Some tech innovations, like the cloud, data, and mobile, took their time becoming mainstream. Cell phones were available as early as the 90’s, but it was the 2000’s before cell phones were as common as landlines. The cloud took well over a decade to completely catch on, and data has been gathering steam since the 1960’s and still hasn’t achieved mass adoption, yet. Conversely the IoT, or Internet of Things, is taking over fast. The public has already readily accepted smartphones, Internet-capable cars, and other connected devices, so the step to smart homes, appliances, and business tools is a relatively small step in comparison. App developers need to be making plans now for their businesses to jump on the IoT bandwagon. What do you need to know about it?
The IoT is Already Here
Top app developers will need to determine whether to develop a new device or piggyback by producing an app for an existing IoT device.
According to a report by the Acquity Group, two-thirds of all consumers will have some IoT device within their homes by the year 2019. This includes connected devices like light bulbs, home appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers, and HVAC units and components like heaters, air conditioners, and thermostats. Additionally, they forecast that half of all consumers will own and user wearable tech. Gartner predicts that by the year 2020, the numbers of consumer, business, and industrial IoT devices will number 26 billion. The IoT isn’t something that app developers can figure out next year or within the next five years. It’s here now, and it’s already impacting consumer and business markets.
There are Both Pros & Cons in Jumping on the IoT Train
All aboard! The IoT isn’t something to plan for in next year’s budget or in the 5-year forecast. It’s here now. Are you on board?
Before developing for the IoT, you need to understand that there are inherent downsides. First and foremost is security. Most experts predict that at least one IoT device will fall prey to a significant hacker attack this year. The second issue is how the device will provide value to your organization. Will it primarily be used to collect customer data, such as when they exercise or venture near a brick and mortar store? Deliver operational intelligence, like tracking fleet vehicles or monitoring the performance of production machinery? Some devices are designed to be used by consumers, while others are business or industrial in nature.
Thirdly, how will the data be collected by the device and transmitted to your organization? Unlike smartphones, you won’t be able to depend on users to regularly enter information — the device needs to be unobtrusive in their lives and able to collect meaningful information with no input or minimal input. Finally, you will need an infrastructure that is capable of collecting the data and conducting meaningful analysis to make use of the data and the secrets it holds.
Developing Apps for the IoT is Somewhat Different
IoT devices range from home appliances like light bulbs to security systems to business and industrial devices that collect and deliver business intelligence. Two-thirds of all consumers will likely have at least one connected device in their homes by the year 2019.
Similarly, developing apps for the IoT is different from developing for smartphones and tablets, where there is a screen and obvious method of input (keyboard and mouse or a touchscreen). IoT devices rarely have a screen. These devices also have to operate with very low power resources and need a reliable connection to the Internet or to other devices. In some cases, the device needs a means for storing information until an Internet connection is available to transmit the data back to your databases. All of these issues need to be addressed in the design and development of the app or device.
Which brings up another question: are you going to develop an IoT device or produce an app for an existing device? Your business, the purpose for your IoT involvement, and budget are just a few considerations for answering this question.
Do you need help in determining what the IoT has to offer and developing apps for mobile devices? Glance can help. Contact us for your development needs.
Simon has worked in the software industry for over 20 years; intent on always producing work of the highest standard and creating software products that genuinely makes things better for people. Simon has previously held positions ranging from Developer, Technical Consultant, Head of Development through to CTO and more recently founder and CEO of several high profile technology companies.