Why does the IoT require software or firmware updates for connected devices?
Connecting devices to the Internet creates both opportunities and challenges. Software update capabilities can help both manufacturers and service providers.
In a first, manufacturers can make use of an agile development process, which allows them to start with a minimum viable product (MVP) and then successively improve their devices by adding new features via software updates over the air (SOTA). Continuous connectivity to the product means manufacturers today have the opportunity to create a long-lasting relationship with their customers. Adding functionalities ensures products that are not just attractive to users, but also offer an extended life cycle.
This use case has the potential to be a stand-alone business model because customers bank on future device capabilities. Monetizing features – via apps, for example – without the need to design, manufacture, and ship a new device can generate new revenue streams. Furthermore, domain-specific software providers can build domain-specific SOTA/FOTA service business models that include their own content as well as other external components.
Software update capabilities also ensure a secure IoT: they expressly give manufacturers and IoT service providers an opportunity to resolve security-related issues that may arise after connected devices have been delivered to the customer. Once out in the field, these devices are placed at the forefront of IT security. Embedded software developers must face up to this new challenge by ensuring that security updates are shipped directly to the devices via remote software provisioning mechanisms.
Which domains benefit from software update processes in the IoT?
Automotive: In the past, software updates were provisioned manually at car workshops. By contrast, the cloud solution not only provides onboard connectivity in cars, it also manages direct, automatic software updates over the air.
Manufacturing: IoT gateways in production environments and embedded software in machines can be updated via a software provisioning service, eliminating the need to carry out a manual update. A cloud-based campaign management solution also enables updates to be timed according to shift and production schedules, for example.
Energy: Energy solution providers are increasingly using software update tools and services to better manage the millions of households that are now connected to smart meter systems.
Consumer Goods: The cloud solution enables embedded software updates of consumer goods such as electronic devices, home appliances, e-bikes, car multimedia and much more.
Connected Buildings: Management and control of software updates for security-relevant equipment such as security cameras.
Agriculture: Regular software updates for sensors, gateways, and controllers used in IoT solutions for the agricultural sector.
Bosch IoT Suite provides a scalable and reliable software provisioning service
With Bosch IoT Rollouts, the Bosch IoT Suite provides a cloud service that enables to remotely update devices at scale and in a secure and reliable way.
Independent from the specific use cases in different domains, at the backend a software update is a relatively domain-independent operation. This is why the Bosch IoT Suite also comprises a specific cloud service for software updates: Bosch IoT Rollouts. It is a domain-independent backend service and enables software updates to be rolled out to constrained edge devices as well as more powerful controllers and gateways connected to IP-based networking infrastructure. In addition, it includes a powerful campaign management supporting large-scale rollouts.
The core functionalities of Bosch IoT Rollouts are:
- Reliable and scalable IoT software provisioning system
- Enables updates for controllers, gateways, and embedded devices
- Secure handling of a large number of devices
- Flexible deployment group definition
- Reporting, audit logging, rollout monitoring
- Emergency rollout shutdown in case of update failures
- Various device integration options with open interfaces – devices can be connected to the service either directly through an optimized interface or indirectly through federated device management servers
- Flexible data model that fits to every IoT use case
- Support for IoT application integration
- Based on open source and fully API compatible to Eclipse hawkBit™, leading to the highest possible avoidance of vendor lock-in and benefits gained through an IoT community-driven software