RetailLink Automation and Retrofitting Retail Data to an API
Modernizing Poultry Farms with Internet Connected Feed Level Monitoring
Little Bird Systems approached Lofty Labs to create a customer facing application to allow users to monitor data generated by their innovative audio-based sensors for feed bins in the poultry industry. The team had deployed sensors on multiple farms and were storing data in a database, but had no user interface for analytics, reporting, or even internal oversight. The team also anticipated large scaling challenges with their architecture in the short term future as they prepared a large go-to-market strategy for their IoT (Internet of Things) enabled sensors.
Little Bird Systems team during a discovery workshop at Lofty Labs Lofty Labs worked with the team at Little Bird Systems to re-architect the pipeline of their sensor data using a standardized API (Application Programming Interface) over the internet, allowing their devices to passively push data into the cloud. The API became the standard interface for retrieving data as well, and Lofty developed an interactive reporting interface to surface insights to Little Bird System’s customers. The API and analytics application support an ACL model that allows for flexible governance of data access where Little Bird's employees and customers can access only the data they are granted, without compromising the confidential data of other customers. LBS On ScreenLittle Bird's IoT infrastructure is now poised for massive scaling and sensors are being rolled out to multiple commercial farms. The API powered dashboard is in use by LBS employees, farm employees, and integration partners to efficiently monitor and replenish feed levels. Native mobile applications are now in development, taking advantage of the API at the architecture's core to provide consistent experience across devices. These applications can be developed at a substantially reduced cost as they leverage a pre-existing cloud architecture and data access. Little Bird Systems is now confidently approaching some of the largest poultry integrators in the world with the knowledge that their automated systems can scale to meet demands of any size
Dataninja, a retail analytics consulting firm, was building powerful analysis and forecasting tools using Excel for suppliers to the world’s largest retailer. A hand-full manually triggered software scripts for fetching data reports kept their business working, but when a partnership opportunity presented itself to increase their client base by 500%, there simply weren’t enough hours in the day to satisfy demand.
Dataninja had a vision for improvements to their workflow, but needed technical assistance on the leap from a single desktop computer to cloud based software. Executed properly, Dataninja envisioned their tools being expanded to a Software as a Service solution for other firms as a new line of business.
Leveraging open source software tools, Lofty consultants designed an application architecture which allowed RetailLink to be automated by an elastic collection of servers that Dataninja could scale up and down with demand. This platform supported configurable outputs for maximum flexibility on how to post-process reports.
Lofty Labs investigated Dataninja’s workflow and built a distributed application to manage their reporting pipeline, using Microsoft Azure as a cloud provider. Leveraging open source software tools, Lofty consultants designed an application architecture which allowed RetailLink to be automated by an elastic collection of servers that Dataninja could scale up and down with demand. This platform supported configurable outputs for maximum flexibility on how to post-process reports. Finally, Lofty consultants implemented a REST API on top of the new data warehouse. The API layer moved significant amounts of non-testable proprietary database logic into testable Python code which could be adapted to any database system. Ultimately, this resulted in an API interface to data that normally would have been manually requested and downloaded by a human using RetailLink.
Dataninja grew their consultancy from less than 10 to over 50 clients on the new application infrastructure, a side effect of which was a reduction of the number of databases managed by Dataninja to one, instead of one per customer. This simplified architecture meant customer on-boarding was reduced from a matter of days to just minutes. The configurable pipeline output enabled Dataninja to flexibly process data. The firm could push data to their internal data analysis tools directly, or transfer raw data directly to customers who preferred to do their own analysis. The ability to push reports became the basis for a Software as a Service product, enabling a new type of customer to leverage Dataninja’s RetailLink automation in their proprietary analytics workflows. Dataninja began piloting this product with customers just one month into their engagement with Lofty Labs.