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How to Make an IoT App: Benefits, Tech Aspects, & Detailed Guide [2021]

21 min read
How to Make an IoT App in 2021: Benefits, Tech Aspects, Detailed Guide

The Internet of Things industry is moving through the uprise times.

The market of IoT devices is predicted to reach $1.3 billion by 2026. The number of IoT connections will top 83 billion by 2024, showing steady growth with each upcoming year.

If you’ve ever thought about how to make an IoT app, it’s the right time to start the investigation. This article will speed up the research process and answer some of the most important questions regarding the Internet of Things app development.

Here is what is waiting for you inside:

  • why create an IoT app in 2021
  • key industries that can benefit from IoT app development
  • the most impressive examples of IoT applications
  • benefits & challenges of IoT application development
  • the architecture of IoT
  • IoT app development software
  • key steps of IoT app development
  • cost to create IoT mobile application

Dive right into the article and learn how to make an IoT app in 2021.

What is IoT & Why Create an App in 2021?

The Internet of Things is a comparatively new concept in the technology world. The term IoT was designed in 1999 by Kevin Ashton to describe a technology that connects a number of devices into a single network.

So, what is IoT application development?

The Internet of Things has already entered our everyday lives. The term refers to the network of interconnected devices that exchange information between them without human participation. Such solutions can use any type of interconnection method, including cable and wireless technologies. The process behind the connection of such devices is called the machine-to-machine (M2M) principle.

So, why should you consider the Internet of Things app development for your business?

Just take a look at some of the most promising statistics, clearly showing that this technology won’t stop at what’s already achieved.

  • In 2019, the IoT market was estimated at $250 billion. By 2027, the market will top $1.4 trillion and show a growth of around 25% CAGR. (Fortune Business Insights, 2020)
  • The global market of IoT healthcare will reach $14 billion by 2024. (Zion Market Research, 2018)
  • The Global IoT medical devices market will top $62 billion by 2025 and show a 16% CAGR. (Zion Market Research, 2019)

Without the slightest doubt, the Internet of Things is one of the most promising technologies of the future. A lot of industries can benefit from it, and we’ll talk about them in the next chapter.

Want to know more about developing apps for healthcare?

Check our guide Healthcare Mobile App Development: Step-by-Step Guide with Business & Technical Insights to learn the answer to top questions regarding such solutions.

Key Industries for the Internet of Things App Development

Before we talk about how to make an IoT app, you need to first understand how such a solution can benefit your business.

Just take a lot at the image below showing the global IoT market share by sub-sector.

Industries for the Internet of Things App Development

Below is the list of some areas where IoT app development can deliver the highest value:

  • Smart homes – automated house management systems are being actively developed. Today, you can find IoT solutions for security management, water consumption, electricity, heating systems, and other solutions used in smart homes. One day, smart homes will turn into smart cities, more efficient and safer to live in.
  • Healthcare – thanks to IoT, the healthcare industry has progressed a lot. Various devices and wearables are used to track the health of patients, including heart rate, glucose levels, physical activity, and much more. We have a guide telling how to build wearable applications, so check it out.
  • Automotive – Apple Play and other technologies already allow you to connect your smartphone to a car and control some of its features. The future offers to bring even more exciting capabilities, such as parking a car remotely, summoning it, and so on.
  • Logistics – this is an industry that could benefit from IoT devices the most. The use of RFID tags, GPS trackers, antennas, and chips can help track and monitor the location and movement of the transported goods.
  • Retail – Amazon Go is the brightest example of what IoT can do in the retail industry. Automatic checkout allows to reduce costs and improve customer experience. In the future, IoT solutions will help track visitor’s actions, improve their experience, and make offline retail locations more efficient.
  • Smart farming – this industry is often overlooked when it comes to IoT development. Such devices can be used in agriculture to monitor various conditions, such as air temperature, humidity, soil quality, detect soil contaminations, automate irrigation systems, and much more.

These are just a few areas that can benefit from the Internet of Things app development.

Do you have an IoT app idea but don’t know where to start?

Get in touch with our team for the initial project discussion. We’ll be glad to help you turn your idea into a successful software solution.

Key Aspects of IoT App Development

Before you decide whether you need to create your own IoT solution or not, you need to first understand what benefits and challenges you can face on the road.

Benefits of the IoT App Development

Let’s start with some benefits Internet of Things applications can bring to your business.

  • Cost efficiency

Thanks to the option of IoT solutions in day-to-day operations, companies can reduce costs related to daily tasks. For example, equipment monitoring can help predict any possible problems and minimize downtown.

  • Customer behavior insights

Internet of Things solutions can be used to collect data on user behavior. For example, a company can utilize the combination of tools that monitor customer behavior on a website, in social media and across offline locations derived from the surveillance system to track customer behavior and adjust the provided services accordingly.

  • Enhanced productivity

The adoption of IoT technology allows improving productivity, especially when it comes to manufacturing and the automation of key processes. IoT solutions can help manage the processes and monitor the state of equipment and notify about possible problems and dysfunctions.

  • Better customer experience

The network of interconnected devices provides a lot of data that can be used to improve customer experience. Such solutions help to effectively identify problems and resolve them at the early stages.

  • Better work safety

IoT applications in high-risk environments can collect data in real-time and identify any issues that can turn into potential threats. Thus, employees of such companies can enjoy a safer working environment.

Internet of Things Application Development Challenges

The development of IoT mobile apps is a process comprising different stages. It’s associated with a number of challenges that you need to overcome during the development phase.

How to Create IoT Applications: Challenges

Here is a short list of issues that you need to be prepared for:

  • Security

Security is one of the most challenging parts of IoT development. Interconnected devices create a large number of entry points that hackers can exploit to gain access to the transmitted information, user location, and other valuable data.

  • Privacy

Data stored and transmitted by IoT devices must be encrypted to protect it from leaks. Storage, processing, and transmission of unencrypted data can lead to vulnerabilities and holes in security.

  • Reliability

IoT solutions require a stable connection to the Internet. When the internet connection is lost, the entire system goes offline. That’s why it’s your job to ensure that the IoT can provide basic features even in offline mode.

  • Technological inconsistency

The market is full of devices that can be connected to your Internet of Things. However, it’s very challenging to ensure technological inconsistency. For example, solutions for smart homes are diverse and not all can be compatible with your application, creating one of the biggest challenges.

IoT application development process can go sideways if you don’t have enough knowledge and expertise. Read on the article to learn how to make an IoT app avoiding any issues, money and time wastage.

IoT App Development: Architecture Basics

This section of the article highlights how to make an IoT app from a technical point of view and what components make up the Internet of Things.

Four main components for the Internet of Things system:

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Cloud
  • Network

You can see the architecture of an IoT project in the image below.

IoT Architecture

Let’s review each component in more detail.

  • Hardware

Hardware means the use of low-energy sensors that connect to the internet and interact over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. You can either create a device that is specific to your needs or use one of the existing solutions. Mobile devices used to control the Internet of Things system also relate to hardware solutions.

  • Software

Software is used to manage and control all connected IoT devices. Such software can be cloud-based, web or mobile. Also, depending on the type of controllers, you might also need to develop dedicated software for IoT devices.

  • Cloud

Cloud is the most important part of the IoT system. Cloud stores all the data and performs processing and analysis operations. Interconnected devices send data to the cloud and the cloud is responsible for the connectivity between devices.

  • Network

The network allows for data exchange between sensors and controlling devices, such as smartphones and tablets. The network links all the devices, hence the name interconnected devices.

Platforms and Tools Used to Build IoT Applications

IoT Application Development Framework & Platforms

To fully learn how to make an IoT app, you need to understand what tools can be used to create such a solution. That’s what we are going to review in this chapter of the article.

Communication between the devices is the most important part of the Internet of Things. The below list demonstrates some of the most popular communication protocols that you can use today:

  • WiFi – suitable for indoor use such as home and offices.
  • RFID/NFC – suitable for solutions that require card-based access
  • GSM/GPRS –used for standalone outdoor devices
  • Bluetooth – suitable for wearables and devices that connect to a smartphone.
  • LoRaWAN – used for public and industrial infrastructure products that require 3-5 km range communication
  • NB-IoT – cellular communication technology specifically designed for IoT solutions.

IoT systems also need the use of messaging communication protocols:

  • HTTP – suitable for single requests
  • HTTP WebSockets – suitable for continuous communication
  • MQTT – the most popular protocol in IoT that is flexible and lightweight
  • AMQP – open-source messaging communication protocol with the support of queuing, routing, etc.

Aside from the above protocols, you will need to use one of the IoT app development platforms. The choice of the platform fully depends on your specific needs and the terms of use for each solution.

The table below showcases some of the most popular platforms for the Internet of Things app development.

IoT platform

Key features

Device management 

Price

Google Cloud Platform

Suitable for multi-layer secure infrastructures

AI and ML capabilities

Supports a wide range of embedded operating systems

Location intelligence

Yes

~ $1800/month

IBM Watson IBM

Bidirectional communication facility

AI and analytics

Security and flexibility

Real-time data capturing

Yes

$500/month per instance

Amazon AWS IoT Core

HTTP and MQTT support

Processing of huge amount of messages

Compatibility with other services by Amazon (Lambda, Kinesis, QuickSight)

Yes

Depends on the number of features

Open Remote

HTTP, TCP, UDP, Websocket, & MQTT protocols

Yes

Open Source, free

ThingWorx

Devices connection

Data analysis

On-premise web servers, off-premise cloud apps, or hybrid environment. 

Yes

Upon request

To make the right choice between the IoT app development platforms, you need to know how to make an IoT app from a technical point of view. The process requires deep technical knowledge and understanding of how each of the needed protocols works. That’s why many companies choose in favor of working with a software development vendor providing IoT application development services.

Need help with IoT app development?

Drop us a line to discuss the project. Our experts will be glad to help you select the right technologies and protocols, and build an IoT system.

How to Make an IoT App: 5 Key Steps

How to Make an IoT App: Step-by-Step Guide

This part of the article will navigate you through the process of creating an IoT system. It will help you understand how to make an IoT app and turn it into a seamless process.

Identify a Problem

If you are at the crossroads of where to start, begin with identifying the problem that you want to solve with the help of an IoT system.

You can either create a solution for internal needs or develop an application and turn it into a startup and application to be used outside your company. If you choose the latter option, you will also need to make market research to identify your competition, identify your target audience and its needs.

Choose a Platform

As you already know, there are many IoT app development platforms that you can use to build your own solution.

Aside from the tools mentioned above, you can also choose to develop an IoT application with the help of Android Things or HomeKit. Both of the platforms try to solve the problem of hardware inconsistency, allowing to connect devices from different manufacturers into a unified system.

Select the Hardware

You can either create your own hardware for your IoT solution or use one of the existing ones.

If the latter is the option, you might need to choose microcontrollers and microprocessors. Possible options include Arduino Uno, Mega, ESP8266 or ESP32 boards, STM32F boards, Raspberry Pi, Beagle bone, etc.

Choose an IoT Application Development Company

Finding a company that nailed IoT development is not an easy task. Thus, you need to look for vendors that:

  • have previous experience in IoT app development
  • successfully developed and released projects
  • positive reviews from previous and current customers

The vendor you choose needs to be able to help you build an IoT system and launch it to the market.

Want to know more about choosing an IoT app development company?

Check the article How Outsource App Development in 2021: How to Make It Work to learn all the inside out of the process and how making the right choice will save you a lot of money.

Launch & Ongoing Support

When choosing between development vendors, make sure to make the choice in favor of a company that provides ongoing Internet of Things application development services and support services. After the IoT solution is launched, you will need to update its software, keep its security features up to date, and add new functionality.

How Much Does It Cost to Develop an IoT App?

Internet of Things application development cost starts at $80,000 and can reach up to $250,000 depending on the app’s complexity. If you decide to build your own hardware, you will need to pay for that too and it might increase the cost even more.

There are a number of factors that influence the final cost of development:

  • Size & location of the software vendor – you can outsource app development to a freelancer, a local company, or an offshore development agency. You need to choose a company that will meet all your requirements and offers the best options.
  • Project complexity – the cost depends on the number of features for implementation, the architecture of your IoT system, and the need to create your own hardware.
  • UX/UI design complexity – you might need to create an app with a simple user interface. In some cases, you need to go for an advanced user interface offering animations, unique branding, etc.
  • Number of platforms – the number of platforms you are targeting, Android, iOS, web, or all, directly influence the final development cost.

Usually, the app development cost is calculated this way:

  • A small IoT app with basic functionality will cost you around $80,000
  • A more complex app( with its own database, for example) will cost $100,000-$150,000
  • Complex app with a lot of features will cost from $150,000

Check the guide explaining how to calculate the cost of app development yourself: How Much Does It Cost to Build an App? (2021 Cost Calculation)

How to Make an IoT App: Final Thoughts

The Internet of Things is the technology that is going to grow in the following years. The implementation of such solutions can disrupt a number of industries, including automotive, smart homes, healthcare, logistics, and much more.

If you are ready to explore the idea of IoT application development, let’s talk business.

Get in touch with Addevice for a free initial consultation. Our experts will provide you with a project outline, its timeline, and preliminary budget calculation.

Frequently Asked Questions

💸 How much does it cost to develop an IoT app?

If you don’t know how to make an IoT app yourself, you’ll need to hire a development vendor. The cost to build such a solution may vary anywhere between $60,000 and $250,000. A number of factors include the final costs, such as outsourcing location, software development company size, region, etc.

🚀 Is it worth creating an IoT app in 2021?

The market of IoT devices will reach $1.3 billion by 2026. The number of IoT connections will top 83 billion by 2024. There is a lot of evidence indicating that the industry of interconnected devices will only grow in the foreseeable future.

💊What industries can benefit from IoT app development the most?

IoT solutions can benefit a number of industries, including smart homes, healthcare, automotive, logistics, retail, smart farming, and many more.

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How much does it cost to make an app for your business in 2021

We created this article to provide you with an in-depth overview of the global software development market state. The guide will help you understand how to calculate app development cost, which factors influence it, and how to effectively manage app development cost to avoid unexpected spending in the future.