Overview of IoT connectivity management platforms

Tags: IoT
A picture of Mikk Lemberg
Written by
Mikk Lemberg

The world is full of software platforms, and new ones pop up daily. The Internet of Things isn't any different.

Different market analysts expect the IoT market to grow over 10% annually until 2026. The growing adoption of IoT technology across industries, such as manufacturing, automotive, and healthcare, drives the market's increase. The progress requires flexible IoT platforms to manage the devices and connectivity.

Three primary categories for IoT platforms are:

  • application enablement,
  • hardware or device management,
  • connectivity management (CMP).

Each plays a crucial role in the IoT businesses life-cycle. As 1oT is a cellular connectivity provider for IoT, we'll dive into the world of connectivity management platforms (CMP).

In the world of connectivity, "IoT platform" usually means a connection life-cycle management platform. It's needed to activate a SIM card, change data plans, manage billing, monitor service, or deactivate a subscription.

In general, a connectivity management platform (CMP) is a combination of connectivity services and management tools that enable IoT and M2M projects worldwide.

The goal of an IoT connectivity platform is to reduce complexity. But there are many aspects to consider and how to achieve it, so follow along to learn more about a modern connectivity management platform's requirements.

Why IoT businesses want self-service platforms and why they are needed to scale successfully

A successful IoT deployment typically results in a large number of connected devices around the world. It's mission-critical to manage connectivity and keep devices online.

At that global scale, the secret to IoT deployment success is eliminating any possible complexity.

To be in control of their connectivity, companies need a self-service platform to manage the connectivity.

The right connectivity management platform (CMP) allows you to efficiently manage devices and cellular technologies and optimise data rates for optimal IoT deployment.

Standard functions of IoT connectivity management platforms are

  • activating and deactivating SIMs in real-time,
  • setting data consumption limits,
  • real-time reporting on a SIM-level,
  • controlling and optimising connectivity costs,
  • aggregating data and SMS usage across all SIMs.

What we have learned through the years

We developed our CMP, 1oT Terminal, in-house in parallel with launching our IoT connectivity business. We take great pride in talking with customers, testing new ideas and perfecting new features to provide more value in addition to just cellular connectivity (offering SIM cards).

Over the last five years, we have noticed new requirements from global IoT businesses.

For example, one of the critical things has become preventing malicious use of IoT devices. One widespread problem is stolen SIM cards and thieves beginning to use them for personal usage. That's why a modern CMP must be able to detect IMEI changes or spikes in data consumption.

More so, a connectivity management platform can detect possible device malfunctions either based on rules set by the user or detect them fully automatically. More importantly, with tens of thousands of devices, the countermeasure needs to be automated to prevent costly effects.

Based on our experience, we can say that an effective connectivity management platform provides companies with:

  • operational and maintenance time savings,
  • actionable insights from all the data,
  • real-time problem detection,
  • enhanced convenience and intuitive functionality.

Licensing is an option for MNOs or MVNOs

By now, every major mobile operator in the world has embraced the potential of IoT and provides connectivity solutions.

Yet, the implementation of IoT services within the current MNO structures and business model can be tricky.

Developing a connectivity management platform (CMP) in-house has allowed us to focus on the most straightforward process of managing hundreds of IoT connectivity clients and overseeing their tens of thousands of SIM cards.

Even though many mobile operators develop solutions in-house, third-party platform adoption has increased in recent years. However, there are things to consider before licensing or ordering a bespoke platform.

We're happy to share the learnings.

Special kind of billing requirements

In response to IoT customers' sophisticated requirements, we have developed a comprehensive IoT-specific billing infrastructure that meets all the modern IoT world's needs.

The billing system is tailored to IoT operations' needs; it enables charging not only for connectivity but also for IoT devices, software applications and bundled services.

Full API support

IoT businesses have developed their device management software or have other interfaces running. So, it's critical to have full API support. Many IoT companies think "API first" and are not interested in logging into a different platform.

It enables users to directly integrate the cellular connectivity service into their application layer or software. For instance, IoT companies can activate SIMs in bulk or fetch usage information across their SIMs directly through the API.

eSIM Management Tool

The IoT deployments are global, so they require flexible global connectivity. This is where the eSIM (eUICC) comes in. eSIM allows users to swap carriers over-the-air without changing the SIM card in the device.

Unfortunately, you can’t enjoy the benefits of eUICC (eSIM) without a proper management tool. eSIM Management Tool allows you to download, enable and delete SIM profiles over-the-air remotely.

At 1oT, we have focussed on the following functionalities:

  • a full overview of each eSIM and it’s carrier profiles,
  • ability to compare different carrier profiles,
  • swap profiles on the eSIM (download, enable, delete),
  • automated eSIM tests to assure that the IoT module supports eSIM.

All in all, mobile operators use connectivity management platforms to facilitate the delivery of IoT connectivity services and offer self-service connectivity management solutions to customers.

If you're shopping for a 3rd party connectivity management platform, look for a provider that regularly updates the platform—indicating that they are evolving along with the market to embrace new features.

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