What is IoT device management?

IoT device management refers to processes managing the entire lifecycle of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors, from planning and onboarding, to monitoring and maintenance, through to retirement. 

IoT device management encompasses all of the tools, capabilities, and processes necessary to support IoT solutions effectively at scale. It gives you the ability to connect and configure any number of IoT devices with ease, control devices and their data, monitor device status, maintain security, and keep your IoT solutions aligned with your IoT strategy. 

Why use IoT device management?

You may be familiar with the oft-quoted statement that “Amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals study logistics.” In many ways, IoT device management is the logistics of your IoT strategy. It encompasses a variety of processes and functions to deploy, connect, maintain and retire physical devices at scale, effectively providing the logistics to bridge the physical and digital worlds. 

Although IoT device management is a foundational capability for building solutions based on connected devices, it is one of the most complex aspects from a technology perspective. Effective IoT device management means the ability to manage and monitor devices—securely, at scale, efficiently—across a heterogeneous environment. Master the logistics of IoT device management and you unlock the potential to launch new services, create new sources of recurring revenue, and minimize the cost of solution support. 

What is an IoT device management platform? 

An IoT device management platform is an integrated application that simplifies IoT device management by allowing you to manage and monitor the entire lifecycle of devices and sensors in one place—from planning and onboarding, to monitoring and maintenance, through to retirement. 

In general, the capabilities of an IoT device management platform include the ability to onboard and register your IoT devices, monitor your device’s information (such as status and location), perform software and firmware updates, manage devices at scale, troubleshoot problems, remotely configure devices, maintain security, and integrate data with other enterprise applications.

Figure 1: Capabilities of an IoT device management platform
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How does IoT device management work?

IoT device management facilitates control over the full lifecycle of IoT devices, from the initial provisioning to retirement, and everything in between. 

Device onboarding 

The initial step in IoT device management involves provisioning. Provisioning entails the initial device configuration to modify the device from its original, off-the-shelf settings to those required for the device to be integrated into your network.  

Following provisioning, you need to authenticate the device by confirming its identity as it is added into the IoT system, and authenticating users at login. This step ensures that only authorized devices are enrolled, to prevent intrusions and keep proprietary information secure. 

IoT device management platforms that support bulk device registration simplify and accelerate the onboarding of your IoT devices by offering the ability to onboard hundreds and thousands of devices at once.

Device viewing

Gain full visibility over all your IoT devices in one place. A device list allows you to sort devices by searching and filtering devices, so you can find exactly what you need when you need it.  

Device configuration 

Devices and networks are not static objects. Instead, they are always evolving. IoT device management enables configuration beyond the initial provisioning phase. Configuration can include factors including updates to firmware, networking, access permissions, or other properties. 

Device grouping

Efficient IoT device management relies on scaling from a handful of devices to thousands or more—and then keeping every device current with firmware and other configuration updates. Organize your devices by grouping them according to their function, location, or other characteristics into top-level groups, subgroups, or dynamically constructed smart groups. Grouped devices allow for easier management of devices and bulk operations. 


Perform diagnostics on your IoT devices, from an individual unit to the entire device network. Troubleshoot and remediate issues quickly and efficiently to prevent system downtime.

Status monitoring

Gain insights into the performance of individual devices or a group of your definition. Gain insights on user-defined data points, such a temperature or vibration. Establish user-defined notifications to trigger decisions, such events that are associated with a need for preventive maintenance to prolong machine life. Detect and address issues that can lead to security breaches, such as attempted device configuration changes. View device alarms to maintain in-spec operations. 

Device security

IoT security is an absolute essential to doing business in today’s connected world. IoT device management enables firmware updates to ensure devices are running on the latest secure software. The IoT device management platform’s architecture should be designed to protect physical, network, application and access control. 

Device updates  

At some point—or many points—you will need to update your devices’ firmware, software, configurations, credentials, profiles and trusted certificates. Bulk configuration is the key to efficient IoT device management, and that is especially true with IoT device updates. The ability to configure groups of devices with one click improves consistency and efficiency. 

Data integration 

The value of your IoT devices is the data they provide to users across the organization: operators, product designers, business decision-makers and more. Data integration capabilities enable your IoT device management platform to communicate with third-party applications. This enables functions such as pushing updates and code out to your entire installation of deployed devices, and routing data from devices to the appropriate users and dashboards. 

Device retirement 

Replace or decommission devices after a device fails, you enter an upgrade cycle, or at the end of the service lifetime. Choose whether to retain device information if the physical device is being replaced, or archive the data if it will be permanently retired. 

Figure 2: IoT device management covers the full lifecycle of IoT devices

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The business benefits of IoT device management

The right approach to IoT device management simplifies every element in your IoT project, across the full IoT device lifecycle. It’s akin to a logistics solution that ensures your devices and device data are secure, maintains reliable devices operation across your organization and delivers insights that provide a foundation for new customer-facing services.  

Streamline process to update and change devices 

IoT systems are dynamic, changing with new technologies, customer expectations, and shifts in your business strategy. IoT device management helps you simplify the addition and modification of devices—critical if you’re managing them at scale.

IoT device management allows you to update any number of devices efficiently in a controlled, phased manner. You’ll be able to remotely configure your devices and update software and firmware in a streamlined process, for example, by using a a bulk operation to execute firmware updates or software installations for multiple devices or device groups at once.  

 In addition to saving a massive amount time, the streamlined processes that IoT device management offers ensures that you send and receive crucial information from your devices quickly, efficiently, and accurately.  

Improve reliability and stability of IoT devices 

An excellent IoT device management solution combines highly configurable device structuring, real-time access and full visibility into device status and performance all on a single, self-service platform.  

Visibility into your IoT devices and their information via a single pane of glass delivers confidence that your devices are stable, reliable, secure and up to date. 

If your devices lose stability, you’ll know in real time, so you can take or automate an action on your devices to further ensure stability and reliability.  

Maintain airtight security 

IoT networks handle sensitive information about your business and your customers. Without security, your business can be vulnerable to hacks and data breaches that leak private information. In addition, when IoT solutions are integrated with mission-critical equipment or responsible for worker safety, you need assurance that your entire IoT stack is secure.

An IoT platform makes it far easier to ensure the security of IoT devices. It can enforce security standards, help you protect data by implementing segmentation and data encryption. It allows you to easily manage, update and upgrade access to specific devices or device groups, so you can rest assured your devices and data always have the appropriate security functionalities.  

Adapt for fast-changing business models 

Get the most value out of your IoT products with a management solution that accelerates the shift to new business models and delivers outstanding ROI. With effective IoT device management, you establish a foundation to develop new compelling products and services, better understand customers, and grow new revenue streams. IoT device management is critical for equipment manufacturers looking to stay engaged with their products and their products’ users long after purchase. 

For revenue growth, enhanced customer experience, streamlined field-force operations and the ease of IoT service delivery, choosing an industry leading IoT management platform will empower and accelerate your business’s evolving IoT projects.

Figure 3: The IoT maturity curve shows how organizations can add capabilities over time, generating value at each step

Manage from the cloud to the edge 

IoT edge computing is growing in popularity because it delivers ultra-fast analytics, enable IoT to be deployed in new places, and reduces networking costs. But historically, IoT device management on edge networks has been a challenge.  

An IoT platform that enables streamlined, secure, flexible device management on both thick edge and thin edge architectures helps you quickly and easily deploy IoT and Industrial IoT (IIoT) capabilities anywhere you need them. Look for platforms that help you simplify development by using the same architecture everywhere—the same APIs, data and analytics models—from the cloud to the edge. 


339% ROI from Cumulocity IoT platform, ROI in less than 1 year.  

Meet our IoT device management solution

Make IoT simple with the only platform that’s ready to go with the tools you need for IoT device management. It also offers device connectivity, application enablement and integration, streaming and predictive analytics, and a range of self-service tools that empower users across your organization. 

Cumulocity IoT platform 

We know IoT projects can be complicated. That's why the Cumulocity IoT platform simplifies things for you with self-service tools and a configuration-driven approach.  

Cumulocity IoT is a leading self-service IoT platform, top rated by independent analysts, with fast ROI. Learn about our core capabilities and how we’re different than the rest.  

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