The Internet of Things, or IoT, is set to revolutionize life as we know it in a big way, thanks to the adoption of a growing number of Internet-connected devices and systems to carry out a range of everyday tasks. In an increasingly mobile-driven era, there’s a growing need for companies to develop mobile apps for IoT. This is particularly vital as the number of cellular connected IoT devices is expected to rise to nearly 5 billion in 2021, more than double the 2.33 billion units in 2016. Studies have also shown that IoT portends great opportunities due to the rapid growth expected in terms of market value. The global market value of IoT was projected to cross the $1 trillion mark in 2017, a dramatic increase from the $600 billion in value in 2014. With the immense revenue-making possibilities for IoT devices, there’s an even greater need for businesses to build a customized IoT mobile app to tap the opportunities presented by this revolutionary communication technology.
Businesses in various industries, including automobiles, consumer, health, travel, transportation, and hospitality, have substantially increased their annual spending for building IoT applications, including IoT mobile app development, to leverage the many benefits of this technology. If your business is also looking to develop a mobile app for IoT devices, here are some tips and best practices to follow.
#1 Research. Research. Research.
IoT mobile app development is much like developing any other software or product. To develop an app that is best suited for IoT devices and based on your needs, you will need to conduct extensive research. Use your research to help developers understand the scope of your project, by clearly outlining the type of app to be developed, the design specifications you have in mind, as well as the features and functionalities you’d like included.
#2 Seek expert advice for decision-making
Building an IoT mobile app is much more complicated than building a regular one. While a regular mobile app for your smartphone is end-user-based and can be regularly updated or changed to fix initial bugs and malfunctions, a mobile app for IoT devices needs to be quality tested and expertly developed as its failure could lead to the malfunctioning of connected devices and systems. That’s why it’s crucial that an expert is involved in the decision-making at every stage of the development process.
#3 Ensure hardware compatibility
In order to build an IoT app, businesses must first check if it will be compatible with mobile devices, particularly in terms of the hardware and operating system environment it will run on. The mobile app must also interact effectively with the firmware of the devices. As such, it is recommended that the firmware developers, who create the specifications, and the mobile app developers work in the same team to ensure seamless communication on a range of things, including firmware updates and bug fixes.
#4 Select the right developers for IoT mobile app development
Ensure the IoT app developer has the required experience and expertise to build an app to your specifications. He or she must also have the ability to provide your business with valuable advice and recommendations on developing an IoT app. In addition, the right developers are always able to identify potential risks, challenges, and opportunities for each IoT mobile app and create related plans to ensure the apps leverage the benefits and avoid the pitfalls.
#5 Brace for time-consuming quality testing phase
IoT mobile apps are meant to aid processes that connect various devices and systems, and so, requires more extensive quality testing to be done before a new or updated version is rolled out. Unlike in a mobile app, which is end-user-focused, IoT mobile apps go beyond the regular mobile app development technology, enabling a range of connected devices to carry out various tasks. As such, quality assurance specialists should test the mobile apps for IoT manually and on a real device in case it is impossible to emulate it. No shortcuts here!
In the end, businesses working on building mobile apps for IoT devices have to be cognizant of the fact that the first few versions of the app they build will be far from perfect. And yet, while the task of developing IoT applications may seem quite daunting at first, the results of these efforts come with many benefits, including ensuring your business is well-poised to leverage the current and future profit-making opportunities of this technology.