Industry reports project between 30 to 50 billion connected devices by 2020. These devices will be deployed on various setups such as factories, hospitals, smart cities, homes, etc. All of these devices are expected to continuously stream information from the physical world and to be online all the time. IoT systems have many use cases and will help improve processes in a way we still can’t fully comprehend.
Once an IoT system is deployed, it is expected to work accurately. Accuracy is even more important when the system is deployed on critical infrastructures. Unfortunately, deploying an IoT system is not a “fire and forget” operation. Systems will include bugs, RMAs, security vulnerabilities, production issues, and much more. Each time this happens your company will be in a race to minimize downtime to prevent brand damage and loss of revenue.
In a system with thousands of remote devices, the smallest unmitigated production issue can impact customer sentiment and harm business. To address it, a company must:
- Monitor the health of large-scale systems and manage their operation.
- Detect production issues in real time and ahead of time.
- Mitigate problems and perform a root-cause analysis.
For example, by monitoring compute, storage, connectivity, and battery statistics and comparing them to nominal values, one can identify a potential bug or security breach.
When building an IoT system, the company must include proper logging and health monitoring. The developer of such monitoring services will have to deal with many constraints that are unique to IoT systems:
- Communication channels that are not reliable, fragmented and have low bandwidth
- Devices that have minimal available resources and run on RTOS/bare metal
- Many sensors installed in remote locations that are not accessible
Being able to monitor system health and run analytics remotely is imperative in IoT, as you aren’t going to be able to debug a device once it's deployed.
Considering a do-it-yourself approach, once the data is collected from the devices, your teams will have to store the data somewhere. After the data is stored, it needs to be crunched and displayed in a meaningful manner.
Building all these tools require a great deal from your company, and if it’s not part of your core business, it will often be neglected until it’s too late and your devices are already deployed. At that point, meeting the SLA becomes a real challenge.
Although monitoring IoT system health doesn't help to differentiate your product, it is evident why it’s fundamental to the end user and your business. With proper device monitoring and management, you can ensure great customer experience, maximum uptime, security and save money in support and operation costs. Meeting the IoT SLA challenge can be done by continuously monitoring, managing, and troubleshooting your IoT system.