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How to develop an app for the IoT

For the last few years IoT technology was embraced by many businesses. They were the first who understood the value of this innovation and the opportunities it provides for business. Seeing IoT as a goldmine, a lot of companies started investing in IoT app development. IoT software and hardware development market is growing each year generating high incomes for companies.

Early adopters of IoT technology are logistics companies and supply chains as well as some industrial manufacturers. They liked the benefits IoT could offer in terms of tracking, fleet management and workflow optimization. Smart sensors and automation helps farmers a lot . IoT devices are also embedded in modern cars ensuring the drive safety and monitoring of the car behaviour. Wireless devices are widely used in healthcare sector. Thanks to them, doctors can constantly track the vitals of patients with chronic illnesses.

People actively purchase connected tech devices and use them on a regular basis. Connected fitness devices such as wristbands and wireless airpods are already commonplace. Smart homes are a hot topic. They include security and entertainment systems, and products that help to reduce energy consumption (smart light bulbs, IoT thermostats, etc).

The four tiers of the IoT development

As we can see there are a lot of opportunities for IoT implementation. However, this process is rather time-consuming and challenging. Anyone who has a desire to develop an IoT app, needs to learn about the four basic tiers:

1) hardware

2) data storage

3) analytics

4) software

Hardware. IoT connected devices collect data and are programmed to perform tasks. Usually they are low-energy gadgets such as chips, sensors that might possess an OS or work without it. Depending on the app you want to develop you should consider which existing devices will be compatible and suitable for your venture.

Data storage. The data collected by devices must be stored somewhere. IoT developers prefer using cloud storages as it’s easier to operate and structure data this way. Besides data will be still sent and received even if the connection is breaking.

Analytics. You can use the stored data to generate analytics. Nowadays analytics can be acquired by AI-powered tools.

Software. And the last tier of the IoT is a software. To enable user interaction with your IoT system, you need to create an app or a web platform taking into account the latest guidelines of UI/UX development.

Platforms for IoT app development

You can either create IoT app from scratch or opt for ready-made solution. There are plenty of app builders that can provide firmware frameworks for connected hardware and allow you to customize your dashboard. Ubidots is one of such tools.

Another app-building platform, called Thingworx, offers a solution that doesn’t require a lot of coding but nevertheless gives an opportunity to build an end-to-end IoT application.

Challenges of the IoT development

App development is always associated with some challenges including bugs, cross-platform compatibility and security issues. When developing an app for the IoT, you’ll face the same obstacles but there will be more: privacy concerns, security-related issues, data streaming speed, processing large amounts of data, device incompatibility, etc.