Friday, August 19, 2016

Managing and Monitoring Devices using Mission Control

RoboMQ Mission Control provides all the features you need for monitoring, controlling and managing your Internet of Things(IoT) devices. Since it is Internet of Things, it includes all your things- devices, sensors, gateways and even systems and applications.

RoboMQ Mission Control is essentially a device manager which allows you to monitor and control the full life cycle of IoT devices - including bootstrapping, registration, security & Role Based Access Control(RBAC), health checks, scheduled and on-demand diagnostics, alerts & notifications, firmware upgrades and even remote wipe off - all from a single control panel with a few clicks. Once the device manager client is setup on the device, your work is done! Never worry about checking device health anymore as Mission Control will monitor all the things you care about and you will get notified if and when anythings goes wrong. Controlling a group of devices is as simple as pressing the button and the device manager will fire a command to the group and execute it on all its members.

Considering the following use case:

“You are running a retail store. Several motion sensors are installed covering the whole shop to collect information about the customer traffic flow. By analyzing the data collected by these sensors, you get a good idea about how many people are entering the store, which entrances they are using, and what items get the most attention. This information significantly helps to decide how to organize items and where to place the  promotions.”

Its all good ….But how can you make sure that all the sensors are working properly? What to do when there’s a software update needed on the sensors? What if you want to change the settings on the sensors? How do you add new sensors to the existing infrastructure? Having a maintenance team manually complete these tasks on each device is one painfully slow and costly option even if you have a dozen devices. What if you have hundreds or thousands of devices…. its nearly impossible to manage them. What about security, registration and device wipe off in case of security compromise?

Now let’s see how these problems are solved by RoboMQ Mission Control

Devices using RoboMQ are shipped pre-installed with the Mission Control device manager clients. This means they are ready to work right out of the box. As soon as they are turned on for the first time, devices will register themselves and become part of your trusted device network after completing the Authentication, Authorization and Auditing (AAA) process. Think of it like turning on your cell phone and how it registers with the carrier network. Once RoboMQ Device manager validates the identity and the ownership, the device will show up on Mission Control Dashboard. Optionally, a device registration email/SMS notification or a custom business process can be executed when the devices activates on your IoT device network for the first time.

Fig 1: Active devices on your IoT network


Only authorized users are allowed to access the dashboard and view status of devices. On the control panel, you can configure a set of pre-defined or custom health checks and monitors to run on your devices or a subset (or sub-network) of your IoT Devices. Scheduled checks and commands are automatically issued to a specific group of devices at a pre-defined interval to monitor devices’ health and operating state.


Fig 2: Heartbeat and memory check running on set of devices 

Let’s say we want to keep the memory usage on device lower than 60% to ensure that the device always has enough resource to handle events of motion detection. A simple memory check command can be configured to check device every 5 seconds. If a device’s memory usage is higher than 60%, a ticket could be created and an alert email/SMS could be sent to maintenance team. You can optionally define your own handlers to react to such events. Once the memory usage settles back to less than 60%, Mission Control will mark the ticket as “resolved” and send a confirmation email/SMS to maintenance team.

Similarly a heartbeat check makes sure that the IoT devices is up and running and can take action upon the device re-joining the network or exiting the network. 



Fig 3: Detailed diagnostics information of memory check


You are not limited to running pre-defined check. You can actually interrogate the devices in your network. Lets assume one of the devices becomes faulty and you need to collect detailed information, not earlier thought of, to be collected. You could simply ask the device to download a check from a trusted location, execute it and the diagnostics will be available to you on the Mission Control console.

Special commands and actions can be issued with just a single click. For example, after business hours, staff can shutdown devices by pressing a shutdown button and issuing a “power off” command. 

RoboMQ Mission Control allows software upgrade of the firmware, device operating system as well as the software code. When a software update is available, maintenance team can issue a “update” command for the devices to update their software automatically.

In addition, RoboMQ device manager, Mission Control has the capability to take corrective actions if the device goes rouge, gets compromised or is in physical possession of some untrusted party. From the device manager console, you could remove the device from the trusted network. Upon taking this action, the device is reset back to factory mode and it has to go back through initial registration process, which in this case will be denied. You may optionally execute a remote wipe-off on the device much like you could wipe off a iPhone if it is lost or stolen.

This one single platform with a very simple dashboard, allows you full control of your devices. Monitoring health, collecting data and executing commands could not have been easier. Sounds exciting? Want to give it a try? Reach out to us at sales@robomq.io or sign up for a free trial on our website.

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