Here at Pelion we love watching the latest news coming from the Mars Perseverance mission, the technical feats that the NASA team are pulling off on a daily basis continue to blow us away. Personally I find the sky crane delivery mechanism that identifies appropriate landing sites and then lowers the lander to the surface of Mars just the greatest Sci-Fi-come-true solution I’ve ever seen.
With the new rover carrying the Ingenuity helicopter for scouting and surveying my amazement has grown further, but when I read about the software update required to fix a glitch picked up during Ingenuity’s first pre-flight tests on Mars I gave a little chuckle as I thought about how we provide the same type of solution to our customers and partners.
Reading about the testing, logging, and modifications that the JPL engineering team are completing is surely the ultimate requirement for remote, unmanned device management that we can conceive. What’s more, not only are the devices on another planet but because of the pandemic much of the mission is being managed completely remotely, from peoples homes all over the world.
Pelion might not be on Mars quite yet (working on it), but all of the Earth based products that use our IoT platform always have the benefit of hands-on fixing in the worst of failures. However, when you’re managing devices at a large scale (not 1 Martian helicopter, but 1000s of sensors or controllers) you really must have a reliable, secure, manageable solution in place ensuring that you won’t have to be the first human on Mars or incur the costs of rolling out your terrestrial field service teams to recover your devices from a failed update.
Our firmware update tools provide several options for full binary replacements or delta updates between releases when its appropriate and our campaign management provides a single fire-and-forget method to push updates to all of your units. You have the option to run, resume or schedule updates which means you can update all of your devices at once or wait for devices to come online. You can even use additional logic to ensure only a subset of your devices are updating at any one time to avoid any outages and carefully balance your systems. With encrypted delivery of firmware updates combined with developer certificate validation we can ensure that only valid, authorized code is updated to your devices.
NASA, we love your work. If you need any help in future the team at Pelion would be happy to collaborate.