Firmware + Mobile App

Thor Poletest™ - Timber Pole Testing System

About the project

What is Thor Poletest™?

Thor Groundline is a global consultancy providing transmission and distribution lines engineering services to network operators and service providers.

The Groundline team has offices in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom and have tested over 600k power poles worldwide using their proprietary Thor Poletest™ system.

Thor Poletest™ delivers the fastest non-destructive diagnostics and most trusted business intelligence on the serviceability of timber telecommunications and power poles.


From basic UI to advanced mobile app integration

Thor Groundline sought to enhance their existing product, which featured a basic user interface consisting of a few buttons and a small alphanumeric screen.

Their goal was to simplify and ruggedise the hardware, eliminating the need for the existing user interface (UI), and instead, implementing a mobile app that could communicate with the hardware via Bluetooth.

Initially, they engaged us to develop the mobile app, but later expanded this to also developing the firmware and advising on hardware design for further product iterations.


How we did it

To comprehensively understand Thor Groundline’s needs, we conducted two workshops where we interrogated their team about their user needs, product requirements, and interactions.

These workshops led to the creation of a workflow diagram, mock-ups for the mobile app, high-level user stories for the app, and a detailed specification for communication between the hardware and the app.

As a result, our efforts provided valuable insights into the project’s requirements, clarified the scope of work, and provided them with an estimate of development time and cost.


Seamless mobile app integration and firmware development

We delivered a user-friendly mobile app compatible with both Android and iOS platforms. This app not only interfaces seamlessly with Thor Groundline’s hardware but also guides users through the pole testing process. It processes the collected data, offering real-time feedback to users, and uploads the data to the system’s back-end for further analysis.

Simultaneously, we developed the firmware required to operate on the hardware, ensuring the entire system was integrated and functional.

Technology Stack: To achieve this, we employed the Flutter cross-platform mobile development framework, which allowed us to deliver a consistent experience across Android and iOS devices.


Overcoming challenges

Our journey faced a significant obstacle when it came to Bluetooth communication. Transmitting large amounts of data, such as pole test results, via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) posed distinct challenges. iOS restrictions made it necessary to use BLE, as traditional Bluetooth (“classic”) had limitations in compatibility.

Flutter did not natively support BLE functionality so we had to rely on third-party packages to bridge this gap. We also had to navigate limitations within these packages, ensuring that the final implementation met Thor Groundline’s requirements.

Don't take it from us. Hear from our partners:

The team at Intranel were responsive and adaptive to our evolving and complex requirements. Their clear communication and pragmatic approach resulted in the delivery of a world class solution to our App development needs.

Tony Ging
Engineering Manager @ Thor Poletest

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