Our Story

It all started
with the Photo Kiosks

It all started
with the Photo Kiosks

Maritime is not the most obvious choice of industry to serve as a software company.

It is safe to say that software companies rarely become maritime supplierswithout first getting exposed to, and hooked on, the realities and peculiarities of seafaring.

The gateway adventure that led us to the founding of Codefit in 2015 was the Photo Kiosk.

Have you ever been
on an AIDA cruise?

It truly is a carefree experience.

There are many things you can stop worrying about once you’re on board, but one of them is taking memorable photos to enjoy after the cruise.

Not only are there photographers aboard, ready to capture special moments for you, but every ship also has a photo shop where you can get high quality prints.

On a typical cruise, with thousands of passengers aboard, thousands of photos are taken every day.At this scale, making the photos readily available to passengers in print at the photo shop is quite a challenge.

Traditionally, all photos would be printed out and put on a gallery wall. The photo shop team would then assist the passengers in finding their photos.

This was a costly process in terms of labour, materials, environmental footprint and occupied deck space.

Crucially though, the experience wasn’t passenger friendly. Everyone had to go through a wall of other people’s photos to find their own.

The Photo Kiosk

When our team started working with AIDA, our task was to implement a prototype solution that would reinvent on-board photo sales in digital format.

The solution was designed around face recognition which would automatically identify passenger photos. It would also feature on-demand printing to let the passengers order photos on their own using custom built self-service photo kiosks.

Within the first months of greenfield development, we have successfully:

  • Built the kiosk application and its backend, from database to touch UI
  • Integrated custom hardware: photo lab, printers, card readers, cameras
  • Tamed and integrated a heavy-duty third party face recognition engine
  • Coordinated work with designers and vendors working in parallel.

Trials of the sea

After this initial period of intensive development, the delivery of the photo kiosks to the ships began. We carried out the deployments and experienced our first share of sea trials.

As our software got into the hands of passengers and photo shop crews, we could really see what worked.

The observations helped us quickly refine the software. In three deployments we had a fully working version 1.

The Photo Kiosks were a success!

  • The passenger experience improved
  • The Photo Shop revenue increased
  • Printing workload and costs dropped
  • Photo shops needed less deck space
AIDA proceeded to roll out of the photo kiosks to further ships in the fleet, with our deployment help.

Never stop improving

As we deployed the photo kiosks to the AIDA fleet we kept learning more about how to make them more effective.

We brought our findings straight back to the project and participated proactively in the efforts to refine the design and ergonomics of the kiosks.

While we were at it, the passengers enjoyed the kiosks and increasingly depended on them to order cruise photos.

It became apparent that more kiosks will be needed to avoid queues, especially in the final days of each cruise.
This in turn meant increased costs of hardware, installation and deck space. To remediate this, we needed a new approach.

The first alternative we tried was to create a secondary photo sales interface for cabin entertainment systems.
This would be a very convenient solution, but as it turned out early smart TVs of the day were not up to the task.

The next revolution: Photo App

To handle face-recognition based photo sales in our app, we needed a suitable light weight software component.

Here again, emerging technology offered a solution. The growing availability of machine learning libraries allowed us to roll up the sleeves and build it on our own.

We not only succeeded in bringing face recognition to the photo kiosk app, but also developed cFace.

At that point, however, developments in mobile technology enabled an entirely new take.

The increasing power of popular tablet devices made it viable to develop a photo sales app.

This allowed for providing many more points of sale at a fraction of the cost, solving both the issue of high installation costs and the passenger queues.

ThePhoto App was
yet another success!

  • Much better availability at a fraction of the cost
  • Streamlined user experience
  • Increased revenue from digital photo sales

A formative experience

Our work on the Photo Kiosk and later the Photo App projects became the cornerstone of our maritime experience.

The key lessons we learned in our early days influence the way we work to this day.
We now call these guiding principles: Going the extra mile

Images

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