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About the Authors:
David Gearhart, CFA
Senior Vice President
David Gearhart has worked in finance and investment for nearly two decades and joined First Analysis in 2011. He works with entrepreneurs as an investor and as an advisor on growth transactions to help build leading Internet of Things and e-commerce software businesses. He has played a key role in building First Analysis’s Internet of Things and e-commerce franchises and is a thought leader in his sectors, having authored several widely read white papers. He serves on the boards of Freeosk and SmartCommerce. Prior to joining First Analysis, he was an accountant with The Northern Trust Co. and an options broker with American Option Services. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University with a concentration in economics and finance and his MBA at DePaul University with a focus on finance and entrepreneurship. He is a CFA charterholder.
Howard Smith
Managing Director
Howard Smith has nearly three decades of experience at First Analysis, working with entrepreneurs as an investor and as an advisor on growth transactions to help build leading technology businesses. He leads the firm’s work in the Internet of Things, cybersecurity, and internet infrastructure sectors. He also built the firm's historical franchises in call centers and computer telephony. His thought-leading research in these areas has been cited for excellence by the Wall Street Journal and other publications. He serves on the boards of AppDetex, VisiQuate and ObservIQ. Prior to joining First Analysis in 1994, he was a senior tax consultant with Arthur Andersen & Co. He earned an MBA with honors from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in accounting with highest honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a certified public accountant.
First Analysis Internet of Things Team
Howard Smith
Managing Director
David Gearhart
Senior Vice President
Matthew Nicklin
Managing Director
First Analysis Quarterly Insights
Internet of Things
Rapid growth ahead for dedicated third-party device management providers
June 15, 2022
  • Today, most IoT companies selling proprietary hardware standalone or as part of a complete solution use internally developed software to manage their devices. This is despite the fact device management functionality is fairly standard across vendors, meaning there is little opportunity to add value or differentiate on the basis of capabilities. IoT companies could thus achieve substantial cost savings by buying this software from dedicated device management providers.
  • A handful of companies are now emerging to offer device management software as a service. Given the importance of device management software and the advantages of procuring the software from dedicated third-party providers, we expect these providers to see strong growth in the coming years.
  • We outline what device management software is, the advantages of procuring it from dedicated third parties, and why we think now is the moment for outsourced device management to see substantial adoption and growth. We also profile the leading device management software providers.


Includes discussion of FROG and five private companies

What is device management?

The next frontier in outsourcing

The opportunity is huge

Compelling reasons for third-party device management adoption

Base functionality overview

Strong growth ahead for dedicated device management providers

A critical layer in IoT

IoT index ends one-year period near its nadir

IoT M&A pace strengthening

IoT private placement pace slows

What is device management?

Internet of Things (IoT) device management software, which is increasingly referred to as device ops software, is a critical component of IoT offerings, as important as core IoT hardware itself. This software enables companies that provide IoT hardware standalone or as part of a complete solution to access and manage their connected devices over networks, providing the tools to identify, configure, troubleshoot, and update devices remotely. The value of this remote access and control cannot be overstated, as the alternative would be to physically touch and connect to each device in the field. This becomes impractical and prohibitively expensive as the number of devices deployed and their geographic dispersion increase, and it becomes even more challenging when devices are physically difficult to reach due to environmental conditions or other factors. In addition, the manual alternative suffers from a lack of real-time visibility.

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