Vanessa Kluge, 15.08.2023, 7 min.

Efficient Management of Connected Devices - The Key to IIoT Solutions

In this blog post, we will take an in-depth look at the concept of IoT device management and the benefits and challenges it brings.

In a globally connected world driven by innovation and technology, edge devices are essential to the realization of IIoT solutions. In today's Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) era, billions of devices are already connected, revolutionizing the way companies optimize processes, manufacture products and deliver services. However, this extensive connectivity also brings new challenges.

The key question is: How can companies efficiently manage the immense number and variety of their connected devices to realize the full potential of digital transformation? This is where IoT device management, also known as edge device management, comes in. It is the key tool for high-performance, uninterrupted and successful IIoT solutions and promises to help machine builders, component and device manufacturers pave the way to a smart and connected future.

What does edge device management mean and how does efficient IoT device management work in an industrial environment?

The concept of IoT device management, also known as edge device management, plays a crucial role in the efficient implementation and smooth operation of IIoT solutions. It refers to the management of connected IoT devices that are installed in machines, systems, components or appliances and have become an indispensable part of modern industry. But how exactly does this concept work and what benefits does it bring to manufacturers?

With billions of connected IoT devices worldwide, rapidly increasing in number and performance thanks to compact formats, the applications based on these devices are becoming increasingly intelligent. This enables seamless and interconnected processes, as well as the uninterrupted operation of advanced applications worldwide in often remote and harsh environments. However, this development comes at a price: due to the widespread use of highly modular and customized devices, maintaining and accessing them is becoming  increasingly costly and complex for machine manufacturers and system integrators.

To effectively address these challenges, specialized solutions are needed that enable simple, cost-effective and efficient management of IoT devices. This is exactly where edge device management solutions come in. They function as a control center for all relevant data and provide a central user interface. This enables IT teams to operate a high number of diverse devices in a secure and high-performance manner.

Efficient IoT device management in the industrial environment is sometimes the component that enables smooth and secure operation in the first place. It facilitates device onboarding, ensures quality of service and optimal functionality through 24/7 monitoring of IoT devices, and ensures protection against vulnerabilities the security of data and applications.


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What are the benefits of connectivity?

The networking of IoT devices offers a range of benefits that provide crucial support for machine builders and system integrators on their way to realizing IIoT solutions. These benefits range from security and flexibility to cost efficiency and improved service quality and customer satisfaction.


  • End-to-end encryption of applications for security and 100% uptime: One of the most important requirements for IoT devices is the security of transmitted data and 100% uptime of installed applications. Thanks to end-to-end encryption, any REST communication between machines, assets and IoT gateways is encrypted via Forward Secrecy (HTTPS - SSL/TLS 1.2, 2048 bit) to the edge device management, protecting confidential information from unauthorized access. In addition, the latest Internet standards are used to communicate with the cloud to prevent data theft.
  • Real-time 24/7 control of globally distributed device inventory: Globally distributed device inventory can be monitored in real time around the clock. A quick and comprehensive overview enables proactive and predictive action. This includes early detection of problems by monitoring CPU utilization, memory consumption or uptime, which in turn increases response speed and leads to reduced downtime.
  • Remote access right into the machine and customer network for location-independent immediate assistance and higher customer satisfaction: The possibility of direct remote access to machines and systems via connected devices is a major advantage in the industrial environment. Service technicians and field application engineers can diagnose problems from any location and fix them thanks to accelerated troubleshooting, reducing the need for on-site visits and saving time. This allows support depth to be deepened to the control level, resulting in better service and customer satisfaction.
  • Fast time-to-market increases competitiveness: machine manufacturers and system integrators can bring new products, services, and smart IIoT solutions to market faster through connected devices, increasing their competitiveness.
  • Reduced installation and maintenance efforts for installed hardware relieves employees and increases margins: Efficient device management can reduce the costs of installing and maintaining hardware, thus enabling continuous provisioning during ongoing operations. This reduces overall production costs, makes complexity more manageable for employees, and minimizes downtime.
  • Monetization of software licenses and custom applications: IoT device management enables machine manufacturers and system integrators to monetize custom applications and software licenses by selling them separately as digital services alongside hardware. This leads directly to an increase in machine sales and opens up new data-based business models and medium-term revenue streams.


What are the biggest challenges now?

As with all new developments, the challenges of managing IoT devices lie in a rapidly changing environment. Security requirements and the issue of cybersecurity are particularly in focus. There is some challenge for legislation to keep up with the rapid developments.

Current examples: EU Cyber Resilience Act and standardization on cyber security in industrial automation (IEC 62443). These measures are intended to improve the administration and implementation of secure standards and significantly increase the overall security of digital solutions. However, this also imposes requirements and obligations on IIoT solution providers that cannot be fully assessed at this time.

These include, but are not limited to, the following security-related issues:

  • Continuous testing of device firmware for security vulnerabilities.
  • Automated pen testing solutions and the creation of a transparent software bill of materials (SBOM) to identify and address potential vulnerabilities early on

KontronGrid - The All-in-One Solution for Efficient IoT Device Management

IoT device management is all about choosing the right solution. That's where KontronGrid comes in - an all-in-one solution designed specifically to address the challenges of growing device fleets and bring businesses into the age of modern IIoT solutions. It is a digital edge device management solution that combines device management, container management, remoting and remote maintenance with a secure operating system.

This allows individualized devices to be easily managed in the field in large numbers. From commissioning to care and maintenance, it provides not only the technology, but also the expertise needed to seamlessly integrate OT and IT. With this all-in-one solution that includes hardware, software and connectivity, thousands of IoT devices worldwide can be viewed and managed at a glance.

Edge Device Management, also collectively known as the KontronGrid IoT bundle, consists of the following four building blocks:

  • A powerful, scalable but also flexible hardware such as the KBox A-250 or the compact SOM module ix8 with an attractive price-performance ratio, each including tuned firmware and secure operating system. 
  • The five edge software services (device management, remoting, container management and VPN service),
  • An integrated connectivity layer in the form of a Docker container installed on the hardware
  • A user interface for managing the services in the cloud.

This combination creates a consistent solution that can be flexibly scaled to suit the application and enables easy and location-independent management of device fleets.

What sets KontronGrid apart from other solutions?

A high level of scalability and flexibility

KontronGrid is designed to manage a large number of distributed IoT devices easily and securely with few resources. Edge device management is extremely flexible and adapts to the individual requirements of a wide range of industries and use cases. This allows companies to easily scale their IoT solutions and sustainably optimize their IT and service processes. It is compatible with Docker Compose. Existing Docker can be integrated into KontronGrid with advanced configuration options. This ensures easy administration and significantly more design freedom.

Ready-made templates save time

KontronGrid offers pre-built templates that speed up the implementation process and reduce time-to-market. These pre-defined templates enable companies to implement rollout scenarios quickly and efficiently, allowing them to focus on their core competencies.

High interoperability between product variants

As the edge device management KontronGrid and the digitization solution EquipmentCloud® use the same technological basis, there is a high degree of interoperability between the product variants. In addition, IoT devices can also "take over" machine functionalities and thus benefit from the full range of functions of the EquipmentCloud® digitization solution. This includes, for example, an integrated ticket system, document management or a knowledge database. In combination with Device Management, customers can thus be offered additional digital services related to the device fleet.

Excellent container management & device management

In KontronGrid, the following functions, among others, are possible:

  • Manage Docker Containers
  • Deploy Docker containers to device fleets in the field
  • Encapsulate customer applications (images) into containers
  • Hardened operating system for X86 or ARM, based on Yocto Linux
  • Two redundant operating system partitions, 100% uptime
  • Provide secure management interfaces for updates and deployments
  • Short-notice updates in case of "critical" vulnerabilities 
  • Centralized management of desktop and remote accesses such as RDP & SSH accesses
  • Establishment of secure remote connections
  • Enabling and disabling temporary direct access to the machine and equipment network
  • Direct connection, "tunneling" between networks
  • Manage, monitor and log VPN connections

Ready to use

Integrating KontronGrid into existing or planned IoT solutions based on qualified Kontron hardware does not require a long training period: thanks to the intuitive user interface and the pre-installed, ready-to-use edge software services, edge device management is immediately ready for use. This allows machine manufacturers and system integrators to quickly benefit from the wide range of functions and advantages.

In depth know-how

Every IIoT solution is application-specific and individual. Kontron has extensive know-how and in-depth expertise in the sector of modified or customized hardware. The team has built up a considerable amount of expertise over the course of complex projects to develop individual solutions for customers' specific requirements.



Shaping the future of IIoT solutions with efficient IoT device management.

Intelligent IIoT solutions are no longer a vision of the future, but an inevitable step for companies to remain competitive. Efficient management of IoT devices is a key factor for success. The benefits of global connectivity, end-to-end encryption and real-time monitoring, enable greater flexibility and speed of response. The KontronGrid offers a comprehensive and suitable all-in-one solution that combines scalability, flexibility and easy integration of OT and IT. With KontronGrid, companies can master the challenges of digitalization and take their IIoT solutions to the next level.

Contact us if you want to monitor your distributed devices and sustainably scale your IIoT solutions to stay competitive!

About the author

Vanessa Kluge is a cloud and product enthusiast in the B2B sector and works for Kontron AIS GmbH as a product manager in the digitalization sector, where she is committed to digital transformation in mechanical and engineering. On the susietec® blog she writes about IoT trends, edge device management, digital service and data security.

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