Joe Gondek, Dow's Automotive Division, Strategic Marketing Manager
“Mercury Development's ability to work directly with Dow's marketing department to implement their vision with cutting edge technology was what made these projects such end-to-end successes. The bottom line results speak for themselves: In 2011, the Acoustomize and CO2 apps played a significant role in the increase in BETAFOAM and BETAMATE product sales.”
Success Story: Dow Acoustomize and CO2
About Dow Automotive
Dow Automotive Systems is a technology-driven solutions provider offering products and technologies that bolster safety and health performance, improve energy efficiency, reduce exhaust emissions and enhance quality and appeal, while reducing manufacturing costs. The company delivers cost-effective and usable answers to OEM and Tier suppliers' toughest interior, exterior, and powertrain application questions. Dow Automotive Systems offers polyurethanes, films, brake fluids, crash-durable adhesives, diesel particulate filters, and acoustic-management materials to fit customer applications.
In September, 2010, Joe Gondek, Dow's Automotive Division Strategic Marketing Manager – Digital, was looking for a custom software company with a wealth of rich iPad development experience. After researching several companies, he contacted Mercury Development to build a set of mobile applications for Dow field marketers. The goal of the project was to port Acoustomize™, a web-based Flash tool, to the iPad in the shortest timeframe possible to enable company representatives to display their content while walking around upcoming trade shows and sales events. Acoustomize is an NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) methodology developed by Dow Automotive to help its customer optimize performance in its vehicles. Acoustomize precisely identifies the proper locations for applying vehicle cavity fillers. Combining Dow Automotive products with this methodology maximizes effectiveness and minimizes cost.
Mercury Development accepted the challenge and provided Dow the alpha version of Acoustomize just 48 hours after the contract was signed. "I'm tremendously impressed with the speed in which you were able to turn around such a polished demo," said Gondek. "In fact, the alpha version was such a success that almost no changes were made for the final version!"
After Mercury Development's success completing the Acoustomize iPad project, the company spent one month working closely with the Dow team. During that time, the Mercury Development team impressed Dow by showcasing its extensive iPad capabilities, including controls from their Data Visualization Framework. Using the Framework, Mercury Development created a set of samples and prototypes for Dow's sales and marketing division to assist them in their sales efforts.
In early 2011, after testing several of the prototypes using the Data Visualization Framework, Dow decided to move forward with development of the CO2 Calculator application. The CO2 Calculator was envisioned as a promotional tool for showcasing the benefits of using Dow's BETAMATE technology.The CO2 Calculator would help illuminate efficiencies gained by reducing the weight of a car, thus diminishing the vehicle's carbon footprint and its gas costs. High-level features of the application included:
CO2 footprint and weight reduction calculation for three vehicle models (Compact, SUV, and Luxury)
3D vehicle demonstration with identification of adhesive points in the vehicle models
Dow asked Mercury Development to compress the app's development time from 6 weeks to 4 weeks – requiring a larger project team and overtime – because its sales team was registered at a Hyundai tech show and wanted to use the application as a centerpiece.
Mercury Development met the tight schedule and even provided the first operational version of the CO2 Calculator in advance so that the members of the sales team could familiarize themselves with the app before the trade show.
A significant challenge was optimizing Dow's original 3D model to work with Mercury Development's 3D Interactive Framework, ensuring a seamless iPad experience for the user. Mercury Development's guidance and direction to the Dow representative guaranteed a best-in-class product.
After receiving an early version of the CO2 Calculator, Gondek said, "I can't believe this is just a preview version of the app – it's incredible! I am already really impressed with the functionality."
Mercury Development identified several strategies to improve the functionality of the interim version of the app, including:
Leveraging its experience in UX design to make adjustments to the main controls– including customized options and layout variations – and improve the readability of the calculator inputs.
Working with Dow's 3D designers to optimize 3D models to improve the performance and look of the render.
Development of a lightweight cross-platform engine for the core functionality.
Other distinctive features of the app included:
Ability to run on two completely different touch-based platforms – iPad by Apple and industrial touchscreens by Elo TouchSystems – elevating the product's flexibility and "wow" factor.
A 3D viewport optimized for high performance model loading and rendering during presentation.
Intuitive finger-controlled manual 3D rotation of the model with kinetics and bounce-back effects.
Closure and structural bonding display modes with custom material mapping to highlight Dow adhesives.
Mercury Development was able to capitalize on its success with Dow's Acoustomize project to create the CO2 Calculator, another innovative two-platform app with impressive functionality, for the company. Not only did they exceed expectations on a short timeframe, but they added functionalities beyond what Dow expected that resulted in a more transparent view of its BETAMATE adhesive technology. As a result, Mercury Development delivered a cutting edge product that was the centerpiece of a multinational campaign and a critical tool for the sales and marketing team.
One more striking outcome of the success of the application: Following the app's unveiling Gondek was promoted to the Global Digital Marketing Manager position for all of Dow Chemical, which included responsibility for Dow's sponsorship of the upcoming Olympics.
"I really need to compliment you and your team," said Gondek. "The tool looks amazing and customers have been incredibly impressed with the 3D technology. In fact, I received an email after the trade show from one high-level executive expressing his delight with the iPad application. On a personal note, I haven't been able to stop playing with the app since I downloaded it! Mercury Development did an unbelievable job."
Added Gondek, "Mercury Development's ability to work directly with Dow's marketing department to implement their vision with cutting edge technology was what made these projects such end-to-end successes. The bottom line results speak for themselves: In 2011, the Acoustomize and CO2 apps played a significant role in the increase in BETAFOAM and BETAMATE product sales."