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conduce logoUpdating in the Field

Choosing an ELB solution is a big decision. There are lots of things to consider (for example, whether to go with iOS or Windows hardware, which we’ve talked about in detail in a previous blog). But let’s imagine you’ve implemented your chosen solution and a year into the project everything is running perfectly smoothly. Super! Except now you’ve realised that it would be really useful to have an extra feature, or that one button that would make everyone’s lives easier.

When choosing your ELB solution a key consideration is the device lifespan and support. Ideally an ELB should not require any hardware support for 3-5 years at minimum. Once on the aircraft, the ELB flies all around the world and since the aircraft cannot legally fly without it, it needs to be as reliable as possible. This means no annoying slow updates when you’re trying to sign off your TLP and make your runway slot!

That’s why we recommend running eTechLog8 on Windows 10 Enterprise Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC), which has a lot of benefits for an ELB solution. The most important one though is that LTSC does not force OS feature updates. Windows LTSC is designed for fixed-purpose devices that should not be updated like ATMs.

However, Conduce are developing eTechLog8 and the companion apps on a daily basis, and customers desire and request new features all the time. So we decided to develop a unique, remote and totally seamless application update process that does not interrupt the eTechLog8 user at all.

To our knowledge, this update process is unique in the aviation world! Essentially an aircraft avionics device is being automatically updated in the field, without any intervention by an engineer. It is a powerful tool and enables eTechLog8 and its companion apps to stay up to date with the newest features as they become available without the customer worrying about any interruptions to service.

Without this feature, huge feats of organisation would be required to get the right engineer to the right device when it’s going to be on the ground with a good internet connection so it can to update. Changing flight plans, emergency diversions and unexpected maintenance issues all make this incredibly difficult to execute. With eTechLog8 you don’t need to worry, you can simply monitor the update status of the fleet from your own computer via eCentral8, the Conduce administrative portal.

So how does it work?

After the update has been developed, fully tested, and approved, Conduce apply the new version to eCentral8. The next time the devices in the field sync with eCentral8 (usually the next time the tech log page is signed) the device will download the update in the background. This doesn’t ever stop the user from using the device, and most users won’t even notice it happening as it only takes about 10 seconds on a 4G connection. The new version is installed the next time the Tech Log page is turned over, and only takes a few seconds.

The whole process has been designed to be as elegant and unobtrusive as possible. The video below shows the update procedure in more detail.