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IoT connectivity management platforms can offer organizations streamlined integration and optimized network speeds through closely monitored traffic.
IoT devices require connectivity, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or 5G, to operate. A connectivity management application provides IT administrators better control of these connections and the ability to monitor, modify and analyze connected devices. When applied to IoT data, platforms can also lead to better business decisions with faster and more accurate results.
IoT deployments already require careful planning for device management. By 2025, The IoT industry is projected to reach 30.9 billion IoT units, according to a Statista report. With this growth, IoT deployments and networks will become more complex and integrated. IT admins can simplify the additional intricacies as organizations scale up with IoT connectivity management platforms.
The connectivity part of IoT is what fuels the entire industry, which makes it critical for IT administrators to have the tools they need to tackle connectivity challenges.
Understand device management vs. connectivity management
When discussing IoT networks, organizations can use both device management and connectivity management applications for performance and connectivity.
While the two are similar, they have distinct functions and responsibilities that set them apart. Device management provides a central application to control and maintain the IoT devices an organization uses. Through this form of management, IT administrators can automate data collection from the devices, which creates a smoother flow of information, and control, monitor and update the security of each IoT device. For example, an agriculture worker might use thousands of IoT sensors across a farm at once. Device management allows the worker to send data to a specific location under customized security and send updates to devices.
Connectivity management focuses on the networks and is about the how of connectivity: How do IoT devices connect across multiple networks? Device management is more about the what: What devices are businesses working with that connect to the network? In the same agriculture example, connectivity management applications scale IoT device connections, improve the speed at which the sensors transfer data and monitor the networks.
IoT connectivity management platforms address specific challenges
Connectivity management builds on device management to overcome the challenges created by increasingly complex IoT connectivity.
Connectivity management platforms can facilitate better network visibility through features that add IoT products to a network in bulk and set specific permissions. Permissions and other security measures are crucial because IoT devices expand the network attack surface. If attackers target the device or connection, the entire enterprise network is at risk. When organizations must add IoT devices in bulk, IT administrators can use configuration features to more easily customize devices' connectivity settings.
High demand for data transfers and connections can cause latency if there isn't enough bandwidth. Latency means organizations must wait longer for data transfers and data analysis to make business decisions. For real-time applications, latency can mean information is already outdated or irrelevant. In industries such as automotive, manufacturing and healthcare, latency can create safety issues or complications.
Connectivity management platforms optimize network efficiency. If a manager sees that devices transfer data at slower rates than expected, they can work with the management system to diagnose and solve the problem. Platform users can set data transfer caps for specific IoT devices or get alerts about unusual data transmission spikes that could indicate cybersecurity breaches in real time.
What makes an effective connectivity management platform?
To get the most from a connectivity management platform, businesses must consider what they need and what features are available.
Organizations must figure out how many networks and carriers and what type of connectivity they need for their IoT deployment. These factors determine which speeds and how much scalability is necessary. If the business works with geographically diverse networks, that's also critical to factor in.
Organizations can consider one central platform for both device and connectivity management or sometimes they may need two separate applications. With more types of IoT devices and more applications in the mix, IoT leaders must confirm interoperability. Easy integration is another factor to consider. IoT connectivity management platforms that integrate seamlessly with other devices indicate thorough development of the application and most likely vendor support for devices that use a variety of protocols.
The platform must be user-friendly and should offer troubleshooting features. Most leading IoT connectivity tools provide a single interface where authorized users can organize, oversee and remotely manage devices. Some platforms offer analytics features to detect threats and alert IT admin.