April 25th 2020
Building immersive retail experiences by establishing augmented reality as a new media channel.
Building a deep tech solution in a modern start-up environment can be tricky. This is how Omniaz — a Singapore-based start-up that is building digital solutions to redefine the future of offline shopping — is doing it.
To get the ball rolling, we will publish regular posts that talk all about the underlying tech that powers our solutions, why we chose them, how we build upon them, the challenges we face along the way, and how we overcome them. I hope that over time, the insights from my teammates and me will continue to keep the collaborative spirit of the community alive and inspire someone else in turn.
For now, let’s kick things off with our initial ambition and how we curated a tech stack that best serves our needs.
Taking flight as a modern tech start-up
Omniaz started with a large vision: to digitize the alcohol industry.
Aware that we are at the promising dawn of the AR era, and equipped with solid technological capabilities as well as alcohol industry know-how, we took the next step of identifying the key challenges in the industry which presents as areas of opportunities for us.
It became clear to us where our focus should be, thus we set out to create a new media channel for the alcoholic beverage industry. We wanted to establish a new way for businesses and consumers to interact with one another. We envisioned this exciting, immersive channel to fit easily onto products, and feature diverse AR experiences ranging from educational content, entertainment material, and even gamified elements. All that, loaded on-demand onto a smartphone application, combined with the capability for real-time data collection and backend processing and analysis.
Robust system architecture as a foundation
One of the core pillars that allowed our ambition to become reality is our technology stack and architecture, which is robust yet flexible enough to be adjusted and remoulded to fit evolving business needs.
In order to have some context as to how our vision translates into technology, you need to understand the key characteristics of the solution we are building:
- Globally available and cloud agnostic
- Highly scalable for both data flow as well as user base
- Developed by distributed teams and ready for team scaling
- Secure by design
With all that in mind, off we went to the drawing board. Below is a high level representation of our system architecture.
Although the above diagram seems simple and intuitive, the great power of it lies in the synergy between each component in the tech stack.
We chose the following technologies within our architecture that would work really well together as they were designed to do so:
- Microservices-based architecture
- Golang programming language
- gRPC microservices framework
- Docker containers for services deployment
- Kubernetes for orchestration of docker containers
- GraphQL API as gateway to the microservices system
- React Web and React Native for client applications
- C++ for high performance AI/AR mobile SDK
Building scalable tech systems for modern start-ups
Building a deep tech solution in a modern start-up environment requires versatile technology, expertise on said technology, and exceptional system design. Traditional technology architectures and approaches are bound by many limitations that simply do not fit our circumstances (i.e. distributed teams, capital availability, time constraint, etc.) and reinventing the wheel is not an option. Therefore, learning from the market leaders and applying proven designs and patterns is the best way to find the middle ground between a solid yet lean technological solution.
For a more in-depth look at how we built upon our chosen tech stack into the globally present digital solution that is DRNK:AR, watch this space for the next part of this blog coming up in two weeks’ time.