Creating Apps for the Internet of Things within Enterprise

What Companies Should Consider while Building Apps for IoT

Thanks to the plethora of connected devices, smart devices and wearables in the market today, the concept of the Internet of Things has come to the fore now, more than ever before. IoT is basically a network of objects or ‘things’, which contain embedded technology, and can communicate and interact with each other via that technology. These gadgets include smart devices, which can be remotely accessed and controlled, thereby benefitting users, ranging over a variety of industries. The convenience and ease of use that IoT offers is creating a rise in demand for apps for devices, including home and enterprise monitoring systems, computing and navigation and much, much more.  

IoT can be especially useful for companies aiming to seamlessly connect all electronic devices within their environment, thereby making work easier for their employees; eventually increasing their overall productivity. More established business organizations, which have already invested in mobile ecosystems, are now looking to support wearable technology as well. App developers too are following the trend and are creating software to support these devices.

With the extreme proliferation of devices – mobile and otherwise – enterprises are faced with the challenge of offering a seamless, personalized experience across the entire range of devices and OS’, while also ensuring safety and privacy of its employees and its own network. As new devices enter the arena, companies need to constantly update their tech, in order to support them all.

What things should enterprises consider before creating apps for IoT, so that they can make the most of this technology? Read on to know more….

Channel and Mode of Connectivity

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The first thing companies need to consider is the mode of connectivity that will connect the devices within the office environment. They will have to decide if they would connect via WiFi or Bluetooth or a traditional mobile network. Next, they will have to think of supporting the various types of mobile devices used by their employees, also taking into consideration the various mobile networks they use as well. Lastly, the IT department will have to work on assigning special privileges to high-level employees, while denying the same to certain others. 

Hardware Capability and Compatibility

Internet of Things
Image © MadLab Manchester Digital Laboratory/Flickr.

Another important aspect to consider, while creating apps for enterprise, is that of hardware capabilities of mobile devices used employees, within the office environment. While adding newer hardware capabilities would help companies save on tech expenses in the long run, the fact is that the entire process is complex and expensive. Larger organizations would have the financial and other resources to carry out the necessary changes. However, smaller businesses would find it very difficult to keep abreast with the constantly changing technology. 

Conformity to License Agreements

License Agreement
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Different OEMs stipulate different license agreement terms. You should see to it that your company adheres to each of these agreements. To illustrate an example, Apple features 2 segments in its licensing program – one for manufacturers and the other for app developers. Each of these segments includes different terms and conditions. Companies that wish to qualify for special access must have all the licenses in place in order to procure the same.

Programming Protocols

Image © Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Flickr.

In order to connect mobile devices to IoT devices, app developers have to several programming protocols while developing apps for them. A bunch of common code, known as the External Accessory Framework, can be used to let the mobile device know the type of IoT device that is trying to communicate with it. This framework also enables developers to determine the type of apps that each IoT device can access via its connected mobile devices.

Using IoT Platforms vs. Building Custom IoT Apps

IoT Platforms
Image © Kevin Krejci/Flickr.

Finally, companies have to decide if they wish to use readymade IoT platforms to create apps for these devices, or to build customized apps from scratch. It takes immense time and resources to build apps from scratch. Ready-to-use platforms, on the other hand, offer several built-in functionalities, such as device communication APIs to create apps, analytics, automatic archiving of incoming data, provisioning and management capabilities, real-time messaging and so on. Hence, it could be more beneficial for enterprises to use these platforms to create apps for IoT devices.