Tips to Select the Best IoT App Development Company

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Peek through the standard IoT app development requirements, as well as the best strategies, to choose the right IoT app development service for your project

The Internet of Things IoT (IoT) has evolved from an innovative concept to an essential component across diverse industries such as healthcare and transportation. IoT adoption is growing in leaps and bounds and this trend is here to stay. IoT app solutions have become an integral part of modern-day business infrastructures and operations. The popularity of IoT-based smart home devices is also on the rise. Moreover, the IoT is being integrated with other emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain to optimize productivity and deliver unthinkable outcomes. As such, several entrepreneurs are investing in IoT app development.

However, IoT app development is not easy and its correct implementation requires professional expertise. That’s the reason investors and entrepreneurs are hiring professional assistance for executing IoT-based projects. One needs to choose their IoT app development partner wisely to obtain the best results. This post guides you on how to select the right IoT app development company for your project objectives. The post will help you understand what to look for in an IoT app development service based on your case, as well as the standard protocols and best practices needed for IoT app development.

Before we dive deeper, let’s take a quick look at how the IoT app ecosystem works.

Functioning Principle of IoT Applications

This is how an IoT apps functions.

Perception Layer: Connected Objects and Devices

This layer comprises wireless sensors and connected devices like actuators that collect relevant data by interacting with the environment. This data is finally transmitted to a centralized hub, such as a Cloud platform.

Here’s how IoT data collection takes place. Sensors monitor processes or environmental conditions, while actuators control them. Sensors can capture data related to the chemical composition of certain objects, conditions such as the humidity and temperature of certain environments, an assembly line’s speed, a tank’s fluid level, a pipe’s water flow, movement of objects in a particular environment, and so on. Actuators perform real-time remedial tasks based on the conditions detected by sensors. These tasks include automatically switching off lights when the sun rises, turning off valves when the water level reaches the pre-defined mark, adjustments in the rate of flow of a liquid, controlling the movements of an industrial robot, and so on.

Network Layer: Data Acquisition

In this layer, the data collected by IoT devices and sensors is compiled, converted to digital formats, and then routed over the network via Internet gateways.

This is how the process works. Raw data gathered by sensors in analog format is converted into a digital format to make the data ready for processing. A Data Acquisition System (DAS) aggregates data and formats it. The data is then sent to an Internet gateway for further processing. Wireless or wired systems, such as cellular systems, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, and NFC (Near Field Communication) are used for this purpose.

Edge IT Systems: Pre-Processing

The amount of data at this stage is huge. This is because data collected by several sensors simultaneously get consolidated in one place. This large amount of data needs to be reduced before sending it to the Cloud or data center. Here, Edge IT systems come into the picture. Data gets pre-processed through analysis. Edge IT systems employ ML algorithms for obtaining insights and visual technologies for presenting the data in an understandable format.

Data Storage: Cloud and Data Centers

The data gathered by multiple sources is stored and processed further in Cloud-based platforms, such as Microsoft Azure, AWS (Amazon Web Services), and GCP (Google Cloud Platform), to generate comprehensive insights. The data is visualized, thoroughly analyzed, managed, and stored securely in data centers.

Application Layer (UI)

This layer is the user interaction layer and delivers app-specific services to the end user. A backend system like the database or message queue handles the data. This data is visualized and interacted with through the UI of a mobile or web app.

Roadmap to Follow When Picking IoT App Development Services

Check Portfolio and References

Before entrusting your project to an IoT application development company, you must understand how the enterprise operates and what outcomes can you expect from them. Also, you need to verify whether the firm has ample experience and expertise in IoT development, particularly in the specific category that your IoT project falls under. Therefore, it’s important to review the company’s portfolio and references from previous clients to determine their track record in IoT app development. A bit of research to find out the IoT app development company’s industry-specific certifications, as well as the awards and honors received, will prove beneficial. You should check out the firm’s website, along with its portfolio in business listing sites, blogs, and case studies, to determine its IoT development capability.

A Dynamic and Competent Team

The IoT app development agency you shortlist for your project should offer a dynamic team of skilled and experienced professionals who are abreast with the latest IoT technologies and industry-specific market trends. The team should work collectively to deliver high-quality product development outcomes and strictly adhere to project delivery deadlines. The team members should possess sound problem-solving skills so that they can resolve any logistical or technical issues arising during the IoT app development process. Furthermore, the team should be able to communicate with you continually and keep you updated about the project whereabouts.

An ideal IoT application development team consists of the following people: a project manager, a business analyst, frontend and backend IoT app developers, UI/UX designers, wireless communication experts, automation and system integration engineers, and security experts. If your IoT app development solution is large-scale and complex, having a data scientist within the team will be an additional advantage.

Flexibility and Approachability

Your IoT app development partner should be open to accommodating changes in the project’s scope or requirements whenever needed. The team should be responsive to any queries or concerns put forth by the client and be able to promptly address them.

Infrastructure and Scalability Requirements

IoT app solutions handle huge chunks of data. Therefore, you need to check whether the IoT application development agency you are planning to partner with is capable of handling large amounts of data and scaling it based on specific needs.

Moreover, the company should have an IoT-friendly infrastructure and use the standard IoT tech stacks. The agency should be able to establish and handle the identity and integrity of devices in the IoT ecosystem. There should also be privacy and security protocols to protect devices and data right from the software developmental stage to the consumption phase. These protocols should  encompass data security. Your technology partner must strictly adhere to all compliance requirements based on the use case.

IoT-Specific Skillsets

IoT devices need to be connected to the Internet, and most of them depend on low-power networks, such as LoRaWAN and Zigbee. Because of this, IoT app developers should be well-versed in creating low-power designs and optimizing a device or app for power consumption. They should have knowledge about networking protocols and technologies, such as Bluetooth, WiFi, and IP/TCP. Familiarity with Cloud computing services and platforms is also desirable.

IoT Developers need extensive knowledge about the tools for data visualization and data analytics so that they can effectively process and analyze the data obtained from IoT devices and present it in a meaningful way. Developers should know how to handle the communication taking place between IoT devices, gateways, and cloud services. They should be well versed in programming languages such as Java, JavaScript, Python, C, and C++. Developers should also be familiar with IoT platforms, such as Azure IoT, AWS IoT, and Google IoT. Other IoT developer skillsets include expertise in working with embedded operating systems, such as FreeRTOS and Linux, as well as microcontrollers. Developers also need expertise with IoT protocols, such as CoAP, HTTP, and MQTT, along with data management tools and databases, such as NoSQL, SQL, and Apache Kafka.

The effective functioning of an IoT app ecosystem involves sound coordination between hardware and software components. The hardware components are the sensors and devices used for obtaining data while the software components are algorithms and software programs used for data processing and analysis. The IoT app development company you select must have proficiency in software, as well as hardware development, so that it can design and implement IoT solutions effortlessly. Developers also need to be familiar with the standard methodologies of how to interface with devices present in an IoT network, such as actuators and sensors.

Adherence to Robust Security Practices

IoT devices involve the collection and transmission of sensitive data. Because of this, they need to use robust security measures to protect the data that is being exchanged between IoT devices and the Cloud platform. As such, IoT application development services must have knowledge of third-party security tools. They should also be well versed in IoT security best practices and be able to implement them effectively.

Take a look at some of the IoT security best practices. Recommended practices for data and device security include authentication, encryption, secured firmware updating mechanisms, access controls, and the secure boot technique, as well as secure communication protocols, such as MQQT and HTTPS. Practices such as the regular monitoring and logging of a device’s activity are helpful in detecting and addressing security breaches. IoT development services must also have a disaster recovery plan ready to tackle the worst security breach scenarios.

Post-Launch Support and Maintenance

Because IoT technology is ever-evolving, IoT software development solutions need to be updated periodically to stay relevant. Moreover, IoT app architecture is quite complex and prone to security threats. Hence, IoT solutions might come across bugs or functional issues just after an app goes live. And, needless to say, such issues need to be resolved timely so that an end-user’s app experience doesn’t get affected – and, of course, that your brand’s reputation stays intact.

Also, IoT devices and apps are soft targets for hackers and need continuous monitoring to identify security vulnerabilities. There must be a workable plan to handle data breaches and security lapses. These are the reasons why post-launch support and maintenance is a crucial pre-requisite to look for when you are considering an IoT application development company.

Final Thoughts

IoT development is a complex process and comes with loads of demanding requirements. Because of this, selecting the right IoT app development company for your upcoming project is necessary to avoid any unwanted surprises and rework further down the track.

We hope this post has provided you with clear insights on the prerequisites to entirely design, develop, test, deploy, and maintain an IoT solution. The IoT development service selection strategies mentioned in the post will help you to choose the right technology partner for your upcoming IoT project.