IoT brings huge opportunities for digital transformation for companies on a wide variety of markets and sectors, from utilities to agriculture, from industrial to mining. Wherever IoT adoption brings value to those companies we find the same challenge: IoT infrastructure demands operation excellency.
Once a company is aware of its critical business process relies on an IoT deployment, it becomes key this new infrastructure layer must perform with at least the same reliability as the rest of the company infrastructure.
This may be considered a simple statement, even obvious. Actually, IoT operations are not correctly implemented in many cases. Whether “the planning was not there”, “the issues were not correctly foreseen”, “timing didn’t allow better analysis”, “an internal development to handle this is not up to the task anymore”… choose the circumstances that match your case and let me guess the kind of problems you’re struggling with today:
- Too many outfield activities to restore IoT service
- Manual remote operation for huge number of devices
- Inability to keep software upgraded
- Inventory chaos
- Mismatch between communications and devices
- Availability and operational status of the critical elements
IoT adoption demands a deeper look at operation implications. The IoT solution must provide the capabilities and functionalities for IoT infrastructure management on a complex scenario (different manufacturers, communications, protocols…).
Let’s review some tasks that must be solved with a state of the art IoT application:
- Device commissioning and de-commissioning. The procedure to add a new IoT service must be under control and smoothly integrated with business procedures, ensuring the IoT service is correctly deployed after running a service test, a positive result may even release a contractor service acceptance.
- Automation for device alarms capture and configuration uploading. Ability to sort and filter by different concepts, geographical, manufacturer, software version, alarm condition…
- Firmware/software upgrade, with the ability to program by groups in the same granularity mentioned previously, keeping track of the successful upgrade and non-successful ones.
- Automation for service operation, some measure demanded once a day, might become critical enough to ask the sensor to provide that information every hour or minute.
- Inventory, accurate tracking on the infrastructure deployed, perfectly aligned with the communications available.
- Status monitoring and diagnostics of all the segments or parts of the IoT infrastructure not device per device but large set of device/assets populations aggregated by the IoT service they belong, device manufacturer/model.
- Integration with legacy O&M tools, allowing IoT operation becomes smoothly “operation as usual”.
- Security management is another big challenge in IoT scenarios. It is not only a matter of architecture or design, but it’s also about keeping security levels through periodic actions, like configuration updates (for example, device-side configuration of PKI certificates that has to be changed periodically) or threat monitoring.
From our experience with different device scale deployments (large, medium and small-sized), state of the art IoT solutions provide IoT infrastructure operation control driving these benefits:
- Reduce the solution deployment and maintenance operational costs decreasing drastically the number of outfield activities.
- Increase the rollout speed (deployed devices per day) to adapt to business needs (for example commercial campaigns response, massive devices replacement, …)
- Enrich the information and its accuracy about the operational business processes such as Service Warranty starting period, billing trigger of the deployments performed by third party installation companies depending on the deployment date and result.
In summary: You can boost your IoT business model if you take advantage of the benefits of IoT infrastructure at a deep level. This can be done using the right tools as OpenGate DMM (Device Management Metering) to have full control of your operational processes
Alejandro Sicilia, Senior Advisor at amplía)))