| CASE STUDY: Full Swing Golf Launch Monitor

Building an IoT Device that Effectively Incorporates an On-Device UX and Mobile Experience.

Systematic Consulting Group teamed up with Full Swing Golf to design and build an IoT product that was compact, intuitive, easy to use, that didn’t rely on a secondary device.

Full Swing Golf Launch Monitor
Full Swing Golf

Full Swing Golf had the vision to create a Launch Monitor that would disrupt the industry.

IoT Solutions
Firmware Development, App Development, Machine Learning, Cloud Architecture

Project Timeline
8.5 months

Tech Stack
AWS

The company saw an opportunity for a UI/UX-focused product at a price point far lower than competitor offerings. It was important for the device to be compact, intuitive, easy to use, and for it to look like a high-tech product — and one that didn’t rely on a secondary device.

Ryan Dotters
CEO, Full Swing – FullSwingGolf.com

The Challenge

Full Swing Golf had the vision to create a Launch Monitor that would disrupt the industry by offering technology typically found in products more than four times the cost and making it accessible to a larger group of golfers. When Systematic Consulting Group was engaged by Full Swing Golf for this project most of the core underlying technology had been designed but they were still looking for a strategy to effectively incorporate an on-device UX with mobile experience and IoT into the product. Systematic was chosen for its multi-disciplinary experience in hardware development, embedded Linux support, app development, and cloud architecture that would be required to finalize the product strategy.

The Process
Kickoff

We started with an in-person kickoff where we got to know the client, stakeholders, and the other teams we would be working on the project. During the kickoff we determined what problems we needed to solve and where our technology and design came into the overall product concept. Armed with this information we went straight into product definition and vision.

Definition and Vision

During this phase it became clear that the piece of hardware and accompanying software we needed to build was the hub of the system that routed messages between the internal electronics as well as connect the device to the cloud and user’s devices in close proximity.

Full Swing had always envisioned that even though the product was so technologically advanced it should still be the easiest and most user friendly on the market which we took to heart in a lot of our decisions. When you wanted to use the device, you just turned it on. When you wanted to use the app with it, you made a few simple selections and everything else just worked.

The vision from day one was also that the device had to always be improving with software and algorithm updates.

Throughout the phase we refined the vision with concept sketching including how an on-device UI would present itself and work in tandem with a full app experience.

With a clearer vision and definition taking shape we began research to bring the vision to fruition.

We looked at the category and we saw some opportunities for innovation. We wanted to deliver a product that was in the premium performance category but at a price point that would be a lot more accessible.

Ryan O’Keefe
Senior Marketing Director, Full Swing

Research and Discovery

Research began with empathy mapping to figure out how real users wanted and envisioned using this product as well as a competitive analysis of similar products. Almost all competitors required a secondary device (PC or tablet) to use, so having the on-device UI that was part of the vision was deemed to be a huge win. Furthermore, the process of connecting the competitor’s products to the secondary device was cumbersome, not intuitive, and in many cases included a support call just to figure out!

To guarantee the easiest connectivity experience around, it was determined that we would need to employ a hybrid method of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and WIFI to allow a user to connect to the device via an app. The BLE provides a simple one-touch pairing experience which is then used to securely transfer information required to seamlessly create a WIFI connection between the app and device. Once this high-speed connection is instantiated, large amounts of data can be transferred quickly (i.e. videos).

To fulfill the vision that the device and software would always be getting better/smarter, we needed a method to collect the data the device to continuously improve algorithms as well as an easy channel to push it to the cloud and warehouse it. In addition, we had to make sure OTA updates were easy to roll out and traceable.

Next, it was determined that IoT connectivity could be easily achieved by using the WIFI access the device had in client mode to connect to the Internet when not app was connected. It was a big win to reuse the same hardware for both connection types.

Scalability and security were absolute top priorities for the IoT infrastructure and end-to-end encryption and serverless backend architecture were employed from day 1.

The Full Swing KIT is a launch monitor that shatters our preconceptions about how much launch monitor we can get for our money. This device provides every metric you could want at roughly 1/5 the cost of the established names. And the accuracy is good enough for Tiger Woods, so it’s more than good enough for you.

Plugged In Golf
PluggedInGolf.com

Refinement, Analysis and MVP Definition

Based on research we began early story mapping for all disciplines including hardware, software, app, and cloud.

Since the on-device UI was completely new, we performed early user interaction validation and concept validation using the QT framework on a PC. Utilizing the QT framework meant the same UIs we were showing on the PC would also run on the real hardware once ready.

Once stories were defined, we determined the minimum feature set to test the product and idea and the minimum hardware requirements to take it from prototype to an MVP. With all of this information documented we planned hardware, software, app, and cloud sprints to build out a roadmap to MVP completion.

Our testing has demonstrated the accuracy of the numbers and the reliability of the technology – at no point did it miss a shot and every subtle change in distance and direction was reflected in the data. But it is the app experience that really sets this package apart.

Golf Monthly
GolfMonthly.com

MVP Development

As part of our Agile development process, for complex designs that will require a lot of feedback, we always recommend developing an MVP prior to an MMP. Basically, you have to crawl before you can walk. For the MVP, we had to get enough hardware/software functionality to talk to the other electronics and processors in the system being designed by other teams as well as communicate with an engineering app and the cloud.

Initial hardware design was kicked off immediately as it had been well-scoped in prior phases.

To make sure the team was not waiting on hardware prototypes, we began working as many tasks in parallel as possible including creating an embedded Linux image for the custom hardware using Yocto, initial software development on a Raspberry Pi, user interaction validation, and concept validation using the QT framework on a PC and starting the development of a connectivity test app in iOS.

Once hardware prototypes were ready, we efficiently worked to bring up Linux on the prototype hardware, get the cross-platform UI framework running, and get low-level connectivity functionality integrated out.

In a matter of months, we had gone from a concept to a working custom embedded hardware solution running a custom Linux image and custom software. Having working devices in hand allowed the client to begin getting critical feedback from stakeholders and early adopters to drive the decision required for the Minimum Marketable Product (MMP).

After three years of development and being told the sub-$5,000 price wasn’t achievable with the data and display features the team wanted, Full Swing finally arrived at the KIT launch monitor — and the KIT launch monitor arrived on Tiger Woods’ Instagram.

Golf WRX
GolfWRX.com

MMP Development

Armed with great feedback from real user interactions with the device and app as well as insights from the other development teams we started work on the MMP. We wanted to make sure that the hardware was fully capable of all future software enhancements the product might receive even if they would not be ready in the MMP.

At a high level, we took the hardware design that had been built to date and made it faster, more user friendly, and more fault tolerant while adding software features in parallel that had been identified by the stakeholders and early adopters as “must haves”.

Huge improvements to the MVP were made in this stage including moving the UI from a TFT screen to an OLED to make it easier to see in direct sunlight, updating the IoT connectivity to be able to see device metrics in near real-time for preventative maintenance, adding ML and computer vision to the camera to make results more accurate, and updating the camera hardware to a 4K camera that could capture HD videos to name a few.

We continuously worked with other teams during this phase including the app team who was building out a responsive and native iOS application in parallel with our hardware and firmware efforts.

Once the MMP was qualified internally and externally we worked with the manufacturer to make sure it could be built at scale while maintaining stringent quality control.

We also continued to work with the app team to make sure the full app store launch in conjunction with the product launch would be a success.

The Full Swing KIT is the most user-friendly launch monitor I have ever used. Not even close. I purposely don’t read the instructions to see how user-friendly each launch monitor is and I figured it out within minutes.

My Golf Spy
MyGolfSpy.com

The Results

The Launch Monitor has been on the market for close to a year now and has received rave reviews. It has received particularly high marks in many of the areas that we were very involved in up such as the on-device UI, the app experience, and the app to device setup and connectivity flow.

Based on the successes we had with the client during the early phases of the project we still have stayed very involved in pushing out updates, supporting the app, and continuing to build out the IoT cloud platform.

What launch monitor does Tiger Woods use on the range? Specifically, Woods trusts the Full Swing KIT?

Golf.com
Golf.com