Mothership Modernizes Freight Shipping with Real-Time Data

Mothership uses PubNub to power real-time shipment status updates for assets in their freight platform.

With PubNub, Mothership:

  • Rebuilt their mobile app so that it could operate reliably and at scale to push out data in real-time to their client-side applications.

  • Powers real-time shipment updates, helping carriers deliver freight faster. 

  • Can focus their development efforts on iterating quickly.

Mothership Modernizes Freight Shipping with Real-Time Data

“PubNub is the driving force in our mobile app. If we turned off PubNub right now, carriers would not be able to use our app to service shipments on a daily basis.”

-Jacob Richards, Staff Software Engineer at Mothership

Meet Mothership

Mothership is modernizing the freight industry with its all-in-one shipping platform. Their mission is to ensure that freight gets to the right carriers at the right times by connecting shipments to the nearest trucks and sending them on the fastest route possible.

Their platform gives customers the ability to track freight on a map in real time, which provides full visibility into their shipment from the time it is picked up to the time it is delivered. Additionally, they offer carriers the flexibility to choose their own schedule, allowing them to maximize efficiency and earn within the same day of delivery.

Because their platform is focused on speed and transparency throughout the delivery process, it’s essential that Mothership is able to deliver real-time updates to their customers. However, due to usage spikes, Mothership found themselves needing a solution that could operate reliably and at scale to push out real-time data to their client-side applications. So when it came time to rebuild their mobile app, they turned to PubNub. 

Operating reliably to deliver shipment updates 

Mothership uses PubNub for real-time shipment status updates in their mobile app. “PubNub is the driving force in our mobile app. If we turned off PubNub right now, carriers would not be able to use our app to service shipments on a daily basis,” said Jacob Richards, Staff Software Engineer at Mothership.

With Mothership, carriers are able to find what shipment offers are available to them and accept an offer directly in the app. From there, carriers will receive the list of shipments and be notified about what order they need to be delivered in through shipment updates via PubNub—keeping all devices and relevant parties in the loop. For instance, their platform receives a shipment order and then Mothership creates those orders in their system, assigns them, connects the freight to the nearest carrier, and sends it on the fastest route. 

“For our mobile app, PubNub powers everything,” said Richards. “Being able to hook these real-time data changes into any of our services and push that data out on our client-side application is essential. “PubNub also supports our backend event-driven architecture, as we can subscribe to changes in relevant domains, then push those changes out to the clients via PubNub.” 

Quickly iterating on their mobile app

Before partnering with PubNub, Mothership relied very heavily on other solutions in order to handle these real-time data changes, such as direct database change subscriptions, which result in a tight coupling between client-side applications and backend data schemas. But as they grew from 10 engineers to 30 engineers—supporting hundreds of shipments booked per second—they wanted to be able to focus their development efforts on iterating their mobile app more quickly and supporting their continued growth. 

“Just looking at all the technology out there, PubNub really fit the bill just because it was plug-and-play,” said Richards. After surveying different solutions, Richards and his team built out a proof of concept mobile app and corresponding backend services with PubNub. Once doing so, the team found that the simple implementation process and the ability to easily integrate PubNub into their existing tech stack made the choice of partnering with PubNub clear.

The engineering team at Mothership uses Kafka to drive an event-based architecture on their backend, so integration with PubNub was simple. All that was needed was to subscribe to existing. “It's really quick for any of our services to integrate with that sort of library,” said Richards. 

Providing real-time visibility into freight delivery

Since using PubNub, Mothership has been able to push out real-time data to assets and scale their platform with ease. Mothership also has access to Datadog dashboards, which allows them to monitor PubNub behavior and to be alerted if any issues arise. This provides them with real-time visibility, allowing their team to actively find and solve problems, like ensuring that freight gets picked up and delivered on time. 

Looking to the future as Mothership’s usage continues to grow, Richards and his team are confident that PubNub will be able to reliably power their real-time needs. 

“With PubNub, we have the ability to do whatever fetching or data materialization that we need to do on the backend, and push exactly what we need into PubNub,” said Richards. “In the future, I’m excited to explore the other functionality that PubNub offers.” 

If you would like to learn how PubNub can help you easily power your platform with reliable, real-time features—get in touch with our team of experts.