The Internet of Things is gaining traction, and it's not hard to see why. The various sensors, networking chips and other components required to connect things like light bulbs and smartwatches and industrial equipment have all become inexpensive.
It has become relatively easy to send and receive data on a variety of physical characteristics – temperature, light level, moisture level, velocity, pulse rate, or revolutions per minute – as well as more complex data such as sounds, maintenance requirements, as well as static or moving images.
Most analysts contend that that the Internet of Things will be massive and that two-thirds of consumers are expected to buy connected technology for their homes by 2019. Gartner predicts that the total number of connected industrial, business, and consumer “things” to grow to over 26 billion units by 2020, which represents an almost 30-fold increase from the 900 million connected things in 2009.
The right developer should be aware of the current trends and understand why they work. Philips is connecting light bulbs to your smartphone, while the Audi Connect system is using 4G/LTE Wi-Fi hotspot navigation to update drivers with real time weather and traffic alerts. Nexia Home Intelligence allows users to manage their homes from a distance connecting lighting, locks, security cameras, and thermostats. Streetline Parking is an IoT app that creates smart parking solutions that guides drivers to empty spots and allows analysis of parking stats for cities to improve urban efficiency.
This ubiquity creates some important queries for developers. If you’re thinking of connecting your business to IoT, what's the best way to build an application that could interact with almost anything? What skills are needed to do so? Where do you even begin?
According to the experts at Clearbridge Mobile, one of the top app development companies in Toronto, understanding the “things” is important. These devices usually have no screen, a low-power processor, an embedded OS, and a way of wirelessly communicating data through one or more communications protocols. The things may connect to neighboring things, to an internet gateway device, or to the Internet itself.
Next comes the ingestion tier, which requires software and infrastructure to receive and organize the massive streams of data.
The analytics tier is next, which is where the data is organized and processed. Here the raw data is transformed into actual information that users can engage with.
Finally, we have the end-user tier, where the user can actually see and interact with the information through an enterprise application, or a mobile app.
Because of the complexity of these individual tiers and their integration, you’ll need to partner with a mobile app developer that understands the nuances and subtleties of the entire Internet of Things. The developer will want to build an application on top of a pre-existing Internet of Things platform that usually already includes an ingestion tier as well as an analytics tier. With a pre-existing platform, it’s much easier for developers to cater their apps to users — and to help you brand the information provided by the IoT itself.