Levi ski resort in Lapland selected Frends integration platform to be the backbone of its digital customer experience – Levi.ski Mobile application. Digital Integration Hub (DIH) concept utilized in the project and executed by Frends iPaaS ensures a smooth data flow from various sources and systems. It allows the flexibility to plug-in new APIs to continuously develop new digital services.
Levi Ski Resort in Lapland is Finland's leading ski resort. Levi business's foundation is formed by the sales of ski lift passes, ski school courses, equipment rentals, and quality outdoor clothing stores. Levi resort infrastructure covers a wide range of services, including first aid points, restaurants, buses & shuttles, centres for children, stores, and more than 40 slopes of different difficulty levels, and 27 ski lifts.
Levi resort realized the need for integrations when they started the project "Smart Mountain" in early 2020. The goal was to create a mobile interface that would deliver the collected and unified data from various sources. Levi resort wanted to give customers access to real-time information, such as weather conditions, slopes availability, transportation schedule, and a customizable digital experience via e-membership, personalized notifications loyalty programme, and discount offers. Gartner calls this approach the "Total Experience" – every piece of information is connected in real-time to a visually stunning mobile app.
Behind Levi App's uniqueness is the integration of all resort's services and slope data executed by Frends iPaaS. The app serves a wide range of information and functionality to create a customer experience that hasn't been seen in ski resorts before.
Marko Mustonen, Business Director at Levi Ski Resort
One of the main challenges was establishing the process to ensure the correct and real-time collection and processing of diverse data. Data sources are IoT sensor data, slope data, and users' personal activity data to support the loyalty program. A combined data then was to be transformed into a unified mobile view and a 3D interactive map. For instance, the slope status data will combine the information on geolocation, opening hours, length, elevation, steepness, and natural snow level.
The underlying systems are best-of-breed, but they are not designed to handle loads that B2C-mobile app may expose them to. For this, Frends developers extended the traditional approach in API development and API Management to the Digital Integration Hub solution (DIH). It meant the development of layered architecture with uncoupled in-memory data storage below the API layer.
The Levi resort was also interested in building back-end integrations and APIs to support its business goals in the long run. To achieve this, they were seeking a solution that would provide scalability and flexibility. In this case, the DIH approach provided the freedom to co-create new services and plug-in new APIs into the systems with ease and whenever needed – without congesting them with hundreds of concurrent requests.
Uncoupled architecture is the key technical aspect of Digital Integration Hub. It is much more cost-effective than the microservice approach that could bring the same technological benefits - or it can be considered as one way of implementing the microservice architecture. It includes all the benefits of Frends enterprise iPaaS like security, API management and API hosting. DIH approach enabled digitalization of legacy systems and those systems that were not designed to handle the load from a B2C mobile app. The APIs use the data from the Redis cache that updates constantly. Some updates, for example, to loyalty points when the user is purchasing something, are written through the cache and persisted right away.
DIH ensures continuous data retrieval from all sorts of sources and systems by having a shared internal data storage and data pumps. Data pumps are separate Frends processes that underlying system trigger. They also include the logics for ensuring data consistency in case of multiple write or update operations to the underlying line-of-business system. Moreover, as the Digital Integration Hub is in Frends ipaas, it natively supports API gateway functionality, security and authentication mechanisms, and analytics & monitoring.
What Levi Ski Resort received is the unique and only mobile application in the leisure and ski industry that unified such a wide range of data:
The app utilizes a number of data sources; Levi Ski Resort's multi-channel content management system, snow cannons integrated and separate IoT weather stations, the Finnish Meteorological Institute's weather forecast, as well as, operator location data and GPS chips for vehicle positioning.
The app serves users' day-to-day needs around the resort and improve customer satisfaction and experience: a user can access their receipts, activity and membership history, leasing status, and collect points.
The loyalty program is closely linked to Levi's marketing automation, tactical sales campaigns, four different purchasing channels, and content management. Connected to the application's strong map-centricity, Levi's other digital services and the application's instant messaging features, the program also enables very fast-cycling local customer flow control.
The solution also allows the flexible and cost-efficient development of new features and services, like chats and real-time interaction with friends and other users in the slopes.
Frends's low-code approach to API development and process automation makes the monitoring of the digital backbone easy. Every API call instance can be visually audited with all the data used during the execution of the API. Visual audit-trail makes monitoring and problem solving much faster and thus cost-efficient than with log browsing tools.
In terms of architecture, documentation, and maintenance processes, the application is a model example of the implementation of good DevOps practices, bringing significant flexibility, stability, and ease of use to all parties involved both in support and development.
What is achieved:
- Lightning-fast API-functions from all systems including sensors (IoT) – API speed leads to better user experience
- Scalable API and data storage layer that adjusts to volumes – cost savings
- Reduced Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
- Whole new services by mashing up information from systems and sensors leading to a "Total Experience" for the customer
Levi Ski app integrated data sources processed via frends iPaaS:
- Real-time weather data from TechnoAlpin automated snowguns
- Real-time skier location and lifts usage from Ski Data
- All restaurant and shop loyalty data from PoS – systems
- CRM for targeted advertising and campaigns
- Real-time public transportation schedules and routes
- Slope and ski-trail information from snowcats