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IoT Award-Winning Firmware Updates Solution from Nerves Project Leads Industry in Social Impact

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In a recent announcement, The Nerves Project was given a 2020 IoT Evolution Community Impact Award for its NervesHub solution, which is designed to enable secure and efficient over-the-air (OTA) updates for remote IoT solutions.

The IoT Evolution Community Impact Award honors the best and most innovative products and solutions powering the Internet of Things.

“Congratulations to recipients of 2020 IoT Evolution Community Impact Awards,” said Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “The solutions selected for the IoT Evolution Community Impact Award have proved to help make a difference as we battle the COVID-19 Pandemic. It is my honor to congratulate these winners for their superior contribution that empower citizens, companies, institutions, and government to continue their critical work in remote access settings.”

NervesHub is an extensible web service that allows users to manage OTA firmware updates of devices in the field. Built with Phoenix, NervesHub delivers first-class support for hardware deployments directly from the command line.

One of the advantages of NervesHub is its agility, in that it is tailored to facilitate flexible, secure, and fault-tolerant updates. It uses cryptographic signatures, client-side and server-side SSL, and access control to ensure secure firmware updates, and also supports HSMs and cryptoauthentication processors. Further, the company provides an API that allows users to manage firmware from within their current infrastructure, as well as automatically deploy to QA and test hardware.

A key use case involves FarmBot, which uses Nerves to manage fleets of smart farming devices. FarmBot is an open-source precision agriculture CNC farming project that includes a robot farming machine, software, and documentation including a farming data repository. FarmBot’s machines use IoT technology to make it easy for farmers to remotely manage their crops.

“The biggest benefit of using Nerves is definitely how fast you can get up and running,” said Connor Rigby, Embedded Systems Engineer, Farmbot.

Rigby said that NervesHub was a great choice for Farmbot because it:

  1. Supports lean systems and operates well in low-bandwidth areas. Because Nerves bundles entire applications into relatively small archives in terms of firmware images for full Linux systems, Farmbot can use NervesHub to send OTA updates more quickly and users can download them faster. This is especially helpful for Farmbot users who operate in more remote locations with lower bandwidth and less reliable access to WiFi.
  2. Adds convenience with low overhead. For devices that are already connected to the internet, connecting to Nerves requires no additional configuration because NervesHub is compatible with the current public key infrastructure for device-to-cloud communication. Since Farmbot already had internet-connected devices when they brought Nerves onboard, they were able to use the same “key” to sign in to NervesHub that they use for their cloud service.
  3. It has all the benefits of Elixir and Erlang. It’s written in Elixir and built within the Erlang runtime system, so it takes advantage of being distributed, fault-tolerant, soft real-time, and highly available.

FarmBot now has around 300 devices live in NervesHub, with a different deployment for each of their device models. Nerves is built to scale, so as Farmbot continues to grow its user base and expand their product capabilities, they’ll be able to continue developing and releasing reliable firmware updates using Nerves.

The other 2020 IoT Evolution Community Impact Award Recipients are:

  • Bus Guardian from CalAmp
  • scriptr.io Saepio

For more than 20 years, TMC has been honoring technology companies with awards in various categories. These awards are regarded as some of the most prestigious and respected awards in the communications and technology sector worldwide.  Winners represent prominent players in the market who consistently demonstrate the advancement of technologies. Each recipient is a verifiable leader in the marketplace.


Ken Briodagh is a storyteller, writer and editor with about two decades of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Editorial Director

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