June 2, 2020
On the leading edge of software development.
We have been working with Natural Power, to develop our new feature for wind.
June 2, 2020 by Ditte R. Lønstrup
We have been working with Natural Power, to develop our new feature for wind.
The following article was published in PES wind magazine, May 2020.
Download the full article as a pdf below.
Here is proof that it’s better to work together than try to reinvent the wheel. PES is thrilled to bring you this perfect example of such a collaboration between two companies. The end result saved time and costs, which are now a big plus for the end users.
Working with Scopito has enabled us to offer a seamlessly integrated service which provides our clients with the flexibility they need. This collaboration has provided an efficient and low-cost solution that enables us to provide even greater value to our clients.
– Pieter D’haen, International Director, Natural Power
It’s nearing the end of August twentynineteen. The Texas sun is baking outside.
Andre’s office is in the shade of a tall Elm tree and so it’s nice and cool. The business cards on his left read ‘Andre Louis Ferdinand, Sr. Engineer, UAS inspection Services, Natural Power’. His task, as head of software development, is making sure that Natural Power’s flight software is robust and user-friendly – that hasn’t been easy lately.
For the past year, Andre has been working with different solutions – exploring options, trying to find the best tool for his team and their clients. They all feel clunky to him – slow, unable to handle the kind of calculations that Natural Power needs, expensive. None of what he tried, has left him impressed. It’s just not cutting it.
He observes the slight movement of the tree branches outside. His thoughts are interrupted by the familiar sound of an Outlook notification; team meeting in 5. Andre smiles as he gathers his notes – he has an idea to pitch.
Andre had known the Scopito platform for a while, and he liked it: ‘I’m a coder, and I liked the portal. How clean it looks; how efficient data can be absorbed. It’s just good code.’
But Scopito, like the other solutions Natural Power had tried, was unable to complete the calculations needed for their turbine inspections. However, he was sure that adding these functionalities to the platform, would make it the ideal tool for his team. They were already capturing the data; they just needed code translating it to valuable insights.
Andre had worked with Ken Isobe Falk, CEO and founder at Scopito before, and decided to reach out to him with the intent of co-development.
have worked together before, and I know Natural Power does amazing work within the industry. They had all this useful data in their images, and I was sure, we could do something great with that,’ said Ken Falk, CEO & founder, Scopito.
Previously, Scopito had focused development-efforts on features for Transmission & Distribution and were glad to add to their wind-capabilities. The development team at Scopito started work on the new feature primo October, and by the time the chilly December weather had swept through Texas, Andre was watching the leaves fall with a smile on his face.
The finished product ended up exactly as Andre envisioned. It was built directly in Scopito’s current solution, taking advantage of the existing features. Fault location was visualized on a live turbine diagram and updated in real time. Once annotated, the size of faults and distance from the hub, was shown in the annotation details, and all of it was available in reports.
Natural Power had gone from hardly working with Scopito software internally, to the solution being the primary for everything they fly in-house today.
‘The vast majority of our customers love Scopito. We have a few, that have stored their data elsewhere for years, and are happy with that arrangement. We respect that and will always work to find the best solutions for them. But for new customers, we always suggest that they give Scopito a try,’ explained Andre Louis Ferdinand.
Besides providing a custom platform for data management, the collaboration is helping Natural Power in their pursuits for new clients.
‘We have some exciting prospects for this coming season, and it has been a great advantage to have Scopito on client calls, showcasing the solution. It was really a big selling point,’ added Andre.
Andre also emphasizes, that many Natural Power customers find comfort, in the fact that data is kept with a third party; it gives them a sense of security knowing, that their data is still accessible in the location and
format they are used to, even if they opt-out of their commitment to Natural Power.
As for a return on their investment, Natural Power is expecting it to be realized. As Andre explains, by adding this feature to Scopito, we were able to offer it to clients far quicker than if we had developed a custom portal
The team at Natural Power had discussed developing a solution in-house prior to reaching out to Scopito. However, to them, the choice to go with Scopito was an easy one.
‘Developing a similar solution in-house would take longer and be more expensive. And, at the end of it all, there is no certainty that we
would end up with anything nearly as good as Scopito,’ clarified Andre.
Choosing to outsource development was beneficial to Natural Power in more ways than one. Besides being faster than developing themselves, it meant that they could harness the current functionalities and speed of Scopito software. And, perhaps the most important reason why this model was chosen; it meant that they could resource share with other Scopito customers. It allowed Natural Power to keep expenses low, because the feature will also be available to other Scopito customers.
‘I believe that this feature has really added to the quality of the product that we offer for wind-inspections. It is always great for us, when customers reach out hoping to collaborate. I see it as a win/win; they’re getting what is essentially custom-development at a low price, and we’re able to improve our product-offering with features based on real-world knowledge
and experience,’ confirmed Ken Isobe Falk.
Between project start and delivery, lay six weeks of component-deliveries and feedback. In Andre’s opinion, this way of working, made the development process as smooth and efficient as the end-result.
‘When you work with the team at Scopito, they are clearly great. They can implement changes quickly and understand what they are doing. We had good conversations; they were able to answer my questions properly, because they actually wrote everything. I was really impressed with the quality of Scopito’s team,’ André said.
Communication was mainly between Ken and Andre. Ken’s background in developing mission-critical software, made him a level conversation-partner for Andre, and the key link between Scopito development and
Thomas Messell, Scopito’s lead frontend developer and person responsible for visualizing the data, describes the process as follows:
‘Working to make Natural Power’s vision come to life has been an interesting challenge. Learning about the needs of people who use this software every day and trying to marry those with the look and feel
of our platform, in a way that would be logical for all clients to use, was certainly a challenge. I think we ended up with something truly unique in the market.’
The lead backend developer at Scopito, Henrik Thorsgaard, enjoyed working with the complex mathematical calculations needed to determine fault size and distance from hub, based on the available metadata. He
describes the biggest challenge as the process of adapting the feature for different datasets captured in different ways, to make it available to all Scopito’s clients.
‘It has been great collaborating on making what we envisioned become a reality. I believe we will do more together in the near future; Natural Power is looking into features that the industry will likely need within a few years, like temporal view. We are very interested in working with Scopito on those,
Andre Louis Ferdinand
Sr. Engineer, Natural Power
Natural power also has plans, to start using Scopito for more inspection types like renewables-related infrastructure.
‘We’re expecting massive growth for Scopito in 2020, and I believe that this collaboration will be a stepping stone into the wind market for us. We have gained an established partner that we can learn from, and I’m sure we will develop many significant features together in the future.’
Ken Isobe Falk
CEO & Founder, Scopito
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