If you are reading this article, it means that you are interested in technologies that can change the world within the next 10 years. Today, we’ll talk about the Internet of Things (IoT) and its applications.
The Internet of Things opens up many new opportunities for developers, and yet IoT application development poses many challenges, especially if you don’t have enough experience. In this article, we are happy to share our expertise in the Internet of Things application development.
How Do IoT Applications Work?
IoT is a worldwide web where electronic devices “communicate” with each other and exchange information without human intervention.
This is how it works: gadgets connect to the Internet, broadcast basic data to the Cloud, and other items equipped with receiving sensors collect this information and use it to simplify multi-stage tasks.
- Devices that go online and communicate with each other;
- Connection method – M2M (machine-to-machine), without human intervention;
- Big Data that devices generate. The data can be collected, analyzed, and further used to increase user comfort or make business decisions.
Industries that Use IoT
Where is the Internet of Things used? Well, everywhere! You can find it in any industry where something can be automated, especially where there is a need for remote monitoring of the state of objects or the collection of big data for subsequent analysis.
IoT allows you to save on equipment maintenance: sensors collect information about its condition, so maintenance and repairs are carried out exactly when needed. Prevention is always cheaper than repair. The Internet of Things helps save lives: for example, the new Apple Watch will monitor your heart rate constantly and help identify arrhythmia and other health issues.
Industries using the Internet of Things:
- Automotive industry. A car connected to the Internet of Things makes it possible to turn data into valuable information.
- Energy. With the help of the Internet of Things, a huge number of power system devices can exchange information in real time.
- Fitness and Electronic Healthcare. The Internet of Things is changing the healthcare industry with the various solutions: from medical wearable devices to tablets for the quick response and comprehensive surgical equipment.
- Manufacturing. IoT technologies can improve the efficiency of modern manufacturing enterprises, optimize production, and increase safety for workers.
- Supply Chain and Retail. For the retail industry, the Internet of Things offers unlimited opportunities to increase the efficiency of the supply chain, develop new services and create new opportunities for customers.
- Smart Home Automation. The IoT technology makes it possible to fulfill the dream of a secure smart home by providing a variety of options from voice recognition to identifying people standing in front of the door.
- Smart transport. The Internet of Things can save lives, reduce traffic congestion, and minimize the environmental impact of cars through the implementation of various solutions: from Internet-connected or unmanned vehicles to intelligent transport and logistics systems.
- Logistics. Thanks to the Internet of Things, the delivery of any goods from production to stores is much more predictable, which is important for both the end consumer and the business.
- Agriculture industry. In the agricultural sector, sensors in the ground track important indicators: is there enough moisture, do the plants need nutrition? Drones record it from the sky and transmit the data to engineers. The Netherlands is one of the world’s leaders in food production thanks to IoT.
The Benefits of Using the Internet of Things for Customers and Businesses
Internet of Things technologies have a huge potential, which could be one of the key business benefits in the future. More and more industrial manufacturers are using machine-to-machine communications to increase the efficiency of their products. The ability to connect various devices using the Internet – from equipment production to final products – allows developing the organization’s information infrastructure.
The Internet of Things provides companies with completely new ways to manage and monitor operations. It allows to fully control remotely located objects and constantly deliver information to applications. Due to the low cost of “things,” you can monitor and manage previously uncontrolled actions. The Internet of Things also allows you to collect analytic data about events that were previously inaccessible.
Benefits of using the Internet of Things:
- Increase in productivity;
- Capital allocation improvement;
- Customer relationship development.
- Monitoring. This includes the ability to monitor and control the condition of objects, collecting information about the environment and data of the activities;
- Optimization. This refers to improving product performance, as well as diagnostics, maintenance, and possible repairs;
- Control. Smart things also study their users and control their functions;
- Autonomy. There are also advantages in the field of autonomy: a “thinking” object can independently increase its productivity and efficiency
What’s the Basis of the Internet of Things?
Components of an IoT platform:
- Connectivity & normalization: consolidation of various data formats into one software interface, guaranteeing accurate data transfer and interaction with all devices.
- Device management: ensuring the correct operation of connected devices, their configuration, and smooth operation.
- Database: here everything is clear and transparent – a scalable data warehouse. The possibility to restore order in processing and transferring data from different platforms or even to third-party information systems.
- Processing & action management: the data received from the devices ultimately affect events in reality. Therefore, the platform should be able to build processes and other smart actions based on specific sensor data.
- Analytics: a set of tools for analyzing the data from devices is a must-have requirement for this platform.
- Visualization: graphs, models, and don’t forget about a nice interface.
- Additional tools: a set of tools that allow IoT developers to prototype and test various systems (applications, widgets, mashups).
- External interfaces: platform integration is one of the main features. The world of Internet development today does not tolerate closed solutions. That’s why an IoT platform should have application programming interfaces (APIs), software development kits (SDKs), and gateways.
Services and platforms that use the Internet of Things:
- AWS (Amazon Web Services). AWS IoT is a specially designed service for connecting devices to the Cloud. Now customers can focus on improving their products and solutions, not on their maintenance.
- HomeKit. Apple’s HomeKit technology allows you to use an iOS device to control any home accessories. To use HomeKit, you will need an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and accessories that support HomeKit (Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt lock, Philips Hue lighting system, Lutron light control system, iHome devices, iDevices, or others).
- ThingWorx. The ThingWorx platform provides organizations with a unique opportunity to quickly build and run network applications.
- Xively. Xively has been developing and selling services and software for managing IoT devices such as smoke detectors and water heaters for over 10 years.
- Ubidots. It is a Cloud for working with the IoT. With Ubidots, you can visualize data efficiently. It supports a wide list of devices and can perform some actions, for example, sending email and text messages.
- IBM Watson. IBM announced that the Watson supercar will be used in new IoT solutions: the Watson IoT Unit and Watson IoT Cloud platform.
- Oracle IoT. Oracle is also a Cloud. They allow a modern business to make the production processes more intelligent and respond more quickly to market changes. Oracle offers monitoring and analytics help to improve efficiency, reduce costs and find new sources of revenue, real-time problem detection, and predictive analytics.
- KAA IoT. The concept of a “smart city” is the defining moment for the evolution of the Internet. Technologies are combined into large-scale, multi-level solutions for the benefit of the nation. In the center is the open-source IoT platform, and Kaa provides the necessary resources for such a transformation.
How to Build an Internet of Things (IoT) App Successfully
Have you ever wondered how to develop applications for the Internet of Things? The first thing you need to know is that IoT app development differs from the processes of creating mobile and web applications in several ways.
- IoT devices are almost always a part of a larger system of connected devices. Today, PCs and smartphones also heavily depend on Cloud services, but application developers still see them as separate target platforms.
- IoT systems are always working. Unlike PCs and smartphones, an IoT system cannot be completely disabled. Separately, you can turn off a device, but the whole system should be resistant to interruptions in the operation.
- In the system of the Internet of Things, the number of computing modules (devices or processors) is much larger than in traditional computing environments (sometimes millions). Unlike PCs and smartphones, IoT devices in a large system need to be managed collectively, not individually.
- IoT devices are often hidden in the environment and stay inconspicuous and inaccessible. They can be deep underground or hidden in a wall. If problems arise, there may be no access to the device.
- Computing modules of the Internet of Things system can vary in power, storage, network width. Some devices have buttons and displays, but many do not have a clear user interface.
Difficulties may arise because the entire area of the Internet of Things is still young. Current IoT systems have “raw” programming interfaces that are incompatible with each other. There are also no standards. Unlike the development of mobile and web applications, the Internet of Things is usually offered by specific manufacturers for specific devices, e.g. IoT Android apps only. It is very difficult to create software that can work with various devices and systems from different manufacturers.
Besides, current IoT systems are dependent on the Cloud where all data is collected. Most process takes place in the Cloud, but with the growth of device capabilities, the behavior of the IoT systems will need adjustments.
That’s why you need to develop a strategy for IoT app development first.
Basic steps for developing your IoT app:
- IDEA. Your vision for the app needs to be as clear as possible.
- MARKET RESEARCH. Find as much important and useful information as you can.
- TARGET AUDIENCE. Find and focus on the exact category of people who will be using your app.
- HARDWARE AND PLATFORM. Decide which platforms you are going to focus on. If making this choice is hard, engage professional help.
- DEVELOPMENT STAGE. Hire developers for your team or outsource the app development to professionals with good reputation.
- TESTING. Test the app as much as possible to make sure you eliminate all the bugs.
- FEEDBACK ANALYSIS. Listen to your customers’ opinions and optimize your app accordingly.
For less experienced and prepared people, this may seem difficult; that’s why companies like 4tifier exist. We develop and deliver customized technology solutions including mobile app development services for the insurance industry and startups, and we know how to create an IoT app that will work smoothly. Our company has flexible programming technology, in-depth corporate analytics, only highly experienced experts, and the best, most optimized working process.
Expenses: How Much Does it Cost?
Factors that influence the cost of IoT app development:
- Features of the application;
- The complexity of developing software to create this hardware;
- Used technologies and device connections;
- Experience, location, and team size;
- The hardware would include connection protocols, sensors, chips, drives, and a mobile/web server;
- How the application will be deployed. For example, an IoT application that will be deployed throughout the city will cost more than one that will be deployed inside a building;
- The concept of the application. It can be connecting computers to cars, cars to people, or people to people;
- Safety factor. Because IoT devices function inextricably, security concerns must be addressed appropriately. Because IoT needs it, creating a device with reliable security adds an extra cost.
In general, the cost of an IoT app can vary from $3,000 to $50,000 USD, depending on the complexity and capabilities.
IoT systems are becoming not only more popular but also more available. For enterprises and small business companies, the Internet of Things can be a powerful tool to optimize and speed up the work. If you still have any questions or need help with IoT application development, use 4tifier, where you not only can find more information but also order IoT development services.