IoT for Data Center Infrastructure Management: 5 Critical Applications

IoT for Data Center Infrastructure Management: 5 Critical Applications

BehrTech Blog

IoT for Data Center Infrastructure Management: 5 Critical Applications

Data centers have become an indispensable part of modern computing infrastructures; housing business-critical applications and information. As they evolve from centralized on-premises facilities to edge deployments to public cloud services, it’s important to think long-term about how to maintain their reliability and security.

Major outages, data interruptions, and downtimes are expensive. According to Gartner, data center downtime costs $5,600 per minute on average. This results in average costs between $140,000 and $540,00 per hour depending on the organization. Good asset intelligence combined with preventive and predictive maintenance boosts equipment reliability and system availability.

While the sheer volume, velocity and structure of IoT data is creating challenges in terms of security, storage management, servers and the network, IoT has also created new opportunities to optimize data center infrastructure management (DCIF). IoT sensors and wireless IoT connectivity are being used to ensure optimal performance of critical data center equipment to maximize uptime, increase energy efficiency, lower operating costs and above all else, protect the data it is housing. Here are 5 critical IoT applications for data center infrastructure management.

IoT for Data Center Infrastructure Management

1. Temperature & Humidity Monitoring

Data center facilities operate 24/7, consuming vast amounts of energy and generating huge quantities of heat. Temperature control within the data center is essential in order to avoid equipment overheating, to regulate equipment cooling, and to measure overall efficiency.

Temperature sensors located in IT closets, data center racks, and key “hotspots” around the company’s facilities such as air conditioning intake and discharge vents can monitor heat generation and output for decentralized, granular control of the HVAC system and computer room air conditioning (CRAC) unit.

This is also a critical function for reducing energy costs which represent the largest operational expense in data centers. Data centers have a tendency to overcool their facilities by several degrees just to err on the side of caution. According to Gartner, environmental sensors can save up to four percent in energy costs for every degree of upward change in the baseline temperature. This is because temperature sensors at the rack inlet provide far more accurate, real-time view of data center temperatures compared to CRAC readings alone. This information can be used to make the cooling system more efficient, for example shutdown CRAC units as needed.

In addition to temperature, humidity control is essential to avoid damage to critical equipment. High humidity may result in equipment corrosion while low humidity may result in a build-up of static electricity. Environmental sensors provide real-time insights to ensure optimal humidity levels across the facility.

2. Indoor Air Quality Monitoring

Indoor air quality is another environmental hazard impacting data centers. Maintenance operations, infrastructure upgrades, and equipment changes as well as outdoor air used for ventilation, pressurization and/or cooling can introduce airborne contaminants into the facility. An indoor air quality monitoring solution can proactively alert teams to pollutants and particulates that affect electronic equipment, corrode contacts and reduce capabilities to failure point, which can result in costly data center outages.

3. Leak Detection

Water leaks are one of the biggest threats to a data center. Whether it is a leaking air conditioner, water cooled server rack, condensation, groundwater or local plumbing, water damage can have considerable costly consequences.

Leak detection sensors notify teams at the very first sign of a leak allowing them to take remedial action. For example, rope sensors can be placed in hard-to-reach locations such as around each CRAC system, cooling distribution units, under raised floors, and any other leak source (such as pipes). Spot leak sensors can be used to monitor fluid overflows in drip pans, monitoring in smaller rooms, closets or any low spots.

4. Remote Power Monitoring

While environmental monitoring is critical to ensuring proactive intervention and response to potential catastrophes, so is remote monitoring of batteries and uninterruptible power supply (UPS). Having the ability to detect potential problems early and rapidly respond to defects or degradation maximizes the reliability of UPS battery systems and gives organizations the adaptability needed in today’s dynamic data centers.

5. Security & Access Control

A data centre physical security breach might result in the loss of equipment, but the real danger has to do with data exposure. With companies collecting personally identifiable information in many different forms, consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with how well that data is being protected. Any sort of threat to a company’s data, can have a significant impact on reputation and business and result in a large financial loss.

While the likelihood of stealing an entire server is low, an asset tracking solution helps companies manage and track any asset, big or small, in real-time. It can also send out alerts the moment an asset is moved or tampered with, allowing personnel to respond quickly to any threat.

When it comes to monitoring and restricting access to the data center itself, wireless sensors can be used for presence detection and people counting in restricted areas as well as suspicious movements such as opening and closing of doors or windows. Likewise, IoT-enabled locks, card readers and keypads can further monitor and control personnel entering and exiting for a multi-layered approach to security.

Whether it’s an enterprise, managed services, cloud or colocation data center, ensuring the efficient performance of this critical environment is becoming increasingly important. IoT for data center infrastructure management provides a holistic view of current environment conditions, resource usage and security to maximize uptime, increase energy efficiency, lower operating costs and prevent data loss and exposure.

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3 Reasons Industrial IoT Projects Fail and How to Overcome Them

3 Reasons IoT Projects Fail

BehrTech Blog

3 Reasons Industrial IoT Projects Fail & How to Overcome Them

With the global market size predicted to reach USD 949.42 billion by 2025, Industrial IoT (IIoT) is expected to bring game-changing opportunities to improve operational visibility, efficiency and productivity, all while lowering costs. Amid this ambitious potential, an IIoT implementation is often easier said than done. A Cisco study revealed that only 26 percent of business decision-makers could name one of their IIoT initiatives a success.

Each project is unique, but the challenges faced are similar. In most cases, replacing existing facilities and equipment with entirely new, greenfield plants with native IoT technologies is simply not feasible. As such, brownfield IoT deployments are the way to go, but there exist a multitude of challenges. Designed in the previous century, legacy assets and systems aren’t meant to be connected to the outside world and thus lack effective communication functions. On top of that, companies haven’t prepared themselves to deal with security and data privacy issues in the IoT era.

In this article, we take a look at the top reasons industrial IoT projects fail and how to overcome them.

3 Reasons IoT Projects Fail

1. Connectivity

While data communications have long existed in industrial automation systems, they are built for closed-looped control tasks only. As such, machine and operational data are often trapped within multiple process silos on the factory floor. Connecting these systems via Ethernet is expensive, cumbersome and conducive to production shutdowns. In many industrial settings like open-pit mines and oil fields, asymmetric topography and vast geographical areas make trenching wires almost impossible.

Solution

The IIoT value chain essentially starts with data collection and choosing the right connectivity solution might ultimately impact the success of your IIoT initiative. There’s a plethora of wireless technologies in the market, but not all of them can keep up with the demanding industrial environments. Long-range, deep penetration and high interference immunity of the radio link are key to reliable data connection over large industrial campuses. Also, you’ll want to have a unified communications solution to extract data from existing industrial networks and to support a new layer of granular, battery-operated sensor networks for complete operational visibility. In this context, low power consumption and high network scalability are other critical wireless criteria not to overlook.

2. Integration

According to a report by Bain & Company, difficulties in integrating IIoT solutions with existing operational technology and IT systems continue to be a major adoption barrier. These difficulties center around how data is ported across different formats. Many companies struggle to retrofit IIoT technologies into legacy equipment like Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) without involving complex, error-prone modifications. On top of that, how to integrate collected data into existing IT and enterprise management platforms is another reason industrial IoT projects fail. 

Solution

Emerging plug-and-play IIoT solutions are easing integration tasks with the use of a converter or an integration gateway. On one side, the converter interfaces with brownfield PLCs using automation-specific protocols to gather critical production data, reformat and then transmit it using robust, long-range connectivity on the other side. By leveraging such a solution, companies can bypass invasive hardware reprogramming and costly production downtime in a brownfield deployment. In addition, going for an open, API-driven IIoT architecture could greatly simplify integration and data transfer to legacy enterprise applications, software and reporting and analytics tools.

3. Security and Data Privacy

There are no IIoT discussions without security and data privacy concerns. Massive financial and operational damages caused by a breach is a primary reason companies shy away from IIoT and why IoT projects fail. The fact that many legacy industrial control systems have limited or outdated security features, further intensifies these challenges.

Solution

All of that said, there are a few steps companies can take to tackle security and data privacy issues. First, selecting an IIoT architecture with built-in end-to-end security for both non-IP and IP-based data transfer is critical. Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is a proven security mechanism for non-IP, low-power connectivity, while Transport Layer Security is an industry-standard cryptographic protocol for Internet-based connections. Besides data encryption, employing one-way connectivity to collect data from critical automation systems helps circumvent attempts to remotely control machines through reverse communications. If retaining data on-premise to avoid privacy concerns is a top priority, a privately managed and controlled network is preferred over public connectivity services.  

As with previous industrial revolutions, IIoT does not come without challenges. However, addressing and overcoming these challenges with the right technologies and solutions opens the door to immense opportunities to gain more operational visibility, improve efficiencies and lower costs.

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5 Must-Haves to Unlock IoT Data at Scale

IoT Data

BehrTech Blog

5 Must-Haves to Unlock IoT Data at Scale

The benefits of IoT data are widely touted. Enhanced operational visibility, reduced costs, improved efficiencies and increased productivity have driven organizations to take major strides towards digital transformation. With countless promising business opportunities, it’s no surprise that IoT is expanding rapidly and relentlessly. It is estimated that there will be 75.4 billion IoT devices by 2025. As IoT grows, so do the volumes of IoT data that need to be collected, analyzed and stored. Unfortunately, significant barriers exist that can limit or block access to this data altogether.

Successful IoT data acquisition starts and ends with reliable and scalable IoT connectivity. Selecting the right communications technology is paramount to the long-term success of your IoT project and various factors must be considered from the beginning to build a functional wireless infrastructure that can support and manage the influx of IoT data today and in the future.

Here are five IoT architecture must-haves for unlocking IoT data at scale.

IoT Data

1. Network Ownership

For many businesses, IoT data is one of their greatest assets, if not the most valuable. This intensifies the demand to protect the flow of data at all costs. With maximum data authority and architecture control, the adoption of privately managed networks is becoming prevalent across industrial verticals.

Beyond the undeniable benefits of data security and privacy, private networks give users more control over their deployment with the flexibility to tailor their coverage to the specific needs of their campus style network. On a public network, users risk not having the reliable connectivity needed for indoor, underground and remote critical IoT applications. And since this network is privately owned and operated, users also avoid the costly monthly access, data plans and subscription costs imposed by public operators, lowering the overall total-cost-of-ownership. Private networks also provide full control over network availability and uptime to ensure users have reliable access to their data at all times.

2. Minimal Infrastructure Requirements

Since the number of end devices is often fixed to your IoT use cases, choosing a wireless technology that requires minimal supporting infrastructure like base stations and repeaters, as well as configuration and optimization is crucial to cost-effectively scale your IoT network.

Wireless solutions with long range and excellent penetration capability, such as next-gen low-power wide area networks, require fewer base stations to cover a vast, structurally dense industrial or commercial campuses. Likewise, a robust radio link and large network capacity allow an individual base station to effectively support massive amounts of sensors without comprising performance to ensure a continuous flow of IoT data today and in the future.

3. Network and Device Management

As IoT initiatives move beyond proofs-of-concept, businesses need an effective and secure approach to operate, control and expand their IoT network with minimal costs and complexity.

As IoT deployments scale to hundreds or even thousands of geographically dispersed nodes, a manual approach to connecting, configuring and troubleshooting devices is inefficient and expensive. Likewise, by leaving devices completely unattended, users risk losing business-critical IoT data when it’s needed the most. A network and device management platform provides a single-pane, top-down view of all network traffic, registered nodes and their status for streamlined network monitoring and troubleshooting. Likewise, it acts as the bridge between the edge network and users’ downstream data servers and enterprise applications so users can streamline management of their entire IoT project from device to dashboard.

4. Legacy System Integration

Most traditional assets, machines, and facilities were not designed for IoT connectivity, creating huge data silos. This leaves companies with two choices: building entirely new, greenfield plants with native IoT technologies or updating brownfield facilities for IoT connectivity. Highly integrable, plug-and-play IoT connectivity is key to streamlining the costs and complexity of an IoT deployment. Businesses need a solution that can bridge the gap between legacy OT and IT systems to unlock new layers of data that were previously inaccessible. Wireless IoT connectivity must be able to easily retrofit existing assets and equipment without complex hardware modifications and production downtime. Likewise, it must enable straightforward data transfer to the existing IT infrastructure and business applications for data management, visualization and machine learning.

5. Interoperability

Each IoT system is a mashup of diverse components and technologies. This makes interoperability a prerequisite for IoT scalability, to avoid being saddled with an obsolete system that fails to keep pace with new innovation later on. By designing an interoperable architecture from the beginning, you can avoid fragmentation and reduce the integration costs of your IoT project in the long run. 

Today, technology standards exist to foster horizontal interoperability by fueling global cross-vendor support through robust, transparent and consistent technology specifications. For example, a standard-based wireless protocol allows you to benefit from a growing portfolio of off-the-shelf hardware across industry domains. When it comes to vertical interoperability, versatile APIs and open messaging protocols act as the glue to connect the edge network with a multitude of value-deriving backend applications. Leveraging these open interfaces, you can also scale your deployment across locations and seamlessly aggregate IoT data across premises.  

IoT data is the lifeblood of business intelligence and competitive differentiation and IoT connectivity is the crux to ensuring reliable and secure access to this data. When it comes to building a future-proof wireless architecture, it’s important to consider not only existing requirements, but also those that might pop up down the road. A wireless solution that offers data ownership, minimal infrastructure requirements, built-in network management and integration and interoperability will not only ensure access to IoT data today, but provide cost-effective support for the influx of data and devices in the future.

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Interoperability: The Secret to a Scalable IoT Network

Scalable IoT

BehrTech Blog

Interoperability: The Secret to a Scalable IoT Network

IoT is an ecosystem game. No single technology in the market can deliver a complete, end-to-end IoT solution on its own. From connectivity, sensors and gateways to the cloud and application systems, an IoT architecture is composed of various components working in concert with each other. While ensuring a seamless data flow along the IoT value chain is critical, it is only half of the battle.

Today’s exploding number of IoT vendors has turned the IoT ecosystem into a highly complex landscape. To address multiple applications and challenges, an IoT infrastructure often needs to incorporate cross-domain hardware and application systems. Likewise, it must be flexible enough to effectively integrate future devices that may come with different hardware models. Beyond vertical integration within a specific industry or application, the diverse nature of the digital ecosystem means that horizontal interoperability between different devices and systems will also be critical to the success of a scalable IoT network.

A Lack of IoT Interoperability

Despite its utmost importance, IoT interoperability for many vendors is still a goal to work towards. A large number of existing IoT solutions are proprietary and designed to operate only within a pre-defined hardware or infrastructure environment. Examples include protocols tied to vendor-specific chipsets or wireless connectivity bound to a single third-party managed backend. The lack of IoT interoperability means that data can’t be effectively exchanged across disparate, sometimes overlapping devices and systems.

From the IoT adopters’ perspective, these closed ecosystems, or better named as silos, pose multiple problems. They hamper effective integration of new IoT devices and solutions that can tackle a wider range of operational issues. Supporting heterogeneous IoT infrastructures for different applications can quickly inflate costs and complexity beyond what companies can handle.

Vendor lock-in also deprives users of control over their data, network uptime and infrastructure management, while preventing them from switching to more cost-effective hardware options in the future. Technical instability is another potential issue, given the inherent risk that the vendor fails to deliver the agreed services and product functionality. This results in impaired Quality-of-Service and network scalability or even security holes.

Scalable IoT

Designing an IoT Architecture for Interoperability

The best way to circumvent these challenges is to prepare your IoT networks for interoperability from the start. Despite today’s highly fragmented IoT landscape, here are three rules of thumb for IoT connectivity that will help navigate your network design.

1. Open, Industry Standards

Solutions incorporating proven standards are built upon an open, universal framework recognized by Standard Development Organizations (SDO). Besides assured Quality-of-Service, open standards foster global transparency and consistency, eliminating incompatible variations in technical design and product development. This fuels worldwide adoption, cross-vendor support and interoperability in the long run. Adopting standard-based protocols, specifically, allows you to benefit from a growing portfolio of compatible off-the-shelf hardware across verticals. You can also avoid the risk of backward incompatibility due to any strategic changes by the proprietary vendor.

2. Software-driven Technologies

In industrial environments, IoT devices often abide by a rigorous set of safety and reliability regulations. Deploying wireless solutions with a hardware-driven approach is challenging in this regard, as you are bound to a certain device type and must depend on the respective vendor(s) to go through the certification process. Software-driven technologies, on the other hand, can be flexibly plugged in any legacy devices and infrastructure that already meet your operational requirements – whether sensors or industry PCs.

3. Open Interfaces

IoT interoperability on the application layer entails effective data transfer to different user’s application systems and servers. Open sourced messaging protocols like MQTT or CoAP and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) based on RESTful principles are key drivers of cross-application interoperability. In a private network architecture, having these open interfaces natively embedded in the IoT gateway enables direct data transfer to your preferred backend for analytics and visualization, without relying on a third-party managed server.

To wrap it up, interoperability is key to robust and scalable IoT network, and requires particular attention in your architecture design. Leveraging a standard-based, software-driven communication platform with built-in open interfaces allows for easy deployment in legacy environments while ensuring long-term interoperability with cross-vertical hardware and systems.

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IoT Connectivity: 5 Crucial Considerations

IoT Connectivity

BehrTech Blog

IoT Connectivity: 5 Crucial Considerations for a Successful Deployment

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[bctt tweet=” Failing to select the right IoT connectivity could derail your initiative from the outset.”]

The Internet of Things (IoT) is more than just a collection of sensors that capture and share data for analysis. IoT has evolved from single point remedies to robust solutions, enabled through a network of interconnected devices and technologies to solve a spectrum of challenging business issues. At the same time, there exist major hurdles when embarking on an IoT project – one of which lies exactly where the value chain starts.

The majority of legacy industrial and commercial assets and systems were not designed with wireless communications in mind. Failing to select the right IoT connectivity could derail your initiative from the outset. The IoT connectivity challenge is manifold as it also encompasses data integration, privacy and security issues. To effectively manage the risks and architect your IoT network for long-term viability, make sure you factor in these five essential considerations.

1. What are the range, power and bandwidth requirements of my connected devices?

These three factors often come at the expense of each other. It’s all about finding the right balance that best suits your use cases. For example, different from factory automation tasks, most industrial monitoring applications pertain to the intermittent, latency-tolerant transmission of small-sized telemetry data. What’s more important is the ability to connect assets at remote locations where power supply is severely constraint, or absent altogether. Likewise, vast, structurally dense industrial facilities require a reliable wireless link that can travel through great physical obstructions. In this regard, a solution that delivers extensive range and minimal power footprint benefits would outweigh one that offers millisecond-latency communications.

2. Is the network easy to deploy and could it involve any complications?

Highly integrable, plug-and-play IoT connectivity is key to streamlining the costs and complexity of an IoT deployment. The industry needs a solution that acts as the bridge between legacy OT and IT systems to break down existing data silos and unlock operational visibility. On one end, the wireless IoT connectivity can be easily retrofitted into field assets and equipment without complex hardware modifications and production downtime. On the other end, it enables straightforward data transfer to the existing IT infrastructure and business applications for data democratization and informed decision-making.

3. Could it help me address multiple operational challenges?

While no connectivity is use case agnostic, it would be a mistake to think that each IoT application requires a heterogeneous wireless solution. Typically, you could have a unified network to simultaneously tackle different low-power, low-throughput use cases – from asset and facility management to environmental monitoring and occupancy detection. This would lower upfront investment and simplify the management of your IoT architecture to accelerate the path to ROI.

For a wireless network to accommodate growing applications, scalability is a prerequisite. Increasing the number of end points should never come at the cost of other important factors like network reliability and ease of deployment. Equally important, you want IoT connectivity that can support both static and fast-moving devices to tap into a wide range of worker, asset and fleet data.

4. Is the wireless connectivity future-proof?

A common mistake companies often make during the beginning of an IoT deployment is failing to incorporate future needs. While a digital project often starts small, you need to be ready when it’s time to scale. With the exponential increase in connected devices and radio traffic in the near future, the chosen connectivity must be purpose-built for interference resilience. Also, given the whirlwind speed of today’s technology, ensuring long-term interoperability is paramount. Coming with a well-articulated and transparent technical framework, software-driven, standard-based wireless solutions can seamlessly support new cross-vendor devices in years to come.

5. How does it align with my security and data privacy strategy?

An IoT network is only as secure as its wireless link. To protect enterprise data against malicious attempts, end-to-end encryption is critical. Specifically, robust cryptographic schemes must be integrated into each part of the data chain – from devices to gateways and from gateways to network management and application platforms. What’s more, you need to consider which third-party vendors can have access to your data. Managed IoT connectivity services by network operators require all messages to be re-routed through their server before reaching the end enterprise applications. If data privacy is top of mind, a privately-owned network is the way to go.

Data is the lifeblood of IoT and connectivity is the vein to transport and circulate it. The wireless decision is intertwined with multiple aspects of the network architecture and ultimately impacts the success of your IoT initiative. Asking these five questions will help you navigate the jungle of wireless protocols and standards and opt for the best solution.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:  IoT Connectivity: 4 Standards that Will Shape 2020 and Beyond

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IoT Metropolitan Area Networks: A Quick Start Guide

Metropolitan Area Networks

BehrTech Blog

IoT Metropolitan Area Networks: A Quick Start Guide

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The Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem is expanding on a global scale. Buildings, cities and industries are undergoing a significant transformation as IoT promises to bring business operations and people’s quality of life to a whole new level. Thanks to ubiquitous wireless connectivity, it’s now possible to turn virtually everything – as simple as a waste bin or a consumable dispenser – into a smart device. Even our surroundings now have a “voice” to report on their current conditions so necessary changes could be made to optimize health and comfort.

Communication protocols have ceaselessly developed to keep up with the insatiable demand for device interconnection, and so does the network type. In our daily work and home environments, Personal and Local Area Networks (PAN & LAN) are almost omnipresent. Aggregating multiple LANs, we have the Campus Area Networks. And, on a city scale, we are moving towards what’s known as Metropolitan Area Networks (MAN). While MAN isn’t necessarily a brand-new concept, its implications and use are drastically evolving as IoT and next-gen connectivity emerge. If you’re an active player in the IoT space, it’s worth exploring what this network type means and the multifold advantages it has to offer.

[bctt tweet=”While a Metropolitan Area Network isn’t necessarily a new concept, its implications and use are drastically evolving as IoT and next-gen connectivity emerge.”]

What Is A Metropolitan Area Network?

As the name implies, MAN signifies a single network that serves a large urban area and spans tens of kilometers in range. Such an area could be a combination of multiple buildings and campuses or dispersed throughout a metropolis. Traditionally, MAN infrastructure is largely underpinned by a nexus of Ethernet and fiber cable lines that aim to deliver high-speed internet access for urban residents. Nevertheless, today, there’s much more to a MAN architecture than what it used to be.

Metropolitan Area Networks in the IoT Age

With the advent of IoT, new wireless technology like Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN), has seen dramatic growth in recent years. Positioned as an IoT accelerator, LPWAN comes with an extensive radio range of many kilometers together with ultra-low power requirements – a unique combination not available with previous wireless classes but highly critical for large-scale deployments of modular, battery-operated smart sensors. As such, LPWAN is quickly penetrating commercial and industrial marketplaces as the go-to wireless option for smart buildings and industrial IoT.

In urban contexts, a robust LPWAN solution can connect thousands of endpoints distributed throughout a high-rise building simply with the installation of one base station and an antenna on the rooftop. Now, imagine most large buildings within a certain geographical area is outfitted with such a base station and antenna. By this time, we establish a so-called IoT Metropolitan Area Network where enterprises and even individuals can seamlessly deploy and connect smart devices capitalizing on this infrastructure.

Who Stands to the Benefits of IoT MAN?

An IoT MAN delivers immediate benefits for all businesses, regardless of their sizes, to tap into the tremendous opportunities of IoT and smart buildings. For a commercial real estate company, the business case of implementing a dedicated LPWA network to add IoT functionality to its large-scale properties is quite evident. However, mid-sized enterprises or retailers who only own a moderate office and store area within a bigger building complex might struggle to quickly gain Return-on-Investment (ROI) and justify such a network investment in economic terms. That being said, the substantial benefits of smart solutions with examples like remote monitoring of space usage, shop traffic or storage conditions of perishable products, are not to be missed.

An IoT MAN fits perfectly in this context by delivering a readily available wireless infrastructure to make IoT accessible for every firm and achieve economies-of-scale. Any enterprise can easily hook their sensor devices to IoT without the hassle of procuring, installing, commissioning and managing the network infrastructure. The high upfront capital cost is replaced with a modest usage-based monthly subscription fee, thereby accelerating ROI.

From Smart Buildings to Smart Cities and Consumer IoT

Deployed on a greater scale of an entire metropolis, IoT MAN promises just the same advantages for a wide range of consumer IoT and smart city applications. Municipalities can leverage pervasive low power wireless connectivity at minimum deployment complexity to fuel city-wide intelligent infrastructure. Environmental metering, waste management, leak detection, smart parking and traffic management are just a few out of many smart city pillar use cases that can benefit from an IoT MAN. By the same token, individual citizens can enjoy unprecedented conveniences of connected life at affordable prices with smart solutions for pet and luggage tracking, connected home alarms, or fall detection and remote health monitoring of seniors.

Wireless Considerations for an IoT MAN

LPWAN is the perfect wireless choice for IoT MAN as it delivers exactly what a new breed of smart use cases requires. The long range and deep penetration traits of LPWAN are particularly pertinent in dense urban settings to enable reliable communications of outdoor, indoor, and even underground endpoints. Likewise, low costs and excellent power efficiency make it feasible to connect physical devices of all sizes and classes for tracking and monitoring purposes.

Having said that, there are other vital network considerations, not all LPWAN solutions can cater to. The exponential growth of connected sensors and data traffic in the sub-gigahertz license-free spectrum is posing serious Quality-of-Service challenges. To ensure future-proofed network operations and seamless integration of new devices into the IoT MAN infrastructure, interference immunity and scalability of the underlying technology are top of mind. In parallel, reliable mobile communication is paramount to capture numerous high-value use cases that involve moving assets and people.

In short, the notion of a Metropolitan Area Network is no longer limited to the idea of ready internet access for city residents. Today, innovative LPWAN technology is giving rise to next-gen IoT MAN that is poised to deliver on the promise of omnipresent and immediately accessible and consumable wireless connectivity. It empowers enterprises, municipalities and citizens to turn IoT and its boundless opportunities into reality at reduced costs, time and complexity.

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IoT Scalability Issues: 5 Essential Considerations

IoT Scalability Issues: 5 Essential Considerations

BehrTech Blog

IoT Scalability Issues: 5 Essential Considerations

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There’s a lot that goes into getting an IoT project off the ground, but it doesn’t always result in success. Indeed, the new IoT Signals report by Microsoft found out that nearly one-third of projects fail in the proof-of-concept (PoC) stage. Various technical and organizational factors weigh in, but the leading cause pertains to the inability to justify the cost of scaling IoT.  

It goes without saying that there’s a huge difference in deploying and managing a few devices versus thousands or even tens of thousands of devices. A PoC certainly helps bring all the moving pieces together to get the first big picture of the overall solution. Still, many technical requirements for overcoming IoT scalability issues in the future might not be considered even when the PoC turns out to be a successThe transition from PoC to full-scale roll-out can only come off, if scalability is planned from day one. 

Technical complexity is one of the greatest IoT scalability issuesAs such, choosing the right technology with the right architecture is paramount to safeguard the long-term viability of your connected system. In this blog, we discuss five essential considerations you should look into when planning for large-scale IoT implementation.  

[bctt tweet=”Choosing the right technology with the right architecture is paramount to safeguard the long-term viability of your connected system.”]

1. Large Wireless System Capacity  

With the breakneck speed of innovation that’s happening in the IoT space, you want to make sure your wireless system can nimbly accommodate a fast-growing number of endpoints that arrive down the line. Such network expansion must not come at the cost of message delivery and Quality-of-Service, especially when it comes to mission-critical commercial and industrial use casesThe underlying wireless technology largely dictates this.  

The massive deluge of data traffic imposes great bandwidth challenges, as devices within and across systems vie for their place in the radio spectrum. Dependable indicators like thnumber of daily messages that can be handled per gateway can help you evaluate the scalability of a wireless solution. Concurrently, with sub-GHz radio technology, you can segregate IoT networks from other 2.4 GHz legacy systems to mitigate jitter and congestion issues. Above all, a solution purpose-built for interference immunity is key to overcoming IoT scalability issues pertaining to reliable network operation in a crowded spectrum.

2. Simplified Network Planning and Setup 

Piggybacking back on the previous point, many wireless technologiemight promise to support thousands of devices per gateway. Still, reality could look very differentAs soon as a large number of endpoints need to be integrated, the complexity in network planning and configuration can quickly inflate to the point of being unmanageable. This challenge often comes with multi-hop mesh solutions 

Given the short radio range of many mesh protocols, you need to ensure devices are well distributed and repeaters are employed as required for the transmission link to work. Adding moving nodes can further make network performance unpredictable. And troubleshooting is especially challenging due to the complex traffic flows. If you want your IoT at scale with minimum complications, a star topology network is most likely in your best interest. 

3. Interoperable Architecture  

Each IoT system is a mashup of heterogeneous components and technologies. This diversity makes interoperability a prerequisite for IoT scalability, to avoid being saddled with an obsolete system that fails to keep pace with new innovation later onBy designing interoperable architecture from the get-go, you can counter fragmentation and reduce the integration costs of your IoT project in the long run. 

Today, technology standards exist to foster horizontal interoperability by fueling global cross-vendor support through robust, transparent and consistent technology specifications. For example, a standard-based wireless protocol allows you to benefit from a growing portfolio of off-the-shelf hardware across industry domains. When it comes to vertical interoperability, versatile APIs and open messaging protocols act as the glue to connect the edge network with a multitude of value-deriving backend applications. Leveraging these open interfaces, you can also scale your IoT deployment across locations and seamlessly aggregate data across premises.  

4. Remote Network and Device Management  

As the network quickly growsa manual approach to deploying, managing and maintaining devices simply won’t cut it. Not to mention, many devices are deployed at remote, far-flung or attended locations where technicians or employees often don’t set foot in. For successful IoT scalability, network and device management can’t be seen as an afterthought; it’s must be planned from the outset. 

There are various aspects that play into the optimal health, security and connectivity of individual devices and the overall network. How can large batches of devices be provisioned efficiently and securely? Is authentication natively built into the provisioning process? Can I easily configure and update field devices from afar? How can I troubleshoot network and device issues? What does the end of life management process look like? These are just a few out of numerous questions to be answered 

In addition to a comprehensive strategy and careful planning, you’ll need a powerful network and device management tool to better streamline and automate the management process 

5. Flexible and Scalable Software Infrastructure 

The cloud is probably on the radar of almost every company that looks to collect and process massive IoT data streams. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should transfer all processing work to the cloud. In many scenarios, a combination of cloud and edge/on-prem deployment is called into action to strike the right balance between scale, cost, latency and data privacy. With that in mind, you want to make sure your connected system can support such hybrid workflows and enable seamless migration from the edge to the cloud.  

Whether you want to build you own IoT software and applications, outsource these from third-party vendors, or opt for a combination of bothmicroservices and container-based design is the way to go. In the DevOps world, containerized applications have been a great success story due to their modular, resource-efficient and platform-agnostic nature. This makes them as well a perfect fit for a hybrid IoT architecture where individual service containers can be deployed independently in any compute environment – be it an edge gateway, an on-prem server or a cloud platform. Plus, leveraging modern container orchestration tools like Kubernetes, you can easily deploy, manage and scale the software to adapt to changing needs. 

Scaling an IoT deployment can be a challenging and intimidating endeavour, but don’t let this put you off harnessing the enormous opportunities IoT has to offer. While the five criteria discussed above by no means represent an exhaustive list, they can serve as a useful baseline to help you avoid the common IoT scalability issues and start architecting an infrastructure that can grow with your IoT requirements. 

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[vcv_posts_grid source=”%7B%22tag%22%3A%22postsGridDataSourcePost%22%2C%22value%22%3A%22post_type%3Dpost%26amp%3Bpost_status%3Dpublish%26amp%3Bposts_per_page%3D5%22%7D” unique_id=”724d476e” pagination=”0″ pagination_color=”#ffce00″ pagination_per_page=”10″]PGRpdiBjbGFzcz0idmNlLXBvc3RzLWdyaWQtaXRlbSI%2BPGFydGljbGUgY2xhc3M9InZjZS1wb3N0cy1ncmlkLWl0ZW0taW5uZXJ7e2N1c3RvbV9mZWF0dXJlZF9pbWFnZV9oYXNpbWFnZV9jbGFzc19uZXdzX3Bvc3RfZ3JpZF9pdGVtfX0iPjxkaXYgY2xhc3M9InZjZS1wb3N0LWRlc2NyaXB0aW9uIHZjZS1wb3N0LWRlc2NyaXB0aW9uLS10aXRsZS1jb2xvci1iLTMzLTMzLTMzIHZjZS1wb3N0LWRlc2NyaXB0aW9uLS1leGNlcnB0LWNvbG9yLWItMzMtMzMtMzMgdmNlLXBvc3QtZGVzY3JpcHRpb24tLWF1dGhvci1jb2xvci1mZmNlMDAgdmNlLXBvc3QtZGVzY3JpcHRpb24tLW1ldGEtY29sb3ItYi0zMy0zMy0zMyI%2BPGRpdiBjbGFzcz0idmNlLXBvc3QtZGVzY3JpcHRpb24tLWltYWdlIiBzdHlsZT0iYmFja2dyb3VuZC1pbWFnZTp1cmwoe3tmZWF0dXJlZF9pbWFnZV91cmx9fSkiPjxhIGhyZWY9Int7cG9zdF9wZXJtYWxpbmt9fSI%2BPC9hPjwvZGl2PjxkaXYgY2xhc3M9InZjZS1wb3N0LWRlc2NyaXB0aW9uLS1jb250ZW50Ij48cCBjbGFzcz0idmNlLXBvc3QtZGVzY3JpcHRpb24tLW1ldGEiPjxzcGFuPlBvc3RlZCA8L3NwYW4%2BPHNwYW4gY2xhc3M9InZjZS1wb3N0LWRlc2NyaXB0aW9uLS1tZXRhLWRhdGUiPm9uIDx0aW1lIGRhdGV0aW1lPSJ7e3Bvc3RfZGF0ZV9nbXR9fSI%2Be3twb3N0X2RhdGV9fSA8L3RpbWU%2BPC9zcGFuPjwvcD48aDMgY2xhc3M9InZjZS1wb3N0LWRlc2NyaXB0aW9uLS10aXRsZSI%2BPGEgaHJlZj0ie3twb3N0X3Blcm1hbGlua319Ij57e3Bvc3RfdGl0bGV9fTwvYT48L2gzPnt7c2ltcGxlX3Bvc3RfZGVzY3JpcHRpb25fZXhjZXJwdH19PC9kaXY%2BPC9kaXY%2BPC9hcnRpY2xlPjwvZGl2Pg%3D%3D[/vcv_posts_grid]

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IoT Ecosystem: 3 Reasons to Join a Technology Alliance

IoT Ecosystem: 3 Reasons to Join a Technology Alliance

BehrTech Blog

IoT Ecosystem: 3 Reasons to Join a Technology Alliance

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing relentlessly. According to IoT Analytics, there were around 9.5 billion connected devices in 2019, which far exceeds the original forecast of 8.3 billion devices. As companies look to adopt IoT to fundamentally transform business operations and value delivery, it’s immediately evident that IoT is an ecosystem game. No single vendor is able to deliver an end-to-end connected solution alone, and strategic partnerships will be paramount for companies to successfully harness IoT potential.

A technology alliance is formed precisely to achieve this goal. Revolving around an innovative core technology, it aims to deliver easily consumable and accessible connected solutions for end customers in industrial, commercial and consumer marketplaces. To do so, it brings together a variety of vendors with complementary solutions and expertise to fortify partnerships and overcome resource gaps. Ultimately, technology alliances are deemed to establish the technical and operational foundation needed for a vibrant and sustainable IoT ecosystem.

IoT vendors, in particular, are in a unique position to reap the multifold benefits of technology alliance initiatives.

[bctt tweet=”Technology alliances offer a strategic means for IoT vendors to tap into emerging, disruptive innovations and unleash entirely new market opportunities.”]

1. Reduce Risks and Accelerate Time-to-Market

Cutting-edge technologies are continuously reshaping the competitive landscape and presenting unprecedented business values, but they don’t come without challenges. The more innovative the technology, the higher the stakes as companies enter uncharted territory where the market is largely nascent. Being part of a technology alliance allows you to seize disruptive IoT possibilities while mitigating the inherent risk and complexity that come along. By leveraging partners’ capabilities and focusing on your core competencies, you can reduce development time and costs to deliver viable IoT products to the market, faster.

2. Transcend Technical Adoption Barriers

To tackle the challenge of growing IoT fragmentation, interoperability must be infused into IoT design from the get-go. In this context, a technology alliance serves as an overarching standard umbrella of the focal enabling technology to pave the way to an open, scalable and interworking ecosystem of diverse products and solutions that are built on top of it. Besides immediate technology access, active standardization effort and robust testing and certification programs allow participants to benefit from easier technical integration, alongside enhanced technology transparency and compliance. This, in turn, helps to ensure long-term quality and compatibility of their connected devices and applications.

3. Generate and Capture New Business Opportunities

Technology alliances further provide a platform for cross-domain businesses – from developers and manufacturers to system integrators and service providers – to exchange knowledge and identify new technology use cases and business opportunities across verticals. At the same time, member vendors can capitalize on a bigger sales channel and larger coverage, while augmenting value proposition by combining complementary offerings to deliver a market-ready, end-to-end solution to their customers.

The MIOTY Alliance: A Real World Example

Founded in early 2020, the MIOTY Alliance is a representative example of such a technology alliance where companies can come together to deliver on the promise of IoT.  With Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) quickly establishing itself as one of the major IoT enablers, the alliance aims to empower global tech players with easy access to MIOTY – the only LPWAN protocol ratified by ETSI for unmatched Quality-of-Service, scalability and mobile communications. Learn more about MIOTY technology here.

Existing members like BehrTech bring in unique expertise and capabilities to help turn the enormous potential of the MIOTY protocol into reality. Specifically, MYTHINGS Central provides hardware vendors and solution providers with a versatile, out-of-the-box network and device management tool for their MIOTY-enabled devices and services, to deliver greater product value to the end users. Likewise, system integrators can faster engineer MIOTY-powered solutions that are tailored to their clients’ needs, by capitalizing on MYTHINGS rapid prototyping modules.

To sum it up, in the fast-changing IoT ecosystem with constantly evolving requirements and outcomes, technology alliances offer a strategic means for businesses to tap into emerging, disruptive innovations and unleash entirely new market opportunities.

 

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[vcv_posts_grid source=”%7B%22tag%22%3A%22postsGridDataSourcePost%22%2C%22value%22%3A%22post_type%3Dpost%26amp%3Bpost_status%3Dpublish%26amp%3Bposts_per_page%3D5%22%7D” unique_id=”a3dbdddc” pagination=”0″ pagination_color=”#ffce00″ pagination_per_page=”10″]PGRpdiBjbGFzcz0idmNlLXBvc3RzLWdyaWQtaXRlbSI%2BPGFydGljbGUgY2xhc3M9InZjZS1wb3N0cy1ncmlkLWl0ZW0taW5uZXJ7e2N1c3RvbV9mZWF0dXJlZF9pbWFnZV9oYXNpbWFnZV9jbGFzc19uZXdzX3Bvc3RfZ3JpZF9pdGVtfX0iPjxkaXYgY2xhc3M9InZjZS1wb3N0LWRlc2NyaXB0aW9uIHZjZS1wb3N0LWRlc2NyaXB0aW9uLS10aXRsZS1jb2xvci1iLTMzLTMzLTMzIHZjZS1wb3N0LWRlc2NyaXB0aW9uLS1leGNlcnB0LWNvbG9yLWItMzMtMzMtMzMgdmNlLXBvc3QtZGVzY3JpcHRpb24tLWF1dGhvci1jb2xvci1mZmNlMDAgdmNlLXBvc3QtZGVzY3JpcHRpb24tLW1ldGEtY29sb3ItYi0zMy0zMy0zMyI%2BPGRpdiBjbGFzcz0idmNlLXBvc3QtZGVzY3JpcHRpb24tLWltYWdlIiBzdHlsZT0iYmFja2dyb3VuZC1pbWFnZTp1cmwoe3tmZWF0dXJlZF9pbWFnZV91cmx9fSkiPjxhIGhyZWY9Int7cG9zdF9wZXJtYWxpbmt9fSI%2BPC9hPjwvZGl2PjxkaXYgY2xhc3M9InZjZS1wb3N0LWRlc2NyaXB0aW9uLS1jb250ZW50Ij48cCBjbGFzcz0idmNlLXBvc3QtZGVzY3JpcHRpb24tLW1ldGEiPjxzcGFuPlBvc3RlZCA8L3NwYW4%2BPHNwYW4gY2xhc3M9InZjZS1wb3N0LWRlc2NyaXB0aW9uLS1tZXRhLWRhdGUiPm9uIDx0aW1lIGRhdGV0aW1lPSJ7e3Bvc3RfZGF0ZV9nbXR9fSI%2Be3twb3N0X2RhdGV9fSA8L3RpbWU%2BPC9zcGFuPjwvcD48aDMgY2xhc3M9InZjZS1wb3N0LWRlc2NyaXB0aW9uLS10aXRsZSI%2BPGEgaHJlZj0ie3twb3N0X3Blcm1hbGlua319Ij57e3Bvc3RfdGl0bGV9fTwvYT48L2gzPnt7c2ltcGxlX3Bvc3RfZGVzY3JpcHRpb25fZXhjZXJwdH19PC9kaXY%2BPC9kaXY%2BPC9hcnRpY2xlPjwvZGl2Pg%3D%3D[/vcv_posts_grid]

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Wireless IoT Architecture: 6 Building Blocks Explained

Wireless IoT Architecture

BehrTech Blog

Wireless IoT Architecture: 6 Building Blocks Explained

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Beyond a simple catchword, the Internet of Things (IoT) is here to stay. According to the latest IoT Survey by PwC, 93% of executives believe IoT’s benefits outweigh its risks, and 70% have ongoing and under development IoT projects. Yet despite its growing prevalence and widely known opportunities, navigating the IoT ecosystem is often simpler said than done. With so many pieces working in concert with each other, enterprises might find themselves struggling to assemble the IoT puzzle.

The truth is, while each IoT system is unique in its combination of chosen solutions, the underpinning components that lay its groundwork are more or less uniform. With a solid understanding of the fundamentals, you can streamline IoT complexity and design your own system in a more efficient way. In this blog, we decode six building blocks of a wireless IoT architecture you should know. These include edge devices, connectivity, network gateways, network and device management, data center/the cloud, and IoT applications.

[bctt tweet=”While every IoT system is unique, the underpinning components that lay its groundwork are more or less uniform.”]

1. Edge Devices

Edge devices, or the “things”, are where the IoT data chain starts. Quite often, they refer to smart sensors that can automatically pick up information about their surroundings, human vital signs, or conditions of the larger equipment and machine they are embedded in. These sensors vastly vary not only in their sensing functions but also in the sensing technology and the precision level guaranteed.

Newer sensors come with a self-contained and compact design to enable multi-sensing ability and easy installation. Besides the sensing module itself, smart sensors are also integrated with a microcontroller for processing, a wireless transceiver for communications, and most likely a battery unit. In large-scale industrial and commercial deployments that incorporate thousands of devices, long battery life is deemed critical to minimize the cost and complexity of network maintenance.

2. Connectivity

Acting as the voice of edge devices, the connectivity link is responsible for transporting sensor data to the corresponding IoT gateways/ base stations or, in some cases, directly to the cloud/backend system. The increasing pervasiveness and readiness of wireless communications have been seen as one of the leading factors expediting the IoT revolution. Your connectivity choice largely depends on range, power, throughput, mobility, alongside other important network requirements dictated by the use cases in question and the operating environment of end devices. Beside prevalent cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and mesh solutions, the newcomer Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) have quickly gained a foothold in the IoT space, due to their unique characteristics for industrial and commercial markets.

 wireless IoT architecture

You Might Also Like: 6 Leading Types of IoT Wireless Technologies and Their Best Use Cases


3. Network Gateways/ Base Stations

As a larger number of IoT devices are low-computing, resource-constraint sensors, they lack the ability to communicate directly to a central server and the end application. As such, a network gateway is often deployed as the bridge between edge devices and the upstream IT infrastructure. It aggregates data from numerous, heterogenous endpoints, converts the data into transportable formats and offloads it to the processing server via high throughput backhaul connections like wired Ethernet or WLAN.

Amidst the unabated rise of edge computing, many IoT gateways are now embedded with enhanced functions and analytics capabilities. Beyond wireless signal decoding, newer gateways can filter, pre-process and even analyze data right at the edge to lessen the burden on the core IT infrastructure while minimizing latency and response time in mission-critical scenarios. Note that despite its unique benefits, edge computing is not always a must in an IoT architecture.

4. Network and Device Management

Sitting between the edge network and the data processing layer, the network and device management piece is responsible for device lifecycle management, alongside network maintenance and troubleshooting. While often overlooked, this element is critical to ensure only authorized devices can access your IoT network and impending bottlenecks can be swiftly spotted and resolved via a centralized, intuitive UI portal. It additionally provides a streamlined way to provision, de-commission, monitor and control a vast number of endpoints, allowing you to seamlessly scale your deployment. A versatile network and device management tool comes with an open, lightweight and platform-independent design, together with cross-vendor device support and robust integration tools.


You Might Also Like: 5 Things to Look for in A Network and Device Management Solution


5. Data Center/ Cloud Infrastructure

Providing the fundamental IT infrastructure for your IoT applications, the data center is your central repository where all data ingestion, storage and processing take place. Traditionally, data centers have often been installed on-premises and managed by the enterprises themselves. Yet, as the enormous wave of IoT data floods in, hyperscale cloud infrastructure is taking over the stage. The elastic and agile nature of the cloud allows the computing resource to be flexibly scaled or downsized on-demand. Simultaneously, you can avoid the cost and hassle of deploying, running and maintaining on-site servers, while being able to access your data from everywhere.

Top-tier cloud vendors offer solid tools and services like real-time streaming, rule engines/workflows, data orchestration and machine learning frameworks to facilitate the development of powerful IoT applications on top of the cloud infrastructure.

6. IoT Application

An IoT application is the end-user touchpoint where data is synthesized, analyzed and presented in a straightforward, visually engaging manner to address real-world problems and empower intelligent, data-driven decisions. Often cloud-hosted, this could come as a mobile app, a web service and/or a desktop application and is easily integrable into your enterprise systems for process and workflow automation. The IoT application is a vital component of your connected architecture, as it is where value creation actually happens.

Some IoT applications come fully out-of-the-box and are bundled with the compatible connected devices in a single offering, whereas others are tailored-built with the help of an application enablement platform, allowing them to be device- and connectivity-agnostic.

IoT systems drastically vary, and some may include additional layers not mentioned here. Yet, these six fundamental components should provide a reference architecture to help you better navigate the IoT ecosystem and piece together the essential moving parts that best cater to your or your customer’s use cases. Additionally, it’s important to bear in mind that security must be the seamless thread that weaves through every component of your entire IoT architecture.

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5 Things to Look for in An IoT Network Management Solution

IoT Network Management

BehrTech Blog

5 Things to Look for in an IoT Network Management Solution

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In a previous blog post, we have explored why network and device management is the linchpin of an IoT system. By streamlining device provisioning and authentication, network monitoring and diagnostics, alongside software maintenance and updates, it enables businesses to successfully manage the complexity of large-scale IoT networks.

Having said that, not all network and device management offerings are created equal. While sharing similar key functions as mentioned above, different solutions can significantly vary in terms of user experience and the flexibility to adapt to specific network requirements. Amidst the growing fragmentation of the IoT ecosystem, integrability and interoperability will be at the forefront of a future-proof solution. This week, we walk through five important considerations when looking into a network and device management option.

[bctt tweet=”Not all IoT network management solutions are created equal. Here are 5 key considerations you should know.”]
IoT network management

1. Modular, Platform-Independent Design

Even with the proliferation of SaaS and cloud-based services over recent years, businesses have come to realize that the cloud isn’t ideal for every IoT scenario. When latency, data privacy and compliance prevail, many would incline towards an on-prem deployment where data processing takes place locally within the company’s firewall. In many cases, a hybrid approach where workloads are divided between on-prem servers and public clouds is deemed optimal.

A versatile network and device management solution should cater to whichever deployment option you might end up with. Being platform-independent means that it can leverage the most modern infrastructure while allowing for easy migration from one computing environment to another. In parallel, a modular design where functionalities are loosely coupled provides the flexibility to deploy different software services on- or off-premises, independently from one another. With this, you can take advantage of a hybrid architecture to maximize your data potential.


You might also like: IoT Architecture – 3 Reasons Why Microservices Matter


2. Cross-Vendor Device Compatibility

Today’s exploding number of hardware vendors has turned the smart device ecosystem into a highly complex landscape. For an IoT system to generate the most value, cross-vendor devices are required to effectively address multiple business challenges and use cases. For example, a smart building system may include occupancy sensors, environmental sensors and leak detectors, each of which is procured from a separate vendor. As the IoT landscape quickly evolves, seamless and straightforward integration of new cutting-edge devices is another prerequisite to sustain the viability and innovativeness of your connected system.

A solid network management solution is device-agnostic and offers a simple way to incorporate cross-vendor hardware models and data structures into the IoT workflow. Within a few simple steps, you can define the sensor model, payload type(s) and the unit(s) of measurements. This way, incoming data from diverse devices can be easily consumed and displayed in a user-friendly manner.

3. Open Architecture with Powerful Integration Tools

In unlocking business intelligence for enhanced decision-making, IoT data must be ingested into the enterprise systems and applications that are best-suited to derive its implications and suggest and automate the corresponding course of action. Each business has its own tailored applications and over time these applications will also evolve to meet changing needs.

An open architecture with modern interfaces allows data to be easily transported from end devices to any existing and future applications. While most device and network management software offer some sort of integration capabilities, the difference lies in their readiness, ease of use, and functionality. For example, REST APIs are a powerful and scalable tool for on-demand data requests, but you’ll need other API frameworks and protocols like gRPC or MQTT to enable real-time data streaming. A powerful solution delivers a rich set of APIs that can cater to every need, as well as robust native cloud connectors for minimal complications when integrating into leading hyperscale clouds.

4. Built-in Security

Security must be thought out and embedded in every component in your IoT workflow. When it comes to device and network management, a top requirement is having all data traffic encrypted with industry-standard security protocols – be it from the base stations to the management server or from the management server to end applications. Typically, Transport Layer Security (TLS) is a proven choice for secure data communications between applications, servers and across the Internet. Equally important is making sure that robust API authentication mechanisms are supported, so connection attempts and data requests are only permitted for authorized client servers.

5. Intuitive, Customizable Management Portal/ UI

Even if REST API is available for integration and management from the user’s preferred interface, the network management solution should come with a clean, consistent and intuitive UI on its own. All functionalities like device management, data monitoring, network status information, and backend integration should be readily accessible and easy to navigate across the UI. Likewise, incoming messages should be updated in real-time and there needs to be an option for message filtering and data export. The most user-friendly solutions also make it easy to customize and white label the UI to the user’s branding as needed.

When bundled with a connectivity offering, a network and device management solution provides everything you need to get the network up and running, so you can focus on deriving your IoT data value and shorten time-to-market. The criteria discussed above are fundamental to validate the readiness and long-term viability of your chosen solution.

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