Custom mobile apps key as IoT rises

The internet of things has the potential to disrupt longstanding business practices by empowering organizations to access data that would otherwise be unavailable to them. In order to take advantage of this potential, companies must give their users the tools they need to leverage IoT data effectively. Custom mobile apps are often necessary in achieving this goal, making specialized development skills critical.

How the IoT is escalating in the enterprise
The IoT is experiencing a fairly rare situation in which its usefulness and the relative low cost of entry-level technologies are driving rapid deployment. A sensor that tracks equipment usage and reports on key metrics, for example, may only cost a few dollars to deploy. The real expense of the IoT comes in the backend systems that make the technology work, but many solutions are already in place, at least to a nominal degree.

  • Most businesses already have relatively secure, closed-off LANs where they can host IoT devices.
  • Wi-Fi networks began gaining momentum due to the bring-your-own-device movement, laying a strong foundation for wireless sensors.
  • Backend big data systems were often in place, at least in the form of business intelligence solutions.

The technology innovation that preceded the IoT led to a natural foundation for device deployment to be built upon, potentially contributed to the IoT's rapid rise.

According to a recent MarketsandMarkets study, the global IoT market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 26.9 percent for the 2017 to 2022 period. This means that the market, which was valued at $170.57 billion in 2017 will climb to approximately $561 billion by 2022.

"New apps and services, purpose-built for the IoT could prove a key option for businesses."

In many ways, the IoT is gaining ground so quickly because of how fast wireless networking has advanced and the declining cost of connected devices. Big data's rise and cloud platforms are also contributing to IoT market growth, the study found. Moving forward, increased deployment among smaller organizations represents one of the more substantial opportunities for continued IoT expansion.

However, the research also indicated that finding ways to deal with data associated with legacy systems could prove one of the most prominent challenges to the IoT's impending rise.

New apps and services, purpose-built for the IoT could prove a key option for businesses. Modernizing legacy apps and establishing a mobile-enabled workforce could also pay dividends. The key, in either case, is to redesign the technology stack to make sure employees have the solutions they need to gather and use the information created by the IoT. Since the IoT is largely built around real-time data delivery, creating value often hinges on giving users mobile apps that let them interact with IoT data when they're away from their desks.

On top of all this, there aren't many far-reaching IoT ecosystems out there. Some brands may offer collections of devices backed by a software suite, but those solutions force organizations to invest in endpoints from a single solution provider and are often geared at specific use cases, such as home security. Many businesses won't be able to take advantage of such solutions due to the breadth of IoT solutions they will need, making custom apps necessary.

Mobile app development could prove essential to capitalizing on the IoT, and that presents its own set of challenges.

Looking at the mobile development problem
Consider what it is like to work at a typical desktop or laptop PC. Generally speaking, the user will be stationary, be working with a keyboard and mouse/trackpad, have a relatively large display and be able to use the robust processing and large screen size to multi-task. Many enterprise software solutions have been built for precisely this user, but mobile development requires an entirely different skillset.

Forrester explained that enterprise users increasingly demand support for a variety of mobile device types and tend to have extremely high expectations when it comes to functionality and ease of use. The problem, according to the research firm, is that mobile apps present a variety of unique development wrinkles that don't apply to traditional dev projects. In particular, companies must not only deal with underlying technologies that are different – interfaces, operating systems, etc. – but also contend with user expectations around rapid development and delivery.

With many businesses needing custom mobile apps to support the IoT, IT departments may not be prepared for the unique challenges that come along the way. This is where working with a custom mobile development specialist can be particularly valuable.

Custom mobile apps could prove essential as the IoT rises.Custom mobile apps could prove essential as the IoT rises.

Using custom apps to support IoT innovation
Businesses rolling out new IoT projects can equip users for success by creating custom mobile apps that meet the specific demands of a given project. This can include pulling data from a variety of backend database or legacy systems, making existing proprietary solutions available on mobile devices or creating a solution that is highly specific to the new capabilities created by the IoT devices. 

Either way, such a project can prove essential to helping organizations glean immediate value from the IoT instead of being overwhelmed by all the data being created. It can also put a huge burden on IT teams who are trying to not only roll out IoT devices, but also create a new mobile app.

Third-party development specialists can go a long way in easing the workload on your IT department and creating the kind of unique, valuable apps needed to support the IoT. At MC Services, we offer a variety of development services, including mobile app creation. We take a consultative approach to our work, so we'll take the time to get to know your business, fully understand your goals and establish a collaborative partnership that leads to clear project expectations.

With that strong relational foundation in place, our expert dev team can craft the mobile app you need, preparing you for the transition to the IoT without putting excessive pressure on your IT department. What's more, our devs have the mobile-focused skills needed to ensure your app doesn't feel out of place on a smartphone or tablet.