Why mobile is at the forefront of IoT trends

By Ian Robinson

In case you missed it, 2016 was the year in which the IoT finally made the transition from rumor to reality. Conversation and coverage of IoT trends expanded from tech blogs to mainstream media, and global leaders have made bold moves and big investments in the IoT. Yet much of the discussion and focus is on the “things” — drones, wearables, smart appliances, autonomous vehicles and more — which are merely a part of any complete IoT solution.

An essential yet often overlooked element of most successful IoT products is the mobile apps used to set up, configure and manage the devices. In most cases, the mobile app is at the center of the user experience and is, therefore, the face of many successful IoT devices. More importantly, the mobile app is often the critical differentiator that allows one IoT product to leap ahead of its competitors.

For this reason, most successful IoT teams include skilled mobile app developers who participate fully in the ideation, design and production phases of the project. These teams understand that the app is an intrinsic part of the end-to-end user experience and not something that gets farmed out or bolted on just before shipping the product. Integrating mobile app design into the IoT development process is essential for rapid adoption and long-term success.

For many of the world’s smartphone and tablet users, their mobile devices have replaced a raft of single-purpose products, from alarm clocks and calculators to camcorders and remote controls. This not only eliminates clutter, but also simplifies interactions with technology through intuitive gestures and familiar actions. Successful IoT products need to tap into this pre-existing expertise by delivering mobile app experiences that are consistent and engaging. Those apps should not look like ported desktop or web dashboards — instead, they should take full advantage of the rich set of capabilities and context offered by the latest generation of mobile devices. Every day, mobile users make sweeping decisions for and against brands, products and services, all based solely on their mobile app experiences. For this reason, IoT-enabled mobile app designers should aspire to excellence.

The enthusiastic response to the latest IoT trends has encouraged many CIOs and other executives to prepare strategies that integrate IoT into the digital transformation plans. Enterprise IoT creativity is on a roll, fueled by widespread wireless connectivity, commoditization of key components and convenient cloud-delivered services. For those who are eager to jump aboard the IoT rocket ship and adopt the latest IoT trends, always remember to bring along creative mobile app developers as part of the crew.

Written By

Ian Robinson

IBM Mobile Product Marketing Leader

Ian worked in executive marketing management roles at leading technology vendors, including Borland, Brio, Zone Labs and VMware, prior to being hired as VP of Marketing for Transitive Corporation. Following the acquisition of Transitive by IBM in 2008, Ian was appointed as IBM PowerVM…

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