The increasing flow of data is helping transportation companies get more value from their operations. One transport company was looking to exploit this opportunity by transforming itself into a data-driven company to improve efficiencies and enhance the customer experience.

As part of its cloud strategy, the company was looking to use its data and analytics processes to not only improve the customer experience for travelers on its transportation service, but also to reinvent the way transportation services are offered to citizens. This included improving information accuracy and the reliability of its transport services as well as being able to adopt revolutionary new ways of getting their customers wherever they need to be on time.

Tapping into the power of data

The company was already using the Apache Kafka event streaming platform and big data processing solution Hadoop to process information from its transport fleet, but wanted to be able to dive deeper into its data and use it for new applications. The company wanted to analyze traffic flows to improve the customer experience through up-to-the-minute arrival times and travel suggestions.

The transport operator approached Basefarm, an Orange Business Services subsidiary, to explore ways of operationalizing a data-driven platform on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud. It was impressed by Basefarm’s expertise in working on large, complex, mission-critical IT projects and connecting co-innovation, co-creation capabilities with cloud-native operations services. Crucial to the transportation company was also the ability to rapidly operationalize new services and bring its new fleet management platform and minimum viable products to the market as fast as possible.

In order to put in place an agile, future-oriented Kafka platform, Basefarm helped the company reinvent its fleet management platform by working with the developer teams and also integrated part of the architecture to exploit previous investments and solutions residing in its private clouds. Basefarm constructed the company’s core mobility platform (CMP) in Kafka as middleware. It includes a fleet logistics and reporting service. In addition, Orange delivers platform support for the VPN, including 24/7 problem- and incident management with the Frontline support for handling events also coming from their partners. Basefarm performs ongoing infrastructure changes to optimize cost/use, scalability and performance.

The transportation company is also following a cloud-native approach to application development, making its processes use Amazon EKS (elastic container service for Kubernetes). Running Kubernetes on Amazon EKS makes working with existing container infrastructures or migrations easier in addition to taking advantage of native integration capabilities within the same platform.

It also wanted to use several different database technologies to house its data, depending on user requirements. AWS provides the company with freedom of choice with several PaaS database services to choose from, while Basefarm is helping them integrate these technologies in a way that allows the customer to perform continuous compliance, continuous integration and continuous deployment.

Tracking and recording data from transport services would be prohibitively expensive using traditional methods. Using Amazon Elastic MapReduce (EMR), the customer can run Spark, Impala and other big data technologies. Amazon EMR, which uses the Hadoop open source framework, has been designed to make it easy to quickly and cost-effectively process huge amounts of data.

Driving forward

The company is now looking at using its data to create innovative applications such as better predicting the accuracy of transport timetables, contactless payments that recognize transport zones in a city, municipal or region and even pushing the bar on adopting self-driving transportation that could resemble human thinking.

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