Month: June 2021

Understanding Entgra’s Enterprise Mobility Management Capabilities (Part 1)

A quick overview of our remote screen sharing and control features

Photo by Nubelson Fernandes on Unsplash

This blog is the first in an ongoing series that takes a look at the Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) offered by Entgra. These blogs will provide a better understanding of how Entgra’s technology can help you manage and secure your devices, improve the performance of your employees, and increase business profits through seamless device management.

Show Me Your Screen

Imagine that your neighbor wants to work as a driver for Uber. Yet after registering with Uber, he encounters strange errors when logging into the app. Luckily for him, you are a support engineer at Uber. Your neighbor comes over and shows this problem to you. With a few clicks here and there,  you fix the problem for your friend and now he uses the app happily. 

Now imagine that a customer is experiencing an issue in another country. You cannot identify this issue over a call and you need to see what exactly the customer is doing to understand the problem. Unfortunately for you, the customer is not your neighbor to make both of your lives simpler.

But there’s a way around this problem. 

Entgra IoT Server, with its EMM features, provides remote screen sharing and control capabilities to tackle similar enterprise scenarios. If you have a set of field devices with a mission critical application on a set of enterprise owned mobile devices, you may want to know where these devices are and remotely troubleshoot in case there are issues that are hard to fix. Clear the app data and cache, reboot, reinstall the app, examine files from the app and in some cases, you may need to wipe the device to fix the problem. Your options here are to buy a very expensive remote control solution and install it on all devices or get a solution such as Entgra’s with remote control capabilities. 

Here’s a short video that illustrates how simple remote and access is: 

Under the Hood

When your devices are used in the field, you may initialize a remote session by clicking on the “connect to device” option on individual devices. This starts a web socket connection with the device and streams the device’s screen as a live feed. On top of this, we have written a custom keyboard that sends keyboard inputs to the device and types them in when needed. The mouse inputs are also sent in a similar manner which translates to click, drags or presses as commanded. The bottom line is that you have access to a complete remote login system via Entgra to manage and troubleshoot your field devices.

In our next blog, we’ll be taking a look at how you can work with files. You can learn more about our IoT, EMM, and Mobile Device Management (MDM) technology here. We’re always happy to hear from you, so drop us an email on contact@entgra.io to start a conversation with us.

Unified Endpoint Management of APIs for Enterprise Devices

Complete enterprise device management solutions

Photo by Blake Connally on Unsplash

Enterprise Devices — Leading the Way

In a world driven by smart technology¹ that seeks to reap the maximum benefits from recent advancements as soon as possible, one can do little to not be left behind. This is twice as much important if you’re a thriving global enterprise or aspiring to be one. Keeping abreast requires all of your ingenuity.

Enterprises today are increasingly adopting various types of disparate devices into their everyday business operations. Some of these are standard legacy mobile devices like tablets, smartphones, and laptops. Then there are Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as sensors, PLCs², communication gateways, edge computing devices, CCTV cameras, etc. that are also heavily used to monitor and control all aspects of business and supply chains.

Technical challenges arise after these devices are employed. Enterprises need to change business processes to communicate with them seamlessly while adhering to enterprise application development paradigms. This is when a unified set of API endpoints (UEMs) that represent the complete enterprise device deployment becomes a game changer.

Recent Trends in Enterprise Device Adoption

Let’s start with a broader perspective on device dependency. Statistics reveal that the number of mobile phone users far outnumber those with access to electricity, or even running water.

Source: https://newsroom.cisco.com/press-release-content?articleId=1741352

This means that a startling 69% of the world’s population has access to mobile phones.

Other recent surveys on enterprise device adoption reveal a steady increase in the use of active connections worldwide, with IoT device usage increasing faster compared to traditional device usage.

Source: https://www.comparitech.com/internet-providers/iot-statistics/

Enterprise Devices That Give Us a Sixth Sense

Enterprises are adopting connected devices for a real-time understanding of ground level conditions, adding an element of sixth sense in business processes across supply, production, and consumption chains. Various types of devices, sensors, PLCs, communication gateways, edge computing devices, etc. are employed to ensure process efficiency. Moreover, this boom in device usage has been accompanied by a significant reduction in the cost of deploying devices in recent times.

In keeping with the latest trends, data communication and infrastructure have also drastically improved with plenty of software platforms enabling connections between different devices for application development or business process enhancements.

Explosion in Device Adoption

All these developments have led to an explosion of disparate device end points coming into the picture, bringing about a new set of challenges for enterprises. As a result, we now have a number of device endpoints within an enterprise that require monitoring, managing, and specified permissions for access within the framework, calling for effective device onboarding and managing strategies.

Challenges in Enterprise Device Management

However, this also means that enterprises are now dependent on these device endpoints to execute some form of business functionality, or to receive feedback on business processes.

This brings us to the fundamental problem of tackling the challenges posed by enterprise device management. Typically, one of the following illustrated deployment architecture patterns handle device deployment:

Some important points considered by these deployments include:

  • Heterogeneous deployment architectures
  • Expansion of corporate (traditional) network boundaries
  • Network connectivity
  • Device functional accuracy determination
  • Rogue device detection
  • Identity and access management (device identity/ human operator identity)
  • Establishment of authorized access for device data/control
  • Firmware distribution and different device OS platforms
  • Asset tracking at manufacturing, QC, distribution, and installation phases
  • Heterogenous development architecture
  • Typical “difficult” devices placements such as remote locations, manholes, tunnels, etc.
  • Complicated wiring architecture
  • Communication modules

Integration Challenges in the Lifecycle of an Enterprise Device

Identifying and addressing integration problems during the various phases of a device’s lifecycle requires considerable effort as indicated by the diagram below:

Consequently, each stage in the lifestyle has its own set of integration requirements as outlined below:

Device Manufacturing Phase

  • Serial ID/ MAC address registration
  • Provisioning token/ certificate generation
  • Firmware burning to ROM

Quality Control / Checks

  • Temporary activation of provisioning token
  • Test operations/ controls
  • Wipe-offs/ factory reset

Ready for Sale / Warehouse

Sold to Customer

Delivered to Installation Site

Installation and Verification

  • Issuing temporary tickets for testing
  • Customer/ site assignment
  • Device activation (token/ digital twin)
  • Warranty activation

In-Production 

  • Device communication with IoT platform
  • IoT platform communication with device
  • Application <-> device interfaces
  • Token authorizations
  • Firmware management

Faulty / Maintenance/ Rogue

  • Device event processing and modeling
  • Deactivation requests
  • Service records/ maintenance mode switch

Device Discarded

Entgra’s Device Integration Platform

The Entgra IoT platform acts as a single platform where you can connect devices from different vendors, enabling you to build applications on top of these devices in a unified way. Given below is a high level view of our IoT platform architecture:

Our device integration platform has the added advantage of sharing the same common architecture, and therefore the same code base, as that of WSO2 technology.

Device integration with Entgra

On top of this IoT platform, we have also have built a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution that specifically targets managing traditional mobile devices such as kiosks and laptops, available as an off-the-shelf product.

Entgra Mobile Device Manager

The Entgra IoT Platform, therefore, offers a standardized set of APIs for simpler enterprise device onboarding, working equally well for standard mobile devices traditionally managed through MDMs as well as for IoT devices.

Your Enterprise Device Journey

This blog provides an overview of how you can manage different types of devices as standard API endpoints within your enterprise architecture to seamlessly onboard different types of devices into your business. Get in touch with us via contact@entgra.io to learn more about our IoT and MDM technologies.

References