We live in an age of inter-connectivity in which communication between remote entities is taken for granted. As devices are manufactured to include communications capabilities, a broad spectrum of applications are possible from the 25+ billion devices expected to flood markets by 2020. Some applications of IoT devices are intended to improve the day to day lives of consumers. Other uses extend to industrial environments, healthcare, education, and safeguarding the environment. The data available via these smart devices have unlimited applications.
For companies looking to make the leap into IoT, it is easy to dream of fresh possibilities while losing sight of details. An understanding of the underlying technology behind the systems of communication is needed to ensure IoT devices are configured, securely credentialed, provisioned, and connected across IoT networks and platforms. This is where third party solution providers step in and offer remote device management services to keep your fleet of IoT devices functioning.
IoT devices must remain secure – meaning that they must be scalable without producing errors. A deployment must be planned to scale to accommodate handling increasing amounts of data, services, and users. A large scale IoT system may consist of thousands of precisely distributed IoT devices which must relay information to proxies and gateways.
There are many operational challenges which Device Management Solution Providers help clients overcome. For example, real-world IoT use cases such as environmental sensing in agriculture, vehicle to vehicle sensing, and smart occupancy systems in cities all rely on an invisible hand fine tuning each instrument, updating the instruments with new firmware, and monitoring the health of the entire fleet.
Device Management involves enabling devices to configure remotely for software updates and bug fixes. Different IoT devices will have different sets of configurable values. For example, the Tx (Transmission Power) of a Bluetooth-LE (Low Energy) beacon determines how far away a gateway can be for transmission to still be received. The lower the Tx, the more precise your micro-locations can be for geofencing. Device Management allows third party experts to configure devices on behalf of end users.
Some of the challenges tackled by third parties are the variety of IoT devices out there and still in the works. IoT management needs evolving solutions to keep pace with the rate of innovation. Secondly, M2M (machine to machine) communication often relies on limited bandwidth to relay information. Thirdly, IoT devices perform M2M through both wireless and wired options which raises interoperability issues. Fourth, as mentioned, solutions need to be scalable. Fifth, the Device Management Solution must be able to manage devices throughout their life cycle, as batteries or systems fail, removing defunct devices from the framework without compromising the security of the whole.
Informed Device Management can lower operational costs, reduce security risks, and add value for an IoT venture. IoT devices can collect data on a variety of environmental conditions including temperature, humidity, light levels, motion, and air pressure. With such an array of data available, businesses need to engage with it in meaningful ways. Device Management can create beautiful end-point visualizations for users – informing key decisions with infallible evidence.