Being able to securely access, control and manage IoT devices is a fundamental part of any IoT project. Here are a few real world IoT use cases. They illustrate how macchina.io customers have been able to improve the way they operate by building remote IoT device access into their business processes.
Managing Office Telephone Systems Remotely
Rachel owns a small company that sells office phone systems to small and medium corporate clients. Her clients typically don’t have their own IT department, so Rachel also provides service and support.
This type of office phone system consists of a central unit, also known as a PBX (Private Branch Exchange), and a number of telephone sets connected to the PBX over a network. The central unit is managed through a web application.
In order to make any changes to the phone system’s configuration (such as adding new phone numbers, setting up voicemail boxes, etc.), Rachel needs to open a web browser and connect to the central unit.
Remote Access with macchina.io REMOTE
Thanks to macchina.io REMOTE, Rachel does not need to drive to her customer’s sites in order to manage their phone systems. From the comfort of her office, Rachel can connect to each of her customer’s phone systems in a secure way.
If Rachel needs help to solve a particularly hard problem, she can ask the support staff from the phone system manufacturer for help, and give them temporary access to that particular system. A manufacturer’s support staff member can then also access that PBX remotely.
But what happens if Rachel wants to go on vacation? In that case, she can give temporary access to another expert to manage things while she is away. So she can enjoy a relaxing holiday, knowing her customers will be in good hands. And all this works without Rachel having to set up a VPN, or configure insecure port forwarding on her customer’s internet routers.
IoT for Renewable Energy
Janice is a technician maintaining large-scale photovoltaic plants. These plants are often located in remote areas. From time to time, they require some adjustments to the configuration of the power inverters.
Remote Access to Solar Power Inverters
The manufacturer of the power inverters provide secure remote access to them via macchina.io REMOTE. This allows Janice to quickly check the operation and performance of the inverters. She can also make changes to their configuration, if necessary, from the comfort of her home office.
Troubleshooting IoT Devices During Development
Chris is a developer at a company building Linux-based IoT devices. Chris wants to be able to login to a remote device that has been deployed in the field for diagnosis and troubleshooting purposes. This is especially important for the first versions of each new device software.
These devices are typically behind routers and firewalls and are not directly accessible from the internet. By setting up a macchina.io REMOTE server on AWS, and installing the macchina.io REMOTE agent on the device, Chris is able to log-in via SSH to the command-line interface of the device, or transfer files via SFTP. And since the device also has a web user interface for configuration and management, Chris can also access it remotely, and in a secure way.
Programming Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) Remotely
Jake is an automation engineer. He writes programs for programmable logic controllers (PLC), which are specialized computers controlling machinery and other equipment. These machines can be installed in a wide range of places, some of which are quite remote.
With macchina.io REMOTE, Jake can use the PLC manufacturer’s desktop application for programming a PLC from his home or office, and connect it directly to the remote PLC, as if the PLC would be right there with him.
This even works if the PLC manufacturer did not include direct support for macchina.io EDGE in its PLC. macchina.io REMOTE can be easily used with third-party devices (such as cellular routers) that do not support secure remote access themselves. This is achieved by setting up a macchina.io REMOTE server and installing the macchina.io REMOTE Gateway software on the LTE router that the remote PLC is connected to.
All this without the need to set up a complex VPN system, or exposing the PLC to the internet through port forwarding on the router, which would be a huge security issue.