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Unified Management Platform for IoT

InterComms talks to Dr. Andrew JE Tiedeman, CEO, Infosim® Inc. about Infosim® StableNet® and the unified management of Internet of Things

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Dr. Andrew JE Tiedeman, CEO, Infosim® US
Dr. Andrew JE Tiedeman,
CEO, Infosim® US

Dr. Andrew JE Tiedeman is a seasoned executive with over 20 years of experience in IT space of the payment industry. He is highly respected and known for implementing strategies resulting in growth in new and existing markets while maintaining strong relationships and high integrity. He joined the Austin-based team in June 2016, where he will lead the expansion of the Infosim® footprint throughout the Americas.

Q: Probably no topic ever before has caused people to talk in such superlatives as the Internet of Things. Various renowned marketing analysts agree that IoT will involve billions (1,000,000,000s) of devices leading to trillions (1,000,000,000,000s) of dollars economic value. Nonetheless, history has often shown before that not all topics being hyped a lot while evolving, actually turn out to really have the impact that was expected once when it comes to implementation. As the CEO of a company directly related to communication networks, what are your observations? Do you see movements towards IoT at your customers already today?
A: I believe I know many of the studies you are talking about, and yes: I agree that the potential of IoT and the possible changes it incorporates into our daily work and private life are fascinating. Just think about the different “Smarts” as in: Smart Home, Smart City, Smart Energy, Smart Health, etc., or the influence on Industry 4.0 also referred to as Smart Industrial Manufacturing.

We see IoT at our customers in several unique ways. We have already been dealing with “IoT” environments long before this was actually called IoT, therefore we have seen a number of IoT innovations. Consequently, we are continuously involved in several IoT activities and projects.

Furthermore, in order to get a broader understanding of what influences the current IoT trends have on companies, we have co-sponsored EMA’s new report “Network Management Megatrends 2016: Managing Networks in the Era of the Internet of Things, Hybrid Clouds, and Advanced Network Analytics”. The results support our own observations on the relevance of IoT.

Fully virtualised core solution (vCore) Proof of Concept in our NFV lab (click image to enlarge)

click image to enlarge

Q: According to what you just said, your company seems to be one of the IoT pioneers. Could you maybe provide an example and elaborate on this a bit more precisely?
A: It would be to bold to call us one of the IoT pioneers as the rise of what is now called IoT definitely involves a lot of new technologies and concepts and the work of many different parties.

However, our position in such environments definitely plays a key role: unified network and services management. One particular customer I would like to highlight is a large Pan-European retailer with several thousand stores. In this particular case, the requirement was not only to manage the traditional network and server infrastructure but to also extend the reach to IoT devices: refrigerated multideck cabinets, reverse vending machines, POS terminals, etc. The complexity to manage such elaborate environments demands the availability of a well-integrated solution to cover all aspects of monitoring, fault management and configuration. The unified management platform which we offer with StableNet® provides exactly that.

We have already been dealing with “IoT” environments long before this was actually called IoT, therefore we have seen a number of IoT innovations.

StableNet® allows the combination of discovery and monitoring data with an automated correlation of events to ease fault management. It enables configuration and provisioning to interact directly with the system and therefore to model the business processes of the customer. We conducted the initial installation at the retailer several years ago and since then have been continuously extending it to include new components in support of the customer’s constantly evolving workflows.

Q: You mentioned the Network Management Megatrends report 2016 of the EMA. Could you provide some more insights on what you have learned from that report?
A: Obviously, I cannot share any detailed results of the report, which is available from EMA directly. However, I will pick out some of the key points that Shamus McGillicuddy, Senior Analyst EMA, had concluded as a guest speaker during one of our recent Infosim® Global Webinar Days. These points pretty much correspond to our own observations regarding IoT:

  • IoT is a new term, not a new concept.
  • Most enterprises are already involved in IoT.
  • The network team usually leads planning and implementation.
  • IoT device management, monitoring, security, standardization is challenging.
  • Enterprises are adopting new security controls, management systems, and growing their networks to support IoT.

As Shamus also further elaborated during the Webinar, the findings actually underline the need for a unified management approach that helps network teams to face the challenges of IoT device management, monitoring, etc.

The complexity to manage such elaborate environments demands the availability of a well-integrated solution to cover all aspects of monitoring, fault management, and configuration. The unified management platform which we offer with StableNet® provides exactly that.

Q: We understand that, as you elaborated, an adequate management solution is key to handle the new complexity arising with IoT. However, another challenge in this rapidly growing IoT environment is the lack of a clear standard for the communication with the different devices. How do you handle all the different protocols and technologies that are used in the IoT space?
A: Obviously, the complexity differs highly from case to case. The StableNet® architecture is very flexible and offers various APIs, protocols and scripting libraries for the integration in the customer-specific environment. This reaches from traditional protocols like SNMP or WMI, to web-based interfaces like SOAP or REST up to arbitrarily customizable, yet intuitive scripts that allow for the integration of basically any structured source of information. StableNet® is not only very flexible but also highly scalable. This is reached by a three-tier architecture consisting of a centralized server and database as well as distributed agents. In the IoT context, especially the possibility of running agents on Embedded Hardware, such as ARM-based devices, further increase the flexibility and in addition are very cost-efficient. For instance, the StableNet® Embedded Agent is a ready ARM-based plug&play appliance that can be obtained from us and eases the way to IoT. Our StableNet® interfaces have been designed in alignment to industry standards and can therefore also easily be mapped, e.g. to TM Forum assets. At this year’s TM Forum Live! in Nice, we showed this exemplarily for parts of the TM Forum Performance and Ticketing APIs as a participant of the Catalyst “Smart Industrial Manufacturing: Robots-as-a-Service”. The straight-forward alignment to the TM Forum’s APIs allowed for a quick integration with the other Catalyst participants and helped us to showcase a fully functional “rapid-fire prototype” as TM Forum have called it. We are proud that our work was honored with the “Best New Catalyst” award.

Q: You have shown us that Infosim® already has many years of experience in the IoT area and offers a flexible solution. What is your vision of IoT for the future?
A: In the near future, IoT will look completely different than it does today. The IoT market is in constant flux. New players, with new business models, approaches, and solutions, can appear out of nowhere and overtake incumbents. But business remains the key market. Despite the current hype about wearables and connected homes, the real value and immediate market for IoT is with businesses and enterprises. As such, IoT will also be a key driver in our future development.

About Infosim® StableNet®
StableNet® is available in two versions: Telco (for Telecom Operators and ISPs) and Enterprise (for IT and Managed Service Providers).
StableNet® is a 3rd generation highly automated Network Management System. The key differentiation of StableNet® to other legacy type Operational Support Systems (OSS) is that StableNet® is a unified OSS system with three integrated functionalities that focus on Configuration, Fault, and Performance Management, with automated Root Cause Analysis (RCA). StableNet® can be deployed on a Multi-Tenant, Multi-Customer, or dedicated platform and can be operated in a highly dynamic flex-compute environment.

Infosim logoFor further information on Infosim® products and services, please visit: www.infosim.net

 

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