Getaway is a startup that offers short-term rentals. They specialize in ensuring that the domiciles they offer are far outside city limits and often inaccessible to Internet and cellular connectivity.
Zach Feldman, their VP of Technology, chats with Jason Salaz, a member of the Heroku Support Team, about the unique challenges this requirement imposes. For example, rather than providing a physical key, guests can unlock their cabin door's smart lock with a unique pin code. In order to support their efforts to scale, a custom API was built to ensure that pin codes are registered and deactivated for every check-in and check-out.
Cabins are also equipped with other IoT automation devices, such as leak sensors, which report back to Getaway House if pipes are leaking. Both of these technologies were designed to work on the low latency connections that the cabins are equipped with.
Relying on SMS is another way that the team is able to provide service, as those networks predate much of the current infrastructure that smartphones have come to rely on. Building correct and functional software is difficult, but Zach notes that there's an even greater challenge in scaling fault-tolerant systems in the woods.