Thanks to our clients we have a chance to participate in some of the most innovative and futuristic projects on the planet. One of them is ShiftWear. A New York based startup that threw down a challenge to the biggest fashion corporations. The goal is to create "most advanced, immersive sneakers ever".
The concept revolved around bringing to market a new kind of sneakers which could dynamically display images and animations created by remote designers; those who owned ShiftWear sneakers themselves. A unique and one-of-a-kind sneaker can be customized in real-time using a slick mobile app. Available in high, medium and low tops and with a waterproof and walk-to-charge design, these groundbreaking sneakers give image designers from all over the world the ability to create and design animations to be displayed on their shoes.
This proved to be a perfect idea for a crowdfunding campaign. By the end of 2015, ShiftWear had raised $927,077 in a highly successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, which achieved 3088% of the initial goal.
Alternative to NYC developers
At first ShiftWear wanted to build their own local in-house development team in New York. However this proved to be impossible within the budget and the deadline. The Lead Hardware Engineer at ShiftWear had worked with Netguru before on another project and knew they were the right choice for the job.
The main challenge was working on the software to control the image design on shoes, that had not been manufactured yet. Not only by ShiftWear, but by any other big fashion company. This required a perfect understanding of the idea behind the app, and close communication.
A key part of ShiftWear is a platform for people to express themselves using fashion. The ShiftWear app will control the designs displayed on the shoe, and app users will be able to change shoe displays at any time on their own, or by purchasing somebody else's design available from the marketplace.
Additionally, the ShiftWear platform also includes a content marketplace, whichgets app users and designers involved. While it is intuitive to put content on apparel, the teams needed to provide means and inspiration to do so in a way that creates a great and beautiful product.
Adapting to the creativity of the ShiftWear team
Working with Netguru exceeded ShiftWear's expectations. "Netguru fits in perfectly with the way we work. We like to have tight communication within the team to brainstorm new ideas together. With the Netguru team, we have a weekly call to discuss these things. Everybody knows their part in the project and is fully committed to their role. We wanted to build our own team, but Netguru's remote team has worked much better than we first expected", says Nick Johnson, the Lead Hardware Engineer at ShiftWear.
A big part of what made the project work was the scoping session Netguru organized before the start, that involved everyone participating in the project. Both teams discussed every possible solution. "The session was comprehensive, and the estimation of time and cost was really reasonable", notices Nick Johnson.
The main difficulty in running innovative projects is to keep everyone focused and engaged. It's very important to avoid "scope creep", when adding new features or changing them poses a threat to meeting the deadline, or finishing the project at all.
Bringing a groundbreaking product in six weeks
The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) was released in just six weeks from inception. Anyone using the ShiftWear app can display HD-quality images on their sneakers. Beyond low-power consuming static designs and images, ShiftWear sneakers can also display animations.
Nick Johnson notices that partnering with Netguru improved the management of the whole project: "Our New York team is rarely together in the same place. Communicating through Slack channels with the Netguru team improved the communication between all of us and we can reach each other immediately", he recalls.