IoT Case Study: Trek10 & Cornelius, Inc.

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Smarter Beverages with Serverless IoT

Background

Cornelius is the world's leading supplier of beverage dispense and cooling equipment. They manufacture and market an extensive range of beverage dispense systems for beer and cider, juices, teas, frozen drinks and more, as well as ice makers and a complete line of accessories. Their products are the choice of the world’s leading beverage brand owners, restaurants, convenience stores and hospitality chains. Learn more about Cornelius at www.cornelius.com.


The Challenge

Cornelius launched an IoT initiative that was viewed as critical to transforming their business from a traditional manufacturer to a connected, real-time technology provider. Cornelius needed a highly scalable, low maintenance, and low cost back-end infrastructure that could be rolled out in weeks to support their initiative, and scale in both capacity and features to support tens of thousands of devices, as well as ongoing business requirements. It was critical that the upfront capital investment was minimal and that the new system did not increase IT maintenance burden.

The Solution

Together, Trek10 and Cornelius designed and built a serverless IoT infrastructure that is centered on the AWS IoT platform and AWS Lambda. Historical data is sent into Cornelius’ data warehouse with Kinesis Firehose and optionally streamed real-time to the browser via websockets. The system also supports remote control of devices from a web app and real-time alert notifications based on system events. The infrastructure was designed to be as device agnostic as possible, so Cornelius could initially roll it out to just a few products, but eventually retrofit their whole beverage dispensing line with IoT capabilities with minimal changes to the back end infrastructure.

Software development was orchestrated with the Serverless Framework which allowed for quick scaffolding of the initial project and simple deployment during the development process. The decision to leverage AWS Lambda and the Serverless Framework played a large role in meeting the base requirements of creating a highly available and scalable application, while reducing both the development and ownership costs. Development was streamlined between Trek10 and Cornelius, by allowing Trek10 to quickly scaffold necessary endpoints and integrations with the AWS IoT Platform, giving Cornelius the functionality they needed for integration testing the hardware IoT devices.

Cornelius Architecture Diagram

The Results

The success of Cornelius' IoT initiative has been critical to transforming their business from a traditional manufacturer to a connected, real-time technology provider. The basic beverage dispenser has become a smart device: maintenance alerts are sent real-time to field staff, system data is available for troubleshooting to off-site support personnel, and usage data is used to optimize supply chains and marketing efforts.

"Cornelius challenged Trek10 to build an enterprise system to manage all IoT devices, services, and billing for Cornelius and its sister companies, and architect it to accommodate our customers' needs to isolate certain data... and they delivered." notes Vince DiFatta, ‎Director of Innovation Technologies at Cornelius. "Trek10's expertise has absolutely been critical to our success."

Trek10 has enabled Cornelius to spin up new stages for developers to easily iterate on business requirements. And critically, the back-end infrastructure runs for dollars per device per year with very minimal maintenance, no servers to maintain, and practically limitless scalability.


Tools & Services Used

AWS IoT
aws.amazon.com/iot
AWS Lambda
aws.amazon.com/lambda
Amazon Kinesis Firehose
aws.amazon.com/kinesis/firehose
Amazon Simple Storage Services (S3)
aws.amazon.com/s3
AWS CloudFormation
aws.amazon.com/cloudformation
The Serverless Framework
serverless.com

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