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IoT Device Management Demand Gains Momentum

More forward-thinking CIOs and CTOs are focused on the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT). Management challenges are top of mind for those who have already deployed a large number of sensors and associated network edge devices.

Device management services are evolving in response to a greater breadth of new device technologies such as edge intelligence and related connectivity solutions, as well as the customer scalability and security of IoT deployments.

But forward-looking suppliers are also preparing for a world where 41.3 percent of the connected devices will be using some form of Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technologies by 2026.

IoT Device Management Market Development

Since IoT customers increasingly need to manage a larger fleet of connected devices, ABI Research now forecasts that IoT device management services will exceed $36.8 billion in revenues by 2026.

Standardization is beginning to play a bigger role in device management services, as more connected devices use LPWA technologies. Standardization is best exemplified by growth in the adoption of LwM2M.

This standard was embraced by the telecom service providers but is now also embraced by the module, chipset, and gateway suppliers. The flip side of standardization is that it will increase the commoditization of device management services. 

"Implementing a common standard such as LwM2M can complicate a device management vendor’s product differentiation strategy, but standards do address customer reservations of ‘lock-in’ to a proprietary platform," said Abdullah Haider, research analyst at ABI Research.

Partnerships and collaborations between device management vendors will continue to accelerate. According to the ABI assessment, device management vendors can partner with system integrators (SIs) who build an end-to-end solution.

Device management suppliers can also partner with other players in the value chain. Companies recognize that a strategic partnership can help to facilitate both sales and product support channels. 

"Co-operating with another vendor’s device management service is beneficial for a cloud hyperscaler selling data storage and analytics, and for a Mobile Network Operator (MNO) selling connectivity or application enablement services as IoT device management platforms integrate with these other systems," Haider explains.

Device management vendors from large hyperscale public cloud service providers, established incumbent technology vendors, mobile network operators and startups are all looking to disrupt the IoT device management ecosystem.

Outlook for IoT Device Management Solutions Growth

ABI analysts believe one key insight is that while competition breeds commoditization, IoT technology vendors are still keen to differentiate their device management products and services.

Often this entails providing security services like device attestation, and mutual authentication while other IoT industry players are considering remote hardware configuration in application segments like asset tracking, telematics, and condition-based monitoring. 

"In general, more and more suppliers are adding device management services to differentiate their IoT solution suite and capture more IoT solution revenues," Haider concludes.

That said, I anticipate that we'll see more research to evaluate the longer-term impact of device management on the IoT ecosystem, and how it impacts the typical lifecycle of devices -- from onboarding to decommissioning.

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