Plunjr

Self-help mobile video app

Plunjr is a video-chat mobile app that provides personal help from a licensed plumber to help you fix your DIY plumbing problem.

Plunjr

Self-help mobile video app

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Overview

Plunjr is a video-chat mobile app that provides personal help from a licensed plumber to help you fix your DIY plumbing problem.

We have been developing two native mobiles apps for iOS and Android, the backend API and the administration panel for super users.

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Provided Services

Infrastructure Setup & Maintenance

QA Services

Project Management

Software Development

Components

Native mobile apps for iOS & Android

Internal iOS app for employees

Back-office panel for admin

Backend & API

Services Provided

Project Management

Software Development

QA Services

Infrastructure Setup & Maintenance

Approach

Prototyping

Our initial engagement started with evaluating the existing solution, which was a set of two native mobile apps. The primary goal was to improve the stability of call connection and allow technicians to answer calls in a similar manner as in other video apps, such as Zoom or Skype. 

First major decision was to choose a platform that would become a foundation for handling video calls. We have assessed the existing solution and compared it to other frameworks: Twilio, Zoom, QuickBloxand Jitsy. In the end we chose Twilio Video, due to its stability, mature native SDKs with extensive documentation and features with a great potential for growth of the Plunjr app (i.e. recording, ability to integrate video calls with web apps, etc.). 

Second biggest decision was the choice between supporting two native code bases (for iOS & Android) and a hybrid mobile app. In just a few days we prepared a prototype built with Flutter, but ultimately we confirmed the app to require more native integrations specific for each platform. Twilio SDKs for iOS and Android differed heavily, and as hared Flutter library wrapping both of them under a single interface (being in alpha stage at the time) proved not to be a stable, production-ready solution. 

Each of these decisions were made by building very simple proof-of-concept apps demonstrating framework capabilities, assessing its documentation and ease of use of SDKs, and determining other barriers toentry (platform sign up, verification process, pricing, etc.). Each prototype took less than 2 days of development effort, which allowed us to provide the right guidance to our client at a minimal cost.

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Technologies Used

Python + Django

Swift

Kotlin

Javascript + React

System Components

Native mobile apps
for iOS & Android

Backend
& API

Back-office panel for administrators

Internal iOS app
for employees

MVP

The first version we rolled out to the store in late 2020 was a text-book example of an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). From the customer perspective, it allowed users to connect with a technician, and … that’s basically it. The user interface in 60% was covered by a giant “Call Now” button, which allowed the customer to make a video connection with a competent person on the other side.

Sounds too simple? Even though the app was very limited (feature-wise), customers were still able to get core value from it:their problems could be solved by themselves, without a need for an on-site plumber visit. The technician wasn’t getting paid for his time, couldn’t make additional profit on parts orders required to make a fix, but none of these things were crucial to validating the business idea. This approach allowed our client to confirm that the need for his product exists and made it possible to validate some initial assumptions against the market, preventing him from putting attention in the wrong direction and managing resources in an inefficient way.

Iterative approach

While making free of charge calls, the team kept asking customers for feedback and we kept iterating on new releases that addressed it. We’ve added payments, scheduling appointments, in-app messaging and many more features. This allowed the whole team to stay on course provided by the market.

Every new product idea goes through the filter of two primary requirements: “keep it simple” and “let’s not solve a problem we don’t have”. This approach allowed us to build a great product, keep increasing the number of successful calls and grow the team of technicians at the same time.

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Features

Video Calls

The library of choice is a Twilio Video framework. It proved to be a mature and stable environment, used across multiple enterprise platforms. 

In order to provide the experience similar to any other video call app, we integrated our app with Apple’s Call Kit Framework. Thanks to it we are able to leverage native call experience (“Plunjr is calling”, “Slide to answer”), make the calls appear in the phone call history, respect default ringtones and system-wide “do not disturb” preferences.

In-App Messaging

Messaging allows customers to communicate with technicians via text. There are cases when getting on a video call is not necessary, like submitting additional details after the call or following up on the repair.

Our messaging framework supports conversations between multiple participants, “someone is typing” feature and push notifications. All of these are being updated in real-time via WebSockets.

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E-Commerce

This module allows the technician to fill the cart with parts required to fix the customer's plumbing problem. After providing, the customer has the ability to either receive a part list or immediately make an order and get them shipped to him.

Payments

The customer has the ability to pay for the service and ordered parts. We have built an extensive integration with Stripe, a leading payment processing gateway

In mobile apps we use native Stripe components,which allowed us to integrate the payment framework quickly and leverage out-of-the-box views like selecting a payment method and providing credit card details with the ability to scan a physical card. We’ve also utilized the Payment Intent mechanism, thanks to which we can support various payment methods available in the right context: Credit Card payments, Apple Pay and Google Pay.

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Testimonial

Testimonial Image

"They have a firm grasp on their trade and it shows in their work."

Brival continues to impress the stakeholders by overdelivering on their promises and for strictly adhering to their timeline. Their knowledge and experience allow them to adapt to the nature of the project. They regularly check in with clients and provide them with updates or address their concerns.

Aaron Gianni

Post Production Company

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