IoT device management and its role in facilitating IoT deployments at scale

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Organisations across the globe are engaged in targeted efforts to assemble moving parts in a digital ecosystem, as Internet of Things (IoT) adoption continues to rise. According to the Visual Networking Index (VNI) released by Cisco in 2018, the number of devices connected to the internet may hit 30 billion by 2020.

Given this massive volume and high complexity associated with the Internet of Things, says Saloni Walimbe of GM Insights, there are several integral elements that need proper consideration and management. While connectivity, smart devices, and cloud analytics are considered core aspects of an IoT architecture, one of the most essential, and often overlooked part is IoT device management.

IoT device management is a fundamental part of a successful IoT ecosystem. IoT deployment does not end at the installation of the connected device. Once deployed, these devices require regular software updates and bug fixes required, potential failures and need for replacement or repair of devices, as well as myriad other concerns that can be addressed only with effective and efficient network and device management.

Fundamentals of IoT management

IoT device management is a part of the IoT ecosystem, which is responsible for the management of various types of devices and sensors on a single, unified platform. Companies involved in the IoT sphere are rapidly developing robust device management platforms equipped with advanced features to ensure optimum maintenance and management of devices in an IoT system.

For instance, Friendly Technologies uses its Smart Layer technology as a means of translation between multiple protocols, designed to manage various types of IoT devices, through its One-IoT Device Management platform.

In any given IoT system, the IoT device management market is built on four fundamentals:

  • Provisioning and authentication: Provisioning involves the enrollment of a given device into the system, after which device authentication takes place to establish an identity for the device, to ensure that it is trusted and secure.
  • Configuration and control: In order to boost a system’s control capabilities, remote resetting and configuration of devices are essential, in order to achieve a known-good state, recovery from errors, and to implement new changes to the device configuration.
  • Monitoring and diagnostics: Diagnostics and monitoring are important aspects of ideal IoT device management as they can mitigate the impact of device downtime, that could occur due to a host of unprecedented operational issues, such as bugs in the software.
  • Software updates and maintenance: Although not considered a major value-adding aspect of network and device management, and therefore overlooked by most developers, software updates & maintenance is actually one of the most critical parts of device management, especially for secure updates to and maintenance of remote device software.

The larger the ecosystem, the larger the challenges

One of the main challenges to IoT device management is the high prevalence of cybersecurity issues at the device and network levels. Security breaches, hacking of browsers, systems, and servers, among other threats, can make the IoT network unsafe and can result in losses of large amounts of sensitive and important data, such as customer and financial information.

Additionally, each security breach adds to the installation cost for new devices. This can take a severe toll on the IoT architecture.

Another major hurdle for IoT deployment and management is scalability. The IoT device landscape is complex with a plethora of networks, devices, clouds, connections, databases, protocols, and more. In such a situation, forecasting and catering to evolving needs and additions to the network become a challenging function. Furthermore, the multi-faceted nature of scalabilities, such as ground-level deployment, edge computing gateways, and high costs of IoT device deployment can also take a toll on IoT applications.

However, various solutions exist to aid in the mitigation of these issues. Regular updates and maintenance of systems and software, along with regular changes of user credentials can add more security to IoT devices. Furthermore, the development and deployment of efficient IoT device management platforms designed to facilitate IoT deployments at scale, such as the Verismic cloud management suite and Amazon’s AWS IoT device management platform can also facilitate smoother and more streamlined IoT applications.

To that end, in 2020, an Infineon Technologies firm, Cypress unveiled its new PSoC 64 Standard Secure AWS (Amazon Web Services) MCU (microcontroller). The MCU is equipped with pre-validated firmware for security, that empowers designers to significantly decrease risks in designs, as well as brings down R&D costs, thereby expediting time-to-market.

The new PSA (Platform Security Architecture) Certified Level 1 technology builds on the existing PSoC 64 Secure Boot MCU family, includes Trusted Firmware-M open-sourced embedded security, and is qualified for FreeRTOS for device management using AWS IoT Core. Furthermore, secure ISO-certified provisioning services delivered by Arrow Electronics, allow OEMs to execute secure deployments of IoT applications at scale.

In a similar move, an embedded, IoT, and M2M technology supplier Eurotech, took a step further in Remote Device Management, with the introduction of their M2M/IoT Integration Platform, dubbed Everyware Cloud™ 4.1. The platform, designed to simplify data and device management by facilitating secure and reliable connections, both cloud and on-premise, between distributed devices, also extends features needed for device software updates over the air, in order to support M2M or IoT deployments at large scales.

Saloni Walimbe

The author is Saloni Walimbe of GM Insights.

About the author

An avid reader since childhood the author, Saloni Walimbe, is currently following her passion for content creation by penning down insightful articles relating to global industry trends, business, and trade & finance. With an MBA-Marketing qualification under her belt, she has spent two years as a content writer in the advertising field. Aside from her professional work, she is an ardent animal lover and enjoys movies, music and books in her spare time.

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