RESTful API Design: A Device Deployment Microservice; Product Digitalization in the Automotive Industry

Mu, Boheng, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Vrugtman, Rosanne, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia
Forelle, MC, Department Enter or copy from below EN-Engineering and Society PV-Institutional Research and Analytics, University of Virginia

Software as a Service (SaaS) refers to a method of offering software services to end-users through internet interfaces, instead of having the software installed directly on a computer. SaaS has transformed our way of viewing, building, and interacting with services, the music and movie industry for example. Contents that were once stored in a physical medium and has its access limited to physical proximity, can now be accessed anywhere and anytime given the proper internet access. This transition from tangible ownership to intangible access opens an abundance of new opportunities and raises questions about its effect. Over the summer of 2022, I had the pleasure of interning with a leading SaaS provider in the industry. Throughout my time there I was able to garner the experience of how services are built and some of the design decisions around them. This experience also cultivated my interest in the subject and the industry, which lead me to the STS research topic of exploring the effects of SaaS outside of pure software settings.
As a part of my summer internship experience, I worked on a team that provides a deployment and development platform for IoT devices. The testing framework for their service is monolithic and is deployed per test case, resulting in inefficient allocation of resources and interference from test cases using the same devices. As an intern, I was tasked with decoupling the device provisioning process as a micro-service in the form of a RESTful API designed to follow industry standards and internal specifications for path, method, and payload. The implementation exclusively utilizes company-provided technology and draws on industry practices such as testing and OOP, namely the Swagger Open API specification. The API I designed was ultimately able to deploy devices for the company’s cloud computing service and fully utilize the scaling capability that was ostracized before. I successfully demonstrated the API using an internal device testing service. However, due to the time constraint and the scope of the project, I had to forgo integration with the existing test framework. Further development is currently in the process of integrating with the existing test framework and the physical device lab the team manages.
My STS project seeks to investigate how the automotive industry has enacted closure around the subscription model, powered by SaaS. Subscription services have become an integral part of our daily lives, and they are all around us. These types of services have a plethora of benefits to both the consumers and the providers. Subscription services offer consumers the convenience of regular access to products and services at a predictable cost without worrying about managing individual purchases. For the service providers, providing their service as a subscription brings in a constant and predictable revenue stream. Given its benefits and its increasing popularity, the subscription has been adopted by many different industries, some more surprising than others. One such industry is the automotive industry, which was the centerpiece of my STS research project. To answer my research question, “How have auto manufacturers enacted closure by redefinition of the problem around software as a service model”, I analyzed PR materials and marketing materials from the manufacturers and opinion editorials from numerous news outlets. From the sources, I conducted a discourse analysis to assess the position each group has around this offering subscription service in vehicles. Furthermore, I borrowed from the STS framework Social Construction of Technologies (SCOT) to help me analyze how societal and technological domains co-exist. From my research, I concluded that the consumer did not find closure in this technology being imposed on their vehicles and the automotive manufacturers should reconsider the use case for such technology.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Software as a Service, Subscription, IoT

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Technical Advisor: Rosanne Vrugtman
STS Advisor: MC Forelle

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