Case Study: Managing Thousands IoT Devices Worldwide
"In the private sector, there is always innovation. There's always change. There's always improving productivity, and if you're not leading that, you'll be passed and ultimately go out of business. So there's an urgency to constantly update and renew and to rethink your enterprise."
the US politician, businessman
Updating components is always core to efficient software functioning. Every market player chases innovations, and if you do not follow this trend, then the competitor's product or service will be better than yours. Some industries cannot do without updates. Just remember the banks that renew exchange rates daily and publish them. Or a retailer who always knows what and when is delivered to its store shelves.
What if these and other core industries couldn't get updated information as needed? Most likely, no business would be able to satisfy demand. But each data update depends on the software that provides it. Outdated systems will not enable the business owner and the customer accordingly to get more. Today we will talk about a topic related to service provision, full convenience, and safety ensuring. XME.digital offers a solution that updates software components in over a million smart homes and buildings worldwide.
Management for more than one million embedded devices
The company that manufactures software components for smart homes and buildings requested a solution to update them online and charge additional fees for such a service. The client's job was to create elements that could regulate temperature and light, security level, curtain movement in response to sunrise and sunset, etc.
Previously, the XME.digital client had to update and configure these components manually, directly in buildings. Besides, the company made components updating for free. Over time, the management decided to monetize those activities and make them a source of extra profit. On-site updates were also an issue, so the customer ordered a solution that could renew components both manually and online.
The company also actively cooperated with distributors, and it was core to control updates of the third-party sold software. The client wanted to monitor updates on distributor and buyer levels.
For these purposes, no vendor solution in the market was suitable for the client. Moreover, the automatic update system had to be closely integrated with the security and manufacturing teams. The company already had some groundwork in that area, so development from scratch wasn't relevant. The versatile software developed on XME fast code platform was the perfect solution.
"In the distribution model, the customer needed to combine the manufacturing features with service sales ones. This combination cannot exist in a standard ready-made solution. Our platform was an excellent base for such product development because: - it allows creating unique processes, - it provides a robust base with the appropriate architecture and toolkit that enable to design a solution faster and efficiently."
CEO at XME.digital
Thus, the developers had the task of creating software that enables:
New digital services - updates-as-a-services development & delivery
providing seamless integration with core manufacturing and security systems
monetizing a free service
building a distribution-client hierarchy to control the components updating
Our team developed the update system on the fast code platform. The main benefit of such an approach was the ability to optimize a large project activity.
As seen, it wasn't a development from scratch. The whole process can be divided into 5 stages:
demonstration of a product demo version
clarification of customer requirements and the modeling of a primary prototype
creation of the first version of a product catalog
system redesign and integration with the new product catalog,
testing & quality assurance.
XME. created a multifunctional solution with a high level of integration. Now, the end consumers, purchasing the core software product, choose the type of firmware they need. A firmware key is built into the main component during the manufacturing stage. It corresponds to the second updating access key.
"The system allows clients reselling credits to other companies, controlling this activity. Thus, the customer not only monetized its service but also enabled others to expand their sources of income."
Lidiia Kozina, Business Analytic at XME.digital
The updating solution integrates with three systems: security, manufacturing, notification. The first one produces firmware keys. The second one sews such keys into the core component and transmits relevant data to XME. Such an interaction allowed the creation of the updating solution with two-layer security that cannot be hacked. The main component is flashed with the first firmware key during its production under harsh security service supervision. It eliminates any risk of programming hack. The two-tier system operates as follows: if the key stitched into the component at the factory does not match the key used during the firmware procedure, the system is not updated.
The client has several types of firmware, depending on the smart home/building. Thus, there is a need to create a product catalog. It is the XME team task. The customer determines a set of updates that need to be implemented. The vendor is engaged in the product catalog changing and sends information to the notification system. The last one notifies product consumers of new firmware versions through various communication channels.
XME. took care not only of its client but also of the end-users. The updating system enables collecting data about firmware and generating reports for users, displayed in their accounts. Customers can keep track of the frequency and nature of updates, as well as the amount of written-off credits.
Thus, the result of XME.digital's work is cloud web development that acts as a personal customized account. The user of the main product and firmware accordingly independently chooses the profile settings to track metrics that fascinate it.
Fast-code development allows the client:
monetizing the firmware function and bringing it remotely
integrating with other systems providing manufacturing, security, and end-users notifications
generating reports on firmware procedures
managing billing procedures
building a hierarchy of clients and distributors for the firmware usage
monitoring the distribution process inside of the organization
keeping records of all customers
creating and modifying the product catalog
provide end-users with a personalized unified interface
Thus, the software turned out to be complicated, narrow-profile but regulating a significant number of procedures. Its creation would be impossible on any other platform. Developing from scratch would take much more customer's time and resources. Meanwhile, the fast code platform product has become the most efficient solution to all the above company's issues.