Here is a great conversation we had with one of our pre-release customers of our Simple Upgrade Management SYSTEM (SUMS) : Ron Kumetz, Director of Engineering at Broadcast Devices Inc..
Ron told us the top reasons why he likes Simple Upgrade Management SYSTEM:
Reason #1: "Having a Bootloader that has been extensively tested"
Ron says a lot of engineers like to design things themselves (even when they ought not to) in order to impress people with what they can do.
The problem is that when they do that, they can only take enough time to get it (barely) running. If some sort of problem arises, that barely-tested bootloader can leave the customer's expensive equipment completely dead, so now it really MUST be returned to the factory. The loss of time, loss of use of the product, and loss of money, makes this a real problem that customer (and the engineer's boss) will not soon forget.
The engineer wrote this bootloader himself so he could build up some "Attaboys" with the boss. But we all know that one "Aw, shucks" can cancel out ALL of your "Attaboys..."
Ron can tell from using our SUMS system that our bootloader and delivery system have both been intensively tested over a long period of time. We take this extremely seriously, because we know how "mission critical" a firmware upgrade system is.
Reason #2: "The time and money you 'save' by writing your own bootloader is an illusion."
"If you're gonna take a chance on something in your firmware, take [a chance on a new feature in] your own product," that your customer will actually SEE all the time, rather than taking a chance on a bootloader that you can just buy.
Reason #3: BRAND it with your own company name and logo
Ron says "We are very aware of the image we present to our customers."
He told me of a compiler for some processor chips that his company started out using in their early products. The compiler has a bootloader, which works OK, but it has the compiler company's logo on it, and it gives you NO chance to add any "corporate polish" of your own.
Ron really likes the fact that our SUMS compatible bootloaders can be easily BRANDED with your own company name and logo, with NO PROGRAMMING AT ALL.
Reason #4: The AUTOMATION
Ron feels that our SUMS system has given his company "The ability to safely deliver your upgrade code in a way that is palatable to the customer."
He says that SUMS is seamless. "A chimpanzee could run it."
The fact that SUMS automatically collects all the files together, generates a customized email, and sends everything to the customer, is very valuable to Ron's company
Reason #5: "People are growing to EXPECT instant upgrades."
Ron says "If you are a REAL company, they expect to be able to do that at 4 AM. If you WANT to be a REAL company, you need the SUMS system, because people expect instant upgrades."
Reason #6: The Consequences of Failure
A company that used to have several engineers developing firmware may now have only 1. And THAT ONE GUY is stretched to the limit. (Sound familiar?)
If (in his struggles) he overlooks something, or makes a mistake, then without an upgrade system like SUMS in place, a mistake can be a CATASTROPHE.
If you DO have SUMS in place, with a bootloader in every device, then a firmware mistake is merely an inconvenience: one that is easily and quickly made right, at very little time, effort, and expense.
The "midnight engineer" who is trying to develop and market his first product often doesn't think through what happens when he gets his device "working" - important details and costs about how he is going to handle the possibility of costly product returns because of some firmware glitch.
Reason #7: "You're not gonna save any money by NOT buying SUMS."
You cannot write your own SUMS system, or even just a single useful bootloader, for the price of the SUMS system. You cannot even TEST one of those "free" bootloaders from the chip manufacturer, for that little money.
Reason #8: "The product you already sold is still a revenue stream."
Ron understands what we say about how the SUMS system opens up whole new revenue stream possibilities for his company.
The facts that new firmware can be easily distributed to customers and safely installed by them at their own location, AND the fact that the system will only upgrade the firmware on a device whose serial number matches the one in the encrypted firmware file you sent them are powerfully important.
This means that you can offer more advanced features to some of your customers, and you can CHARGE them for it.
Next: The Bottom Line >>