From Production Software to Mobile App: Interview With Filo Co-Founder Stefania De Roberto

One of the sponsors of Pi Day Hackathon (postponed to May 14th, 2020) is Filo, a company born with the aim of creating products that simplify some aspects of our daily life. “The coolest thing about working at Filo – says co-founder Stefania De Robertois that you have a look at the entire product chain, from factory and production software to e-commerce, user apps, and customers feedback. It’s rare to have the opportunity of being involved in all of those aspects at once“. At the moment, Filo has two main products: Filo Tag and Tata. “We started with a simple problem – says Stefania – never forgetting your valuables and keeping track of them. From here we have extended our products portfolio with Tata, an anti-abandonment device for children in the car“.

Let’s talk about the tech side of Filo.
We operate in the IoT market. This means that our job is not limited to hardware development but extends far away: every product we create may communicate something, and being integrated with other software components, such as mobile or web applications, creating a network of intelligent items.

What’s the most interesting thing you, as a developer, learned in working at Filo?
I’m an engineer, and I am used to thinking of software development as a set of patterns. In Filo, however, we do not only develop the software but the full product, also considering its hardware components. Every product that we create will be used by someone who will buy it for a specific purpose. I learned that no matter how much you study a product, define its use cases, create a model to simulate how it will behave in the expected scenario, there will always be a new parameter to consider: the behavior of an end customer that will do something unexpected. I learned a lot from customer’s feedback. The most difficult part of this job is accepting that every product we create, and not only the physical once, is not static, but may also change many times.

What are the main technologies you use at Filo?
We always work on the newest technologies from all points of view. Our developers use lots of different technologies: we develop our products firmware in C++, we use Java and Kotlin for Android apps, Swift for iOS, React for web-based apps and Node.js together with Python for the backend. For the communication protocols, we usually use Bluetooth Low Energy, NB-IoT, LTE and more. Our cloud infrastructure makes huge usage of Google Firebase and AWS to offer realtime communication with products apps and analysis functionality.

Why did you choose these technologies?
Since people use our products to get help in their daily life we must make them super simple and rapid to use. The choice of a specific technology for our products depends on many factors. We analyze and study the most innovative technologies before using them and then we pick up those that are more reliable and suitable for each specific scenario.

Describe the developers working at Filo and tell us what you are looking for.
Today, Filo development team is composed of 7 people. We take care of developing the firmware and hardware of our products, native iOS and Android applications, APIs, cloud features on Firebase and AWS, web pages, and our e-commerce website. Each of us has a specific role. We are looking for frontend, backend, and mobile developers to go faster up to double speed in order to create new products.

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