Hitachi High Technologies America, Inc. (“HTA”) is a privately-owned global affiliate company that operates within the Hitachi Group Companies. HTA sells and services semiconductor manufacturing equipment, analytical instrumentation, scientific instruments, and bio-related products as well as industrial equipment, electronic devices, and electronic and industrial materials. The Systems Products Division (SPD) of HTA focuses on design, development, and manufacturing of IoT systems, in-flight entertainment tablets, and medical computer devices.
01 // Summary
Staffing & Recruiting
02 // The Challenge
HTA’s SPD team in Greenville, SC developed an innovative IoT product that allow users to remotely monitor the temperature and humidity in restaurant equipment, such as freezers, coolers, and overnight smokers.
The HiQ eSystems® Remote Monitoring Systems reduces food waste, saves money in the restaurant and food service industries and improve food safety for the consumer.
The SPD team had completed the product and were undergoing user testing with a handful of real clients to get real feedback on how to improve. One of the biggest needs that came out of this was better dashboard reporting.
HiQ eSystems Remote Monitoring Systems users needed a simple, clean visual dashboard to see the whole picture at a glance.
“Our search for a tech partner began with feedback we received from one of these initial customers,” said Kyoko Roberts, the SPD Director of Sales. “The dashboard prototype had a very technical look, like an engineering table. We thought we would need something more user friendly, and the testing phase confirmed this for us.”
Keith Brown, the SPD General Manager and an HTA Senior Director, agreed that the product dashboard needed an update.
“We had designed an intelligent sensor and a gateway for our IoT products. Our temperature monitoring system is one of very few IoT full-stack solutions currently in the market that start at the edge and go all the way up to alerting and dashboarding.” Brown said. “From an engineering or large corporate overview control and monitoring perspective, our dashboard was fantastic. All the information was there, but it can be complicated and give too many options for the many end users. Our customers didn’t want to check under the hood and see everything that was going on. They wanted a simplified, clean visual dashboard that presented the whole picture at a glance.”
”HiQ eSystems Remote Monitoring Systems users needed a simple, clean visual dashboard to see the whole picture at a glance.
03 // The Process
”Our team had all the data, but we weren’t able to use it or present it in a meaningful way. We had the database ready to go; we just needed to change how the information was used.Kyoko RobertsSPD Director of Sales
Since SPD already have all the major components in place, the Kopis team was able to start the project quickly.
“Our team had all the data, but we weren’t able to use it or present it in a meaningful way,” said Roberts. “We had the database ready to go; we just needed to change how the information was used.”
SPD decided to bring Kopis in as a partner to help develop the dashboard piece of the products rather than hiring a full-time developer.
“Our software engineer is an embedded software specialist, and he’s amazing at what he does. Anything that’s inside a device, like a phone, a tablet, or a smart refrigerator or thermostat, embedded software is what makes it all work together,” said Brown. “But those skills are very different than the skills needed to design a consumer-facing dashboard. We have no need to hire that kind of consumer-facing skill set full time since most of what we do is embedded software. Our team had connected with Kopis, at several IoT conferences, and we quickly realized that Kopis was a natural fit to bridge the gap that we had internally.”
04 // The Results
Working in partnership with Kyoko Roberts and the rest of the SPD team, Kopis created a mobile-friendly user dashboard that:
- Presents a live, real-time view of data
- Simplifies the data into easily digestible, intuitive, color-coded blocks: green when a unit is in the acceptable range, blue when a unit becomes too cold (below the acceptable range), and red when a unit is too hot (above the acceptable range)
- Gives end users the ability to monitor multiple sites remotely from the same device
- Allows users to click on the icons for individual units to see temperature history from the past 24 hours
- Sends alerts directly to the user’s mobile device when the temperature hits the red zone
“What we love so much about the dashboard that Kopis designed is the simplicity,” Roberts said. “Our customers can open the dashboard and get a quick visualization of all of the major equipment at all of their locations in real time. It gives them incredible peace of mind.”
“The response so far has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Brown. “We’ve released it with many different customer types, and they all love the look and the feel, the fact that they can pull up the data remotely from their mobile devices, the drill down capabilities, and the alerts. Customers can always go back to the tech dashboard if they want more data and more capabilities, but most customers will never need to and are perfectly happy with the live-view dashboard.”
”What we love so much about the dashboard that Kopis designed is the simplicity. Our customers can open the dashboard and get a quick visualization of all of the major equipment at all of their locations in real time. It gives them incredible peace of mind.Kyoko RobertsSPD Director of Sales
According to Roberts, the SPD team is pleased both with the results and with the process for creating the dashboard.
“Working with Kopis was a completely smooth process and one that I completely enjoyed,” Roberts said. “The whole project was managed professionally, and it felt like a true partnership from beginning to end. The Kopis team was able to collaborate with us, match our work processes and timeline, and complete every step of the project on time.”
Now that the new live-view dashboard has been released, HTA’s SPD team is seeing it as a major selling point for their products. Russell Kerman, the Corporate Chef for Sysco, even credits the alert feature with preventing a costly kitchen fire.
“The feedback we’ve gotten from Sysco is the same feedback we’ve gotten from every customer,” said Roberts. “The dashboard is clean, simple, and so easy to use. Every customer has loved the update. As Sysco says: it seems ‘foolish’ not to invest in this technology.”
Brown agrees that the dashboard has helped HTA’s SPD in their sales efforts.
“I was meeting with a customer this week who is a food distributor. We’re now in discussions about using our new dashboard as a demo with marketing associates, which will get us in front of a lot of potential customers,” said Brown. “Overall, developing the final piece of this product in partnership with Kopis has been a rewarding experience and a sound investment.”
”Overall, developing the final piece of this product in partnership with Kopis has been a rewarding experience and a sound investment.Kyoko RobertsSPD Director of Sales
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”The whole project was managed professionally, and it felt like a true partnership from beginning to end. The Kopis team was able to collaborate with us, match our work processes and timeline, and complete every step of the project on time.Kyoko RobertsDirector of Sales for the System Products Division