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Crucial Challenges You May Encounter In Iot App Development!

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By Author: Ash Rakars
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Industry experts and futurists have constantly been bragging about how transformative IoT is and how IoT solutions have brought incredible advancements in almost every industrial sector. They have anticipated how IoT is here to stay for decades or even centuries to come!

However, implementing IoT isn’t a piece of cake. It has its fair share of concerns and challenges. One may face significant obstacles during IoT application development at various stages. And this article gives an insight into these challenges and how to resolve them.

Crucial Challenges that IoT App Development Companies encounter!
Several companies and start-ups fail to comprehend the complexity involved in IoT development.
In fact, a survey done in 2017 by Cisco showed that only 26% of the companies, who initiate IoT development, actually pave the way to success. So, it becomes really important to understand the challenges that arise and then move ahead.
Here I have penned down the top 8 challenges that you are bound to face in your IoT app development projects.

IoT Operating System Considerations
Several devices are involved in the IoT app development process and the IoT operating system you choose should correspond to the size, nature, and capabilities of these devices. Currently, Linux is being broadly used for IoT microcontrollers, constrained embedded devices, etc. Windows 10 IoT is also being preferred largely.  
For making the apt choice of the operating systems, the IoT developers should consider the below-listed characteristics of the OS:

Energy efficiency
A memory footprint
Connectivity features
Application development ecosystem
Real-time processing requirements
Hardware-agnostic operations
Selecting the Right Platform
Choosing the right platform for IoT application development wisely is the necessity today. An IoT platform should be evaluated based on its scalability, ease of integration, reliability, usability, connectivity, support system, and budget specifications. It should be versatile in delivery and should provide consistent updates. Also, the platform should have the capability to communicate over multiple protocols like MQTT, HTTP, HTTPS, WebSockets, etc. Some of the best IoT platforms one can choose are Azure IoT Suite, IBM Watson, AWS, Oracle IoT, Kaa, etc.

Choice of Gateways
An IoT gateway is a software application or a physical device that serves to be a point of connection between the IoT app server and the end devices. Gateways can cost up to 10% of the total cost of the project, so choosing them wisely is essential. New-age gateways built by Intel, Dell Technologies, Nexcom, etc. are amongst the top providers of gateways.
Here are some mandatory features to be considered while IoT gateway selection:

Memory for data logging
Strong software offerings
Support to SDK's, API access, documentation
Remote Reboot and Remote Diagnostics
HW watchdog external to the Microcontroller
RTC (Real Time Clock)
LED Indications
Open Application Environment
TLS, SSL and Client-side X509 Certificate Support
Security Concerns
Security of the IoT components, data and the networks has been a very controversial issue in the IoT apps. These are easily vulnerable to cyber attacks and hacking threats. Traditional security measures like encryption, authorization, ports, etc. do not scale up easily with IoT. Additionally, secure update delivery and its validation are critical processes. All these pose a challenge to IoT app developers.
There are a few other security challenges that the developers need to consider, which are mentioned below:

Data exchange security
Cloud-storage security
Brute-forcing attacks
IoT malware and ransomware
IoT botnets aiming at cryptocurrency
Home invasions- exposing IP addresses
To deal with security issues, the developers should use SSL/TLS encryption technologies, detached corporate VPN, isolated VLA, end-user and machine-to-machine authentication, modern and updated anti-virus, vetted frameworks for web development and design, etc.

Cross-platform Compatibility
IoT ecosystem is vast and comprises of several devices with different protocols, architectures, and operating systems. Apart from these parameters, there are APIs and SDKs provided by vendors to developers for adding new features in their existing applications. These variables apart from new features should be able to work together seamlessly while having a balance of the hardware and software functions. It is quite challenging for the IoT app developers to bring this into reality.

But they should build the IoT apps considering the cross-platform compatibility and the technological advancements needed in the future. They should try to make the system compliant with industry standards and protocols.

Connectivity Issues
Real-time transmission of data is the key to the success of IoT projects. A large number of devices are interconnected with each other in IoT systems and they require to transmit data back and forth to servers at a consistent rate. But poor connectivity or latency issues cause losses at times. A good example of this issue is a mission-critical solution that needs to broadcast data efficiently but such missions can be a total failure if connectivity suffers when there is a server breakdown. In case of such critical missions, it is very important to choose efficient network technologies. There are many advanced network technologies available in the market which are trying to resolve issues specific to IoT.

Vital Data Tracking and Processing
In IoT, robust, and real-time data collection and its processing are the foundation of smart decision making. Here are the top challenges with IoT data collection:

Massive data volumes to sort through
Compatibility with existing systems
Privacy and Security
Streamlining challenges
To cope up with these challenges, the development teams need to plan well. They need to ensure that data size complies with platform requirements. They should also employ data experts, machine learning professionals, analytic engineers, etc. to obtain insights from the data on the cloud.

Lack of Talented Resources
A survey by Inmarsat, a British satellite telecommunications company, said that IoT application development is globally at risk due to the shortage of skills. It is one of the biggest barriers to this industry.

All the other challenges mentioned above can be appropriately handled only if there is a skilled and well-experienced workforce available for both, software and hardware implementations. More people need to be trained on this revolutionary technology.
Final Verdict:
IoT ecosystem is growing exponentially across the globe. Hence, it is imperative for the companies to provide the robust, scalable IoT application development services to cope up with the challenges in this field. These services help companies to make informed decisions and build a successful IoT app.

This is a wrap on this article! Do share your thoughts on this in the comment section below.

What challenges have you faced while your IoT development journey?

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