Tesla's Communications About New Firmware Updates

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Bokonon

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#22
Aaaaand on that well-placed note of humor... :)

Let's all take a step back and acknowledge something that has been said literally hundreds of times here on M3OC, in a variety of different contexts: "Communication is not one of Tesla's strengths." Yes, one would think that such a young, technologically-advanced company as Tesla would have a native mastery of all 21st-century corporate communication strategies, platforms, and best practices. Time and time again, though, we as customers (not to mention prospective buyers) are reminded of the reality that this is simply not the case, and that there is a lot of room for improvement, sometimes in seemingly trivial, obvious ways. (Oh, BTW.... have I mentioned that I still receive offers from Chevrolet about upgrading my 2013 Volt to a 2018? Or that Volkswagen is still trying to upsell me on Car-Net? :rolleyes: )

But with that said, I agree with the fundamental points that @Maynerd has raised here (sometimes directly, sometimes tongue-in-cheek :p):

(1) Some additional clarity around release timing would greatly help set the proper expectations with new or less tech-savvy owners. How many times have we seen people here ask questions like, "My car is connected to Wi-Fi, just like the email said, but I don't have the update yet. Am I doing something wrong? Do I need to plug the car in? (etc)"

(2) Just because Tesla is a visionary company that makes amazing products that we love doesn't mean we shouldn't expect more from them in areas where they can improve.

I would disagree with Maynerd's assessment that Tesla is being "lazy" (if indeed that was meant as a serious assessment, rather than a tongue-in-cheek quip) in the way that the company communicates impending firmware updates to their customers. (I would simply call it "as-yet unsophisticated," a by-product of being a company that still acts like a startup in many ways, for better and for worse.) However, the fact that he holds this opinion -- or expects a better experience from Tesla -- doesn't necessarily mean that he is somehow unfit or ill-matched for Tesla ownership. So, let's put that type of speculation aside, and re-focus the conversation on ways in which Tesla can help make the firmware upgrade experience easier to navigate. Especially given that the mere notion of a software-upgradeable car is so unfamiliar to many first-time Tesla owners.
 
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Maynerd

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#23
Well said, and yes my lazy comment was more tongue in cheek. At the end of the day, we will all get the update at some point but I have no doubt that Tesla is wasting money and time by not being more clear. If you think I'm complaining, I can only imagine the phone calls that their support get. They would do a lot to help their bottom line to be more clear in their communication. I mean I see people saying they go to the service center asking for updates, this cannot be a good use of anyone's time.

I think it would be good to have a place where customers, while Tesla support moderates, can offer suggestions for software improvements and can be upvoted/downvoted by the community. Being a newer company where people liken their cars to iphones they need to be tech forward and be closer to their customers to make change. I'm often very pleased with what Tesla is doing however I want to be blown away and I want people who don't own a Tesla to look at Tesla as the pinnacle of awesome for cars and tech. They are already quite awesome but I want EPIC awesome! :)
 

evannole

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#24
If you want to receive the email only once your car is ready to receive the update, you're simply moving the goal posts and will likely still be disappointed. You'll come to these forums, read about other people's having received both email and update, and wonder (aloud or silently) why you're not in the queue yet.

Full disclosure: I don't have 42.2 yet, either.
 

NR4P

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#25
I tend to agree with the OP. Why send the email and make people wait weeks? My car has been the garage for 4 days straight and a few more to go. On Wi-Fi full time and if like the V9 update I will be in week 3.

On top of that seems like most new features are called Beta. They are not really beta. Beta typically means a closed user group with feedback mechanisms on bugs. And then direct interaction with the ticketing tracking system to track the bug. Tesla uses Beta terminology as an excuse to push something less than release candidate software out fast to the mass market. Or the lawyers want to minimize liability. TEAP should be catching all of this.

I do think the car is awesome, I am happy to drive it, I applaud the development but the last part of releasing the features could be improved. Just a wee bit more effort could make things smoother for everyone.
 

Tombolian

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#26
I'm FINALLY being updated to V9 as I type this.
I had a troublesome delivery experience that resulted in my Tesla phone app not working for 11 days (3 tech support calls required), and then, finding myself lower and lower on the V9 upgrade chain (thank you Teslafi), spent a couple more hours w/ tech support telling me to 'be patient'... Patience schmatience, I went into my SC today to get replacement plastic wheel-well-fabric-retainer nuts and spoke to the manager of the service dept about my upgrade dilemma. He agreed to check on it if I emailed him. I emailed him about 30 minutes ago. I'm upgrading right now. You do the math.
All that I think we are asking for is a little more ease at getting them to be able to check on potential issues sooner rather than later.
My patience has been tested twice in ways that most others can't compare to.

And don't get me started on them trying to charge me for the plastic wheel-well nuts that they didn't attach properly at the factory!

Whew... OK... got that out of my system... I freakin' LOVE MY MODEL 3!!!! Woo-Hoo!!!!! Just wish I could help out with their customer service skills..
 

Maynerd

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#27
I got my update tonight. I guess we can shut this thread down. I'll start it up again when I don't get the next update before everyone else! Lol
 

Bernard

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#28
That's just ridiculous. I've not compared Tesla to ICE, not sure where you are getting that. I understand how customer service works though and its importance. I'm not dissatisfied by my car or my purchase. I am just saying we should not just drink the kool-aid non-stop. It is very realistic for Tesla to do a better job with these rollouts and they should and we should expect better.
No, it's not. Do you realize they've updated over 50'000 vehicles? It's not Netlfix traffic, but it's still something like 25TB sent. Tesla does not (yet?) own the communication infrastructure.
"in the next few weeks" is understood by any Tesla owner as an automatic statement about updates.
I registered for the car on March 31, 2016, and finally got it in June 2018 -- after 27mos, a few weeks here and there do not register. And it's not as if we did not enjoy driving those cars between updates, is it?
 
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hdgmedic

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#29
I recommend they just roll it out and when folks start asking, they go "Oh yeah. That update." Or as I stated before they say, "In the coming weeks...."
 

Tombolian

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#30
Where I work, when we do software releases, we notify all of our clients exactly when the software is available for them. Sometimes we roll out software to all clients, sometimes to a select batch of clients. Every single time, every client knows exactly when they will receive their software.
Just sayin'
 

Maynerd

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#31
No, it's not. Do you realize they've updated over 50'000 vehicles? It's not Netlfix traffic, but it's still something like 25TB sent. Tesla does not (yet?) own the communication infrastructure.
"in the next few weeks" is understood by any Tesla owner as an automatic statement about updates.
I registered for the car on March 31, 2016, and finally got it in June 2018 -- after 27mos, a few weeks here and there do not register. And it's not as if we did not enjoy driving those cars between updates, is it?
50k is NOTHING, 25TB is NOTHING. You know how many iphones are updated when they roll out a major release? Maybe a billion and their updates are even bigger per device across more device configurations. Apple doesn't "own" the communication structure either, so not sure what your point is. There are upwards of 20k new owners a month of which most are probably getting their first Tesla, so I'm not sure how 'all owners' would know about how tesla updates their cars. I've seen numerous discussions across multiple forums where people have no idea how the updates work. I too waited nearly 2 years for my car.

Your points do not invalidate my opinion. I want better, you are OK with the status quo, that's fine.

Where I work, when we do software releases, we notify all of our clients exactly when the software is available for them. Sometimes we roll out software to all clients, sometimes to a select batch of clients. Every single time, every client knows exactly when they will receive their software.
Just sayin'
You must be a sorcerer this kind of thing is impossible!
 
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evannole

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#32
50k is NOTHING, 25TB is NOTHING. You know how many iphones are updated when they roll out a major release? Maybe a billion and their updates are even bigger per device across more device configurations. Apple doesn't "own" the communication structure either, so not sure what your point is. There are upwards of 20k new owners a month of which most are probably getting their first Tesla, so IYour points do not invalidate my opinion. I want better, you are OK with the status quo, that's fine.



You must be a sorcerer this kind of thing is impossible!
Every time Apple has announced a major new release to iOS, if I tried to download it in the first few days of its supposed availability, it either didn't show up under "Software Update" on my phone, or was so slow to download that it could not be done successfully, despite my phone's otherwise fast internet connection.

In other words, no, Tesla isn't perfect, but neither is Apple.
 

Maynerd

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#33
Every time Apple has announced a major new release to iOS, if I tried to download it in the first few days of its supposed availability, it either didn't show up under "Software Update" on my phone, or was so slow to download that it could not be done successfully, despite my phone's otherwise fast internet connection.

In other words, no, Tesla isn't perfect, but neither is Apple.
Never said either were perfect. I'm merely pointing out the 50k number is really miniscule when it comes to software rollouts.
 

Samsaggace

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#34
Automatic software update is a key factor in the whole Tesla business process.
On the other hand, the monitoring of all Tesla cars around the world is also a key factor to improve hardware and embedded software efficiency.
Both crucial features cannot afford undersized data centers and data networks.
I am quite sure that Tesla experts have planned the expansion of their IT means in the future.
It seems that they are facing now some troubles in those matters and the above reports are there to push them to monitor such expansion more closely !
@Bernard @Maynerd Ownership of communication infrastructure is not the most important parameter. The size of the tubes to final users (3G/4G/internet networks) are well known and properly managed for huge data flows.
 

garsh

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#35
50k is NOTHING, 25TB is NOTHING.
It's nothing as long as you're using a service like Akamai (or Google Cloud, or Amazon AWS) to distribute your updates to datacenters around the world, so that your own little server farm doesn't have to deal with the huge traffic hit of everybody trying to download it at once. I have no idea if Tesla is making use of a service like this.
 

Samsaggace

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#36
It's nothing as long as you're using a service like Akamai (or Google Cloud, or Amazon AWS) to distribute your updates to datacenters around the world, so that your own little server farm doesn't have to deal with the huge traffic hit of everybody trying to download it at once. I have no idea if Tesla is making use of a service like this.
Sorry, but you’re missing the point.
If Tesla is unable to manage their bandwidth for updates and car monitoring, they have nothing to do in that business. Those are the core functions Tesla is using to provide new disruptive technology in car manufacturing business. It’s mandatory for them to manage such huge data flows!
By the way, it’s almost nothing compared to what Apple, Microsoft, YouTube, Netflix and so many others are providing on a daily basis...
 

MelindaV

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#37
given that most all updates from Tesla are NOT a major safety update or correction, why is it so important that they get every car updated immediately? does it matter if it trickles out over 2 weeks? if one car skips an update and gets the next one?
it is great to get the latest update, but really... how is the way they are doing it so catastrophically wrong as some seem to think of it?
 

Samsaggace

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#38
does it matter if it trickles out over 2 weeks?
It should be the customer to decide if he wants or not such update. In any case, Tesla should adapt their tools to the number of cars delivered. They may also spread an update on a certain period of time (like Microsoft is doing for major Windows updates)
 

Maynerd

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#39
given that most all updates from Tesla are NOT a major safety update or correction, why is it so important that they get every car updated immediately? does it matter if it trickles out over 2 weeks? if one car skips an update and gets the next one?
it is great to get the latest update, but really... how is the way they are doing it so catastrophically wrong as some seem to think of it?
It's not catastrophically wrong, it's just something that they can work on to improve. Specifically the communication on how they inform the customer on the roll out. It does not benefit them to have an unclear message and confusion with their customers.
 

garsh

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#40
Sorry, but you’re missing the point.
If Tesla is unable to manage their bandwidth for updates and car monitoring, they have nothing to do in that business.
I think you're missing the point. Car monitoring uses relatively constant bandwidth. But software updates will cause a spike in bandwidth. Back in the old days, this meant that you had to make sure you had a beefy server for hosting the update, and buy a big, fat pipe to the internet to handle the traffic. The money spent on that was wasted outside of those few days when the software update was announced.

Nowadays, there are companies like Akamai that allow companies to effortlessly copy their files onto several servers around the world, allowing the load to be spread across several machines on the internet instead of all coming into your corporate network. In other words, this is *how* companies manage spiky bandwidth needs nowadays.

https://www.akamai.com/us/en/our-customers.jsp