In my previous blogs, I have looked at the connected device management issues concerning CEOs and CMOs, as well as related issues concerning the chief security officers (CSOs). Now let’s look at the device management issues that are keeping CTOs and COOs of mobile network operators (MNOs) awake at night.
Service providers today understand the importance of mobile device management — it is critical to managing the customer experience and their brands. However, this has been less true of the IoT/M2M industry where, until recently, devices were simple and device management an afterthought. The coming explosion of IoT — we’re conservatively estimating 20 billion sensors and other M2M devices by 2020 — is calling for a more systematic view of device management across operations, IT, security, marketing and customer relations management.
The BYOD trend was long resisted, and still is in many enterprises, because CTOs know very well what a headache the latest gadget craze can be. Imagine, then, the nightmare that mobile operators have to deal with. But even the hundreds of mobile consumer devices pose only a small problem compared to the thousands of different IoT-connected sensors and devices that are coming.
Although many IoT applications may come with their own custom device management platform, this only means that the number of device management applications will be significantly increased. Additionally, most IoT developers do not have the deep knowledge of mobile networks that would enable them to design the most efficient way to manage new devices and sensors connecting to the networks. Tens or even hundreds of separate device management applications will multiply operational complexity and threaten to impact the operators’ bottom line as training and other human resource issues overwhelm its organization.
Losing the SIM
Mobile network operators have long kept in check the interoperability and security challenges of connecting mobile devices using subscriber identity modules or SIMs. SIMs give the operator control over a critical piece of the hardware puzzle. This ensures both operator control of on-boarding and the management of devices ― in addition to ensuring that the services provided to customers are authorized and protected.
Some mobile device vendors, such as Apple, have been moving to software-based or virtual SIMs. However, almost all IoT-connected sensors and M2M devices will be SIM-less going forward. This could lead to complex and time-consuming onboarding procedures, complex authentication and authorization methods, issues in lifecycle management and even the security and reliability of devices. Time-to-market for the rollout of new services may also be affected.
The importance of platforms
The key to managing the coming proliferation of devices is to embrace a global, device platform that manages virtually all connected devices and sensors. Only a world-leading device management vendor can support such a platform. It must have the scale, experience, commitment, and knowledge of networks to ensure that the plethora of existing devices, as well as those that are coming in the future, are integrated and supported on its platform.
Nokia manages more than 1.5 billion of devices and sensors for over 300 customers worldwide, and supports over 80,000 device models. We have tested our solution for 300 million devices and sensors in a single deployment and are ready to meet the massive demand of IoT. The Nokia Motive® Connected Device Platform is a converged, cloud-based platform that, as the market leader, is arguably best positioned to play this critical role in the industry.
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