Software for the cruise industry
Software for the cruise industry
Sourcetoad is a technology and innovation company that specializes in delivering software and development services for the cruise industry. Sourcetoad’s flagship product is Cruise Director, a platform for synchronizing and managing guest and crew systems.
Designing software for cruise lines can be tricky. Cruise ships are strange beasts. They all have the amenities and systems you would expect to find in high-end hotels, as well as those you would find in restaurants, amusement parks, performing arts centers, casinos, and shopping malls. On top of that, they are built to withstand the trails of intercontinental ocean travel and even arctic exploration.Most software developers have never written code for such a broad, and yet specific, use case. Designing a calendar system for reservations is not a difficult task for most programmers. However, designing a calendar system for reservations where the time zone can change up to three times a day is a different matter.Add in the fact that ship time isn’t actually related directly to a time zone, and most developers would throw their hands up.
This is where Sourcetoad comes in. “We’re nerds, and that’s the kind of engineering challenge that’s really fun for us, is rewarding, and keeps us engaged,” says Greg Ross-Munro, founder and CEO of Sourcetoad. “We work best as small teams in a startup-like environment to deliver on projects that really have a massive reach. We’re working on solutions that are out on display for the world to see and to enjoy on their next cruise.”Time zones are not the only challenge in developing solutions for seafaring vessels. “Cruise ships are extremely complex floating cities, without the usual crutch of a constant Internet connection,” says Justin Weber, CTO. “If you want to build a basic app for passengers, you need to talk to restaurant booking databases, weather systems, GPS trackers, Wi-Fi portals, and guest services.
On one ship alone, we pull and push data to over 20 subsystems and make the whole experience seamless, even when there isn’t a stable web connection.”Once all the data from disparate systems is streamlined through Sourcetoad’s Cruise Director system, the company then helps its clients use it in powering other applications. “The most exciting aspect of Cruise Director for me is that we can add custom modules to it,” says Debbie Williams, Director of Business Development. “We’ve built modules to allow our clients to run their event booking, digital signage systems, interactive TV interfaces, and mobile apps. With everything streamlined, we can build apps that would have normally taken a year to make and launched them in three months.”
A Digital Fleet Management Suite
Cruise Director is a platform for managing the most common tasks found in the digital systems running in a cruise line. It manages data availability, synchronization, permissions, analytics, and IoT systems. The system also contains a number of useful modules and the ability to customize more modules spe-cifically for your needs. Cruise Director was built to provide cruise lines freedom from vendor lock-in, rapid development, and shoreside management, which all creates long-term return on investment.
Cruise Director frees companies from vendor lock-in by providing integrations with the most common onboard systems types and then giving the keys over to the cruise line. Their unique licensing model means that the cruise lines own the entire system, including the code, which means that even Source-toad can be fired.
Rapid Development of New Onboard Capabilities
Cruise Director gives cruise lines a set of shared services and APIs to quickly build guest-facing, crew-facing, and operations-facing applications. New onboard systems can be rapidly prototyped and supported without retraining onboard staff. This allows cruise lines to free up time to innovate.
Cruise Director’s synchronization engine is the solution to fleetwide, digital asset management. Sync-ing can be set up per ship, group of ships, or for the entire fleet. The less time onboard staff have to spend managing onboard systems, the better it is for everyone.
Too often new and modern systems are deployed to ships, only to see them depreciated in three years. Cruise Director was designed so that most of the heavy lifting of applications can be handled behind the scenes. This means that new interfaces can be built every few years at significantly reduced costs.
Greg Ross-Munro Founder and Chief Executive Officer Greg has helped cruise lines elevate their shipboard experience to the next level by delivering innovative technology solutions while protecting legacy investments. His 27 years of experience in software development, his deep understanding of ocean and river cruising operational challenges, and his passion for solving technical problems are what have made him a sought-after consultant, facilitator, speaker, and mentor for attracting top-shelf software engineering talent to the cruise industry.
Debbie Williams Director of Business Development Debbie has worked with cruise lines for the last 14 years as a trusted technology partner to personalize crew and guest services — whether building new applications, interfacing with legacy systems, or enhancing the performance of shipboard software. At Sourcetoad, she educates cruise lines about Sourcetoad’s clever options to enhance the digital guest experience without changing cruise lines’ current application portfolio.
Justin Weber Chief Technology Officer Justin has been CTO at Sourcetoad for over four years. During that time, he has been involved in all aspects of software development for the cruise industry, from backend business optimization projects to customer-facing applications. Prior to his work at Sourcetoad, Justin was Director of US Site Operations at a large online media company, which specialized in technology publishing.