Managing updates on Neat devices

Last updated on January 23, 2023.

Introduction

This article describes how Neat firmware and other software application updates are managed on Neat devices. Throughout this article, the term “firmware” will refer to the code produced and distributed by Neat which controls underlying hardware performance (cameras/microphones/speakers/screens/etc), and the term “software” or “apps” will refer to the code produced and distributed by our platform development partners, Zoom and Microsoft Teams, which governs in-call experience, platform connectivity, and account/identity.

In order for a device to update successfully, it must adhere to our network and firewall requirements and be connected to the internet at the time of the update. Our network and firewall requirements can be found here: https://support.neat.no/article/network-and-firewall-requirements-for-neat/

First installation (OOB)

When Neat devices are first taken out of the box, they are running the Neat firmware version loaded at the factory during manufacturing/production, and they do not have any app loaded yet. During the out of box (OOB) setup guide, the firmware is first updated to Neat’s current release, and then the user/installer is required to choose to load either the Zoom or Microsoft Teams software application. Regardless whether Zoom or Teams is chosen, the app is loaded from Neat’s servers thus the initially-installed app is the latest version that Neat has made available to Neat devices.

A Neat device will also be taken through the OOB setup guide after a factory reset. When this occurs, the device will remain on the firmware version it was on before the factory reset, then update to Neat’s current release (if available) before requiring the user/installer to load either the Zoom or Microsoft Teams software application.

Updates on Neat Devices as Zoom Rooms

Neat firmware versions come bundled with a Zoom Room software version. While updates to Neat firmware versions and Zoom app versions are generally released simultaneously, it is possible to release an app update without a change in the firmware version, or vice versa.

Automatic Updates

By default, Neat’s firmware configuration regarding update handling is set to “Automatic” meaning that both Neat firmware and Zoom application updates are applied automatically when newer versions are posted by Neat to Neat’s over-the-air update server at ota.neat.no. This means that unless manual action is taken to the contrary, Neat devices functioning as Zoom Rooms are always automatically on the most current Neat firmware and Zoom apps* available. When new versions are released, Neat devices download them within a few hours of publication, then wait until 2 AM local time to reboot and apply the updates.

*Note: Because Neat tests Zoom’s app releases before making them available through ota.neat.no, there may be some discrepancy between Zoom’s “latest release” and Neat’s “currently available” app versions. Typically there will be some latency (Neat’s target is 1-2 weeks) between Zoom releasing an app, and Neat making it available to Neat devices – in some circumstances Neat will “skip” a specific Zoom app release and it will never go to Neat systems.

Manual Updates and ZDM

Some organizations, such as those with strict change control policies, may choose to opt-out of the default Automatic updates and configure Manual updates instead. In this mode, updates to Neat firmware and Zoom apps are initiated manually from the Zoom Room administrator interface. There may be some latency between Neat releasing a firmware version update, and Zoom making that firmware update available to Neat devices from the Zoom admin portal (Neat’s expectation is that firmware availability in ZDM should be less than 1 week from Neat’s release).

During an update initiated from the Zoom Room administrative portal, neither the administrative user on the portal nor any people in the room with the Neat device will have any information about whether the update has started, or progress toward completion. The update will not wait for a specific timeframe, and cannot be scheduled, but will start when the Zoom portal instructs the system to initiate its upgrade (of firmware, or app, or both)

More information about remotely updating Zoom Room devices using ZDM can be found in the following Zoom support article: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/360028018111

Updates on Neat devices as Microsoft Teams Rooms

Neat firmware updates do not come bundled with Microsoft Teams software versions. During OOB the Neat OTA server will specify which Teams app versions will be installed initially, but after registration and activation to a Teams tenant the application version dictated by the Teams tenant will be installed.

Automatic Updates

By default, Neat’s firmware configuration regarding update handling is set to “Automatic” meaning that Neat firmware updates (but not Teams app version updates) are applied automatically when newer versions are posted by Neat to Neat’s over-the-air update server at ota.neat.no. This means that unless manual action is taken to the contrary, Neat devices functioning as Teams Rooms are always automatically on the most current Neat firmware available. When new firmware versions are released, Neat devices will download them within a few hours of publication, then wait until 2 AM local time to reboot and apply the updates.

Manual updates and TAC

Microsoft Teams Admin Center (“TAC”) is used to manage updates on Neat devices registered as Microsoft Teams Rooms (MTR) to a Teams tenant. There are two types of releases:

  • A “full” release that bundles both Neat firmware and the various apps from Microsoft
    • These applications include Microsoft Teams Room on Android / MTRoA (for Bar, Bar Pro, Board, and Pad as controller), Teams Panels (for Pad as scheduling panel) and Teams Display (for Frame). These three app categories have in common that they use additional apps from Microsoft, called “Company Portal” and “Admin Agent”.
  • An “app only” release that leaves the firmware version unchanged, but updates the Microsoft apps

Teams administrators may set a desired pace of adoption of new Teams app versions (what Microsoft calls “release rings”) but updates can be delayed no more than 90 days per Microsoft policy. TAC administrators can choose for devices to updated 30 days after a firmware release, or immediately once new firmware is available

More information about remotely updating Microsoft Teams Room devices using TAC can be found in the following Microsoft support article: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-gb/microsoftteams/devices/remote-update