This has been the year of the Internet of Things (IoT). It seems like every day there’s a new and different connected device, machine, or appliance that makes everyday life and business easier and more efficient. And it’s only growing faster; IoT spending surpassed $745 billion last year, up 15% from 2017, and is projected to soar past the $1 trillion marks by 2022, with a double-digit percentage increase every year according to this report. This is very positive news for mobile app developers looking to get into this market, but there are a few things you should know before you jump in. Here are a few things to consider before you get started.
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There are so many different sectors that the IoT is expanding in, it can be hard to keep track. You can try to step into the sector that’s the largest at this point; you may get a huge hit, but you’ll also likely have fierce competition from big companies. Likewise, you can consider a new or underrepresented niche, where competition may be minimal but might be a hit-or-miss endeavor. So, let’s take a look at where this technology is making an impact, and how mobile app development can make a difference.
Manufacturing: By far, applications of the IoT in industrial and manufacturing settings are the number one sector. This makes sense, as these connected machines in massive factories are extremely expensive, and the apps that control them are usually specifically proprietary to those systems. If you are well-versed in these highly technical networks, perhaps you can create a superior product. It’s just as likely, however, that you can discover a supplementary use for your app, maybe in an auditing or reporting capacity.
MedTech: This is a very promising sector in general for mobile app development in general, as issues and solutions regarding health and wellness continue to emerge. Many of these new concepts involve wearable devices, monitors, or sensors…all of which count as an IoT components. Knowing that there’s a wealth of opportunity to either improve on an existing app or ideate a new concept. Chronic condition monitors, like blood sugar sensors for diabetes or fitness trackers for obesity, are hot-button items now. Check out ways that MedTech mobile apps are changing the IoT landscape.
Consumer: This is the niche that’s the most relatable to everyday folks, as many use IoT every day in their homes. Connected security systems, appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers, and lighting and climate control are increasing in popularity and utility, and there are always more angles to explore. One emerging sector is the outdoor/landscaping niche, where automated systems like irrigation, pool maintenance, and lawn care are all complicated enough to need monitoring and control.
Utilities: The energy/water/communications sectors are prime candidates for IoT connectivity and apps to control them. Traditionally inefficient human tasks like meter reading and power plant monitoring can now be tracked and controlled by IoT-enabled devices and machinery, potentially avoiding human error and lowering costs. These can be on a municipal, state, or even federal level, so you should research which programs are having success, and where you might be able to step in with a solution.
There are several other sectors where the IoT is making an impact, like retail and transportation. Point is, there’s ample opportunity to break into this field. Do your research and read those reviews, and get started with your strategy.
How the IoT Changes Mobile App Development
It’s good to know the various ways that developers have to adapt to the particulars of IoT software, coding, and devices so that you’re aware of the scope of work and expertise needed. Now, we’ll take a look at the specific necessities of IoT app development.
- Data Streaming: These devices and machinery have to share and transmit a massive volume of data both within the internal network and out to the controlling app. This isn’t your standard packet-based data transfer, so it takes specialized mechanisms to accommodate these certain needs.
- Security and Storage: Because of the requirements for enormous collection and storage of data, these networks and hardware packages need to be uniquely configured to handle the load. Additionally, this data needs to be secure with the latest encryption and protection measures to prevent corruption and potential hacking attacks.
- Cloud: A cloud-based solution is often preferred with IoT networks, as traditional carrier networks can be prohibitively priced and easily overloaded. Any app development partner you might decide to work with should be experienced and equipped to work within the cloud.
You may want to consider an app development partner that has a DevOps team and philosophy in place. DevOps lets the development and operations teams combine and collaborate with each other throughout the entire process, from ideation to launch and beyond. This continuation process allows workers to put finished projects into a common repository, which makes the workflow more efficient and error-free.