Case Study: Roost

Roost scaled an order of magnitude with new app infrastructure.

Roost is reinventing the home and commercial insurance industries with their state-of-the-art line of residential IoT solutions. Roost had a brilliant smart device, but needed to improve app stability, increase efficiency with codebase maintenance, and raise App Store ratings.

Here was our challenge:

Roost’s existing infrastructure needed to be reconfigured without redoing all existing code.

The company was poised for growth; they expected adoption of their smart smoke detector devices to grow from 5,000 to 100,000. All devices transmitted data and requests using their cloud infrastructure, which relied on At that time, Facebook had moved to shut down Parse, and the clock was ticking to find a replacement without having to hire more engineers to redo the whole code base.

Roost turned to Promptworks for our experience with cloud, mobile apps, and Internet of Things (IoT) platforms.

Here's how we solved it:

1. We consolidated two codebases into one for future development.
Promptworks engineers cleaned up and combined two legacy mobile app code bases into one, delivering more transparency and scalability.

Promptworks also recommended rewriting the apps in React Native, a cross-platform JavaScript mobile development tool. We then led the effort to replace the old apps with a single codebase that performed a superset of the original features.

To deliver more transparency and scalability, Promptworks engineers recommended replacing two legacy mobile app code bases with one.

We then led the effort to write the apps in React Native, a powerful cross-platform JavaScript mobile development tool. The new apps included all the features of the original apps, and more.

2. We created a forward-thinking code architecture.
Promptworks recommended a cloud architecture that was right for Roost, based on the type, frequency, and timing of device transactions and on maintenance ease for the Roost team.

3. We got “The Chirp” to Work.
The team’s toughest technical challenge was re-implementing the “chirp” that communicated Wi-Fi information to the batteries and sensors via encoded audio. Because it needed to directly drive the phone’s speaker, the team leveraged native code within React Native and implemented separate chirp modules for iOS and Android.

See the results:

Roost’s new apps had 70,000 fewer lines of code to maintain, 93% test coverage, and a Code Climate score that jumped from “F” to “A.”

Roost was now able to quickly and affordably scale their app, with infrastructure that was easier to manage for any engineer—even those without any institutional knowledge.

App Store customer reviews have also improved—from a 2-star average to around a 4.5 star average, which has helped their sales team close a greater percent of leads.

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