In times where technology is a part of our everyday routine, the extension of its features to everyday devices is a peek into a futuristic world. For instance, when the pandemic struck, the need for remote monitoring was on the rise, more than ever. Gathering resources and medicines, consultation with doctors, monitoring of beds had to be done, while minimizing the risk of infection.
Several countries incorporated existing technology to respond at faster rates and ensure the delivery of healthcare services. For instance, South Africa-based Gauteng health services had introduced an electronic bed management system to identify the availability of beds across multiple sites. It was cloud-based technology and IoT sensors placed on the beds that helped facilitate bed availability.
So, How exactly did this help? The usage of these iot based mobile apps resulted in lesser wait times for patients and timely access to healthcare. This provides an insight into one of the versatile applications of IoT across industries. From smart devices, smart homes, sensors, IoT has seen rapid growth in recent years, and current trends indicate that there is no stop, anytime soon.
IoT and mobile apps: decoding the connection
The term “Internet of Things” [IoT] refers to technology that has the ability to link smart objects together within a network, connect to the internet and transfer data, all without human interaction. This is the concept behind self-driving vehicles like Tesla, where a combination of hardware and software is done via IoT apps.
So, how do mobile apps come into the picture? Smartphone usage has skyrocketed in recent years and has changed the way humans interact with devices. The growth in the IoT sector has brought about a shift in market trends. Due to the fact that smartphones are easily accessible and form a gateway to accessing IoT for most consumers, app developers are responding by incorporating IoT in their mobile application development.
The primary interface for IoT apps can be a desktop, a smartphone, a watch, or any connected display. But due to their suitability and widespread usage, smartphones form the median between customers and access to IoT. The rise of Internet of things mobile applications is due to the ease of development, flexibility of platform for transferring data, and the presence of pre-existing sensors such as Wifi, Bluetooth, and so on.
How to get started: 4 major components to include in your mobile app development
While getting started on developing IoT apps, there are some basic things to cover regarding the structure of the system. As growth in the IoT mobile app sector is only predicted to increase, businesses gain a competitive edge with the development of IoT-based mobile applications.
Any IoT system consists of four major components,
Obtaining data is one of the major benefits of using an IoT-based framework and cloud-based networks aid in the management of data. This eliminates the need for physical resources for storing and handling data.
This forms the main link for all the devices included in the IoT system. After interaction with the primary interface, the network relays the data collected by the cloud to other connected devices and vice versa.
Sensors form a crucial part of the devices and hardware involved in the hardware part of IoT based mobile apps. However, these sensors require Bluetooth to function as a part of the process. For instance, mobile devices, smartwatches, smart devices from the hardware components.
There is data input from all the connected devices in the IoT system, and a dashboard to manage these is necessary. A cloud-based application for managing the data obtained can help manage an IoT-based ecosystem.
A how-to guide to developing an IoT based mobile application
Compared to the norm of web and mobile-based applications, application building with IoT can require a team with a specific set of skills. Hiring professionals who are well versed in cloud-based technologies, working with open source software and hardware development is crucial for developing IoT mobile applications. With the IoT market projected to hit a value of 1.5 trillion USD globally, companies can truly leverage the benefits of this growing platform. The steps to getting started with app development include,
1. Brainstorm for the right idea
For IoT-based mobile apps, one must go the extra mile in envisioning the app idea. The accessibility and features offered by IoT platforms extend beyond the ones offered by the common web and mobile-based applications. What exactly is the issue that your app is set out to resolve? Which is the sector that you want to prioritize while developing the app?
Once you narrow down your idea, you can further analyze the requirements within the sector. Based on the sector and reviews on free IoT mobile apps present in the market, you can communicate or survey the audience to include features that they require, or features that the market trends point out to. Like any other app development, customer-centric features are a key factor to not miss out on.
2. Choose proven IoT platforms
Since the IoT ecosystem is less frequently used compared to other frameworks, it is necessary to find reliable platforms for IoT web app development or IoT-based mobile apps that have the necessary tools and updates. Proven platforms ensure reliance on the framework and help further decide costs and tools required.
Homekit, Xively, IBM Watson, Azure IoT suite, Oracle IoT, Android things are some trusted platforms for IoT apps for android, web, and mobile app development. These platforms allow developers to connect to a range of other approved devices. For devices out of the approval range, APIs can be used for integration. These platforms aid smooth development processes to form one unified IoT ecosystem.
3. Choice of hardware
The hardware is a crucial part as it forms the first interface for human interaction with the system. The sensors used in the hardware must be precise, transcribe data accurately, and function well. Unless you are planning on producing your own hardware from scratch, choosing is an integral component of your IoT-based mobile apps.
Hardware is crucial as it must be able to ensure connectivity amongst your platforms and must be reliable. It should also correspond to the needs of your application. Reviewing and discussing hardware vendors, checking product demos, and debating costs can help finalize the hardware that would best suit your IoT app development project.
4. Ensure app security
As an IoT-based mobile application, there is a network of devices that are interconnected and need to work effectively for a smoother experience. This also refers to the fact that there are several gateways for any malicious attack. Hence using encrypted networks, two-factor authentication, and other methods can ensure privacy and security.
This feature needs to be checked on a regular basis in the case of IoT-based mobile applications as the user interface usually occurs via smart devices that go beyond a smartphone, highlighting multiple vulnerable points. From smartwatches to audio-based devices and smart homes, there is a wide range of devices connected and hence ensuring privacy and zero data breach opportunities is a key factor.
5. Smoother connectivity within the IoT ecosystem
As the devices involved increase, the number of factors that affect the overall performance increase. Hence IoT apps have to be extremely fast. Due to the high volume of devices and commands, inputs, and data involved, a tiny lag can build up to be a huge issue. High-speed connection or the resolution of issues should be a top priority as customers are used to instant commands and responses.
What is the cost of developing an IoT-based mobile application?
The technical contexts of various app development services are the features that ultimately build-up the total cost. There are certain requirements of IoT-based ecosystems that may not be required for web and mobile app development. In a general overview, the elements of building IoT apps for android or other platforms include,
- Features of your IoT application
- Complexity based on hardware and software
- Security of the application
- Primary interfaces of the IoT ecosystem
- Developer team
1. Features of the IoT application
Proper cost calculation is essential for smoother performance in the market post-deployment. While starting out, it is recommended to have a novice idea with features that are required, such as ones in an existing free iot mobile app, instead of experimenting with multiple new features. The more complex and longer the feature list for IoT and mobile apps is, the more expensive it might get to develop.
Simple IoT apps are recommended to start out with, as it has limited device connection and basic features that allow it to handle user information. A complex IoT application could have several third-party integrations, device integrations, multiple sensors, tracking data, and so on, and could be expensive to start out with. Hence, for maintenance of your ecosystem until new features are added over time, a simple feature-based IoT mobile application development is recommended.
2. Complexity based on hardware and software
IoT is a platform that comprises several opportunities but is relatively filled with challenges as well, due to the complexity of the novice platform. Having a clear vision and focus of your idea can help you integrate the features that you want hardware and software-wise. Certain hardware devices offer more inbuilt features compared to others. Hardware acts as a monitoring system as well as an interface for interaction with users. Hence, the priority should be to utilize hardware and software that allows seamless connection for users.
3. Security of the application
Due to the number of devices across different channels involved, there are multiple entry points for security, data, and privacy violations in IoT apps. Apart from these, large databases, third-party integrations, real-time scans, and synchronization across devices are also potential targets. Including a security expert on your team can not only reduce costs that may incur in the future but also avoid any potential security threats.
4. Primary interfaces of the IoT ecosystem
IoT hardware comprises a wide range of devices for routing, sensors, and bridges. Hardware boards, firmware, edge computing, and sensors are some components of an IoT ecosystem. For instance, in the case of IoT apps for Android, the partial cost of hardware is covered by smartphones that users access it through. For a cost-effective primary interface, it is recommended to buy hardware that suits your project.
5. Developer team
The time taken for building your application depends upon the features that you require and the team that you hire. An expert IoT app development team can aid the process by giving an estimate of the duration required for app development. Developers, designers, QA engineers, IT professionals for front-end and back-end developers, and a project manager are required for developing, implementing, deploying, and maintaining your IoT-based application.
Based on products, size of the integrated third party applications, hardware, team, duration of work by the developing team, an average IoT-based mobile application project can cost you around $19,000-25,000.
Different industries that IoT can be used for
Aided by smartphone usage, IoT has ventured into several industries such as,
Application building in IoT within agriculture include Agricultural drones, greenhouse automation, monitoring of climate, cattle monitoring, water management, and so on. The derived data from monitoring systems can help farmers make informed decisions and improve just about every area of their work – from livestock to crop farming. By facilitating better utilization of the land through monitoring the soil, irrigation, temperature, climate, and other aspects, IoT has brought about major advancements in the farming sector.
Current Healthcare systems have been using real-time health systems for improving overall patient treatment, diagnosis, medical and equipment maintenance through IoT apps.
The manufacturing industry is one of the prominent investors of the IoT. From optimizing systems, tracking vehicles and assets in supply chains, monitoring the flow of production, and waste reduction, IoT plays a vital role in saving costs in the industry.
4. Electronics and automobiles
In recent years, there has been a rise in home and office automation systems, digital assistants which are the main parts and features of IoT. It is the main driver of the present automobile. Internet of things mobile air pollution devices classify and visualise air quality within car systems. A monitoring system enables the vehicle systems to be connected with external devices for internet connectivity and provides information on navigation and telematics.
The retail industry uses IoT to enhance customer experience, reduce overall costs, and improve performance. It bridges the gap between supply and demand by using IoT-enabled warehouse robots, wireless shipment tracking, payment system, inventory management system, and smart stores.
Is IoT the next worthy investment for your business?
IoT is gaining traction as a system that is versatile and simplifies activities in various sectors. For a business in any sector, the integration of IoT in sectors that we use in our daily lives is likely to increase, revolutionizing the way humans interact with machines. Hence, albeit IoT is new in the tech space, it is definitely an investment to not miss out on.
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