Noxxon Sat Telecomunicações: Real-time vehicle tracking in Brazil

About Noxxon Sat Telecomunicações

Noxxon Sat Telecomunicações specializes in developing hardware and software solutions for vehicle fleet management, always using the latest technologies. Based in São Paulo, Brazil, the company is committed to providing quality products and services for its customers.

Industries: Technology
Location: Brazil

By hosting its bus location tracking service on Google Cloud Platform, Noxxon Sat is helping São Paulo better manage its metropolitan transport. Licensees and passengers can easily monitor and track the city’s 6,000 buses, day and night.

Google Cloud Results

  • Provides real-time tracking for 6,000 buses with Google Cloud Platform
  • Automatically scales from 6 to 150 virtual machines based on workload
  • Reduces IT costs at least 20% compared to hosting in a traditional data center

Tracking 6,000 buses in Brazil’s largest city

“Where’s the bus?”

That question is asked millions of times each day by commuters in big cities, sometimes patiently, and sometimes not. That same question is also asked by transit companies who own the buses and are tasked with ensuring that every vehicle is exactly where it’s supposed to be. That’s a huge challenge for every city, but in São Paulo, Brazil—the world’s 11th largest metropolis and Brazil’s largest city—the challenge is magnified. São Paulo depends on its metro buses to transport its population of 21 million over an area of 7,943 km (3,067 square miles).

For a decade, Noxxon Sat Telecomunicações has offered geo-tracking for São Paulo’s buses, based on installing and maintaining hardware modules with GPS receivers and cellular data transmitters placed in each vehicle. The data from each bus radio transceiver was delivered from the cellular data network to Noxxon Sat’s data center, and from there was shared with its customers, the city’s transit providers, who processed the data with third-party software.

When several of Noxxon Sat’s transit customers asked for a complete solution for bus location data processing and analytics, the company began designing a new service. However, it ran into issues building out a data center to run the software and host an interface for the transit companies. Capacity planning and scalability were major concerns: Noxxon Sat didn’t know how many bus companies would want to use the new end-to-end solution; some might wish to stick with their older solution. Therefore, the company had no idea how many computers it would need in its data center.

Beyond the hardware, much of the software that Noxxon Sat needed would be expensive and time-consuming to create or license, such as databases, analytics engines, mapping engines, and user-interface systems. Noxxon Sat needed to be able to start small and grow elastically as more customers signed up for the service.

Communications infrastructure was an additional concern. Internet access in São Paulo was not robust and reliable enough to host an on-site data center with the uptime transit companies would require in order to have confidence in the mission-critical service.

“Google Cloud Platform makes it easy and automatic to configure and scale virtual machines, and ongoing operational IT costs are at least 20% lower than if we had to host the application in a traditional data center.”

Fábio Amaral, IT Director at Noxxon Sat Telecomunicações

Noxxon Sat decided to build and host its bus-tracking system in the cloud, thereby addressing the capital investment, scalability, and connectivity issues. The company evaluated several cloud platforms and chose Google Cloud Platform because of the minimal day-to-day administration required.

“Google Cloud Platform makes it easy and automatic to configure and scale virtual machines, and ongoing operational IT costs are at least 20% lower than if we had to host the application in a traditional data center,” says Fábio Amaral, IT Director at Noxxon Sat Telecomunicações.

Scalable geo tracking

The foundation of Noxxon Sat’s online tracking system consists of Google App Engine for processing the telemetry data received from the buses and Google Cloud Datastore to hold current and historic data retained for trend analysis. Currently, Google Cloud Datastore holds 13 terabytes of aggregate data for Noxxon Sat.

Google App Engine also hosts the browser-based user interface that transit companies use to access geo-tracking and analytics data. In addition, Noxxon Sat uses Google BigQuery to provision analytic dashboards for customers and offers real-time map overlays using the Google Maps APIs.

The number of Google App Engine virtual machines processing the vehicle telemetry scales automatically, ranging from 150 virtual machines (VMs) at peak commuting hours to 100 VMs off-peak to only half a dozen late at night, when few buses are running.

“Google’s autoscaling functionality saves us significant money,” says Fábio. “With other cloud providers, administrators would need to manually launch, provision, and close virtual machines, which would not be as efficient and would also require additional round-the-clock IT staffing.”

“If we have to double or triple the number of buses because we close a really big contract, we don’t have to be worried because Google will just scale. We won’t need to make any upfront investment. Without Google Cloud Platform, this project wouldn’t have been feasible.”

Fábio Amaral, IT Director at Noxxon Sat Telecomunicações

Reliable transit monitoring and analytics

With Google Cloud Platform, Noxxon Sat has a reliable and dynamically scalable foundation for its real-time bus monitoring and analytics platform. It is exceeding its service-level agreement (SLA) of 99.99% availability and can easily expand to bring on additional vehicles.

“If we have to double or triple the number of buses because we close a really big contract, we don’t have to be worried because Google will just scale,” adds Fábio. “We won’t need to make any upfront investment. Without Google Cloud Platform, this project wouldn’t have been feasible.”

About Noxxon Sat Telecomunicações

Noxxon Sat Telecomunicações specializes in developing hardware and software solutions for vehicle fleet management, always using the latest technologies. Based in São Paulo, Brazil, the company is committed to providing quality products and services for its customers.

Industries: Technology
Location: Brazil
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