The phrase “internet of things” has arisen to reflect the growing number of smart, connected products and highlight the new opportunities they can represent. Yet this phrase is far from perfect in understanding the phenomenon or its implications.
The internet, whether involving people or things, is simply a mechanism for transmitting information. What makes smart, connected products or Apps of Things (AoT) fundamentally different is not the internet, but the changing nature of the “things.” It is the expanded capabilities of smart, connected products and the data they generate that are ushering in a new era of competition.
To drill down into how mobile apps and the internet of things are merging into one solid offering for end users and its implications on organizations, I sat down with Robert Priscu, VP of the Zemingo Group.
What are some of some of the biggest advantages for organizations to include a mobile app to their product offering?
The answer to this is twofold; from the end user’s perspective, smart devices offer the opportunity of increased functionality, sharing of data, personalization and so on. From an organization’s perspective, new types of ‘smart products’ alter industry structure and the nature of competition, exposing companies to new competitive opportunities as this creates a shift from thinking about revenue per unit sold, to a longer-term lifetime value structure.
Are there any risks or concerns organizations should be aware of prior to connecting physical products with mobile apps?
When it comes to mobile apps for connected devices, IoT security is one of the most crucial elements that should be taken into consideration. Keep in mind that the largest attack of 2016 saw hundreds of thousands of devices being used simultaneously in what was known as the Mirai botnet, mounting what was, in fact, a simple yet meticulous attack. I would definitely rank security as a number one concern any organization should put a lot of focus on.
The second concern we always bring to the attention of our clients is the impact of a mobile app on a customer’s user experience. In other words, if clients decide to upgrade their products offering or add value via a mobile app, the user’s interaction should remain seamless and organic, and should never feel forced.
Can an organization develop their own mobile app solution in-house for their physical products?
The short answer is yes, it absolutely can be done, however with so many mobile devices, operating systems, development challenges and so on, the question shouldn’t be can they do it, but SHOULD organizations develop their mobile solutions in-house.
Mobile development requires unique skills and significant investments. Apps of things, such as physical products present their own challenges when it comes to management, security, UI/UX and so on. Various hybrid approaches have also emerged to help businesses deploy customized apps with their existing resources, however, this usually does not deliver the holistic results that most end users expect to receive.
To put it simply, deciding whether to an enterprise should outsource their mobile app development doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing decision, at the Zemingo group, we offer UI/UX, Development, and Marketing solutions, so we’re able to assist with all phases of mobile related projects.
What are some of the advantages most brands or organizations fail to consider when it comes to ‘Apps of Things’?
The biggest issue we see time and time again are that organizations see mobile apps as remote control accessories to their products. We’ve seen this occur with Smart TVs, Air Conditioners, and dozens of other home appliances. However what most organizations fail to consider is the world of opportunities that a mobile device can offer their customers, such as personalization, social sharing, weather updates, location awareness and time of the day, just to name of few.
By understanding the context of customers, organizations are much more empowered towards producing better and more competitive value added products.
What is the average cost of developing a mobile app connected to physical products?
We have a saying here in the office; The cost of developing a bad app can be a few hundred thousand dollars, however developing a great app is an ongoing project as there are continues version updates and improvements to be made through its lifecycle. Without a thorough assessment, it’s irresponsible to put a price tag on an app development project.
In your opinion, where is the Apps of Things, and Internet of Things industry headed in the 5 years to come?
Emerging technologies are revolutionizing the concepts of how devices are defined and used. The shift from technical infrastructure to ecosystem-enabling platforms is laying the foundations for entirely new business models that are forming the bridge between people and things. That is exactly where Zemingo will be focusing our efforts in the months ahead.