Collective are CGI experts who create the most stunning 3D visualisations of architectural developments off-plan. They have not historically used any software to manage the client-facing side of their business, but they were struggling. Working by sending annotated images back and forth via email was becoming ineffective.
They started looking at off the shelf software solutions that might work for them. What they found either wasn't a good fit or was prohibitively expensive for a subscription. They saw the potential of investing in the build of their own system. That's when they asked us to help. Their requirement was not complex in itself, but the functionality they wanted—and that which they didn't—meant a bespoke system was needed.
We pitched a solution to them which is bespoke in every way. One of the main things for us to consider was that their rendered image files are always very large. Add in the fact that, during the course of a project, dozens and dozens of versions of images need to be uploaded and stored—the software needed to be robust and run quickly. Obviously, finding the most suitable, yet cost-effective storage facility was also on our minds.
We designed the front end to be clean and simple in terms of UI—no clutter. The dashboard gives quick, easy access to all aspects of workflow. It features areas to view companies, projects, documents, assets and comments, as well as users and settings. The neatly colour-coded scheduling area provides a clear overview at-a-glance.
The portal caters to the requirement of both Collective and each of their clients. Once logged in, each client gains access to an area of the portal that's tailored to them. It gives visibility of all their current projects, including relevant images and documents, a way to submit project comments and amends, upload and download images or documentation, and raise a support ticket.
We chose to develop using Laravel as it allowed us to build out a fully-featured API with remote CDN file storage and a secure authentication system with all the modern features the framework provides. In the future, the API can be extended to support a desktop or mobile app and any new feature required in an ever-changing business space. We went with AWS for file storage as it offers fast content delivery, automatic backups, and unlimited storage.
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