Rebuilding Ecostat with new technology
The beauty of our industry is that there is always new technology available and always new ways to improve and run software solutions. We’re always looking at systems and solutions that we built in the earlier years of Netgen, and seeing what could be done differently now and more efficiently.
Our team has been lucky enough to work with the Ecostat system from the very beginning and be a major part of the changes happening. We first built the software platform 15 years ago. In 2022, the new technology available meant that it was time for a rebuild and rescope of the entire system.
A closer look at what the Ecostat system does
Ecostat is a combined database for environmental monitoring equipment. We designed it to remotely collect and store data and reports from connected equipment no matter where it was stationed. Often, weather and environment monitoring stations are in very remote and hard-to-reach locations. This means that people aren’t always hands-on with the monitoring and any data that was collected and stored on the sites could easily get lost or corrupted.
The solution we built back in 2008 linked up to these remote sites and allowed the data being collected to upload to the cloud-based storage. People can now access this data from anywhere and at any time. No one needs to physically go to the monitoring stations to get the data.
The system is also able to send up red flags if a site has gone offline or is sending incomplete data. Those looking after that station will know if they need to physically go there to sort out any issues with the equipment.
Moving from VB.net to new technology
The original system that we built was coded using the programming language VB.net. This was one of the top programming languages at the time and was widely used for developing Windows-based applications. It was robust, scalable, and had a rich set of development tools and frameworks that allowed us to create a feature-rich application with a modern user interface. It was simply the best choice at the time.
As always happens in our industry, new technology became available and over the years, we saw this system begin to struggle. In November 2022, we began the process of redeveloping the entire system using C# and .NETcore as our programming languages. It has been an exciting process because we were also able to redevelop the database backend and leverage new cloud-based technologies.
The challenge we faced, however, was to ensure that all of the data that the system has already collected and the hundreds of millions of records could be maintained and transferred into the new system. We’re proud to say that we achieved this and in the second quarter of 2023, the system went into the final testing phase.
We’ve also added some white label functionality to the system. Larger companies and distributors can add their own clients to the system, and maintain their information and instruments. These companies can also have a branded portal that is powered by Ecostat.
Another recent development was the inclusion of a mobile app for both Android and iOS. Users can now view the database and site statuses right from their smartphones. And this is just the beginning. There are several more integrations coming in the future and next phases of this project.