Lab Happenings vol. 5

By | Development, Enterprise Mobility

3D printing, also called  additive manufacturing, is the process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. An object is created by laying down successive layers of material, usually molten plastic. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object. The advent of 3D printing has lowered the barrier of entry for industrial printing. What used to require machines, tools, and skilled technicians can now be accomplished by anyone with a laptop. The possibilities are both fascinating and endless. From fashion to food to  medical prosthesis, the speed and affordability of 3D printers has opened up a world of possibilities across a spectrum of industries.

3D printingWhen we first opened the BlueFletch IoT Lab the 3D printer was our very first purchase. In the Lab we use the STL file format native to CAD software and the 3D modeling app SketchUp to create 3D model images. Creating the STL file takes an engineering mind – taking the measurements so they translate correctly is a detailed process that is easy to bungle. Read More

Georgia Mentor-Protégé Connection Selects BlueFletch for 2017 Class

By | BlueFletch Culture & News

Atlanta, GA – January 27, 2017 – BlueFletch is proud to announce it has been selected to participate in Georgia’s Mentor-Protégé Connection. The program provides a unique opportunity for Georgia’s entrepreneurs to partner with a corporate mentor that is committed to the health and long-term growth of small businesses in Georgia.

BlueFletch is thrilled to announce its partnership with Georgia Power and is looking forward to building strong relationships with a respected leader in the industry.

Administered by the Georgia Education Foundation (GEF) in partnership with the Department for Economic Development, the program was established to help Georgia’s small businesses improve business practices, accelerate growth and explore new technologies.

“We are thrilled to be selected as a protégé and partnered with Georgia Power” said BlueFletch CEO and Managing Partner, Richard Makerson. “I look forward to making the most of my time and leveraging all of the development opportunities provided.”

The mentor firms are leaders in their respective industries, including transportation, education, logistics, manufacturing, telecommunications, consulting services and information technology. Throughout the 12-month program, mentor firms provide high-level educational experiences, peer-to-peer mentoring activities and networking opportunities. Protégé companies will gain from an unparalleled information exchange on a wide range of business issues including strategic planning, sales and marketing, operations, infrastructure, technology and finance.

The Mentor Protégé Connection orientation kick-off was held on January 13th at The Coca-Cola Company.

 

Lab Happenings vol. 4

By | Development, Enterprise Mobility

Facial Recognition Technology Takes Center Stage

This is Part 4 of our series on the goings on in the BlueFletch IoT Lab. The Internet of Things is the next big revolution in technology and we’ve got our fingers on the pulse. Stay tuned for exciting projects, both personal and professional coming out of the Lab.

In our last post we discussed how the Sigfox network has furthered the projects in our lab, including our secure entry system. In this installment I’ll expand on the facial recognition component of that system. Andres took the lead, using the Facebook recognition system as a starting point. We’re still working out the kinks, but our first pass had some interesting results I’d like to share with you here.

When contemplating adding facial recognition technology to our access system, Andres was inspired by this article describing how to reverse engineer the system Facebook uses when we tag our friends. From this starting point, Andres used the Raspberry PI, OpenCV, the Facebook API, Python, and nodeJS to build a face recognition system. Under his system, the Raspberry Pi can be utilized for any number of functions, including sending a signal to the GPIO pins to “Open Doors,” sending a message via Sigfox to record the name of the person that was recognized or performing a calculation based on its’ findings.

IoT, BlueFletch IoT LabHere’s How it Works: Read More

Lab Happenings vol. 3

By | Development, Enterprise Mobility

Halloween Hack

Like many an office, we have a fun tradition at Halloween – everyone dresses up, the office pays for lunch and it’s a festive day. It’s fun to see two Batmans coding side by side on a Wednesday. For the last few years we’ve incorporated a Hack-a-thon element to the festivities. Last year it was pumpkin carving. This year, we stepped up our game a bit and built robots!

Check out the github Matt put together for our supply list, build instructions and a complete listing of the official rules and regulations. We were able to keep our bots at the reasonable price point of about $60 per bot by sourcing the parts ourselves instead of buying a kit, which typically costs between $99-160 each. Teams were allowed to extend the software on their bots and 3D print parts, but additional motors, sensors and shields were prohibited.  After announcing the hack, some additional rules had to be enacted: no blow torches for one, (We tend to get excited) 3D printed parts are for structure only.  ie a flipper that would allow you to flip other robots, and so on. 

We had 8 teams of 2-5 ppl per team. Teams were given two weeks to put together their robots with one final hour during our Halloween Hack Lunch and Learn for finishing touches and decorations. 

Here’s a quick preview of our final products:

IoT

IoT

And now let the games begin! Here’s how it went down:

IoT

And the winner is…

Winnerbot – Team Kevin
Best Use of Extra Servo #1 – Death Wizard Lightning
Best Use of Extra Servo #2 – WMD
Best Bot Costume – Kickinalltheass
Best Human Costume #1 – Earl
Best Human Costume #2 – Robert G

And here we are, in all our glory!

IoT

Lab Happenings Vol 2

By | Development, Enterprise Mobility

Sigfox in the IoT Lab

In last month’s Lab Happenings post we introduced the BlueFletch IoT Lab and discussed our participation in the TAG IoT Symposium Hackathon. During the Hackathon we used the Sigfox network to record small data events, which has become something of a theme in the Lab. And so in this post I wanted to delve deeper into the Sigfox network and how we’ve capitalized on it to bring many of our projects to fruition.

Sigfox, the world’s largest IoT networking company, is bringing it’s uniquely agile approach to connectivity to Atlanta. At the BlueFletch IoT Lab, the Sigfox network is the cornerstone of many of our projects. By transmitting small amounts of data over its collaborative network, Sigfox devices connect to the internet without any external hardware, while conserving and extending battery life. From secure homes to smart cities, the SigFox network is compelling our IoT projects forward.

IoT, Sigfox

Our first project in the Lab was to create a door sensor using a Raspberry Pi, magnetic sensors and the Sigfox network. The Raspberry Pi acted as a microcontroller to communicate with the Sigfox network. When the door was opened, the Raspberry Pi and magnetic sensor would send a signal through Sigfox and we would get an email alerting us to the fact that the door had been opened. The Raspberry Pi gave us extra computing power to communicate with the Sigfox base station and their network. Sigfox would interpret the signal and send a message to us over email.

Once we knew when the door was opened, we incorporated BlueTooth sniffing tell us WHO was entering the Lab. So here’s the drill – the magnetic sensor breaks when someone opens the door, the Raspberry Pi sends a signal to Sigfox, Sigfox sends an email to alert us. The Bluetooth sniffer is always running. It is learning what devices are usual and, therefore, “OK” and alerts us when a “New or Unknown” device is in the area. Once it detects a device, it sends a message to Sigfox, which then sends an email to us. Branon created a  dashboard to capture events – when the sensor detects the open door, Sigfox sends an API call to update Branon‘s dashboard in real time.

IoT, Sigfox, BlueFletch IoT Lab

In my next post, I’ll go into detail on how we’re implementing facial recognition technology to our door sensor project, allowing us to welcome you by name as you enter the BlueFletch IoT Lab,  log your entry and exit time and your BlueTooth device(s). The next step in building a secure system for access to the lab.

BlueFletch Named Best Innovation Center

By | BlueFletch Culture & News

ATLANTA – October 6, 2016 – BlueFletch is pleased to announce it has been awarded the Hubtopia SPaCE Award for Best Innovation Center by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG).

The Hubtopia SPaCE Award is a subset of the TAG Social Savvy Awards, which recognize companies, individuals and work spaces that promote and support collaboration, a catalyst for innovation and engagement both within a company and externally. Finalists were selected in 3 categories – Best Recognition Program, Hubtopia’s SPaCE Award for Best Innovation Center and Best Company Culture of Collaboration Award.

BlueFletch is especially proud to receive this award. Our culture of collaboration stems from a combination of mission and values that people can rally behind, leaders who personify those values, hiring creative problem solvers, the ability to work on meaningful tasks that impact the everyday lives of our clients and by creating opportunities to grow as an individual. The office was designed to promote creativity and innovation in an environment that feels like home.

“Our goal when choosing our office space was to create a place where people would want to come to work. Winning this award sums up all the work we’ve done over the last three years. The ability to bring your dogs in the office and work how you like – whether that’s in a living room situation or at a standing desk, our goal was to create a space where innovation can live” said Richard Makerson, BlueFletch Managing Partner.

The Hubtopia SPaCE (Special Places and Creative Environments) Award for Best Innovative Centers is presented in partnership with TAG’s Hub Magazine.  Hubtopia is a regular feature in the magazine, which profiles the creative cultures, places and spaces in Georgia’s Innovation Economy. Finalists in this category included Agile, Anthem Innovation Studio and Imagine Media Consulting.

About TAG Social & Collaboration Society

TAG SoCo will be a (your) catalyst for innovation and engagement in (y)our digital life. Your ability to collaborate, to be social, can be a competitive advantage, and we’re showing you how.  We’re about succeeding and thriving in what TAG SoCo board member Paul E Miller of Gartner calls “the new world of work.” And we’re as much about PPC (people, process, culture) as we are about technology.

About The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG)

TAG is the leading technology industry association in the state, serving more than 30,000 members through regional chapters in Metro Atlanta, Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Macon/Middle Georgia, and Savannah. TAG’s mission is to educate, promote, and unite Georgia’s technology community to foster an innovative and connected marketplace that stimulates and enhances a tech-based economy.

The association provides networking and educational programs; celebrates Georgia’s technology leaders and companies; and advocates for legislative action that enhances the state’s economic climate for technology. TAG hosts over 200 events each year and serves as an umbrella organization for 34 professional societies.

BlueFletch Named a TAG 2016 Social Savvy Award Finalist

By | BlueFletch Culture & News

Atlanta, GA – The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), the state’s leading association dedicated to the promotion and economic advancement of Georgia’s technology industry, today announced the Finalists for the 2016 Social Savvy Awards. The Social Savvy Awards recognize companies, individuals and new this year, work spaces, which promote and support collaboration, a catalyst for innovation and engagement both within a company and externally.

This year’s Social Savvy Award Finalists were selected in 3 categories:

BEST RECOGNITION PROGRAM

HUBTOPIA’S SPaCE AWARDS FOR BEST INNOVATIVE CENTERS

BEST COMPANY CULTURE OF COLLABORATION

Winners will be selected from among the finalists and officially recognized at the 2016 Social Savvy Awards ceremony on Thursday, October 6, 2016. The event will take place at General Assembly at Ponce City Market (675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30308), from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. In addition to the awards ceremony, a fireside chat will be held on the theme of “Mastering Today’s Work Environment: Technology Before it Drives You Crazy.” The discussion will be moderated by Anna Ruth Williams, 2015 Early Stage Entrepreneur of the Year and founder of AR|PR.

“Across the city there are so many organizations, big and small, that are discovering new ways to work collaboratively to be more engaging and more productive, “ said Hal Schlenger, chair of the Social & Collaboration society. “And what makes that so exciting is that these new ways pretty quickly evolve into competitive advantages. Our finalists this year are leading the way, transforming the way they work in order to win. They truly define ‘Social Savvy.’”

Tickets for the 2016 Social Savvy Awards are still available for companies interested in attending the event.

To learn more visit: http://www.tagonline.org/events.

About TAG Social & Collaboration

TAG SoCo is a catalyst for innovation and engagement in (y)our digital life. The ability to collaborate and to be social, can be a competitive advantage.  TAG SoCo is about succeeding and thriving in what  board member Paul E Miller of Gartner calls “the new world of work.” Learn more at: http://www.tagonline.org/chapters-and-societies/socialandcollaboration/

About The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG)

TAG is the leading technology industry association in the state, serving more than 30,000 members through regional chapters in Metro Atlanta, Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Macon/Middle Georgia, and Savannah. TAG’s mission is to educate, promote, and unite Georgia’s technology community to foster an innovative and connected marketplace that stimulates and enhances a tech-based economy.

About BlueFletch 

BlueFletch is team of mobile development experts dedicated to helping our enterprise clients solve business problems using mobility. Since 2008 BlueFletch has grown into a widely trusted mobile company in the enterprise space by developing high value line-of-business apps for companies in Retail, Consumer Goods, Healthcare, and Transportation & Logistics.

Lab Happenings

By | Development

You were first introduced to the BlueFletch IoT Lab back in July with This Internet of Things is Kind of a Big Deal. This post is the beginning of a series of blog posts keeping you all up to date on the happenings in the Lab. We’ll cover projects both personal and professional; the misses, the wins and everything in between.

When we first opened the doors of the Lab, our projects were small scale and “fun sized” as we tried out all the new equipment. The 3D printer was a hit – Ben built a whistle, Andres made a case for his raspberry pi…

raspberry pi, 3D printer
raspberry pi, 3D printer

… and we tested out the Oculus Rift… a lot…

oculus rift, BlueFletch IoT Lab

And then along came a hackathon. At BlueFletch, we can’t resist a good hackathon.

THE TAG IOT SYMPOSIUM 2016: INDUSTRY 4.0 AND THE INTERNET OF THINGS

The TAG IoT Symposium  was a  showcase for IoT current and potential uses. It brought together 500+ attendees for a one day symposium/brainstorm session on everything from the basics to “the innovative ideas that are changing how you live, work, and play.” The goal of the symposium was to spark ideas and facilitate conversations. As part of the symposium, TAG hosted a Hackathon focused on three themes: Smart Cities, Industry and Education and BlueFletch was inspired to enter.

Team BlueFox entered with a project around taser or gun discharge events accountability and reporting for local law enforcement agencies. Our team was inspired by a recent NPR article on police departments in Connecticut enacting required reporting around taser events. That story, combined with the reports of municipalities struggling with the high costs for body cameras really hit home. Our solution had an estimated cost of only $30-$50/unit so we knew we were on to something. That’s major savings, with the added advantage of creating an automated system to track and enforce reporting, something that is currently missing in Connecticut.

How it Works

We decided to leverage the Sigfox network in order to send information over a specific frequency. Our prototype was programmed on a Raspberry PI using Python. We used GPS, the Sigfox network and an accelerometer adapted to the “trigger” (a toggle button) of the gun/taser.  A pressure sensor would detect trigger events and send those via the sigfox network to our backend (a nodejs server and elasticsearch in this instance) to then be presented in a web based dashboard we created. The Dashboard displays specific location, device ID, and a timestamp for when the device was triggered, allowing dispatchers to send backup units to the specific location with details on the shooting. Recording trigger events will help enforce reporting of these events.  In addition, our system will send a daily message to Sigfox to track the gun/taser location which would decrease the amount of gun losses for armed forces.

In true hackathon fashion, our project was not without hiccups. On our first go round with the 3D printer we forgot to test the dimensions and this was the result –

BlueFletch IoT Lab, 3D printer

For our presentation we used a nerf gun instead. We were limited on time, of course, so we did not get to complete everything  we envisioned… In future iterations we would include the ability for cameras to begin recording at the moment the officer pulls the taser or gun out of the holster and the ability to detect extra information like position of the weapon at trigger time (tilt up or down) to provide information about the officer.

We did not win 1st place at the Hackathon, but we had a lot of fun. Imagining the many many uses for the Internet of Things in our cities was a cool brainstorming exercise and opened our eyes to new uses for the lab. As a mobile technology company we do not have a lot of contact with the law enforcement community, but thinking of ways to contribute to smart cities and improve quality of life was fascinating.

Next Up

Lots of projects are underway, including some cool ones using facial recognition technology, door sensors and smoke detectors. Stay tuned.

BlueFletch Announced as Atlanta’s Top 100 Best Places to Work

By | BlueFletch Culture & News

ATLANTA (September 6, 2016)

BlueFletch is pleased to announce it has been named a top 100 Finalist in the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Best Places to Work 2016.

BlueFletch joins an elite group of Atlanta-based firms that are rewarding hard working employees, investing in training, offering innovative wellness and fitness programs, social activities, and providing opportunities for individual growth.

The top 100 finalists will be honored at the Best Places to Work Awards Breakfast on September 8, 2016.

Best Places to Work Awards
Hyatt Regency Atlanta
265 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30303
Thursday, September 8, 2016
7:30-9:30 a.m.

See the full list of winners and event details here: http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/event/143672/2016/best-places-to-work-awards

About BlueFletch

BlueFletch is team of mobile development experts dedicated to helping our enterprise clients solve business problems using mobility. Since 2008 BlueFletch has grown into a widely trusted mobile company in the enterprise space by developing high value line-of-business apps for companies in Retail, Consumer Goods, Healthcare, and Transportation & Logistics.

Richard Makerson Awarded Technology Association of Georgia Diversity Leadership Award

By | BlueFletch Culture & News

ATLANTA (August 29, 2016) – The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) Human Resources and Diversity society recently recognized Richard Makerson, Managing Partner, BlueFletch with a Diversity Leadership  Award.

The Diversity Awards ceremony was held at The Buckhead Club in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday, August 29, 2016.

The 6th Annual Diversity Awards recognized both individuals and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional efforts to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace, embracing all employees – regardless of race, faith, religion, gender, gender identity, military status, sexual orientation, age, disability or culture – to achieve positive outcomes at work and in the community.

This year’s winners were chosen from among 18 finalists in two categories.

TAG Excellence in Diversity Leadership Award

  • Rhonda Hanes | Human Resources Director | Corus360
  • Matthew Harrison | Sr. Director, Talent Management | Comcast
  • Richard Makerson | Managing Partner | BlueFletch

TAG Business Champion of Diversity Excellence

  • Kennesaw State University
  • MarketSource

Winners were chosen by a team of impartial committee members who considered such criteria as the role the nominee played in the diversity initiative; the size of the initiative — in other words, how many people were impacted by this individual’s efforts; the impact the initiative had on the morale of the company’s members and stakeholders; and the quantifiable impact of the nominee’s initiative on the company’s revenue, profitability and/or efficiencies.

About TAG Human Resources and Diversity Society

TAG Human Resources and Diversity has the mission to assist professionals within technology and tech-driven companies with the development and management of their human resources and diversity initiatives, and to increase awareness regarding the positive impact on business goals when diversity is leveraged within organizations. We understand all companies are different, with workplaces experiencing wide varieties and varying degrees of cultural, ethnic, generational, gender and lifestyle influences; it takes many ingredients to make a successful organization and we focus on the positive interaction that takes place with HR and Diversity. http://www.tagonline.org/chapters-and-societies/hr-and-diversity/

About The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG)

TAG is the leading technology industry association in the state, serving more than 30,000 members through regional chapters in Metro Atlanta, Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Macon/Middle Georgia, and Savannah. TAG’s mission is to educate, promote, and unite Georgia’s technology community to foster an innovative and connected marketplace that stimulates and enhances a tech-based economy.

The association provides networking and educational programs; celebrates Georgia’s technology leaders and companies; and advocates for legislative action that enhances the state’s economic climate for technology.  TAG hosts over 200 events each year and serves as an umbrella organization for 34 professional societies. For more information visit the TAG website at http://www.tagonline.org/.

About BlueFletch

BlueFletch is team of mobile development experts dedicated to helping our enterprise clients solve business problems using mobility. Since 2008 BlueFletch has grown into a widely trusted mobile company in the enterprise space by developing high value line-of-business apps for companies in Retail, Consumer Goods, Healthcare, and Transportation & Logistics.