by Dave McCarthy
The health and maintenance of connected devices is paramount in an IoT deployment. However, challenges related to managing and growing a fleet of devices can quickly overwhelm home-grown solutions, leading to high field servicing costs, inability to add new and different devices, revenue loss and more. Knowing your device management program is headed for failure, a business can avoid major fix costs and delays that threaten a return on investment (ROI).
Here are five common signs your device management strategy is headed for failure and how oftentimes, a purpose-built solution can help you course correct.
#1: Lost production or revenue from device downtime
For an IoT solution to work effectively, all devices need to be online and connected to ensure data accuracy and consistency. When just one device goes down, an entire IoT project can be impacted leading to lost production, or even worse, lost revenue.
A pre-built solution provides the resilient framework businesses need to connect and automate key device management processes that keep devices healthy. Though you may see a higher upfront cost, the total cost of ownership (TCO) will be less because unplanned downtime and associated maintenance costs will be avoided.
#2: Rising field servicing costs have reduced margins
Because downtime can drastically hurt an IoT device management project, organizations will often overpay for maintenance services to ensure equipment is up and running quickly.
An off-the-shelf solution helps to avoid these over-investments by automating maintenance processes across your fleet of devices. For example, a business can automate labour-intensive and time-consuming manual tasks, such as physically visiting remote devices. This automation enables an organization to reap new benefits such as minimized operational costs and process consistency.
#3: Content and/or software updates tied to staff availability
Even a simple in-house IoT project can take a team of 5 or more developers multiple years to build and debug. Not to mention the time and resources needed for ongoing support and any operational costs. The insufficient number of staff can lead to difficulty in physically maintaining and/or replacing failing devices.
With a purpose-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.
#4: Complexity or diversity of devices is stretching beyond the capacity of current device management practices
IoT device management requires overseeing the day-to-day operations of multiple groups of devices with different configuration profiles. Geographically distributed devices also require a high level of additional logistics and coordination. Lacking this ability is another sign your device management strategy is failing.
IoT projects can often require compromises, limited to certain types of devices and a minimal set of management capabilities. But it doesn’t have to be that way. An off-the-shelf solution can offer the pre-configurations needed to add new and different devices without interrupting the existing installation.
#5: Adding devices feels like a house of cards game
Device management projects should support an unlimited number of devices. Being too narrow here can delay much-needed expansions, especially since scalability is a key tenant of IoT. When adding devices threatens to break a solution, it’s time to rethink your approach.
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. This approach ensures that you’re getting the data you need for insights that drive competitive differentiation, maximize revenue and free up internal talent to focus on more pressing issues. It can also help reduce risk and accelerate time to market – all at a predictable cost.
Stakeholders should be educated on the signs a device management strategy is failing, especially everyday system users. Those closest to the installation are oftentimes the most effective at spotting common warning signs, so steps can be taken to fill in gaps and correct deficiencies before results and budget suffer.
- Dave McCarthy is a leading authority on industrial IoT and a 20-year veteran of the software industry. Since joining Bsquare in December 2006, he has led several different teams while serving in an ongoing consultative capacity, advising Fortune 1000 customers on strategies for integrating device and sensor data with enterprise systems to improve their businesses through technology.