What do we do in the background?

Aiir is a managed web platform, maintained daily by our team.

Behind our web interface, mobile apps and websites that we host is a complex series of interlinked services, many of which are hosted with Amazon Web Services.

So what is behind the scenes?

How we use Amazon Web Services

  • Websites are hosted on Amazon's EC2, the leading cloud computing platform.
  • Databases are hosted on Amazon's RDS service.
  • Assets like images, audio and CSS are hosted on Amazon's S3 service.
  • We use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) for delivering static assets and our websites using Amazon's CloudFront service.
  • DNS is managed using Amazon's Route 53 service.
  • We absorb the cost of bandwidth and data transfer, regardless of how busy your service is.
  • Our services are continuously monitored - our dedicated team respond as quickly as possible to emergencies.
  • We plan and carry out upgrades of server and database software, to ensure our services are secure and efficient.
  • We monitor server metrics and automatically scale up our servers to cope with a sudden increase in demand - we purchase extra services on your behalf at a moment’s notice, and reduce capacity again once this demand reduces.
  • We backup all data on a daily basis using Amazon’s web services.
  • We've built systems to make it simple to obtain an SSL certificate and use it on your website. Certificates can come at a cost, but our service is free and requires zero setup configuration or maintenance for certificate renewal.
  • We use Amazon's Elasticache and Redis, to continuously cache information about the website structure and content, so that web pages load as fast as possible, and we’re improving this all the time, so the sites are even more responsive at busier times.
  • We actively monitor traffic to websites on customers behalf, and react when necessary to block IP addresses of users who pose a threat to the stability of all services.

Third party services we use

  • Our support platform is hosted with Help Scout - all our support communication and articles like this one are managed by them.
  • Email handling and integration with SendGrid for reliable delivery of:

    • Emails from website forms
    • Handling of member registration, forgotten password, birthdays, welcome emails
    • Newsletters
    • Reminders and notifications, such as when an advertising campaign is about to expire, or when a local event has been submitted
    • Mobile app download statistics
  • Processing, continuous management and maintenance of services for now playing data, to fetch information and provide rich music information:
    • Track, artist and album information from MusicBrainz, of which we are a Bronze tier supporter
    • Cover art from iTunes
    • iTunes and Amazon purchase links
    • Artist bio from Wikipedia
    • Artist imagery
    • Videos from YouTube

Companies we work closely with

  • We work directly with IRNSky News and the Met Office on your behalf, to ensure we can integrate their news and weather information, and we fetch it continuously all day, store it, and feed it into the website and apps.
  • We work directly with GTN and Inrix on your behalf, to integrate their traffic data and feed it into websites, apps and Studio Inbox.
  • We work with SMS providers, and communicate with them on your behalf to ensure this service is reliable and responsive, and displays information in Studio Inbox.
  • We work with playout/automation system providers like RCS and P Squared, to integrate their ‘now playing’ information.
  • We work directly with Radioplayer:
    • We maintain the web players and ensure they are the latest version on the client’s behalf.
    • If any bugs are found, we communicate directly with Radioplayer and resolve these internally on behalf of clients.
    • We process station, programming and track information, and have built and maintain services which automatically transmit this to Radioplayer’s back-end services, for them to include it in search results, recommendations and users’ favourites.
    • We built and maintain a ‘webview’ which appears in Radioplayer’s mobile and tablet applications, for a useful, branded experience in these environments.

And there's more...

  • We maintain services which interact with Apple’s iTunes Connect and Google’s Play services, to fetch and process app download statistics.
  • We maintain integration with Google Analytics, to provide a great dashboard in Aiir.
  • We integrate with social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and manage direct posting and scheduling of posts, with innovative features like 1-click photo gallery upload to Facebook.
  • Processing of programming schedule information, and building of on air now/next feeds, for use in websites, apps and Radioplayer.
  • Continuous building of RadioVIS slides, hosting of these slides and hosting of a server which compatible devices (such as digital radios) can communicate with to display a dynamic slideshow of on air / track information and advertising.
  • We’re on call first thing in the morning on days such as when heavy snow occurs, to ensure we’re monitoring our services to maintain uptime, and communication with staff during breakfast shows.

We monitor all of this, all day, every day, to ensure a reliable service for our clients and website/app users.