Considerations for Your Smart Device Strategy
Considerations for Your Smart Device Strategy
Fully fledged IoT solutions aren't a walk in the park. Even starting with a great operating plan, there are a lot of moving pieces to keep an eye on.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
The modern era has created an interconnected world that revolves around electronic devices. It’s no wonder then that Internet Of Things (IoT) has become such a predominant trend all around us. What IoT means in practice is being able to use electronic devices that are dependent on one another for data, connectivity, tracking, analysis, certain rudimentary operations and so forth.
Everyone has at least a couple of IoT devices around their household and office environments, but what makes a smart IoT device? What are the features that a software developer should consider when building a smart IoT device that caters to universal needs of any consumer out there?
Create an Operating Plan
Every device out there requires an operating plan to function properly. Before you start building your device, ask yourself and your team what the main purpose of your IoT device is. The primary and secondary operations that your device will provide for the consumer have to be mapped out and tested in a controlled environment as many times as needed.
Before you start adding features like security, connectivity or a new feature that completes a certain task, map out what the operating plan for your device really is. IoT is a feature that will be essential to your technology but like any other piece of software, it needs proper guidance and vision in order to become a cohesive device in the end. This is the basic step to creating a smart and efficient IoT device, so take your time to create something beautiful.
Limit Your Connectivity
The main problem that many IoT devices have around the household or office is their connectivity. Devices nowadays are built to either be black boxes without any means of connectivity or an omnipotent device that can connect to anything anywhere. Both of these approaches are wrong, however.
Your device should only be able to connect to certain paired and relevant devices in the close proximity. Are you building a new type of wireless printing machine? It will certainly pick up straggler signals coming from all over the office floor if you don’t localize it and tell it what to do. Limiting the connectivity of your IoT device won’t make it worse but better because you will avoid choking it with unnecessary data.
The ideal situation is having only outbound or only inbound connections, but this depends on the type of device you are building and has to be decided manually. Create your software according to the needs of your device’s connectivity and always think about ways to limit it as much as possible.
Use Adequate Protection
While building your IoT device, you always have to be mindful of using software protection. More often than not IoT devices such as cameras or house alarms are susceptible to outside interference because the software lacks any sort of protection. You can amend this by thinking in advance and implementing stronger coding that leads the attacking code astray and confuses it, by limiting incoming connections, using password protections, and so forth.
The security of IoT devices often has life or death consequences for whoever is using them. Believe it or not, having a pacemaker installed only to then realize it lacks any sort of protection and can be interfered by a simple electronic device near it is frightening. Building a smart IoT device means that you always have to keep software protection in mind and implement proper security depending on the type of device you are building.
Keep it Updated
Making sure that your IoT device stays relevant for as long as possible is important. That is why software updates are an essential part of your smart IoT device going forward, and you have to take this into consideration. Software updates can not only bring new features to your consumers and clients but also update their protection and allow them a much safer use of your IoT device.
Keeping your software updated will require setting up inbound links and server storages in order to distribute updates efficiently. Also, your clients need to be fully aware that such updates are taking place and changing their IoT device’s software for the better. You can do so by setting up a dedicated email service or a blog page to keep them updated. Using professional writing services such as Writingjudge.com will help you get the right message across to your clients and keep them satisfied with your services.
Make sure to always keep your software relevant through updates and regular check-ins – it’s one of the hallmarks of smart IoT devices and it will surely take your creation to a new level.
Think About Cloud Storage
Your device might be too small or robust to hold a memory unit and corresponding software. That is why you can consider using cloud storage for your IoT device to make it more compact and user-friendly. Be very careful about using cloud storage, however – if the servers suffer malfunction or the device loses connection, what are the implications for your clients?
At best, they will feel a momentary loss of connection in their household and carry on with their routine. At worst, think of the implications for car drivers, pacemaker users and people with disabilities if your IoT device loses connection for only an hour. That is why you need to think about using cloud storage very carefully.
It can make your device lightweight and simpler to use since all of the control will be centralized on your servers. However, the implications of software failure are enormous if the device is essential to your customer’s constant use. Make this decision carefully depending on what type of a device you are building in order to consider it a smart IoT device.
Consider Using Tracking Software
Just like cloud storage, using tracking software on your IoT device depends on its purpose. If you are building a new security system or interconnected office items, using tracking software will make finding them and keeping tabs much easier. However, if you are building devices for mass market and private use, using tracking software should be handled very carefully because it can have severe implications when it comes to your client’s privacy.
The key to designing a smart IoT device that knows what its main function is and does it well is carefully planning what additional coding and functionality to add to its backdoor software. Your clients won’t know what’s best for them most of the time, but adding tracking software without their consent is a serious violation of their confidence.
If you choose to do so, disclose it very openly and let your customers decide if they are willing to trust you. After all, you have built an IoT device that is perfect for their needs – you would only add tracking software if you felt that it would benefit the client.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.