Internet of Things (IoT) Applications

How Frost Technologies’ Real-time IoT Weather Sensors, Powered by AWS, Keep Winter Roads Safe

Evaluate road conditions in real-time, providing government agencies the information they need to more effectively treat issues that lead to accidents.

According to data from the Federal Highway Administration, one in four vehicle accidents occur in snowy or icy road conditions. The reason is clear: winter weather makes driving more dangerous. Frost Technologies’ mission is to make roads, and people, more safe by using IoT to evaluate road conditions in real time, providing government agencies the information they need to more effectively treat issues that lead to accidents.

Frost Technologies’ roadside IoT devices create hyper-localized conditions reports that provide visibility into data such as how many inches of snow are on each section of highway, or how quickly ice is forming. Municipalities can use the real-time data to efficiently prioritize preventative safety measures such as road maintenance, plowing, and de-icing.

“This is incredibly meaningful work,” says Ryan Kreager, CEO at Frost Technologies. “We’ve seen a 25% reduction in winter weather-related traffic accidents in cities that use our devices. This technology saves lives.”

Only a few years after its founding, Frost Technologies was experiencing rapid growth. Kreager realized they needed a more scalable platform—one that would also give them the flexibility to innovate on their product offerings, including training machine learning models to better-predict weather and road conditions. Frost Technologies’ engineering team wanted to move to AWS, starting with an Enterprise Landing Zone (ELZ) that would serve as their foundation for customer growth and expansion into machine learning.

To help them move fast and design a best-practices AWS architecture from day one, Frost Technologies knew immediately that they wanted to partner with Trek10.

“We needed to build an AWS architecture that was scalable, reliable, and secure, with an eye for the future,” said Kreager. “Trek10 has a strong reputation in the industry, and I see why—they were fast, thorough, and really helped us to future-proof our architecture.”

Using Infrastructure-as-Code to Define Resources with Org-formation

“We knew we had to consider Frost Technologies’ unique needs when helping design their landing zone,” said Michael Barney, DevOps Engineer at Trek10. With scalability and government compliance in mind, Barney suggested using AWS Organization Formation (also called Org-formation) to define resources instead of ControlTower. Org-formation is an open source project that provides Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) for AWS Organizations, which makes it a more declarative way of defining landing zones.

Thanks to Org-formation, everything down to Frost Technologies’ security and IAM policies could be defined in YAML, giving them deeper visibility into their AWS infrastructure while simplifying their account management.

“This switch to Org-formation made us more secure and scalable,” said Kreager. “It was by far the best decision we could have made, and without Trek10, we wouldn’t have even known it was an option.”

Machine Learning on AWS

Frost Technologies’ plans to expand their platform beyond just snowy highways. Many injuries, for example, occur from “slip, trip and fall” accidents in parking lots. Rain, flooding, and pot holes can be just as dangerous for vehicles as snow. It takes teams of workers who punch the clock in early morning hours to make any paved surface in a city safe for people and traffic. With more sensors in more places, Frost Technologies can further reduce accidents that occur both inside and outside of vehicles by making cities aware of conditions on a hyper local scale, enabling workers to address problems more efficiently and effectively.

Machine learning is also a key component to Frost Technologies’ product direction, but their previous infrastructure was too inflexible and made training machine learning models cost-prohibitive. Since completion of their landing zone on AWS, they have already begun spinning up relational databases so they can train machine learning on images in the coming months.

“We couldn’t have done machine learning on our old architecture,” said Kreager. “Trek10 helped us lay the foundation that makes this product move into machine learning possible.”

Paving the Way for Safer, More Environmentally-friendly Cities

For Kreager, there are a lot of ways to make peoples’ lives better and Frost Technologies’ mission is to explore and leverage those ways. They are experiencing a huge amount of growth with no signs of slowing down, and their new landing zone on AWS is empowering them to hit engineering deadlines and keep innovating at the same time.

“I love coming to work every day,” Kreager says. “Because of what we do, thousands of people are making it home safe.”