Friday, April 1, 2016 - 00:20
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Did you know: CiviCRM is a great software, not only for nonprofits but also for all membership-based organizations. It is therefore no wonders that it is being used by an increasing number of membership-based small businesses such as martial arts clubs, yoga instructors (cf. Yoga for the People), gaming clubs and ... beauty salons!

Talking to a few people at a recent Drupal meetup, I was surprised to hear Katty's story: she own a beauty salon and needed a new website. Since most of her business relies on repeat customers, she imagined a website were people could sign-up for a quaraterly membership, schedule their appointments, and have access to a member-only area with health tips and reviews of the latest beauty products. With the help of a local web developer, she quickly weaved down her options to ... CiviCRM integrated in Drupal.

But that is not all ... with the new wave of connected devices and the Internet of Things (IoT), the tanning machines she had in her shop had a wired network interface (these still exist!) and a web interface with open APIs that allow basic settings to be adjusted. It wasn't long before her customers could fill out their preferences in a CiviCRM profile, including wavelength, tanning solution mist, solar power and session time for their perfect tanning session. And when their appointment starts, she pushes a button on the CiviCRM contact summary and the tanning machine is automagically configured!

Now a few months later, this CiviCRM has had a huge impact on her business: her quarterly memberships have had much better renewal rates thanks to the automated membership reminders of CiviCRM, appointments frequency is increasing as she is able to remind customers through CiviMail when their appointments lapse for too long (smart group from an activity search), and customers love the 'high-tech' touch of this complete solution.

While this solution, tentatively name CiviTan, is not packaged yet, Katty is willing to give back to the community all configurations and source code so we can create a CiviCRM extension for other tanning salons to use. Please leave a comment below if you are interested, or know someone that might be, as we would only do this if there is sufficient interest.

Now for the best part ... with CiviCon Colorado happening June 2nd and 3rd, Katty invites all attendees to visit her salon to get a demo of CiviTan ... and why not perfect your tan for the summer while you're there. Katty could even place a CiviCRM sticker on the glass so you can promote your favorite CRM while on the beach!

P.S. If you liked this article, you sure will enjoy this one as well.


Sounds brilliant man. A fake tan to go with a fake ... ;-)

I understand that Donald Trump is interested in investing.


(thanks for the laugh!)

I hope that some serious security analysis has been applied to CiviTan. Settings for the tanning equipment could be set incorrectly causing harm to the clients. Putting CiviCRM in a position to cause physical injury is a new frontier!

The classic case of this was in the 1980s, when the Therac-25 radiology equipment went horribly wrong due to a human-interface bug, killing patients:

A trick to get around a limitation in another radiological program killed a few more in 2000-2001:

A bug in CiviTan would not kill clients, though skin damage could have health impact down the road. Since the power or duration of the tanning treatment can be controlled by software, the built-in limits and human interface effectiveness would need to be carefully reviewed. Just presenting a wrong number to the operator can lead to injury. And also, if someone actually hacked the system, they could do random harm to the clients and possibly destroy the tanning salon's business via reputation or costly liability suits.

This is nothing like X-rays or autonomous cars or space probes, but there is a potential for harm and it could also rub off on CiviCRM's reputation if we're not careful. We need enough pairs of eyes on the project to decrease the odds of something going wrong.

Thanks for listening. 

Victor Odhner