Unless you’ve been living out of this planet, there’s no way you haven’t heard about Internet of Things (IoT) by now. In essence, it is how mobile devices will be able to connect with everyday household objects such as toasters, refrigerators, heating systems etc. through which you can control functionalities from your smartphones. Any physical device which has network connection with Internet embedded with software, actuators, sensors and connectivity is IoT. Development of mobile applications is not only indispensable for businesses to survive in this competitive world, but is also a need to offer convenience to people from all walks of life, no matter where they may be located in the world.
This emerging technology has entirely changed the face of present mobile apps and opened the doors of employment for app developers to produce IoT enabled apps & compete in the market.
As of now, mobile devices are embedded with sensors, which could reveal good amount of information regarding the users. Apart from geolocation information, smartphones could trace even light condition, orientation of the device and perform accordingly with the situations. But how?
Behind the Scenes
A bunch of technologies are merged together in pairing of IoT Devices with Mobile apps. With an overview, three major elements are used to describe the flow i.e. IPv6 address, sensors and a server. Since huge number of devices are connected to the Internet, it is necessary to make them identifiable with a unique identification. It is assisted with IPv6 enabling which assigns a unique address among a pool of addresses to make them uniquely approachable. If any device wants to communicate with other device, it has to ping the assigned IP address and for successful communication an acknowledgement, the signal must be sent back from the devices to transmitter.
Next to identification, comes the data gathering process which is done by various sensors. These sensors are embedded in the devices and along with various processors and communication hardware their job is to collect, send and process the data from the environment to the server.
The information gathered from these sensors are sent onto a server which can either be stored for processing it further to mobile devices or for mining the data for various evaluations. This information is then requested by the mobile apps and then allows the user to control, manage and analyze it. Further instructions are sent to IoT devices in the similar manner to trigger various actions and decisions. The job of app developers is to understand the protocols that are working behind the communication between the two.
IoT Making Impact on App Development
Amalgamation of IoT in mobile app gives a new level of data and service. It’s high time for businesses & app developers to come together to build IoT enabled apps. Mobile apps are built with a mechanism where data transmitted by devices through their integrated sensors will be received by the app in real time. When mobile apps and physical objects are synced well, IoT adds convenience & effectiveness to our lives.
With IoT creating buzz- Smart Homes, Wearables, Connected Cars etc. are the most searched, on Google. Today, you are able to control air conditioning before reaching home or switching off lights after you are out of the home with just a one click. As technology continues to amaze us, following are the ways in which IoT has impacted App development:
- Reduces Workload- For both users & developers, the assistance IoT has provided is beyond expectation. Like, apps for inventory management has cut down the load of monitoring the stock at every point, from one location to another. With IoT apps the organization can track the shipping without any physical locomotion required.
- Daily Life of Things- With homeowners directly able to control home appliances from wherever they are, through their smartphones leading to a centralized household management.
- Enhanced User Experience- IoT will enable you to remotely operate your workplace access system. Previously, the main task for developers was to make easy & user-friendly apps, now the work has shifted to integrate apps & smart devices in a way which lead to better user experience than before. Also, with smartphones connected to fitness equipment’s, IoT healthcare apps have made it easier for people to keep a track of their health.
- Generating Employment- This emerging technology requires fresh & unified specialization. As IoT will be growing on projected rates, companies will likely to need a team of specialist of IoT app developers.
- Reformation of Existing Apps- Apps that don’t support IoT have no chance to survive in this competitive market, therefore companies are investing considerable time & effort to build apps that are adaptable to connectivity with internet.
- Limited Platforms for IoT Development- It’s going to take lot of effort & time for developers to build these IoT applications, as there will be many trials & errors to figure out things on this unknown journey. As there are limited IoT platforms, it’s a huge challenge to find how the app will connect to the Internet of Things (IoT) device, to the Internet and to itself. But eventually things will get easier as more and more tech giants release software development apps.
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Challenges for Developing IoT Mobile Apps
- Privacy & Security Concerns-
With Internet of Things, various devices will get connected, this will make tracking things smooth. Others can track you & vice versa, things can be used either for good or bad. Because, you never know who is tracking you or your sensitive information & how they are going to use it. With smart devices like camera, sensors installed everywhere, it will become very easy to hack or seize your personal information. The companies indulged in developing IoT apps must work on bifurcating personal identifiers from that of personal data.
- Detection of Fault-
Internet of Things is all about being real-time. If IoT devices face poor connectivity issues, disrupts at the time of transfer of data. Then the whole purpose of deploying an IoT-based solution is forfeited. IoT devices commonly cannot afford disruption, which will lead to faulty analysis & loss of information/data. Therefore, it is essential to constantly monitor whether there is connectivity or any other disruption issue. There needs to be a system to detect discrepancies in data gathering and network problems so that nothing goes unnoticed unintentionally.
- Connectivity Issues-
In near future the traditional connection medium i.e. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G/4G services will be terminated. Since these are the current medium of transmission and receiving of data and corresponding protocols, this trend is not going to last forever. App developers need to work out on some other mode of connection for IoT devices and its corresponding protocols. Developers need to add more capabilities to these mobile apps for future perspectives.
- Efficiency Quotient-
Since the current developers are following mainstream coding languages, they need to realize that coding for IoT devices are different. There is a need to develop a dedicated programming language to be handy enough for the development of such applications since development on current trend requires a lot of patience because it is merely impossible to get the right outcome in initial attempts. Faults arise due to various issues, it may be due to protocol misunderstanding, Hardware/Software connectivity issues or it may be due to immature coding skills. At the end, if there is an early release of such a product without extensive testing the product might not be efficient and may cause to failure or misleading the data interpretations in future.
- Compatibility Issues-
Most of the developers are not aware of how a compatible IoT Application looks like. Since various technologies cluster together to get this technology right on track. All these technologies need to be compatible with the system companies are using. Since development of an IoT application is a five tier (Device, Gateway, Data, Analytics, and Application) approach and each of these tiers has its own requirements that must be fulfilled to resolve compatibility issues.
Internet of Things is a concept that not only has the potential to impact how we live but also how we work. There is a lot of scope for IoT in the future. The world will have 50 billion IoT devices by 2020. It’s is foreseen to touch every industry and people in every domain, optimizing businesses and simplifying people’s lives.
The future of mobile apps looks both challenging and radiant with enticing and innovative potentiality. IoT has already taken a great pace due to the increasing demands in the market. The inflation of Internet of Things devices and wearables will have a radical impact on the way we see the challenges before us. Integration of IoT & app development will lead to a better connected world. It opens the door for mobile app developers to be a part of this amateur but soon to shine industry. Though the advancements and growth are quite a challenge but will be very opportune & exciting for everyone. Implementation of IoT enabled apps, will empower the innovative new businesses. On a concluding note, there will be no stopping the internet of things.