IoT Device Management
What is IoT Device Management?
Effective and efficient IoT device management is a crucial element for any beneficial IoT solution. Major cloud providers that offer IoT platforms include IoT device management features in their services. Google, Microsoft and Amazon operate the most common IoT-enabled cloud services. The device management capabilities enable providers of IoT solutions to safely and easily, authenticate, provision, configure, monitor, control, and maintain their deployed IoT devices.
The four pillars of device management
An IoT system must address four basic categories/requirements of device management:
- Provisioning & authentication
- Configuration & control
- Monitoring & diagnostics
- Software updates & maintenance
1. Provisioning & Authentication
When deploying new IoT devices, the IoT network manager has to make sure these devices are trusted and secure.
Provisioning describes the process of incorporating a new IoT-enabled device into the system. Authentication is one step of the provisioning process, where we verify that only devices with legitimate credentials are allowed to interact with the IoT environment. Here, the identity of the device needs to be established in order to know whether it can be trusted.
2. Configuration & Control
Devices often do not work as smoothly as in theory, once they’re deployed in remote locations and subject to climate. After the device has been deployed, there may be settings that the network manager wants to configure once in a while — for example, sacrificing transmission frequency in order to reduce a sensor’s power consumption. Or perhaps a security threat has infected the network, requiring all sensors to be reset to factory default settings.
Being able to configure and control IoT-enabled devices after they are already deployed in their destined location is crucial to ensure functionality, improve efficiency and protect them from potential security threats.
3. Monitoring and Diagnostics
In an IoT environment with hundreds or thousands of remote IoT-enabled devices, being able to operate them smoothly and securely can make or break a company’s financial performance. Seemingly small issues or bugs can negatively affect the customer experience and thus decrement business outcomes. Active monitoring and thorough diagnostics are crucial measures to minimize the risk of device downtime due to sudden operational issues.
If a software bug exists, the ability to download the program logs from all devices is crucial in troubleshooting and fixing the malfunction. Having to physically travel to all devices and debugging all of them manually in-person would be an expensive undertaking.
The developer of the application used by IoT devices has to make sure devices create a detailed event log, while the device management software has to be able to gather these logs in case of a malfunction. Cloud-hosted analytics software can provide detailed insights into issues that occur across many devices within the network.
4. Software Maintenance and Updates
Security updates to the devices are essential in order to prevent the exploitation of security flaws. These updates need to be completed swiftly, and as such, a device’s firmware update has to be triggered from afar.
Updating them manually, the same way one updates his phone, laptop or router is simply not practical when thousands or millions of devices are at stake. The ability to maintain and update remote device software is a crucial component to the scalability of any IoT solution.
- There are four crucial components to the successful, scalable management of IoT devices
- The provisioning, authentication, configuring, controlling, monitoring, diagnostics, updating and maintenance of devices that are part of any larger IoT network are essential processes in terms of security, compatibility and productivity.
- Any IoT network manager should be able to conduct/trigger these processes remotely in order for the IoT solution to be overall scalable and economically viable.