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BEP Marine

Built with Qt

Bep Marine Chooses Qt to Empower Agile Development and Create User Interfaces for Their Czone System. 

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BEP Marine: CZone Digital Switching

BEP Marine, based in Auckland, New Zealand, manufactures a range of high quality electrical solutions designed for maritime vessels and mobile automotive. BEP Marine is part of Power Products, LLC, a global manufacturer and supplier of electrical products for construction and maintenance, recreational marine and specialty vehicles, industrial power, and transportation. With industry-leading brands and a track record of innovative product development, Power Products partners with our customers for sustainable, mutual growth. BEP Marine’s Auckland based engineering team are responsible for their flagship offering, CZone. CZone is digital switching which provides automation of a vessel or vehicle electrical system, offering complete the control and monitoring making operation simple, and hassle free for the user.

Goals

  • Maximum performance in extreme conditions
  • Outstanding User Experience
  • Minimal system footprint 
  • Support for various target devices and operating systems to enable control of the same systems with the smartphone or tablet.
  • Easy demoing and prototyping
  • Agile development processes within small teams

Results

  • BEP Marine delivers systems to yacht manufacturers such as Riviera who expect and require nothing but the best from their suppliers
  • All the products are designed to easily integrate into simple or comprehensive electrical systems.
  • CZone designers also used Qt Designer to create product demos to show to customers and product owners. This way, CZone could react quickly to feedback on colors, size and positioning and image elements like gradients and make adjustments on the fly. This avoids time-consuming image manipulation.
  • Developers and designers work in a seamless flow, maintaining the outcome quality

"Larger companies would usually have a big team of developers working on these apps. Creating a version for another platform is easy – almost like a magic trick."

Jeremy Stott, Software Engineer

Their systems have to operate in extreme conditions. This means that optimal performance, user experience, and a minimal system footprint are a priority in their development process. The intrepid kiwis aren’t shy about field-testing their own technology either. They have completed the Volvo Ocean Race in 2011 in their self-built sailboat called “Camper”. What better way to test out the reliability of your technology than taking it on a cruise to both hottest and coldest climates on earth? This is just as well, as BEP Marine delivers systems to yacht manufacturers such as Riviera who expect and require nothing but the best from their suppliers.

Moving to digital switching also means that you interact with the system in a different way. From physical interaction with a myriad of different buttons, knobs, levers, and pulleys to a streamlined and intuitive virtual interaction. Qt has become an integral part of CZone development for several reasons.

Agile Development in Ship-Shape

CZone has a rather small development team, meaning tools that support agile development are important. Developers work directly with an internal Designer. The Designer creates initial mock-ups with the Product Owner using typical graphic design tools such as Adobe Illustrator. These initial designs serve the purpose of capturing the look and feel of the UI. The Product Owner, Designer, and Developers then work collaboratively to implement the design. Improvements are made incrementally throughout the entire design process. Qt’s QML helps the development team respond to these changes and provide feedback in an easy and fast manner.

After the base design phase is over, the designer’s job is done and the developer takes over. The individual assets and components are imported into Qt. They can apply further changes to the graphics within Qt Quick Designer. The developer can later tinker with the size of the assets without suffering quality loss.

CZone designers also used Qt Designer to create product demos to show to customers and product owners. This way, CZone could react quickly to feedback on colors, size and positioning and image elements like gradients and make adjustments on the fly. This avoids time-consuming image manipulation.

Qt’s cross-platform capabilities had benefited CZone development by making porting the application to other platforms a breeze. Using this technology, CZone is developing apps using the same code base for Android and iOS devices, so you can control the same systems with your smartphone or tablet.

Those are the Qt features BEP Marine used

Qt Quick Designer

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QML

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Cross-platform capabilities

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About BEP Marine

BEP engineers and manufactures a range of high quality electrical solutions designed for the harsh Marine and RV environments. Every product they make meets exacting performance specifications and is designed to withstand extreme conditions, both at sea and on land.

"User interface requirements change quickly. Qt's QML allows us to better decouple the UI from the backend, giving us the ability to easily adapt to UI changes and present them to the customer, thus reducing the feedback time between the customer and developer."

Justin Spence, Embedded Systems Engineer

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