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Our Software Agent, Leaf, Grows the Capability for All Devices to Connect

A woman standing in front of a vending machine.

Leaf is software that works with Canopy to get remote devices, such as vending machines, connected to the Internet for the purpose of being able to monitor and manage those devices in a more cost-effective way.

May 23, 2022 - Across industries, products and services, most companies today are looking for some way to better connect their devices, from kiosks and vending machines, to video surveillance equipment, EV charging stations, POS systems, digital signage platforms, sophisticated medical equipment and more.

Whether you are talking about digital transformation, the Internet of Things, or connected devices, it’s all about getting devices connected to the Internet for the purpose of being able to monitor and manage those devices in a more cost-effective way while providing new use cases for capabilities, notes Banyan Hills Technologies Co-Founder and CTO Webb Morris.

That could mean controlling energy usage in a large building to remotely monitoring a large network of kiosks to make sure they aren’t failing or falling into disrepair, or securely and safely executing remote commands on devices, for example.

From day one, Banyan Hills Technologies wanted to develop a software agent that was capable of running on a really wide and diverse set of end-point technologies. And along came Leaf, an easily extensible software agent that runs on any base operating system/device hardware platform.

The signature Canopy platform is coupled with Leaf so that it can be leveraged to centrally manage the distribution of software updates and go beyond basic device management.

Leaf was developed with the mindset of needing to have an agnostic software agent that did not care where it was running, and could be deployed in a multitude of environments with small footprints and a powerful set of capabilities.

For customers, depending on the type of devices they are targeting to be onboarded onto Canopy, they can deploy Leaf to those devices and know they will get the same functionality regardless of device type. This provides for consistency in the experience for the customer.

But First, the Proof

For some companies, the idea that all devices can be connected and controlled remotely still requires a leap of faith.

One Canopy customer remained unconvinced that Leaf could be operational on their devices, much less provide the functionality they really needed. That critical functionality turned out to be distributing software to kiosks. The company employed what is commonly termed a “sneakernet,” a manual way of transmitting digital information by physically carrying it from one point to another.

The customer was launching a set of preventative maintenance tasks that were performed on a quarterly basis using technicians. Essentially, they had just that narrow window to touch each kiosk in their fleet, so if they wanted to perform updates they had just that one shot, otherwise they were paying for an expensive, out-of-cycle technician visit.

Skeptical, they dropped a kiosk off at Banyan Hills Technologies, and within 24 hours Leaf was up and running on the device with a demo showing how updates could be delivered remotely. The customer was floored. Just in the last three months, that same customer has needed to send out mass firmware updates to a large portion of their devices. Had they not had Leaf and the Canopy platform, that would have been really costly and difficult.

You could pick any industry and what Leaf aims to do is provide for an easy, simple way to get all device types connected and communicating through the Canopy platform to enable the use cases customers are attempting to create or solve for, whether that enables cost control or revenue growth.

Powering a Fundamental Shift

Leaf plays several roles in a Canopy deployment. It provides communication corridors for devices to communicate to Canopy in addition to a secure connection and two-way communication from enterprise to device and device to enterprise.

Leaf also provides for the collection of information about the operating environment. What that information looks like can be as diverse as the customer, from a temperature reading to a set of peripherals on a self-service kiosk. Leaf might receive information to reboot a local operating environment, for example. Leaf also provides for the ability to receive and process software updates, from a configuration change to a firmware update to upgrades to payment terminals.

Before Leaf, customers typically are managing devices through manual, expensive methods, usually with low visibility. Leaf cuts down or eliminates costly technician visits and, while offering a seamless way to remotely manage devices, also allows customers to dream up capabilities and use cases they may not have thought possible.

Leaf typically offers a much wider capability range than competitors and is purposefully designed to allow customers to customize solutions to their unique needs.

Ready to talk more about Leaf and Canopy? Give us a call today or set up a free demo.


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