IoT continues to expand exponentially, begging the question: how can we manage a growing web of smart devices – ensuring their health, connectivity and security?

In our view, only an openstandards-based IoT device management system is powerful enough to unlock IoT’s full potential. To explain why, let’s take a look at the benefits and limitations of closed systems, app-specific device systems and standards-based device management.

Closed Systems

Many consumer devices are sold as part of a completely closed vertically siloed system. The components of these systems all work seamlessly together. Problems only arise if the consumer wants to switch to a different application vendor. For example, if a consumer bought a smart door lock from a specific vendor who provided a monitoring application, and the consumer decided to switch to a new application vendor, that same consumer may be stuck buying a new smart door lock to integrate with the new application.

App-specific Device System

Another way to organize the management model is to create a semi-closed device vendor ecosystem. An example of this would be the Samsung SmartThings automation service. With this service, a group of vendors is certified for compatibility by Samsung allowing a consumer to buy devices from a mix of certified vendors. Although better than the closed system option, obstacles remain if the consumer can’t use his/her existing devices with a different provider’s service.

Standards-Based Device Management

The best system for IoT device management creates a standardized process with no connection to a specific application layer. In this scenario, when a consumer buys a device, the device identity would be associated with the consumer’s own IoT gateway. When the consumer signs up for an application layer, like a home automation service, the application layer would then be able to discover all the relevant devices associated with the consumer’s identity. Only this model allows the consumer to add automation systems to one another without replacing any of their existing devices.