Usually, when a smart device is delivered to the customer today, it is not clear which functions it will provide in the future. Devices that have already been delivered must therefore be able to be retrofitted with new functions at any time via software and adapted to new requirements. IoT devices are also exposed to particular security threats, and it is essential that they are able to receive rapid security patches. Thus, manufacturers of IoT devices need a reliable and centralized device management system. Here, cloud-based solutions guarantee maximum local and temporal availability.
Control Suppliers Face Special Challenges
Things get even more challenging in automation technology. Suppliers of control systems must additionally offer their customers, machine and plant manufacturers, system integrators and plant operators, the possibility of also managing and updating their own specific applications efficiently across a very large number of devices.
A typical device management solution includes:
- Onboarding/provisioning of devices
- Backup and restore for device replacement
- Updates for firmware, applications and device configurations
- Offline and online configuration of devices and applications
- Direct remote access to devices via website or tunneled services
- Support for large numbers of devices through mass handling and rollout scenarios
- Support of edge gateways and third-party devices
- Online monitoring of devices and alerting
- Connection to maintenance management systems
- Integration with engineering environments and IoT systems
Device Management as Software-as-a-Service
As a supplier of automation technology, you must decide how you want to provide such a device management for the automation components of your customers. You can distinguish between two basic approaches:
You can provide your customers with a service platform for project-based device management. Either in a common public cloud or as a locally operable container solution (e.g., Docker). This offers you the additional opportunity of providing additional value-added services based on the existing connectivity in addition to device management, thus opening up new business areas. For example, this could be an industry solution as software-as-a-service in the Cloud.
As a component supplier, you can also try to integrate your devices optimally into the platforms of other suppliers on the market. With approaches such as Digital Twin or the Industry 4.0 management shell, there are technology standards emerging that could simplify such integration in the future. The proven FDT technology also offers interesting future-oriented solution options here.
Future-Proof Solutions from M&M Software
We develop for you a future-proof device management solution based on the latest technological developments and established industry standards.