Embedded World 2023: OTA Updates Propelling Innovation Forward
The Embedded World Exhibition & Conference is one of the world's most renowned events in embedded system technologies, distributed intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT). The three-day event, held from the 14th to the 16th of March in Nuremberg, Germany, saw over 30,000 visitors and 900 exhibitors from around the world. The event showcased the latest innovations and technologies in the embedded systems industry, including embedded hardware, software, tools, and IoT solutions. Attendees had the opportunity to explore the latest trends and advances in the field, network with industry experts, and gain valuable insights from the conference sessions.
From microcontrollers and embedded systems development kits to simulation and testing tools, a wide range of solutions showcased new technologies and applications, catering to equally diverse industries, such as automotive, aerospace, healthcare, and consumer electronics.
Continuous innovation through OTA updates
Digital transformation, continuous innovation, evolving business landscapes – the challenges organizations must overcome are significant on top of generating revenue and ensuring device security. By 2025, over 41 billion IoT devices will generate more than 79 zettabytes of data.
Innovation in a software-centered world requires efficient, robust, and secure over- the-air (OTA) updates. Product updates, security patches, and general management and maintenance need OTA updates to efficiently and effectively deploy updates at scale.
Exemplifying the importance of OTA updates, the Mender by Northern.tech demo showcased a heterogenous enterprise fleet set up sporting two iMX7-based embedded Linux devices and three ESP-based MCU devices. Attendees could experience in a hands-on style both the value of community as an enabler for the MCU client and the difference between a lower-powered controller and a higher-performance computing device.
In addition to core update functionality, Mender showcased monitoring, troubleshooting, and configuration capabilities alongside advanced, enterprise-focused features.
Remote troubleshooting devices in the field
Remote troubleshooting garnered great attention alongside remote terminal and per-device monitoring. Traditionally, troubleshooting devices in the field poses a resource-intensive challenge, requiring significant effort or device replacement for even small software changes. The ability to access field devices – in real-time – enables users to quickly and securely diagnose and remediate issues.
The benefits of remote troubleshooting
There are three key features for remote troubleshooting field devices: secure access, real-time visibility, and efficient remediation.
Remote terminal: Users can easily and securely open a terminal to a device through the Mender UI, instantly creating a live remote terminal session for a single device.
Resolve live issues: Users can then restart devices, run diagnostics tools, analyze system log files, transfer files to and from the device, and access local services on the device, among other functions.
Secure access: No open ports on the device, communication authentication and encryption with TLS, audit logs, and role-based access control allows users to ensure granular device security throughout the process.
Ensuring security throughout the OTA update process
Reinforcing the criticality of device security, Witekio, an on-demand IoT software services company, interviewed Mender CTO and Product Manager Fabio Tranchitella on secure OTA updates. While Mender focuses on updating devices securely and reliably for connected devices at any scale, Witekio ensures that the software running on the target device matches the version released by the product vendor. In collaboration, Witekio and Mender deliver seamless and continuous over-the-air update solutions to clients, contributing to the future of embedded systems.
Secure software updates are essential in managing the security of connected devices. Embedded World 2023 gave attendees an exciting glimpse into one application of OTA updates for the embedded systems industry.
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