This week's Jelastic Spotlight comes to you from Mexico City! We are talking with Remo Loaiza. The app he is currently working on is a product promoter's dream come true. It combines a number of different product promotion processes, scheduling and mapping features and then combines a mobile app with a backend reporting and administration portal for the management of marketing and promotion teams.
If you know of someone that is doing cool stuff and is using Jelastic, let us know! We would love to chat with them and showcase their work here on the blog. If you know of someone that is doing cool stuff but has not tried Jelastic out, tell them about us!
Remo Loaiza and Go-Sharp
Hey, Remo. Thanks for joining us. So, you are in Mexico, right?
Yeah. I am based in Mexico City.
What's your background?
Well, I was born and raised in Mexico City. Most of my family made a career in engineering. So it was only natural that I developed the same fascination for it when I was little.
My father was always interested in technology. I was lucky enough to have a computer from a pretty young age. I started playing with it and computers ended up being my career.
That’s cool that you had that opportunity starting young. Before your current project, what were you doing?
I?ve pretty much always worked on or around computer related projects. Since I joined Go-Sharp I have been working on Enterprise solutions on and for mobile devices. Before that I worked for the government developing monitoring systems for various departments. I also had mobile side projects while I was working there.
How did you get into the startup scene?
Here in Mexico there is a new wave of tech startups. I got started by forming a group with people I met through some friends that had the resources, ideas, etc, to keep a company running. I am very glad that I found a good group of people to work with in this endeavour.
So, mobile is pretty big part of what you do. Can you tell us a little about your current project?
We are currently deploying the Go-Sharp virtual promoter tool to Jelastic. This platform allows for fast and easy monitoring of various store activities that are tied to the sales, marketing and trade-marketing departments of many of our clients. It has 2 components: a mobile app for promoters (the mobile teams) and an administration and reporting portal.
Tell us about that mobile app.
With the mobile app, brand promoters can report product availability, product price, in store activities (such as setting up offer posters, etc.), take pictures and send feedback. It also provides time and location tracking functionality with the check-in and check-out processes, where the app registers, the start time, end time and location (GPS) of the report, giving us a total visit time and other metrics needed for route optimization. It also shows the assigned weekly calendar and the activities catalogue, so that the big picture is not lost in all the details.
How do you tie all that together if you have a big team out on the road?
On the portal there is an administration section and a reporting section. In the reporting section the client has access to the reports and dashboards that are generated with the information sent from the app (product availability, product price, etc).
Inside the administration section the client can manage users (promoters, supervisors, admin) and roles, promoter routes (define when to visit a store) as a weekly calendar, manage the in-store activities and manage catalogues like client, store, etc.
The supervisor account has an overview page that shows the performance of each user based on the amount of completed reports versus scheduled reports and such. It has a detail page where he can check the time when the report was sent, the total time in the store and the map with store, check-in and check-out location markers.
So far, how do you like Jelastic? Is there anything in particular that stands out to you?
We are very happy to have finally found a Cloud solution that fits our platform.
We use J2EE for the mobile services and client portal. We tested other cloud platforms but they did not have as many benefits as we have with Jelastic.
Can you tell me a little more about the issues that you ran into elsewhere?
Well, we tried other Cloud platforms, but we still had to deal with the usual installation and management time wasters like installing Java, configuration and setup, optimization and deploying server clusters and load balancers. When we tried Jelastic we had to make almost no changes to our code and we did not have to worry about anything related to the server. That was nice.
One thing we did have to change was how we manage files. We write documents and pictures within our application. Before, we used to write to the file system and get the files from disk but now we have to do all that from the database. That was the most significant change so far.
Anything else? 🙂
On other cloud platforms, if we needed to scale we would have to do a 2-step reconfiguration of an environment (best case scenario), add a server and then add it to the cluster. With Jelastic we can make those changes within minutes and with just a few clicks.
This is huge for us. If the number of mobile devices goes up, we can scale very easily and quickly. Another benefit is that it's easier for us to calculate operation costs on the Cloud since we only have to worry about the Java cloudlet and not the whole server. With this model we reduced the operating costs significantly because we get only charged for the use of the cloudlets and we do not pay much when the app is not being used. Before we had to buy hardware for the worst-case scenario. Not cool.
What are your plans for the future with respect to your application?
We have an extensive roadmap for this app. We will integrate with LDAP, expose part of the API through web services and have a version for other OS other than Android. We are in the alpha stage on iPhone and BB. I’m also very excited about the social enterprise tools we will release next year.
Wow. Those are some ambitious plans, but from what I can see, you are well on your way. You have a favorite hobby that you do when you aren’t coding?
I like to surf but I don’t get to do it as much as I want to. I also really like playing Go (some people know this game as Baduk or weiqi).
Can you tell me what you like most about your work?
The thing I enjoy the most are the good friends I have made while also crafting the best development team I?ve ever worked with. For me it is very important to focus on people. I believe that a company’s value is the sum of the value of the people that work there.
That’s cool, and it’s very true as well.
Well, thanks for your time, Remo. We appreciate you sharing with us.
If you are interested in learning more about Remo and Go-Sharp, you can learn more at the website.