Evan  Rose
Evan Rose 18 October 2017
Categories Technology

The Significant Role of Apps in IoT

How mobile apps will shape the future of IoT devices and how people interact with them.

The Internet of Things (IoT) represents all the devices which can be remotely accessed via the internet, which can provide real-time data about their state of functioning, about data they collect and which can also be remotely operated by a person.

This world of smart and interconnected devices was made possible by three key factors:

  • Prices for sensor technology have decreased by 50% in the last 10 years;
  • Broadband is priced 40% lower now than 10 years ago;
  • Prices for microprocessors have decreased by 50% in the same period of 10 years.

At the same time, mobile apps development has become more and more important with 47% of developers who are currently developing, or have developed mobile applications for the past 2 years.  

The Future of IoT Devices – an $11 Trillion Business

McKinsey Global Institute estimates, after analyzing the revenue models for over 150 IoT applications, that by 2025 this market sector will be worth between $3.9 and $11 trillion. IoT devices will expand to create concepts such as smart cities, smart industries and smart global trade.


Source: Emerging Applications Perspective for Internet of Things, Nirma University

The estimated growth of these IoT devices will be focused on business relations, both in the B2B and in the B2C sector. McKinsey Global Institute, in the same analysis, indicated that the greater proportion of the value generated by these devices will originate in the business-to-business environment.

Also, the versatility of IoT products will increase, reaching the point where consumers can customize a product to work in specific ways, fully adapted to their unique needs.

How the IoT World Looks at the Present

Even at the present, IoT devices pervade every aspect of people’s lives – from education and healthcare to insurance, and even to home security. These devices are controlled by the smart technology we already possess: smartphones and wearable devices (smart watches).

The preference for IoT technology indicates that technology for end consumers (individual users) is the most in-demand, while the business sector is still in the infancy phase of adoption.


Source: IoT Analytics

All these devices are controlled by mobile applications. The question is: how will mobile applications shape and influence the future development of IoT devices?

Here are a few considerations and potential scenarios:

1. Apps as a Core Factor in the Evolution of Lifestyle

Smart homes are already in operation around the world. Users can remotely open their garage door, and turn on the light and the heating before they enter the house. This requires a secure and user-friendly app which can be accessed easily by smartphone or wearable device.

The implications on security and privacy are huge. It is easy to imagine a scenario where hackers can wreak havoc in people’s lives by taking over control of their smart house, opening and closing doors, and turning their lights on and off randomly. IoT devices and their corresponding apps of the future will probably fall under regulatory requirements and come to the attention of insurance companies, as well.

2. Time and Business Management – a New Way of Saving Time

Mobile apps that automate the daily schedule, and send reminders and predetermined emails and notifications will likely become the norm in various workplaces. Business tools are already evolving in the direction of cloud storage and mobility. Remote work becomes prevalent, as well as paperless documentation and business processes. Factories are populated by robots in a greater proportion than by humans.

Mobile apps will be at the center of this category of IoT devices as well. They need to combine the flexibility of access on various devices with 5-star and higher data security and privacy protection.

3. Retail Redefined – a World of Seamless Customer Satisfaction Fulfillment

Online shopping has evolved at the same pace as mobile technology. Any product is a few taps away and same day delivery is guaranteed in most cases.

The shopping experience of the future will include a new generation of apps – capable of connecting to IoT-managed warehouses, identifying the closest location of the products to the customer’s home and giving an estimated delivery time down to the hour and minute.

4. Travel – a Simpler, More Personal Experience

Booking flights, holidays and even finding a rental car can already be made using a mobile app. The future of travel in the IoT world will let people plan smart holidays, with daily schedules and constant interactions between the mobile and the real world through QR codes or remotely planning the lunch menu and ordering it to be delivered in the hotel room.

Such concepts are already being tested in various parts of the world and will continue to be refined together with the development of apps which can provide the best user experience at the junction of the digital and the physical world.

5. Healthcare – Bringing Patients and Doctors Together from Any Location

IoT devices are already a part of the healthcare sector. Surgeons can remotely operate robots to perform the most delicate and difficult surgeries. Patients live with IoT pacemakers which send information in real time to the doctors who monitor the respective person. But this is only the beginning of the role of apps and IoT in the healthcare sector.

Smart hospitals and smart medical devices, paired with mobile apps, are looming ahead in the future. However, this sector is heavily regulated (and justly, too) and every new invention will have to be tested and approved by legislative bodies before it becomes available to doctors and patients worldwide.

As things stand, mobile apps are projected to become the central operating system of IoT devices, allowing each user to experience their own personal way of interacting with these devices and customizing the way they operate.

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