Akamai enables SOBERLINK to boost portal performance, availability and security while reducing server load

“With Akamai’s service in place, we can add sophistication to our offering without compromising portal performance.”

Chris Pursley , VP of Software Architecture , SOBERLINK

The Situation

Founded in 2010, SOBERLINK, Inc. developed the first handheld mobile breath device, enabling secure, remote alcohol monitoring. Those in criminal justice and addiction treatment use this automated system for convenient and discreet alcohol testing. In fact, SOBERLINK is used for alcohol offender sentencing in 45 out of 50 states in the U.S. Within just a few short years, this tool also proved to be an integral part of the recovery period for people struggling with alcohol dependency, as well as anyone assisting with the process.

The SOBERLINK device obtains a breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) reading from a user’s breath. It then transmits the reading along with the user’s GPS location and a photograph for identification verification to a cloud-based web portal where the monitoring party can access and review the test results. The portal receives the results of over 20,000 remote breath tests per day, equaling more than 140,000 per week.

The Challenge

SOBERLINK’s mission is to enable sobriety monitoring anytime, anywhere. As such, its service is to provide results 24x7, giving the monitoring party remote access to the client’s BrAC, location and a point-in-time photo for each test. As Heather Fitzgerald, Marketing and Communications Manager for SOBERLINK explains, “If our customers cannot access their clients’ testing results, we aren’t living up to our promise.” At the same time, the information that is stored on SOBERLINK’s web portal is highly sensitive and should never be at risk of a confidentiality compromise.

With that in mind, SOBERLINK monitors its portal to ensure fast website performance and page load speeds. Once the portal began receiving increasing numbers of test results and higher traffic volumes, SOBERLINK took measures to prevent server downtime. As a quick fix, it modified HTTP headers to enable browser caching of its image assets. However, the company knew it needed to put a more robust and permanent solution in place.

The Goal

SOBERLINK needed to meet three key requirements to support its objectives:

  • Protect sensitive information:  The company wanted to make sure that the confidentiality of test results and client-related information would not be compromised.
  • Enrich the portal experience:  SOBERLINK wanted to provide every portal visitor with a stellar web experience.
  • Reduce server load:  The company wanted to alleviate its origin servers of Internet traffic and delivery burdens.

Why Akamai

Going with the Industry Leader

From the start, SOBERLINK knew a content delivery network (CDN) was its best option. According to Chris Pursley, SOBERLINK’s VP of Software Architecture, Akamai was the company’s first and only choice. “Akamai is the industry leader and provided precisely the solution we needed with its Dynamic Site Accelerator Secure service.” Moreover, he was pleased that Akamai provided everything necessary to get SOBERLINK up and running quickly.

Tapping into the Highest Security Measures

Because the test results stored on SOBERLINK’s web portal are confidential electronic health records, the portal is HIPAA compliant and password protected. Moreover, when the results are delivered via the Akamai content delivery network, they are protected using industry-leading security measures, including an authentication mechanism on the Edge. As an added benefit, SOBERLINK gained asset redundancy by storing its portal content on the Akamai network.

Optimizing Portal Performance While Reducing Origin Traffic

Recognizing that the perception of portal performance affects the site visitor experience, SOBERLINK appreciates the fact that the Akamai CDN solution drastically reduced page load times by 75%. It also significantly reduced traffic to its origin servers and the IO/CPU load on its image-processing servers.

In addition to enabling SOBERLINK to deliver on its core mission, Akamai’s cloud services have allowed the company to further expand the value it delivers to its customers. For example, SOBERLINK increased the automation of its portal without needing to change its infrastructure.

In early 2014, the company’s monitoring customers could start taking advantage of a significant increase in automation with a feature called AFR™ (Adaptive Facial Recognition). SOBERLINK’s AFR™ technology matches the point-in-time photo of the tester with a master photo template. The adaptive intelligence of the software is unique to SOBERLINK and ensures that the comparison template will always be closest to the current appearance of the participant to maintain accuracy. “With Akamai’s service in place, we can add sophistication to our offering without compromising portal performance,” concludes Pursley.


Founded in 2010, SOBERLINK, Inc. is the leader in developing innovative mobile alcohol monitoring devices and services to help change behavior and promote accountability. Call 714-975-7200 or visit to learn more.