Thinking about starting an IoT project but lack the expertise to make it a complete success? IoT projects are complex, and include but are not limited to the following components: hardware, software, communications, infrastructure, cloud platforms, security, design, etc. Each of these components require a different skill set and knowledge base, and all parts must work in harmony to achieve positive results.
Parsed specializes in IoT app development. In our experience, we’ve learned a successful IoT product requires an understanding of all parts along with continuous communication to keep the project going. Within this post, we’ll explain our approach to IoT app development in the framework of IoT product development using 6 macro-level steps. Once you’ve read this post you should have an understanding of the steps to build an IoT app, how each step ensures the app fits into the overall IoT product deliverable, and why this process is important.
The first step of building an IoT app is to learn about the overall IoT product. We begin the project with a discussion involving the IoT product manager, an app project manager and senior developer from Parsed. Using our app team’s point of view, we’ll help you understand the product function, the infrastructure and communication required for the app and how the user will interact with the product. Typically our deliverable, the app, is also the main interface for the end customer. We gather information from the project manager at this stage so that we can appropriately assess the project, including timeline and budget.
Once we have a strong understanding of the project, scope and requirements from the Product Manager in Step 1, we regroup with our team to plan the mobile project. When planning, we dive into the details of the app project to make sure we provide and commit to an accurate timeline and budget. This is extremely important because Parsed is committed to providing great service to our customers, and we use a fixed price model–which means our estimates have to be right. Read to learn more about how we keep our projects on schedule and on budget.
The next step is to make recommendations to the Product Manager regarding how the app fits into the overall product. Our recommendations show project options which could lower costs, improve speed, increase security and/or provide better analytics. As IoT app experts, our knowledge and experience help to deliver the best IoT products.
Design requirements can vary widely–some industrial focused IoT apps require no design. For these projects, the end user might only need an on/off switch, or some other minimal interaction which allows the product teams to invest in other aspects of the product. On the other hand, projects with end users as consumers may invest on design more heavily. One example of a consumer app that requires intensive design is an IoT baby monitor. New parents won’t use a poorly designed app that takes time to learn, set up, etc.; they will require a well-designed application that simplifies the steps to meet their goal. Of course, there are design requirements that fall between these two examples. And with some consumer focused products, we recommend minimizing design costs until after the initial release so that we can design with customer feedback and usage data. During strategy sessions, we will recommend how to approach app design.
The IoT app prototype is a visual mock-up that looks like a real app. A prototype can be as simple as screen designs on paper; however, we prefer high fidelity prototypes that look like the real app, and are actually clickable on your phone. This serves two purposes: to discuss issues in design and structure before investing in code, and to allow the product team to use the app for demonstration. We’ve developed prototypes that were used to sell customers, demonstrate at trade shows and even secure VC funding. While pushing your app to the app store might be months away, a high fidelity prototype allows you to go to market quickly and affordably.
This is where we…develop the app. At this stage, the product team collaboration is minimal while we write code. We launch apps on both iOS and Android using React framework, and we have a fantastic team of developers and project managers.
If you’re searching for a proven development team, we’ve detailed a few things to look for to find a top development company. In short, your mobile app developer should have great communication and transparency, strong technical ability to actually write the code, and fixed pricing so that you know exactly what you’ll pay for your application. While hourly rates are common for development companies, it misaligns your incentives and your development partner. That’s why all of our projects are done on a fixed price agreement.
We test vigorously for usability, functionality, security, connectivity, performance and compatibility. Once the app goes through our testing process, we share with other stakeholders and eventually beta users. Different types of users will use the app in various ways, so we encourage testing from as many stakeholders as possible before a wide release. Any IoT app development company you choose should be committed to testing; ensure this before proceeding.
After months of collaboration, teamwork, and development we’re ready to push the app to the app store. Parsed will also assist with ensuring the app is approved. This approval marks the start of a new beginning, and the team can now officially take the product to market. We’ll stay engaged post-delivery, providing support on feature enhancements, bug fixes and data analytics.
In the early stages of strategic design we encourage the inclusion of data analytic tools that can be used to track how users interact with your app so that we can improve UX, DAU growth and referral growth. During post-delivery, customers make use of insight and data provided by the tools built into the platform to make strategic and operational decisions.
The 6 steps above are important for every IoT project, but it’s not just a checklist. We’ve created a framework that your app development team needs to understand their role in the IoT project. It’s not all about the app itself–by definition it’s about how the app fits into the overall product, and how the end user consumes that product.
As the primary interface for end users, the app plays a significant role in an IoT product.
Following these steps with a proven development partner will ensure your project solves a problem for your customer, is usable and stays on schedule and budget.
Parsed helps our customers launch apps on both iOS and Android. We specialize in using React and React Native to build mobile applications. We also augment in-house teams with React Native development expertise and help companies staff great React developers. We are a team of passionate developers, project managers and designers. You can learn more about us at https://parsed.io.