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The history and development of the PAAM Software App

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In 2017 we continued to develop the PAAM Offsite App, and PAAM's companion applications the PAAM Onsite App - a standalone software application running on a bespoke software and hardware stack, and the PAAM Onsite Cloud App - a standalone software application running on a bespoke software stack.

Following research, testing, and user feedback, we've further developed the PAAM Onsite Apps to enable the UI to respond and highlight errors before action is taken, to log additional data about staff and volunteer teams in an effort to further reduce the requirement for supplementary onsite paperwork and databases, and gave particular focus to UI refinements targeted at speeding up user interaction with the software.

We've progressed the PAAM codebase; moving towards an MVC application with API in preparation for smartphone and tablet development. We've initiated a scoping exercise to define how best PAAM can be transferred to mobile device applications; this exercise structuring the specification for the underlying API development allowing for the mobile device applications to be progressed.

We've continued to optimise the user interface (GUI) and user experience (UX) of PAAM, and have moved into testing a selection of front-end JavaScript frameworks in preparation for the move from HTML views to Single Page Application, and to ensure this can be accomplished without impacting the front-end performance, usability, and the ability for system customisation.


In 2016 we continued to develop PAAM and PAAM’s companion application the PAAM Onsite App; a standalone software application running on a bespoke software and hardware stack.

Following research, testing, and user feedback, in 2016 we split the PAAM Onsite App into two versions; Cloud and Local. The PAAM Cloud Onsite App allowing for use in urban areas and areas with good internet connectivity; the PAAM Local Onsite App allowing for use in more rural and remote locations. The PAAM Local Onsite App offers sync capabilities for data to be updated to and from the main PAAM system when connectivity is available.

In addition, the main PAAM Offsite system, and both versions of the PAAM Onsite system, have been further developed through the addition of functionality; refinements to the user interface (GUI); user experience (UX) and underlying codebase.


Following a year of real-world testing and further research into user needs; we made design and development updates to the new PAAM Onsite App before it was launched to market.

The PAAM Onsite App has since been used for the management of tens of thousands of staff and volunteers across the UK!


We completed beta development of what is now known as the PAAM Onsite App; a standalone software application that completely removes the requirement for spreadsheets when managing staff and volunteers at an event.

In 2014 we put the new PAAM Onsite App through a year of real-world testing where it helped companies to manage staff and volunteers onsite at events across the UK.


In 2013 we started research and development of the PAAM Onsite App.

The main PAAM system, now known as the PAAM Offsite App, was designed to assist with the recruitment and management of staff and volunteers before and after an event.

Users were talking with us about their work onsite, telling us that they were still using spreadsheets to check people in, allocate shifts, keep a record of resources allocated, track shifts, hours, and performance, and wondering if we could develop something like the main PAAM system but focused around working onsite.


Following the testing phase PAAM went through a full backend and interface overhaul, before a launch to market in 2010.

From here PAAM has grown to be used globally, through research and development helping companies and organisations with the recruitment and management of staff and volunteers at events, exhibitions, trade shows, projects, teaching, expeditions and more...


To offer a solution, in 2006 Mark and Rob worked together to create the first version of PAAM, which was launched for DC Site Services and Hotbox Events in 2007.

At this point the software was very much in it's infancy, and although branding and some online marketing was in place, PAAM went through a substantial two year real-world beta testing phase.


In 2004, Rob Smith joined Hotbox Studios Ltd as the company's web design and software development director.

Over the next couple of years both DCSS and Hotbox Events grew, each company expanding to work with more events thus supplying more staff and volunteers across the UK.

It became clear that both companies required a more comprehensive recruitment and management system.


The new online application system proved very popular and over the next few years a basic database with some rudimentary search functionality was added, plus the ability to export applicant's details into the company's payroll system.

On finishing university in 2003 Mark setup an animation, web design and software company Hotbox Studios Ltd.

Mark continued to work with event recruitment and management, both for DCSS and later setting up his own event volunteer recruitment and management company Hotbox Events.


The PAAM staff and volunteer recruitment and management software app has developed organically from very humble beginnings in 2001...

PAAM started life as a simple online form developed to help with event staffing.

Mark Hatchard, founder of PAAM and PAAM's parent company Hotbox Studios Ltd, worked for the event staff recruitment and management company DC Site Services (DCSS) in the summer months whilst at university. Until 2000 DCSS didn't have a website and managed all recruitment through word of mouth and posting out paper application forms.

Due to the nature of the company Mark suggested a website would be a big benefit and developed this free of charge in his spare time. Included with the new website Mark created a simple online form which allowed for staff to apply for event jobs.