Author Topic: Remote mc-Product Maintenance  (Read 357 times)

millennial

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Remote mc-Product Maintenance
« on: August 23, 2016, 08:54:01 am »
What is mc-Things proposal for updating and maintaining mc-Products once they are in the field? A minimal deployment would consist only of a mc-Gateway and N number of mc-Modules into a site with internet already installed. This reduces to only mc-Modules if they are SigFox enabled. We don't want to deploy a small Windows tablet that has a mc-Dongle plugged into it as well (even this is impossible because the support headaches would be numerous when asking ordinary people to power cycle mc-Modules and the mc-Gateway).

Proposal 1:
Add a router-like web interface to the mc-Gateway that is remotely accessible through the cloud. Perhaps this could even be built upon MQTT. The web portal would allow firmware updates to be downloaded. We could then select the devices to apply the updates.

There are potentially more updates than just firmware. The interface should also be able to flash code onto selected mc-Modules. What about mc-Gateway MQTT server configuration and router SSID and password? These should be able to be handled completely from the cloud.

Proposal 2:
Allow programming on the mc-Gateway so that we can implement a custom update solution. This would still require support for flashing code and applying firmware updates to mc-Modules from the mc-Gateway (and to the mc-Gateway itself). It would also require API access to mc-Gateway config. However, this solution is I think a poor one. Think of why the concept of an App Store (Apple, Google Play, and Windows Store) is so successful. Individuals and companies no longer have to create a custom updater if they build on an existing platform.

What do other people think?
« Last Edit: August 23, 2016, 09:08:27 am by millennial »

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kristofferis

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Re: Remote mc-Product Maintenance
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2016, 02:04:09 pm »
I think its ok to use mcStudio for this, I would like the mcOTA to be a part of the mcStudio so that it would be possible to upgrade firmware the same way that we connect to a device.
But one thing that is very important is a solution to handle several mcGateways and the modules connected to them. What i mean is, in my house I need at least 3 mcGateways to reach all mcModules that I have planed to install, I probably need some more to cover my garage and outside.
And i don't really care what mcGateway they are connected to so what I need is a possibility to create a Virtual Gateway that combine my selected mcGateway to just one, and when i connect to that Virtual Gateway then i will see all mcModules that are connected to one of the physical mcGateways that is included in the Virtual mcGateway.

And also the possibility to bulk update mcModule firmware, select all mcModules connected or just select a couple and then click update.

And yes, we need a solution for handling the download of new firmware directly in mcStudio.

One very nice feature would be that the mcDongle is built in on the mcGateway so that we do not need anything else when updating firmware.
Just a computer and mcStudio in the same LAN as the gateways.

I have several other suggestions but this is something to start with  :)
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millennial

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Re: Remote mc-Product Maintenance
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2016, 03:08:22 pm »
While I would be very excited about those updates from a development perspective, I want to emphasize the idea that mc-Things are not always going to be in the same building as a developer. If we ever want to package and sell a mc-Things solution to customers, we need a way to remotely access the mc-Things and keep support people out of the equation. The deployed bundle should "just work" to the appearance of our customers.

kristofferis

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Re: Remote mc-Product Maintenance
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2016, 03:17:03 pm »
Yes that's true, so let's add the possibility to connect to mcGateway with the help of MQTT broker on internet to make the connection available  :)

mc-Hammer

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Re: Remote mc-Product Maintenance
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2016, 10:24:37 am »
I think you will be happy to hear that we are actually working on a very comprehensive cloud deployment solution (mcCloud) that encompasses all the suggestions here and goes a lot further still.

We will have more information soon.

kristofferis

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Re: Remote mc-Product Maintenance
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2016, 10:28:23 am »
That sounds great :) but I get a little scared about the name, I hope that this solution is possible to run in house and that you don't have to use a service hosted in the cloud for this.

helge

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Re: Remote mc-Product Maintenance
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2016, 11:10:47 am »
@kristofferis I don't think it will be running on a local server. Just keep in mind that mcThings are completely proprietary and closed source. Maybe a windows only (no Linux) service acting as server. I'll bet mcCloud will be only available as a paid monthly subscription, too. McThings can prove me wrong, please!
« Last Edit: August 29, 2016, 11:27:39 am by helge »