Upgrading a device’s software typically gives you access to new features, boosts a device’s functionality, provides enhancements to the user experience and introduces security updates to better protect your device. It’s common practice in today’s digital world: think about how many times you have updated the software on your smartphone or tablet. With a simple click of a button, your device updates, and you suddenly have the latest features at your fingertips.
But this wasn’t always such a quick and effortless task
Before being able to update software remotely, the process was very much a manual and complex task. Going back 40 years, updating your device’s basic input/output system (also referred to as the BIOS) was anything but a basic procedure. Never mind having to be physically near the device, you also had to have a storage device, such as a floppy disk or CD ROM, as well as the technical knowledge to perform the task. And this stretched far beyond common sense.
Nowadays, a number of industries and companies have seen the benefits of offering this process remotely. We know the obvious example of Apple, but another technology giant, Tesla, have also been known to prioritise new software developments. Take the previous example of their Ludicrous+ mode, which unlocks the car’s top speed. Now, Elon Musk’s multinational has been hinting at the release of their new Version 9 software, which will be their biggest update in around two years. And, as well as (supposedly) offering a sleek new interface and the latest safety features, what’s impressive about this new development is that it can be offered over-the-air – i.e. remotely. But SOTA (software over-the-air) is also found within the entertainment industry.
Amazon Fire TV allows you to check for an update via your TV menu. The ‘Software Version’ section gives you this visibility and, if there is an update available, it starts downloading automatically. Once complete, simply hit install and it applies immediately, otherwise, it will do it when you next restart your Fire TV, or after it is idle for more than 30 minutes. This update again offers new features, bug fixes and boosts the security, and can be done without a physical storage device or technical knowledge. Easy and quick, you no longer have to purchase new hardware to have the latest technology at your fingertips.
So, how is software updated within the HVACR industry?
The current process is time-consuming and expensive
Currently, many companies offering monitoring equipment do not offer updates remotely – this is, in fact, unique to RDM. Many other companies still use a ‘return to base’ method, whereby the hardware is returned to the manufacturer to perform the software update or a technician has to visit the site to update with a PC. As you can imagine, there are many disadvantages to these methods. As the hardware is dismantled, and either posted to the manufacturer, updated and then returned/reassembled, there is substantial downtime incurred. And, for particularly large companies, this may spiral further, as it may take even longer for the updates to be performed across the whole range of devices.
Another process for upgrading software is the use of specialist third parties. Here, service providers are hired exclusively by the manufacturer to perform the task. This incurs a service cost, alongside the logistics of arranging a suitable time/date to enter the facilities and access the devices.
There is another option – that there is no option. Many providers simply accept that their hardware has an expiration date, and do not offer software updates in any capacity. But replacing your hardware every few years is exceptionally costly.
Fortunately, RDM offers another avenue
Resource Data Management offers remote software upgrades as standard across our whole system through our fully integrated IP network. By using our truly open XML protocol, we can remotely add, change or improve functions and features at any time, even down to the individual device. We offer data speed, broadcast, reliability and open protocols – cutting installation time and costs, as well as preventing you from having to routinely replace your hardware. Essentially, we keep you future-proof.
How does RDM perform this remote software upgrade?
Our process is quick and simple:
- Give us an instruction to upgrade software with our Sales Admin department
- Contact our dedicated Technical Support team with remote connection details
- Our team carry out the software upgrade remotely
- Upon starting back up, the device now has all of the new functions and features
Without having to send away your hardware or employ a costly third party, your device now has the latest technology. For example, previous updates to our Data Manager offered:
- Improved user experience through a sleek, easier-to-navigate user interface
- Faster processing through streamlined software features
- Reduced costs through new energy-saving features
- Certified due diligence through modernised compliance features, whereby the temperature is logged and backed-up without the need for manual processes
Can you offer any examples of the benefits clients have experienced?
One of our UK retail customers wanted to upgrade the software for their case controllers across the majority of their 400+ sites while minimising costs and downtime.
In response, RDM facilitated this upgrade remotely, and as such, prevented any shutdown for the customer and saved on average 4-8 hours per site alongside associated transport costs. The new software also included innovative energy saving features surrounding demand load shedding, and these were able to be implemented immediately.
Overall, by upgrading the software remotely, our customer cut their installation time and costs significantly and now have the latest technology at their fingertips.
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