Unlocking immersive golfing experiences with AWS Wavelength
In 2021, over 25 million people played a round of golf at over 16,000 courses nationwide. Across each of those rounds, golf carts continue to play a major role in the player experience. From custom yardage and course GPS, to the leather-backed seats and, most importantly, ample storage to carry the golf clubs, golf carts are a critical part of the player experience. However, beyond the player experience, the golf cart market boasts a $1.5B industry and continues its rapid growth.
About the customer: Delivering digital experiences to golfers nationwide
For one of the market’s largest players, Club Car, personalization and immersive media experiences are the next innovation frontier.
What if, from the comfort of your golf cart, you could listen to the latest football game, watch news and sports highlights, make informed decisions on which club to select for an approach or order lunch between holes?
Founded in 1958, Club Car is one of the largest manufacturers of golf carts and utility vehicles across various personal, business, and commercial use cases. As Club Car sought to integrate personalized media and entertainment devices within each vehicle, they enlisted the support of Edison Interactive, a Denver-based interactive software company that specializes in digital out-of-home advertising (DOOH).
Today, Edison Interactive’s software can be seen across 41,000 golf carts at 450 course locations via Shark Experience presented by Verizon. Each vehicle is equipped with touchscreen displays, built-in speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, and premium entertainment across Yahoo Finance, live sports, and beyond.
The challenge: Deliver uniform immersive experience at scale
To deliver all of the yardage, news, and advertising data, all of the relevant golf course data was centralized within a single cloud region. Although this provided the Edison team with advantages in management and operational simplicity, the absence of geo-distributed compute and data resulted in some locations experiencing especially high latency and poor user experiences. Therefore, Edison Interactive began searching for the most reliable connectivity and cloud solutions that could decrease the response-times of the touchscreen to enable a more seamless golfing experience overall.
Moreover, as Edison expected thousands more golf carts to onboard over the coming months, they needed a deterministic approach to accommodate the incremental capacity without exponentially-increasing costs.
However, as Edison Interactive’s golf cart screen count rapidly expanded, they also needed a cost-effective way to deliver content more efficiently to its end-users.
|35 thousand||8.3 billion||1,643 terabytes||253 thousand|
|Total golf carts in Edison Interactive fleet||Total monthly requests||Total monthly requests throughput via LTE||Cumulative monthly requests per golf cart|
To accommodate this workflow at scale, Edison Interactive chose HarperDB Cloud. Built on AWS Wavelength, HarperDB’s Database-as-a-Service (DaaS) platform enabled Edison Interactive to leverage all 19 Wavelength Zones to bring the data closer to its end users at scale while improving performance by over 10x.
“Mobile Edge Computing allows us to deliver AI-directed analytics to the user in order to assist them with their golf game. The real-time transfer of data will ultimately allow us to deliver feature sets for a digital caddie on the green grass golf course.” – Nick Stanitz-Harper, CRO & Co-Founder, Edison Interactive
To deliver a highly-available, low-latency solution, Edison employed a multi-region approach and launched all 19 Wavelength Zones leveraging a custom API caching layer. In each Wavelength Zone, HarperDB’s Custom Functions development platform was used to create an API caching layer that reduced latency from upward of 5 seconds down to 20 milliseconds or less. To deliver the lowest latency for each golf cart, the edge discovery service was leveraged to identify the closest AWS Carrier IP address across each Wavelength Zone.
Custom Functions are user-defined API endpoints with direct access to the HarperDB data layer, and thereby eliminate the extra hop from a standalone API to the database. The result is a complete package of application and data that reduces latency, decreases complexity, and scales horizontally with a linear cost-to-capacity pricing model. This allows Edison to add additional courses and carts to their platform without worrying about the exponential cost model associated with vertically scaling a monolithic data store.
Provisioning and monitoring
To efficiently provision HarperDB nodes in all 19 Wavelength Zones, AWS Lambda and AWS CloudFormation are utilized to create Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances, Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) volumes, and Amazon Route53 DNS records. CloudFormation was critical for accelerating deployment while making sure that each wavelength zone is created consistently. Furthermore, knowing that the number of Wavelength zones will increase over time, CloudFormation provides a consistent scaling template.
Once the nodes are built, Amazon CloudWatch provides observability and monitoring for each node to make sure of system integrity. For specific scenarios, like high resource utilization, CloudWatch triggers a Lambda function that sends custom notifications to the HarperDB and Edison Interactive customer support teams. Having the flexibility of creating custom alerts with Lambda was critical for the HarperDB team co-managing the deployment with Edison Interactive.
Delivering a low-latency out-of-home experience to Club Car’s nationwide fleet requires Wavelength and HarperDB. Golf carts leveraging Wavelength are at the leading edge of low-latency multi-region connectivity. While Wavelength reduces network latency, HarperDB manages the distribution of both data and application. Together Wavelength and HarperDB are an elegant solution that redefined what’s possible for out-of-home digital experiences.
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