PowrKidz Improves Children’s Health and Wellbeing with OutSystems

PowrKidz Improves Children’s Health and Wellbeing with OutSystems

1 developer
4 months to develop MVP
20 schools onboarded in first month
PowrKidz Improves Children’s Health and Wellbeing with OutSystems
PowrKidz Improves Children’s Health and Wellbeing with OutSystems

Digital Start-up PowrKidz needed to quickly get to market with its unique health and wellbeing solution for primary and secondary schools. With OutSystems, its single developer was able to build a bespoke digital platform in less than six months, and it’s already in use at 20 schools, with 5,000 students and 700 teachers.

Thanks to the high speed of development with OutSystems, PowrKidz had the agility needed to respond quickly during the COVID crisis—it was able to launch new features and home-workout routines, to keep students active even when at home.

  • Customer Experience
  • Digital Core Systems
  • Mobile Applications
  • Web Apps & Portals
PowrKidz Improves Children’s Health and Wellbeing with OutSystems

“I knew that with OutSystems, we could build a functioning solution and start getting feedback in the time it would take a developer to mock-up a prototype. We wanted something secure, scalable, and quick to deploy, and OutSystems offered all of the above.”

Tom Ciullo Director, PowrKidz
Challenge

Tackling a Societal Problem with Health and Fitness

In England, 79 percent of pupils fail to meet nationally recognized fitness levels, and 1.6 million children begin secondary school classed as obese. It’s a national health epidemic, and one PowrKidz is determined to solve.

The company has developed a unique solution for primary and secondary schools, including an easy-to-use digital platform that helps educators deliver effective, safe, and fun exercise classes and report on children’s health and wellbeing, both at school and at home.

“We wanted to get children excited and engaged with health and fitness. To do that, we needed to create an application that would provide instant feedback and rewards for participation—making exercise both fun and accessible for everyone involved.”

Tom Ciullo Director, PowrKidz

With such an important goal, PowrKidz wanted to get to market quickly, providing its digitally-powered service and related exercise equipment to England’s schools. They needed a digital application to support the teachers leading the exercise classes, together with live reporting for teachers and motivating feedback for students.

To build the app, the company chose the OutSystems application development platform to speed up development and remove technology barriers that would have made its product launch a lot more time-consuming and resource-intensive.

“Scalability and security were important factors in our platform decision,” says Tom. “OutSystems gives us the peace of mind that we can scale to thousands of schools and potentially millions of children.”

PowrKidz Improves Children’s Health and Wellbeing with OutSystems
Why PowrKidz chose OutSystems:
  • ...Speed-up development and improve agility
  • ...Enterprise-grade scalability and security
  • ...Deliver customer-facing apps
Solution

A Single Developer. A Tried and Tested Solution

Tom has been using OutSystems for the last eight years of his career, so for him, the choice of OutSystems was an obvious one.

“I know how quickly you can build great-looking applications with OutSystems,” says Tom. “We didn’t have the budget for multiple developers. We needed to do things quickly, so OutSystems was the perfect fit.”

“We wanted a native-app-like user experience, but needed to avoid asking teachers and students to install software, as they might lack required access rights,” explains Tom. “So, developing a reactive web app using OutSystems was the way to go.”

“We went through several rounds of UX design before we settled on our final look,” says Tom. “We held regular interactive demonstrations with a steering group, including consultants, school heads, and teachers.”

A single developer was able to build the application in just six months. A critical integration was with a service called Wonde. This simplifies integration with all kinds of school management systems so that the PowrKidz app could consume rather than replicate student and class attendance data.

“OutSystems makes it incredibly easy to integrate with other systems,” says Tom. “Once you’ve connected to an API, it creates the structures, data definitions, data models, and everything else you need to consume all this information in a very intuitive way.”

PowrKidz Improves Children’s Health and Wellbeing with OutSystems

The application incorporates several OutSystems Forge modules, including a plug-in for real-time notifications, a countdown timer widget, and a charting component. What’s more, building with OutSystems UI means that a single development effort has resulted in an app that will work on any form-factor, be it a tablet, smartphone, laptop, or smart TV.

PowrKidz found the online support provided by OutSystems invaluable. “The documentation and support are fantastic,” says Tom. “You can often find answers in the OutSystems user community, but whenever we needed to raise a support ticket, it was resolved very quickly.”

PowrKidz Improves Children’s Health and Wellbeing with OutSystems

“OutSystems makes it incredibly easy to integrate with other systems. Once you’ve connected to an API, it creates the structures, data definitions, data models, and everything else you need to consume all this information in a very intuitive way.”

Tom Ciullo Director, PowrKidz
Results

Ready to Scale, Despite the Pandemic Crisis

Six months after the project began, PowrKidz was rolled-out to a test group of 20 schools. Each received specially designed children’s sports equipment—including slam balls, kettlebells, and battle ropes—as well as the newly completed digital platform with workouts, yoga sessions, and activities to improve mindfulness and wellbeing.

Teachers and schools received demonstration days to get introduced to the product. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, from both the teachers running the sessions and the children taking part.

“The PowrKidz platform has got so much material, and there’s so much thinking behind that material, that it helps teachers deliver really high-quality lessons in a really simple and effective way.”

...
Matt Freeston CEO of the Learners Trust

PowrKidz makes it much easier for teachers to demonstrably meet government recommendations for fitness, with children eager to take part and be more active. And step-by-step coaching instructions help teachers to deliver lessons in a simple and straightforward way, even if their background isn’t in physical education.

“I was amazed. The children’s faces told the story. There’s a good range of activites, and the structure of it is easy to manage. The atmosphere after the lessons, despite them being really tired, is really positive.”

...
Nick Newberry Headteacher Brimington Junior School

The application also makes it easier for teachers to assign personalized development plans for their students, with timely insights into how kids perform and who may need extra help.

The PowrKidz platform includes advanced reporting options that are crucial for the education sector. “We can aggregate data from classes, schools, multi-academy-trusts, and local education authorities,” explains Tom. “Providing these kinds of health and fitness insights will be invaluable to stakeholders who need to respond to the impact that social distancing is having on children’s health and meet new government targets to reduce childhood obesity.”

Rapid Adaptation During the COVID Crisis

Soon after launch, the PowrKidz team met with an unexpected problem—COVID lockdown, with most children sent home. This required PowrKidz to rapidly re-prioritize its development schedule, focusing on the home workouts section of the app, and looking at ways for teachers to motivate and monitor kids when they couldn't attend school. This is an area where OutSystems again proved invaluable.

“We had to start looking at workouts that were specifically tailored to the new situation,” says Tom. “We quickly polished up the home workout side of the app, improved the rewards system and made it easier for teachers to assign activities remotely.”

“These are all things that we had on our roadmap; we just had to accelerate things. And that’s what’s so great about OutSystems because you can develop things in such a short space of time.”

Speaking of roadmaps, PowrKidz is already thinking about new capabilities as the application is rolled out to more schools. Integration with wearable devices is already underway to help gamify exercise and motivate children. Virtual workouts will soon be incorporated to help teachers connect with kids when in different locations. And, PowrKidz is in discussions with additional content providers who want to showcase their workouts/videos within our platform.

It’s a long way to have come inside a year, but for PowrKidz—as well as the nation’s children—the future looks bright.

“Without OutSystems, the development project would easily have taken three to four times longer,” says Tom. “We’d have needed more funding, more developers, and there’s a chance the project would never have gotten off the ground. Instead, in less than a year, we’ve successfully launched, proven the concept, and refined the product in response to feedback and COVID challenges.”

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