By Ross Hickey, Founder and CEO of Trinity IoT
With companies embracing digital transformation, the well-known practice of managing SIMs and devices to mitigate against out-of-control data costs and inefficient use of business application devices take on new importance. Today, many businesses require a combination of device and connectivity management to form the cornerstone of their output.
Device and connectivity management can be defined as the process of controlling, monitoring, maintaining, and configuring devices and SIMs remotely. If access to device data through cellular connectivity is the lifeline of a company’s business model, then device management is the key to sustaining this with connectivity management being the golden thread tying everything together.
If access to device data is mission-critical to the organisation, then device management is imperative. If not, then there is a significant risk of disruption to operations if devices and data cannot be managed, controlled, or accessed in real-time. The ability to gain visibility and control of one’s device and SIM fleet also opens the opportunity for companies to develop new revenue streams through digital services and products or increase their operational efficiency.
Making it real
But what does this mean for a business? For example, a food delivery company needs to notify restaurants that there is a new order, notify its drivers to pick up that order and notify customers when food is on the way. To coordinate these events on a large scale considering that thousands of orders must be processed every minute, the food delivery company must have access to their devices and SIMs that communicate the status of the order both to and from the kitchen.
Another example can be found in a security company. Given the nature of the business, it must immediately send an armed response team to a home if an alarm is triggered. Therefore, the security company must be notified in real-time whenever there is a breach in a security system via live data. Using devices installed with networked SIMs, security businesses can ensure that their panels are always able to transmit these critical events.
Device and connectivity management becomes significantly more crucial when a company owns thousands of highly distributed assets. It is not operationally or financially viable to travel to each asset to perform routine checks and maintenance. For instance, a traffic management solution must access data from traffic lights all over a city to regulate traffic flow. A gaming company that lets thousands of slot machines to casinos throughout the country needs access to asset data to ensure slot machines are in working order.
Getting things in place
Like with most internet of things (IoT)-related business deployments, device and connectivity management can quickly become very complex. The difficulties can be tripled when a business must deploy an ‘at-scale’ solution.
Something as straightforward as sourcing an IoT device or a SIM can become a chaotic and time-consuming process which takes time away from a company’s main operational focus. Furthermore, the expertise, resources, and experience required to build a management platform and infrastructure from the ground up are greatly underestimated by many. Often, companies do not consider aspects such as the deep domain expertise necessary, the continuous engineering required to keep the environment running optimally, the importance of partnerships with key industry players, and the time it takes to develop an IoT device management platform that works.
When built internally, device and connectivity management projects require a company’s team to decide which services are needed and then piece together a complex infrastructure from developer manuals. Ultimately, this takes the focus away from their core responsibilities. If the newly-built infrastructure has weaknesses, it will only be a matter of time until the system buckles especially when put under pressure on a large scale.
Understanding and appreciating the complexity of IoT can be overwhelming. Fortunately, companies do not have to manage everything themselves or need to appoint experts in the field of connectivity and device management. Instead, the true potential of these powerful toolsets can be unlocked through robust IoT partnerships.
It all begins with putting the basics in place. Unlocking additional value from connectivity and device management will then look significantly different depending on the goals of the business using the system. We all know that data is king, but the real value lies in its visualisation, analysis, and interpretation.
Linking core device and connectivity management systems to another critical operational system can be the next significant leap forward for a digitally-centric organisation. Anything from an operational maintenance platform to a user application can be used as an additional revenue stream for companies to create more value for their customers and themselves.
From our own experience, we have seen clients take their rugged device and transform it using connectivity data into a customer-facing mobile application while delivering operational portals for maintenance teams. Massive potential for these infrastructural deployments lies in the ability to connect real-time data to a fly-wheel of other applications to drive further business insight, and customer value.
Device and connectivity management has therefore become a cornerstone for business success in today’s digitally-driven business environment. If this is not done effectively, then the company stands to lose significant momentum in a highly competitive market.