Integrating Remote Device Management into Legacy Applications

2 MINUTE READ
Greg Jones | August 23, 2017

Many modern business applications are now collecting information from physical devices over remote networks. When everything is working well, the data flows easily from those devices to your application. However, it’s not always easy to establish this integration and even when you have – non-IT devices don’t always communicate the way enterprise applications expect. When challenges arise, how do you diagnose the problem? Is it the network? The device itself? Or something in between?

I’ve encountered many situations where I have faced an issue with a device not reporting as expected. It is always a challenge to diagnose the real problem. To address these issues, the MachineShop Edge Platform was architected to help application developers integrate monitoring and diagnostics capabilities into legacy applications and the overall business process.

Device vendors themselves really don’t focus on IT-friendly interfaces and tools. They are typically very good at hardware and embedded software, less so on integration and support tools. Some remote device management tools may provide API’s or similar interfaces to help with application development, but many of these were an afterthought. In many cases, the API’s expose only limited functionality.

MachineShop took a different approach.

Instead of bolting API’s onto our remote device management application (EdgeIQ), we architected everything from an API-first strategy. Our approach was to first develop the API’s necessary to develop our own application. Then we could focus on a world class user experience at both the application and developer levels. Every feature available on EdgeIQ can be integrated into any other application by using the appropriate RESTful API.

By providing a comprehensive set of RESTful API’s it’s easy for a developer to integrate elements of device management directly into an existing or new business process application. The API’s exposed by MachineShop provide simple JSON data structures that can easily be consumed by the application and directly integrated or displayed as needed.

Taking it even further, we have created a complete developers portal which details all the available services. Included are several “Getting Started” guides as well as the ability to execute API’s directly in our developer portal. Developers can see actual results in real time.

To facilitate the various elements of remote device management, the MachineShop Edge platform includes a wide variety of remote device management features including:

· Programmable Monitoring Heartbeats - allows you to monitor for continuous operation

· Remote Upload of Diagnostic Logs - Scan or push to your favorite log analysis toolkits for evaluation

· Software and Firmware Updates - Manage software versions and seamlessly load individual units or groups

· Downloadable Configurations - Update device configurations remotely and receive positive confirmation of execution

· Changed Status Reporting - Any changes to the configuration or operational errors can be automatically pushed as a parsed JSON message – subscribing is also available

To access any of these elements from a host running MachineShop Edge, it’s as simple as making a RESTful API call. 

Topics: IoT, Device Management, edge intelligence, edge computing