Creating an app to manage device labs

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Matt Radbourne

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Apr 28, 2014, 8:49:36 AM4/28/14
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Hi ODL managers,
Myself and a small group of designers and developers are going to build a free tool for managing device labs.
I'd really like to get your input so we can build a great tool and share it with the ODL community.

If you have any thoughts on the following points, please let me know:
  • What are your main frustrations with managing the lab?
  • What activities take the most time when managing the lab?
  • If you were to use this new tool to manage the lab, what are the necessary features you need every day?
  • What would some 'nice to have' features be? How would they help?
  • Who needs the information on the device lab?
    • e.g. I'm a device lab manager but we also have employees that want to book devices for projects and need to check availability

Just to give you a head-start, here are some feature requests that we've had so far:
  • Checking devices in and out (from a central location or from the device itself)
  • Reminders for checked out devices so they are be returned on time
  • Scheduling bookings in advance
  • Differentiating 'internal' and 'external' bookings
  • Managing requests for new devices to be added
  • Looking at analytics to see which devices are being used most frequently etc.

Looking forward to your thoughts. Many thanks.
Matt

Dipl.-Ing. Joschi Kuphal (tollwerk® GmbH)

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May 5, 2014, 10:00:20 PM5/5/14
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Hi Matt,

I'm not sure if you are aware of this (or even considered attending?), but we are running the second Open Device Lab Admin Meetup (@odladm / http://odladm.com) on May 22nd in Düsseldorf, Germany. There will be approx. 20 - 30 ODL admins from 5 countries and ~10 ODLs worldwide (at least). I will take your question on our agenda there and hopefully get back to you with some results around end of May!

Thanks for your efforts! :)

Cheers,
Joschi

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Matt Radbourne

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May 6, 2014, 9:12:20 AM5/6/14
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Hi Joschi,
That's great news. I really appreciate you adding it to the agenda. We will be looking to kick off the design at the end of May so this will be really well timed. Unfortunately I won't be able to make the meeting in person but I hope it all goes well.

Keep me posted :)

Thanks a lot.
Matt

Fabián Baptista

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May 6, 2014, 8:43:23 AM5/6/14
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Hi Mat, greetings from Montevideo.
Since ODL Uruguay is just starting, we hope to face managment and other problems soon.

If we can help in software construction or testing just mail me, we will be happy to help.
regards, 



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Matt Radbourne

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Jun 3, 2014, 2:32:20 PM6/3/14
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Hi Joschi,
Did our project make it to the meetup agenda in the end? Do you have any minutes or comments that you can share?
Many thanks,
Matt

Joschi Kuphal

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Jun 4, 2014, 4:29:53 AM6/4/14
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Hi Matt,

sorry for the late reply — I'm so overly busy since the meetup that I just forgot to get back to you. :/

Well, yes, the meetup was a big success (in terms of participants and topics) and I put your question on the agenda. It turned out that the needs of the single device labs are quite different and that it depends a lot on the specific situation, e.g. 
  • where the lab is hosted (agency, coworking space etc.),
  • the number of devices,
  • whether they offer device rental or not ...
In general, all of the device labs present already developed their own technique for managing their devices (and it's unlikely they would switch). Most of them coded their own solution (be it simple or complex) and couldn't really identify with the problems that you mentioned in your proposal. So, in the end there have not been any direct recommendations or requests for your project. There are, however, two device labs you should definitely get in touch with regarding your project:
  • The Sevenval Device Lab (http://www.sevenval.com/odl/) in Cologne, which is (one of) the biggest device lab worldwide. Their number of devices is so massive that they need to use a custom software for managing them. Please get in touch with Roland Guelle (@rolandguelle), he is the manager there and expects your contact.
  • Aaron Gustafson (@AaronGustafson), who runs the ODL Chattanooga (http://chadevicelab.org/), uses a custom system for managing device rentals. Aaron is considering open-sourcing it, and maybe you could benefit from his experiences.
I highly recommend getting in touch with them — I hope this helps with your project!?

Cheers,
Joschi

Matt Radbourne

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Jun 4, 2014, 6:52:59 AM6/4/14
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Hi Joschi,
This is brilliant - Very helpful. Thanks so much. I'll get in touch with them.

Cheers,
Matt
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