IoT

Post-Pandemic Business Revival: Where Are We Headed?

Photo by Alec Favale on Unsplash

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to loom over us. With hopes of opening countries and returning to normalcy, we take one step forward, only to fall back two, with tightened masks. It surely will be a while before life as we once knew it can be restored.

Thrust with incertitude at all levels from economic subsistence, vocational hardship, healthcare exigencies, and the unpredictability of life in general, our core existential strategy for the last two years has primarily been inclined towards that of basic survival centered around us as individuals, our close-knit families and communities, and the associated temporal assets. The pandemic epiphany has brought about drastic changes in our lifestyles, calling us to revise our priorities with a new reality check in life. 

For business enterprises, this is bad news and has been so for the past two years. 

The Trending Story In Numbers

As with every historical industrial revolution, the effects of the pandemic will shape the economic trends for the future. Unsurprisingly, there will be an evident increase in remote working. A recent Gartner poll found that 48% of employees will likely work remotely at least part of the time after COVID-19 compared to 30% before the pandemic. Similarly, the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that more than 20% of the global workforce could work the majority of its time away from the office – and equally importantly, be just as effective. A consequent HR trend analysis by them indicates that 32% of organizations are replacing full time employees with contingent workers as a cost-saving measure. Prepped up for this, in a recent Gartner poll, 90% of HR leaders said employees would be allowed to work remotely even once COVID-19 vaccines are widely available.

As indicated by these statistics, we have embraced what worked well from the pandemic and are progressing forward retaining the lessons learned. There’s no going back now. Digitally enabled productivity gains have accelerated the Fourth Industrial Revolution powered by technology and defined by operational models that survived above the pandemic predicaments. 

Remote Working or the ability to Work From Anywhere (WFA) is clearly here to stay. So is the hybrid work model as has been discovered in a recent HR trend analysis by Gartner.

Accordingly, the most favorable operational model driving business transformations in the predictable future is that of the Hybrid Work model where employees interact with each other with a mix of distributed, co-located premises synchronously, and/or asynchronously.

Your employees are now empowered with the choice of how best productivity is accomplished – your job is to ensure they are sufficiently equipped to do so. 

Are We Ready? Fitting Device Strategy for Your Ecosystem

Managing a digital ecosystem of disparate devices on different platforms can be quite a challenge. Even more so are the conundrums involved with the smooth operation of digital systems whilst being caught unawares by the virus. It is therefore imperative that we make the most of what we have for continued existence of operations under the prevailing constraints.

In one of our recent undertakings, we set out to empower public field officers by helping them digitize their routine tasks. Whilst managing to effectively map the skill sets to devices and the appropriate technology during the project, we also analyzed and outlined how the government administrators in Sri Lanka can benefit from a centralized strategy to monitor and manage the devices deployed in the field. 

Ideally, a complete device strategy is woven around the business requirements of the enterprise, its device engagement criteria, product building, operational efficiency, scaling potential, and the extent of available technical support. Value creation from a long-term perspective and sustainability of device deployment with integration are vital aspects to be considered for a productive device strategy. 

With our varied Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, Entgra can help you formulate the most fitting strategy for your enterprise. Our recommendations precede a comprehensive analysis of your device specifications, their functionality and configurations, defined ownership and administrative policies, pre-work device check, monitoring and their distribution,  complete with a pilot run on device deployment in the field.  As part of our assistance in managing your ecosystem, we will also help you with App development, identity and access management (IAM) and storage options. 

Resilience and Agility: The Way Forward

Resilience, in enterprise terms, is a measure of your ability to swiftly adapt to disruptions while maintaining continuous business operations and safeguarding your employees, assets, and overall brand equity. Resilient organizations are better able to respond and correct their course quickly with changes. 

Faced with the adversities introduced by the pandemic, enterprises that are actively taking measures to optimally tackle the changes are positioned with a competitive edge to be able to progressively move forward retaining most of their strength in vying to make the most of the situation. 

Building a more responsive organization in terms of infrastructure and operational flow to increase agility and flexibility with room for flexing is therefore of utmost importance. This in turn translates into facilitating seamless workflows and remote working environments against a backdrop of changing and evolving technology usage, both by organizations and individuals. 

Entgra offers you a single platform for device integration with comprehensive endpoint management capabilities where you are able to expose devices as APIs securely with identity federation for managing human and device identities. Enabling custom integrations with broad built-in capabilities, and for developing end-to-end applications, our secure, customizable platform can manage all types of devices and applications. Complete with device and endpoint data analytics for systematic decision making, our IoT platform together with our Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions will enable you to remain resilient, relevant, and flexible to respond to present and future changes.

Get in touch with us to learn more about how we can help you.

References

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