Device Management Presents Barrier to IoT at Scale
April 13, 2016

Pete Goldin
APMdigest

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Management of thousands or millions of Internet connected devices is posing a major obstacle to the success of the Internet of Things (IoT), according to DevicePilot (previously 1248).

These concerns are reflected in DevicePilot's survey of 50 companies planning to deploy IoT applications at scale across different industry sectors including environmental and industrial monitoring, elderly care/wellness, smart homes and cities, energy management, refrigeration, retail and public services. The survey ranked "risk to growth" as the most worrying consequence of failing to manage devices, followed by "risk to revenue" and "risk to brand".

This may be one of the reasons why some of the ambitious predictions for IoT devices have not yet been borne out, according to DevicePilot. While 12% of respondents had deployed a million or more devices in the field, 82% had deployed only 1,000 devices or less. However, respondents to the Device Management Survey expect these numbers to grow, with 70% of companies predicting an eventual market size of at least millions of devices and 20% predicting that they will reach the billions level.

“It is clear that most IoT companies are currently managing their connected products manually or by a mixture of manual and automatic processes,” said Pilgrim Beart, CEO at DevicePilot. “But as projects move from pilot to deployment at scale, the time and operational cost of manually logging-in to each device to perform an upgrade or check if it is working becomes a major barrier. Automatic asset management, monitoring and lifetime support are essential for the long term success of the IoT.”

Summary of key survey findings:

■ 61% of companies anticipate 10x growth over the coming year

■ 70% estimate their addressable market to be in the millions of devices - and 9% in the billions

■ The most common business model is a combination of up-front fee plus ongoing service fee

■ Only 18% of companies describe their device management as “highly automated and slick”

■ The biggest perceived risk of not managing devices well is risk to the growth of the company

■ 86% of companies say that as far as managing devices is concerned, they’re either already in trouble, or expect to be within 12 months

Cees Links, veteran of the world of connected devices and currently CEO of GreenPeak Technologies commented, "It sometimes surprises me how many device companies don't even know how many of their devices have been deployed, let alone how many are working. As the IoT matures, users' expectations of service quality are rapidly increasing, and you really have to keep on top of this stuff. When it comes to the smart home we expect all devices to be connected and providing useful information for owners and manufacturers on usage, diagnostics, need for refurbishment and replacement."

"The answer to device management is automation,” added Chris Wright, CTO of Moixa, a business deploying a solar energy storage product. “We need to be connected for multiple reasons including remote management, demand response and performance reporting; and if the product isn’t working or has lost connection, then we can’t bill.”

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