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AWS Helps Netvue Build a Smart-Home Cloud Platform and Expand Globally

2020

Founded in June 2010, Netvue Technologies (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. (“Netvue”)  is an innovative tech company that develops smart-home products. Through its first-rate software and hardware teams, the company provides complete solutions built with the mobile internet-connected smart hardware.
Netvue-branded products have gained a respectable following on e-commerce sites such as Amazon. Netvue’s lineup includes security cameras, smart doorbells, smart sockets, home weather stations, air quality monitors, and mobile alarms, all designed for the mobile era. The company also runs the Netvue cloud platform services which enable all its devices to work together.

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AWS has greatly reduced the development time at Netvue by 40% on average, and even from one week to one day in some instances.”

Youle Hu
Vice President, Netvue

Challenges

The smart-home industry is driven by our common desire for a more personalized and intelligent home, but is built on innovation and quality. Consequently, stable and secure cloud services are critical to smart-home devices. Today, the Netvue cloud platform has built a track record for its stability and its ability to deliver real-time audiovisual data and remote-control services to global users. But in the past, when the platform was served by traditional, IDC-based managed services, the management and maintenance tasks were complicated and underlying faults could not be quickly and automatically isolated and resolved. In those days, the nascent Netvue also had a limited talent pool, in particular full-time IT staff. So there was an urgent need for a cost-effective cloud solution.
Meanwhile, as its products found home worldwide, Netvue had to ensure its cloud services are consistently reliable and economically viable, even at locations with relatively few users.
Additionally, security devices, the flagship products of Netvue, require highly reliable, available, and secure cloud services. Any extended downtime in the cloud storage function may lead to theft. Apart from these, as business expands, the number of users had also increased from hundreds of thousands to millions, which has placed higher and higher requirements on the security and stability of the underlying platform.
On the whole, Netvue places great value on operation and maintenance automation, security, availability, globalized services, and the combination of cutting-edge technology and the cloud. The company hopes that its cloud service provider can meet these requires and help its business expand sustainably and rapidly.

Why Amazon Web Services

During its search for that cloud service provider in 2012, Netvue found that only AWS Could meet all its technical needs. The decision was made even simpler by AWS’s complete pre-sales and after-sales support and stellar service stability and security. In particular, AWS’s global coverage is just what Netvue needed to serve users around the world. These features pushed Netvue to migrate its cloud platform to AWS. Netvue and AWS have only come closer since then, enabling the Chinese company to complete several major upgrades to its cloud platform.
At the start, Netvue only took advantage of AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) due to the relative simplicity of its business. Later, as business grew and the cloud platform received architectural upgrades, the company began to use the more advanced services and serverless kits. At present, Netvue’s cloud platform relies on a range of AWS services, including AWS Lambda, Amazon S3, AWS IoT Core, Amazon API Gateway, Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS), Amazon RDS, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Rekognition, Amazon Lex, AWS Auto Scaling, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, and Amazon Route 53.

  • Architectural iteration by replacing access layer with AWS IoT Core
  • A Serverless Architecture for greater productivity at startups
  • AWS AI services speed up AI-powered products
  • Quality service and fast response time from AWS support team
  • Architectural iteration by replacing access layer with AWS IoT Core
  • By 2017, Netvue products could be found in all major markets around the world. With it came a new challenge: how to provide a consistent user experience across the all geographical regions.
    AWS IoT Core, with its timely appearance, provides just such a solution. Superseding the access layer of Netvue’s original architecture, AWS IoT Core brings stable and reliable underlying services anytime and anywhere, enabling the efficient scheduling, deployment, and management of smart-home security devices through a simple and consistent billing model. With this technology, managing connection with millions of devices only takes a few people, which saves maintenance costs and allows a company to focus on business innovation.
    “AWS IoT Core’s ‘pay for what you use’ model suits us very well; the global coverage from AWS means that our service endpoints are always close to our customers. Both of these lower our cost,” explains Youle Hu, Vice President of Netvue. “AWS IoT Core also helps many less-tech-savvy startups move to the cloud, which is a tremendous boost to their products, not least in terms of time to market. From this perspective the service also benefits the entire IoT industry.”
     

  • A Serverless Architecture for greater productivity at startups
  • In 2019, after embedding Amazon Alexa functionalities in its products, Netvue started to use AWS Lambda and to propagate this serverless design philosophy throughout its IT architecture. AWS Lambda has been particularly helpful. For one, the new service architecture enables greater granularity for the back-end services, which reduces cross-interference and improves service stability. Secondly, this finer control has also been brought to operation and maintenance, such that capacity scaling (either up or down), billing, and other tasks can be measured down to 100 ms, making cost estimation much easier.
    Because Netvue devices are used around the world, the cost associated with each device varies by region and user density. The static nature of the original architecture makes differentiated pricing and marketing difficult. AWS Lambda allows Netvue to not only reduce initial investments, but also develop a more accurate cost model.
     

  • AWS AI services speed up AI-powered products
  • Product innovation at Netvue is picking up momentum. With the help of Amazon Rekognition and Amazon SageMaker, the company is able to quickly set up an AI service platform that supports human detection and facial recognition, allowing it to offer features not found in competitor products. Once, the whole company was busy preparing for an online shopping event, leaving little resources to develop the detection and recognition features for smart doorbells. Hoping to launch these features in time for the event, Netvue chose an out-of-the-box solution—Amazon Rekognition—with which it was able to add those functions to the Netvue platform in no time. Netvue later found Amazon Rekognition to be very suitable for this role, in both performance and cost, and so kept the service.
    As business and market expands, Netvue’s user base started to demand more personalized AI functionalities. For instance, some users hope that the smart doorbells can show, on the video screen, not only that a package has been delivered but also which company delivered it. This calls for Amazon SageMaker, which enables the fast development of these highly customized, fringe use cases at a manageable cost, thereby reducing the risks of innovation and experimentation.
    Over the years, the Netvue cloud platform has built a fully developed architecture that uses a wide range of AWS products.
     

  • Quality service and fast response time from AWS support team
  • In addition to enabling steady upgrades to the Netvue cloud platform, AWS has also impressed Youle Hu with its support team. Whenever a problem arises, the AWS support team has always been helpful and professional. Soon after the Netvue smart doorbells were launched, the company thought about getting the WWA (Works with Alexa) certification, but was stopped short because it had neither internal expertise nor external experience to rely on. After getting in touch with AWS’s support team, Netvue was referred to the Amazon Alexa team, who quickly cleared the obstacle and helped the product to be certified.
    The AWS support team also proposes cost-saving solutions before Netvue has to ask. In the smart doorbell project, facial recognition was a value-added function that initially could not reach the cost break-even point with the integration of Amazon Rekognition. Hearing this problem, the AWS support team proposed a new solution with fewer API calls that slashed the cost by two-thirds.
     

Benefits

Netvue’s cloud platform has become much more competitive as a result of AWS’s outstanding service and helpful technical teams.
Among the most notable gains is higher development efficiency. The time to design and launch a new product or service has been greatly reduced by 40% on average, and even from one week to one day in some instances. Operation and maintenance cost has also fallen sharply. The entire cloud platform is now managed by just one person on a part-time basis, and only two to three people if developers are also included. Fewer employees translate into a 50-60 percent savings in maintenance-related expenses. Lastly, AWS has enabled Netvue to stay within the 24-hour annual downtime cap for its cloud platform, and to expand globally with minimum increase in headcount. This business growth is particularly prominent in the four regions in Europe and America, where the number of users surged from hundreds of thousands to millions and even tens of millions.

Outlook

Netvue products and services are now on the fast track of growth in international markets. Netvue plans to increase the use of the serverless architecture and AI services and tools, and to replace certain in-house tools with AWS managed services, so that it can focus on product and business development. It hopes to bring more tailored products and services, and a better user experience powered by cutting-edge AI technologies, to all its customers.

Netvue Cloud Platform on AWS

AWS Helps Netvue Build a Smart-Home Cloud Platform and Expand Globally (2:59)

Netvue Reference Architecture

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About Netvue

Founded in June 2010, Netvue is an innovative tech company that develops smart-home products. Through its first-rate software and hardware teams, the company provides complete solutions built with the mobile internet-connected smart hardware.

Benefits of AWS

  • Lower operational costs thanks to automated deployment and maintenance
  • Greater market competitiveness through AI services
  • Safety and security for the massive amount of device data
  • Scenario-specific professional support

AWS Services Used

AWS IoT Core

AWS IoT Core lets you connect IoT devices to the AWS cloud without the need to provision or manage servers.

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AWS Lambda

AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers, creating workload-aware cluster scaling logic, maintaining event integrations, or managing runtimes.

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Amazon Rekognition

Amazon Rekognition makes it easy to add image and video analysis to your applications using proven, highly scalable, deep learning technology that requires no machine learning expertise to use.

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Amazon SageMaker

Amazon SageMaker helps data scientists and developers to prepare, build, train, and deploy high-quality machine learning (ML) models quickly by bringing together a broad set of capabilities purpose-built for ML.

Learn more »


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