The popularity of Internet of Things solutions is increasing, as well as their number and their adoption within various sectors and business domains. But with all the advantages that IoT sensors and smart devices can bring, there are potential concerns and pitfalls. The larger a system is, the more challenging IoT device management becomes. An expanding system means dealing with new databases, cloud connections, networks, and communication protocols. All of this introduces additional difficulties.
It’s crucial to find the right method to efficiently control IoT devices, as the reliability and security of your system depends on your ability to do so. In this article, we’ll discuss remote management of IoT environments and explain how to control IoT devices to ensure they operate seamlessly and demonstrate the desired results.
What is IoT device management?
Let’s start with the most basic definition of this concept. IoT device management refers to methods, tools, activities, processes, and platforms whose main goal is to improve the performance and efficiency of devices included in an IoT system. When we speak of the need to control IoT devices, we usually mean tasks such as registering, provisioning, configuring, monitoring, and maintaining throughout the lifecycle of these devices.
These efforts are aimed at automating and streamlining operations, so that devices enriched with IoT sensors remain connected and up-to-date.
To execute efficient IoT device management, you need an IoT platform responsible for accumulating all the data received from your devices, as well as cloud services that will ensure both data flow and your ability to visualize the data.
Why is it important to control IoT devices?
Any failure of IoT devices can become a very costly issue for a company. Given the financial and reputational risks associated with downtimes of IoT systems or data loss caused by tech problems, it’s much better to invest in implementing remote management than to deal with the consequences of device failures.
The ability to execute control over devices is vital for companies that want to track the process of receiving and transmitting data, verify whether all the devices are connected, and check how their systems are working. Nevertheless, constant physical monitoring is definitely not desirable, and that’s where remote monitoring solutions enter the game.
How does IoT device management work?
To understand how you can control IoT devices, it’s important to understand what components are included in the remote management of devices united in an IoT network.
When you start using a device for the first time, it’s not enough just to switch it on. It needs to be connected to the network. While traditional devices usually have independent interfaces that help users perform all onboarding-related tasks, IoT devices do not provide such tools. That’s why users need a device management platform to check credentials, define a communication protocol, and assign an IoT device identity.
Your company or enterprise has its unique business needs, and all of them should be reflected in the functioning of your IoT system. All your IoT devices should be configured in full accordance with your requirements. This functionality will be helpful, for example, when you need to create groups of specific IoT sensors if they are installed on the same truck.
By performing diagnostics within the framework of monitoring IoT systems, you will get remote access to crucial insights into their performance. Theoretically, it’s possible to perform diagnostics and data analysis locally on each device, but not all of them have enough computing resources and memory for that. Centralized IoT device management can deal with this task without adding load on the local resources of devices.
Given the increasingly sophisticated tools and methods applied by hackers, threats to IoT systems are growing, along with their power. In this context, it’s a must to organize sufficient oversight and implement the latest security protocols in the framework of remote control of IoT systems.
To ensure seamless functioning of your IoT system, your remote monitoring efforts should also include regular updates of device firmware. Such updates can be performed in bulk, just like configuration or onboarding, which can save a lot of time.
End of life
Obviously, in the course of time some devices may become useless and it won’t be feasible to support them anymore. If they are not used but are still part of your system, they can also pose threats to the system's security and functioning. That’s why you will need to introduce end-of-life policies and decommissioning steps, including not only actions to be performed in the framework of remote IoT management but also recycling of the materials if these devices are no longer to be used.
Want to create your own IoT solution?
Our seasoned developers have rich expertise in building cutting-edge IoT solutions for different business needs. Just share your ideas with us to get estimates.
How to manage and control IoT devices
IoT devices are connected to the internet via a cellular network or WiFi. Thanks to their connectivity, it is possible to get remote access to them and execute control by using a computer, smartphone, or tablet.
When you want the possibility to interact with IoT devices, you will need to use a device management platform. To get remote access to your devices, you will need to connect them to your platform and make sure the data exchange can take place in real-time. The exact steps related to device management will depend on the platform that you choose.
Examples of IoT device management platforms
There is a wide range of device management platforms, offering a variety of plans. You will be able to choose an option that best corresponds to your IoT system. Below are a few examples.
- Azure IoT Hub. This is a scalable cloud platform that offers vast functionality. It provides data storage, an IoT device registry, and powerful security features. Moreover, it can be used for building IoT apps, as it has a service interface with the required tools.
- AWS IoT Device Management. This platform is intended to simplify all the processes related to device management, including but not limited to onboarding, monitoring, and updating.
- IBM Watson IoT Platform. This comprehensive service provides a variety of capabilities that will facilitate the process of managing IoT devices. For example, with its help you can register, connect, and control devices, as well as store and visualize the received data.
- Google Cloud IoT Core. Even if your devices are located in different corners of the world, this platform built by Google can help you efficiently manage them and accumulate the gathered data.
Benefits of IoT device management for your business
With a correctly chosen approach to remote IoT management, you will gain a series of business advantages, optimize the time and effort required to ensure your devices are functioning well, and reduce the risks related to potential device failure.
- Streamlined device updating. It is crucial that the capabilities of your devices stay relevant to business conditions. So regular updates are inevitable. Thanks to remote access to your devices, you can save a huge amount of time.
- Enhanced stability and reliability of IoT devices. With remote monitoring tools, you can view device statuses and track their performance on a single platform in real time. With this data at your disposal, you will be able to react in a timely way to any detected issues.
- Improved security. IoT business solutions always deal with highly sensitive information and are integrated with various types of mission-critical equipment. That’s why their protection should always be among the top tasks addressed with proper remote control. Device management platforms can allow you to introduce security standards, data encryption, and segmentation.
Challenges for remote management of IoT devices
IoT device management is not the easiest process and faces numerous challenges. We recommend carefully considering the potential pitfalls in the initial stages of implementing remote control practices, so you know how to deal with possible difficulties.
- IoT device management on a large scale. When you have just a small system and all the devices are located across the same facilities, their management is much easier than in those cases when your devices are deployed in different regions and their number is constantly growing. Manual operations won’t be enough to ensure the desired level of control. In this situation, it’s crucial to choose a reliable device management platform with tools for centralized control and bulk activations.
- Generation of massive volumes of data. Implementing IoT systems always means generating a lot of data. But when you implement remote management tools, you will have to deal with extra volumes of data related to the performance of the devices themselves. You need to think about ways to handle, keep, and process it and choose relevant data management solutions and cloud services for storing and analyzing your data. The chosen solutions should be scalable, as data volumes will grow in the future.
- Device interoperability and compatibility. There are thousands of IoT devices available today, with not only different shapes and sizes but also different communication protocols. It can be challenging to ensure their seamless compatibility and interoperability, as well as data exchange between them. The same issues may appear when you try to set up remote access to your devices. Due to their technical peculiarities, more time and effort may be required to connect them to the chosen device management platform and ensure smooth interaction with each of them.
Device monitoring is an important aspect of working with your IoT system. The performance of your devices installed across different facilities greatly depends on how you can control IoT devices and react to any detected vulnerabilities.
The efficiency of such systems is a result of numerous factors, including the quality and reliability of your software, its interoperability with other products, as well as the strategy you have chosen to implement your IoT system.
If you need any help related to IoT systems or getting remote access to your devices, we are always ready to share our knowledge and expertise. Just tell us about your case, and our expert will find the best approach to solving your task.
What is IoT device control?
This term is used to describe a combination of practices and processes aimed at registering, configuring, tracking, provisioning, and maintaining connected devices that are part of an IoT system. Given modern tech standards, it’s important for any company operating IoT solutions to be able to execute remote control over those devices.
How to control IoT devices remotely
For executing remote management of IoT devices, companies and organizations typically rely on cloud platforms. Cloud infrastructure helps ensure the synchronization and real-time data exchange between the software and hardware, which will allow you to control IoT devices and interact with them via a central server.