As the world becomes more interconnected, the IoT market is set to ride a tidal wave of growth. Industry reports are jamming with projections of billions of connected devices and trillions of dollars in economic value. By 2030, it is expected that there will be 29 billion IoT devices worldwide - nearly doubling the count from 2020 .
Indeed, the Internet of Things (IoT) market is experiencing an electrifying surge, and is wired for even exponential growth in the near future. Based on a study found by IDC, the global spending on IoT has been increasing year-over-year by at least $40 billion since 2018 . This booming IoT market owes its success to a variety of factors. Companies across industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, and smart homes are plugging into IoT to supercharge their operations, optimize resource utilization, amp up customer experiences, and unleash innovative business models. According to Forbes, 80% of companies have integrated some forms of IoT in their operations . With the rise of 5G networks as one of the vital catalysts, IoT’s real-time data processing and analysis capabilities are amplified to new heights. What is more, the cost of IoT sensors, devices, and connectivity has been steadily dropping, making it affordable and accessible for businesses of all sizes to join the IoT groove. Combined with the availability of cloud computing and scalable infrastructure, this has set the stage for an IoT revolution.
However, implementing an IoT system and building IoT applications is no walk in the park. It requires clear business objectives, careful selection of IoT platforms, addressing data security, integrating with existing systems, ongoing data analysis for actionable insights, and most importantly, finding the right talents with the expertise to navigate this intricate landscape.
Enabling citizen development
Finding professionals with the expertise to implement IoT applications can be a tough task. IoT is a relatively new and rapidly evolving field in which the pool of experienced IoT developers is limited. The technology landscape is constantly evolving, with new protocols, platforms, and tools emerging regularly. The multidisciplinary nature of IoT development makes it difficult to find developers who possess expertise in all these domains. To implement IoT applications, the developers need to embody a diverse skill set that combines knowledge in areas such as embedded systems, hardware integration, networking protocols, data analytics, cloud computing, and security. Based on IoT World Today’s IoT Adoption Survey, 45% of respondents addressed the lack of skill as a main challenge in implementing IoT .
Thus is why citizen developers play a vital role in addressing the talent shortage in IoT application development. As the demand for IoT expertise surpasses the available pool of skilled professionals, citizen developers offer a solution by leveraging low-code and no-code development platforms. According to Gartner, we will see four times more citizen developers than professional developers working in large enterprises in 2023 . These platforms enable individuals with domain knowledge and business acumen, but limited coding experience, to actively contribute to the creation of IoT applications. Not only does it help alleviate the talent shortage but also brings a fresh perspective to IoT application development, ultimately driving digital transformation and enabling organizations to fully leverage the benefits of IoT technology.
Low-code: fuel to the factory of IoT applications
Low-code platforms, known for its notable capability in bridging the skills gap, plays a major role in factory IoT application development. The low-code market has experienced significant growth in recent years, driven by the increasing demand for faster application development, the scarcity of skilled developers, and the need for business agility. More than 72% of IT leaders recognized that utilizing a low-code solution in their organization help enhance productivity, foster innovation and accelerate the development timeline . Notably, McKinsey indicated that companies can improve their retention rate up to 47% if access to such tools is provided during development . As digitalization continues to expand, low-code technology is expected to gain even more traction in the IoT realm, enabling organizations to quickly build and deploy applications while reducing development costs and improving time-to-market.
- Device Integration:Connecting and integrating various IoT devices with different protocols and communication standards can be complex. Low-code platforms provide pre-built connectors and APIs that simplify device integration, enabling developers to quickly configure and connect devices without extensive coding or protocol expertise.
- Data Management: IoT systems generate large volumes of data from multiple devices, which requires efficient data management. Low-code platforms offer built-in data management capabilities, such as data storage, processing, and analytics, making it easier to handle and derive insights from IoT data without the need for extensive manual coding.
- Application Development: Developing IoT applications traditionally involves complex coding and integration tasks. Low-code platforms provide visual modeling tools, drag-and-drop interfaces, and pre-built templates, allowing developers to design and develop IoT applications rapidly. This accelerates the application development process and reduces the reliance on manual coding.
- Scalability: Scaling an IoT system to accommodate a growing number of devices or users can be challenging. Low-code platforms offer scalability features, such as auto-scaling capabilities and cloud integration, which simplify the process of expanding the IoT infrastructure. These platforms handle the underlying infrastructure complexities, enabling organizations to easily scale their IoT systems as needed.
- Rapid Iteration and Deployment: IoT systems often require frequent iterations and updates. Low-code platforms facilitate rapid iteration and deployment by streamlining the development process. Developers can quickly make changes, test new features, and deploy updates, reducing the time and effort required for traditional software development cycles.
Although customization options are limited as low-code platforms prioritize simplicity over complexity, low-code is still a low-risk and high-reward solution for businesses. According to Gartner, by 2024, over 65% of application development activity will be propelled by low-code platforms . This statistic serves as a compelling indication of the growing prominence of low-code and its capabilities in enabling faster development and broader participation in the IoT ecosystem.