With the number of devices in IoT deployments ranging from thousands to hundreds of thousands (or more), having the right tools to ensure optimum connectivity and manage devices and deployments is crucial to success.
The best IoT-managed connectivity cellular solutions offer access to multiple mobile networks to provide widespread and resilient connectivity.
At the heart of these solutions is a connectivity management platform (CMP) that provides a few key features. First, it needs sophisticated and intelligent functionality to connect devices to the network that best meets their individual requirements and keeps them connected no matter what. Second, a CMP must have powerful tools to manage and monitor devices, both at an individual and aggregated level, enabling deployments to be managed effectively.
In this article, we outline the key functions and benefits that a good Connectivity Management Platform provides.
Key Functions of a Connectivity Management Platform
A CMP must manage network profiles for each device, including downloading new profiles to adapt to changing circumstances (such as when a device moves locations or to avoid roaming restrictions). It should dynamically steer devices or switch to different networks to achieve optimum connectivity and uptime within the legal, commercial, and service constraints that apply. CMPs manage interconnects to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), notifying them of the services that need to be activated when a device is provisioned on their network.
Often, they provide an SMS messaging service for sending messages to and from devices, both for customer application messages and encrypted over-the-air instructions to improve performance (using block/allow lists to prevent unauthorized messages from reaching devices). Authenticate devices to ensure that only legitimate devices can connect. Finally, look for the ability to allocate IP (Internet Protocol) addresses to devices. And use GSMA compliant systems for all network functions.
Any good CMP can record comprehensive device connection and data flow metrics to monitor performance and investigate connectivity, operational, or device issues. They can also trigger pre-configured alerts on threshold breaches or when unexpected behavior is detected.
Providing metrics at an individual device level or aggregated and feeding global traffic flows, device performance across different network operators and throughput metrics to the connectivity engine to determine when to steer or switch networks should be key abilities.
Finally, they should provide detailed device data such as network connections, last location, events (such as when an SMS was sent or received), data sessions, and usage for highlighting trends, for example, if a device is constantly switching networks or experiences issues (such as periods of unexpectedly high – or low – data transfer).
Using CMP metrics can allow you to create accurate, detailed billing records for each device based on the locations, networks, and services that each device has used and generate a single global invoice for an IoT estate, simplifying financial management administration.
Benefits of Using a Connectivity Management Platform
- Optimum connectivity for all devices
- Future-proof solution that adapts to changes in legislative, commercial, and service requirements.
- Costs controlled with data consumption alerts and forecasting
- Automated processes and reports
- Easy integration with back-end systems using APIs and metadata
- Secure environment for data transfer between devices and back-end systems
- Single interface to managed connectivity provider hides the complexity of multiple contracts with network operators and multiple geographies
- Single transparent price for global connectivity – zero hassle billing
- Single pane of glass management
With the technical barriers removed, there is no limit to the potential of your IoT devices.