Internet-of-Things (IoT) solutions are blooming today, so it’s really easy to imagine a home that is entirely connected, with the alarm clock going off, a coffee machine starting making you a cup of espresso, smart curtains opening the windows, and upbeat music playing from your wireless speakers to liven up your another perfect morning. But the reality is harsh and things could go as follows: your coffee machine pours way too much water into your cup, curtains won’t open at all, and the speakers start playing tracks from shittyflute YouTube channel.
All this should work properly
All this “connected circus” could be avoided with having proper IoT device management in place. IoT device management enables you to have full control over your IoT fleet to prevent the abovementioned tragicomedy that is actually not a big exaggeration, and such situations do happen to IoT devices in real life. That is why the JatApp team will tell you what IoT device management is and why it’s really important for your IoT project.
IoT device management explained and justified
It’s really easy to understand what IoT device management is because the definition is rather simple: IoT device management is a process of accessing, diagnosing, and controlling deployed IoT devices. Beyond having control over your IoT fleet, there are several benefits to mention.
First of all, you have remote access to your IoT devices, which is why you can be in your IoT management driver’s seat without having physical contact with your connected hardware. Second, monitoring of IoT devices 24/7 increases the likelihood of detecting any security threats.
The third benefit is an ability to scale your IoT business and still have the entire IoT management system in the line of sight. You can have a hundred connected devices and keep being informed about their performance status as if you have a pair of them.
Eventually, IoT device management can help you optimize your IoT infrastructure. Battery life, energy consumption, connectivity, and so on can be diagnosed and analyzed to inform you whether you run your IoT network efficiently enough.
Beyond a doubt, IoT device management software includes much more helpful things to make your product a better solution. To know more about these advantages, we need to understand how IoT device management works.
How it works
IoT device management features are the following:
- Provisioning. Well, it’s just a serious word to emphasize that setting up your IoT devices the right way is an essential part of IoT device management. Customizing device settings from its from-the-shelf state is what you should be concerned with at this stage of device management. Generally speaking, provisioning means preparing your IoT fleet for hard work.
- Authentication. At this point, you authorize your IoT devices, so the system recognizes them when they are connected. In such a way, you prevent your network from connecting to unknown devices that can carry God knows what. Anyway, you don’t need such a Greek gift in your IoT network.
- Configuration. It is some kind of advanced provisioning process, but you develop additional features or apply specific characteristics for a particular IoT device. For example, you want to make your connected TV set turn on a 10-hour video of burning fireplace on a cloudy rainy day, which means you need to work on relatable code and integrations for your TV, its built-in YouTube app, and weather forecast application.
- Control. That’s the actual management of your IoT devices performance. Every single device within your network has a bunch of tasks to do under specific circumstances. For instance, JatApp’s client wanted to develop a building energy management system driven by artificial intelligence (AI) to minimize power consumption and carbon emissions in residential and commercial buildings. One of the key ideas was to automate remote device control of connected sensors and thermostats that regulate heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) in buildings. As soon as temperature or humidity changes inside the building, connected devices adjust the HVAC system accordingly based on AI-processed data to get the best living conditions at minimal energy use.
- Monitoring. Aside from controlling connected devices, it’s critical to observe whether they’re connected at all and doing their job properly. Being able to monitor your IoT devices increases chances that you can take necessary action when something goes wrong with any of your devices. For that purpose, our client from Switzerland turned up to JatApp with a request to build a monitoring platform for electric vehicles charging stations. Our team developed a solution that enables electric vehicle drivers, businesses, and charging points owners to monitor stations status. In case any of the charging stations is disconnected, each user group will see it. For the business owners, it means they can reduce charging stations’ downtime by taking an appropriate action as fast as possible.
Solution’s user interface
- Diagnostics. Doing diagnostics of your IoT devices relates to monitoring in some way, but it’s more about predicting whether your assets are going to falter any time soon. By observing key performance parameters as well as state of security and hardware, you are better informed about whether any problems can be expected in the near future.
- Software updates. Updating software is inevitable for any digital solution, and IoT apps are no exception. With IoT device management, you don’t have to dismantle all your connected devices and dance with a tambourine around them while singing shaman mantras. You can update your software remotely, which is unarguably convenient and time-and-cost saving.
- Maintenance. When something eventually doesn’t work well in your IoT network, you’ll have to fix it. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to send technicians to heal your devices. Many issues are software-related, and managing them remotely is possible. That’s why maintenance features are one of the key aspects of IoT device management. However, it’s fair to say that no software will protect your IoT devices from lightning strike or any other physical damage.
Where can it be used?
IoT device management solutions usually exist in the context of a particular solution. The steps we’ve just covered are just a general framework that applies to any use case. With this being said, we’re going to look at a couple of use cases to understand how IoT device management works in a specific context.
Let’s take a smart farm as an example. You have connected sensors that measure humidity and automated water spray machines that nourish your harvest when necessary.
In this case, measuring humidity levels and sending data to connected water spray machines is IoT device control in action. You set your IoT fleet in a way that ensures that your harvest will be watered at a time when it requires extra nourishment. Without having IoT device management, the entire smart farm won’t make sense.
Connected sensor for measuring field’s humidity
Another example can be provided with a power bank sharing platform which JatApp developed for our client from France. The product is an autonomous platform for powerbank rental, and keeping an eye on every connected powerbank is essential for the client’s business.
Our developers came up with an idea to automate a notification system that will alert a renter and the company that a powerbank lost a connection because it left the connectivity area. As a result, you can see that the IoT devices management enables our client to make sure that their assets can’t be stolen, as they’ll be instantly informed about connection loss.
Power banks and connected charging station
Needless to say, the list of use cases doesn’t end here, but we also need to discuss an essential component of IoT device management: a relatable technology stack, without which you can’t really manage your IoT devices.
Technology stack you should definitely have
You obviously need a good technology stack to have a full-fledged IoT device management. A relatable tech stack includes cloud IoT platform, IoT devices, and protocols.
Today, cloud platforms are not just a remote storage for your software but actually an environment, where you can build it in the most effective way. That is why the major cloud platforms offer IoT device management as one of their main services.
Setting up control and monitoring, onboarding of devices, configuration and tracking, remote diagnostics, and many other features are possible with the major cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, IBM Watson Platform and Google Cloud Platform. We won’t beat around the bush about them in detail, as the main differences between these platforms are pricing and adaptability to different types of IoT solutions. If you’re interested in learning more about IoT cloud platforms, please be welcome to read our dedicated article.
How AWS IoT device management platform works
And of course you need connected devices, otherwise your product is not an IoT solution. We will not describe all types of devices because it never can be complete enough. The matter is that almost anything can become a connected device today. But don’t be too enthusiastic about your invention, keep your head cool, there are high chances that excessive creativity can make your IoT product useless rather than life-changing.
You need IoT protocols to connect your devices to the cloud platform to make IoT device management possible. There are two major types of networks that you can create by connecting your IoT fleet via different protocols: low-power short range, and low-power wide area networks.
Each of these networks include something like 285, 255, 845 protocols. You can learn more about them in our other dedicated article. Okay, we’re joking about 285, 255, 845 protocols, but in the article you can find all the answers about what IoT protocols are, why they are important, and what protocols to choose for your IoT project.
IoT communication protocols
IoT device management won’t manage itself
Even though IoT device management is a must for your IoT project, it’s also essential to have a professional tech team who actually sets up the device management process. JatApp has been developing IoT solutions since 2015, and during this time we have gained vast experience in building IoT products that are easy to manage and secure from cyber attacks.
Want to know more about how we work? Just contact us, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.