Category Archives: ManageEngine

Sixth-sensors: The future of the Internet of Things and the connected business

IT departments will soon have to worry about IoT

IT departments will soon have to worry about IoT

An IT admin walks in to his cabin and instantly knows something is wrong. He does not even have to look at his dashboard to identify the problem. Instead, he heads straight to the server room to fix the server which is overheating because of a failed fan.

The IT admin does not have a sixth-sense. He is alerted to the problem by an internet-enabled thermostat in the server room which sensed the rise in temperature and automatically changed the lighting to alert the admin, through an internet-enabled lightbulb and his smart watch.

This is not the plot of a futuristic Sci-Fi movie. It is 2015 and just one example of how the Internet of Things (IoT) is already at work in business.

Smart living

Every few years, IT communities become awash with new buzzwords and trends that early adopters declare as the next big thing and sceptics decry as impractical and over-hyped. Over time, some fizzle out because of low industry acceptance, while others go on to really disrupt the industry.

From smart cars to watches and even homes, connected technologies are already changing consumer lives, fueling growing expectations and apprehensions. Last year, the government demonstrated its belief in the future potential of technology when it pledged to spend £45m to develop the IoT, more than doubling the funds available to the UK technology firms developing everyday devices that can communicate over the internet.

In the consumer market, IoT technology is already being lapped up. Within just a few months of its launch, Apple claimed 75% of the smartwatch market. As yet, self-driving cars are yet to take to Britain’s roadways. However, with prototypes already being pioneered and app developers racing to create everything from connected entertainment to automated piloting using GPS, when the infrastructure required to make smart cities a reality is sanctioned by local councils and city mayors, IoT could literally find itself in the driving seat.

Smart workplaces

Outside of very early prototype projects, currently, IoT does not rank highly on the enterprise agenda, which is typically a few years behind the general technology adoption cycle. However, in the not-too-distant future, smart-devices will be the norm – IDC estimates the market will be worth $8.9 Trillion by 2020, with 212 billion connected devices.

With the promise of enhanced business processes and intelligence, IoT is increasingly being touted as a holy amalgamation of big data, mobility and cloud technology. Despite this, in the short term at least, businesses will be reluctant to flow of sensitive data through such internet-enabled devices due to obvious security concerns. The exception is in the large businesses that have already explored the potential of machine-to-machine connectivity in their industries, such as automotive and insurance.

Where smart devices are catching up in day-to-day business is in an entirely different function of operations – facilities. What if your management decides to get internet-enabled LED bulbs and thermostats which connect to the internet? Will the IoT bring additional responsibilities on to the service desk? A definite yes.

Facilities need to be managed – and a tool to manage them. That’s just the start. For example, each bulb in a smart IoT connected environment must be monitored and checked to confirm they are working.

Assuming there are over 100 such appliances in an office environment, consider all the IP addresses that will need to be allocated. Likewise, a mesh network would also be required to control the IP address allocation, where one connected device would result in an ad-hoc network.

As previously non-IT facilities start to be connected to the internet, it will be the job of the IT team to make sure they’re working well. As the volume of devices connected to the network grows, securing it will be even more challenging.

Of course, organisations can get around the security challenge by having a local network dedicated only for these devices, but the management of this expanded estate would nonetheless require a dedicated management tool.

Where large organisations have already invested in machine-to-machine (M2M) interactions and deployed connected devices in their facilities, the purpose has typically been to achieve automation and gather more intelligence.

As yet, smaller businesses do not have to worry about automation and logistics at such large scales and it’s clear that the IoT is definitely not going transform their business operations overnight. However, before long, IoT will be something all IT departments should learn to manage – especially the new generation of IoT-connected devices which would traditionally have been classed and managed as non-IT assets.

Written by Pradyut Roy, product consultant, ManageEngine

ManageEngine Ships Private Social Network Exclusively for IT

ManageEngine today announced the general availability of ITPulse, a private social network built exclusively for IT teams. ITPulse engages and socializes IT teams by establishing a one-stop, cascading wall for real-time display of IT infrastructure health and collaboration in a secure and fun environment.

Today’s lean IT model forces IT teams to make decisions on the fly, forcing them to ditch the traditional email-based communication systems and adopt instant collaboration tools such as Facebook-type social networks. However, concerns about data security make IT reluctant to adopt social networks for official communication. To meet the unique communication needs of IT, ITPulse includes a Facebook-like wall for having discussions and sharing articles and videos in a private and restricted domain. Only users within the domain can access the wall, and the data shared are not leaked to the outside world.

“IT teams love ITPulse as it offers a common wall for both IT and IT management tools,” said Dev Anand, director of product management at ManageEngine. “Any alarm, event, report, overdue ticket, etc. created in the IT management tool is automatically posted on the wall. IT folks can pick them up from the wall in real time and start working on them straightaway.”

Anand added, “Apart from offering a social platform for real-time collaboration, ITPulse also acts as a secure communication channel during disasters such as a mail server outage. IT folks can discuss the issue and the troubleshooting steps on the wall from anywhere, anytime.”

IT Gets a Social Network of Its Own

ITPulse reflects the experience and expertise ManageEngine has developed in serving more than 60,000 customers representing more than one million IT users worldwide. The overarching goal of ITPulse is to improve the quality of information and communications for IT users. To that end, ManageEngine is making ITPulse available as both a standalone SaaS service as well as a module that will integrate with its portfolio of IT management tools, including

  • OpManager
    – User actions, such as alarm pickup, alarm clear, alarm delete and
    alarm notes, will be reflected automatically on the ITPulse wall.
  • ServiceDesk
    Plus
    – User actions, such as ‘add a knowledge-base article,’
    ‘add a problem request,’ ‘add a change request,’ and ‘approve a change
    request,’ will be posted on the ITPulse wall automatically.
    Additionally, users working from within the ITPulse UI will be able to
    initiate actions in ServiceDesk Plus.

The integrations, in turn, drive powerful automations that streamline IT collaboration in problem prevention and resolution. For example, if a network admin makes a change to a router config file, which is picked up by change management software and reported in OpManager as an alarm, the data gets posted on the ITPulse wall if someone acknowledges the alarm or adds notes to it — a much faster process than communicating via email or telephone.

ITPulse includes group-in-group support, which lets sub-teams within an IT team privately chat among themselves, keeping private discussions intact and posting only the key findings to the entire team.

In addition to ManageEngine users, the company is making ITPulse available to all IT community members regardless of the tools they use to manage their networks. The ITPulse API is open and publicly available, enabling integration with tools from BMC, CA, HP, IBM and other vendors, as well as with homegrown management solutions, such as a daily back-up script for a storage area network. The company is also making ManageEngine professional services available to provide technical support for third-party integrations.

Pricing and Availability

ITPulse is available immediately. In addition to the ITPulse Free Edition, which supports up to two users, ITPulse Professional Edition is $5 per user per month. The Professional Edition includes technical support via support@youritpulse.com. ITPulse is available at a discount for existing ManageEngine customers; this special offer can be accessed at http://ow.ly/chvJx.

Users can sign up for ITPulse at https://youritpulse.com/signup. User licenses are available via the ITPulse store at http://itpulse.myshopify.com/products/it-pulse-user-license and via direct sales at sales@youritpulse.com.

For more information on ITPulse, please visit http://youritpulse.com. For more information on ManageEngine, please visit http://www.manageengine.com; follow the company blog at http://blogs.manageengine.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ManageEngine and on Twitter at @ManageEngine.