Sonder: creating unique hospitality experiences with balena

Sonder is on a mission to become the biggest and most loved hospitality company in the world.

From their headquarters in San Francisco, the Sonder team operates a new breed of accommodation rentals; one that offers guests hotel-style luxury with all the design, comfort, and flexibility of a serviced apartment, available in cities across North America and Europe.

Their approach is underpinned by technology, giving them the capability to scale and deliver a frictionless experience for their guests. Connected Raspberry Pis are used in all Sonder spaces to control services such as keyless entry, thermostats, and lighting.

As Sonder began adding connected devices, however, the team found it increasingly difficult to manage their growing fleet.

“I was desperately looking for a solution that would make this whole process a little bit easier,” says Dawn Ho, Senior Software Engineer at Sonder. “When I finally came across balena I felt like it was a godsend. It was exactly what we needed, straight out of the box.”

Once they discovered the benefits of balena, it wasn’t long before the Sonder team decided to migrate their existing fleet of devices over to balenaCloud. Naturally, they expected the migration process would be a difficult one, but were pleasantly surprised by how easy it was.

Thanks to balena's brownfield device migration service, they were able to remotely bring their existing fleet onto the balenaCloud platform, rather than visit every site to manually move devices one by one. After migrating hundreds of already-deployed devices, Sonder has been deploying all new devices onto the balena platform as well.

“Balena is incredibly easy to use” says Dawn, “After having fought with Raspberry Pis and operating systems myself, it’s a night and day contrast between using balena to develop software and setting that all up by ourselves.”

"What balena has done for us is to provide visibility on what's happening in our fleet" says Nate Cornell, Software Engineer at Sonder. "Before it was a lot of manual work, and it was very difficult to tell what was actually happening."

“What I like most about the balena service is how it helps us scale,” says Dawn. “We can continually add features as we develop them, as opposed to having to deploy a physical product every time we make an update to our system”

Today, Sonder has a fleet of over 900 devices and growing, deployed across all of their spaces, and managed remotely via the balenaCloud platform.

Find out more about Sonder and check out their stylish range of accommodation by visiting their website. And to learn more about using balena and the balenaCloud platform to manage fleets of connected IoT devices, visit us at balena.io!

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