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IoT Deployment: 5 Challenges and Best Practices

The term IoT refers to the network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings, and other objects that are embedded with sensors, software, and connectivity, enabling them to collect and exchange data. These connected devices use the internet to communicate with one another and with other systems, allowing them to perform a variety of tasks and functions automatically.

IoT systems typically follow a three-step operational process:

  1. Sensors and other types of hardware are installed on physical objects, such as machines, appliances, vehicles, and buildings. These devices are equipped with sensors that can collect data about their surroundings, as well as processors and communication capabilities that allow them to send and receive data over the internet.
  2. Data collected by the sensors is transmitted to a central server or cloud-based platform via the internet. This data is then processed and analyzed by software applications or algorithms, which can use it to trigger certain actions or send alerts.
  3. Processed data is then made available to users or other systems through a variety of interfaces, such as web portals, mobile apps, or APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). This allows users to access the data and use it to make decisions, control systems, or perform other tasks.

Connected devices can also communicate with one another directly, without the need for central servers or intermediaries. This allows for decentralized, distributed systems that can operate independently or in conjunction with other systems.

IoT deployment is the process of building an IoT ecosystem for an organization, industry, or community. It involves deployment of physical devices, deployment of operational software to those devices, and often also deployment of cloud-based services to manage those devices.

In this article, I’ll review key challenges of the IoT deployment process and some suggestions on how to solve them.

1. Compatibility and Integration

Vendors such as Amazon (AWS IoT), Google (Brillo), and Microsoft (Azure IoT) provide IoT platforms, each with its own protocols and interfaces. This makes it difficult for these solutions to work seamlessly together. There is a growing need to maintain integration between IoT systems.

Device connectivity, networking and data exchange are integral parts of the IoT. Therefore, all IoT vendors must prepare for network integration from the start. Here are three compatibility and integration guidelines to follow as you adapt to an IoT environment:

  • Establishing open standards and promoting transparency requires building systems within a common framework.
  • Software based technologies are preferred when building IoT devices, rather than hardware-based technologies. This will allow you to adjust systems along the way and adapt them to changing customer requirements.
  • Open source messaging protocols are critical for efficient data transfer between devices.

2. Device Identification and Authentication

There are over 46 billion IoT devices deployed each year around the world. Too many devices is a recipe for security risk and complexity. This raises the need for strong authentication and device identification.

IoT device authentication ensures connected devices can be trusted to communicate securely with other devices and backend infrastructure. Therefore, each IoT device needs a unique ID to connect to a gateway or central server. This allows IT and system administrators to track each device throughout its lifecycle, communicate securely, and prevent harmful behavior.

3. Device Connectivity

A loss of Internet connectivity can make many IoT devices unusable. This is a serious problem given that devices are often remote and integrated into critical services. Connection issues can be caused by network issues, hardware failures, or dead batteries. To solve this problem, you need routers and tools that can detect when a device is disconnecting from the network and either troubleshoot or proactively warn operations teams.

Improving device processing power and setting up network redundancy can reduce the problem. Additionally, some workloads can be offloaded to the network perimeter with edge data centers. Moving processing or storage to the edge reduces network latency and allows equipment to continue operating in the event of a data center failure.

4. Security

Rapid growth in IoT development and adoption has made IoT a prime target for cyberattacks. Attacks can be unpredictable and difficult to prevent. One example is the Windows SMB vulnerability, which was used in over 445 million attacks against IoT devices. This vulnerability allows attackers to easily hijack devices to create botnets or steal valuable customer data.

To ensure security, IoT devices must be hardened. This means using protection tools to filter, check and monitor traffic. Make sure both firmware and software are up to date. Data must be encrypted and transmitted using a secure channel.

5. IoT Device Management

Managing IoT devices is another challenge. After setting up an IoT deployment, you should regularly monitor device health and other parameters. Effective IoT device management is critical for proper functioning of the entire IoT environment, but in practice it is difficult to achieve.

Maintaining a large number of devices across an organization is difficult. This is especially true considering that an IoT architecture can include sensors, actuators, gateways, smart devices, data centers, and cloud systems—making it almost impossible to centrally manage.

To effectively manage an IoT deployment, organizations need:

  • Device management software that integrates with all its devices and integrated services.
  • Central dashboards that enable proactive monitoring of device health and provide real-time status updates on fleet health.


In conclusion, deploying an IoT system can be a complex and challenging process, but it can also bring significant benefits in terms of automation, efficiency, and data-driven decision making. 

To ensure a successful deployment, it’s important to carefully plan and prepare for the various challenges that may arise, including issues related to compatibility and integration, device identification and authentication, connectivity, security, and device management. By following best practices and addressing these challenges effectively, organizations can realize the full potential of their IoT systems and drive business value through the power of connected devices.

Author’s Bio:

Gilad David Maayan is a technology writer who has worked with over 150 technology companies including SAP, Samsung NEXT, NetApp and Imperva, producing technical and thought leadership content that elucidates technical solutions for developers and IT leadership.

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