Blog Post: The ToyLabs Platform - Early Insights on our Development

ToyLabs is a project that is expected to run for 18 months, after which it aims to deliver an ICT infrastructure that will demand limited further investment and effort to be publicly open and at a market-ready state. The overall attempt is at the same time benefiting from the existence of ready-to-use components that have been identified and will be integrated into the platform, but has also certain challenging tasks that have to do not only with the integration and software development tasks, but more importantly with the understanding of the needs of the end-users and their acceptance of the platform to be delivered.

In this context, ToyLabs will utilise an agile-inspired software development methodology, adapted to the specific needs of the project in order to gradually release value through the platform, based on the continuous and incremental roll-out of the most important and valuable features of the latter.

As the platform is initially conceived as an integrated infrastructure that consists of various (sub) components, which namely are:

  • Core platform
  • Partner Matchmaking Component
  • Market and Trend Analysis Component
  • AR Feedback Component

To rapidly design and develop these components, the first step that had to be performed by the consortium had to do with the extraction of requirement, which was executed with a technique inspired from the agile software development process, adopting the main principles of epics and user stories. As a result, a requirements document has been compiled following the prescribed methodology, identifies the main actors, the epics of the overall platform. This document will constitute the implementation backlog that will be ordered based on the user stories prioritisation and will lead to the definition of the ToyLabs MVP, that will also prescribe the development roadmap.

During the overall desing phase, ToyLabs identified 8 actors, draw 28 Epics, out of those 150 user stories were defined in order to cover the whole ToyLabs methodology and its tools. These resulted at the end to a list that contained 174 functional and 12 non-functional requirements.

The ToyLabs platform is expected to have the following actors:

  • Visitor - A user that lands on the ToyLabs platform page and browses the platform without logging in
  • Ordinary User - A user that is registered in the platform and can access content and features that are not available to visitors
  • Manufacturer - A user that takes up the role of a manufacturer, who is responsible for creating a product and steering the whole process of the toy creation
  • FabLab - A user that is representing a FabLab, who can collaborate with Manufacturers
  • Expert - A user that has a professional capacity as an expert, who can collaborate with Manufacturers and FabLabs. Under this category, both Safety Experts and Childhood Experts are included. Those are different groups, having different business scopes. However, since their envisaged operation in the platform is similar, they are grouped under 1 actor altogether. Emerging user stories during WP3, might lead to the separation of those two sub-types and their eventual distinction as 2 different actors
  • Product Owner - A user that has initiated the process of creating a product, being either a manufacturer himself, or choosing a manufacturer to delegate design and production to the latter
  • Organisation Owner - A user that has set up an organisation structure in the platform and is able to manage it
  • Organisation Member - A user that has join an organisation structure

 

Based on the identified Epics, as well as on the different sub-parts of the methodology, the following functional components of the ToyLabs platform have been identified, and were linked with the Epics.

  • TCP (ToyLabs Core Platform). This is the main infrastructure that powers the ToyLabs platform and is the host environment for all other sub-components that need to be integrated. This component includes the following Epics:
    • Platform Browsing
    • Registration/Log In
    • Profile Editing
    • Organisation Selection
    • ToyLabs Products Browsing
    • Communication Actions
    • Feedback Provision
    • Product Initiation
    • Prototype Request
    • Product Handling
    • Design Handling
    • Prototype Handling
    • Feedback to Design
    • Feedback to Prototype
    • Product Information Filling
    • Manufacturing Initiation
    • Product Monitoring
    • Organisation Information Filling
    • Organisation Management
    • Participating in an Organisation
  • PMN (Partner Matching and Negotiation) Component. This component handles the functions of partner searching and matching between different platform users to enable collaboration opportunities. This component includes the following Epics:
    • Partner Matching
    • Contract Negotiation
    • FabLab Contract Opportunity
    • Expert Contract Opportunity
  • MTA (Market Trend Analysis) Component. The Market Trend Analysis component is responsible for identifying market trends and information about products from the social web and is used by manufacturers for getting ideas and feedback on their products. This component includes the following Epics:
    • Market Trend Analysis Setup
    • Market Analytics Visualisation
  • ARF (Augmented Reality Feedback) Component. This is the component that enables users to provide comments of prototypes, based models that are presented to users through Augmented Reality. This component includes the following Epics
    • Prototype AR Enrichment
    • Prototype AR Feedback Collection