Vaira sees itself as a unified platform including a smartphone app for network operators, construction service providers and household customers that digitally transforms the entire process of surveying and documenting simple house connections, saving time, money and resources for all parties involved.
Since August 2020, we have been on the market with the Vaira Basic version as a minimum sellable product and sell test licences to generate feedback from our customers. From July 2021, we will launch the full Vaira software on the market and switch from the project business to the classic SAAS licensing model. Until now, we have financed the development of the software almost exclusively through custmer projects. Moreover we have already been able to convince around 15 customers of our value.
Problem or Opportunity
Our Vaira platform enables network operators, construction service providers and household customers to carry out all work and communication via a central application. Unlike in the past, all process steps remain digital throughout. Printing out forms, compiling them, sending them by post, filling them out by hand, sending them back and manually transferring the data into their own systems can thus be significantly streamlined. Time-consuming and costly errors in the transfer of data can also be avoided. Via open interfaces, data can be automatically read from or returned to your own ERP and GIS systems. Through Vaira, existing processes are digitally transformed in cooperation with the industry without imposing this change externally.
Network operators can compile orders in a modular way or use the integrated workflow engine to map their processes and instantiate them fully automatically. Household customers have the option of tracking the progress of the construction process via the customer portal. All progress made in order processing is automatically synchronised with our web application (the Vaira Office) and our smartphone apps for Android and iOS (the Vaira Apps). The documentation of connections via augmented reality with the smartphone facilitates and speeds up the work for fitters. During the survey, photos are also taken automatically, which add an important, completely new aspect to the documentation for quality assurance. By law, suppliers must be able to provide information about their network at all times. This increases the requirements for the construction service provider not only in terms of time, but also in terms of content. Because in order to prove this ability to provide information, photos of the construction work are now expected or a large number of forms are provided for completion. With Vaira, both players, the utility and the construction service provider, benefit in equal measure, because with Vaira you can not only map all the requirements, but you also know about the existing measures at all times. Through our willingness to finance the development of Vaira with the help of projects, we have so far been able to impressively demonstrate how attractive this fully comprehensive solution is for the industry.
Solution (product or service)
Vaira's real-time synchronicity makes it possible to skip all process steps that have to do with the transmission of data. Since all data is collected digitally, all process steps involving scanning, printing, faxing, sending mail or manually transferring it to your own ERP, SAP or GIS systems are also eliminated. This can significantly reduce errors that often occur when manually transferring paper into the systems.
The orders are searchable and filterable, process actors can communicate directly via the platform and assign tasks to each other. The progress of jobs can be tracked live and priorities can also be communicated quickly in the follow-up. Features such as a reporting module generate fully automatic reports, some of which are still produced every evening using spreadsheet programs.
The innovative surveying component enables fitters to carry out the survey quickly and to a high standard of quality and frees them from tedious after-hours office work on the construction site. Automatic plausibility checks and mandatory fields can be stored in the form fields, which drastically increase the quality and completeness of the documentation by fitters already during the documentation process.
Vaira bypasses superfluous process steps, reduces the probability of errors, improves data quality and speeds up the process overall. Less time, less costs, more overview.
The approach of thinking of the construction site and its documentation from the household customer to billing as a process and offering a corresponding overall solution forms an important unique selling point of Vaira. The platform does not only serve a single process participant, but connects all actors and enables a smooth exchange of data and work. In this way, construction site documentation can be carried out consistently digitally for the first time - including an innovative surveying component that empowers everyone to carry out high-quality surveying.
As far as we know, there are no direct competitors for the complete platform solution. Similar surveying solutions, although often explained to us by the industry as insufficient or not working, can be found in a handful. These often fail due to a lack of communication with the industry, which means that the developments do not meet the respective requirements. To the best of our knowledge, the accuracy requirements according to the rules and regulations are also not achieved by competitors.
Advantages or differentiators
We rely on cloud technology for our platform to make data available anytime and anywhere. This means that work can also be carried out easily in the home office, for example. Surveying takes place on a smartphone via an inertial system paired with photogrammetry in augmented reality. As far as we know, the approach of not selling surveying as a single feature but designing a complete platform for the entire process mapping is unique on the market. In addition, we have good contacts in the industry and close cooperation with various industry leaders in order to design the platform for universal use.
Vaira is offered as a software-as-a-service. The price is determined individually via fixed costs linked to the number of users and dynamic costs based on the scope of the workflows compiled by the user. Vaira thus scales as fairly as possible for small and large companies.
Money will be spent on
Our goal is to establish Vaira as the industry standard by 2024, to map the complete process of construction and documentation work digitally and (partially) automated, to free up important capacities in an overburdened industry and thus enable a focus on the really important work. To achieve our goal, we are developing a platform for and with the industry as a team. This takes on both essential and redundant tasks in such a way that even people without a technical background can participate intuitively and with pleasure in the digital transformation of their own everyday work. In this way, we are shaping their workplace of the future together.
The investment is intended to help finance the company's growth. Specifically, investments in the equipment of employee workstations are planned, as well as an increase in personnel capacities in the areas of software development, marketing and sales. Based on this, the speed of development and marketing of our software service is to be increased so that we can enter the licence customer business before the end of this year and take the next step into the DACH region in 2022.
As part of EWE's Accelorator Programme, we were able to convince EWE, one of Germany's largest utilities, of our merits and win it as an investor.
Won the competition and other awards
Vaira founders were able to receive the start-up scholarship offered by the NRW State Ministry of Economic Affairs (MWIDE NRW). Since October 2019, the founders have been supported with 1,000 euros each for 12 months in accordance with the scholarship conditions.
We were also able to win the U-Start Challenge 2019 and have since been in a project deal with the municipal utility association Thüga and the global network operator Veolia.