4 Risk Factors When Building an IoT Device Management Solution

Deploying and maintaining full-scale device management solutions is risky. Here are the top four risks IoT initiators face—and how to address them.

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Image of an IoT system over a connected network

IoT device management introduces a host of challenges related to scaling, security, and connectivity that typically fall outside the core competencies of the average IT/OT pro. Building a device management solution that addresses these challenges is a difficult endeavor, forcing companies to consider whether to continue to build in-house or look externally for a solution. If done incorrectly, the program can encounter serious problems, such as staff exceeding maximum capacity and high field servicing costs.

IoT Device Management is Risky

Problems can lead to failures that can threaten executive support and require major fix costs, not to mention delay an IoT program indefinitely. Whether you are just starting your IoT journey, or are mid-deployment, here are four warning signs to look for that could be indicators that your device management program has problems.

1. Your Staff Is Spending Too Much Time Doing Software Updates

Even a simple in-house IoT project can take a team of 5-8 developers multiple years to build and debug. Not to mention the time and resources needed for ongoing support and any operational costs. An insufficient team or lack of device management experience can lead to difficulty in physically maintaining and/or replacing failing devices.

With a pre-built solution, organizations can remotely provision, configure, monitor, update, and eventually decommission connected devices. By organizing devices into logical groups, over-the-air (OTA) software updates, bulk configuration changes, maintenance, and management of software licenses can be done more efficiently. A pre-built solution also allows organizations to easily centralize their equipment information, leading to real-time change updates.

2. Device Downtime is Resulting in Lost Revenue or Production

For an IoT solution to work effectively, all devices need to be online and connected to ensure data consistency and accuracy. When even just one device goes down, an entire IoT program can be impacted leading to lost production, or even worse, lost revenue. Organizations can’t afford to have insecure cloud connections or laborious practices to repair failed devices.

To accelerate ROI and reduce potential risks of your IoT deployments, you need to scale your device fleet quickly and reliably. A pre-built solution can help you achieve this, thus minimizing missed opportunities and operational bottlenecks. Although you may see a higher upfront cost, the total cost of ownership will reduce due to the minimizing of unplanned downtime and the maintenance costs associated with it.

3. Complexity and/or Volume of Devices Is Beyond Current Device Management Capacity

While the idea of building a DIY solution may appeal to some, IoT is a challenging mix of scale, security, and connectivity issues. To be successful, you must oversee the day-to-day operations of multiple groups of devices with different configuration profiles. Geographically distributed devices require a high level of additional logistics and coordination that may be outside your team’s current capabilities.

Recognizing operational efficiencies can help strengthen your IoT offerings. If your team is putting in more time and resources than the outcome is worth, it may be time to turn to a pre-built solution. It will ensure that you’re getting the data you need for insights that drive competitive advantage against other organizations bolstering their IoT efforts. It can also offer expertise that reduces risk and accelerates time to market at a predictable cost.

4. Rising Field Servicing Costs Are Reducing Margins

Because downtime can drastically hurt an IoT device management program, organizations will often overpay for maintenance services to ensure equipment is up and running again. If you’re experiencing this problem, or if you predict you might, it’s best to opt for an experienced system integrator for deployment and upgrades. For example, you can automate labor-intensive and time-consuming manual tasks, such as physically visiting remote devices. This automation will enable you to reap new benefits such as minimized operational costs, process consistency, and reduced duplication.

Often, team members that are closely involved with the existing IoT solution will claim they have everything they need to be successful. To gain perspective, it’s important to seek out everyday system users to see whether/how their perceptions differ. Probe deeper to understand the current solution and its gaps or deficiencies. Then, use that information to develop a business case for enhancing your existing IoT device management strategy.

Written by Dave McCarthy, Vice President at Bsquare.