Every year it seems like new technologies are announced that have the potential to revolutionize the way we live our everyday lives. While some turn out to be simply a fad or trend, others like IoT and wearables are proving to have the staying power they need to be revolutionary. In the interest of helping unpack these new technologies, we have put together a beginner’s guide to Internet of Things applications.

In this article, we will explore how Internet of Things applications work and dissect different use cases for this new technology. Along with that, we will talk about the basics of developing an IoT application for your own business purposes. After all, it is predicted that $6 trillion will be invested in Internet of Things applications over the next 5 years, so there’s never been a better time to get started. Let’s go.

internet of things application

What are Internet of Things applications?

First, let’s talk about exactly what Internet of Things applications are and how they work. IoT apps are various ways of harnessing the power of interconnected devices to perform a task or process. While there have already been plenty of devices like this, such as Bluetooth speakers, the full potential of Internet of Things applications has yet to be seen. Over the course of the next few years you will no doubt see a wide variety in the use and application of IoT software.

At the forefront of this evolution are businesses that are looking to gain a competitive advantage and there is no doubt one to be had. By fully automating existing processes or finding new ways to make IoT work for them, companies are able to improve their bottom line while becoming more efficient. In fact, the overall goal of IoT is that all businesses will have this functionality in the future.

Various applications of IoT

Speaking of functions, let’s talk about the various applications of IoT across several different industries. Through these use cases, you should get a better idea of how Internet of Things applications work and what they can really do when used to their full potential.

Supply chain management

One of the most common uses of Internet of Things applications in a business setting is with supply chain management. For industries like retail that have higher turnover rates on their products, the integration of an IoT platform can be a life saver. By marking each item you have a better understanding of your inventory and the way your customers interact with your business.

A recent glimpse at what the future can hold for Internet of Things applications was displayed by Amazon at their “no checkout store.” Using IoT to run everything, Amazon was able to create a store that doesn’t require cashiers or even checkout lines. Customers simply walk in, grab what they need, and walk out. The IoT system does the rest.

In the future, it’s quite possible that all businesses will operate this way, with limited human interaction. While some are excited about the added efficiency and ease of use, others are cautious of turning over so many of our jobs to automated machines. For those people, I have some startling news about other IoT applications that are designed for use directly in your home.

home automation

Home automation

Along with supply chain management, home automation is becoming one of the most widely accepted uses of Internet of Things applications. From smart thermostats like Nest to refrigerators that monitor what you eat, the homes of the future will be the landscape most consumers will interact with IoT like never before. When you combine this with other new technologies like voice commands, who knows what the future holds?

For businesses, this should be an indication that there is a demand for more smart technology that works well. At the moment, many technologies are popular simply because they were the first to the market. However, if you can design IoT devices that both provide the desired service and make the lives of customers easier, you might have a golden goose on your hands.

Healthcare and fitness

The last industry that has seen a surge in Internet of Things applications in recent years is that of healthcare and fitness. While some debate whether wearable devices like the Fitbit and Apple watch qualify as IoT, they are technically part of the evolving IoT ecosystem. As more consumers carry IoT with them everywhere they go, the more common IoT devices and applications will need to be to keep up with this push forward.

That being said, it’s not just wearable fitness trackers that are making a splash with healthcare and fitness. For example, companies like Hero are using IoT to improve elderly care by monitoring medication intake and heart rate levels. As new technologies like this emerge, who knows what features will be included in the IoT devices of 5, 10, or even 25 years down the line? Well, as we like to say, the best way to predict the future is to create it.

Developing an Internet of Things application

For those who want to take a step forward in the world of IoT, there are some basics you should know about developing an Internet of Things application. First, let’s talk hardware. While a smartphone or Bluetooth connected sensor can be used as the physical component of an IoT solution, some business would prefer to create their own custom product. Just remember that the hardware is only the first step, you then have to create the software to go with it.

The software aspect of IoT boils down to the underlying cloud infrastructure and either a web dashboard or mobile app for control. Don’t forget the principles of UI and UX design at this stage if you are hoping to make an impact with your design. This will allow you to control your IoT hardware, manage the IoT data collection, and access the information sourced by your sensors.

smart home device

The future of IoT

As we have laid out, the future of IoT is bright. More and more devices will soon come on the market and along with them a sea of Internet of Things applications for each different function. Soon, it’s possible that your home will be fully automated and basic needs will be handled by these applications and devices.

Our final word to you is to not delay. Far too many great ideas have been lost to the annals of history due to poor planning and insight. Now that you have a beginner’s understanding of IoT, it’s up to you to learn more and develop something of your own. So, what are you waiting for? Get started today!