IoT Management explained

Efficient and thoroughly planned IoT management is a crucial component of any IoT environment. One major challenge for IoT operator is managing and maintaining its enabled devices/sensors. Established cloud service providers offer a wide variety of IoT platforms that boast integrated IoT management features. Device management allows IoT network managers to safely, authenticate, monitor, control, configure, provision, and maintain their cluster of IoT devices. Especially at a larger scale, the IoT management strategy is one of the first aspects to consider when mapping out and planning a soon-to-be deployed IoT environment.

IoT Device Management – Essential yet frequently overlooked

Due to the sheer complexity of the IoT space, it is quite common for companies attempting to adopt IoT infrastructure to overlook major elements of the overall equation. Extensive planning is the key to a long-lasting, fruitful IoT network. Deciding on which smart devices to invest in, which connectivity protocol they will utilize and how to conduct cloud analytics is not enough. IoT device management is an integral piece of the puzzle.

There's an obvious reason why IoT device management is often overlooked, despite its crucial role in the success and feasibility of an IoT network. Businesses, especially those with origin from traditional well-established industries, i.e., oil and gas or utility companies, are often unsure about why they need IoT to begin with.

How an IoT management platform affects the success of the network

Ability to Streamline Troubleshooting and Monitoring

Some companies decide to go all-in on IoT right off the bat, while others conduct a small-scale test, realizing its potential, and ultimately scale up their existing network. Either way, IoT networks that scale to thousands of devices that are geographically dispersed across different environments, climate conditions, and sometimes even a country's borders, troubleshooting errors manually becomes an inefficient, time-intensive and costly challenge. However, leaving your IoT devices completely unattended risks the loss of datasets that are crucial to making informed corporate decisions. An IoT management platform enables its user to monitor and troubleshoot IoT devices with a single-pane view mapping out all devices, their status, and their transmission of data. Thus these platforms provide an ideal solution to this challenge and significantly simplify the monitoring and the diagnosis of an unexpected issue.

Being able to view a device's battery level, firmware version, and data transmission intervals allow network managers to identify bottlenecks in the network, which may have gone unnoticed, significantly reducing the network's overall efficiency. Being able to monitor real-time battery levels of each device allows you to schedule maintenance for multiple devices within close vicinity, which reduces the engineers’ transportation costs.

Faster Time-to-Market

An IoT device management system helps developers of IoT solutions significantly reduce the time needed for development and testing to bring their innovative products to the market much faster. In some cases, these platforms are even bundled with a reputable connectivity service utilizing a connectivity protocol that suits the unique needs of the industries the management platform developer is trying to cater to. Automating and simplifying the device and network administration tasks also allows network managers and operators to focus on their core expertise.

Secure Device Authentication and Onboarding

Low chance of backdoors & Faster identification of breaches

As cyber-attacks and network penetration become increasingly sophisticated, and the data transmitted through IoT network larger and more valuable, IoT base stations, gateways, and devices need to be equipped with the latest security features and firmware updates.

Manually updating every single hardware unit across such a network would be a seemingly endless task, especially for devices located in remote areas. An IoT device management platform allows network operators to perform OS, firmware and security updates with virtually a single click, drastically reducing maintenance costs while ensuring that not a single device can become a hacker's gateway used to enter and infiltrate the entire network.

In addition, 24/7 monitoring of the network through the management platform makes it easier to identify parameters, such as a sudden increase in data traffic, indicating potential network infiltration and data breaches in a timely manner.

The four pillars of IoT management in a nutshell explained

If companies are looking to deploy an IoT system, they should consider these four essential requirements for managing IoT devices efficiently:

The four pillars of IoT management in a nutshell explained

Devices don't always work as smoothly as leaflets and product descriptions may suggest, especially when subjected to rough climate for months on end. Being able to control and configure IoT devices is integral to ensure functionality, stability, and tweaking their transmission intervals to improve efficiency.

Provisioning & Authentication

When IoT devices are being deployed, the IoT network operator has to ensure the devices requesting access to the network are secure and legitimate. Provisioning is the incorporation of new IoT devices into the network.

Monitoring and Diagnostics

The network operator has to ensure devices create a detailed event log, while the device management platform needs to be able to gather and summarize these, which are particularly important for troubleshooting malfunctions within the system or its devices. For this aspect, cloud-based analytics software is able to provide detailed insights to the network operator.

Software Maintenance and Updates

Conducting updates manually, the same way people update their phones, routers, or laptops, is generally not feasible when thousands of devices require updates. The ability to update device software remotely is a major feature that allows an IoT network to be truly scalable.

  • There are four aspects that are critical to making an IoT network truly scalable.
  • The configuring, controlling, provisioning, authentication, monitoring, updating diagnostics, and maintenance of devices, that are part of any larger IoT network are essential processes in terms of security, compatibility, and productivity.
  • Being able to conduct these processes on a single-pane, web-interface rather than having to visit each connected device physically, greatly increases the IoT networks overall feasibility.