09 March 2020 / Last updated: 27 Jan 2021

Skycatch: navigating at-scale fleet management challenges using balena

Skycatch relies on balena to operate thousands of drones and edge devices that digitally image, process, and map industrial job sites. Learn how balena helps them remove the friction of at-scale device and fleet management so they can focus on serving customers and improve their unique GNSS and imagery platform.

About Skycatch

Skycatch provides a platform to companies, like Skansa and Komatsu, to enable high accuracy, high-resolution captures of industrial job sites. Their unique edge devices combine smart GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) with computer vision processing, using drones and on-site hubs, allowing customers to capture and process imaging data in the field.
Edge computing is core to these systems as it enables on-site devices to capture, compute, render, and communicate all of this data back to Skycatch and its customers. Balena is at the core of managing Skycatch’s fleet of devices.

Balena removes the friction of managing thousands of industrial-grade edge devices

Skycatch’s team realized that their services were gaining popularity, and that they soon needed a way to manage fleets of edge devices throughout this growth phase. This included managing software versions, diagnostics, and debugging devices at scale.
“We went down the road of trying to manipulate Linux ourselves, and we came to the conclusion that balenaCloud was the right platform for us,” said Reza Hajebi, VP of Engineering, Skycatch. “It’s a core component of our stack.”
Balena provides all the infrastructure that Skycatch needs so that they worry less about device management and more on providing and maintaining their unique software. They don’t have to worry about managing and updating thousands of devices across different job sites around the world.
“What stood out was how quickly we were able to bring devices up and online,” said David Chen, VP of R&D, Skycatch. “Flash the balena image onto a microSD, put it in the device, power it on, and it’s ready to go. So bringing up hundreds of devices is now super easy to do.”

Improving customer happiness and lowering time to value with balena

Balena helps engineering teams simplify how they push new versions of Skycatch’s software out to thousands of devices. “The real value of Balena comes from pushing out new versions of your product,” said Brent Miller, Senior Engineer, Skycatch. “One of the huge things is to easily log in, see devices, see what the logs are doing.” Having easy access to logs for all devices in the field enables Skycatch to help, and even impress, customers with fast, thorough device support.
The Skycatch team also enjoys how balena abstracts away development complexity using containerization on edge devices, giving engineering teams a way to better utilize web and NodeJS engineers to improve the experience of the Skycatch product. They don’t have to be experts in low-level software or embedded hardware-- balena enables them to contribute and build a better product for Skycatch from day one.

Get ahead of fleet management challenges at scale with Balena

Balena provides a comprehensive platform for developers to worry less about infrastructure, and more about providing the best software possible to their edge devices. If your teams want to become more proactive about tackling edge device fleet management, try balenaCloud (your first ten devices are free!). You’ll get access to our cloud platform and a collection of edge-optimized containerization tools, with support for most popular edge and connected devices.
Our team and community are ready to help your operators and engineers discover a better way to manage fleets of connected devices.
by Team balenaThe global group of product builders that brings you balena