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/Client Story

Villo

Creating a next-generation visitor management system.

Seamless, contactless visitor management for a post-COVID era.

  1. 01Designed and developed an intuitive visitor management system
  2. 02Produced a mobile app and web dashboard as part of the system
  3. 03Integrated popular workplace tools
  4. 04Planned and executed a marketing strategy
  5. 05Provided ongoing customer support

The Challenge

After years of creating products on behalf of our clients, we decided it was time to start leveraging our internal resources to create our own products. We considered several project ideas before deciding to tackle an area where we could see a clear need for a fresh, modern offering: visitor management systems. 

Our experiences with existing visitor management systems had left us largely unimpressed. The systems were often clunky, counterintuitive and difficult to navigate. This didn’t seem to dovetail with the fact that there was a high demand for these systems, or that they had been adopted by companies with the resources to support much better systems. So we set out to fill a clear gap in the market by providing exactly that: a better visitor management system.

The Solution

Although we had limited experience with creating our own products, we were confident that our team was up to the task, given our years of experience in successfully delivering products across the spectrum of digital innovation — from web and mobile applications to sophisticated IoT systems. This project marked the launch of what is now Roam Ventures, our production arm dedicated to developing Roam Digital’s own intellectual properties.

At the time, we were using a popular but expensive visitor management system that was clearly geared towards larger businesses with more complicated needs. We knew we wanted our own system to be simpler, more streamlined and more affordable for smaller businesses and organisations. 

This was especially true since visitor management systems are “sticky” products; they can be time-consuming to set up, and once a business invests in a system, they are unlikely to change systems for at least a year or two. So our initial offering would need to be robust enough to stand the test of time, at least in the short to medium term.

We conducted an initial evaluation to establish the feasibility of the project, but there was no lengthy discovery phase; our goal was fairly clear from the start. The system needed to be functional, beautiful, secure and easy to adopt. It needed to track visitors and deliveries in real time, and provide a digital visitor log that could be retrieved easily and quickly. 

Our initial use cases were related to safety and accountability; for example, enabling organisations to quickly get a headcount in case of an emergency, or tracking visitors in case of theft. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent changes in health and safety rules created a strong new demand for visitor management systems. Suddenly, every public-facing organisation, from offices to restaurants to schools, needed a way to track every single visitor on a daily basis.

Villo, the system we created, is powered by Sauce, an API developed by Roam Digital and used across a variety of products. Villo encompasses Villo Register, a web dashboard, and Villo ID, a mobile app. Rather than saddling businesses with the cost of a clunky kiosk or dedicated hardware, Villo can run on nearly any device. It also leverages our experience with Bluetooth proximity services. When a user has the Villo ID mobile app installed and Bluetooth enabled on their phone, their presence will be automatically detected by tablets running Villo Register, allowing them to sign in quickly and easily. Villo has been designed to be beautiful, and beautifully intuitive. From the bright, approachable interface to the customisation tools, it allows businesses and organisations to offer their visitors a seamless sign-in experience. Businesses using Villo can customise the sign-in experience with their own company branding and dynamic visuals. Documents that visitors might need to sign or acknowledge can easily be added to the sign-in flow. Villo can also be used to provide a customisable range of offerings; including, for example, a variety of beverages or branded merchandise for visitors to choose from. Our focus was consistently on ease of use and anticipating users’ needs, and that focus is embodied in every aspect of Villo. In just one example, when a visitor signs into Villo using their business email address, the system pre-fills their company name based on that email address. Villo is built on the ethos that every improvement to an experience is significant and worthwhile, no matter how small.

The Results

Villo has been adopted as the main visitor management system by a variety of organisations, including businesses and religious community centres. New integrations and improvements are planned for the near future, and the system continues to grow in scope and functionality. 

We are collecting customer feedback on a rolling basis to help inform the next stage of Villo’s development, and preparing to scale up the product to ensure that it fully meets the needs of businesses operating in a post-COVID-19 world.

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