Imagine you are sitting at your home and your entire house is connected to Google Home. You ask Google to dim the lights, turn on the tv, shut the windows, pull out your favourite throw cover, put up your favourite movie and finally order your favourite snacks. Or imagine you are managing your day-to-day schedule over your phone by just giving voice commands to your “intelligent assistant.” Sounds cool?
Well, this is all based on the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT). Do you wish to develop your IoT software? Well, I must make you aware that it is not an easy task to do. So, in this article, I bring you the five challenges of developing an IoT software that no one has told you about before.
But first, let us understand what exactly IoT is.
What is IoT?
Internet of things (IoT) is a system which connects physical devices with the internet. It collects and shares data over your network. It has become an important aspect of today’s modern world since every individual is hustling in their busy lives. IoT technology has been a saviour for many since it lets you stay connected with the objects and environment around you. Yet at the same time, it enables you to simultaneously manage a lot of other neglected tasks.
The relationship of IoT can be between people-things, things-things and/or people-people. It is really up to you to decide how many things you want to connect with; the options are infinite.
What is IoT Software Development?
By now you must have understood what IoT is. If you are curious to get to know the science behind it, then let me tell you that many bespoke software development companies work on customised software, including IoT software, and you can also get yourself one made.
Like any other software development, IoT software development is no different. It follows the same steps but it requires more skill since you are making sure that when connecting everything, everything works in sync. You are also making sure that the data is being transferred smoothly and that too through protected channels.
However, you will have to make sure that you repeat few steps extensively such as reviewing, testing and quality assurance to have the best final product out in the market.
Top Challenges of IoT Software Development
We have understood what IoT is and how it is developed. Now it is time to shift our focus on the most crucial aspect that is the challenges that you might encounter during the developing process. I am sure no one will warn you about these challenges and you’ll only encounter when you’ll start your journey.
So I thought I should mention the five most crucial challenges that you need to be aware of to headstart your career in the IoT industry.
Developing software is much more complex than one anticipates because technology is changing at an accelerated pace. You make sure that you are at the top of your game to have a competitive edge over your competitors. When it comes to IoT software development, you will need to have experts on board who specializes in IoT software development. The reasons are very simple: a) there are not many IoT developers in the market and b) there are no set standards or best practices that you could adapt easily.
Since security and data management is the key in IoT technology and that not everyone can manage these two aspects perfectly. Another problem with IoT technology is that it is really hard to keep up with the fast-changing needs of the consumers. Therefore, having trained in this field is equally hard. But despite all of the concerns, you will have to make sure that your developers are up-to-date and skilled enough to manage these problems to release the best IoT product in the market.
When talking about IoT applications, you cannot ignore how important it is to have a secured and seamless connection among your devices, applications and cloud platforms, since the essence of IoT application is the real-time transmission of the data.
There are multiple ways you can connect with you IoT application, such as WiFi, Ethernet, cellular networks, such as 3g or 4g, or LoRa, a powerless radio network technology. You can also connect a device using a Bluetooth, which might be connected to a working internet. When talking about having a secure connection over the internet, you will have to think about protocols such as IP, COAP, UDP, MQTT, TLS, etc. and servers where your shared data is secured and well encrypted.
Hence, determining multiple connectivity aspects in an app can be a challenge in itself, when your developers or you are not able to understand the requirements of the application you are working on.
Achieving a certain quality standard is also the biggest challenge. There are very limited IoT products in the market and that too very competitive. Hence, you will make sure that whatever amount of time you are spending on developing your product, it must be of the highest quality, without any loopholes.
The challenge might be testing out your product on various applications and devices that have their distinct features. Also, finding protocols and modules that are already well-tested and to make it work in your model can be a challenge as well.
To make sure every device and application is in sync with one another, you can test out your product for various quality assurance tests. You can run black box, grey box, and white box methods, unit testing, integration testing, user acceptance test, etc. Furthermore, providing technical support for your product will add to the quality. Because your consumers will test the product in a different way than you will as developers.
We cannot stress enough how important security is when it comes to everything related to data sharing, be it physically or virtually. To share the data over the internet is an added responsibility. Everyone over the internet can detect how many and what kinds of devices are connected. Therefore, you would not want to invite hackers, viruses and other unsafe operations to your IoT applications and other devices.
It is very crucial to have a well-defined and well-thought-out security plan for your IoT application to avoid any kind of security threats. It is also necessary to prioritise which data you want to secure and which you can let go, since not every data shared will be confidential.
Another aspect that needs to be secured is of privacy. Since a lot of devices are well-connected to your IoT application, your developers will also need to find ways to secure the privacy of the user and their data shared over the internet. If found loopholes in the security plan, it can be used for spying purposes.
This one common aspect which often gets neglected in the developing process is having a user-friendly interface. Most of the consumers test the app before putting their hard-earned money in your product. In the process of developing the perfect app, developers often forget that after release it will be used by common people who are not well-aware with the back-end process. If the user of your developed product will find it hard to operate, chances are you will lose it.
Hence, coming up with the simplest interface, without having to read the entire manual and operating it without professional assistance, can be the biggest challenge for the developers and you.
Let’s summarize this article in a few lines:
IoT lets you connect with everything around so that you can easily manage your tasks in no time. If you want to venture into this industry, you will need to be at the top of your game. You might encounter a few challenges such as lack of skilled IoT developers, connectivity issues, security and privacy issues, having better quality and, most importantly, not having a user-friendly interface.
You will have to make sure that you overcome these challenges to release the best product in the market that will cater to the needs of your targeted audience.