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HarperDB powers connected devices to boost Edison Interactive's advertising reach

  • HarperDB offers an enterprise application development platform that allows companies to endlessly scale their applications while enjoying far faster performance, lower global latency and greater cost-efficiency than they could achieve using traditional approaches. Edison Interactive, the leader in connected device ecosystems, encountered significant latency challenges with its own device-agnostic cloud content management platform while attempting to innovate and scale for growth. Since implementing HarperDB's solution, Edison Interactive has been providing premium content to customers with a reduced application programming interface (API) call latency of just ten milliseconds—a fraction of the previous time.

    This performance enhancement breakthrough has enabled Edison Interactive to fully pursue innovative use cases that it could not before. For example, the company can now instantly serve personalized content to high-definition, touchscreen displays installed in golf carts, presenting advertisements on behalf of its clients to consumers in more than 33,000 carts across the nation. To enable these displays and signs, HarperDB provides access to API caching and machine learning on the edge. These improvements elevate the end customer experience while enriching the advertising features within the Edison Interactive platform.

  • Latency negatively impacts the end-user experience

  • Edison Interactive creates and deploys custom content for hundreds of thousands of connected devices, such as mobile phones and connected televisions, across a wide range of industries. For this content to achieve its intended impact, it must be accurately targeted and promptly delivered. Otherwise, end users might receive offers or information they found irrelevant or unhelpful—and Edison Interactive's customers might lose out on opportunities to make positive impressions on their customers.

    The mobile application platform that Edison Interactive originally used to circulate content was highly distributed, involving many cloud-based services. Because this original architectural design was not optimized for API calls, it inadvertently created varying delays in content delivery that adversely impacted the end-user experience. Any call for content would have to travel from a device through an API and proceed to Edison Interactive's cloud network before finally returning to the device. Content in transit across the internet runs headlong into latency that could reach as high as five seconds—and perhaps higher, depending on global location.

    While such a delay might seem negligible to the layperson, it's an eternity for end users attempting to consume content on a smartphone or briefly glance at an advertisement displayed on a digital screen in a golf cart. "Our devices are deployed a lot of times in very complex environments, like golf courses, rental vehicle centers and hospitality facilities. Latency is a big deal for us," said Nick Stanitz-Harper, CRO and co-founder of Edison Interactive. "We're delivering real-time advertising, real-time location tracking, real-time weather and content and media on all types of different devices."

    Not only did this latency keep Edison Interactive content from reaching its intended audience in a consistent and timely fashion, but it also prevented the mobile application platform's machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms from being able to make crucial decisions in real time. Latency effectively serves as an obstacle for creating and delivering accurate content within the relatively short time frames required by different applications, especially when internet access at the site is spotty or inconsistent. It also obstructs revenue opportunities for Edison Interactive's customers—who rely on near real-time content delivery—and increases expenses that undermine the value Edison Interactive's services could provide to current and prospective customers.

  • Nick Stanitz-Harper, CRO and Co-founder, Edison Interactive

  • Beginning quotation mark  We come together to create, deploy and manage creative custom content experiences for different device types, whether that be a mobile phone, a tablet or a connected television.”

    Nick Stanitz-Harper, CRO and Co-founder, Edison Interactive

  • HarperDB enables timely content delivery at the edge

  • To overcome these urgent business challenges, Edison Interactive began looking for innovative and scalable approaches that would enable the company to distribute its mobile application workloads closer to its end users. Since Edison Interactive and Verizon already had a strong working relationship and multiple projects in this space, it was only natural to consider a solution involving Verizon Edge services for this mission-critical initiative. "Edison and Verizon have had a longstanding and very successful partnership together. We come together to create, deploy and manage creative custom content experiences for different device types, whether that be a mobile phone, a tablet or a connected television," explained Stanitz-Harper.

    Edison Interactive selected HarperDB's database platform, which would be integrated with the Verizon 5G with AWS Wavelength public mobile edge computing (MEC) and 4G LTE connectivity, for rapid content delivery at the edge. This integration allowed the company to use HarperDB's application development platform and SQL/NoSQL persistence engine on high-performance AWS servers integrated at the edge of the Verizon 5G/4G LTE network.

    "One of the reasons why we initially became interested in what Verizon was doing is when you look at where the Internet of Things (IoT) is going, Verizon had made smart investments and had experience in AWS technologies while enhancing the Verizon network and capabilities. We saw that as an intelligent move and very forward-thinking in how to make IoT possible," explained Stephen Goldberg, CEO of HarperDB.

    With this solution in place, Edison Interactive was able to simplify its complex technology stack and reduce the complexity of its mobile application platform, increasing reliability in the process.

    From Edison Interactive's perspective, using Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) powered by Verizon 5G Edge and AWS Wavelength was a key to reducing latency and dramatically improving the end-user experience. "We chose HarperDB, from a distributed database perspective, to utilize and leverage the power of mobile edge computing in order to reduce and drive down that latency to provide a better user experience for our customers," said Stanitz-Harper.

    The migration was straightforward, and the parties involved were able to carry it out relatively quickly. "We rebuilt the existing APIs and moved them into HarperDB Custom Functions. Then, we were able to point the mobile application on the digital screen to HarperDB basically by changing a setting from one URL to another. From there, because HarperDB is a managed service that runs on public MEC, which we have already deployed, we were able to scale to all of the public MEC locations across the United States with a little bit of scripting and a lot of button clicking," said Goldberg.

    "Because Edison's environment works in these constrained environments, we performed a series of rolling updates to the existing devices in those locations. We were able to make that migration from the existing architecture onto HarperDB and public MEC in a pretty short amount of time," he added. The project took about six months to complete, with the initial improvements coming online in the space of just three to four months.

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  • 250x improvement in latency for a great user experience

  • Using HarperDB's Custom Functions development platform, Edison Interactive was able to create an API caching layer that could reduce latency from five seconds down to 20 milliseconds or fewer—a 250x improvement in latency. Edison was now able to deliver premium content to customers in hard-to-reach places with a reduced API call latency of five milliseconds, just a fraction of the previous time required. "Our latency and customer experience have dramatically improved," said Stanitz-Harper.

    These enhancements had an immediate impact. "It's amazing to have that real-time advertising taking place on a golf course, for example, where there's spotty connectivity sometimes, and we're all over the country. We're in almost every state, serving about 450-500 golf courses now. The ability to deliver real-time advertising, real-time content and real-time location tracking has expanded our potential to drive additional advertising revenue into the solution," he added.

    Edison Interactive's customers and their end users have already provided glowing reviews about the improvements. "Our customer satisfaction level is very high. The end users are all extremely happy with the improved end-user experience and reduced latency. On the other side, the brands and the agencies are also very happy with the near real-time delivery and the expanded capabilities on the advertising front. So, everybody's very happy," explained Stanitz-Harper.

    In addition to resolving the critical latency issue and improving both customer and end-user satisfaction levels, the advanced architecture provided by HarperDB enabled impressive performance gains and improved reliability. By shifting computing and application workloads directly to the edge for better and faster decision-making, Edison Interactive eliminated the need to transport massive amounts of data from where it was generated onward to the cloud for eventual analysis.

  • Cost savings and a lower TCO

  • With HarperDB solutions in collaboration with Verizon 5G Edge with AWS wavelength in place, Edison Interactive was also able to realize significant cost savings while also unlocking a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) compared to traditional application architectures. In addition to unlocking a cost savings of 50–60% over the previous solution, Edison Interactive was able to use HarperDB's data storage to replicate its cache across the globe in less than 100 milliseconds. This update reduced the number of total calls to the source API by 99%, which in some cases reduced the costs involved with those API providers.

    Edison Interactive was able to avoid a significant upgrade cost on the client device that would have been required to replace their existing hardware. For example, instead of moving to a cloud-first data architecture, the company now uses MEC to accelerate its mobile content delivery and add life to its existing hardware. In addition to avoiding the increased costs and performance limitations that often come with cloud-first data architectures in these scenarios, Edison Interactive is now able to scale its mobile application platform to enable a wider range of compelling and impactful use cases.

  • Stephen Goldberg, CEO, HarperDB

  • Beginning quotation mark  Verizon had made smart investments and had experience in AWS technologies while enhancing the Verizon network and capabilities. We saw that as an intelligent move and very forward-thinking in how to make IoT possible.”

    Stephen Goldberg, CEO, HarperDB

  • A flexible and scalable solution for ubiquitous content delivery

  • With HarperDB's solution enabling reduced latency and better performance, Edison Interactive can now begin exploring exciting use cases that were previously out of reach. "We've got loads of APIs. Right on the home screen alone, I believe we have 989 different APIs coming in from our advertising platform—from content to weather to media. But now that we have the reduced latency and the ability with HarperDB MEC using Verizon 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength inside of that platform, it gives us the opportunity to start building feature sets that can potentially change the game of recreational golf. It gives us opportunities to start thinking about ideas like digital caddies, accurate wind speeds in real time, club selections—feature sets that the everyday golfer can utilize to really improve and enhance their experience on the green grass golf course," said Stanitz-Harper.

    In preparation for the future, Edison Interactive now has a more flexible foundation for delivering compelling content across multiple scenarios using public MEC, private MEC or both. "Compared to the previous architecture, which involved putting different components together, we now have a ubiquitous surface with which to work. This allows Edison to take that platform and then deploy it in lots of different environments. That's unique," Goldberg explained. "So for a use case where you need to run something entirely on-premises, this architecture can be deployed in that model. It can also be deployed onto vehicles, golf carts, point-of-sale (POS) systems in a ubiquitous way across cloud environments and farther across premises—all while using a single platform and a single architecture," he added.

    With the flexibility to incorporate both public and private MEC depending on the customer requirements, Edison Interactive can now simultaneously accommodate a wider range of networking use cases—from a stadium to a stationary screen in a hotel room. In doing so, the company can help its customers enhance their offerings and reduce their time to market. "Our platform can support both mobile and stationary solutions such as a television or a vehicle. Having the ability to transition across the different public and private mobile edge computing solutions provides for ultimate flexibility on our end, as well as improved and reduced timeframes to market on specific solutions through the HarperDB partnership," Stanitz-Harper explained.

  • Beginning quotation mark  The ability to deliver real-time advertising, real-time content and real-time location tracking has expanded our potential to drive additional advertising revenue into the solution.”

    Nick Stanitz-Harper, CRO and Co-founder, Edison Interactive

  • A strong partnership for future innovation

  • With a modern infrastructure in place, Edison Interactive now has far greater freedom to innovate than ever before. This was all possible, in large part, due to the successful partnership that Edison Interactive, Verizon and HarperDB enjoy.

    "When HarperDB joined as a managed service for Verizon 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength, it was really the three of us coming together and saying, 'Hey, this is a perfect use case to be able to deploy a highly reduced latency environment and really innovate from the API gateway solution to be able to improve the end-user experience. So, it was really the three of us coming together to build this and deploy it. It's been very successful," said Stanitz-Harper.

    Goldberg agrees: "If you look at what we're doing here under the hood, it's a pretty sophisticated implementation. That's made possible by all of the pieces of this, but Verizon's investment of AWS Wavelength really makes that possible."

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