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Telefónica Tech connects everyone, everywhere, with MongoDB

How Telefónica Tech runs over 30 million IoT devices by integrating its Kite Platform and MongoDB






IoT and connected industry



Outpacing device usage

Telefónica, S.A. is an international telecommunications company headquartered in Madrid, Spain. One of the world’s largest telephone operators and mobile network providers, Telefónica operates across Europe and the Americas.

Like many others in the space, Telefónica is exploring broader opportunities in technology and connectivity. Two years ago, it set up Telefónica Tech to spearhead its digital transformation services. This part of the business offers a wide range of services and integrated technological solutions for Cyber Security, Cloud, IoT, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.

Approximately 30 million IoT devices run on Telefónica Tech’s managed connectivity platform (a.k.a. Kite Platform) around the globe. And with that figure expected to rise into the billions in the years ahead, Telefónica Tech needed a platform with the capacity to outpace the ever-increasing device usage.

“MongoDB went through some tough competition. It won because the technology best suited our capacity and cost needs.”

Carlos Carazo Cepedano, CTO IoT&BigData at Telefónica Tech


Democratizing connectivity

As IoT connected devices grow at unprecedented rates, the telecommunications industry is facing a connectivity revolution.

Telecommunications companies are exploring complex 5G, IoT, and AI technologies that will improve real-time user experiences. Operators are, therefore, under pressure to develop platforms with compute power capable of managing these huge volumes of data seamlessly and faultlessly.

“The data is going to double in a very short time,” says Carlos Carazo Cepedano, CTO IoT&BigData at Telefónica Tech. “Device numbers are growing faster each year and with 5G we’ll have even more devices. Also, 5G will bring supercritical communications at the IoT level.”

Telefónica wants to be at the forefront of this explosive growth challenge, and Telefónica Tech was created around the importance of connectivity to successful new digital economies. The company’s mission is to democratize IoT connectivity; essentially, it wants connectivity to be available to everyone, everywhere.

“Three years ago, we created a new global company dedicated to making the IoT vision a reality,” explains Carazo. “We combined IoT and Big Data in one company to maximize our focus on the latest technology and big data insights.”

He adds: “MongoDB’s scalability puts us at ease. We know we can continue on our growth trajectory and that capacity won’t become an issue. That’s something we haven’t experienced with competing technologies.”

The "Kite Platform", Telefónica Tech’s managed connectivity platform.

“What we have with MongoDB goes beyond a normal client-supplier relationship. I hope that MongoDB accompanies us throughout our future journey.”

Carlos Carazo Cepedano, CTO IoT&BigData at Telefónica Tech


Connectivity – any time, any place

Telefónica Tech saw the potential of uniting IoT and Big Data under one umbrella company. Its Kite Platform, which runs millions of IoT devices around the world, was central to that proposition.

“Kite Platform has always been at the core of our IoT connectivity strategy,” says Carazo. “We wanted to make our vision of IoT a reality for sectors including utilities, manufacturing and retail.”

MongoDB underpins the new efficiency that drives the Kite managed connectivity platform.

“MongoDB operates within Kite as our primary database,” Carazo says. “Around 90% of the platform’s data—which is very load-intensive—is supported by MongoDB technology.”

Capacity was an essential factor. The team needed to be able to manage a fast-growing data environment with ease and simplicity. Database capacity needed to expand elastically, ad hoc, to make seamless, real-time changes. And since IoT devices never sleep, uninterrupted user service around the clock was vital.

A database architecture that allowed dynamic scaling was key. Sharding sets the pace, meeting demand peaks with the addition of new shards. “In terms of scalability, we knew that the MongoDB sharding technology scaled tremendously,” says Carazo. “We manage or modify hundreds of thousands of objects and documents per second. It fits our scalability needs like a glove.”

He continues: “We compared MongoDB to other competitor technologies. MongoDB won because the technology best suited our capacity and cost needs.”

The numbers shed light on the win: nearly 30TB of data storage; up to three million documents consulted per second; almost 115,000 documents updated per second. But in a sector driven by metrics and stats, not everything is measurable. “I want to stress the intangibility factor“, says Carazo. “Developers love working with MongoDB technology. They see MongoDB development tools as an important creative influence.”

The goal was to make their vision of IoT a reality for sectors including utilities, manufacturing and retail.

“MongoDB puts us at ease. We have faith that we can grow easily with all the changes ahead thanks to the capacity we now have.”

Carlos Carazo Cepedano, CTO IoT&BigData at Telefónica Tech


A data platform for the future

Telefónica Tech now thrives on a secure and flexible developer data platform that reacts rapidly to fast-moving demands. Telefónica Tech is in prime position to process the present and diversify for the future.

With MongoDB, both the workload and cost have been significantly reduced. “There’s a 40% hardware reduction against previous database technologies; that’s 40% of compute savings from MongoDB. Secondly, we have practically doubled the capacity of the MongoDB platform using significantly less hardware,” says Carazo.

Efficiently adding new shards has enabled Telefónica Tech to scale up and manage phenomenal volumes of data. “The platform runs 115,000 queries per second, or 30,000 database inserts per second,” Carazo says. “It was critical to manage this data in real time, as MongoDB technology does. On average there is less than one millisecond of latency.” With future plans to upgrade to MongoDB Atlas Cloud Database, Telefónica Tech expects to see even greater efficiency improvements down the line.

The MongoDB solution also includes geo-redundancy, a significant benefit for businesses and individuals. The distribution of core components, such as servers, across geographic locations means outages in one area can be covered by support equipment in another. The result is a seamless, uninterrupted operation.

Geo-redundancy also delivers more human benefits and support. These can range from enabling communications to enable POS providers in Brazil to complete store payments, to more critical personal cases such as equipping bracelets with Telefónica SIMs to offer protection to victims of domestic abuse. Looking ahead, Telefónica Tech’s private network technologies are expected to evolve to support robotics and predictive maintenance in factories within years. Smart metering of energy consumption is set to spur demand for millions more connected devices.

However, while technological factors play a critical role, for Telefónica Tech it is the human element that has placed the engagement with MongoDB significantly above expectations. “Throughout this process we have developed a strong working bond,” says Carazo. “What we have with MongoDB goes beyond a normal client-supplier relationship; we are innovating together. I hope that MongoDB accompanies us throughout our future journey, from 5G to Artificial Intelligence and 6G prospects ahead.”

Or as Telefónica Tech puts it: “Making our world more human by connecting lives.”

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