Nextel Digital Release

Introduction

Summary

Nextel planed to develop a mobile application to reduce their contact rate and operational costs with call centers. “Nextel Digital” was the name given to the project responsible for releasing this application.

“Nextel Digital” absorbed more goals like improving the User experience, and turned into a new product called “Happy”, a digital cell phone operator. Nextel Happy allows users to manage their plans and data entirely from the mobile app, from activating your SIM to managing your family plan.

This project helped Nextel to increase their customers base, improved the users’ experience, and decrease operational costs (in 16%) all at once.

Problem

Nextel Brazil executive team decided to work with outsourcing on the development of this product to absorb the knowledge from digital companies and to complement their internal capabilities. Also to bring different perspectives into play, improving the creative process.

Our team assumed the responsibility to architect and to implement the Cloud infrastructure ensuring high-availability, resilience and consistency of the software.

We were also responsible for the data synchronization between Nextel data center and the cloud. Securely moving tons of GB of users’ data to the cloud daily without data loss or duplication.

Solution

Technical implementation

We choose GlusterFS to ensure consistency, installed between Nextel Data Center and AWS. Users’ data (e.g. data plan consumption, minutes of call) synchronization went through GlusterFS to AWS. Nextel IT operations inserted data into GlusterFS directly from cell phone towers in near-real-time.

Once the data is available at AWS mounted volumes, the Celery implementation comes into play. At the core of the architecture, Celery (implemented in Python 3) using Redis as the message broker, running asynchronous jobs inspects events on the GlusterFS. When Celery detects a new file it parses the content and starts the multi-part upload to AWS S3, then compares the checksums to ensure consistency (and retries in case it’s inconsistent).

After reaching AWS S3 the object event triggers a AWS Lambda function to parse the content and index it on Elasticsearch, whose are later served to clients through an REST API.

The entire infrastructure setup was immutable, to facilitate the evolution and reliability, using Ansible as a Configuration Manager and AWS CloudFormation as the Cloud Provisioner. In just a couple minutes it is possible to recreate everything with minimum effort.

Impact and results

The entire process of making data from a cell phone tower available to end users time went down from 1 day to 5 minutes. This reduced in ~56% the contact rate on Nextel call centers, due to a self-service alternative provided in the mobile app.

In addition, users can manage their call history and plan consumption directly on the mobile phone, with updates in near-real-time. Providing consistent and interactive feedback.

Matheus Cunha
Matheus Cunha
Systems Engineer and Magician

Just a technology lover empowering business with high-tech computing to help innovation (:

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