It is so fascinating that technology has reached the level that we can control our households from any location in the world through something as simple as our mobile phones. There are sensors available, which communicate with the air conditioner to switch it on and off automatically when we enter or leave.
The idea of auto driven cars excites all of us, though hardly any of us have actually tried to imagine what it takes for the car to become self-driven. All the above is possible through the internet of things (IoT) technology.
IoT is an upcoming concept these days, attracting a lot of attention from both users and developers. Most widely known application of IoT is the ‘smart systems’ concept.. It consists of automated, real-time processes that can help the end user interact better with his surroundings.
In simplest terms, IoT comprises of interconnected things, devices, and software which work together for making an internet based system. As one can also estimate from the examples, IoT is a ‘network’ connecting ‘things’ which can be gadgets, objects, devices, sensors, vehicles, applications etc.
Challenges in Developing IoT
IoT involves collaboration of so many components in real-time. So, it is an extensive area for research and development. Developers have to comprehensively visualize, conceptualize and analyze the essentials of such systems before development. Software development companies are working hard to bring our dreams and imagination to reality through this technology.
So far it sounds wonderful, but we need to look behind the scenes too. If a self-driving car’s sensor stops working and it cannot sense the footpath distance, it has the possibility of crashing into the footpath.
Also, if the infrared sensor fails, the car will ignore any animals or humans on its path. Or, even in the simpler of IoT examples, if the communication between the sensor and air conditioner fails, despite both the devices functioning properly, the whole functionality is bound to fail.
Thus, development of IoT poses certain challenges for the development companies, let us look at some of these.
High requirements of efficiency, security, data privacy and storage
A real-time system connecting so many fragments needs to have high efficiency, security, data privacy, and storage. Without efficiency, the network cannot function as intended. If the hardware is slow while the network is fast, the end result would still be low on efficiency.
Developers must ensure that the pace of each component’s functioning matches with the requirements of the system to achieve robust and efficient results. A system with so many hardware and software components communicating with each other, that too mostly in a real-time environment, has to provide efficient coordination between the fragments.
IoT system is also vulnerable to security threats at each fragment. This vulnerability is proportionate to the number of such fragments involved. With so many sub-components storing user data, it is a challenge to store the huge volumes of data properly. A bigger issue is to protect this data from theft, that too at each individual fragment and between the communication channels.
Any slightest negligence in considering these factors can make the user lose trust in the system. Consequently, the development company suffers a serious loss of credibility among its clients.
Managing a fragmented and highly scattered environment
Management and maintenance of automated IoT systems are not easy. So many dissimilar things, applications, services, and devices are connected to the system. It requires emphasis on each and every part and even on the mutual connectivity of the fragments. Management has to be in terms of quality, coordination, maintenance, updating, and up-gradation.
Delivering quality has to be at all levels, as any minor glitch or failure can affect the overall performance of the system. Technology update or upgrade in one component would generally require upgrade in the connected components as well.
Availability of fewer frameworks, platforms (middleware solutions) and tools
There are limited frameworks for development of IoT. Equally challenging is the decision of which framework or tool to use. As we can interpret from the composition of an IoT system, different components and communication between them requires using different platforms.
Thus, for specialized IoT systems, many times, a single platform or framework, no matter how well performing, may not be sufficient. Selecting the right frameworks or tools is ideally based on the project requirements. Moreover, the overall available market experience with these is limited as the concept itself is comparatively new.
Due to this, availability and selection of framework, as of now is a challenge for the development of IoT systems. Although with increasing demands of IoT in the market, more frameworks and tools are emerging. This, to a large extent, generates hopes to resolve the problem.
Paucity in the availability of expertise and experience
Web development, mobile app or software development are now very common concepts. So the developers of these have enough experience from their own past projects and from the market trends. But, when it comes to IoT, there is still less availability of skilled, trained and experienced developers. IoT development companies depend on this limited availability.
To increase the availability of specially trained developers, IoT firms make their teams undergo comprehensive training and skill development. Due to the increasing demand for specialists and their scant availability in the industry, it is also a challenge to retain experts of IoT development. IoT is vast and multifaceted which makes it inevitable to have a mix of versatile developers to analyze the situation from a broad perspective and develop accordingly.
Also, for the varied specializations with different types of components, the development teams must have a blend of multi-disciplinary talents.
A mismatch between expectations and delivery
End users of IoT are having high expectations from it. But, every technology has its limitations. Most IoT development firms face the problem of this mismatch in expectations and limitations of what can be delivered. It requires analysis even before the actual development starts.
Many times it is feasible to develop prototypes or models of the idea to shared with the client for approval. Though a time-consuming task, this can help in preventing future hassles.
Considering the resources available, expertise and even costs involved, IoT development companies should also evaluate their position for every new IoT project. IoT developers must have the responsibility and maturity to decide what to build in-house and what to outsource considering their capabilities and limitations.
Despite the challenges mentioned above, the developers from top IoT development companies deliver their best to make the fabulous world of IoT. It is one of the most interesting concepts for users and equally. Similarly, for the development companies, anyway accustomed to meeting new challenges every day. Owing to the future scopes, for developers, it is also a very lucrative area to master. It is also an opportunity for making their mark in the development industry.