is a cataloger. The system should follow releases of new products, and publications in which they can be purchased, their relations and their rules of prices. In addition, the system must follow reviews and ratings of books, periodical outlets, include the list of required literature for the current month and even predict it for the next one. And all this should be synchronized with the web-site. The system allowed one to read more, more fascinating and interesting.
Devices for marketing were one of our priorities since the first days of the company. That is why making the portal for device synchronization became one of the most important projects for us. Everything began from a small site of idbm device statistics and grew into the scales of huge web resource. It was able to work with hundreds of devices every day. It tracked their modes of operation, locations, operating conditions, and could even coordinate the work of several devices located in different parts of the country. Speed and stability of the resource were always on top, and we made a bid for it. All exchange protocols were optimized, the updating was made with maximum available speed and devices – idbm and kolight – were always online. On the other side on an internet cable, there was a very simple but powerful interface: a user could check statistics or condition of a device any moment he wanted. All content could be combined into a scenario (a sequence of files for playback and postings) with settings of time, date and many other parameters. And all this power could be turned on with a common dragging of a mouse. Knowing the characteristics of the market, we covered the possibility of leasing. Any user could “pass” a limited version of his rights to customers, so that they could see the complete report of all that was going on in the advertising company. New participants could appear in any promotion such as mobile applications or networks of television screens, and the portal could also support the work with them and could coordinate them. The project became a meeting place for kodisoft devices.
The Medical field has always been a conservative industry. Despite the access to huge budgets and one of the biggest arsenals of technology, most of doctors still prefer to use paper and a pen. We never liked it, so we, together with our partners, decided to change this, and the MedicalPro system appeared. Of course, all standard CRM and ERP functions inside the system are performed with particular diligence. Yet, the main emphasis was made on the following: the system allowed the integration and synchronization of many disparate medical devices, it read each of them, and then most importantly, gathered them into a single window, in which any qualified doctor could instantly see the state of affairs of a patient. There was a patient’s chart available inside the system including all prescribed and taken medications, test results, counter-indications, diagnoses, and also graphical information, such as X-rays. The system also took the part of administrative responsibility: it could work with schedules and visits, distribute cabinets, track the workload of the staff, distribute testing, follow delivery of medications, and much more. Communication with a doctor became much easier.
We have our own platform to work with databases which is now titled as KoCloud. In the days of its creation, it was mostly used by small businesses for organizing the inner work of the company. We gave many presentations and explained the benefits of this system. At one of the presentations, we were confronted with the workings of the printing industry. This business definitely required intervention. We mainly emphasized the module of customer relationship management – CRM. The system allowed the customer to store and keep track of the smallest details of their wishes, to kept count of models and design preferences, and to build relationships between organizations in general, not just between managers. There also were access permissions on channels of distribution: the staff saw only the information needed for them, while the director could always have bird’s eye panorama. Very specialized equipment is often used for industrial printing with specialized paper, inks and other consumables. The system could control a warehouse, track its state, and make reminders when some materials were in short supply. We devoted a great deal of effort on working with business storage systems of different organizations, so this project led to the birth of KoCloud as we can see it today.
This is a very simple idea: you have a game; there are 2000 dolls in it, for which you choose clothes, accessories and make-up. The goal is to completely transfer the image you like from your head on the screen. Many try to copy their favorite characters first. After playing for awhile, they notice that they don’t like some small detail of the current completer image, than another one, and another and so on. That’s how completely new characters appear, and the children, who create them, develop their imagination. Some of them even make creativity their profession in future. Above all, our client wanted to create a game for his granddaughter, and this is probably one of the best motivations that can be. The task was to remove all obstacles to the outpouring of imagination. We had lots of work to do, but we didn’t fail. 2000 models of dolls appeared in the system with over 20000 elements of wardrobe and accessories. We allowed creation of unique characters using facial mimics and many other parameters. We allowed creation of the character’s everyday and festive wardrobes, interiors, apartments and even entire houses. The system began to live its own life very soon: dolls were born and died, made friends, had quarrels and even married sometimes. There was a social element in the system: the characters could be united in a group and they could become friends. We also didn’t forget about educational elements: there were mini-games integrated which were training knowledge and logic. The system became an embodiment of pure fantasy.
Our packet assembler “SpecOffice” was growing rapidly, but we wanted greatly to add a product working with retailers in it. It was to emphasize and resume the whole condition of packet assembler. We highlighted a very important detail for ourselves: an office packet should first of all organize the everyday fuss. It is most of all noticeable in food retail, as the market is constantly on the move. There are lots of suppliers, and the number of clients is even larger. Goods are often spoiled, and business can turn 180 degrees depending on time of year or even day of a week. Here is the short list of tasks which we have solved in the system. Of course, it was very complex – CRM and ERP, but the most important aspect was the structuring of information. We spent days and even weeks of time on developing each screen of the program, so that a user always had the feeling of understanding and sense of direction of where exactly his business was right then.
The on-screen keyboard has always been the weakest spot of any touchscreen device. Actually, it tries to mimic the typewriter which was created 100 years ago. Typewriters should always lie horizontally on a table and are specifically designed for a trained user who types an “average text” with all 10 fingers. When it comes to entering text, almost any portable device becomes useless not to mention that the modern SMS is not an average text like it was 100 years ago. Such problems were solved by WitBoard system. The keyboard, which is completely located on a screen, adapts to a certain person, his style of typing and texts, which he usually enters. The system performs statistical analysis of texts, tries to predict the next entered letter and transforms this knowledge into a screen tip for the user. The type of a tip depends on the device: this can be a lane moving away, rain of letters or even a common keyboard. As a result, a new way of typing texts appeared. Entering could even be designed specifically for children or a disabled people. Classical keyboards are no longer a must-have, as everyone could easily type text into a smart phone. Ironically, but sometimes innovations can be right in hands of a developer.
Nowadays, self-service terminal is commonness. But just a few years ago they seemed to be something special. However, our self-service terminal became special among the special. Instead of common terminal where one could only check the weather forecast, we created a professional assistant, offline helper, and navigator. One can always rely on it when there is no access to the Internet. It could communicate via Bluetooth. It knew all the pertinent information of the current user and adapted for him. It knew about the client’s purchases, discounts, and promotions. It suggested new purchases or just places to visit. It could entertain him with a classical game, music or simply the latest news. Its main advantage was not in what it could bring, but how it could bring it. We used the maximum number of pixels on the screen to fill it with useful information, while maintaining the client’s branding at a same time. The project can be named both a professional assistant and even a friend in some ways.
Modern electronic auctions greatly lack a social element. All well-known internet platforms for selling are focused only on their goods. No one pays attention to the seller or the buyer. This gap was fixed by a Greek internet auction, Agelma. The main goal was not only to sell goods and make money but also to let the buyer and a seller interact. That is why apart from common lots there were lots of experimental variants. For example, a seller could offer his services or a commodity contract. A buyer could pay not only with money but also with other goods or services. One of our slogans is “All clients are our friends.” That is why this auction became more like a social network for finding new friends.
After finishing work on the project “Traffic Signal”, everyone in Kodisoft set their sights seriously on creating the city of future – “Smart City.” Probably, one of the most important aspects was the place where people spend most of their time – their own homes. By that time we already had a partner who was a well-known architect, and we decided to cooperate and launch a large-scale project – “IntellectHouse” or “Intelligent Home.” The work of hardware and software combined uniquely in it. We developed our own system of wall and handheld touch-screens, laid radio, synchronized the system with all computers in the house and with consumer electronics too. The system could also control non-electronic components such as light bulbs, switches, electric kettles, cookers and locks. We created a centralized server which simultaneously tracked everything what was happening at home and controlled the level of comfort and safety. Each component was made as compact as possible. We used only wireless communication as no one would agree to turn their home into a warehouse of electronics. We paid special attention to both software and hardware interactions with a user. This project was developed before the beginning of modern era of smartphones, but even then it was already completely optimized for touchscreens and used a graphical interface which became standard much later. The result of each user’s action could be immediately seen and he could feel the whole power of the technology. A user touched a bulb on a screen, and it immediately turned on in a room; he touched a TV – and a favorite channel emerged. “The Future has now arrived” – that was the slogan of this project.
The system was to become the heir of our SchoolPro project, but it even surpassed itself. The most complex moment of any education is marks. This part is constantly changed, reformed, removed and returned back. We approached this process from another side. There is a practice in our profession (at schools, at universities and even in hiring) to write big computer programs right on paper. That is so naive. This is something like teaching a person to drive giving a pen, a piece of paper and asking to draw a steering wheel. Strange, do you agree? That is why we emphasized interactivity. Instead of common tests, the system worked with interactive video segments – simulators of real actions. A user could not draw a steering wheel, but to show a real understanding of material ruddering awhile. The second important factor was the integrity of a test. Different comments about bias of teachers are often heard, so we could not ignore this question. We controlled the complexity of questions, their order, random factor, and even came to launching the test simultaneously in the whole class with millisecond precision. There was also a monitoring system. It allowed one to track both the current state of a class and its general academic performance, to estimate data and to give recommendations. The project grew to more than just an instrument for educational institutions. Some of our clients, commercial companies, used the system during the preparation and verification of classification of their staff. MasterTest became a good tool for receiving fair and unbiased marks.
Wood should first be properly dried before giving it the required characteristics for making furniture or use in construction. This is not a 10 minute task but a very complex industrial process which requires a company with many years’ experience in researching. Depending on the length of time and other parameters of drying, one will manage to make only certain products of certain color, quality and tensile. Our task was to compile a library of science researches and mathematical calculations into something that could be used by a person with almost no computer experience. The system had to understand and operate with over a dozen parameters at once: it had to know the type of wood, three different levels of moisture, eight levels of temperature, precise time of day, time of drying and much more. It was also necessary to ensure complete stability and autonomy of the system. Each launch of the program had a solid budget, so failures were unacceptable. When all problems were solved, we moved to innovations. The weakest place of modern industrial systems is the user interface. When one works with it, it seems that you are piloting a space ship, as there are too many different buttons, bulbs and readouts. Then we stepped in with our expertise and created a system in which it was easy to use all drying modes, to start the process in three mouse clicks and to create custom modes which give the materials specific qualities and color. We believe that we have brought some aesthetic culture into this big industry.
There was a joke within our team that traffic signals were something the modern technologists should look at. A huge layer of engineering is hidden just to show people 3 flashing lights any time of day or night. We approached this task with all diligence. The energy efficiency was raised several times, the opportunity of distant reading of new rules of traffic appeared. What is probably the most important is a traffic signal now included the ability to change its behavior by automatically depending on traffic and lighting conditions. In addition, all traffic lights were brought together into a single network. The network knew about traffic accidents, traffic jams, and the need to pass diplomats without stopping. And if some problems were occurring on one part of a road, the neighbor device could help its “colleague” and to unload the roadway. This project became the first brick in the base of “Smart City” which is being developed by us to this day.
In the early 2000s, the first payment terminals appeared in the CIS. Usually, there was a common desktop computer inside each of them. Initially, there were not too many terminals, but this did not seem to be a problem. It was possible to set a separate person to operate each of them. The problems began when the number of terminals started to grow rapidly. People simply didn’t have time to go to all points and check the working order of the terminals. The WatchDog project was our way to solve all these problems and add the second additional security circle for payment terminals. The system was simultaneously monitoring the computer’s work and the money receiver. It even conducted scheduled maintenance and watched that no external interference in the operation of devices could happen. All information about failures, disorders and penetrations were recorded on external protected media, which could be checked any moment. It also allowed the system to receive statistics on all points and districts of a city. In this project, we used all our knowledge in the field of electronic security for the first time. The work of software was scrupulously built and did not allow any failures. WatchDog was an extremely angry and vigilant watch dog.
Probably, every city has its symbol of a bygone era. In our town, a huge clock tower was such symbol. Its mechanism had not worked for years, symbolizing the absence of progress and indifference to this fact. This was hurting us badly, so we didn’t miss an opportunity to fix the situation. We used only the newest technologies and skills of working with mechanisms which came to us after the project with the CNC machine. The mechanism itself was twice the height of a human, while our control unit was the size of a deck of cards. Control of such a huge mechanism and its synchronization with a high precision timer was a very daunting task. We used a reverse control system, which constantly tracked the mechanical position of the clock hands and didn’t allow them to deviate even under the influence of wind and other external factors. As a result, the precision of the clock increased several hundred times, and its reliability and failure tolerance also increased. The system of reverse control and failure alarm appeared and the common chime was changed to melodies and holiday greetings. The clock was no longer a symbol of indifference, as it revived and smiled.
Industrial development is an interesting topic. There are many machines in modern plants which can create unique things. For example, it is possible to engrave a newspaper heading with a photo on a stone. The problem was that the creative process was controlled manually. An individual worker had to watch a machine all day long, directing all its movements, and monitoring the work. We prefer to rely on clever and precise automation rather than heavy machinery. It is very important to move operators’ work away from heavy and life-threatening machine tools. Let an operator issue commands and let a robot perform the work. In fact, this was our next project. The most important parameter was precision. It was impossible to place a powerful computer into a machine, but requirements were really strenuous: the control of the machine’s work had to reach two decimal precision, while a millisecond delay in data transmission could cause corruption of materials, which were often rare and expensive. All of the job was really checked under a microscope. And the results paid off: we could “draw” a life-size Mona Lisa on a huge stone instead of common rectangles circles.
Ever since our first projects we were interested in marketing. Surprisingly, the technology in this area was mostly outdated, but the atmosphere was one of the most advanced: Many companies wanted to try something new. Thus, our pilot project became Display Board Scrolling Text. We took the old and boring type of advertising and breathed new life into it. The lines supported playlists, huge set of graphical effects, external sensors (temperature and pressure), internet synchronization and much more. This was our first project where hardware and software came together, and it required a great deal of time for their seamless mating. As a result, we made the first boards, which used the whole power of computer technologies. One can see lots of such boards nowadays.
This was our first product. In fact, it was prelude developed for acquaintances. The customer was getting really tired of tons of paper and wanted to spend company’s resources on clients, sales and growth. In the early 2000s, when the penetration of computers in the CIS was minimal, accountant calculators were usually used to fell the value of each employee’s time. Our product offered the most complete accounting cycle and monitoring of all components of business. From the first days we pinned a slogan: “We make software for people, not for machines.” Our goal was to allow the company and the client to work as a single mechanism. That was the reason we emphasized the user interface, network timing and communication in our team. This product became a solid foundation for the further development of the company.