Patent-pending FOTA technology reduces time and expense for updating IoT devices.
Everynet, an LPWA pioneer that helps businesses quickly, easily and cost-effectively deploy and scale IoT solutions, today announced it has launched the industry’s first Firmware Over the Air (FOTA) update capabilities for LPWA networks.
The company’s patent-pending FOTA algorithms and Continuous Delivery toolchain help device manufacturers, LPWA network operators and end users overcome the challenges with LPWA’s low data rate networks by simplifying firmware updates for IoT devices. The company’s FOTA solution is available today through LoRaWAN semiconductor manufacturers and will be available soon for all LPWA networks.
LPWA networks were not designed to transfer large amounts of data, and this creates a problem for updating firmware within IoT devices in the field. Fixing simple bugs or installing new features to millions of IoT devices is time consuming, bandwidth constrained and expensive for companies. Manual, device-by-device updates in the field are not always possible as access to IoT devices can be limited. Updates can place a drain on the device itself, as it needs to be “awake” for the length of the update, consuming valuable battery and potentially shortening the life of the device.
“Continuous delivery is a cornerstone to producing quality software in short cycles, especially for exponentially growing the IoT market,” said Vitaly Kleban, CTO of Everynet. “Everynet’s goal is to provide all of the necessary FOTA technology to enable this full continuous delivery cycle.”
Everynet has developed a new patent-pending class of compile-time optimization: output difference minimization™. This optimization forces the compiler to produce a “minimum difference” between the old version of the device’s firmware and the new. Combined with a patent-pending compression algorithm, this significantly reduces the number of messages sent to a device, as only an incremental update is sent over the air through the low-speed channel, not the entire firmware set.
This is a key advantage of Everynet’s FOTA solution, and it reduces the time and bandwidth required to conduct firmware upgrades from hours to minutes or even seconds, depending on the number of messages to be sent. For example, to send a 35 Kb update over a LoRaWAN network without Everynet would require 150 messages to be sent, taking 90 minutes. Using Everynet’s FOTA capabilities, the firmware update for the same device would require 31 messages and only 20 minutes.
Lawrence Latham, managing director of Everynet, said:
“The set of challenges surrounding firmware updates is one of the biggest obstacles holding back the growth of LPWA networks today. Everynet’s bespoke FOTA algorithms remove this obstacle, providing a simple and effective way for device manufacturers, chip manufacturers and operators to push firmware updates to IoT devices.”
Everynet’s FOTA solution is already delivering these tangible benefits throughout the LPWA ecosystem:
- Chip manufacturers are adding new FOTA capabilities to their products to enable cloud-based monetization of value-added features. Everynet is continuing to work with semiconductor manufacturers to further advance its unique FOTA technology in the LPWA marketplace.
- End device manufacturers can reset devices and push firmware updates remotely, extending the life of products in the field. Device manufacturers have unprecedented flexibility to manufacture common units at scale with vertical application configuration performed per use case, significantly reducing time-to-market.
- Network operators delivering services can reduce operational costs by making updates remotely instead of sending service technicians to update devices individually, oftentimes in hard-to-access places.
- End users will not be inconvenienced by service requests for direct access to their IoT-enabled devices, for example, to update smart meters inside their home or apartments.
“The FOTA advancements will have a profound impact on the deployment and adoption of LPWA devices,” Latham said. “You can go back and see what happened when FOTA was released for the 2G and 3G cellular networks. There was a huge gain in adoption numbers. The same can be expected for LPWA.”