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In the first of our 7 Industrial Internet of Things Platform Pillars, we will be discussing device management. The number of connected devices to the internet was around 20 billion at the end of 2018, and if the predictions play out then there will be over 40 billion connected devices by 2025. But how exactly are these devices connected, managed and developed in their environments and on their respected platforms?
First of all, what device management is, according to Gartner:
“Device Management: Software that enables manual and automated tasks to create, provision, configure, troubleshoot and manage fleets of IoT devices and gateways remotely, in bulk or individually, and securely as required by industry standards and regulatory mandates.”
Building a platform with powerful device and gateway management capabilities that provide flexible fog and cloud deployment models, IPN, VPN and firewall data security, are multi-tenant, fault-tolerant and scalable are key to successful platform management.
In order for device management to be successfully incorporated into your IIoT platform, it must fulfill these four criteria; provisioning and authentication, configuration & control, monitoring and diagnostics, software maintenance and updates, with the last three continuing on a cyclical basis.
In order to safely integrate a device onto your platform, you must first securely establish the identity of that device. When the device connects to your cloud-hosted service, they need to know they can trust and rely on that device and ensure it’s not a faulty or hacked device.
When the device is authenticated, that is, it’s clear it’s running reliable software and is working for a trusted user, then it can move onto the provisioning process. On the Davra platform, within the one system you can clearly see and control all your devices, encapsulate a workflow and register devices in bulk. The device being deployed is loaded with a key or certificate that identifies it as authentic, and knows the server URL to connect to in order to enroll itself.
All devices that are connected to the network are initially fitted with generic, initial configuration setups. These are essentially the default settings. The device can then be loaded with extra attributes that are more applicable to what it will be used for.
Some devices include Bluetooth to LoRa converters, smart temps, cameras, vibrations sensors, robots, sensors and vaccines. In the system, you can see the device activity and labels which enables you to organise your tenants. All features and capabilities of the devices are also displayed, as well as adding new capabilities to your devices through the platform.
It is important to remotely reset the device to achieve a known-good state, this enables the device to recover from errors. In order to maintain the security of the device, issue commands that will update firmware, implement new features and fix any bugs that may hinder the devices.
In order to reap the vast rewards of a smooth IIoT system, each and every device needs to be operating to their full potential. When a device goes down, it can hinder the whole process and business outcomes so having clear and speedy diagnostics in order to catch bugs or devices when they’re down will minimize the impact.
Monitoring the interactions between devices and carrying out digital fingerprinting to see what’s normal and healthy can be used to spot anomalies. Systems can then make models to use for predictive analytics in these devices.
When you detect something has happened, the platform can run diagnostic, prescriptive or descriptive analytics. This Triage engine can alert systems, and potentially find who are the people that are responsible for taking actions. It could just be a basic ticket system that sends out an instant message to the relevant team in whichever timezone to fix the situation. There is also overlay AI in device management.
Churning away on all the inventory sources across the channel, networking reports, or pulling a CLI scrape; all of these source CP problems. These factors are looked at depending on the network layout and data sources to solve and resolve the issue.
It is one thing to quickly deploy devices to the network and environment, but it’s another thing when they break down or develop bugs and there’s no safety net to capture these problems and vulnerabilities. All device software needs to be monitored and have systems in place to securely update all the software, or to save network bandwidth, update the running application software without interfering with the platform firmware for simple bug fixes.
At Davra, we put workflows in place to ensure there is a persistent connection to the remote device while updating the software, while also ensuring there is minimal business impact.
IoT platform deployments can include thousands or millions of devices, ranging from sensors to large computing devices. With Davra, you can safely onboard, organise, monitor and remotely manage your IoT devices throughout the entire lifecycle. You can develop your own IoT solutions across multiple business sectors while utilising tools that automate the management of your applications and devices. Our IoT platform provides a horizontal platform with integrated application enablement, fog-based device management, network management, data visualization and analytics capabilities. These capabilities empower partners to prototype, design, test, implement and manage IoT solutions for organizations across numerous IoT verticals such as transportation, manufacturing, remote asset monitoring and utilities. In the one system you can have all your devices and encapsulate a workflow, and customise them to onboard whatever workflow your business needs.
Our IoT platform has created strategies and frameworks to successfully engage with partners for mutual success in the IIoT ecosystem. In our next pillar, we will be discussing Application Enablement and Management and its place in the IIoT framework. If you would like to contact us for more information or check out how Davra carries out Device Management, check out our webinars.
Brian McGlynn, Davra, COO
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