Amazon Web Services > Case Studies > iRobot's Transformation: From Hardware Vendor to IoT Cloud Application Leader

iRobot's Transformation: From Hardware Vendor to IoT Cloud Application Leader

Amazon Web Services Logo
Technology Category
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) - Public Cloud
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) - Application Development Platforms
Applicable Industries
  • Buildings
  • Equipment & Machinery
Applicable Functions
  • Sales & Marketing
Use Cases
  • Autonomous Robots
  • Smart Campus
  • Cloud Planning, Design & Implementation Services
  • Hardware Design & Engineering Services
About The Customer
iRobot is a leading global consumer robot company that designs and builds robots to empower people to do more both inside and outside the home. The company created the home-cleaning robot category with the introduction of its Roomba Vacuuming Robot in 2002. Today, iRobot is a global enterprise that has sold more than 20 million robots worldwide. Its product line, including the Roomba and the Braava family of mopping robots, features proprietary technologies and advanced concepts in cleaning, mapping, and navigation. iRobot engineers are building an ecosystem of robots and data to enable the smart home.
The Challenge
iRobot, a global consumer robot company, faced a significant challenge in 2015. The company had sold 14,000 of its Roomba robotic vacuums on the first Amazon Prime Day, highlighting its reputation for innovation and value. However, this success also underscored a looming challenge. In September, iRobot was set to release its first internet-connected Roomba vacuums. Until then, iRobot had primarily operated as a hardware vendor. The introduction of connected Roomba vacuums meant that large numbers of people would be using the iRobot HOME App to set up and control their robots. This would result in high volumes of traffic through the app, requiring iRobot to run a high-availability, customer-facing cloud application and an Internet of Things (IoT) backend platform. This was a significant shift from their traditional business model and posed a considerable risk.
The Solution
iRobot decided to build its platform in the public cloud. Initially, they worked with a vendor that provided a turnkey solution for launching the first cloud-connected Roomba in September 2015. However, as the number of connected customers and services quickly multiplied, iRobot recognized it needed a solution that could scale more quickly and allowed for more direct control. The company decided to move its mission-critical platform to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud. AWS offered scalability, global availability, and a breadth of services. iRobot used about 25 AWS services, including AWS Lambda and the AWS IoT platform, to run the web applications that connect to the new Wi-Fi-connected Roomba vacuums. By using a serverless architecture based on AWS IoT and AWS Lambda, iRobot was able to keep the cost of the cloud platform low, avoid the need for subscription services, and manage the solution with fewer than 10 people.
Operational Impact
  • The move to AWS Cloud has transformed iRobot from being primarily a hardware vendor to a company that relies on the cloud to support its IoT backend platform and customer-facing application. This has enabled iRobot to focus on code and customers rather than operations. The serverless architecture and the ease of use of the AWS services have freed up developer time to produce business value. Furthermore, iRobot believes that its connected Roomba vacuums can help solve a problem that has so far prevented the IoT industry from delivering on the true promise of smart-home technologies: a house that simply knows what to do and reacts accordingly. The company is building all this in the AWS Cloud, which is key to making this vision a reality.
Quantitative Benefit
  • iRobot sold 14,000 Roomba robotic vacuums on the first Amazon Prime Day in 2015.
  • Connected Roomba vacuums operate in more than 60 countries.
  • Total sales of connected robots projected to reach more than 2 million by the end of 2017.

Case Study missing?

Start adding your own!

Register with your work email and create a new case study profile for your business.

Add New Record

Related Case Studies.

Contact us

Let's talk!
* Required
* Required
* Required
* Invalid email address
By submitting this form, you agree that IoT ONE may contact you with insights and marketing messaging.
No thanks, I don't want to receive any marketing emails from IoT ONE.

Thank you for your message!
We will contact you soon.