A competitive assessment on device management for the massive IoT by global technology intelligence firm ABI Research provides an unbiased examination and ranking of nine IoT device management platform vendors. The in-depth study assesses, compares, and ranks the platform vendors across thirty different action items for their device management services in ten categories: communication protocol breadth, group policies, diagnostics and business rules, remote configurability, device agents, ease of device onboarding, secure onboarding/off-boarding capabilities, interoperability, partnership/collaboration, and ability to offer commercial flexibility. Ranking criteria are split between innovation and implementation, with the global spread and adoption of LwM2M (Lightweight Machine-to-Machine) expected to continue as the next-gen LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) connectivity technologies, like NB-IoT and LTE-M, rollout accelerates. The companies evaluated and ranked are:
Massive IoT device management leaders such as Huawei and Nokia seek to differentiate their offerings by providing advanced capabilities in key areas. “Beyond scalable deployments, these disruptive platform vendors add value by bundling their device management services with data storage, connectivity management, and application enablement. In addition, the leaders are also delivering device management services with greater granularity and superior visibility by offering a unified platform, providing metrics and alerts for the physical device and the network connectivity,” says Abdullah Haider, IoT Network and Services Research Analyst at ABI Research. Device management vendors also seek to differentiate by introducing external partners to complement their offerings. “Beyond sophisticated device management toolsets, leaders provide a breadth of compatible hardware and boast in-depth strategic partnerships for sales and product support channels.”
However, ongoing commoditization threatens the leaders’ competitive advantage in device management as followers seek to catch up to leaders. “LwM2M is likely to continue creating a standardized suite of services with which vendors are increasingly compliant, especially at the application layer,” Haider explains. Nevertheless, leaders may still retain advantages due to ongoing frictions in compatibility, “Module and gateway OEMs have not universally accepted the LwM2M standard into their devices. So, delivering effective device management services still requires suppliers of these services to provide a catalog of hardware which supports their solution for out-of-the-box operations, at least in the foreseeable future,” Haider concludes.
Also, solely adopting LwM2M does not address every challenge facing a device management customer. “Other challenges include providing a unified dashboard for different hardware types or personnel in different departments. As a result, leading vendor services include developing custom objects beyond the baseline LwM2M application standard, which often offers additional value through remote configuration at a more granular level,” Haider concluded.