MobyMax halved the cost of bringing live digital learning to millions

MobyMax is a rapidly expanding, US-based EdTech company. It relies on realtime to provide 28.7 million students and 1.5 million teachers with deeply engaging live, interactive learning and assessment tools.

cust-logo-mobymax-col-neg (1).svg
Size:

Scaleup

Industry:

EdTech

Use case:

App-based learning

THE PROBLEM
Putting reliable live experiences at the heart of digital learning

In 2018, MobyMax launched Moby Suite, which encompasses assessments, practice modules, and a sophisticated learning management system. It features the most motivating student rewards program on the market as well as targeted learning and feedback to enhance individual development, even in classes with 30-40 students. 

Live experiences have been crucial to the success of MobyMax from day one, elevating the digital learning experience for students and teachers alike and generating around 20 realtime million messages every day. It offers engagement tools like games, live scores and team-based learning, but also enables more effective communication between students, peers and teachers – whether they are carrying out tasks, checking progress, asking and answering questions, using curriculum-based tests and games, or using teachers’ anti-cheat tools.

However, all that crucial functionality was disrupted when MobyMax’s original realtime provider suffered a series of outages. Coupled with unresponsive service, lack of status updates, the outages seriously affected the learning experience for millions of users - while unexplained usage spikes led to unexpected billing 

MobyMax’s VP of Engineering, David Pennar, and his team were determined that they could never be allowed to happen again.

20 million

Messages per day

49

Education industry awards last year

50% reduction

Realtime costs have halved

Ably set a new gold standard for the type of service we expect from third parties. They were present as we got the system up and running, proactively notifying us of unexpected usage spikes indicating suspected bugs so we could take pre-emptive measures. On top of that we got great support and advice on ways we could use Ably’s realtime functionality to immediately optimize our product suite.

David PennarVP Engineering
THE SOLUTION
Reliable realtime at scale and a partner for growth

Pennar considered whether MobyMax should build its own realtime infrastructure: “Our first thought? Why don’t we just build it - how hard can it be? It turns out - hard! While we knew we could never build enterprise level infrastructure, we thought we could build enough realtime functionality to keep the product up and running. But even doing the cost runs to determine what this would cost to host and run on AWS made it clear building our own infrastructure didn’t make sense. We weren’t going to save money, not to mention the fact we’d then carry responsibility for running these servers.”

Instead, MobyMax turned to Ably for the reliable, highly-scalable realtime infrastructure it needed, and for a partner it could rely on for support – from implementation to ongoing innovation. Pennar commented: “Ably wasn’t the sort of company to just make the sale and let it go. They were present as we got the system up and running, proactively notifying us of unexpected usage spikes indicating suspected bugs so we could take pre-emptive measures. On top of that we got great support and advice on ways we could use Ably’s realtime functionality to immediately optimize our product suite.”

The migration to Ably was quick, easy and delivered in two phases. It started with a simple, no-code switch between providers, before quickly moving on to optimization - for instance drawing on Ably’s additional realtime functionality to reduce message volumes and find efficiencies that would also allow Pennar’s team to focus on building out innovative new features.

20 million

Messages per day

49

Education industry awards last year

50% reduction

Realtime costs have halved

THE RESULTS
Live learning experiences at half the cost

First and foremost, MobyMax’s concerns about the reliability and scalability of its realtime infrastructure have been consigned to the past, thanks to Ably’s meticulous design for elastic scale and high availability – which leaves plenty of scope for growth beyond current volumes of 20 million messages per day across more than 30 million users. 

Crucially, that peace of mind did not come at an elevated cost – quite the opposite. Optimizing MobyMax’s realtime set-up during migration, as well as a live dashboard and reporting to enable Pennar’s team to proactively address traffic spikes and bugs, saw annual message volumes drop from 2 billion to 500 million. As a result, realtime costs have fallen by half and reduced server load has further cut costs, in turn allowing heightened investment in the core product.

The migration to Ably has also proven a catalyst for user experience innovation, thanks to a rich feature set and outstanding support. For instance Ably’s channel presence feature gives teachers and students a live view of who is online, which enables more immediate, efficient communication. 

Finally, Ably’s infrastructure allows MobyMax to plan a series of brand-new features. These include realtime games and competitions to further enhance student engagement and motivation, as well as improvements to the accuracy of targeted-learning features.

20 million

Messages per day

49

Education industry awards last year

50% reduction

Realtime costs have halved

THE NUMBERS

Milestones at a glance

82%

of K-8 schools have adopted MobyMax's technology

28.7 million

students registered

1.5 million

teachers registered