ThinxNet GmbH

The smart car for everyone

Connected Car Software and Smart Telematics Services
from the gridscale Public Cloud

ThinxNet GmbH is a young FinTech and IoT company whose products ryd pay and ryd box make driving holistically more convenient and safer. ryd pay is the largest cross-brand solution for mobile payment directly at the gas pump. Customers pay in-app at the pump or in the car and save themselves the trip to the store.

Overview
Munich-based startup ThinxNet was founded in 2013 and transforms cars into smart cars with an IoT solution.

Branche
Software-as-a-Service

Employees
100+

User
250.000+

gridscale products in use
Public Cloud
Storage
Managed Kubernetes

The goal
A high-performance cloud environment was sought for the operation of its central technology “ryd”, on the basis of which the Munich-based IoT and FinTech specialist ThinxNet has developed innovative app solutions as well as a cross-industry ecosystem around the topic of smart cars. The transmission of location information as well as the transaction data of the payment functions integrated in the services at gas pumps set particularly strict requirements for security and access protection when selecting the provider.

Challenges
Stability and performance of the underlying IT infrastructure are the prerequisites for high acceptance and user experience of the new services. The operating platform had to be scalable as required to guarantee lightning-fast response times and real-time interaction. In addition, the existing development paradigms and DevOps scenarios at ThinxNet had to be adapted to ensure automation of all processes and orchestration of the platform according to infrastructure-as-code principles.

The solution
The gridscale public cloud – a fail-safe IT operating environment that meets all compliance requirements of the DSGVO as well as the critical infrastructure law (KRITIS). The open architecture and easy-to-use API allows ThinxNet to manage the IT infrastructure entirely via script. The partner panel integrated in gridscale also allows convenient management of the access authorizations of the clients within the ThinxNet telematics ecosystem, which are to be strictly separated.

Key Results

Real-time application interactions

KRITIS and DSGVO compliance

Orchestration as Infrastructure-as-Code

With the vision of making “life around the car” even easier, ThinxNet has realized an innovative telematics infrastructure and all-in-one car app with ryd, which provides helpful value-added services around driving based on the smartphone or a physical box in the vehicle, the real-time information of the diagnostic system and current location and movement data. From in-app payment options with ryd pay to digital on-board computer, automatic logbook, live location, towing warning and family safety features to interactive vehicle communication via Alexa!

Other OEM partners such as service station operators and insurance companies are integrated into the ecosystem and successfully use the platform to retain customers and expand their business.

The performance of our applications has directly accelerated many times over and we have never had a system failure since then.

Christoph Geiser, Director Software Development at ThinxNet

Initial situation and objective

The ryd box networks “non-connected cars” via the OBD2 interface that has been available in every car since 2001 and offers users comprehensive smart-car functions in the ryd app. ryd pay, a component of the app and ThinxNet’s software-as-a-service offering, allows uncomplicated payment for refueling directly at the pump and has other functions that inform users about the total cost of their car.

Against the backdrop of a lack of stability and performance at the cloud provider at the time, a globally active IT group, ThinxNet was on the lookout for a new IT operating service provider in 2018. “A reliable, high-performance cloud platform that is also particularly secure because of the sensitive vehicle and location data is one of the most important success factors as part of our overall solution,” recalls Christoph Geiser, Director Software Development at ThinxNet, about the most important criteria in the selection process at the time.

“Thanks to arbitrary scalability, gridscale guarantees our customers a consistently positive user experience and data processing in accordance with strict German data protection regulations. The open architecture also allows us to map modern programming paradigms and DevOps scenarios quickly and easily on the platform.”

Realization

ThinxNet had built up an extremely complex infrastructure at its former IT service provider with different database clusters, application servers for the native apps and several Kubernetes instances for development, staging and live operation. In a first step, all existing servers and containers were migrated to the new cloud platform. Since the previous provider did not support some of the gridscale features, these were successively integrated into ThinxNet’s gridscale architecture in a second step. For example, the company now also uses the snapshot functions to safeguard current server states in the event of a fault.

Speed and reliability
Shortly after the migration of the first workloads, it became clear that the performance and availability of the gridscale infrastructure were significantly superior to those of the previous provider. “The performance of our applications has directly accelerated many times over and we have actually never had to record a system failure since then,” says Christoph Geiser happily.

DevOps and “Infrastructure as Code
A particularly positive feature for ThinxNet is its support for demanding DevOps scenarios, in which the IT infrastructure can be managed entirely via script. The open architecture and the API, which is easy for administrators to use, allows extensive automation of all important processes. This enables ThinxNet to use the usual DevOps tools such as Puppet, Jenkins or Docker and to configure and orchestrate the entire infrastructure as code. This saves developers in particular a lot of time and nerves, as new servers for their use case can be started simply “at the click of a mouse”.

gridscale guarantees our customers a consistently positive user experience thanks to arbitrary scalability and data processing in accordance with strict German data protection regulations.

– Christoph Geiser –

Multi-client capability
ryd App and ryd Pay use a close cooperation with business partners, such as petroleum companies or insurance companies, for some convenience functions like the price comparison of the gas station finder. The data or functions used specifically by the partners and the other customer information and features of the apps must be managed separately and strictly separated. The respective clients and their access options can be managed easily and reliably by ThinxNet via the partner panel integrated in gridscale and a graphical interface.

Data privacy and compliance
Business partners from the insurance industry in particular have high data protection and security requirements. The reason here is the compliance requirements of the Critical Infrastructures Act (KRITIS), the EU General Data Protection Regulation (DSGVO), and the other legal rules for insurers. But end customers are also pushing for maximum security: they want data to be stored in accordance with strict data protection requirements and do not want their transaction data to be transferred to insurance companies. Here, German data centers under the DSGVO regime and the BMWi certification of gridscale as a Trusted Cloud are a decisive argument for high credibility and user acceptance of ThinxNet’s entire IoT ecosystem.

Summary

ryd has quickly become one of the leading IoT platforms in the automotive sector and brings together partners from different worlds, industries and value chains. Several hundred thousand customers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland are already using ThinxNet’s telematics services. Tendency strongly rising!
In view of the rapid growth and ongoing internationalization, application reliability and high performance remain key criteria for business success. Additional resources, for example for different geographical regions, are ready for use within a few minutes via the gridscale cloud infrastructure. It also allows problem-free implementation of, for example, multilingual apps or automated backend routines. The result: greater efficiency in live operation and in the further development of products.

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