Growing businesses through digital innovation

TEXT: MALIN NORMAN | PHOTOS © AALTRA

Digital innovation studio Aaltra was founded in 2008 by Pieter-Paulus Vertongen and Ciel Berings, based on a belief that software engineers need more creativity and designers need more technical knowledge. Merging both perspectives, they formed a team of creative developers and technical designers.

“Together we help our clients to imagine, develop and grow innovative digital products,” says Berings. “These digital products can be, for example, mobile apps, online business applications or integrated Internet of Things solutions. Ultimately, our goal is to create products that make users happy and businesses grow.”

Technology is evolving at an increasingly high rate and, at the same time, it is becoming more accessible. As much as the founders love new technology, they do not believe in it as a standalone solution. “As digital innovators, we believe that the connection with our audience, which is the end-user, is increasingly important,” explains Berings, and continues: “applications that help people change the way they work or live are not a result of technology alone. We strongly believe that an explicit understanding of users, tasks, and environments is crucial to the success of each project we tackle. This is why we have developed our own user-centric design process.”

Aaltra works closely with engineering companies such as Engie M2M, Daikin Europe, Novy, GE, Colruyt, and many more. A key value in its relationship with clients is ownership, and the team closely integrates with the engineering and development teams of it clients. “By involving the client’s team and the end-users from early prototyping, we achieve more creativity and shorter development times. And, by educating our clients, when our project is up and running, they can maintain their application independently and develop it further themselves. And that is an undeniable added value for our clients.”

A recent example of one of Aaltra’s projects is an e-Care tablet and mobile app for Daikin, a provider of heating and cooling solutions. E-Care is a digital toolbox for Daikin’s European installers, helping them prepare the installation and troubleshooting, if needed. It also includes necessary documentation and warranty registration options, as well as repair manuals and the possibility to order spare parts. Berings confirms: “it’s a user friendly solution, but it also connects to the client’s hardware on a high level.”

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