Principal Software Solutions Architect at BI Incorporated
Q. Tell us a little about your background. How did you come to work for BI?
I first came to BI in 1999 as consultant for AVICA Incorporated to work on a new case management system, which ended up being turned into the AccuTrax system. The new system was to be a web application – something very rare in 1999. I worked with a small team of consultants and BI employees for about a year on the project. As the project was coming closer to completion, I was given the opportunity to apply for a full-time position as Senior Software Engineer. I was lucky enough to get the job in September 2000 and have been working for the development group ever since.
Q. Please describe your work and a typical week?
A typical work week for me involves working closely with the business and the development team to create the right solutions and maintain the integrity of the systems we work on. We start at the very beginning of the process, working directly with the marketing department and product management to break down the business needs into functional requirements. The functional requirements represent the agreement between business and development about what we will be delivering. This is a collaborative effort that really continues throughout the development life cycle.
When I am not working on requirements, I am working directly with the development team to design the technical solutions. This is always a team effort, taking the best ideas from everyone involved, to come up with a workable solution that meets the business requirements. I spend a fair amount of time researching and working with the various technologies available to determine the best course of action for a development effort. In short, I work with a great group of software engineers solving problems and producing the best software we can.
Q. What is your top priority in this role?
The number one priority in my role is to provide technical solutions for business needs within the organization. It is my job, along with my coworkers’, to ensure that technical solutions are delivered with the highest quality and provide the most value to the business.
Q. Can you tell us about Pursuit Mode, the latest ExacuTrack® One option?
Pursuit Mode is a really interesting feature. Officers can take a client being monitored on an ET1 device and invoke Pursuit Mode through our newly updated mobile application. Taking this action essentially tells the ET1 device to capture a GPS coordinate every 15 seconds and to report that information to the host system every minute, regardless of the configured reporting interval.
Officers can use this feature to in effect “track” the client in real time. Used in conjunction with the improved BI mobile application, the officer has access to a dynamic mapping of the client’s movements, indicating their location on a minute-by-minute basis while in Pursuit Mode. This feature can be used to direct officers in the field to the client’s whereabouts, even if they are moving at a high rate of speed and are actively trying to avoid detection. This capability is a natural extension of our existing location and mapping features in TotalAccess.
The development team was able to deliver this feature in a very short time frame by composing existing TotalAccess capabilities into a seemingly all-new capability. The ability to put the ET1 device into an elevated reporting state has always been a feature of the Exclusion Zone Processing in TotalAccess. Locate Client is a feature for reaching out to the device and forcing it to contact the host. Those existing capabilities combined with some of the built-in state management functionality in TotalAccess, allowed us to compose and deliver a whole new feature without a large development effort.
This ability to deliver new features by combining existing capabilities is very powerful. The team is focused on continuing to produce solutions that can be reused and combined with other features to create even more solutions in the future.
Q. What is your favorite part of your work?
My favorite part of the job is working closely with such a talented team, brainstorming solutions for the business. I really enjoy the collaborative nature of the job. I work with very smart and creative engineers and there is never a single person who defines an entire solution. In this field you never stop learning. Software engineering is always moving very fast, new technologies are being introduced all the time. I love the fact that we are always exposed to new technologies and new approaches to solving problems. I really thrive on the problem-solving aspect of my job – I am often most engaged when the solutions are not straightforward and require creativity and tenacity to resolve. I also enjoy working for a company that provides a valuable service to society and does not just make widgets to sell.
This interview originally appeared in BI’s Viewpoint email newsletter.