For the past few months I have been working on a personal project called the Digital Tallybook, the motivations for which are as follows:
- After finishing graduate school, I wanted to find something that would not only fill my free time, but also challenge me and build my skill set. Furthermore, I wanted to build something from scratch, and become more involved with the technology sector. Mobile app programming checked all those boxes, so I started to teach myself to code for Android, the operating system that runs Google’s mobile devices.
- I saw a need for a tablet app that organizes all of a field engineer’s data into one location, and that allows the engineer and their organization to leverage that data later. Currently, taking notes in a traditional tallybook (basically a tall, bound notebook) is a chore: it is hard to keep clean, and the notes must be transcribed electronically after the job. This takes time, and it is possible that not all the data is transcribed or even fully collected from the job. With this app, companies can be assured they have a standard template for data that should be filled out, and the engineers in the field save time after the job, since eventually this app will take all of the data for each job and automatically generate a job report.
- I wanted to create a platform to create content for wearable devices. If you visit my website’s blog section, you’ll find that while I am very enthusiastic about the future uses for wearable technology in the oil & gas industry, I don’t see devices like Google Glass as “the answer” but rather as complimentary devices that work best when fit into an ecosystem with which users are already familiar. Indeed, creating content for wearable devices is not obvious, but with this app, eventually an engineer will be able to create for instance a job procedure on a tablet, then simply hit a button to have that process sent to the wearable device for easy, hands free access while on the job site.
My vision for this project
Eventually I would like to create what I call a “closed loop” solution, whereby things like job procedures are stored in the cloud, an engineer can download those to and modify them on a tablet, and beam them to a wearable device. During the job, the engineer dictates notes to the wearable device; after the job, those notes are sent back to the tablet, which compiles all of the job data into a job report which can then be sent out to clients, and re-uploaded the cloud for future reference and analysis.
Hence the “closed loop”: from the cloud to the tablet to the wearable device, then from the wearable device to the tablet and back to the cloud.
There are certainly challenges to doing this, namely the fact that I am coding all of this on my own, while keeping a full time job and studying for the Professional Engineer exam. Nevertheless, I have made some great progress, which I invite you to view in this video below:
I also invite you to see the original video I posted on this topic, which is a proof of concept showing the types of data that could be accessed on a wearable device by oil & gas professionals on the job site:
If you are working on something similar or you have general tips on how to navigate the path to getting an Android app sold on the Google Play store, I’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to drop me a line either through my website, LinkedIn, or through email.