The New Relic platform enables customers from a variety of industries—healthcare, finance, education, sports—to monitor website performance, e-commerce transactions, mobile application reliability, and streaming video quality (just to name a few things). Apdex, throughput, error rates, CPU and memory % usage, page load times—these are all common metrics our customers track about their websites and underlying infrastructures.

While they may share some common metrics and KPIs, most of customers have their own unique use cases. And some of our customers leverage the power of the New Relic platform in some pretty interesting ways. Here are three of my personal favorites.

Tracking tablet battery life

In modern retail environments, there has been a shift away from handling point-of-sale (POS) transactions with traditional cash registers toward relying on desktop computers and, increasingly, portable tablets. Many of our customers now rely on the mobility of internet-enabled tablets, connected to point of sale applications, for viewing inventory in real time, processing credit cards, and providing other types of customer service directly from the sales floor.

But how do you maintain a fleet of POS tablets scattered across the globe? One customer selected New Relic Infrastructure to initially monitor the devices. Since these tablets were usually not connected to a power source, a critical thing to monitor was battery life. To get a deeper understanding of how their tablets’ batteries were performing, they built a custom on-host integration using New Relic’s Integrations SDK. With this integration in place, each tablet was soon reporting the amount of battery life it held, and their operations team was able to monitor usage trends and proactively replace any tablets that weren’t meeting the expected runtime per charge. This significantly decreased downtime, and any wait time imposed on their customers.

Monitoring broken card readers

Another retail customer that was having difficulties with some of their credit card readers had another brilliant extension of New Relic Infrastructure. Without any discernible pattern or clear reason, the card readers, connected to point of sales computers via USB, would stop functioning, and the quick fix was to unplug the readers and plug them back in. Like our customer tracking battery life, this one developed a custom on-host integration to monitor the USB activity. Before long they had enough statistics for which troublesome devices required multiple resets per day and was quickly able to replace them.

Tracking the flow of financial transaction data

In industries like finance, business intelligence is a growing trend—it’s important to understand who your largest customers and partners are, and it’s not always easy or obvious, especially when your business has multiple verticals with different partners. One of our customers in the financial sector knew that establishing visibility into the transactions flowing between partners was the first step to a deeper understanding of how to modernize their business. To achieve the level of visibility they wanted, they worked with New Relic to create a custom Infrastructure integration that parsed certain types of transactions between partners to retrieve metadata about individual transactions as they made their way through the financial system. With this increased visibility, they were able to tell exactly what kinds of transactions were being made between partners and customers, and were thus able to strengthen existing relationships across their vertical markets and start new relationships with other strategic partners.

These are just a few of the clever uses that our customers have devised to leverage the New Relic platform to provide a deeper understanding of their hardware and processes so they could deliver a better experience to their own customers. What questions do you have about your business that remain unanswered? What problems keep your IT, support, and ops teams up at night? The answers might just be closer than you think.

Jonathan Thurman is a senior solutions architect at New Relic. As a longtime site reliability engineer for New Relic, he gained valuable experience on managing large scale systems that he now uses to assist New Relic customers. View posts by .

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