Customized Software Development
Software for Boxie, Smart Delivery Box
We designed and built the software solution for Boxie – the smart delivery box that allows you to receive packages direct to your door when you’re not at home.
5/2021 - 11/2021
Raspberry Pi, React, AWS, Kubernetes, Kafka and Google Bucket
The mechanical engineering company Hestego has been operating on the Czech market since 1995. In addition to their custom manufacturing services, Hestego also manufactures its own product line. For instance, they build and sell disinfection stands, information kiosks and terminals or smart trash cans.
With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Hestego has decided to expand its portfolio of products with a smart delivery box that securely receives packages and minimizes COVID-19 contact. Hestego is no rookie when it comes to software development; they have developed their own software for smart trash cans, and connected their disinfection stands to the company attendance systems, all the while continuously working on production automation. But with Boxie, things had gotten to a whole new level of difficulty – so they approached us.
DESIGNING THE SOFTWARE
Hestego’s smart delivery box (boxie.cz) receives packages from the courier – so you don’t have to. Upon receiving the package, Boxie takes a picture of the parcel, weighs it, and secures the smart delivery box door with a code. When you’re ready, you simply collect the package.
While the client was working on the design of the box, we were responsible for the complete proposal, design and development of the technological solution. The solution we designed services tens of thousands of boxes, their 24/7 operation, remote monitoring and updating and their user-friendly operation by the end user. At the same time, the solution is designed to allow linking to the services that deliver goods using API.
THE INNOVATION PROCESS IN PRACTICE
We suggested to our customer how the box should work and what we should start working on first. The whole process started with us developing the Proof of Concept (PoC) on the parts of the design that we knew the least (the box), then we created the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and subsequently we tuned up the final version.
The hardest part of the project was testing. We needed to build a system that wouldn’t crash or freeze. And if it did, we needed to be able to repair it remotely; because a journey to the customer and repairing the system on site would increase the price of the delivery box.
We worked with the customer on the project as one team using an agile delivery approach. We met with the client on a weekly basis; we planned the work 14 days in advance (sprints) and we communicated operatively on Slack.
For Boxie, it was necessary to build an easy-to-use and user-friendly system that would receive and/or send a delivery without the need of integration with a specific delivery carrier. The solution had to allow connectivity and remote management of thousands of devices and had to be able to update the boxes at all times.
The project is very diverse in terms of technologies. We developed software that controls the box itself – i.e., a low-level hardware on the box – the browser runs the React application and the backend service that calls scripts to control peripherals. We had to operate the mechanical lock, scales, camera, light, and the scanner of barcodes. At the same time we had to solve possible power failures, initial configuration and burning of the box. The box runs the Raspberry Pi, connectivity is solved via LAN, Wi-Fi and GSM module. Boxie is connected to the cloud – it runs in AWS, Kubernetes, Kafka and Google Bucket.