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Managing the IoT

Managing the IoT
by Bernard Murphy on 11-07-2016 at 4:00 pm

Now that ARM has introduced its end-to-end IoT, including the mbed Cloud SaaS to handle the cloud end of the  IoT, you might wonder what service providers are going to offer on top of this solution. DevicePilot showcased one such solution at ARM TechCon, to manage connected products. These guys especially deserve to be featured because they won the “Best Software Product” award at TechCon, which makes sense when you consider how well they complement ARM’s direction.

DevicePilot provides a software solution, running in the cloud, to manage connected products automatically. You may have thought about the need for this kind of service, but apparently that would put you in a minority. According to Cees Links, CEO of IoT solution provider GreenPeak and a pioneer in wireless networking “It surprises me how many device companies don’t even know how many of their devices have been deployed, let alone how many are working. As the IoT matures, users’ expectations of service quality are rapidly increasing, and you really have to keep on top of this stuff. When it comes to the smart home we expect all devices to be connected and providing useful information for owners and manufacturers on usage, diagnostics, need for refurbishment and replacement.”

Think about the scale of a city-wide deployment – to monitor street lighting, or smart parking or waste management controls for example. Now you have thousands, maybe tens of thousands of devices. You need to understand where each of those devices is and what it is (if I’m an operations manager, I don’t want to jump between different tools to monitor different features or edge nodes from different vendors). You also probably want to plan where you should add coverage. So your first question is around location – what do you have out there, what are they and what kind of coverage do you have.

Your next problem is monitoring. What is the status of each of those devices? Isolate problems and give me a quick triage on each. What are the possible problems –battery running low, wireless issue, device problems? You’ll use this to optimize field service activity.

Then you want to manage devices. This includes monitoring through their lifecycle, from deployment to end of life (I seem to have had a lot of problems with this device, maybe I should just replace it), managing firmware upgrades and, on the other side of the cloud, integrating with existing business process. According to the website, this feature set in the product is coming soon.

Device Pilot was co-founded by Pilgrim Beart in the UK. Pilgrim has quite a background in founding connected product companies including most recently AlertMe, a connected home solution recently acquired by British Gas for $100M. In the course of building AlertMe, Pilgrim saw the need for this level of management in IoT deployment, so this solution is built on a lot of relevant experience for a domain as young as the IoT.

It’s worth remembering that the promise of IoT could easily turn into the nightmare of IoT if device management is not well handled. For an IoT deployment to work well you have to be on top of where all the devices are, how they are performing and what needs fixing (or might need fixing in the near future). Solutions like DevicePilot will be an important part of that management. You can learn more about DevicePilot HERE.

More articles by Bernard…


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