Acing the Test: CSS Develops Electrical System Testing Software for Innovative Auto Meter Inc. Product Offering
Chicago Software Solution develops touchscreen diagnostic software for a top automotive aftermarket instrumentation and test equipment manufacturer.
Chicago, November 2009 / --
Over the last fifty-plus years, Auto Meter Inc. has built a solid reputation as one of the nation’s most respected builders of top-quality performance instrumentation, gauges, and testing equipment. Today, the extensive Auto Meter product family features offerings with wide-ranging appeal: consumers, racing teams, and nationwide automotive aftermarket chains all trust Auto Meter’s reliability and accuracy.
Innovative Battery Health Testing
Auto Meter approached Chicago Software Solutions with software specifications for a commercial-grade battery charging and test unit. The test unit itself – the Auto Meter Battery Charge and Test Center – is an innovative product with touchscreen capabilities, multiple attached chargers, and optional wireless handheld units. The unit is designed to test automotive battery health, provide charging capabilities, and record back-end system information accessible to administrative users. Auto Meter’s engineering and product development teams designed the system to be used by employees conducting at-location testing at “big box” national auto parts stores. The product is an important innovation not only for Auto Meter but for automotive chains seeking improved customer loyalty and increased selling opportunities via a deeper “hands-on” service element.
Auto Meter’s envisioned system presented a number of development requirements and challenges:
- An end product that must reinforce established Auto Meter-brand equities such as quality and accuracy.
- A product development timeline driven by broader market strategy.
- Complex software/hardware integration involving a touchscreen interface with proprietary charger and handheld peripherals.
- Onboard administrative utilities for system maintenance and report management.
- Remote update.
- Reporting functionality.
Development of the Command Center Software
CSS drew on years of product development expertise to design an approach that met budget and time requirements. CSS’s initial product design effort addressed touchscreen software development for the “master controller” module – the primary device interface between the salesperson and customer. The software enables battery testing, charging, diagnostic results, and product replacement recommendations for the customer. Additionally, it polls for and receives status data from each charger units in the system. In the background, the unit scans for and automatically installs any firmware updates available to itself and for the chargers and handhelds. CSS also developed administrative and reporting functionality accessible via login.
Toward the end of the Command Center development, Auto Meter saw the need to enhance the system’s data recording and reporting functionality. CSS addressed Auto Meter’s specifications to elevate specific features already programmed into the Command Center software so that Field Managers could connect to Auto Meter testers, download critical test results data, and export the information as needed in a generic format. Dataminer was an important development that further enhanced customer satisfaction and automated management over the system to facilitate the upgrade process, test reporting, and export of data.
Test Center and Dataminer Project Results and Achievements:
- Product development was achieved on time and under estimate.
- Expanded Auto Meter’s product line.
- Developed reliable communication between firmware and Command Center software.
- Discovered effective solutions to address platform limitations and constraints.
Chicago Software Solutions has years of experience developing complex commercial-grade products. We understand the product development lifecycle and excel at assisting leading organizations such as Auto Meter turn innovative designs into market offerings.
Custom development and best-in-class support are available now for businesses looking to stay competitive through better technology management. For more information about how we can help you, email info@chicagoIT.com.
About Chicago Software Solutions
Chicago Software Solutions is an experienced custom software development and networking firm. For more information about Chicago Software, visit www.chicagoit.com or email info@chicagoIT.com.