About qbee AS

Redefining the IoT industry

Founded in 2017 to help companies manage their embedded Linux devices.
We use a server automation approach on embedded Linux device management.
This takes the pain out of managing large fleets of heterogeneous IoT devices for manufacturers, system integrators and end customers. Our team consists of highly skilled engineers and executives with a long experience in the embedded software industry.

What is an edge device management platform?

In the server or embedded device automation industry there are many words that are not really well defined. Device automation or device management are two of those. But there are two main concepts that apply for device management platforms. Devices (or servers) can be continuously managed and automated. This allows to do frequent small changes but guarantee that the devices always have a defined state with regards to the different automations. A certain ssh key could be assoicated with a certain user (and revoked or exchanged). These are low risk operations done on an OS or application level. The other is a container or firmware based solution. Here the whole container or image is exchanged or flashed when changes are needed. Both concepts have advantages and disadvantages and it is fully possible to combine them. It is possible to do large changes by full firmware update and more frequent changes or deviating changes between groups in the infrastructure by continuous automation. In addition to managing OTA software updates we believe that industrial device management platforms also should offer security, analysis and remote access features. So qbee is more of a swiss army knife for embedded Linux IoT deployments covering all your lifecycle needs. This could also include a pin-point security library update even long time after the board support package support is discontinued.

What different concepts exist for remote device management?

There are a lot of automation tools in the market like Puppet, Chef, Ansible or Saltstack. Most of them do not work very well on embedded devices due to their footprint or general architecture. Most of these tools usually work as a push based solution pushing configuration out to the end-points. If these endpoints are in a local network or in a well controlled environment this works well. For devices that can be anyhwere behind firewalls and NATs push-based approaches often prove to be very challenging. Here qbee offers a pull-based approach. Our agent is initiating the communications regularly with customer defined intervals to check for new configurations and then the lightweight agent converges to the correct state automatically. This allows to add devices at a later point and they will automatically converge to the last defined state, making this very suitable for spare devices that are offline over longer periods of time. So the qbee agent always pulls its configuration from the server and monitors this. It even maintains configuration when the server is not reachable. Our built-in VPN is not depending on the agent interval. Remote access is possible at any point in time. But our agent monitors this as well such that the VPN is always working as expected.

How does your secure remote access solution work?

Most people are familiar with Teamviewer and that it is possible to access remote computers with similar solutions. Our solution is an alternative to Teamviewer as such that it securely abstracts any port from any remote device to a local machine. These ports are mapped to localhost. This allows to use qbee for VNC sessions with RealVNC or TightVNC but just as well for regular web sessions over port 80 or 443. On the remote device our security engine can keep the firewall completely closed as all this goes over the qbee VPN. Being flexible on the port allows any inudstrial controller with any web solution to be accessed remotely. It is even possible to use a qbee device as a bridge to get access to other devices in the network. This is used to enable secure remote access to machines or HVAC systems that previously had no means of being accessed remotely. Please reach out if you want to learn more.

device automation made easy
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qbee AS

Rosenholm Campus
Rosenholmveien 25
1414 Trollåsen
Norway
Org-nr.: 919 278 153