IoT devices continue to expand their reach into homes, businesses and industrial environments, as more and more devices are connected to gather and share data. With all these devices, how can continuous availability and security of IoT devices and related infrastructure be assured for mission critical operations?
Effective device management is critical to establishing, monitoring and maintaining the health, connectivity, and security of these appliances.
What exactly is Device Management?
IoT device management is the process of managing the implementation, operation and maintenance of a physical device, such as a sensor, reader or gateway. It includes the administrative tools to provision, configure, authenticate, monitor and fix the device hardware, firmware, and software that provides its functional capabilities.
Today, many ‘connected customer IoT devices’ are sold as a part of a vertically-integrated, closed solution stack. The solution includes the IoT device, network access (LAN or cellular), perhaps an IoT gateway, and a cloud service. Device management in this model is called Closed Device enablement.
Another solution model is to create a loosely-coupled, “device vendor ecosystem” for an application. With this approach, a multi-vendor ecosystem of devices is certified for compatibility with an IoT gateway or application. This means a customer can buy devices from a variety of vendors and onboard those devices to enable a solution. This business model is referred to as the ‘App-specific device ecosystem’ model.
While this approach provides advantages over the closed device model, such as broadening a customer’s range of device choices, it also has drawbacks. When an IoT device can be used with different providers’ services or software, the on-boarding process is often more complicated and new device management processes are required.
Another challenge in enterprise device management is the time it takes to perform upgrades and maintenance in large enterprises where hundreds or thousands of devices are deployed. One solution to minimizing upgrade times is to upgrade in a bulk process and to schedule upgrades so that the process does not hinder network performance. This is vital, especially in an environment that has a heavy network traffic load.
The future: standards-based device management
The vision for the future of device management involves IoT devices whose identity and firmware are managed using a standard process, entirely independent of the application or solution stack.
When a customer buys an IoT device, he or she should be able to securely associate that device’s identity with his/her personal identity and securely manage its software and firmware using a familiar, standard workflow supporting all device vendors. This means that any IoT device should be easily associated with any IoT gateway that supports its protocols and be able to be monitored by a device management service.
Visi-Trac Device Manager
Visi-Trac Device Manager is leading the industry in standards-based device management. Whether your device is an RFID reader, GPS tracker, IoT sensor, BLE beacon or mesh network gateway, Visi-Trac Device Manager is designed to be able to monitor and manage them all through a common interface.
Visi-Trac Device Manager monitors the health of edge devices and sensors and issues alerts (including via email and text) when devices or networks may go offline. The network of devices is monitored by the type and status of each device, and displayed on dashboards, maps or facility floor plans. Device Manager has an intuitive reader management interface, and links to our customer support team for rapid remediation actions, such as handling remote configurations and firmware upgrades.
- Device Monitor – Monitor device infrastructure online/offline status, data synchronization with servers, battery life and environmental conditions
- Device Alerts – Automatically generate alerts when devices go offline, stop reporting, or generate anomalous data
- Easy Enrollment – Enroll new devices through Visi-Trac application
- Health Monitor – Collect valuable device health information
- Device History – Report location, movement or service history
- Warranty and RMAs – Track warranty expiration dates and repair management authorizations
- Customer Support Link – Ping, restart or reconfigure a reader, upgrade firmware, or log a trouble ticket from within Device Manager
To discuss your device management needs, please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.