iOT App Development - Cost and Process

For some years, the Internet has been attracting more and more attention from a wide variety of people. Almost everyone has heard of the industry 4.0. Due to this enormous technical progress, questions keep coming up, such as how such an app's development process looks like or how expensive the development of an app is. In this post you will be answered the most important information about the topic.

What is an iOT app?

A typical example of an iOT app is Phenonet. It is an app for agriculture. Farmers will be able to use certain sensors to monitor important characteristics such as soil quality, air temperature or humidity. The app thus allows accurate forecasts for the following crops. Another example of an iOT app is an app that a heat pump can navigate remotely. The parameters of the pump can be accessed and adjusted wherever you are.

What is the structure of an iOT App?

The components of an iOT app can be divided into several areas.

The first area is represented by the so-called "Things". In this area, all the actual devices are summarized, which must be controlled and monitored. In addition fall in this area, the microcomputer and various sensors. It can therefore be recognized that the so-called "things" generate data that must subsequently be passed on to other components. In the example mentioned with the heat pump, these would thus be the associated sensors.

The second area is represented by "Device Edge". These are network components that have a direct source to the core network and are located at the edge of the network. These components allow a connection to other interfaces and devices to be established. In the example with the heat pump, this would be a WLAN and a server connection.

The third area is represented by "Data Management and Intelligence". The iOT hardware generates a lot of data, all of which must be stored. These data help to make forecasts and analyzes. It is basically a database in which a lot of data is kept.

The fourth area is represented by the so-called "API". The programming interface helps to forward the collected data to the applications.

The fifth area is represented by the respective platform of the application. It is a hosted application on a cloud. It can be called the command center of the system because it serves as the administration interface. This area is mainly responsible for the visualization of the data and the collection of tools.

The sixth area is represented by the applications. Here are summarized several front-end applications. These can be industry-specific interfaces, apps, web and mobile platforms or apps. The example with the heat pump would therefore be an app that takes over the remote control and monitoring of the heat pump.

How is such an iOT app ever developed?

When creating an iOT app, some aspects need to be considered.

In the first step you have to deal with the brainstorming. The big hype about iOT apps is that apps are often developed that nobody wants. Therefore, it is very important to think in advance about which app should be developed and what it can offer for added value.

In the second step one deals mainly with the conception. In the beginning, basic questions must first be answered. In the foreground are questions such as which devices are connected to which apps, which providers and sensors are needed, which network protocols are used or which tools should be integrated.

It is very important that the different subtasks are coordinated with each other. For each step, there are companies that specialize in this step. Because of this, it is much more complex to work out a concept for an iOT app than for a normal app.

The third step deals with prototyping. IOT prototyping plays a big role. The target devices can be simulated and optimally tested here. Because of this, you can also save a lot of money in the initial phase by using microcomputers to build a prototype.

In this context, certainly also RAD must be mentioned. It's a method that focuses on prototyping and not the entire planning of the iOT app.

In the last step you have to deal with the actual implementation of the iOT app. Mostly one can fall back here on different specialists.

How much does it take to invest in the development of an iOT app?

In principle, no general statement of costs can be made, as these are dependent on the scope of the development process. The budget, which is needed for the development of the iOT App, can be divided into four different components. This makes it easier to estimate how much has to be invested.

The first part of the costs results from the conception. The costs for the conceptual design are very often not considered. However, this is a fundamental mistake, since the cost of this phase of the project can amount to several thousand euros. Of course, this depends on the size and complexity of the app. It can basically be assumed that for a prototype and the development of the concept about 5.000 Euro must be included. Here, the rule of thumb is that around five to ten percent of the total cost will have to be spent on this phase.

The second part of the cost is the hardware. This cost component is usually the largest of the project. This results because the hardware cost will be approximately 60 to 70 percent of the total cost. Depending on the size of the device, hundreds of thousands of Euros, if not millions, have to be included. The cost can be somewhat reduced by building a prototype before starting the iOT project.

The third component of the cost is the infrastructure. This cost component includes middleware, scalable cloud servers, analysis tools, and more. Basically, the infrastructure has to be calculated from 40.000 to 50.000 Euro.

The last part of the cost is derived from the development. The development costs are relatively manageable. However, the cost of programming depends on many other factors. The total development costs amount to about ten to 15 percent of the total budget.

Of course, there are also hourly fees for the experts who supported the project. These can be, for example, project managers, engineers or developers. The hourly wage starts here from about 80 Euro. However, most of the prices are at least 100 Euro per hour to find. Since the iOT technology is very new and there are very few experts because of this, one can assume that it depends on an expensive expert.

How can iOT apps be created at low cost?

There is no reason to be scared of high costs, because the iOT app can be created differently. In the prototype can basically be dispensed with beautiful design and other extras. This results because only the product should be tested. In addition, you can easily avoid expensive and long workshops, as they do not bring much. It is important to have an iOT Development Kit and to use a reasonable development company. Only a reasonable development company will immediately carry out the customer's wishes without critical consideration.

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