Q&A: Jason Clarke, VP of Sales & Marketing, Crank Software

Crank Software is a sponsor of SKS 2019, and we’re excited to meet with them at the show. Before we convene in Seattle, we connected with them to talk about the challenges and opportunities in the space:

What are the unique challenges your company is tackling within the foodtech or smart kitchen space?

We’re seeing a lot of screens and displays showing up in the smart kitchen space, and a lot of smart kitchen products coming fast with more and more features. Consumer expectations are extremely high due to the mobile phone experiences that they’re used to enjoying every day. The expectations are that the screens/displays will wow them just like their mobile experience does — but at a fraction of the cost. They need to display beautiful colors, images and animations, all while doing their job and functioning efficiently, but how do companies provide the anticipated user experience in their products? By bringing both the artistic and technical pieces together. From growing startups to Fortune 500 companies, no matter the platform, we help bring UI projects to life, with Crank Storyboard and our Custom Services.

Who is Crank Software?

Crank Software bridges the gap between UI design and embedded systems development, helping to accelerate product time to market by 50%, all while delivering a highly responsive and brilliant touch screen customer experience. We’re involved with SKS 2019 because some of our awesome customers are showcasing their award-winning products involving Crank’s custom services and embedded UI software, Storyboard.

Give us an important “origin story” moment for Crank Software:

In our past lives, prior to Crank, myself and the two other co-founders worked in the embedded UI space and noticed a crucial gap. More and more, there was a realization that existing software did not allow graphic designers and embedded systems engineers to work collaboratively together, to accelerate projects forward. After a series of mountain biking trips and a couple of beers later, Crank Software came to be.

What is Crank Software doing differently? What are you disrupting, innovating, or inventing?

We started from the ground up to bring design and engineering together. The overall experience embedded UIs provide to consumers is a huge deal, and could make or break product success. It’s not just engineers or back-end developers writing lines of code, it’s design and UX that bring the UI to life, with bright visual 2D or 3D graphics. By allowing designers and developers to work together in parallel using Crank Storyboard, product time to market is accelerated by 50% by making it easier and faster to design and iterate.

What’s Crank Software’s future vision for how foodtech will change the way we think about and interact with food?

The biggest thing we see coming, and currently in the works, is multimodal input. Voice activation has increased in popularity the past year and will remain popular, and so will the increasing use of rich, intuitive LED screens; however, the two combined together will become an ultimate duo in convenience. Like mentioned earlier, consumer expectations are extremely high due to the mobile phone experiences they’re so used to — consumers want connectivity and they need to be able to see, hear, and touch their products. We’re already seeing customers we’re working with such as GE Appliances, Coca Cola, and Vorwerk, working with multimodal input to engage their consumers and turn their products into must-haves. We’re excited to be a part of this ecosystem.            

What are some of the challenges Crank Software and others within your industry are facing?

The challenges we’re working through with our customers is quicker time to market. With high demand from consumers and increased competition in all industries, products evolve rapidly. With time to market pressures greater than ever comes increased complexity: smaller amounts of time, smaller development cycles, limited resources on different teams. That’s where we like to jump in and help out. Our Custom Services team, specializing in backend, frontend and UI design, will work with companies one-on-one to tailor a solution around their needs. From startups to Fortune 500 firms, we consult and execute on everything from UI design, prototypes and demos, development and integration, and testing and validation, to support UI projects of all kinds and make sure they are successful.

Laura ShubelComment