Centralized firmware update service

The needs

The great number and growing complexity of IoT devices makes it increasingly necessary to have an easy way to update their firmware during in-field operation without any manual action.

The ability to perform in-field firmware updates on already installed devices allows their evolution over time, like the addition of new features, or bug fixes operations.

The ability to remote and automatically update firmware of connected devices to the internet increases their ability and security features, and can also generate additional business opportunities, like the addition of new paid features.

On these premises, iSEMAR defined its own centralized firmware update solution, able of managing all the different types and hardware/firmware architecture of its connected devices.

The challenges

  • Support for multiple communication protocols
  • Communications security and authentication of remote devices
  • Multiple formats of firmware image files
  • Differential firmware update management
  • Update can be scheduled, incremental and selectable for models, batches or single serial numbers
  • Management of updates of any auxiliary content (e.g. sounds, logos, child-device firmware ...)
  • Available as IaaS, PaaS and SaaS

The realization

iSOS-update service, available in IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, acts as the centralized firmware update function for all iSEMAR devices. The service can be accessed by all devices via HTTPS and CoAP protocols, to support even simple MCU-based devices with limited memory and computation resources. The iSOS-update service manages the authentication of received requests and allows the definition of which firmware and additional contents (if any) must be present in the remote devices.

The definition of the contents can be differentiated by model (product code), by year and by batch, up to the single serial number, allowing maximum control and flexibility on the contents to be distributed to the in-field devices.

The service supports multiple formats of firmware contents (binary, srec, hex, iSEMAR package...) and is able to dynamically produce differential updates for devices that support its use, allowing an optimization of the transferred data volume (critical on low bitrate systems) and the relative transfer time. iSOS-update also supports configurable filter mechanisms for the programmatic selection of contents, e.g. to create update paths that may be necessary in the life of the devices.

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