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:
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Before diving into average rates for developing IoT applications, it’s important to understand what factors determine the final price. This includes:
Average costs of developing IoT applications in North America:
Working with EPAM Anywhere Business to develop an IoT applications means:
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.