Ever since Premium was announced, there have been some unanswered questions about why we had to make the switch from a one-time ad removal license, to a subscription based service. In this article, we will explain in more detail why this change was necessary, as well as the numerous benefits to users it provides. To do that, first, we have to take a short trip down memory lane.
Diabetes:M was created by Rossen Varbanov back in 2013, as an Android based app for him to track his own T1D. Up to that point, there was no reliable tool that tracked all the needed information for the condition. The app was released for free use to everyone, with some ads (and a license to remove them) to cover the development expenses.
Three years later, the app was already ranked as one of the very best in its category. It was helping more than 30 000 users manage their day-to-day struggle with diabetes. Rossen knew his own efforts can only bring the app to a point, so he started to search for an investor, to help bring Diabetes:M to even more people who need a truly great tool for managing the disease. In early 2016, Sirma Group Holding, one of the largest software development groups in Bulgaria, accepted the challenge.
Sirma Medical Systems was born, and new opportunities opened to improve the app for the ever growing user base. The team quickly expanded, and by the end of summer ’16 included four more experienced people – iOS and Web Service developers, a Quality Assurance/Customer service specialist and a Marketing expert.
With the help of this team, In just 3 months, Diabetes:M was reimagined to provide a much better, and far more reliable service. The graphic interface was completely redesigned, in order to provide a more beautiful and meaningful user experience. In the span of just 6 months, a brand new iOS version and Web Service were developed and published.
However, In order to support future development, some changes were required.
Cloud and Subscription service
In the development process, numerous problems arose with 3rd party services like Google Drive, Dropbox, and the PDF/XSL creation tools in the app. Constant changes made their usage unreliable and forced us to find a better alternative. With the upcoming iOS and Web versions, these options were practically impossible to implement.
In order to be able to provide a seamless, effortless and reliable service, the decision was made to develop our own secure cloud service, where user data is not subject to 3rd party intervention or free access. This made possible automatic multiple device synchronizations, PDF and XLS exports/imports on iOS and a better PDF creation for all devices. It also keeps user data secure and backed up in case of unexpected device crashes, loss or change, and other similar problems. It also allowed us to greatly expand the food database, allowing us to add many more items and add unique features like the Edamam recipe analyzer service.
Unfortunately, all of these benefits come with a price – expenses rolled up for server and technical support, different service and medical consultants fees, and of course the team’s salaries. Since these are monthly costs, the only viable solution was to implement the services in a subscription plan, that offered much more than the simple ad removal license.
Premium is designed to provide as much beneficial functionality as possible. Since both automatic synchronization and PDF/XLS creation are now processed in the cloud, they had to be transferred to the paid service, being otherwise unsustainable. In addition, many users asked for a feature that allows them to monitor a family member, relative or even pets. In answer to this request, we developed fully featured sub-accounts, which can be automatically synchronized and monitored via any web capable or mobile device. The new extended lab records help you log and later analyze every little detail of your condition. The food database was expanded from about 10 000 to over 130 000 items, some in several different languages. Options to save your meals and servings helps greatly reduce the time needed to log and track your daily intake. The amazing Edamam service provides a unique free speech analyzer of numerous recipes. The newest addition to Diabetes:M – Patterns – provides you with an automated problematic events recognition, with suggestions on why they might occur.
Simply put, we need the subscription service in order to be able to maintain the future development and support of Diabetes:M. It was not a lightly taken decision, but as is noted above there is no viable alternative in order to continue forward. As always our first and foremost goal is to help diabetics manage an unruly and difficult condition. To that end, we kept as many of the free features of the app as we could available without any cost. The only exception being the functions that had to be processed by our new servers – namely the new automatic sync, PDF and XLS generation. We have a great many new features planned for the future, both for free and Premium users. In order to deliver them, of course, we need your continued support.