Hardware Bits: Over-the-Air Update

Jun. 24, 2019

In this instalment of Hardware Bits, we’d like to introduce a technology that keeps devices up to date and in top condition. Today, you often hear about something called OTA, or over-the-air update. This significantly simplifies and automates software management (specifically firmware) in a device, especially if it is located in a difficult-to-access spot. The principle behind OTA is to replace physical connections in order to update the device remotely. This can be the case for various technologies and types of data transfers.

Imagine what the process would look like if there were no wireless updates. Without OTA, you’d have to open every networked device, connect a cable to a computer, and upload a new version of the firmware. Another option is using a Bluetooth connection through a smartphone. The problem is that the administrator still has to be on-site. However, at least you don’t have to take the device apart in this case. Then we have the third case, which is OTA that can be performed remotely even from your office or home as long as you have a remote connection and two-way communication with your device.

What Can OTA Do?

As we discussed, OTA is usually a tool to keep the firmware in remote devices up to date. But it can also help with calibration and configuration, which it can change. It can also modify algorithms and update security elements. We’re not just bringing this up without good reason. The biggest motivation for our hardware and firmware team was keeping the Spaceti Parking Gems – parking sensors that are affixed to the ground – up to date without having to physically upgrade them.

“Our sensors are durable and waterproof, which is why we didn’t want to open them and take them apart. OTA technology is ideal for the development and testing phases because you don’t have to open the device,” Spaceti Hardware Leader Tomáš Barták explained.

Our advice to hardware enthusiasts and developers is thus obvious. An OTA foundation should be created during development, especially if the device will be located somewhere where it is difficult to access so no minor changes “inside” damage or destroy the device.

Parking - Over the air updateSpaceti Parking Gem 

Aneta Klímová
Aneta Klímová