Adeunis: Global Firmware Update System for Smart Building Sensors

Homepage Adeunis: Global Firmware Update System for Smart Building Sensors

Adeunis Building Management System is a complete wireless solution allowing the monitoring of a building’s energy efficiency and security with sensors that turn it into a “smart building”. Adeunis sensors use best in class IoT communication technologies such as LoRa, WMBus and Sigfox under a proprietary Adeunis protocol.

Building Management System needs to have its radio module sensors regularly updated in order to provide new features and security improvements. However, in some cases, it is impossible to manually update hundreds of sensors, or to update sensors that are hidden in a building’s basement.

Adeunis was looking for a partner with an extensive embedded software expertise coupled with a strong understanding of firmware update mechanisms and a proficient IoT system security approach.

Challenges and requirements

Develop a mechanism to complete a local wireless update of their WMBus, LoraWan and SigFox products and components despite updates not being anticipated by these protocols

  • Update Dual MCUs devices
  • Impact battery lifetime by no more than 10% over a lifetime of 10 years
  • Maintain and build resilience to signal loss
  • Develop a ‘hop’ mechanism to allow wider range
  • Protect devices against attacks
  • Develop a user-friendly UI for technicians

The Witekio solution

  • A complete software system design and integration service from firmware update architecture for dual MCU to integration
  • Design of a network tree mechanism to enable the “hop” mechanism and extend update range
  • Design of a radio protocol
  • Security and cryptography layer design and integration
  • Application development through a UX approach

A complete, user-friendly remote firmware update system for smart building application

Firmware update system design and bootloader writing

Witekio provided a complete system integration service, from firmware update architecture integration to radio frequency communication and a web application that displays update statuses.

One of the key requirements for the project was to propose, develop, and integrate a complete reliable firmware update system. The aim of the development and integration of the system update for Adeunis’ STM32 based sensors is to allow remote update of all the sensors. Since Adeunis sensors are using batteries that are not replaceable by the final user, the firmware update developed by Witekio had to respect a mandatory requirement of power management.

The Witekio engineering team investigated different update strategies and tested them against Adeunis’ constraints before making the final choice. Among the strategies compared by the team were a MeSH network viral update strategy and a multi-hop strategy that allows maintenance technician to check update deployments live.

Developing the overall energy saving firmware update system was a major success in this project. Radio frequency signals were used to allow the update of all the sensors and the firmware update system bootloader was developed with the real time operating system, FreeRTOS.

A Web application for seamless sensor updates, implementation and status visualization

To allow seamless updates of the different sensors, Witekio developed an Ionic web application, respecting Adeunis’ graphical charter, while also proposing a proficient UI / UX approach by analyzing practical use patterns. Combining a fancy user interface and industrial standard, this web application enables efficient and time-saving sensor updates.

Adeunis’ Building Management System can now be automatically updated from a distance of several hundred meters.

The maintenance technician can visualize the list of devices that need an update. When on site, they can scan the local network and gets the list of devices needing an update that within reach before launching the update and checking the device status post-update to ensure success.

Security

To avoid updating with the wrong firmware, to avoid partial replay from hackers, and to avoid waking-up of the device by hackers that overuses the battery, Adeunis needed to prioritize security.
Security within any IoT system is a key focus point. To protect the overall firmware update systems from any man-in-the-middle attacks, a deep cryptography layer was added to the project. Since all the radio frequency-based communications between Adeunis modules and the web app were secured, Witekio significantly reduced the risk of attacks on the system.

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Adeunis is an expert in IoT devices for industry and smart buildings, connected device manufacturing, and a global leader in the development of ready-to-use wireless solutions for BtoB companies.

Virginie Duplantier - Marketing and Communication Director
11 February 2021