IoT devices are computerized appliances that are deployed in industry or in the home. Commercial users of IoT devices in particular need to monitor their IoT assets constantly to make sure that they are functioning at optimum performance.
One of the most prolific types of IoT devices in use today is the security camera. Ironically, a major vulnerability of these cameras is that they might be stolen or broken – you need security for your security cameras. Having devices that can work by themselves is a great time saver because you can leave them to the task that they were designed for. However, remotely located, unmanned devices still need to be monitored and the best way to do that is to deploy an automated monitoring tool.
Here is our list of the seven best IoT monitoring tools:
- Splunk Industrial for IoT EDITOR’S CHOICE This IoT monitoring system is produced by a world-leading network monitor producer. It includes a great interface that features graphical data interpretations that make the root causes of device problems easy to spot.
- Datadog IoT Monitoring A comprehensive IoT device monitor that covers performance and security issues.
- Senseye PdM This is a favorite of big manufacturing organizations that have large IoT device fleets because it cuts downtime and maintenance costs.
- SkySpark This tool has a great dashboard that identifies and illustrates problems with ease.
- TeamViewer IoT A secure remote monitoring and management tool for IoT devices with a great interface and a scripting interface for process automation.
- Domotz With this monitoring tool, users are able to control and monitor a diverse inventory of IoT device types from one dashboard.
- AWS IoT Device Management A cloud-based IoT monitoring and management system provided by Amazon Web Services.
Remote monitoring tools
Businesses that have desktops, servers, and other computerized equipment know that they need to monitor the performance of those devices and the network that connects them. There are many types of monitoring, which include security system, performance, and usage monitoring.
IoT devices are no different from desktops. They have a specific capacity and they need to be checked in order to ensure they work at their peak performance to get the maximum value out of them. It isn’t practical or economical to employ a team to constantly watch the system consoles that all IoT services come with, so getting an automated monitoring tool is a good, practical option.
An automated monitoring tool sets performance expectations and raises an alarm when one of a device’s statuses crosses that line. That service means that there is no need for the tech team to watch over IoT devices all of the time. Performance thresholds are usually set at a level that allows time for a potential problem to be dealt with before it becomes critical. So, support staff can focus on other tasks and only address problems with the IoT devices when an alarm is raised.
The strategy of letting a monitoring tool do all of the work of watching equipment performance has been very successful for IT departments that manage office networks. The same strategy works just as well for IoT devices.
IoT device monitoring issues
The key characteristic of an IoT device is that it has an onboard processor and is connected to the Internet. Whether your IoT devices are connected to your own private network or directly connected to the Internet, they can be contacted. You don’t need to visit each piece of equipment to update its firmware because that job is performed automatically by the manufacturer over the Internet.
There are some serious problems to address with Internet-connected devices. Any piece of equipment that the owner or manufacturer can alter through remote commands is vulnerable to hackers. The system admin user name and passwords for these devices are usually created as a default by the manufacturer when the firmware is loaded and the same credentials are used by all units produced by each manufacturer.
The owners of IoT devices need to pay attention to their security and the first task that needs to be performed is to change the password on the administrator account for each device. Again, creating one standard password for each device creates a security weakness – if a hacker guesses that one password, your entire network of devices is compromised. If you manage thousands of IoT devices, thinking up a different password and remembering all of them is a very difficult task. Once again, this is a job that needs an automated tool. IoT device monitoring and management systems organize the security of devices while overseeing their health.
Investing in IoT monitoring tools
The market for IoT monitoring and management tools isn’t as well developed as the field of network monitoring systems. A lot of IoT device owners rely on the free monitoring tools that are distributed by the manufacturers of the devices.
Manufacturers of IoT devices aren’t that interested in the monitoring software that they produce. They see those tools as a marketing incentive and not an income stream, so they tend to be poorly designed with low-quality interfaces. These manufacturer-supplied IoT monitoring tools are difficult to use and don’t have many features.
If you know that there is a free monitoring tool that comes with a device, you might be reluctant to pay for a professionally produced monitoring tool from a specialist software house. However, many very high-quality IoT monitoring tools are free to use, while others cost very little compared to the advantages and cost savings they bring.
IoT devices are supposed to save time and money but they jeopardize the success of your business if they keep going wrong. Often, the reason for their malfunction isn’t that they were poorly built but because they have the wrong settings or because they are overloaded. A good IoT device monitoring tool can ensure that your IoT infrastructure keeps working all of the time. Therefore, it is worth spending a little money to get the right system monitor.
The best IoT monitoring tools
There are many IoT device monitoring tools available now. However, not many of them are any good. You can spend a lot of time and money investigating these tools and still not find one that works properly.
The key problem you will face is that you probably just don’t know where to look or what attributes to prioritize. This is why we wrote this guide. We have searched the market for the best IoT device monitoring tools and narrowed down the candidates to the top seven.
Splunk is a network data analysis tool that provides monitoring services by operating on live data. The system monitors networks and the core version is free to use. The tool also has a higher-level version that includes more sophisticated components. That is called Splunk Enterprise and it has a fee.
Splunk Industrial for IoT was released in 2018. It is an adaptation of Splunk Enterprise and, therefore, is not free to use. As well as including the network monitoring capabilities of Splunk Enterprise, this system deploys the Splunk Machine Learning Toolkit and Splunk Industrial Asset Intelligence (IAI).
The base Splunk Enterprise monitors the statuses of IoT devices and alerts staff to rising problems. The Machine Learning Toolkit produces predictions on downtime and recommendations on preventative maintenance. IAI monitors regular communications between devices and controllers and looks out for anomalous instructions that would indicate hacker intrusion and possible device takeover.
Splunk Industrial for IoT is available for a 60-day free trial as part of Splunk Enterprise.
Splunk Industrial for IoT is our top choice for IoT device monitoring. It sets performance thresholds that automatically monitor device health, freeing up support staff for other tasks. Communication channels to IoT devices are scanned for hacker activity and special AI-based routines predict the need for preventative maintenance.
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Datadog is a cloud-based infrastructure monitoring suite and it has specialized processes for IoT device monitoring. The processors and dashboard for the service are hosted on the Datadog servers but an agent program gets installed on each IoT device.
The onboard monitoring agent is able to gather statistics and maintain a two-way communication channel with the Datadog servers. All transmissions are secured to block out hackers and the agent enables security on each device to be hardened by enabling all of a fleet’s admin passwords to be changed, each having a unique, uncrackable string. Not all IoT device firmware is able to carry the agent. In those cases, Datadog is able to collect data through firmware APIs.
The Datadog service uses performance alert thresholds to monitor more than 100 statuses simultaneously. The system also pays attention to configuration hardening and protection and performs security monitoring.
PdM stands for “predictive maintenance” and Senseye PdM is all about monitoring shop floor robots to make sure they don’t break down. This IoT device monitoring tool is specifically tailored towards industrial equipment and uses AI techniques to predict when preventative maintenance will be needed.
The PdM tool offers a window in which maintenance should be performed, offering the factory management team to schedule downtime outside of critical productional hours.
This system is cloud-based so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world. That allows HQ staff to manage production sites all over the world from one central location.
SkySpark’s monitoring system collects all possible data available on smart devices and sifts through it for the pertinent metrics that indicate performance, capacity, and utilization.
The problem with many smart device firmware systems isn’t that they don’t have mechanisms for performance data creation but that they sometimes produce an overwhelming amount of statistics. Being able to spot important information is a specialist task that is programmed into the SkySpark system.
The SkySpark system is cloud-based, so it can be accessed from anywhere. The dashboard offers insights into capacity utilization, identifying where the workload is unevenly distributed. It offers the opportunity to spot process bottlenecks and reroute tasks to get the maximum return on investment out of IoT devices.
The analytical functions in SkySpark examine the settings of each device, working out whether the equipment is tuned correctly for its purpose. This creates more opportunities to squeeze value for money out of IoT investments.
The SkySpark IoT monitor keeps an eye on the behavior and performance of all devices in an organization no matter where they are located. An alerting system draws attention to arising problems in time to enable the device to be fixed. A demand analysis procedure also advises on the best time to perform preventative maintenance in order to keep all devices operating when needed.
TeamViewer is best known for its teleconferencing and remote access products. However, the company also produces remote device monitoring software and it covers the management of IoT devices as well.
TeamViewer IoT is a cloud-based system, so it allows IoT devices anywhere in the world to be monitored and managed from one central location. As a renowned producer of teleconferencing services, TeamViewer was also able to integrate collaboration facilities into its monitoring tool. This makes it very easy for an HQ production engineer to work together with a local production manager to improve IoT device performance. The remote manager is even able to operate IoT devices through the TeamViewer service.
The TeamViewer IoT monitoring tool isn’t limited to the management of industrial robots. It is also able to monitor AV devices and security systems. All communication is secured with encryption and services while the IoT management system enables the hardening of security for each device.
TeamViewer IoT is available for free to monitor two IoT devices.
Domotz is a cloud-based IoT device monitoring and management system with an astonishingly long list of capabilities. This tool is charged for on a subscription basis with a low rate per month per site, so it is a great option for businesses of all sizes. It even applies to very small businesses that get the full list of services for a very small fee to cover just one site.
All connections between monitored devices and the Domotz server are protected by encryption as is the connection from the user to the console software. The dashboard for Domotz can be accessed through any web browser from any location.
The system will draw a topology map of your IoT network and there is no limit to the number of devices on a site that can be included in the service for one flat fee. Capabilities of the service include power supply management, security camera ONVIF integration, and intruder alert inclusion.
Monitoring services in the Domotz package include bandwidth analysis, device health alerts, switch port mapping, device latency monitoring, network switch traffic monitoring, VLAN support, SNMP service monitoring, and TCP monitoring.
Security services integrated into Domotz include VPN on-demand, and perimeter network security scans.
The Domotz system includes ticketing integrations and the ability to interface with PSA services, making it a great choice for managed service providers. The single charge per site and WAN connectivity monitoring also make Domotz a good option for multi-site businesses that want to centralize their technical expertise in one location.
Domotz doesn’t require a contract and is paid for month-to-month. The Domotz IoT monitoring service is available for a 21-day free trial.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a giant in cloud computing, offering many system management tools as well as remote service space. AWS IoT Device Monitoring is one of the specialized modules in the Amazon family of cloud services.
As a cloud-based service, AWS IoT Device Management is accessible from anywhere through a web browser and it can manage devices anywhere in the world. The tool is very easy to set up and use thanks to wizards for just about every task.
Devices can be registered and managed in bulk or individually and the system manager can create groups of devices to perform standard automated tasks simultaneously on all similar devices without having to repeat each command.
The service can manage patches and updates, roll out configuration changes, and manage passwords for all devices. Connections to devices are protected by encryption and there is also a VPN option for full privacy. A log collection service enables the IoT devices to be included in a business-wide SIEM system. The system includes a module called AWS IoT Device Defender, which monitors performance and behavior to maintain availability and spot possible hacker activity.
Monitor IoT devices
IoT devices are valuable assets and their activities can really enhance the profitability of your organization. However, if you aren’t monitoring those IoT devices, you are not getting the best value for money out of them and you risk an IoT failure bringing your business to a standstill.
IoT device monitoring is an essential part of business management. There are some excellent IoT device monitoring tools available right now and the ones listed in this guide are certainly worth a try.