Case Study

Ovyl Uses Golioth to Deliver Feature-Rich Prototypes 30X Faster

The Challenge

Ovyl faces complex IoT device development, needing connectivity for diverse projects often involving tedious server setups and data handling.

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The Solution

Golioth enabled rapid mesh network creation for sensors, streamlined validation, and offered polished analytics through Grafana integration. Ovyl allocated more resources for product functionality, enhancing customer satisfaction.

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The Implementation

Ovyl turned to Golioth, speeding up proof-of-concept creation, especially with OpenThread support. Golioth handled device tooling, simplifying connectivity.

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Time to read: xx minutes
The Challenge

Building connected devices is really complicated – even when it’s your specialty

Ovyl, a Nashville-based product development firm, often faces the challenge of building connected devices, which is complex and time-consuming. Ovyl’s interdisciplinary team of engineers & designers, work on a variety of projects spanning several industries, most requiring connectivity to the web. Product strategists, mechanical engineers, and industrial designers work with electrical, firmware, and software engineers on all types of products including medical devices, commercial IoT, B2B, and consumer products. Before Golioth, Ovyl spent way too much time repeating the same set of tedious tasks propping up a backend server or proxy servers to feed data into, transform and pump that data into another tool or even store for bulk download to manually crunch through data.  

“We’re probably a little bit different from the typical Golioth customer,” reflects Michael Eatherly, Senior Software Engineer at Ovyl.

“We work with a variety of semiconductor manufacturers and platforms depending on the product application,” Nick Sinas, Head of Technology explains, “We’re usually working on several  different projects at once across the company, most requiring connectivity to the internet.”

Sinas continues, “There’s a lot of time spent planning, even during prototyping. What’s our transport layer? How do we ingress data? How do we egress data? What encryption is needed? Once it hits our server, what do we need to do with it next?”

“Even in your own embedded networking stack, it is just a very complex task,” Eatherly chimes in, “Unfortunately planning and building out these services is time consuming and so we’re always looking for a better and faster way to get a functional prototype in the hands of our clients.”

The Solution

How Golioth Helped Ovyl Achieve Faster Prototyping

Sinas first heard about Golioth on Chris Gammel’s podcast, The Amp Hour in an episode with Golioth CEO Jonathan Beri. Beri connected Sinas with a client in the utility space that needed a proof of concept using OpenThread, a low-power protocol Golioth supports.

“Golioth’s ability to get a proof of concept running quickly is extremely valuable to us.”

Michael Eatherly
Senior Software Engineer, Ovyl

To solve their challenge, Ovyl implemented Golioth, an IoT platform that simplifies the process of connecting hardware and embedded stacks with the web. By using Golioth, Ovyl was able to speed up prototyping, reduce the time spent on connectivity protocols, and allocate more time towards product functionality and improved designs.

The Implementation

With device tooling handled by Golioth, Ovyl stays focused on product development.

The implementation of Golioth allowed Ovyl to quickly create a proof of concept for a client using Open Thread, a low-power protocol that Golioth supports. This would have normally taken weeks to complete but was finished in days with the help of Golioth’s library. Additionally, Ovyl was able to connect sensors using the Thread protocol, set up a mesh network, and capture data in real-time without having to log, store, and crunch data through a custom built back end service.

“Golioth provided a library for getting online quickly with our Thread network and getting that data out to the internet. Other platforms leave it to you to figure out how to capture your product payload and get it out, and store it somewhere. Instead of having to hand roll all that, Golioth helped us build a  Thread network with all our devices, communicating to their  portal, in a matter of days,” Sinas continues, “We’ve worked with a lot of communications protocols and most of the time, we’ve had to build our own ‘Golioth’ type platform. It was so nice to see our data on their platform, and show it off to the client, so we can go and focus on the actual product functionality.”

Product engineers often spend precious time connecting their hardware stack with their embedded stack and the web. One of Golioth’s core tenets is to simplify the “messy middle” so engineers can focus on core product functionality.

“Even if you’ve got a complex networking stack you don’t have to worry about it,” Eatherly goes on to say, “Golioth gives you the chance to focus on the business logic instead of writing the drivers to connect to the internet, and all the side quests to store data. And Golioth gives that to you, in real time with LightDB streaming,”

Ovyl’s first step is validating their prototype, a task that can make or break your project. “Sometimes you’re so focused on your hardware stack, there’s little time left to figure out the transport layer, your servers, proxy servers, and all that. Golioth alleviates that pain.” Sinas explains.

Ovyl’s utility project required working with sensors using the Thread protocol. They were tasked with creating a mesh network of these sensors by capturing and sending information through the series of meshed sensors to a border router to gather the performance data across the network.

“To test out our prototype, we needed to see how far we could expand our mesh network. We set up a bunch of devices inside of little tupperware containers outside in a field using Thread. It was so simple to get the devices connected and communicating with each other, and the feedback was instant.  We were able to connect and see all the data in real time,” explains Eatherly, “With other programs you need to log it somewhere, store it, and come back to it at a later time. Golioth cut out all those steps.”

Sinas agrees, “We drastically reduced the time it took to validate our prototype, and were able to start adding device functionality and show it off to our client.”

As part of this particular proof of concept, Ovyl wanted product analytics. With Golioth’s tight integrations with Grafana and some customizations, Ovyl was able to produce a polished dashboard of a functioning prototype. Sinas stated, “We often end up with giant log files and a ton of data that we have to crunch through. It’s a lot of work to figure out how to understand the performance. Golioth allows you to take your payloads and stream them through to Grafana to create helpful data visualizations so you can actually see performance of your product. And that’s great for us because we can take that and put it in front of the client. And Golioth gives you a much more polished approach to prototyping. And our customers can take that prototype and the data and it’s nice enough to show off to VCs.”

“Golioth allows us to use a client’s budget in more impactful ways.”

Nick Sinas
Head of Technology, Ovyl

Sinas details, “Because we don’t have to start from scratch, we can reallocate funds we would have used for the prototyping phase and put it towards building out more product functionality or hand it off to another internal team to start rendering sooner or CAD design or custom electronics design. In the end, it means our customers are happier, and end users get a more thoughtful product in their hands.”

Eatherly adds, “Time savings goes even further that since we’re a multidisciplinary company, other departments can get started faster. In the past, other teams have had to wait before getting started because we’re the ones who are going to choose the hardware platform that they have to build around. And so the fact that we can validate it really fast, helps them to move quicker. They’re no longer waiting on us.”

“We’ve built some really successful prototypes with Golioth and are excited to explore other projects in the future.” concludes Eatherly.

By using Golioth, Ovyl was able to streamline the prototyping process and create feature-rich connected devices faster than ever before. This allowed them to allocate more funds towards product functionality and improved designs, ultimately leading to happier customers and end-users. Ovyl plans to continue using Golioth for future projects and is excited about the potential for more successful prototypes and helping their customers get to production faster, in the near future.

If you’d like to reach out to Ovyl to learn more about their capabilities or how they leverage Golioth, you can contact them via their website.

Golioth Platform, Grafana, Thread
Use case
Prototyping, Feasibility Study
Product Solutions Partner

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