Mobile Coverage Benchmarking tools

User Experience for IoT and Mobile App.

Network performance tools that anybody could use

In the realm of mobile analytics, MyMobileCoverage stands out as a vanguard. Its mission revolves around providing cutting-edge, real-time analytics that encompass a broad spectrum of vital aspects: network performance, customer experience, and business intelligence. This commitment positions MyMobileCoverage not just as a company but as a leader in shaping the landscape of mobile analytics.

The year 2013 marked a significant milestone for MyMobileCoverage with the development of its groundbreaking low-cost benchmark box. This innovative tool was designed to comprehensively gather critical data across three key dimensions: the RF (Radio Frequency) environment, overall network performance, and GPS positioning. It had the unique capability to simulate the conditions of multiple devices simultaneously. This benchmark box was not just a standalone achievement; it laid the foundation for what would eventually become a comprehensive network monitoring platform.

In this transformative project, I played a pivotal role as the Design Lead. My unique contribution stemmed from an integration of two crucial skill sets: a deep understanding of Industrial Design and expertise in User Experience (UX) Design. This dual perspective enabled me to guide the project in creating solutions that were not only technically proficient but also user-centric, ensuring that the end product was both functional and intuitive for a diverse range of users.

  • Design Thinking & Product Strategy

  • 20 months duration

  • Adobe Creative Cloud, SolidWorks

  • User Experience Lead in Scrum team

Value Delivered

Democratization of Network Technology

MyMobileCoverage's low-cost benchmark box democratized network technology, enabling those with limited technical skills to conduct detailed mobile network surveys, making network analysis accessible and inclusive.

Comprehensive Data Analysis and Visualization

MyMobileCoverage's platform transcended data collection, providing a system for analyzing and visualizing network performance and GPS data, integrating diverse sources for enhanced insights and customer experience optimization.

Innovative Integration of Industrial and UX Design

The project merged industrial and UX design, ensuring technically advanced network tools were intuitive and user-friendly for both specialists and everyday consumers.

Problem statement

User pains in a connected world

Most carriers do not have a specific idea of their coverage blind spots and rely on users’ complaints to detect them, considering investigating an area only after several complaints have been filed.

Lack of cellphone coverage can have unexpected effects, from economic loss in local businesses to unsuccessful emergency response. This drives the desire to understand the user’s experience from the device's perspective.

We limited by our technology

A mobile network is a complex system that can easily be overwhelmed by larger-than-expected users gathered in one single place, like an impromptu concert and multiple users streaming video all at once.

With the increasing popularity of mobile phones, tablets, IoT, and wearables, the usage of cloud storage has become more prevalent. This means that a single car could have up to a dozen devices that require internet connectivity, and this demand is only expected to grow in the future.

Phone coverage is distributed by antennas and its efficiency and optimization could be affected by multiple factors, like weather, new buildings, other antennas and changes in the landscape. It. is also possible the materials in a building can affect the penetration of the network, some rooms might have fantastic coverage while others could barely have one bar.

Lack of cellphone coverage can have unexpected effects, from economic loss in local businesses to unsuccessful emergency response. This drives the desire to understand the user’s experience from the device’s perspective.

Most common scenarios
  • Individual Escalations - On a case-by-case basis, data service performance is being validated.
  • Customer Complaints - A particular scenario involved a subscriber complaining to the Federal Communications Commission in the USA. Coverage maps with data points were used to resolve the complaint with the FCC.
  • Market Analysis - Performance by the market is being measured based on speed tests recorded by subscribers. A deeper understanding of data speeds is now realized due to the correlation of Network events with band frequency.
  • Network Tuning - Using data drops and heat maps, vendors are implementing RF optimization to improve poor coverage.

The network looks good! Why are customers still complaining?

Most carriers do not have a specific idea of their coverage blind spots and rely on users' complaints to detect them, considering investigating an area only after several complaints have been filed.

Phone coverage is distributed by antennas and its efficiency and optimization could be affected by multiple factors, like weather, new buildings, other antennas and changes in the landscape. It. is also possible the materials in a building can affect the penetration of the network, some rooms might have fantastic coverage while others could barely have one bar.


The get well plan 

This strategy was created to offer a complete platform so carriers would be able to get a single solution for all their mobile network needs. The early stages of user research and stakeholders’ interviewing reported the following paradigms: 

Changing paradims

Paradigm 1

Surveying equipment is expensive and complicated

Desired outcome

Simplify surveying hardware to be affordable and simple

Paradigm 2

Only network engineers are in charge of network testing and surveys

Desired outcome

Reduce complexity to the point that anybody can survey a network.

Paradigm 3

Efforts to improve network performance go unnoticed by consumers

Desired outcome

Make surveying efforts remarkable and noticeable. After all, it shows the company they care.

Paradigm 4

Marketing efforts focused on network speed can backfire.

Desired outcome

If the current scenario is not positive, have a way to change the conversation


Creating a common vision

MMC vision is to gather the right data, and the right time, to paint the Quality of Experience (QoE) picture. To be able to express the concepts to investors and stakeholders, we created illustrations to visualize ideas.

A simple plan for complex solutions. We need methods to collect reliable information, which is analyzed and communicated to stakeholders so they can make decisions.

Benchmark box

A network analyst uses a benchmark box to quickly sample the area around a client’s office before a meeting.

Transit coverage mapping

The spot between the metro stations finally has good coverage and people can keep watching Netflix on its way back home.

User explorer

A customer service specialist sees the status of the networking net in a customer’s home, this area is highly problematic.

Jitspa - Satelital R&D

With more information at hand, it is possible to plan long term and invest in R&D to cover customers needs.

Indoor coverage sampling

My car sharing service had issues locating its vehicles around this are parking lot. Not anymore!

Speed test servers

The marketing department at company X can confidently say they have the fastest and more reliable network, they have real data to support it.

User-Centered Design Approach

User Personas

Nickie, 18F
University Student

She is a social butterfly. During the summer brake she would rather be hanging out with friends, but she needs to find a part time job. She loves long walks and hikes, really dreads the idea of being in an office during the summer, but well, she needs to get some money before going back to school in the fall.

Nickie, 18F
Real State Agent

He likes being in charge and being the first one to jump in if a conflict arises. This is ideal because he has to deal with grouchy clients, bad landlords, paperwork, having to assist customers with tasks that they should be able to do and managing contractors. He has an office, but he spends most of the day in his car driving from one location to another. His phone and his tablet are his life.

In recent years, customers had considered access to high speed internet and mobile coverage as a factor before buying a new property.

Jackie, 27F
Customer Service Representative

She loves helping people, that is why she has become really good at understanding the technical side of how a network functions, at least good enough to determine where the problem is and who can solve it.. She hates dealing with rude customers, having to get the managers approval for a lot of things, waiting for slow computers. 

Darren, 53M
Wireless Network Analyst

Troubleshooting and fixing problem areas, creating feasible solutions to problems. He spends a lot of time analyzing boring data in a spreadsheet. By not having nice visualizations for viewing network data he needs to pinpoint areas in a map to understand how slow systems or software failure are affecting people.

He has to visit multiple areas to figure out technical issues and work overtime. He would like to spending that commuting time with his family. Has been using in the industry for ages, he is developing arthritis, and he is starting to worry about his future.

Event Scenarios

Case #1: Outages outrage

Dealing with Poor Coverage calls, Jackie is assigned a customer who has been struggling with their cell phone coverage and is very frustrated. Customers can’t remember precisely when these outages occurred, but it affects their business. Jackie would like to determine whether these outages are due to the network or the customer’s phone by viewing summary statistics (i.e. minutes used, number of calls dropped vs. calls made without drop). If it appears to be the phone, she wants to see some statistics about the customer’s phone. (Benchmark customers' devices against average device performance).

Use Case #2: I want a better deal!

Jackie is assigned a customer who is looking to upgrade/renew their phone plan. The customer requests a better deal or a discount because “they have not been getting good coverage”. Jackie would like to be able to determine if these are legitimate claims. Suppose they are legitimate claims then she would like to determine if it is the customer’s phone or the network that is the problem by viewing summary statistics (i.e. minutes used, number of calls dropped vs. calls made without drop). If it appears to be the phone, she would like to be able to see some statistics about the customer’s phone, and she might be able to suggest a deal in the phone department. If these are bogus claims made by the customer then she would be able to determine this and counter-argue with facts.

Use Case #3: The guardian of the cell towers

Viewing Current Network Coverage (Overview), Darren would like to view the current status of the network. He would like to quickly see where the network is performing well and where it isn’t. He must also be able to view the location of his company’s cell towers. He would also like to see summarized metrics such as the total number of dropped calls vs. not dropped and tower load metrics.

Use Case #4: The devil is the details

Viewing Current Network Coverage, Darren needs to view more details about the network, such as network activity, tower load, data transmission speeds, specific signal-­‐lost and signal-­‐regained events and geographic factors that may influence these metrics. If a signal-­‐lost event occurs, Darren would like to see more details about the user's device, including device type, firmware, OS, battery percentage, signal strength, time & all those pesky details. Still, there is not much information to start with.

How the system works

The MMC system surveys mobile network performance (backpack, kiosk and trucks), analyzes data for optimization (Benchmarking speed, coverage heatmaps and other KPIs), and reports on RF environments, GPS positioning, and user experiences, providing comprehensive insights for both technical specialists and everyday users (backpack display, dashboard and reports).

Industrial Design and UX Design

Voice Quality Tester Device and App

This device was created to be able to analyze the reasons for poor voice quality during a call. There are many factors that can influence the perception of how clear the voice is, at least two devices are involved, phone reception, ambient noise or other electronics can interfere with a call.  

This Android-powered device uses a high-end smartwatch as an external voice quality tester. It is meant to be delivered to a customer's home, so they would be able to do manual tests on their own. The device had the option to use Bluetooth or a phone jack to collect voice quality.

The tester was designed to be attached to any android device available at the time.

How it works

Hugh calls the carrier’s complaining about voice quality.

Jackie takes the call and assigns a tester to Hugh. It will be delivered in a couple of days.

Hugh gets the package and reads simple instructions.

Hugh installs the customized version of the MMC Android app, and connects/synchs the tester to the device.

Hugh installs the customized version of the MMC android app, and connects/synchs the tester to the device.

The tester is repackaged and returned by mail or delivered to a branch near by.

The resulting sound quality scale goes from 0 (lowest) to 4.5 (highest).
Industrial and UX Design

Marketing backpack

The benchmark box is a network performance recording device. It powered two displays to communicate survey results in that area and stream other marketing messages based on the data collected.

One of the use cases we had for testing networks were concerts. A crowd of users streaming HQ video is the perfect hotspot to measure network performance. Also, our testers will not pass a good opportunity to enjoy a concert for free as long as they protect the equipment.

Benchmark box’s internal board and elements

A second iteration of the backpack needed to include a three battery set to extend the operational range so it operates multiple devices for up to 8hrs. This version also included the option to run two voice quality testers (Bluetooth synched).

Industrial and UX Design

Benchmark box in-store kiosk

Shopping malls and retail stores are good places considering the effectiveness of the network.

Consider a carrier store trying to gain new customers but whenever they try to set up a new account, the coverage display shows only two bars. Not good for business.

The backpack was also designed to be able to use it as an in-store display, streaming marketing announcements and collecting network information.

The benchmark box was designed so it could be attached to a stand or wall mount and become part of the store’s decoration, featuring custom marketing information in real-time.

A synched mobile device controlled the backpack’s displays, so the user carrying the backpack had control over what the backpack showed.

The Benchmark box was controlled by an iPhone app and synched using Bluetooth.

The goal was to display the network speed in Mbps and an example of what they could do with it, E.g. Downloading a full Netflix movie in 20 minutes. If the speed was unsatisfactory, other marketing messages were shown, and data was collected.

The app controlling the box was also used to monitor the status of the devices inside the box, battery charge, and/or sync other devices to it, like the voice quality testers.

Benchmark box in company vehicles

A benefit of simplifying network performance tools is that pretty much anybody in the company could perform network surveys and collect information while doing other unrelated tasks for the company. 

A company phone could constantly monitor voice quality over the network, providing extra value.

The voice quality app worked similarly to the voice quality tester (smartwatch version).

Mobile marketing dashboard

In order to coordinate every element in the system, the platform needed a customizable dashboard where the user would be able to visualize the areas the testers were in, their direction and their status.

Benchmark box
on company vehicle

User with

Benchmark box
on store kiosk

The results of Design Thinking in Action

Simplifying Complex Tech for Wider Accessibility

The essence of this project lay in employing design thinking to transform complex technical procedures into forms easily accessible and usable by anyone, showcasing the power of simplification in technology. Our team, comprising exceptionally skilled engineers and visionary tech leaders, embraced a culture of relentless innovation. Together, we delved into uncharted territories, continuously pushing the envelope in technological advancements through a collaborative and dynamic approach. This synergy of ideas and expertise was pivotal in testing and refining groundbreaking concepts.

A notable aspect of the project's success was its long-term impact, particularly evident in the technology's subsequent adoption by OnGuard. This company specializes in enhancing the safety of lone remote workers, a critical and often overlooked area. The repurposing of our technology in this new context underscores its adaptability and sustained relevance. It highlights how innovative solutions, rooted in thoughtful design and collaboration, can evolve to meet diverse needs, transcending their initial scope to address broader societal challenges, especially in improving safety and security in vulnerable working environments.

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