Miriam Monahan came up with an innovative idea for an iPad app. An experienced and published leader in the field of Occupational Therapy, she had developed a unique system to train student drivers diagnosed with high-functioning Autism (then called Asperger's Syndrome).
Miriam knew that if she could turn her system into an interactive driving simulator, she could help thousands of people on the autistic spectrum, ultimately saving lives by enabling them to become better drivers. She just needed a solid tech partner, and that’s when serial entrepreneur Jay Monahan (Miriam’s husband) came to Net Solutions.
Everything the Monahans envisioned for the Drive Fit app (now called Drive Focus) would have to be built from the ground up. After all, nobody had ever built a system like this before, so there were no similar apps to use as a reference.
What they needed was a video driving course that simulates the driving experience using interactive video. Users watch a video shot from the point-of-view of the driver, and the system requires them to pinpoint road hazards or situations that need their focus. At the end, they would be evaluated on their performance.
After performing their due diligence, the Monahans turned to Net Solutions to build a Proof of Concept (PoC)—to see if it was even possible to create the app they envisioned.
Net Solutions was one of the few companies we contacted that was willing to take on a complex development project that required developing a new technology. We were struck by the systematic, professional way that Net Solutions went about assessing our needs and developing a comprehensive proposal and statement of work.
The Monahans were able to give Net Solutions a clear roadmap for their app, but there were some major challenges in the beginning—including a bug in the iOS operating system that made it difficult to embed contextual data into videos. That’s why, in that initial phase, Net Solutions focused on a solution that validated the technical possibility of the iPad product.
The challenge? The iPad’s operating system doesn’t have many bugs, but there was no guarantee that the app would be able to do what Jay Monahan and his team wanted it to do.
While built on theoretically solid code, the iPad app didn’t work properly at first. The team reported the issue to the developers at Apple, but they also worked around it to find an innovative approach that created new patents for Drive Focus.
Based on our experience, Net Solution is a good choice for out of the ordinary projects that require a mix of technologies to implement. We found them very capable in thinking up viable alternatives and innovative solutions whenever challenged, which eventually led to a successful delivery of our product.
Drive Focus set out to do something ambitious, not just in terms of its impact on people with Autism, but in terms of its technical features. As such, Net Solutions took an efficient, systematic, and innovative approach to building the new technology, which had the following features.
Drive Focus quickly gained attention among researchers, who recognized the potential value of the tool. They began testing the technology and exploring wider use cases for it. Net Solutions expanded the app’s features to accommodate a wider range of uses of its cognitive training technology, helping to create a product with broader appeal.
Today, Drive Focus is used to help teen drivers, people with cognitive disabilities (e.g., recovering stroke victims, people with ADHD), and combat veterans who are struggling to adapt to civilian life due to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
On top of that, insurance companies have begun using the technology to create test cases for insurance claims, and sports companies are using it to train athletes to be vigilant of visual cues. In the end, Net Solutions designed and built a nimble app with technology that was capable of expanding far beyond its original aims.
Since our product required new technology, the team interacted with us deeply to discuss options, technical tradeoffs, and their approach. Once development began, Net Solutions demonstrated progress regularly as per the delivery plan.
After the delivery of the initial product, buoyed by the positive response and queries they received, the Monahans decided to build further on the product to address different use cases.
To stay nimble and responsive to the feedback they were receiving, they decided to use an Agile team comprised of Net Solutions’ employees. The team included multiple developers supported by designers, testers, and a Business Analyst. It was all managed by a Project Manager who worked hand-in-hand with the Monahans to quickly build upon the product and prepare it for different uses.