IoT monitoring tools come in many shapes and sizes, designed to fulfill a wide variety of tasks. In this article, we will present some of the best options available and hope to help you choose the best one for your needs. Frequently asked questions about IoT Monitoring The best IoT Monitoring Tools The Internet of Things (IoT) is the name given to the vast network of devices connected to the Internet, from simple intrusion alarms and temperature sensors to complex consumer electronics like smart TVs and self-driving vehicles. From about 9.76 billion connected devices in 2020, this network is estimated to triple in size in the next few years, reaching more than 29 billion devices in 2030. These devices need to be constantly maintained, monitored, and updated. Any interruption in their functioning could result in wide-ranging implications, including the disruption of crucial industrial processes and even threats to human safety. This makes IoT monitoring tools increasingly important. They will not only help you ensure that your devices are operating correctly, but can also extract information from the data shared by them, which could be used to increase the performance of your IoT infrastructure or even generate new business insights. Frequently Asked Questions About IoT Monitoring What are IoT Monitoring Tools? An IoT Monitoring Tool is the name given to any kind of tool capable of interacting with devices connected to the Internet of Things. These can be as simple as a remote temperature sensor in a warehouse to a gateway concentrating messages for thousands of sensors. While some tools may be simple status monitors, showing whether a device is online or not, others may combine monitoring features with management tools (like update management) and intelligence features to analyze data collected by your sensors and extract valuable insights for your business. With such enormous scope, it is impossible to find a single tool that does "absolutely everything". Thus, the first step for selecting the "perfect" one for the job is to define your needs. From there, you can check our list below for pointers in the right direction. Why Should You Invest in IoT Monitoring? There are many reasons to invest in IoT Monitoring. Here are five of them, in no particular order. Performance optimization: continuous monitoring can help you pinpoint issues and identify optimization opportunities that will improve your IoT infrastructure's performance, sometimes without the need for hardware upgrades. Security: monitoring allows you to spot signs of uncommon behavior or usage patterns indicative of an intrusion attempt or ongoing attack. This will give you time to react and deploy countermeasures before a data breach occurs. Resource allocation: find out where resources are being underutilized or overutilized, allowing you to redistribute them according to real needs to ensure the most effective usage of your systems. Proactive maintenance: monitoring allows you to detect and fix potential issues before they become critical and result in outages that may affect the performance of your applications or even the profitability of your business. Regulatory compliance: businesses that handle sensitive information, like financial or healthcare data, need to meet strict regulatory standards that specify how this information is stored and handled. Monitoring will allow you to prove compliance with these standards and secure approvals that may be crucial to keep your business running. What to Look for When Choosing IoT Monitoring Tools? Broadly speaking, there are 5 main features you need to look out for when choosing IoT Monitoring Tools. Keep in mind that this may vary according to your specific needs. The capability to monitor many aspects of your IoT Infrastructure, like device health, availability, and data, at once. A centralized display of information from many sensors for better observability. Customizable alerts and automated notifications when alerts are triggered. Native and automated reporting features, so you can keep co-workers and management "in the loop". A free trial period, so you can attest to how the tool works with your network infrastructure. How to do IoT Monitoring? There are many IoT monitoring tools, from as many different vendors, which may focus solely on a single aspect of the task or offer this capability as a subset of a broader range of features. We present a few of them below, in no particular order. The Best IoT Monitoring Tools PRTG Paessler PRTG is the Swiss army knife of the monitoring world. PRTG is based on basic monitoring elements called "sensors". One sensor usually monitors one measured value in your network, e.g. the traffic of a switch port, the CPU load of a server, the free space of a disk drive, and so on. PRTG comes with more than 250 built-in sensors for various tasks, device types, and use cases, so you would be hard-pressed to find something you can't monitor. Plus, you can mix and match sensors, and even deploy custom ones, to create monitoring solutions specific to your needs. This includes sensors for MQTT (MQ Telemetry Transport) the leading communications protocol for IoT devices. You can also use HTTP sensors to push data from devices to PRTG and combine those with various other sensors to process and display this information. In fact, Paessler used Sigfox-enabled devices and the HTTP IoT Push sensor to build a complete environmental monitoring solution for their headquarters in Nuremberg. Data displayed by the MQTT Statistics sensor on PRTG The information gathered by PRTG is shown on a centralized dashboard with all the relevant metrics. You can set alerts based on threshold values, with notifications delivered by text (SMS) or email if those values are exceeded. There is also an automatic reporting feature, so you can keep management and co-workers informed. PRTG runs on Windows Server 2012 R2, 2016, 2019, 2022, or Windows 11. There is a 30-day free trial of PRTG, with all features available during this period, no credit card is needed. Domotz Domotz is a cloud-based package that supports the monitoring and management of "unlimited" endpoints on a network. This includes everything from servers, hosts, access points, whole networks, subnets, VLANs and, of course, IoT devices. One IoT-specific feature is the capability of monitoring RabbitMQ clusters and nodes. RabbitMQ is one of the most popular message brokers, software responsible for the organization and distribution of messages exchanged between devices on an IoT infrastructure. Monitoring a RabbitMQ cluster on Domotz This includes managing the configuration of the nodes and clusters, monitoring vital parameters related to performance and hardware health, checking the number of connections, consumers, and messages and the reporting of resources and statistics by exchanges and queues This tool can also monitor devices like security cameras compatible with the ONVIF standard, allowing you to check camera availability, take snapshots or even view the live stream. Domotz is offered on a SaaS (Software as a Service) basis, and uses agents to collect information about your network and devices. These are available for Windows Server (2016 or 2019), Windows 10 or 11, Linux distributions like Ubuntu and Debian (on X64 hardware), Raspberry Pi (both Pi OS and Debian on 32 or 64-bit systems), devices by Sinology, QNAP and ReadyNAS, Docker images and more. There is a 14-day trial available AWS IoT Device Management AWS IoT Device Management is one part of a trio of IoT-related services offered by Amazon, which builds on IoT Core (focused on connecting and communicating with your devices) and is complemented by IoT Security Management, focused on security auditing and device monitoring. Large numbers of devices can be registered on the service at once using the "bulk registration" feature, and they can be organized into logical groups, allowing you to quickly target them for remote actions. Among those are bulk device updates (like OTA firmware updates), which can be done at a predefined pace. The main monitoring dashboard on AWS IoT Device Management Metadata about your devices can be indexed to optimize searches and simplify management. And speaking of management, it is possible to establish "device tunnels", secure SSH sessions to a specific device behind a firewall, which somes in handy when trying to diagnose and solve issues. AWS IoT Device Management is offered on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis, with pricing based on the number of devices registered, the number of remote actions executed, or secure tunnels opened, etc. There is a free tier, which includes up to 50 remote actions a month for up to 12 months. TeamViewer Tensor Tensor is TeamViewer's cloud-based enterprise connectivity platform, providing connectivity and real-time support tools for more than 1.7 billion devices worldwide. It offers single sign-on security, device-agnostic connectivity, comprehensive logging, and silent rollout, allowing it to be installed and updated silently on all your devices. The IoT component combines remote control and monitoring capabilities, allowing you to operate your endpoints remotely for faster, more economical operations. It offers alerts based on monitored data, which allows you to offer remote assistance and support and to react quickly to incidents as soon as they occur. Example of a dashboard on TeamViewer Tensor The platform is composed of your IoT devices, agent software that enables their remote control, and edge management software which provides real-time visualization of information about your devices, and includes a user-friendly web user interface. To use TeamViewer Tensor, you will need to install the IoT Agent on your devices. There are prebuilt packages for Raspberry Pi and Orange Pi devices running Debian Linux, or for Dell 300X and 500X edge gateways running Debian or Red Hat. There is a free trial available. SkySpark SkySpark is a tool that "helps you find what matters in the vast amount of data produced by today’s smart systems". Data is stored in a high-performance database called Folio, which was specifically designed for the billions of records generated by IoT data and uses advanced compression to store records "in a fraction of the disk space compared to other technologies", with "microsecond access times". This data is semantically tagged using Project Haystack, described as an initiative to streamline working with IoT Data, "with the goal of making it easier to unlock value from the vast quantity of data being generated by the smart devices that permeate our homes, buildings, factories, and cities". Once this data is properly tagged, applications can "interpret patterns in operational data to identify faults, deviations, and trends that can be addressed to improve efficiency and insure proper operation of equipment systems". Data views on SkySpark can be customized with a point-and-click tool and a large library of widgets In the case of Skyspark, data is processed by an analytic engine called Axon, which uses more than 500 built-in analytics functions to help you find "things that matter" in the sea of data, called Sparks. This tool can then generate visualizations, notifications, and reports that show when issues happened, for how long, and even how much they cost you. SkySpark was designed to run on edge devices and can be used on any machine with a Java VM and at least a 1 GHz CPU, and 512 MB of RAM. This includes low-cost, popular devices like the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone boards. There is no free trial, but interested customers can request a demo at the developer's website. Datadog IoT Monitoring Datadog IoT Monitoring provides "top-to-bottom IoT monitoring" that allows companies to have a comprehensive view of the health of their devices, as well as the ability to drill down into individual devices to troubleshoot a particular region, device type or software version, with performance and hardware metrics, logs, network data and more available in a single pane of glass. Telemetry data is tagged, and the host map provides a bird's-eye view of your entire IoT device fleet, grouped by any tag, for a visual comparison of performance by any criteria. Alerts, graphs, and dashboards can be scoped with user-specified tags to provide visibility and actionable notifications for any subset of devices. The IoT Monitoring dashboard on Datadog Unified tagging provides a seamless correlation of issues between system-level metrics, distributed traces, network performance data, and logs. The alerting capabilities are customizable: operators can build alerts that trigger only on sustained or widespread device failures, and anomaly detection and outlier detection algorithms can automatically determine normal operating ranges and alert only on unusual occurrences. To collect data, Datadog uses lightweight agents that can run "on nearly any hardware platform and operating system", including Linux, Windows, Android, and ARM devices. There is a 14-day free trial available. Azure IoT Hub Developed by Microsoft, Azure IoT Hub is a solution that allows you to connect, monitor and manage your IoT devices and assets. It supports protocols such as HTTPS, AMQP, and MQTT, with features like secure bidirectional communication, per-device authentication, built-in device management, and scaled provisioning, among others. The Device Provisioning Service (DPS) allows you to do "zero touch" provisioning of "millions of devices", without human intervention, in a safe and scalable manner. Each device can be authenticated with individual credentials and identities for enhanced security, and individual device credentials can be revoked as needed. Azure IoT Hub Portal A component called Device Update for IoT Hub claims to simplify update management, allowing you to "publish, distribute, and manage over-the-air updates for everything from tiny sensors to gateway-level devices" quickly, without the associated burden and costs of developing and managing your own update system. If you need to add smarts to your fleet, a related service called IoT Edge allows you to deploy cloud-native workloads to run directly on your IoT devices, allowing them to react faster to changes and operate offline even for extended periods. Azure IoT Hub is SaaS (Software as a Service), with prices based on usage tiers and varying according to geographic region. A free plan is available, which includes up to messages/day per IoT Hub unit. IBM Watson IoT Platform IBM itself describes the Watson IoT Platform as a "fully managed, cloud-hosted service that makes it simple to derive value from Internet of Things (IoT) devices". Communication between your devices, be they sensors, gateways, or "something completely different", is done using the lightweight and open MQTT protocol, jointly developed by IBM and Eurotech in the late 90s. The platform offers a web UI to register and manage your devices, with features like remote reboots, firmware updates, collection of diagnostic data and metadata, and mass addition or removal of devices. Communication between devices and the platform is done securely, since the MQTT protocol uses TLS (Transport Layer Security) to protect data in transit. IMAGE: iot_monitor_watson.png A diagram of the Watson IoT Platform It also offers data lifecycle management features, allowing you to choose for how long device data will be kept, giving you access to both real-time and historic information from your devices. Besides paid service tiers based on capabilities and usage, IBM offers the Watson IoT Platform Lite for developers who wish to get started and experiment with its capabilities. This tier has usage quotas, like the maximum number of devices, number of connections per second, message size, etc. Cummulocity IoT Cummulocity IoT presents itself as the "stress-free IoT Platform built from the ground up to be open, rapid to deploy and distributed" and with more than 170 integrations with enterprise and cloud apps, allowing you to build customized workflows tailored to the specific needs of your business. This tool seems more geared towards the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), with support for common fieldbus protocols like Modbus, CAN bus, and OPC-UA. It promises "industrial strength security" without a VPN, and features such as status monitoring, historical data management, and change and alarm logging, with data processing backed by a "leading streaming analytics engine". Device Management on Cummulocity IoT It can read data from and send commands to Low-Power, Wide-Area Network (LPWAN) devices, remotely controlling them, with support for platforms like SigFox and Actility. With support for the Lightweight M2M device management and service enablement protocol, you can connect devices by simply uploading a definition, without the need to manually configure models or change templates. Device management features include bulk registration, update, roll-out and monitoring, and fault, software, configuration, alarm and performance management. There is a 30-day free trial available. SensorCloud SensorCloud is a "sensor data storage, visualization and remote management platform" with powerful visualization and data processing capabilities. Multiple customizable dashboards can display data from all your devices at once, and users can quickly switch between them to view different datasets and get better insights. The FastGraph feature uses a custom algorithm to plot years of data instantly and lets you zoom into points of interest. The MathEngine offers tools for data analysis and processing, with tools like FFT (Fast Fourier Transform), and stats like "number of points, average, min, max, peak-to-peak, RMS, and standard deviation." which can be run on multiple channels of data for quick comparisons. One example of monitoring dashboard on SensorCloud There is also support for Jupyter Notebooks, allowing you to write custom Python scripts to process data in the cloud. For developers, there is an SDK with code examples in Python, Java, and C# and a RESTful API "that allows any device or application to upload data to SensorCloud". Like its name implies, SensorCloud is cloud-based, and offered in three pricing tiers differentiated by the number of data points and transactions available. There is a free tier, with up to 10 million data points and 25,000 transactions per month. Conclusion Among all these, our favorite IoT monitoring tool is Paessler PRTG, as it "ticks all the boxes" in our list of desired characteristics, and streamlines your workflow by enabling you to monitor all of your infrastructure with a single tool. The built-in sensors cover many of the main use cases, without the need to purchase extras, so it can monitor your IoT sensors and devices, but also your network, services, servers, cloud infrastructure, and much more. And it is extensible, which means you can deploy third-party sensors, or even develop your own, to cover specific needs. That means you can do away with having to rely on various individualized solutions, which can carry potential risks such as conflict with your current workflow and even network security issues. It really is a "Swiss army knife" of the monitoring tools.