Method to load software on to a PC during transit
Original Publication Date: 2000-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-19
This invention describes a method to install the preload on a computer system while it is in transit. As part of investigating new methods of manufacturing and distribution IBM has developed a manufacturing and distribution model whereby small, lightweight, high value system units are built in one place in the world. These are distributed by air by a 3rd party logistics provider who merges the system unit with any externally added peripherals (such as keyboard, mouse, USB (Universal Serial Bus) modem, USB LAN (Local Area Network) or USB wireless devices, monitor) and the system's publications. One problem encountered in this method of distribution is that the system unit is built in one place world wide (to achieve lowest cost) and can be shipped to anywhere in the world. The language and type of software preload may not be known until the unit is scheduled for shipment. This method can also be used to attempt to run diagnostics on machines while they are shipped back to a central place for repair. This invention allows for more flexible logistics and distribution of small physically sized high value system units whose destinations are not know until after they are built. This invention describes a method to install the preload on the machine while it is in transit to the final destination. Given the value of the units in transit they are air freighted to their destination. This is typically a several hour flight. This method uses a "smart pallet" on the airplane. The pallet contains a wireless network interface and a small computer capable of storing the destinations of the system units placed upon it. The cargo compartment of the airplane is equipped with a wireless network and a computer containing the preloads. In the factory the pallets are programmed with the destination of the system units that have been placed upon them. Once the plane takes off the pallets are interrogated by the computer in the plane and the system units on the pallets have the preloaded software placed on them. This is done by having the "smart pallet" send power to the system units through power cords that go through the side of the cardboard boxes and having the wireless network in the plane communicate to the pallets that send the preload signals (content) over USB connections into the system units. AC Power D istribution U SB Interfaces The pallet contains: Computer for storing destinations and buffering some of the preload data. Wireless interface to the network in the cargo section of the plane, USB interfaces for the system units on the pallet, power distribution from the plane to the system units. AC Power is connected to the pallet once it is secured inside the plane. The system units contain: POST/BIOS (Power On Self Test/Basic Input Output System) to allow preload from USB without a keyboard or mouse, packaging that allows access to plug power and USB when the units are placed on the pallets.