Rıza Özdülger, Boni Global CTO sharing his last three months experience working remotely and managing his team while developing Safe Steps, the OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY SOLUTIONS.
1- Tell us more about your background.
I come originally from Kütahya, once I joined high school I moved to the beautiful city of Denizli where I spent my teenage years and studied at Denizli Erbakır Science High School. Right after high school i moved to Istanbul to join the prestigious Istanbul Technical University, where I graduated in 2013 in the field of Telecommunication Engineering.
2- Your start with Boni Global, your role and why you joined the company?
In 2013, I started working with Boni Global as an Android Developer right after graduation. Then, I was promoted to Mobile Engineering Lead and then CTO.
Before graduating, Boni Global attracted me as a company especially because of the nature of the technology that it provides. More precisely I was interested by the technology detecting location using acoustic waves since it is related to my domain of knowledge and interest which is telecommunication. Also, I was more in favor of working with a start-up where I can grow professionally and personally and leave my mark rather than a corporate company.
3- The idea behind Safe Steps and why you wanted to be a part of this project?
By the beginning of March 2020, as Covid-19 started spreading all over the world, and while many companies started to shut/slow down, we started to think about how we can help our community with what we do best, Technology. So we started many sessions of brainstorming with the Boni Global team to think about a solution that might help.
At first, we started working on a public free application that can anonymously trace back people’s interactions and notify it’s users in case someone got infected or had a risk. And we effectively developed this application. But then we got hit by a bad surprise, the App stores refused to publish our app due to confidentiality issues. Then we immediately started thinking about alternative solutions. We also started pitching our idea to many of our clients and partners, and contributed to Hayat Eve Sığar application launched by the Ministry of Health.
And then the biggest idea came while brainstorming with one of our clients, we decided to help the economy and the workers to quickly heal and get back to work. That’s how the idea of Safe Steps, our Covid-19 tracer and safety reporting app and solution.
At Boni, we immediately got excited about this project and immediately pivoted to build it. As a CTO and partner, we always gave a huge importance to this kind of project that has a noble cause, like Loud Steps and Sesli Adımlar.
4- what are the key features of Safe Steps?
Using wearable devices or mobile phone applications we exchange anonymous unique ID with Bluetooth. The server facilitates message exchange between devices that detect the same pairing code.
When a device detects a pairing code from a nearby device, it sends the pairing code to the server for validation, and to check whether there are any messages to deliver for the application’s current set of subscriptions.
5- what were the issues you faced during this period of delivering Safe Steps and working remotely?
Before Covid-19 pandemic, I worked remotely for 1-2 years in the middle of my career. In the beginning, It was challenging because it was time consuming, I thought I could work anytime so I was. And it was affecting my personal life since i was working all time. But then I have adapted my schedule and separated my days between work and personal time. This experience helped me during Corona times and for me remote work was more productive.
For me, The biggest issue was when we decided to pivote to our newest product Safe Step, creating a new application that aims to trace users’ interactions and warn them about social distance. We needed to release a product quickly and our resources were very limited compared to the nature of this project. We needed to change the product too much and to find a right fit in the market.
6-Your team involvement
My team is in charge of IT and R&D at Boni Global, each member has his field of expertise and responsibility accordingly. We all collaborate together and want to create innovative and useful solutions. We want to do good, while doing business.
During the remote working period, while developing a new product we also tried to prepare an environment to continue our self-improvements and keep our relation as a team close to each other, so we scheduled daily meetings to align and deliver our product by day and night meeting to chat and keep the good atmosphere between us . as a CTO and a team manager i couldn’t be more proud.
And Btw, We are hiring. 😉