Creating a Truly Open IoT Device Management Ecosystem
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an astoundingly diverse area, containing a huge assortment of hardware devices and software systems, unlike anything we have witnessed before in technology. Connected cars, smart wearables, connected cranes, sensor-enabled parking spots, smart power grids – all these exist together within the IoT ecosystem.
But this variety and the ensuing innovation that excites IoT enthusiasts poses an enormous challenge for device manufacturers, application vendors, and (most notably) customers. Which kind of technology should they use to make IoT devices? How can they keep pace with new operating systems and software updates that are constantly deployed? How do they ensure compatibility with new software and connectivity protocols? The chief issue is that there are too many players in the IoT space. Businesses are building IoT solutions independent of each other using a range of frameworks and platforms with the result that the market is full of different devices and applications that are unable to integrate with one another.
To get some perspective on the IoT device management ecosystem, consider this – any ordinary smartphone today comes with a cellular modem that works perfectly well with at least seven radio interfaces. Regardless of whether you are connecting to a GSM, CDMA, or an LTE network, the phone will always work and it will connect to all other phones irrespective of which cellular network they use. But when it comes to an IoT device such as a smart fitness band, the device might work flawlessly with the vendor’s fitness tracking application. But that fitness band is unlikely to be compatible with any other vendor’s fitness tracking application. If you decide to switch to a different application vendor, you will need to get a new fitness band from that vendor.
The ideal solution to tackle this diverse and rapidly evolving nature of IoT might be to adopt a single, unified software and communication framework-based approach. This means that the device, operating system, or application you use should not matter, all of them should be able to communicate with each other faultlessly in an “any-to-any” manner. Without this level of compatibility, the powerful advantages of connecting billions of IoT devices will not be entirely realized.
Dean Hamilton, GM IoT at Accelerite, examines this point in depth in his recent article “The Future of IoT Device Management”. He points out the need for all IoT device and gateway vendors to support a plug-and-play, open and secure, standards-based, device management capability (one that is independent of any vendor applications) and for application vendors to provide a mechanism that easily and securely discovers and connects to those devices. He believes that through this approach IoT will achieve a new level of maturity and consumers will be able to fully embrace connected devices without the fear of losing their hardware investment. Read the complete article here. Also check out IoT application endgame and IoT resources here.