The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to make an emerging impact in the home as well as the business world, especially in the manufacturing sector with the Industrial IoT (IIoT). Simply stated, the IoT provides the means to control an Internet addressable device remotely using a computer, a specialized touch display, or a mobile device. Considering the ubiquitous nature of the smartphone, mobile devices remain the most obvious means for this type of remote control.
In fact, apps for controlling IoT devices are also showing up on different platforms, like wearables or even OTT streaming devices, such as the Roku or Apple TV. Additionally, the IIoT community uses bespoke embedded devices for managing industrial systems in addition to smartphones and tablets. In short, it’s a rapidly expanding market creating a strong demand for software used to control IoT systems.
This need for mobile apps to manage a smart home or another IoT system means a copious number of opportunities for experienced digital agencies employing talented software engineers. So let’s take a closer look at a few of the benefits of mobile apps for the expanding Internet of Things marketplace. They provide the chance for your agency to expand its business in a lucrative fashion.
Like many other apps, an IoT mobile app includes a user interface as well as backend logic that handles two-way communication with the device. A basic app simply provides an interface to control the connected device. For example, a lighting controller app provides an on-off switch at the minimum. It might also include a slider or knob control functioning as a dimmer for lights with that capability.
However, that model only describes the most basic IoT mobile app. A modern app managing a more complex IoT or IIoT system might access a backend database or even leverage AI or machine learning for additional capabilities. Additionally, supporting an API layer offers another option for accessing more programmatic functionality.
Ultimately, an intuitive and effective UI/UX remains critical for any mobile app used for managing IoT devices. Provide something with the same ease of use as a door or light switch at a basic level. Apps accessing more sophisticated systems need to reveal this additional complexity in a gradual fashion. Leverage a user interface flow matching current popular mobile apps while providing support for the common gestures used today on mobile devices.
Many of the myriad benefits of a mobile app used for IoT management transcend industry sectors. In the consumer space, leveraging a home automation system using a smartphone or tablet simply makes life easier. Of course, the convenience of controlling lights, shades, locks and more within an app is obvious. However, a smart home app might offer time-based control of an HVAC system or even a “scene” feature where a user triggers multiple device actions by pressing a virtual button. For example, consider a scene that automatically lowers the lights, closes the shades, and plays a classic Barry White album for a romantic evening in.
Add machine learning models to the app and even more functionality becomes possible. For example, a model analyzes HVAC usage and makes recommendations on settings to save power. It’s an environmentally friendly approach that saves money. In this scenario, the mobile app improves efficiency, a benefit that also matches IoT apps used in the business and manufacturing sectors.
Not surprisingly, IoT use-cases in the business and manufacturing worlds tend to be more complex compared to those for the smart home. In many cases, improved efficiency remains one of the most important benefits of a well-crafted mobile app used to manage these systems. Supply chain operations provides one example, as dispatchers use an app to manage delivery vehicles with routing based on real-time machine learning analysis of traffic, weather, and road construction.
Even the agricultural industry benefits from IoT mobile apps. Having embedded IoT devices in tractors and other farm equipment helps improve the overall efficiency of watering and fertilizer application. Again, leveraging machine learning provides the opportunity to track overall equipment performance and even recommend maintenance. That functionality – including physical asset tracking – also applies to manufacturing equipment as well as the supply chain fleet described above.
Needless to say, as the business world continues to finally reap the long promised benefits of the IoT, expect its adoption rate to continue to increase – just like with cloud computing. The continued rollout of 5G networking and its lower latency also benefits the IoT. Expect copious opportunities for digital agencies experienced in mobile app development to abound.
If you are interested in IoT mobile app development and need a partner, connect with the experienced team at NineTwoThree. We boast a keen mix of technical know-how and business acumen with a proven track record of successful apps. Contact us to discuss the possibilities of a partnership.