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The IoT Device Lifecycle – What’s next after developing? Managing and updating, of course!

In our previous blog, we discussed the need for a standardized IoT RTOS platform (Mbed OS) for easy development of IoT applications that can communicate over different protocols. This enables developers to easily create their applications without having to package-up these capabilities manually from various places. While this solves one challenge in creating an IoT solution, a major problem remains in how to update these devices frequently and securely, with a valid root of trust or keys, all while enabling an enterprise manager to control the IoT deployment. Oh, and the solution has to scale for millions and billions of devices, of course!

We are seeing a growing number of complex use cases in various verticals like healthcare, utilities, transportation and logistics, and connected buildings. There are significant challenges for enterprises to deploy IoT devices. IoT is becoming the new ERP, where there are challenges translating technical innovation into real business value and delivering meaningful business outcomes. Some of the key challenges we are seeing from our customers include:

• Wide variety of devices types – multiple form factors range from small connected sensors on a pallet to connected bulbs to edge gateways

• Projected volume of devices is huge – the sheer number of devices that need to be managed, and data streams that these devices are collecting and pushing for analysis

• Growing heterogeneity of devices – different device makers, module makers, and protocols that operators have to handle

• Given the volume, any increase in network traffic will have significant impact on operational budgets

• Finally, with outcomes relying on data from the devices, the devices and data HAVE to be trusted, otherwise the outcomes become meaningless

All of this leads to the need for a secure heterogeneous device lifecycle management solution so that operators of these devices can focus on their business, and stop worrying about creating the technical solution and operation of the IoT network.

Requirements (yellow) and challenges (orange) in creating and deploying an IoT solution for energy grid applications

To solve these problems of device lifecycle management, Mbed Cloud’s device management features make it easy to develop and deploy, at scale, with:

• Ability for devices to connect across multiple protocols in an optimized way, helping to avoid high bandwidth expenses

• Manage and provision these devices, and create keys that can be used to not only manage devices but also push data

• Update devices securely over the air (FOTA) with tight integration and secure storage on the device

• Device side infrastructure that scales from 10s of KB to gateway form factors that provides a rich compute and analytic environment

• Heterogeneous enterprise deployment ranging from public cloud infrastructures like AWS and Softbank Cloud, to controlled on-premise deployments for highly regulated industries

• Highly scalable environment that handles a high volume of the devices

• Supporting an open ecosystem – not only optimal integration with Mbed OS, but also work with other operating systems like AWS FreeRTOS and Linux

In summary, the Mbed IoT device platform is the easiest way to rapidly and reliably create a secure chip-to-enterprise solution, whether that be cloud-based or deployed on-premise, and can manage both the control and data planes.