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The IoT/Mobile Intersection: Why It Matters For App Development

Internet of Things (IoT) technologies — from smart home devices to wearables to wireless sensors — are rapidly gaining ground. In 2017, the market topped $170 billion and is on-track to triple this growth in just four years. Mobile and IoT devices are naturally related since they’re portable, on-demand and must deliver consistent user experience, but there’s a specific intersection here: Mobile app development and IoT evolution. Here’s why it matters for your business.

Form and Function

Mobile applications are often designed as endpoints: Users download apps to smartphones or tablets when then provide specific functions such as easy access to e-commerce stores, intra-company collaboration, or data gathering and analytics. IoT devices are another subset of endpoints typically connected to corporate and home networks via wireless access points.

The mobile/IoT intersection? Leveraging mobile apps to empower and enhance connectivity with IoT devices. In effect, it’s an alteration of form to improve function — mobile applications become part of the overall IoT ecosystem by providing users secure, streamlined ways to access physical devices.

Consider the example of wirelessly connected home lighting. Even with a wireless hub, “smart” bulbs aren’t so bright without the benefit of a great IoT mobile app. Users need a way to easily monitor and control apps from their smartphone or tablet. The result? App development is shifting from delivering endpoints to empowering downstream IoT devices.

Anatomy of an App

What does this mean for the strategy and development process? What’s the anatomy of IoT mobile apps? How does it differ from current application offerings?

First up? Both thing and app must inform design. In other words, while user experience within the application remains critical, user ability to easily control IoT devices is also paramount — apps that look great but lack seamless connectivity with smart devices won’t drive user adoption. Hybrid app design is also critical as more device manufacturers enter the IoT space and users — with a range of smartphone types and operating systems — look for connected applications. Bottom line? In an IoT-enabled world, there’s no room to design for iOS or Android alone. Hybrid, platform-agnostic apps are key.

Last but not least? Security. Many IoT devices come with limited (or absent) security measures. This creates both a mandate and opportunity for mobile apps if they both protect user data and improve end-device defenses.

IoT Mobile App Design

Not sure where to get started with app design for IoT? You’re not alone — with niche development on the rise and third-party software quickly becoming the de facto standard, it’s hard to keep up.

We can help. SnapMobile’s hybrid app development process includes complete commitment, accurate timelines, no-hassle cost and ongoing maintenance. Ready? Discover how SnapMobile can empower your innovative IoT app development.