What does the Internet of Things (IoT) have in store for app development? What do developers need to know as connected devices become more commonplace and useful? Here are several things the app developer needs to be aware of as more items become connected.
Connected Things Aren’t Novel Anymore
There’s no longer a reason to build something just because it’s cool. People are over the newness of connectivity. Connected devices and apps must have a purpose.
The time of the ‘wow neat!’ factor is over. People are jaded to connected cars, homes, phones, watches, pet collars, and vending machines. This means developers can’t get much play out of gimmicks. Develop only for those items that make sense to develop for. Say, for instance, that your business caters to the avid outdoor enthusiast, or perhaps the stay at home parents. Developing for the Apple watch makes no sense, as that primary demographic is business people. Keep your development projects tuned into your brand’s identity and don’t try to get mileage out of connected items with no bearing on your customer base.
Look for Natural Tie-Ins to Your Brand
On the other end of the spectrum, there are lots of connected things that could derive value from what you have to offer. Say, for example, that you’re a chain of seafood eateries. Piggybacking on a connected device designed for avid travelers would make a lot of sense, because you could ping them directions to your nearest locations, special discounts on meals, and even let them know when the catch of the day is arriving when the user was away from home. Developers should always be on the lookout for connected devices that make a natural tie-in to their products.
Make the Value to the Customer Clear
What does the user stand to gain by using your app? How easy is it for them to understand and define those benefits?
It isn’t always readily obvious how an app could deliver value to the customer. You have to make the user understand how having this particular app, device, or functionality is going to benefit them. How does your app make their lives easier? How will they benefit from having it? What are the advantages of opting in? In a world of connected devices, it will take some convincing to get them to add one more to the mix.
Keep the Interface Clean & Simple
In that same line of thought, users grow tired of entering data, although much of the IoT depends on the user’s input for its functionality. It is essential that app developers make clean interfaces that are easy to use and fast. Unnecessary steps will cause users to lose interest quickly. Also, consider the size of the interface. Some devices (the smart watch is a good example) are incredibly small compared to tablet and smartphone screens. This will seriously limit your design potential, so be sure your app can remain useful in such a petite size.
Prepare a Way to Secure the Data You Collect
One of the most serious considerations with the IoT is how to keep it safe. From the onset of the design process, make sure your developers build for security. Where will the data reside and how will it be kept safe? How will data be kept secure on the device as well as in transit? What data will be collected? What regulations will that particular type of data fall under? Smart developers don’t build an app and then try to secure it — they build a secure app from the ground up.
When it’s time to get your business into the IoT, visit Glance for top developers ready to take on your toughest design challenges. The IoT is here, are you coming?
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.