Blue Frog Robotics and Zoho Creator: Managing robots using low-code

"We saved money by using Zoho Creator instead of contracting a third party to develop the interface software for us. We also saved a lot of time this way, as conventional software development methods take a lot of time and aren't very smooth."

Marc Goulan, Chief Product Officer, Blue Frog Robotics

Created by : Blue Frog Robotics

Use case : Robotics software

Industry : Technology

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The company

Blue Frog Robotics is a French Robotics company founded by Rodolphe Hasselvander in 2014. The company specializes in engineering social robots that enhance people's lives.

The robots they produce can be remotely controlled with a tablet. This makes the robots versatile, as all that is needed to interact with the robots is the requisite software on the tablet.

Blue Frog Robotics has many notable customers. One being the French education ministry who have purchased 2,000 robots from the company. The specific name of the robot is "Buddy" which runs on the Android OS.

The challenge

The main challenge for Blue Frog Robotics was to provide an amicable robot that can be interacted with by any member of a typical family. It should also adhere to all safety regulations, as well as comply with global standards such as GDPR.

Marc Goulan, the Chief Product Officer of Blue Frog Robotics, started looking for a software solution which would allow them to link the user securely (using a handheld device such as a tablet) to the robot.

Due to the huge order from the French education ministry, Goulan needed a capable software to deliver the order within a short time. He couldn't work on developing the server architecture or a holistic solution from the ground up, as the deadline was too short.

The main requirement was to administer Buddy by connecting it to a tablet which issued commands to it. Each Buddy unit had to be safely paired with a tablet to achieve this.

Goulan had previously heard about low-code platforms, especially Zoho's offering, Creator. He read about the integration capabilities of the APIs of this low-code platform, and after a quick prototype later, realized Zoho Creator would be a viable platform on which to build Buddy's interfaces.

The solution

With Zoho Creator, there was no need to spend time on technical software engineering architecture such as the backend and front end. On the platform, Goulan's team could simply program the necessary logic from the client-side and publish it server-side on Zoho Creator.

"With Zoho Creator, we didn't have to create a server. We didn't have to manage a database. Zoho Creator was ready from the get-go."

- Marc Goulan

Zoho Creator was also viable economically. Goulan could assess exactly how many users would be needed for the customer portal and could factor in portal usage accordingly.

"We knew exactly how many people could access Zoho Creator's customer portal. We could control the access privileges of the portal users granularly. We knew exactly how much the customer portals would cost. That was perfectly compatible with what we could spend. We took advantage of the knowledge acquired while using Zoho Creator to develop all the stock management and customer ticket tracking functions."

- Marc Goulan

The dashboard

The dashboard Blue Frog Robotics created is comprised of the following elements:

  • The Stock tab which displays the inventory listing all the deployed robots. It also lists the deliveries, listed deliveries, management of loans, and key performance indicators.

Dashboard modules

  • Stock report: This is used to view the robots in stock. It has fields such as IMEI, product names, to whom it was sold, the partner involved, and the name of the final client.
  • Loans report: This shows all the outstanding loans, who initiated the loan, the duration of the loan, and other details such as pertinent dates.
  • Knowledge base: Functioning as a resource guide, this provides requisite knowledge to the application's users.
  • Ticket tracking report: This displays all the tickets being tracked at various stages of their respective lifecycles.
  • Accounts and contacts report: Here, all the contact information of pertinent contacts is displayed.
  • Package products report: This displays all the products.

The software allows the remote management of robots from a central, unified dashboard.

Benefits and ROI

Goulan remarked that Blue Frog Robotics has saved up to 30% of the total cost when comparing alternative solutions other than Zoho Creator to administer the robots.

Looking forward

The roadmap is to make more robust and secure robots. Additionally, the software needs to be accessible enough for the other developers to create their own applications on the platform. The end objective is to enable external developers, distributors, or integrators to make their own applications for Buddy. In order to do that, Blue Frog Robotics also built a software development kit (SDK). The company also intends to leverage the APIs of Creator extensively. More so, Goulan noted the intention to branch out to other Zoho products.

"We now intend to use Zoho One to benefit from a deeply integrated information system between our products and projects, CRM, and sales cycle."

- Marc Goulan

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Zoho Creator?

Zoho Creator is a low-code application development platform that allows users to create custom applications on their own, with minimal coding experience. The intuitive drag-and-drop interface empowers developers and business users to build web and mobile applications that satisfy all their unique requirements with ease.

Are applications built on Zoho Creator scalable?

Applications built on Zoho Creator are built to auto-scale—the back-end infrastructure seamlessly scales as business demand grows. Currently 14,000+ customers across are using over 6 million applications built using Zoho Creator, a testimony to the power of the platform.

Does Zoho Creator have a free plan?

Yes, Zoho Creator has a free plan. This plan comes with a limited feature set and allows for one user, one application, 250 MB of storage, and 1,000 records. However, you have the option to upgrade to a paid plan whenever you wish.

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