Acer BYOC


Location:

Taipeh, Taiwan

Application:

IoT Connectivity for Cloud Platform

Key Challenge:

  • Scale to support millions of devices
  • Support a wide diversity of client platforms, including Android, iOS, different Linux variants, Win64 and others
  • Be reliable and secure to support consumer and industrial use cases

Results:

  • Partners connecting new IoT devices to Acer BYOC

Acer BYOC Selects HiveMQ to Enable their Cloud for IoT

Acer BYOC provides a hosted cloud platform which seeks to empower hardware and software solutions across a variety of industries. HiveMQ is the core technology platform Acer BYOC depends on to move information between devices and the cloud, powering their cloud connectivity services.

“HiveMQ makes it transparent to move data reliably between the devices and the cloud. This allows developers to focus on application development and not on scalability or low-level connectivity issues.”

Jim Chang, Acer Director of Software Engineering

The goal of the Acer BYOC is to make it easy for their developers and partners to easily connect devices to the cloud. The diversity of the Acer BYOC ecosystem presents some unique challenges for their platform. They needed a platform that could:

  • Scale to support millions of devices
  • Support a wide diversity of client platforms, including Android, iOS, different Linux variants, Win64 and others
  • Be reliable and secure to support consumer and industrial use cases
  • Allow developers to use a standard SDK to simplify the process of connecting a device to the cloud.

The first generation of Acer BYOC’s cloud platform was based on HTTP and REST. However, Acer found this architecture didn’t meet their requirements. HTTP’s polling protocol was expensive on the battery life of mobile devices. The lack of a publish/subscribe protocol made it difficult to scale the number of connected devices into the millions.

In 2015, Acer BYOC decided to build their second generation platform based on HiveMQ and the MQTT standard. At the time, MQTT was fast becoming the de-facto standard for IoT connectivity. The Acer BYOC developers easily understood and liked the protocol since it simplified the process of device connectivity. The MQTT publish/subscribe protocol also addressed many of the architectural issues of the HTTP-based platform.

Acer BYOC looked at a variety of MQTT solution providers but ultimately selected HiveMQ. Alternative solutions such as Kafka and RabbitMQ were considered but ruled out because they were not true MQTT implementations, as each had a large client footprint and both consumed considerable network bandwidth.

HiveMQ was selected over other MQTT solutions due to the following unique characteristics:

  • HiveMQ provides scalability to millions of devices, based on its masterless cluster architecture and intelligent distribution of session data. This allows Acer BYOC to replicate retained messages across cluster nodes, allowing devices to subscribe to any node and still get all messages delivered.
  • Easy to integrate into the Acer BYOC platform due to HiveMQ’s flexible extension framework.
  • HiveMQ supported load-balancing multiple MQTT clients (“shared subscriptions”) so it is possible to scale high traffic MQTT topics.
  • Acer BYOC considers the overall offering of HiveMQ superior due to the high quality and reliability, in addition to a very responsive customer service to assist with new patches and releases.

Today, Acer BYOC powers more than 10,000 different types of IoT devices, including:

  • Electric scooters
  • Solar panels
  • Acer wellness applications, ex blood pressure monitoring
  • Digital signage for small-medium enterprises

Acer BYOC deploys HiveMQ as a set of Docker containers running on AWS EC2. They use the HiveMQ extension framework to create an extension to forward the MQTT data to various back-end applications, such as Kafka. They have also created their own security extension to integrate their own device authentication and authorization systems tightly with HiveMQ.

“Using HiveMQ has greatly simplified how our developers and partners utilize our cloud platform,” explains Jim Chang, Acer Director of Software Engineering. “HiveMQ makes it transparent to move data reliably between the devices and the cloud. This allows developers to focus on application development and not on scalability or low-level connectivity issues.”