Akira Technologies is proud to present a PoC multi-survey platform leveraging cutting-edge technologies to deliver superior performance, scalability, and reduced total cost of ownership. Akira developed the platform to demonstrate how modern technologies can simplify the work of large organizations by conducting massive surveys, simplifying codebase, facilitating data dissemination, and analyzing to reduce costs.

The platform aims to solve the following problems:

decennial-surveyacs-surveyThe platform fixes inefficiencies such as maintaining multiple solutions, each implementing one survey. Thanks to its flexibility, our platform supports all survey structures in single data collection. It does not require complex table structures typical for relational databases. The two pictures on the right demonstrate different surveys that were each created in less than one hour. The results for both surveys are stored in the same database collection. This simplifies queries aggregating data from different surveys. Another important aspect of this platform is its reuse of the same feature set in multiple surveys. When we implement the new feature, fix bugs or improve existing functionality, we do it for all surveys at once.
survey-builderThe platform also solves inefficiencies such as authoring new surveys programmatically, structures, and functionality. The platform comes with a tool that allows you to build new surveys using simple drag and drop from the existing surveys, as shown in this picture. This tool allows you to preview all existing surveys and questions and copy questions or groups of questions to the new survey. This also represents the storage data structures. Surveys constructed in this way are stored in database collection, sharing the names and data types. As a result you can query data, such as date of birth, across all surveys at once.
offline-modeThe platform fixes inefficiencies such as developing multiple versions of software for different platforms and collection modes. Single web-based interface works on all platforms including personal computers, tablets and phones. It even works in offline mode, thanks to leveraging HTML5 technologies. The picture on the right shows what happens when you open a survey page on an iPad disconnected from the internet (note the airplane mode icon in the top-left corner). When you submit the survey answers, the browser is unable to submit the data to the server and instead stores it in the browser offline database. Once you connect the iPad to the Internet, the web page detects this and pushes data from the local database to the server. Multiple survey responses can be stored like this, and if necessary, encrypted while in the browser database. This is a complete offline solution offering the same rich functionality as a normal desktop application, but without the need to develop a completely separate application.

The platform aids in the necessity to integrate many platforms, systems and programming languages. Almost 100% of the platform is implemented in Javascript, including both server and client side data storage. It provides the rich REST interface to all components. Also Akira has experience integrating REST and SOAP-based interfaces via Oracle Service Bus (OSB), so our platform can be easily integrated into an enterprise environment.

tsungThe platform helps with the unpredictability in the performance in a survey product. Performance testing using automated tools such as ap or tsung is an integrated part of our Agile development process, resulting in predictably high performance of the platform. Currently the platform is guaranteed to serve at least 150 complete user survey sessions per second on a single laptop, as illustrated in the picture on the right. The actual performance is even higher, but for our simple use we only require this performance. The performance testing is implemented as part of continuous integration testing via Jenkins of similar tools.
dashboardThe platform fixes inefficiency in data dissemination and aggregation across different survey types and multiple platforms. Situations when an organization changes the set of questions in the same survey from one version to another frequently require changing the underlying database structure, new user interface and programming. It also frequently requires changes in analytical tools, defining complex aggregation queries. All these problems are solved in our platform by providing a uniform data structure, user interface and API for all surveys. The picture on the right shows a simple dashboard aggregating data from multiple surveys conducted using various methods of data collection.
poc-architectureThe platform solves the absence of cost-effective scaling the survey processing capabilities on an as needed basis. Our platform is cloud-based, deployed to Amazon AWS or Amazon GovCloud and can be scaled both horizontally and vertically in minutes via AWS CLI or web-based interface. What that means is you can increase the platform performance for 3 months to conduct a massive survey involving tens of millions respondents and then scale it back once the survey is done. You won’t have to pay for hardware a penny more than you actually need. The picture on the right illustrates our PoC architecture. It can easily be extended to include database replica servers, more Hadoop and Application server nodes, fully-featured Content Delivery Network (CDN) and so on.

Lastly, the platform fixes inefficiencies from purchasing vast amounts of high-performance hardware for conducting large-scale time-boxed surveys. This hardware infrastructure is only needed for the short-term and then becomes a costly burden to manage, maintain and host. As mentioned before, we can scale the data collection part of the system. What’s even better is we can scale our hadoop and R-based analytics backend just as easily.

The platform offers a full range of features necessary for conducting both large and small surveys

  • Simple Survey Description Language (SDL) to define surveys with rich functionality
  • Simple authoring tool allowing business users to develop surveys and reuse existing questionnaires, questions and functionality
  • Ready-to-use elastic cloud deployment of the platform to meet on-demand performance needs
  • Rich server monitoring functionality
  • Real-time reporting tools
  • Hadoop, Mongo and R integration for high-performance scalable statistics computation
  • Currently handling 4 existing surveys (including decennial, ACS and more)

The platform utilizes the following technologies:

  • MongoDB – either free or Enterprise version from 10gen.
  • Hadoop – either free or Enterprise version from Cloudera
  • Amazon Web Services, including GovCloud
  • R – either free or Revolution R Enterprise version
  • Node.js
  • HighCharts and more

Please feel free to contact us at info@akira-tech.com if you are interested in seeing this platform in action. We will be happy to demonstrate it on your site or in our DC office.