Over-the-Air (OTA) Update - Solution for Remote Firmware Updates

The Over-The-Air update, often referred to as OTA, makes it easy to update these devices because it allows you to send software updates to remotely-loaded devices.

Over-the-Air (OTA) Update - Solution for Remote Firmware Updates

Recently two subjects are gaining momentum in the technology landscape, the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the way physical objects are connected and communicating with each other and/or with the user, transmitting data over a network, so that information can be exchanged. These objects can be found in different places with different functionalities, such as: domestic, hospital, sports, among others. This connectivity and intelligence of IoT devices has gradually modified the way the industries work, resulting in a new industry model, called Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 proposes a major paradigm shift in the way the factories are operating. This means that there is a complete decentralization of the control of productive processes and a proliferation of intelligent devices interconnected throughout the entire production and logistics chain, allowing a fusion of the physical, digital and biological world.

With the advancement of IoT and Industry 4.0, the number of devices connected to the Internet is growing exponentially and, consequently, the amount of software that is embedded in these devices. In this way, markets tend to be increasingly competitive and agile, forcing each productive sector to deliver improvements and corrections of its products in an increasingly faster and safer way.

The Over-The-Air update, often referred to as OTA, makes it easy to update these devices because it allows you to send software updates to remotely-loaded devices. There are several types of OTA upgrade solutions, ranging from proprietary, open-source solutions to enterprise solutions.

Choosing the type of OTA solution to use in your product depends on the purpose the user wants to achieve. So, there are no good or bad choices, just those that meet or not your requirements. For this, we must take into account the hidden cost, such as, bandwidth, storage, service maintenance, among others.

OTA solutions have different characteristics for different applications. A proprietary solution is used when the objective is to study how OTA solutions work or when there are no solutions that meet the functionalities. The use of proprietary solutions have their set of challenges and are not intended for use in critical devices such as healthcare, since a failure during the upgrade process may pose a great risk to the device.

To minimize these risks there are open-source solutions, where with the help of the community there is a greater care with the OTA solution, having a greater security in the implemented solution. However, we have the burden of maintaining the server and having the resources, such as time, personnel and costs, to produce the changes that are necessary for our application. As the product scope increases, this solution is costly and complex.

To stay focused on your application and reduce costs with OTA, products with complexity and security needs can benefit from an enterprise solution. Corporate OTA abstracts implementation difficulties, ensures security, and eases modifications when applying them to the product. Generally these solutions have a cost of use, which depending on the project, this cost is minimized.

In the next post, we'll cover UpdateHub. An open-source, enterprise-class OTA solution that simplifies the IoT device upgrade process. This enables you to deliver updates that contain fixes and enhancements to devices anywhere on the globe.

If you have any questions, you can contact us at contact@updatehub.io or via our channel at https://gitter.im/UpdateHub.