Many business operations have been made more efficient by moving to a cloud-based architecture. The PLT architecture does the same thing by moving key aspects of firmware deployment and automated testing to the cloud. Instead of fine-tuning software running on a PC, we put the software into containers maintained via continuous integration in the cloud. This improves quality and reduces cost.
Hardware teams generally face a dilemma when designing a test system for their product:
1.) Build it themselves, or
2.) Rely on their contract manufacturer (CM) to build it
Building it themselves drains time and resources and is difficult to sustain throughout NPI when the primary focus is on the product itself. Often the documentation is incomplete and it is difficult for new people to maintain the system because it is often built by a single member of the team.
Larger CMs can build test automation systems for their clients but the minimum cost is generally around $250K for a single implementation. Even with this very large cost, it can be difficult to change the firmware or test plans on the production line. Moreover, it can be hard to get timely test data from factory.
The PLT is a modern third way of implementing firmware deployment and test automation that is fast, flexible, and affordable.