Hyde Marine: Creating Intuitive Software to Enhance Physical Product Offerings

OVERVIEW

Hyde Marine, the world leader in ballast water treatment systems, were looking for a way to enhance their customers’ ability to access and utilize a critical Hyde Marine product.

Hyde Marine’s GUARDIAN line of products are installed on cruise ships, container ships and naval vessels around the world. These systems purify ballast water before it is returned to the ocean, ensuring ecosystems are not damaged by biological pollution and the spread of invasive species. Hyde Marine enables customers to meet the stringent requirements of the 2004 IMO Ballast Water Convention.

EASA has defined itself as the perfect complement to Excel; no longer shall the computational power of Excel be marooned on a desktop, available only to expert users.

Vincent Page
Technical Solutions Manager

The Problem

Compared to hard coding an application, Excel and VBA provided a far more flexible and maintainable platform to underpin their product, but was far from ideal from the at-sea based customer’s usability standpoint.

The Guardian product line employs filtration and ultraviolet irradiation to treat and sterilise ballast water. The parameters of the system, including historical pressures and temperatures at various locations, valve positions, as well as system errors, are all documented in data logs which, in raw format, are not human-readable.

As more customers asked for access to these logs, it became necessary to create a process enabling the “translation” into human-readable reports. By using MS Excel and creating extensive macros, Hyde Marine was able to automate this complex task of calculation and data processing as much as possible.

OUR SOLUTION

Using EASA’s low-code platform that retains the Excel spreadsheet as the engine but makes use of a custom, web based user interface, Hyde Marine transformed the complex tool into a practical and secure tool.

However, while the resulting Excel-based process was fine for internal specialists to use it was by no means suitable for deployment to maintenance staff on vessels at sea. To translate the data into actionable knowledge remained an “expert only” process, requiring hours of an experts time to generate a professional report.

Hyde Marine considered building a custom standalone program or web-based app to replace Excel but concluded that no hard-coded app would be as adaptable, flexible and maintainable as Excel and VBA. Meeting their ever-changing reporting and compliance needs of their customers made it effectively impossible to move away from Excel.

So instead, Hyde Marine looked for a solution to make Excel more enterprise-friendly and identified EASA’s patented technology as a perfect fit. EASA enables any spreadsheet, complete with macros and VBA, to be retained as a “logic engine” for a custom web app built with EASA’s low-code platform. This approach completely eliminates what could be a prohibitively expensive effort to recreate the logic that already exists in Excel. 

THE RESULTS

Using EASA saved almost 90% of the cost and time compared to a coded-from-scratch approach, while retaining the inherent flexibility and maintainability of Excel spreadsheets.

Now, Hyde Marine has successfully used EASA to build and deploy a custom web app to end-users, enabling crews to generate their own reports on demand while at sea. The app is deceptively simple; it masks a highly complex sequence of tasks executed via macros in the main spreadsheet. This app automatically generates multiple outputs, including a processional 3-page report. 

Because the original spreadsheet can be used, the effort to build the app was estimated to be as low as 10% of the effort that would have been required to build a custom application from scratch. Furthermore, updates to the app can be made by simply updating the spreadsheet.

Benefits of Using EASA for Custom Web Apps

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