MWC Barcelona 2019 has now drawn to a close… and if there’s one thing that has been impossible to miss this year (other than foldable smart phones), it’s the prevalence and the unstoppable growth of the IoT. The innovations in IoT products and infrastructure over the past year, many of which have been on display at MWC this past week, have been stunning. There’s no wonder why everyone is so excited about our connected future. But how can we future-proof our connectivity?
One of the keys to success here is device lifecycle management solutions– in particular, incremental FOTA (Firmware Over-The-Air) as LPWA (low-power wide-area) networks are still evolving. Having them in place is crucial for long term objects spread out in the field, especially if they are vulnerable to weather and other external factors. A tested solution designed to update connected objects remotely and efficiently can go a long way to preparing effectively for the future.
But why else are these solutions worthwhile? A key reason is evolution. The emerging IoT-optimized networks for machine-type connectivity like LTE-M or NB-IoT evolve with new requirements. Of course, security updates are also crucial for protection against new cyber threats, so there is a significant need to be able to push software/firmware or security updates over the air to all your devices in an efficient manner. This removes any need to send a physical maintenance operator out into the field, which is often costly and an inefficient use of time.
We must also remember that maintenance operations are relatively regular occurrences for connected devices, so there’s a pressing need to manage the access to your devices remotely and provide temporary access for remote maintenance operations, after which access credentials are revoked and renewed automatically.
Another key benefit of a lifecycle management solution is that if you want to change the IoT cloud you’re working with after a certain time, a platform can simplify the onboarding of connected objects to new platforms remotely and securely. This is especially useful for organizations that like to update and/or change cloud service regularly.
Furthermore, we must also bear in mind how legislation on IoT security is evolving as more governments and industry groups are now asking for regular credential exchange through connected objects, for precaution and to ensure a stable trusted ecosystem. To prepare for this, you need the capability to react very quickly in the event of a suspected breach to exchange credentials remotely. These essential operations can be run remotely through an IoT device lifecycle management platform, ensuring best device performance on the long run and a constant level of security.
As mentioned earlier, LPWA technology has an important role to play here. For examples, both NB-IoT and LTE-M are future-proof by design as they are part of the 5G standard. This effectively means investment protection for customers. But what else needs to be considered when looking at devices that will need to last for at least 10 years?
By: Manfred Kube
Head of M2M Segment Marketing and Director Business Development mHealth at Gemalto M2M, based in Germany. Crazy about the latest mobile gadgets and the IoT and convinced that secure wirelessly enabled devices can help assist with chronic care management, ambient assisted living, fitness and wellness monitoring, and more.