The company’s customers wanted more data volume on their vehicles. This meant Spireon’s system had to scale fast to meet the increased demand for data analysis and processing.Solutions Cloud, Public Cloud, Applications, Internet of Things & Edge Platforms Applications, Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Safer driving through connectivity
Spireon is a leading connected vehicle intelligence company. Its platform provides powerful insights that help automotive businesses run smarter and people drive safer.
The company serves commercial and consumer segments and supports nearly four million subscribers. Over a billion events are processed every month, including monitoring cargo status, doors, tire pressure, temperature and lift gates for the company’s Smart Trailer Solution.
Starting from scratch
The need for change was driven by Spireon’s customers. They wanted more data volume on their vehicles, including the ability to track — in real-time — location and load. Reliable communication between vehicles and the platform was of paramount importance.
“It’s really important to know that when an event happens on the vehicle — such as if the doors are opened or there’s an unauthorized movement — that data is going to be received by our platform and alerts are sent in real-time to our customers,” explained Rick Gruenhagen, Spireon CTO.
He added that integration with the company’s existing AWS hosted platform was similarly important, because that would enable Spireon to transform collected data into actionable insights for customers.
“Onica helped my team become experts in building a serverless architecture, and to be better at what we do in the IoT space.”
The move to serverless
An increase in demand for real-time data analysis and faster data processing pointed toward a serverless solution, but Spireon lacked relevant in-house expertise.
This is where Onica by Rackspace Technology entered the picture. As a Premier AWS Partner Network (APN) Consulting Partner with multiple AWS Competencies, including IoT, DevOps, and Data & Analytics, Rackspace Technology was well-placed to help Spireon meet its goals.
The two organizations worked closely to create a serverless IoT platform on AWS, the implementation of which took four months.
Moving Spireon from microservices to serverless drastically reduced the company’s development time — by more than half, along with offering a host of additional benefits.
Faster data processing
Spireon’s Smart Trailer sensors were previously reliant on ultrasonic technology. The new IntelliScan Cargo Sensor — a gateway device with laser infrared light sensor and optical sensors — needed a platform with faster data processing and real-time alerts.
Having connected through Amazon EC2, the sensor connection was moved to AWS Lambda with images stored in Amazon DynamoDB. Spireon also uses Amazon SageMaker to classify images from all the vehicles installed to train up an AI model that improves over time to accurately detect what is in a trailer, among other use cases.
By moving Spireon from microservices to serverless, the company’s development time was reduced by more than half.
Reliable remote configuration
The platform allows for the remote configuration and control of devices. “We travel across borders and in the event carrier networks are offline, AWS IoT provides something called the shadow state which is really useful,” said Gruenhagen. “If we send tasks to devices that are offline, the shadow state will maintain those commands in a queue. When the devices come back online, they can execute those commands.”
The device shadow provides a reliable mechanism to manage device configuration and state information, while the message broker allows ad-hoc commands to be sent to the device.
OTA firmware updates
The platform provides sophisticated over-the-air (OTA) firmware updates through AWS IoT Core Jobs Services with the delivery of firmware update instructions and binaries to all devices. The use of AWS IoT Things Graphs allows for the targeting of devices by device type, customer, firmware versions and other parameters.
A smarter future
Spireon now has tens of thousands of trailers installed — and many hundreds of thousands of images — and is thrilled with how the project went.
“Onica helped my team become experts in building a serverless architecture, and to be better at what we do in the IoT space through our integration with the AWS IoT platform and the incorporation of AI into our products,” said Gruenhagen. “We’re now able to provide real-time visibility to our customers and deeper insights.”
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