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5 years of marXact – hard work on the hardware

  • 4 min read

Five years of marXact is a reason to celebrate. What can we say, it’s a party! We will treat you to fun content that is related to our founding, our process to come, where we are now, and what you may expect of us in the future!

In our  third blog, we speak to developer and veteran Steven about the past development of our hardware: the UNI-GR1 itself.  

Getting to know

Steven: “Although I was hired at marXact specifically to focus on the development of the hardware, I provided support alongside that in the beginning. I answered questions by phone or email and many customers will know me for that. That could be from trade fairs too, where I am often present at the marXact stand to answer more technical questions. For example, questions about very specific hardware requirements or possible software integrations with our own API, often I can answer these best.

We have now become a lot bigger and have our own UNI-Support team to answer questions. This allows me to focus on the technical progress of marXact and to clients when they have very specific questions, for example about machine control. I studied Computer Science where you are trained to move between electrical engineers and developers. I usually understand the context of questions a little better and use that knowledge to give more specific answers or to fulfil requests.”

Software first, hardware second

“I mostly worked on expanding and improving UNI-Connect in the beginning. For example, the software did not have heights, lines, or polygons at that time yet. These are functions that were added quickly, just like the import and export in CSV or DXF. The National Triangle System (RD) also quickly became the standard coordinate system that we use in the Netherlands, and I also took care of its implementation and worked together with the Land Registry (Kadaster).

I mainly work on the hardware now, in combination with the operating system as well. I make continuous improvements, research new possibilities, and work on the 4G hardware upgrade. As a result, UNI users will continue to work with the UNI-GR1 free of charge, even when 4G becomes the standard for mobile internet soon.”

Expanding and improving

Our goal is to make digital surveying easy and affordable for everyone. To this end, we continue to develop new possibilities and improve existing functions in both hard- and software. Steven: “I think it is very important that we continue to squeeze the most out of our products, that we can offer an increasingly better experience with existing resources. By doing so, you give customers more and more value for their money, actually for money that’s already spent. I think a good example of that, is that we respond to international requests by working with different channels and frequencies for WiFi. Each country has its own frequency or channel and the differences between them can be inconvenient, so we have made adjustments so that you receive what applies in the country where you survey as the default. In addition, we continue to develop requests from the field. For example, we have added extra colours to the LED ring, for example orange as a safety mode.

I personally enjoy working on customer-specific applications. That’s when a feature request comes in with a certain hardware-related question that is then made available to everyone. Such as the ability for the UNI-GR1 to turn on automatically when connected to the charging cable in a car or machine setup. That request came from Heijmans, but it is useful for everyone. When the power goes off again, the receiver switches to the battery. Now there is a function that detects that the mains voltage is switched off, you can set the UNI to switch off after a few minutes. These kinds of requests keep it fun and challenging, especially when you can do this for every user!”

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