February 2, 2015

Mobile Apps and The Internet of Things

Written By Rebecca Larkin

The Internet of ThingsThe Internet of Things is a topic that’s got everyone talking and it’s no surprise given the amount of revenue it’s predicted to generate businesses and the economy over the next 10 or so years.

In simplified terms, the Internet of Things is the idea of connecting more and more devices to the web, making inanimate objects more intelligent.

At the Las Vegas Tech Conference this month Yoon Lee, CEO of Samsung, spoke about “individually dumb devices” such as bins, toasters and lights being able to communicate, creating automated and more efficient daily routines. He also touched on the advances in tracking codes within smartphones allowing household heating devices to be notified when the homeowner is approaching and automatically activating the optimum temperature by collecting data from local weather reports.

This advanced connectivity is expected to push automation in nearly all fields, and apps will have a huge part to play in connecting us with other devices over the next few years. The main reason for their growing importance is practicality. The convenience of being able to control multiple appliances from one device in the palm of your hand is difficult to usurp, especially given how attached to smartphones the world seems to be.

Roller’s Adam Gask said, “Personalisation and relevance is how I have seen the emerging app market moving. Successful apps will provide solutions for common worries such as checking if you’ve left a light on or locked the front door, or apps to de-ice your car whilst you’re making breakfast. As a developer, the Internet of Things means more access to technologies that were previously in the realm of hardware. For example most developers, whilst extremely talented in the software side, have no idea how to connect/build a sensor. Things have become easier recently with tools like the Raspberry Pi, Arduino, etc. providing out the box libraries.”

Fellow developer, Arkadiuz Dowejko, agrees with Adam and adds, “The whole world will need to switch to IPv6, as there is already a lack of IP addresses.”

From a product point of view, consumers still want their household items to be things and not computers according to Sardana (Forbes, 2014). Apps will have a huge role in controlling these appliances remotely, and allowing the aesthetics of products to remain minimalist. Unsurprisingly, wearables will also be a growing sector with their ability to track user’s movements and vital stats throughout the day pushing innovation in the mobile health sector.

Arkadiuz, also commented, “In my opinion demand for wearable devices (namely watches, glasses and body sensors) will dramatically rise as consumers thirst for knowledge about their bodies grows. These devices of course require Internet connectivity and complex analytics; therefore we will need more experts in these fields.”

Currently the most pressing hurdle preventing widespread adoption is individual companies’ abilities to adapt. These technologies don’t just affect the R&D department, they cause ripples across the business and it will be interesting to see how manufacturers push their products into the future and integrate this technology.