Internet of Things (IoT) applications are already changing the way we function on a daily basis by relieving us from doing both simple and more complicated tasks. But that’s not all — building IoT applications is also meant to make consumers’ lives better, whether it’s the concept of a smart home or a wearable band tracking our health rate during different activities.
In short, the Internet of Things means physical devices (or groups of devices) equipped with sensors, software and other technologies, and the ability to connect and exchange data with other devices and systems via the Internet or other networks (like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth).
IoT technology has a huge impact not only on individuals but also on business and society in general. And a quick look at some stats is enough to see that impact only growing in the future. For example, according to Statista, the number of connected IoT devices will grow from 13.8 billion units in 2021 to 30.9 billion units in 2025. It indicates that there will be more demand for IoT apps and devices, and consequently, more companies that develop them. EPAM is proud to be one of those companies.
If you are interested in building an IoT app, keep reading to learn how to do it the right way. In it, we’ll cover:
- Why startups decide to create IoT applications
- Cost of developing small and simple IoT app — starts from $80,000;
- Cost of developing medium, more advanced IoT app — starts from $100,000, up to $150,000;
- Cost of developing an advanced app with multiple features — starts from $150,000 and more.
- If it’s better to build web or mobile apps and why
- What tech stack you should choose for IoT development
- How to create an app for IoT that users won’t remove
- The cost of building an IoT app in 2022
- Building IoT apps with enterprise-level experts like EPAM Anywhere Business
Areas with the biggest demand for IoT applications
IoT solutions impact not only the lives of individuals but also society in general. What are some of these impacts? First of all, think about a smart home concept (or smart city in the broader sense), biometric scanners, wearable health monitors, voice assistants (like Siri) or smart cars (like Tesla). All of these examples of IoT are making a huge difference to the way we live, work, eat, train, and function in general.
IoT has a variety of applications and offers many possibilities. Here, we describe just a few of them, those with the biggest demand and highest potential return on investment in development.
We’ve also added relevant examples of successful startups in the IoT industry together with opportunities that each particular niche offers. You can treat it as inspiration to learn more about what’s possible.
IoT in the healthcare industry helps medical professionals to take better care of their patients as well as connect with them proactively in a timely manner. In fact, patients and healthcare facilities also benefit from using the possibilities of the Internet of Things in this industry.
Examples of IoT usage in healthcare
- Wearable health monitoring devices
- Sleep monitors
- Glucose monitors
- Real-time tracking of medical and monitoring equipment (like wheelchairs or defibrillators)
- Smart medication dispensers
Startups and their applications for healthcare industry
Aira — uses latest IoT technologies to connect blind people with highly-trained professionals who help them with daily activities by providing visual information
AwarePoint — provides IoT sensors to track locations of patients and medical equipment in real-time
Kinsa — offers various smart thermometers as a way to detect contagious illnesses early
Medisafe — creators of medication reminder app called Medisafe (available on Android and iOS)
Logistics and transportation
IoT helps optimize logistics and transportation processes of goods and people by tracking objects and vehicles as well as by transferring current data about the transports. IoT can also be used to control elements of the transport process remotely.
Examples of IoT usage in logistics and transportation
- Warehouse management
- Finding alternative routes
- Predictive analytics (finding the best routes or checking the effectiveness of drivers)
- Traffic management
Startups and their applications for logistics and transportation industries
- HERE Tracking – software for indoor and outdoor tracking of devices and assets that EPAM created together with HERE Technologies
- Hopstack — warehouse automation via IoT sensors
- InnoTech — package condition management
- IOTech — solution integrating retail and logistics via sensor platform
- Syook — fleet tracking sensors as a solution called TiTo (Truck in Truck out)
- Tive — solution for tracking location of high-value goods
IoT in the retail industry can be used to improve both customer experience and retail management — making it easier, better and faster. The Internet of Things is also a way to provide digital experiences for customers visiting physical stores.
Examples of IoT usage in the retail industry
- Retail management and tracking
- Optimization of product placement
- Improvement of customer experience (i.e. using IoT to detect confused or impatient customers and informing in-store staff about them)
- Inventory management
Startups and their applications for the retail industry
- EVRYTHNG — provides data on company-owned or manufactured products and is being used by brands like Ralph Lauren and Coca-Cola
- CONEX — smart visual merchandising and quality images for interactive displays
- Stockwell — manufacturers of vending machines, called smart stores, that can be adapted to the particular space they will be placed in. For example, fitness clubs can fill vending machines with post-workout products
Using the Internet of Things in homes is about controlling domestic appliances remotely and, if needed, automatically. In other words, using IoT apps and smart devices allows for almost total control over a house and its surroundings (like a garden) without the need of being there physically.
Examples of using IoT in the smart home industry
- Energy usage control system
- Lighting and audio control systems
- Noise, water damage, smoke and fire detectors
- Remote-controlled handles and curtains
- Garden watering system
Startups and their smart home applications
- SimpliSafe — provides home IoT security solutions for detecting potential intruders, water damage, and fire
- Span.io — offers smart electrical panels that consumers can connect to an app, allowing them to control energy usage at home
- SmartRent — smart home products and solutions dedicated to those renting properties and homebuilders
- LinpTech — manufacturer of smart doorbells and curtains for both residential and commercial buildings
Creating an IoT application: mobile app or web app?
If you’ve already chosen a niche for which you want to build an IoT app, it’s time to decide whether it’s better to build a mobile application or a web application.
Why it’s better to build a mobile app vs web app
- Better discoverability, as you can add your app to AppStore or Google Store
- Better accessibility to the device’s features and resources (and that means greater functionality)
- Better security, as mobile apps must be approved before being added to the app store
- Mobile apps can work without an active Internet connection, i.e. via Bluetooth
- They are usually faster and easier to build than web apps
Why it’s better to build a web app vs mobile app
- Lower development costs
- They work straight in a browser, so it’s not necessary to download them
- There is no need to build two separate apps, which might be the case if you want to build a mobile app
- They are easier to maintain and update
- They don’t have to be approved by anyone, so you can launch quickly
What’s under the hood: Build an IoT application using these components
Every Internet of Things application requires four elements: cloud technology, dedicated hardware, a reliable network, and intuitive software.
One of the most important elements of IoT, responsible for data processing and storage.
Low-energy sensors or mobile devices that can be either custom-built or bought from third-party vendors.
Responsible for two-way communication between all relevant IoT devices, and properly linking these devices with each other.
Software is responsible for managing all devices within an IoT system. Whether you choose to develop a mobile app or a web app, the software should be cloud-based. Additionally, users should be able to check information collected from sensors and devices via one dashboard.
The tech stack you need to create a winning IoT application
The technology stack needed to create an IoT app consists of the following: programming language, framework, cloud IoT platform, protocol, hardware and sensors. Combine them according to your specific tech requirements, and, if uncertain, don't be shy about reaching out to experts for professional solutions.
- Arduino (open source)
- AWS (Amazon Web Services) IoT
- Google Cloud IoT
- IBM Watson
- Microsoft Azure IoT
- FPGA controllers
- Google TPU
- Raspberry PI
How to make IoT applications that users rely upon
At EPAM, we advise you to build a Minimum Viable Product (or Minimum Viable Application in this case) to verify your idea as fast as possible and improve it according to feedback you receive from initial customers.
And when it comes to the development process itself – we’ve prepared a list of recommended steps to implement when building high-quality IoT products, ones that people will keep using them again and again.
Step 1: UI/UX design
An IoT app — like any other app — needs a design that’s not only good looking but also user-friendly. Experienced designers can help ensure this aspect is taken care of properly. You can find them in a variety of ways, i.e. on Behance or by looking for app design agencies and checking their portfolios.
Before you start developing your own app, you need to know the importance of good UI/UX design – it’s what separates successful apps from those that get removed quickly. For example, disappointed people will leave bad reviews on AppStore or Google Play and that will have a bad effect on a number of downloads.
Make sure that the user flow is logical and there are no errors like buttons leading to nowhere. For the end user, using your app should feel natural and intuitive, without unnecessary guesswork.
Step 2: Front-end development
Step 3: Back-end development
Back-end development is a bit more complicated, as you need to choose more tools that must be compatible with each other. We already covered cloud platforms before; here, you must also choose a programming language, database management system and DevOps tool.
Database — CrateDB, InfluxDB, MongoDB, RethinkDB, SQLite Database
DevOps tools — Gradie, Jenkins, Docker
Step 4: Quality assurance — automated or manual testing
Before launching, test your application to discover as many bugs as possible and fix them. Be prepared to receive bug reports from the users and to quickly fix them as well.
Step 5: Collect users’ feedback and improve your app accordingly
After launching your app, listen to your initial users, collect their feedback and create a roadmap describing what fixes or new features will be implemented and when. Make this roadmap available to your users so they know you treat them seriously and that you intend to improve your app over time.
How much does it cost to make an IoT app in 2022?
Before diving into average rates for developing IoT applications, it’s important to understand what factors determine the final price. This includes:
- App complexity (i.e. number of features)
- Application security level
- Number of API integrations
- Operating system
- Type of application (mobile or web)
- UI/UX design complexity (i.e. how many screens need to be coded)
Developing applications for the Internet of Things with enterprise-level experts from EPAM Anywhere Business
Working with EPAM Anywhere Business to develop an IoT applications means:
- Great user experience — usability of IoT apps is something we take very seriously from day one, as there is no point of building any app that won’t be user-friendly;
- Broad expertise — for every project we take on, we assemble a development team of people with the most relevant skills and experience;
- High-level app security — we make sure that app data will be stored and well-protected at every level;
- Scalability — thanks to our microservice-based architecture, there is always the ability to scale IoT applications by adding new features or integrations and expanding a list of supported devices.
This article is intended to acquaint you with the fundamentals of developing IoT applications. We’ve covered things like industries with high demand for IoT apps, components of the Internet of Things, the right tech stack and a step-by-step process for building apps people will use. As the demand for IoT applications keeps growing globally, more and more companies will try to jump in and secure their positions in verticals like retail or healthcare.
If you are interested in joining them, let the EPAM Anywhere Business team help you and contact us.