Pirate Studios

Pirate Studios reduces costs by 90% with AWS



needed a solution for all studios to manage power to the studio equipment, ensuring reliable performance for customers during bookings and reliable shutdowns at the end of the booked period. Pirate Studios installed kill switches in 770+ studios that allow them to shut off all power to the equipment if clients overstay their booking or break any of the house rules.

Pirate Studios set up their first-generation kill switch system on balena but found that rising costs over time were making the expense prohibitive. Additionally, balena provided no way to report on kill switch uptime without writing code to incorporate third-party software, so Pirate couldn't gain any insights into how the devices were performing. Amazon CloudWatch was already the primary metrics platform across the business and off-the-shelf AWS IoT Greengrass components like the log manager component allowed us to get logs shipped to CloudWatch with no development work.


  • Studio uptime data for managers
  • Kill-switch health data for developers
  • Alerts
  • Cost reduction
  • Extendability
  • Scalability
  • Ease of integration with other AWS-hosted applications


Since Pirate had already invested in the Raspberry Pi devices, Green Custard recommended keeping them and moving to a new provider rather than starting from scratch, recognising their potential to deliver on a better platform.

“The wealth of information available on the AWS community made it much easier to research potential solutions and find support,” says Joe Savage, Director of Engineering at Pirate Studios.


The integration between the booking sub-system and the power scheduler sub-system is through an SQS integration where SQS is used to communicate events such as a “booking made” event. The events that are shown in the diagram are a sample only and there are many events which are published to SQS and are handled by the power scheduler sub-system.

The solution uses several AWS fully managed IoT services such as AWS IoT Core, AWS IoT Greengrass and others to achieve the expected outcome. AWS IoT Greengrass is an edge software that manages the operation of edge Raspberry Pi devices remotely from the cloud. AWS IoT Greengrass is used to deploy and manage device software and configuration remotely and at scale.

Amazon SQS is used as the main integration method between the booking sub-system and the power scheduler sub-system.


By moving to an AWS IoT solution, Pirate Studios expects to reduce their monthly kill-switch-related hosting costs by 90%. The new solution provides a solid foundation for future growth, will be easy to deploy rapidly at scale and offers the opportunity to easily add new features in the future.

Pirate Studios will measure the project's success through various metrics tailored to different stakeholders. Key indicators include device health insights for developers and uptime data for operations managers.

In conclusion, Pirate Studios' partnership with Green Custard for an AWS-based solution has provided the company with a cost-effective, efficient, extendable and scalable system to manage their studio kill switches, ensuring enhanced security and reliability across their global network of studios.

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