10 Essentials for Getting Started on your Enterprise IoT Mobile App
More devices are connected to the internet than ever before, ranging from consumer products to industrial applications. As these Internet of Things (IoT) devices play an ever larger role in homes and offices, users will need intuitive ways to manage and interact with them. iOS and Android apps enable you to put your IoT products right into the hands of consumers on their phones.
Partnering with an agency experienced in designing and developing IoT apps is a crucial first step. This ensures that budgets and timeframes are realistic, and more importantly, that people will actually use what’s being built. To help you get started with the right questions, Appstem has gathered insights from years of expertise working on IoT projects across different industries. Appstem is a leading design and development firm that specializes in web and mobile apps that integrate with IoT devices. Learn about the innovative IoT apps we’ve built for Fortune 500 companies and high-growth startups at Appstem.com.
1. Define the problem
Who will use your app and why? What key problem will it solve? Once you have your hypothesis, you’ll need to validate the problem and your solution with people who will actually be using the app. Talk to real people. Use surveys or polls. Gather this information as a basis for your MVP (Minimum Viable Product).
2. Create an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
Research similar apps that are already on the market for your target audience and determine which features are critical or popular. What are the reviews telling you? What kind of data do you want your app to deliver? Keep it simple — don’t try to build everything in the first release, as priorities will change once you start getting user feedback. Release a small and focused initial product to get started and learn quickly.
3. Prioritize a great user experience
First, focus on building a solid user-base. Don’t worry about monetization, as that will happen more easily once you’ve attracted an audience. Instead, concentrate on creating an intuitive and engaging mobile or web IoT user interface. According to a survey on consumer web habits, 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. Almost half of consumers expressed a more negative opinion about a company after a single bad web experience, and more than a third told others about it.1 In order to not lose out on potential users, it is critical to have a polished user experience right from launch.
4. User testing and feedback
Connect with your early users through testing; use their feedback to iterate on the app. Repeat this process often. Depending on the complexity of your product, the vast majority of your usability issues can be found with as few as five or ten test users.
Don’t just ask users for feedback — keep track of their behavior through analytics as well to learn about how they use your application, what pages they spend the most time on, and what pages tend to cause them to leave your app. This will help you focus on which areas of your app need the most refinement in user experience.
5. Predictive analytics and machine learning
IoT allows you to collect far more data than software platforms ever have before. It’s critical to use the latest technology to take advantage of these large, real-time streams of data.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence can help you learn from customer behavior in unexpected ways, and allow you to reevaluate the ways you analyze and examine the data provided by your IoT devices.
It’s essential to know how privacy and security regulations will impact your app from the start. For example, any system that stores a user’s personal health information will likely need to be HIPAA-compliant. Wireless communication used by your IoT devices may be governed by FCC regulations. You’ll need to understand how your users’ data will be protected and how your app will comply with applicable laws, regulations, and security guidelines.
6. Leverage connectivity platforms
When integrating with third-party IoT devices, save time using a connectivity platform such as Validic. This will enable you to integrate a single service with access to data from a growing library of popular connected devices instead of creating custom integrations for each device.
7. Determine the best communication approach for your IoT system
Building an IoT system usually means working with low-powered devices and transmitting large amounts of data. This requires you to make important decisions about how those devices will communicate with the internet. To determine your best strategy, analyze the amount of data, the frequency of updates, and the technological capabilities of the connected devices.
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), and classic Bluetooth are popular communication methods offering different benefits and drawbacks in regards to transmission speeds and power consumption.
- Communication protocols like MQTT, AMQP, and CoAP, have different capabilities and impact the costs you will pay for data transfer. Evaluate costs of transmitting data. Choosing the right protocol can save on bandwidth costs, especially when you scale to millions of users.
9. Leverage IoT platforms
Building an entire IoT system is complicated. Save time by using a cloud computing platform like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. These services provide a foundation for all of the complex components of an IoT platform, including the communication, data analytics, machine learning and security necessary for an IoT system.
10. Do you know what you don’t know?
Can you afford to start your next app project before fully understanding your key objectives, budget, and timeline? If you have questions about integrating your smart devices with a mobile or web app, feel free to reach out and chat with one of our technical experts, email@example.com.
1 Gomez, Inc. “Why Web Performance Matters: Is Your Site Driving Customers Away?” 2010.
Originally published at Appstem.