Managing a fast growing co-working space business with thousands of active members spread across a number of large commercial spaces. Spacecubed's members are a mix of startup businesses, sole traders and large established companies all who have different needs and requirements from their work space. Providing members with a greater sense of community, as well as synchronising a number of administrative tasks such as billing, meeting room bookings and contract management were all prohibitive to the growth of the business.
We developed a highly functional integrated cloud-based app that services both members and administrative staff. In addition to optimised space booking functionality and seamless billing functionality, the app has been designed to encourage members to engage with another and form their own communities in their work spaces. The app also has functionality for enterprise clients who are ready to activate their own spaces.
We also developed a native mobile app with an innovative Augmented Reality feature. This feature allows new members to quickly find their way around their new work space and easily book desks, offices and meeting rooms from their smartphone.
Over the past ten years there has been a radical worldwide shift to co-working and flexible office space. Spacecubed, a leading Australian co-working space provider, approached us with the intention of turning their space management and community services into a digital product.
At the core of the Spacecubed Platform is a member subscription billing system. Members can use the Platform to sign up for a co-working membership, book meeting rooms, and manage membership for their other company members. Their previous system was inflexible and resulted in admin overheads due to extra checking and double handling of invoices.
We designed a billing engine which was better suited to Spacecubed’s business needs. We partnered with Stripe as a closed beta adopter of their BECS Direct Debit payments, as well as supporting Credit and Debit card payments. We developed an integration with Xero, allowing EFT invoices to be issued and bank transfer payments to be synchronised back into the Platform. Our engine was developed using Django, a stable web framework with fast development speed, as the application backend. We utilised Postgres, an open-source, performant relational database, as our data layer.
In addition to this, the Spacecubed Platform needed to integrate with on-premise WiFi access points to grant internet access to members with active subscriptions. We deployed a cloud-hosted RADIUS server in AWS and used Django and OpenLDAP to provision secure WiFi passwords for members, and integrated this with their on-premises Ubiquiti wireless access points.
Our project methodology at Exponent is to attain fast development velocity and a frequent release schedule. A typical software release schedule may consist of updates being deployed every week or two. Our release schedule for the Spacecubed Platform is far more frequent, with 20-30 deployments regularly happening per week.
Our workflows allow us to develop and release features faster than traditional software agencies or in-house development team, ultimately resulting in faster and cheaper project delivery for Spacecubed.
To achieve a rapid development velocity we focused heavily on developing automated tests for the Platform. As well as extensive Python backend tests to validate our billing engine, we developed end-to-end tests with Cypress. Cypress allows us to simulate a web browser as if an end user were interacting with it, allowing us to quickly test complex flows without spending time on manual QA. We run our full test suite against every change using GitHub Actions to quickly catch errors before they are live, giving us the ability to deploy rapidly without sacrificing a high degree of confidence in our application’s functionality.
The release of the Platform meant that a vast amount of customer data was now available. We integrated Amazon QuickSight with the Platform to allow Spacecubed to build their own Business Intelligence insights and generate reports around revenue and space usage.
“'We have been working on a project with Exponent for the past 12 months have been very happy with the level of service they've provided us. Their technical knowledge is outstanding and they have been working with us to build the best solution for our customers by taking onboard user feedback as well as developing the product. We were always kept up to date and the project was delivered on time.''
- Establish a thriving virtual co-working community and eco-system, stimulated by COVID19 restrictions.
- Assisted the client to enable and open up and 'enterprise' business model off the back of the platform.
- Streamlined a number of core management tasks to free up staff time to expand the business.
User Interface Design, Backend Development, Frontend Development, User Interviews, Augmented Reality.