An Admin Interface for Increased Scalability

Protect3d application homescreen

The Challenge 

Protect3d was looking to expand its services to reach a larger audience, but its current web application lacked scalability.

Our Approach 

Create an admin interface that efficiently processes and manages orders for 3D-printed protective equipment received from Protect3d’s existing iOS application.

The Results 

A fully-functional application, optimized to be run on a desktop computer on Google Chrome, hosted on a server accessible to the client stakeholders.

Technology for athletes

Protect3d is a team of former, Duke University football players that aim to change the game for athletes everywhere through the evolution of 3-D technology. Their unique approach to improving the lives of athletes involves creating 3-D printed anatomically precise protective devices individually optimized for mobility and comfort. 

To receive a device from Protect3d, athletes must visit a sports physician who takes 3D scans of the area of the body to be protected, using their native iOS iPad app. The patient’s information and the scans from the app are then uploaded to a database to be stored. However, the existing current web application used by the Protect3d team to used to manage customer order information lacked scalability and was incredibly cumbersome. As a result, Protect3d needed a team of experts to make improvements.

Out with the old, In with the new

Initially, the Protect3d team came to us looking to either rebuild their web application (due to its vast number of limitations, primarily on the backend) or add several enhancement features. They wanted to use the web app to manage the status of a print from the initial scan to optimizing the scan, to the file that’s sent to the 3D printer, to shipping the 3D printed device to the healthcare provider, to billing. 

However, through a profoundly technical discovery phase filled with data modeling and validating of 3rd party integrations, we quickly learned that building off the foundation of the current web app was not an option. If we were only to enhance what already existed, there was potential that any future feature requests by Protect3d would be both complex and costly to implement on the existing front-end. Additionally, if our team continued to use the app’s current database - Firebase, this would result in potentially costly queries. 

As the discovery phase came to a close, our team met with Protect3d to provide our suggested approach for rebuilding the web application. The web application would be an admin interface that would include the use of the PostgreSQL database, the Strapi CMS, a custom admin interface, and custom extensions for invoicing and SMS messaging.

Protect3d three screens

Rebuilding from the ground up

During the development phase, our team wanted to ensure that the admin interface web application was easy to use, customizable, and would allow the Protect3d team to manage each phase of the 3D device ordering process. 

One of the first steps we took in building the foundation of the app was switching out the current database - Firebase, with PostgreSQL. This would make fetching customer information from the iOS app much easier and more cost-effective. 

Next, we focused on creating custom extensions for SMS chat messaging and invoicing. We used Twilio for the chat extension which enables the Protect3d team can manage group chats with each of the healthcare providers. Twilio was also used to have automated chats sent at certain steps during the 3D device ordering process. For billing, the app has an integration with Stripe to create an invoice for an athlete's set of prints.  

To complete the build, our team added an array of admin features so that the Protect3d team could easily view, sort, filter, and manage their clients, customers, and prints.

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Each individual in their team was invested in us personally. There was genuine interest from them as they worked to understand us as a business and how the project was going to impact our operations.

Tim Skapek / Protect3d

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