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Connectivity for IoT

What is IoT Device Management? (and why you need it)

A person managing IoT devices on their laptop within an office next to a server room.

Just about everyone these days has heard of the ‘Internet of Things’ or IoT. It’s about as commonplace as the connected devices themselves, and is set to grow quickly. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global IoT market size was USD 308.97 billion in 2020, with a projected CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of over 25% in the coming years.

What does this mean for you, and how can you best prepare for the growing number of IoT devices your business will likely have to manage?

Firstly, let’s summarize what the IoT is, and how it’s transforming the way we work, live and play.

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

IoT is an umbrella term that covers the growing number of devices (and IoT applications) that are connected to the internet. One estimate states that we can soon expect around 150,000 new IoT devices to be coming online every minute.

And while technically devices like smartphones are part of the IoT, the IoT solutions industry is more focused on connected systems with automation functionality, such as hardware using embedded sensors to constantly monitor their environment, as well as receive, process and send data, without any human interaction, and then take action.

IoT is a type of ecosystem, with automated apps and APIs, communicating in real time (using the lightweight MQTT messaging protocol) to deliver IoT services for a range of different industries. This includes industries such as utilities, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, real estate, transportation and logistics, government, insurance and banking, agriculture and automotive, which all have ongoing IoT projects to transform how they work.

An example of this could be a moisture sensor in a field of crops. If the IoT remote device detects that the moisture level in the soil is below a certain threshold, it can communicate this over the air to an irrigation system.

Another use case might be a commercial truck that automatically reports when an engine part will soon need replacing and sends this information to the parts warehouse, so the new part is available for installation when the truck comes in for servicing.

IoT devices can be very small, only requiring a small processor, some on-board storage, a sensor (or multiple sensors) and the ability to connect to a network. This connection is often through the cellular data network (anything from 2G through to 4G/LTE and 5G) but can also be using alternative, close proximity connections such as Bluetooth or RFID.

Cellular data connections for a lot of IoT devices is through a very small, embedded SIM (type MFF2), which is soldered into the device’s circuit board.

In some cases, particularly where the IoT device does not have a direct internet connection, the device will connect to a local network (such as an edge device or server), where data may be processed directly, rather than being sent to the cloud. This is all part of a trend where technologies such as 5G, edge computing and the IoT are converging, transforming traditional computer networks.

There are so many possibilities for how IoT technology could be used that it is not surprising there is a massive amount of investment in this industry, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

However, the challenge for IT managers will be how to manage this rapid growth so enterprises can maximize the advantages this new technology brings, rather than causing a whole lot of disruption (the wrong kind).

So, what does IoT device management involve, and what type of things are managed as part IoT device management?

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Why is there a need for IoT device management?

Do IoT devices need managing? Aren’t they autonomous? It’s true, a lot of IoT devices don’t need constant management but there are still aspects of the IoT lifecycle that need oversight.

IoT device lifecycle management includes:

  • Deploying and configuring new devices
  • Tracking data usage (to avoid data overage and manage costs)
  • Reporting on device location
  • Running firmware updates and software patches
  • Troubleshooting and performing device diagnostics

It would be possible to manage a few devices manually, but extend this to a lot of devices and it quickly becomes a headache. It also means a lot of inconsistency across your IoT device inventory, which can mean out-of-date software, lost or malfunctioning devices, data overages, and inaccurate reporting.

Fortunately, there is a solution, and that’s an IoT device management platform, which can help you optimize your device inventory. How do these management platforms work, and what benefits do they offer?

Explore Inseego's remote device management

What are the benefits of an IoT device management platform? One is better connectivity.

One of the biggest challenges for IT teams dealing with IoT devices is scalability. Being able to easily streamline and scale up the number of devices managed, while maintaining a functional, secure network, presents a problem without management software.

With years of experience and expertise in networking, and provider of networking devices, Inseego provides enterprises with feature-rich management tools that help them successfully manage thousands of IoT devices.

Inseego Connect helps IT teams with everything related to the IoT rollout; from device provisioning, authentication and deployment to managing, monitoring and troubleshooting devices.

And it’s all done from a single pane of glass, a cloud-based IoT management tool that makes the management process a lot more efficient.

Examples of data and metrics that can be monitored include:

  • Device model, software version & IMEI
  • Device is offline (IoT connectivity)
  • Network data such as signal strength and IoT data usage
  • Device location
  • Battery levels
  • Movement outside defined areas
  • Device inventory (including the ability to view by location on a map)

Within the reporting tools, notifications can be configured for things like system failures, a non-reporting device or security breaches. This reduces the workload for IT admins, which is particularly helpful when monitoring a large number of devices.

However, it’s more than just reporting. Devices can be managed in bulk to maintain network health, minimize downtime and resolve any issues quickly.

This device management software works remotely, including from a mobile device, eliminating the need for costly site visits.

  • View or edit device configuration
  • Install software updates
  • Templates to configure devices in bulk
  • Reboot devices
  • Decommissioning devices

Inseego Connect goes beyond the fundamentals of just being an IoT management tool. It also provides helpful analytics into device usage and trends, which can help with onboarding workflows, future planning, predictive data budgeting and cost management.

For more information on Inseego Connect and how it can help you manage your IoT deployments, visit our Inseego Manage page or contact us directly.

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