How Does Device Management Reduce IoT Project Costs?

Stephen Lurie -
Illustration: © IoT For All

How lean can you go is a common theme for smart metering, smart lighting, logistics, and other massive IoT solutions. From device cost and bytes per message to security practices to energy-efficiency, every last detail must be examined when project success comes down to controlling costs.

At its most fundamental level, device management is about unlocking functionality and controlling costs. That is why bringing LwM2M 1.1 device management to 8-bit MCUs is so interesting.

This combination pairs important functionality with sub-two-dollar devices capable of supporting many use-cases.

Price Versus Cost

Massive IoT deployments, even with device costs decreasing, are significant investments. Organizations want devices that can do the job staying in the field for a decade-plus at the lowest cost possible. Device price is an obvious criterion, but less appreciated are the costs incurred once a device is deployed.

Three common challenges device management addresses are:

  • Updating security credentials when a device arrives from the factory or behaves atypically
  • Changing data reporting frequency, adding data objects, or changing functions.
  • Providing over-the-air firmware (FOTA) updates over challenging networks to constrained devices.

A simple, cold calculus governs massive IoT. Essentially the longer the device can stay in the field needing the fewest resources, human, battery, or otherwise, the better the cost-basis, or the real solution “price.”

When each penny counts, supporting remote, vulnerable, constrained devices requires exacting forethought.

Developer-Centric Services

Developers are a key constraint for many organizations. To address this, organizations should prioritize ease-of-programming, common development tools, and standards.

Remember, many deployments have target lifespans of ten or fifteen years. One developer should be able to continue the work of another without becoming a specialist. Reducing development barriers and associated costs requires having structured, documented, easy-to-understand services usable via common developer tools.

Below is an example of how a developer can create a firmware update with just five lines-of-code with a common IDE using our LwM2M implementation.

Code sample for creating an over-the-air firmware update.

iowa_init()

iowa_client_configure(“ClientName”)

iowa_client_add_server (“ServerURI”)

iowa_client_firmware_update_configure(

                  downloadCallback,

                  writeCallback,

                  updateCallback);

LOOP

                  iowa_step()

END LOOP

iowa_close()

Standards: Future-Proofed Business

Back to the “price” or the more preferable “cost” term.

Massive IoT investments have long lifecycles. Change management is strategic. With a little imagination, it is not hard to imagine device manufacturers coming and going. Companies being purchased or disappeared. New technologies disrupting the status quo. Development teams evolve. Surely, if nothing else, opportunities and challenges will need to be addressed.

In the increasingly digital world of industry 4.0, change may be the only constant. Device Management standards like LwM2M integrate new technologies and best practices future-proofing IoT investments.

Conclusion

If IoT products are data-capable and have improved operational efficiency, then the fewer resources needed to accomplish these tasks, the clearer the business case.

8-bit MCUs provide IoT solution functionality at an attractive price-point. Adding, LwM2M device management addresses important operational cost issues beyond device price.

Author
Stephen Lurie - Marketing Manager, IoTerop

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Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All. If you're interested in contributing to IoT For All, cli...
Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All. If you're interested in contributing to IoT For All, cli...