Whether you are planning to sell an IoT product to thousands of clients or just looking to share a personal project with your family, it will be helpful to understand how user management works on Blynk. Here we give you a high level overview of our approach to user management and will explain step-by-step how to give other users access to your connected devices.
Let's start with a couple of key concepts.
Every user that has an account on Blynk is a member of an Organization. This could be a one-person organization, a family, or a company with hundreds of employees.
Every user has a role (eg Developer, End User / Client, Partner) which is defined by a set of permissions. Role controls how users access the data with a set of permissions. This structure enables multi-tenancy and allows our platform to support even the most complex business scenarios.
Multi-tenancy is the type of architecture that allows us to create and manage complex user hierarchies that are common in business settings. For example, you produce devices and want to have access to the data from all of them, while your regional offices or distributors should only have access to their groups of devices, and the end client should only see the specific device they purchased. The concept of multi-tenancy is described in more detail in our docs and we will also be covering it more in the future posts.
How to add users and give them access to your devices (Plus or PRO plan)
Now that you are familiar with the key concepts, let's help you start sharing devices with additional users.
In order to allow someone to control your devices using Blynk, they will first need to get registered in Blynk. If it's an existing client, you may have their email address already, and if it's someone purchasing your device online, you could ask for their email address at the checkout stage.
Device sharing is handled with the following permissions:
- View Organization Devices
- Control Organization Devices
- View Own Devices
- Control Own Devices
Free and Plus users have limited control over permission settings, while PRO users have full flexibility to change permissions at the most granular level.
At the moment (until the Discovery Add-on is available) you have two ways to share the device with other users:
- Invite the user to your organization
- Create a sub-organization (available only for the PRO users), invite the user to the sub-organization and transfer the device into this sub-organization
In both cases, the user can provision the device by him- or herself after they have been invited to the organization or sub-organization.
Discovery Add-on to PRO plan will allow to skip the email invitation altogether. Any user will be able to download the Blynk app and activate the device based on the manufacturer's instructions.
Sharing via Own organization
This type of sharing is useful when you have only one user to share the device with and you don't want to isolate the device within another organization.
In order to share your device with someone, you just need to invite this user to your organization.
You can select Admin, Staff or User.
To see your devices User should have a View Organization Devices permission. Default User role doesn't have any permissions. You need to set required permissions for this and other roles, otherwise, the invited user will see the empty screen.
You can transfer the device ownership to the user after adding them to your organization. You can also restrict user's access to other devices within the organization, so a user with permission View Own Devices will see only devices they own.
In other words, users that don't have permission to View Organization Devices can't see other devices in the organization. They can only see the devices where they are owners and only if they have the View Own Devices permission. Users with View Organization Devices can see all devices within the organization they belong to.
Sharing via Sub-organization
This type of sharing is particularly useful when you want to share the device with many users. You will still be able to see this device in the search or via organization switch.
You can create a sub-organization, invite multiple users and then share devices with them or transfer a device ownership to one of those users.
Important note: All users within a sub-organization should have View Organization Devices permission. Otherwise, the device will only be visible to one owner of the device.
If you are the creator of a sub-organization (or multiple ones), you can go back and forth between your own root org and the sub-orgs via Organization Switch.
We hope you now have a bit more clarity on user management and are ready to try sharing your device with others. Feel free to reach out to us on our forum and let us know which tutorials we should prepare next!