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Update on Misty's platform versus app-building activities

Greetings to you on this unprecedented COVID-19 summer. A few of you have asked a couple of questions along the lines of “what’s up at Misty?” so thought we’d answer.

Many of you have likely heard of the announcement of our Temp Screening Assistant for Misty II (http://temperature.mistyrobotics.com/) which we launched in late June at the Collision at Home conference. In a nutshell, the Temp Screening Assistant is our initial first-party application for Misty II.

Does that mean we’ve stopped working on the core platform?

NO! And, not only no, but h-ll no!

All of you know that Misty is a block of clay to be molded by software developers who create “robot applications”. Many of you are working on your own Misty applications. Some of you have made so much progress we’ve highlighted your applications in The Solution Hub (if you would like yours highlighted let us know!) and we know many more of you are working on applications behind the scenes with a desire to be highlighted in the future.

Like many companies around the world, the coronavirus has impacted our business – with customers of our robot-app-building customers shut down and/or inaccessible, many of them have been stalled. Schools have been shut down. So, rather than just waiting for “normal” to return (whatever that might be!), we decided to utilize the available time and devote most (but not all) of our resources to produce a first-party application that could be meaningfully helpful to the crisis at hand.

We made this choice for many reasons:

  • It enables us to create an end-to-end solution which, in turn, enables us to interact directly with end-users in real-life settings. Doing so contributes greatly to the enhanced understanding we have of more environments in which you find yourselves building apps – ultimately ending up in improvements within our platform.
  • It enables us to “eat our own dog food” – to build a complete, production, working, highly reliable robot-app upon our APIs and platform. Two benefits come from this: 1) our engineers become even more intimate with the joys and challenges of building on our API, learning how to improve the base platform and 2) it helps us further demonstrate to the market what a complete application can look like. Practically speaking, the byproduct of doing this is that we’re refining parts of the system and extending the SDK to improve the stability and feature depth that we offer.
  • It affords us more flexibility when working within the greeting/reception market area to liberally and affordably license that application code to any app-building customer while enabling us to refine a full experience and continue to refine it, learning more from end-users along the way.
  • It offers us a way to have a direct positive impact on the safety of employees and customers in a virus-filled world.

While it’s true that we’ve devoted substantial resources to the Temp Screening Assistant, we continue to devote resources to the core platform. This has come in three forms over the past couple of months:

  1. Community support from our team who remain very active in the community
  2. Developer support to many of our application developers who are diving deep
  3. Platform enhancements as a result of what we’re learning and creating with the Temp Screening Assistant.

It is also true that we moved away from a regular “release train” release metaphor to a “feature release” release metaphor. In this transition, we’ve gone from releases that are delivered at a known periodicity, to releases that are delivered when a certain feature or group of features is complete. Because of the scope to the Temp Screening Assistant, we’ve got a large platform update that we’re going to be releasing in the near future. We’ve laid a lot of groundwork for some highly anticipated features, and have made the SDK more robust.

To whet your appetite, here’s a video of one of our prototyping engineers’ work last weekend, utilizing new-to-the-platform object detection algorithms to follow him around (using a new AI model that can also detect ~70 different objects, one of which is “person”) that will be coming in that near future release. In his own words, “It is soooooo cool!”.

In summary: we’re deeply committed to our platform and its capabilities, we’re developing some amazing new platform capabilities in parallel with the pursuit of our first-party application, we’ll liberally license this first-party application to anyone and we’ll continue to support our community both through platform releases (albeit perhaps on a longer cadence) and via our various support mechanisms.

And, we’re always open to hearing from you – in whatever form you’d like (send us an email at support@mistyrobotics.com, post here in the community, call us, tweet us). An especially good way to let us know your thoughts is to put items into the Wishlist.

We have many active developers working on their own Misty apps every day and we continue to be very grateful to you all. Thank you!