Pretty on the outside, pretty complex on the inside. Yves Willener* and his team have built a new software architecture which also features a framework for innovative operating controls.
They jokingly refer to Yves Willener as “Interior Minister” in the software department because he coordinates and organizes the internal team, while a colleague, also a sub-project manager, represents him externally in the core team of the Excellence Line. More than ten developers have been working on the software for the latest generation of appliances at the same time, for several years. It is the largest software project within V-ZUG AG to date.
Feeling the way to innovative operation
This also involved the innovative operating concept of the new premium ovens and steam cookers. Instead of the typical dial, they now feature a pure touch display with the CircleSlider. The central milled part guides the finger. “This is a new mechanism that has to work with the software”, says the 31-year-old. The space had to be arranged very specifically around the central element so that the correct information is displayed at the right time. “We quite literally had to feel our way to creating the controls.” While a microcontroller had been sufficient in the past, practically an entire operating system runs on the appliances in the Excellence Line these days. This involves processing gestures and playing animations. The ability to personalize the display also offers a new dimension. Using the drag-and-drop function, you can save your favourites in one place and rearrange the apps. Software developers and user experience designers were continuously developing, checking, adjusting, experiencing and feeling – until everything felt really good and intuitive. “We implemented the operation in a very compact way with a new feel, and we’ve taken a huge leap forwards with our software.”
Between sensors and processes, the software takes over
Yves Willener studied electrical engineering, which is the perfect background for dealing with software for electronics – basically, the inner aspects of the appliances. If the appliance independently selects the ideal operating mode and temperature, measures the duration of the process, regulates the heating, injects steam or extends the cooking time, then there is smart software behind it. On the one hand, this involves a network of sensors that provide information. On the other, there is the process structure which is set by the application technology: a little heat, a little steam, and the operation of the convection fan. “Between these lies the software. Our task was to develop and programme the logic, the structure, the automatic functions of the individual steps for every operation mode so that the food is cooked to perfection at the right time.” This is only possible in close collaboration with colleagues from various technical fields.
Software architecture for the whole platform
Yves Willener has been working at V-ZUG AG for three and a half years. In his work as a software project manager, he works deep in the background mechanics, analysing and programming the very heart of the appliances together with his team. In his free time, though, he prefers to aim high: “I love anything at altitude – I am in the mountains a lot, I go hiking, and also ride a racing bike”, laughs the man from Lucerne. His favourite hobby is bouldering. Climbing without ropes combines technique, agility and coordination. Grip by grip, step by step, he finds the best route and climbs to his destination.
He and his team at V-ZUG AG also achieved peak performance with the newly developed software architecture for the latest line of appliances. This was developed horizontally, entirely in line with the platform concept. The highlight is that the software masters the complexity of the various appliance models. The processes all behave differently depending on how the mechanics are laid out in the appliance. Some appliances can get hotter than others, while others have more heating elements – and then there are combination appliances. As a result, each one is configured differently. “The new software now gives us a foundation which is available for a broad range and is also able to be expanded for future functions that offer users added value”, says Yves Willener. This is in the spirit of a seamless digital customer journey. The standard includes the communication capability of the appliances with the V-ZUG app. It should be possible to load software updates via the app. This, too, underscores the longevity of the Excellence Line appliances, with their timeless design.
The concept of simplexity
“V-ZUG steam cookers and ovens make life easier”, enthuses the software expert. For people who celebrate cooking, as well as those who want simplicity in their daily life – just like Yves and his partner. Both enjoy cooking and place importance on a sensible diet. But it should also be practical. “I love how cool it looks. Everything looks very clean and tidy. And it’s so easy and fun to use.”
“V-ZUG steam cookers and ovens make life easier”
Yves Willener, sub-project manager software
The Excellence Line is the epitome of simplexity.
*no longer employed by V-ZUG AG