Bridging the Gap Between UI Design and Embedded Systems

Crank™ Software Inc. is an innovator in embedded user interface (UI) solutions. Compared to traditional electronic design automation tools, our products and services enable R&D teams to more quickly develop rich graphical displays—also called UIs or HMIs—for resource-constrained embedded devices. Applications include in-car graphical displays, animated GPS systems, and rich user interfaces on factory floors. Crank Software bridges the gap between UI design and embedded systems to deliver competitive advantage because streamlining the development lifecycle enables their customers to get products to market faster, with higher ROI and lower TCO, while delivering a superior customer experience. But let's start at the beginning...

Recognizing a problem in the UI design to embedded device lifecycle

Prior to co-founding Crank Software, Brian Edmond, Thomas Fletcher, and Jason Clarke spent many years working on development projects within the embedded systems space. The traditional embedded UI design process is complex and time consuming. Each project kicks off with an idealistic project schedule. The UI designer defines the graphical display and provides it to the embedded systems engineer for development. This is where project slippages begin. Time is lost as the graphical display goes back and forth between the UI designer and the embedded systems engineer. The user experience (UX) delivered to market is never what the UI expert originally conceived. Does this sound familiar?

From their roots in the industry, Brian, Thomas, and Jason saw that this challenging scenario was common across companies. They recognized that if they could bridge the gap between UI designer and embedded devices, the result would drastically reduce the development lifecycle, resulting in faster time to market at less cost.

Bridging the gap between UI designer and embedded devices

Crank Software worked with companies to discuss their pain points, identify what was causing slippages in the project schedule, and determine if the pain and slippages were common across industries that market automotive infotainment devices, medical, and industrial devices. The result of their customer research and internal product development is the Crank Storyboard™ Suite—a suite of products that bridge the gap between UI design and embedded devices.

Delivering a solution that accelerates time to market, and delivers high ROI and low TCO

Today, Storyboard is enabling UI designers and embedded systems engineers to work in parallel, rather than the time-consuming process of the past. Storyboard manages the entire UI lifecycle, from UI design to simulation to optimized deployment for the target device. Storyboard accelerates time to market and delivers a high ROI and low TCO—as well as helps to deliver brand-defining UIs/UXs that capture brand loyal customers.

Helping customers take advantage of the demand for graphical displays -- faster

A young company with drive, passion, and energy, Crank Software is well positioned to help customers in the embedded systems space take advantage of the growing demand for graphical displays in products. A 2009 report by VDC Research indicates that “the embedded system manufacturers’ requirements and end consumers’ expectations continue to drive substantial investment in embedded software and development tools. The embedded and real-time operating system market, in particular, has faired better than many other sectors of the broader embedded market, with 2008 demonstrating 9% growth over 2007‡.”

Crank Software is privately owned, with its headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

†User interfaces (UI), human machine interfaces (HMI) and liquid crystal displays (LCD).

‡June 19, 2009, VDC Research press release.