The Internet of Things (IoT) encompasses a wide range of devices, from sensor-embedded medical devices to smart cars to thermostats and more. There are now an estimated 14.4 billion active IoT connections worldwide. It’s expected that by 2025 there will be approximately 27 billion connected IoT devices. That’s a lot of devices with a lot of data — and it offers incredible value for businesses that know how to use that data.
Not surprisingly, companies of all sizes and across just about every industry want to leverage IoT-generated data. And they’re eager to develop applications that will allow them to do so. But creating those applications, integrating them with IoT device interfaces, and then harnessing and using the data they produce isn’t easy.
IoT App Development Challenges
It’s not that the development process for IoT apps is that difficult. But there are several choices that have to be made. These choices include the best platform to use, the best protocol for connecting IoT devices, and so on. That requires expertise and experience to ensure that optimal decisions are made to achieve the desired outcomes.
There are also a number of unique challenges associated with IoT app development, including:
- Hardware-related issues such as interoperability and connectivity
- Scalability – as IoT solutions need to process events from millions of devices
- Testing – which can be complicated because it requires assessing how an IoT app will work in a wide range of scenarios
- Security – including protecting data as it’s transmitted from IoT sensors and devices to the gateway and then to the cloud
Each Situation is Different
There’s no standard playbook for developing IoT apps because each app is different. However, developers experienced in dealing with IoT-specific issues are better positioned to overcome obstacles and implement the right components and services. They’ve seen what works and what doesn’t so that you can benefit from their lessons learned.
That’s the case at ClearScale. We’ve had the opportunity to work with companies across numerous industries to develop and integrate IoT apps and the supporting infrastructure. That has enabled us to further build upon our expertise in app development. We’re able to develop effective, real-world solutions to IoT app development challenges. Here are just a couple of examples:
- Safehub Consolidates IT Infrastructure and Optimizes IoT-Based Earthquake Damage Assessment Technology
- QMI Manufacturing Leverages the Power of IoT for Its Seismic Sensor Network with Help from ClearScale
AWS as a Preferred IoT Platform
One of the primary considerations in IoT app development is the platform the application will be built on. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is among the most popular on the market — and the one we specialize in at ClearScale.
We have become so proficient in using AWS that we earned the distinction of being an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner. We also have a proven track record of designing and implementing advanced IoT services for clients. That helped us earn the AWS IoT competency. That means we’ve been vetted, validated, and verified as having demonstrated success in this specialized area.
IoT App Development
Among the reasons we like using AWS for IoT app development is that it offers a highly reliable infrastructure platform in the cloud and scales to billions of different devices and trillions of messages.
It also offers easy-to-integrate services that save development time and costs. And it can help overcome many of the challenges unique to IoT app development. For example, AWS offers easy-to-use services for data management and rich analytics designed specifically for noisy IoT data. AWS IoT Analytics, for example, makes it easy to run sophisticated analytics on massive volumes of IoT data.
Another thing we like about using AWS is that it offers services for all layers of security. That includes preventative security mechanisms. Things like encryption and access control to device data, as well as a service that continuously monitors and audits security configurations. AWS IoT Device Defender, for example, continuously monitors and audits your IoT configurations to make sure that they follow security best practices.
In addition, AWS supplies tools that bring artificial intelligence and IoT together. That makes devices more intelligent and enables continuous improvement.
Spotlight on AWS IoT Greengrass
One of the tools we’ve found to be extremely useful is AWS IoT Greengrass. This solution seamlessly extends AWS to edge devices so they can act locally on the data they generate. At the same time, they use the cloud for management, analytics, and storage. Even when they’re not connected to the Internet, the devices can run AWS Lambda functions, execute predictions based on machine learning models, keep data in sync, and securely communicate with other devices.
With AWS IoT Greengrass, we can also use familiar languages and programming models to create and test device software in the cloud before it’s deployed to devices. By programming it to filter device data, only necessary information is transmitted back to the cloud.
In addition, AWS Greengrass authenticates and encrypts device data for local and cloud communications. Identity has to be proven before any data is exchanged between devices and the cloud.
Experience Generates Benefits
Tapping the expertise of IoT app developers like we have at ClearScale allows companies to get to market faster because our experience can speed up the overall development process. Other benefits include cost savings since there’s no need to hire full-time staff with the specialized expertise required. Plus, outsourcing frees up internal teams to focus on more strategic endeavors.
The ClearScale team has worked with many companies to develop cloud-native IoT apps. Our experience also includes data collection/analysis and artificial intelligence.
Ready to take the next step? Get a free IoT assessment from ClearScale. At the end of this evaluation, you’ll come away with an understanding of design principles for IoT systems in the cloud.