A mobile app is a must-have option for many businesses today. If we are talking about the consumer Internet of things, the mobile application is a mandatory component, without which the entire functioning of a smart device is impossible. Developing a custom application or using a no-code builder is a topical issue for various businesses, which is also essential for IoT device developers. Of course, in IoT, implementing the trend to use builders is more complex than in most other areas. Below we talk about no-code mobile app builders as the new trend in IoT development and help developers save on building IoT applications.
No-code and Low-code application development with builders succeed in their mobile app development niche. The first such services appeared in the 2010s, and today they are good enough to create high-quality applications for small businesses with their help.
At the same time, standard builders are not suitable for every business. For example, the architecture of the Internet of Things assumes that the mobile application that controls the smart device and the device itself connects to a cloud broker. And strict data transmission security standards must be observed.
Of course, a typical mobile app builder cannot meet these requirements. A startup that enters the market with inexpensive consumer IoT devices cannot turn to no-code builder services and use them to create an application to manage their products. The maximum they will get is an application with a catalog of devices indicating prices and points of sale. Not what they need for rapid development.
However, the trend to use builders could not affect the Internet of Things development industry. But its implementation in IoT has specifics.
Mobile application builders in IoT exist. However, these are not universal services that allow you to create software for almost anything quickly and inexpensively. In this case, we are talking about builders as a feature of low-code IoT development and management platforms. The ability to create an application to control an IoT device with no coding or minimal need to write code is an additional service that developers who choose a platform with this feature get.
The emergence of IoT application builders is undoubtedly good news. Businesses now have an alternative to the costly custom development of their application. But before we see how it works, let’s define the key differences between using an IoT app builder and custom development.
We recommend comparing coding from scratch and using an IoT custom application builder on a few key dimensions to understand what is best for your business.
Builder: from a few minutes. You can customize the application’s interface in 15-20 minutes using drag and drop or a set of widgets. After testing the first option, you can customize the interface in a new way, making it more convenient. And then another and another. Even with the most scrupulous approach, you will get a mobile application that suits you within a maximum of one or two days.
Custom development: from a few months. Developing an app from scratch is a long process that can take years. Much depends on the complexity of the application and the need for further research.
Builder: from $0. In the case of the IoT device app, this is indeed the case. No-code IoT mobile app builder, in this case, is a feature of the IoT app development platform, which is included in the tariff. Tariffs, in turn, can be free for developers with a small number of connected devices who want to test their idea.
Custom development: from several thousand dollars. As with development time, the final figure depends on the complexity of the application, the implemented features, and support for specific technologies and external services.
Builder: minimal. The developer is limited by the framework that the creators of the IoT app builder set.
Custom development: unlimited. This is a crucial advantage of custom development – if you know how the world’s best mobile application for IoT devices should look and work, you will get it. Of course, this also requires the world’s best development team and a budget to match the task.
Builder: The application is maintained by the company that provided it. In the case of the IoT platform, the company’s tasks also include the maintenance of the MQTT broker, web application, and other components.
Custom development: the customer’s team is responsible for the technical maintenance of the application.
If we summarize the above, it is clear that the IoT application builder will be a priority for the majority. At least for testing the idea of an IoT project. The custom development path is very long and expensive, and the investment of time and money doesn’t end with the publication of the application in the stores. If you are interested in what a no-code app builder for IoT looks like, it’s time to look at a specific example.
An example of a platform with an IoT app builder tool is 2Smart Cloud. Creating a mobile app for IoT devices here is probably the fastest and easiest step in device development.
The IoT custom app builder is tightly integrated with the platform’s MQTT broker. After the developer has connected a prototype with test firmware to the platform, the app builder for IoT reads information from the broker about all the device’s sensors. Then it selects a suitable widget for each sensor and automatically creates a variant of the application interface.
The developer can immediately move on to customizing the application interface. It has an extensive library of widgets available, many of which can work with the same device sensors. The developer needs to choose the widget that best suits the project for each sensor. Widgets are easily reordered by drag and drop.
You can group widgets using tabs for the convenience of the end user. For example, you can use separate tabs to manage the device’s primary functions, additional functionality, update delivery, etc.
If the device developer is more busy testing the prototype, they can use the default application interface that the IoT application builder automatically created. It will be possible to return to app customization later, before publishing the device (and even after publishing as part of product maintenance).
The end user of the device will be able to control it using the 2Smart Cloud mobile application, which is available for iOS and Android. The application is constantly improving, and this is the concern of the team working on the platform.
Given the platform’s support for ESPHome, you can use the 2Smart Cloud as a highly generic solution to develop smart products without coding.
This example shows that mobile application builders are becoming a new trend, even in industries where universal services are powerless, such as the Internet of things. As part of the infrastructure of IoT platforms, builders make it more accessible for startups and small businesses to enter this business. All that is needed is an idea and a minimum budget for testing and implementation. Today’s IoT platforms make it possible to save on everything else, including the complex thing of developing a mobile application.
To try the 2Smart Cloud IoT mobile application builder in action, register on the platform and check out its no-code development functionality in demo mode!
Share with us your business idea and expectations about custom software development for the internet of things.