Below you find short descriptions for a small cross section of projects BITart has been involved in.
2006 - today: custom prepress system
Problem: A next-generation prepress system was needed to succeed an existing solution on a platform no longer supported.
Solution: A suite of applications was devised that include asset management, automatic layout of publications, imposition, generation of press-ready data and management of production. A solution far surpassing the initial design was delivered in time and under budget. The savings in materials alone due to a more efficient layout greatly offset the development cost. This suite is currently being used to produce several hundred distinct publications every week. Ongoing development addresses workflow improvements and additional capabilities. See the showcase page for more details.
2010 - today: turn-key fax and voicemail server
Problem: A company desired a turn-key fax and voicemail server product to market to small and mid-sized carriers.
Solution: A scalable system was designed and implemented using of the shelf ISDN hardware, Linux OS and custom software. The server can be controlled, managed and monitored via an easy to use API designed for this purpose. An OS X application was implemented using this API. Further the API allows for easy integration in existing environments.
2010: digital classifieds magazine on iPad proof of concept
Problem: One of our clients wanted to explore expanding their printed classifieds magazines to the iPad.
Solution: An iPad application was designed and developed. The data for it is taken directly from existing production data, preprocessed, optimized and pushed to a server by a custom script.. Some of the iPad application's features are:
Download data based on geo-location or preferred zip code
Automatic layout of pages based on pagination rules and device orientation
Where appropriate display ad locations using map kit framework
Follow links in ads
Optionally use installed VoIP software to place calls to phone numbers listed in ads
Email to addresses listed in ads
2010: communication system between main office and branch stores
Problem: A company needed a networked system to aid in managing branch stores.
Solution: iPads were identified as ideal system in the branch stores because they are easy to use with minimal training. A system was designed where the iPads in the branch stores sync their data to an OS X-based server in the main office on a regular basis. A number of modules provide functionality in the iPad applications:
Record fridge temperatures (legal requirement)
First aid log book (legal requirement)
The server in the main offices both provides data to the branch stores as well as receive data during routine syncs. This is an in-house application not available in the app store.
1996 - today: fax to fax network using the internet
Problem: The client wanted to create a fax-to-fax communication network product using the internet. Its clients would receive international fax-to-fax service of higher quality and at a lower cost than using direct telephone connections.
Solution: A system of networked servers with custom-tailored software was devised and implemented. The system was enhanced with a number of additional features such as fax to email and email to fax gateways, broadcast (mass) faxing capabilities and others. More than 40 servers in more than 30 countries are in use today, processing millions of faxes.
1996 - 2000: document design using the web
Problem: The customer wanted a web-based desktop publishing program.
Solution: A java-based desktop publishing system was created which allows wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) design and modifications of a variety of print materials, using common web browsers. The server backend can interface with databases to produce personalized mass-printed materials. The server backend interfaces with high-speed Xerox products to produce the printed materials. Various spin-offs of this product have been created since and are in production today.
1995: high volume photo scanning process
Problem: High-volume photo scanning was too labor intensive.
Solution: The existing process was analyzed. An application tailored to suit the specific needs of the company was designed and implemented, using the equipment they already had. Productivity was increased by more than 800% and a much greater consistency was achieved.
1989: integrated publishing environment
Problem: The publishing industry lacked an integrated software environment.
Solution: Using object-oriented programming, an integrated publishing environment was designed and implemented. All aspects of the design and pre-production phase were included: image manipulation, vector graphics, text, scanning, pagination and montage, color separation and many others. Eventually a company was formed to further maintain and develop this product, and the product is used by many leading publishing houses for a number of well known newspapers, magazines, books and other publications.
1988: image scanning
Problem: There was no standardized method of controlling image scanners. Every software company had to program custom drivers for their products, for each different scanner on the market.
Solution: An API and hardware was devised to solve those needs. This API was well-publicized and used by many software companies and eventually adopted as an industry standard.
1987: campus-wide equipment monitoring
Problem: Equipment failures on a wide-spread university campus often went unnoticed for a long period of time.
Solution: Nearly a hundred networked micro-controllers were interfaced with elevators, fire alarms, refrigerators, laboratory and other equipment. A centralized monitoring station with a display and dial-in capabilities is used to monitor the equipment and to print out detailed instructions which delineate tasks to be performed in case of a malfunction. We provided hardware designs for the microcontrollers as well as the entire programming required for this system.
1986: image setters
Problem: No interface for connecting PCs and high-speed high-resolution image setters existed, one was needed.
Solution: A modular hard- and software system allowed PCs to interface with image setters as produced by Linotype, Compugraphic, Hell, Scitex and others.
1984: desktop publishing
Problem: Desktop publishing was just coming of age and new features were needed to make the company's software product competitive.
Solution: Highly optimized assembler code allowed this program to be the first to use vector-based fonts in realtime on the screen. A dynamic GUI was devised to allow plugin of components into the graphical user interface during runtime. The resulting product was one of the leading DTP solutions in Europe for nearly a decade.
1984: ergonomics research
Problem: This furniture company needed to create office equipment which would conform to new ergonomic standards. In order to do that, they needed an ergonomic profile for office workers, and they needed it fast.
Solution: Special office chairs and desks with a wide range of movement were equipped with a multitude of sensors. After a comfortable work environment was found, a built-in computer system would display and print out the exact position of all surfaces using a graphic with attached measurements.
1983: plant process visualization
Problem: Getting an overview of the plant's operating status required a time-consuming study of multiple printouts.
Solution: A visualization system was created which interfaced with the existing SPS-type control computers. The status of all systems was displayed in the form of a real-time flow chart. Problems could be immediately detected and thus more readily corrected, saving time and money.
1982: whole-house accessibility for disabled individuals
Problem: Mobility-challenged individuals were dependent on others to access even the most basic elements of their homes. They needed an affordable solution which would allow them to do many simple tasks by themselves.
Solution: A low-cost modular hard- and software system was devised which allowed even quadriplegic individuals to live more independently. The system included access to telephone, TV, radio, lights, windows, doors, word-processor and other household devices.