Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Secret Sauce

FedEx Custom Critical team is doing an awesome and very innovative work out there. Here you can see Michael Coté interviewing Adam Mollenkopf, Strategic Technologist at FedEx Custom Critical.

In the interview and demo Adam shows one of the applications they are working on and the level of complexity involved in it. The final solution, obviously require a lot of different technologies to achieve its goals, that Adam and the FedEx team puts together. That includes as we can see from the demo the Adobe stack in the front end, Drools Expert for knowledge reasoning, Drools Fusion for event processing, a geo-spatial framework, etc.

The interview+demo is focused on the Adobe technologies, but just to explain which role the "Secret Sauce" (as Michael Coté kindly calls the reasoning engine at the end of the second video) plays on the application, it is enough to say that Drools Expert and Drools Fusion are responsible for processing in real time all the Business Rules involved in such application by applying them to all the data + events coming from all the event sources they listen to. What event sources? An informal way to say:

  • Vehicle positioning stream: "Mr Customer, our truck will arrive at your dock station in 15...5...1 minute!"
  • Shipment stream: "Of course we can take your shipment. In fact we will ring at your door in 7 minutes"
  • Stop event stream: all events from all stops (call them destinations if you will) are tracked
  • Refrigerated Trailers event stream: "Mr Customer, we maintained a valid temperature range of your perishable goods from pickup to delivery.”
  • Traffic flow stream: traffic jams? a new route please....
  • Traffic incidents stream: rough road ahead... can we re-route?
  • Weather stream: fog in Boston airport? re-route to New York!

Drools Fusion just chews all of them, with FedEx's business intelligence modeled as rules and delivers the answers they need.

A nice use case, with a great solution!

Thanks to Michael Coté and to Adam Mollenkopf for the interview and the demo!