M2M Device Cloud - How to Manage the Growing Number of Connected Objects

The Internet of Things has reached everyday business activities. Companies and solution providers are relying on cloud-based platforms to manage the growing numbers of connected devices and data.



The population of M2M devices is on the increase, with far-reaching consequences. If managing corporate IT used to be comparable to rearing tame guinea pigs, in the Internet of Things era we are talking about an entire zoo. It is no longer just a matter of managing desktop armadas and a few servers. All of the objects and sites of corporate activity are connected, be it by temperature control in the cold store, smart heating thermostats in the office, and the use of RFID in warehouses or of GPS tracking devices in delivery vehicles.


The more M2M solutions find their way into everyday business activities, the greater the administrative effort and expense for devices, users, and data. How, for example, can measurements taken by different devices be connected and integrated into the company’s existing IT? How can solution provider speed up the development process so as to launch their solutions as swiftly as possible in a highly dynamic market? For the answers, look to next-generation cloud-based management platforms.


One Common Language


All M2M/IoT platforms share a common idea. It basically involves converting device-specific data into a device-independent format. The cold store must be able to chat with the delivery vehicle and the street light to converse with the display on the facade. An Esperanto of machines is what is needed.




The translator they use is specially developed software known as an agent. It transmits device information and measurements to the platform’s cross-device data model, thereby ensuring that the device is barrier-free and able to communicate reliably with the cloud platform.




Construction Kit for IoT Apps 


Most M2M/IoT platforms contain both programming interfaces and Web portals. With the aid of the Web portals companies manage their connected equipment fleet. Depending on their range of functions they check the status of all connected devices in real time, filter events that occur in accordance with certain criteria, update firmware and software, or visualize measurements. Platform administrators also determine which users alert the system in which instances.





Programming interfaces are especially interesting for solution providers because they contain preconfigured functions and data models for devices and measurements. Developers no longer need to re-invent the wheel for every new M2M application. Instead, they can use a tried and tested set of libraries. Some platforms now even provide graphical tools for clicking new applications together at no great programming effort or expense.


Scalable Usage Fees


Even guinea pig breeders are aware of the problem of scalability. High population dynamics make resource planning more difficult. A hundred animals eat more hay, drink more water, and require larger cages than ten animals do, and much the same applies to connected devices. A management platform must be able to respond flexibly to varying numbers and amounts of data, users, and devices. Storage and computing capacity are needed, not hay and cages. This is where the advantage of a cloud-based architecture kicks in. Users book additional resources as and when they are needed.


Ideally, costs are scalable too. The M2M Device Cloud platform provided by Telekom and Cumulocity, for example, is based on a model in which platform costs are calculated on the basis of the number of connected devices.

Tags: M2M , Internet of Things , M2M Device Cloud , Platforms

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