Product Manager: March News and Updates

Hello everyone!

This month we have been working on a couple of cool features that we are not quite ready to announce yet. One of them is an integration and the other is infrastructure work that will make Active911 more stable and performant. I’ll go into more detail about the benefits and reasons for this infrastructure work in a future post, but we are investing much of our development effort into making our service able to survive anything short of a global catastrophe (and stay fast doing it).

While working on those two projects, we have also been working on squashing bugs, bringing the Windows apps up to speed, and giving the idea portal some much needed attention.
– We have a Windows PC release lined up for tomorrow, with another beta coming shortly thereafter. There will be a post about the new release once it is released.
– We have an Android Beta nearing release that has some bug fixes related to: switching device codes in the app, GCM registration errors, the alert title being stored as a response, and difficulty reading some pages in dark theme.
– We identified and fixed a bug in our current iteration of map data sharing where pre-plans and resources you should have been able to see were returning errors instead.

We have significantly upgraded our idea portal. It is directly linked to my workflow (making Active911 the best it can be through feedback and prioritization) and the steps we take to define features and requirements. As we proceed through the steps of making ideas and features reality, the portal will stay up to date and email you if anything you care about changes. It is fully searchable, has extensive filtering, and content suggestions to reduce duplicate entries. For an idea you choose to follow or vote on, you can see comments and receive updates as the idea flows through idea generation, planning, scheduling, and delivering. You will also be able to tell how likely an idea is to be picked up or offer suggestions when you think our assessment is wrong.

The portal has been set up to accept your Active911 username and password. It can currently be found at ideas.active911.com. For a few weeks, I would like our more involved community (twitter, forum, and blog readers) to give constructive feedback before we integrate it into the idea tab of the website.

In this initial stage, I’ve upped the number of votes each person has, from 2 to 10. The max a person can vote up an idea is 5 votes, so you can choose to vote heavily on two ideas or dabble with many different ideas. If you think any of this should be adjusted or tweaked, please leave feedback on the forum.

Upcoming:
Windows PC: In the upcoming beta we addressed difficulty in obtaining logs, poor GPS reporting while moving, and added a clear alerts button. We’ll also be working on adding a view for directions like the other clients have, which should make it into the beta after this one.
Windows Phone: Our Windows Phone is sluggish and overall not where it needs to be. We are correcting that and it is getting a lot of much needed work.
iOS: We’ve found a couple of bugs we are fixing for the next release, as well as reporting location while the app is backgrounded:
– Google Maps can cause the iOS app to crash when too many devices are present on the map at the same time. (If you are encountering this, apple maps will not crash)
– Responses are not properly saved when the app is starting up from being force closed OR background app refresh has been turned off. (If you are encountering this, leaving your app open in the background with background refresh on will resolve the problem until the next release)

Emergency Reporting: Thank you for all the feedback on the forums. We are still talking and figuring things out, but it looks promising.
Misc: After reading through all of the current ideas, there was a lot of feedback for additional icons and colors, as well as non emergency messages and custom ringtones/sounds. We’ll be thinking about how to do these. Feel strongly about which one should be first? Go vote!