Client Description

iRobot Corporation manufactures robots that vacuum and wash floors and perform battlefield reconnaissance and bomb disposal. The Company markets its products to consumers through retailers, and to the United States military and other government agencies worldwide.

The company makes robots for home cleaning use, with its Roomba FloorVac and Scooba being the first of their kind to automatically clean floors. In collaboration with partners, iRobot also designs products for business and health care use, including videoconferencing-enabled robots that allow mobile teleconferencing for meetings or doctor/patient interactions. Founded in 1990 by robot engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, iRobot has offices in the US, UK, China, and Hong Kong and sells its home products worldwide through retailers. The company sold its defense and security robot business (which performed tasks such as battlefield reconnaissance and bomb disposal) to Arlington Capital Partners in 2016.

Massachusetts-based iRobot has offices in the US, UK, China, and Hong Kong. Sales to customers outside the US accounted for more than 60% of the company’s revenue.

In October 2012, iRobot acquired privately-held Evolution Robotics, the maker of Mint brand automatic floor cleaning robots, for $74 million. The purchase expanded iRobot’s technology leadership through a combination of intellectual property, engineering talent, and new products that broadened its robot offering.

Challenge

iRobot is focused towards building a next generation data platform. Millions of robots across the globe generate enormous amounts of telemetry and sensor data needed across multiple departments to provide better customer service, engineer better robots, and identify new products and services.  Additional data is needed to understand mobile application interactions, the manufacturing pipeline, and customer service incidents.  Due to the volume, variety, and velocity of these different sources, a well architected data platform was needed that ensured security, stability, and scalability.  Moreover, with global data sovereignty and PII regulations, iRobot needed a solution to protect and segregate data assets appropriately.

Solution

iOLAP inherited an architecture that was not able to scale and was constantly failing on basic data ingestion.  iOLAP quickly took an inventory of assets, designed a roadmap, and began implementing the next generation framework.  We opted to utilize more AWS managed services which by nature are more fault tolerant and scalable.  Spark jobs were replaced with Lambda, Firehose, and Data Pipeline.  An expensive NoSQL database was replaced by ElastiCache and Athena.  Solutions were introduced to eliminate data loss further upstream in the ingestion.  In Redshift, we implemented proper dimensional models with appropriate compression, sorting, and distribution.

Benefits

iRobot’s data platform can now support any workload regardless of volume, velocity, and variety of data.  Infrastructure costs are significantly lower and business users have more trust in their data.  iRobot is now exploring ways to leverage these data assets outside the scope of cleaning floors.

  • Tools: Athena | Data Pipeline | EMR | Kinesis Firehose | Lambda | Redshift | SnapLogic
  • Categories: Analytics, Big Data, Strategy
  • Tags: Technology