How to build an IoT app?

Most of us interact with IoT devices on a daily basis, often without realizing it. These devices have become an integral part of our lives, simplifying tasks and making daily life more convenient. However, the potential of IoT extends beyond consumer applications. Businesses across industries are recognizing the benefits of integrating IoT technologies to optimize processes and drive innovation.

In this article, we will explore the process of building an IoT application. Whether you're an individual looking to create consumer-focused IoT apps or a business seeking to enhance efficiency and streamline operations, this guide will provide you with valuable insights.

Internet of Things definition

The Internet of Things (IoT) revolves around the concept of connecting devices, or "things," within a network. Why is this connectivity important? IoT devices have the capability to collect, process and exchange data with one another over a network, enabling various environments to connect and interact seamlessly.

IoT involves integrating electronic devices into a system that can communicate and exchange data automatically across a network. These smart connected devices are equipped with embedded systems, including processors, sensors and communication equipment. They use these components to collect data from their surroundings, transmit it and take actions based on this information.

IoT allows us to collect data from multiple devices simultaneously, leading to the automation of numerous processes. By harnessing the power of IoT, businesses and individuals can optimize operations, enhance efficiency and unlock valuable insights from interconnected devices. These connections facilitate automation and open doors to different opportunities for process optimization, enhanced decision-making and many others.

App development outsourcing

IoT app development

When it comes to IoT app development, you may wonder if it differs from creating traditional applications. The answer is that while the overall process shares similarities, there are distinct factors to consider.

The development of an IoT app follows similar principles to other applications. However, IoT apps involve additional tools, technologies and network protocols specific to the IoT ecosystem. These specialized elements enable communication and interaction between the app and devices on the network.

For example, IoT apps may use protocols and technologies that facilitate remote connection and communication between devices and the application. A common scenario is when devices establish a connection to a smartphone via an app and use technologies like Bluetooth for smooth interaction. 

IoT devices examples

IoT technology has given rise to a wide range of devices that cater to both consumer and business needs. Let's explore some examples of IoT devices that connect with apps.

Consumer IoT devices

When it comes to consumer IoT devices, the most popular ones include smart home devices. These devices include smart thermostats, smart lighting systems, smart locks and smart security cameras. They allow homeowners to control and monitor their home environment remotely, enhancing convenience, energy efficiency and security.

On a daily basis, we also use wearable devices: fitness trackers, smartwatches, health monitoring devices etc. They collect and analyze data related to physical activity, heart rate, sleep patterns and more, empowering people to track their health and wellness in real time.

Another thing that has gained popularity in recent years is voice assistants – e.g. devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home. They use voice recognition and natural language processing to perform tasks, answer questions and control other connected devices using voice commands.

Business IoT devices

On the other side, we also have business IoT devices used at different companies for process optimization, collecting and managing data, tracking and others. For example, industrial sensors are used in manufacturing plants and factories to collect data related to temperature, pressure, humidity and other variables. They enable real-time monitoring and analysis of production processes, facilitating optimization and predictive maintenance.

Businesses also use IoT-enabled devices to track the location and condition of assets, such as shipping containers, vehicles and equipment. This allows for efficient logistics management and inventory tracking. We also know tracking devices used for private purposes, like key finders. 

Another example is environmental monitoring systems. These are IoT devices equipped with sensors, used in industries like agriculture and healthcare to monitor environmental conditions. For instance, in agriculture, soil moisture sensors and weather stations provide data to optimize irrigation and crop management.

These examples are just a fraction of the diverse range of IoT devices available for consumers and businesses. From smart home gadgets to sophisticated industrial sensors, the IoT ecosystem continues to expand, enabling innovative solutions and transforming the way we live and work.

IoT app-building process

The process of building an IoT app involves several key steps to ensure its successful development and deployment. As mentioned, most of these process steps are very similar to a ‘standard’ app development process. But there are also some extra elements to take care of. 

Building an IoT app is a dynamic process that requires close collaboration between everyone involved. Here's an overview of the typical IoT app-building process.

Building a concept

Start by identifying the problem you want to solve or the opportunity you want to explore with your IoT app. Conduct market research, gather user feedback and brainstorm ideas to define the app's purpose, target audience and desired functionality.

Defining requirements and features

Based on the app's concept, create a comprehensive list of requirements and features. Consider the specific IoT devices and technologies you intend to integrate, such as sensors, actuators, cloud platforms, and communication protocols. Prioritize the features based on their importance and feasibility. It might be a good idea to start with an MVP.

A Mobile App Brief Template is a material to help you define your needs and goals, so that the company you are considering partnering with will understand your end goal, the market you operate in, and the idea.

Design and user experience

Create a user-centric design for your IoT app. It’s important to design the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) to be intuitive and visually appealing. Ensure seamless navigation and clear communication of information between the user and the connected devices.

You can consider the following options to help you with the design process:

  • Hiring a UX Designer – find a dedicated UX designer who specializes in creating engaging experiences for IoT apps to collaborate with you to create screens that align with your vision.
  • Taking advantage of a product design workshop – these provide valuable guidance and insights, helping you discover your app's unique style and establish a solid foundation for your design journey. 

Prototyping and development

The next stage should include developing a prototype of the IoT app to test its core functionalities and interactions. This iterative process helps you refine the app's design and validate its viability. Once the prototype is approved, proceed with full-scale development using suitable programming languages and frameworks. This looks pretty much the same as with any app development process. 

Backend development and integration

The part that differentiates building an IoT app from any other is the necessity to integrate the app with IoT devices. Depending on the specifics of your app and the device(s) you want to integrate, the choice of tech stack and the course of development will look different.

One way or another, this stage includes building the backend infrastructure that will handle data storage, processing and communication between the IoT devices and the app. Integrating with cloud platforms and IoT frameworks to enable secure and scalable data management might also be needed. Developers should implement the necessary APIs, protocols and software development kits (SDKs) to connect and interact with the target IoT devices. 

Data analytics and insights

It may also be necessary to use data analytics techniques to extract valuable information from data collected by IoT devices. This is the time to implement algorithms and visualization tools to interpret and present data in a meaningful way, enabling users to make decisions. This is where the 'magic' happens and the main objectives of your IoT application come true. 

Testing and Quality Assurance

Perform application testing during and after the development process to ensure that the application works as intended, is bug-free and provides a smooth user experience. In addition to testing the app itself, Quality Assurance specialists (testers) should handle device compatibility testing, network testing and security testing to identify and resolve any potential issues. 

Deployment and maintenance

One of the last things to take care of in the process is preparing the app for deployment on the desired platforms, such as mobile devices or web browsers. Then, it’s highly important to monitor and maintain the app's performance, security and compatibility with evolving IoT technologies. Remember to continuously update the app with new features and improvements based on user feedback and market demands.

User feedback and iteration

When the app is released, no matter if it’s a consumer app or a solution for your business, it’s necessary to gather user feedback and monitor the usage. Incorporate user suggestions and iterate on the app's features and functionalities to enhance its value and address user needs.

Choosing IoT specialists for your app development

When it comes to finding the perfect team for your IoT app, there are a few things to keep in mind. Look for a software house that has experience in developing IoT apps, so you know if the team understands the complexities involved. Make sure the team has the technical expertise you need. 

The IoT development agency should have technical expertise in programming languages, IoT-specific platforms, protocols and device integration. Data management, analytics and security are also important aspects to consider. The easiest way to verify this is to seek a team with expertise in creating IoT apps. You can evaluate the portfolio, customer reviews and testimonials to find out who are the right experts for your project. 

IoT apps examples

Here are some examples of IoT apps we created at FiveDotTwelve. For more, check out our other projects here

Kumo RF Analyzer App: simplifying IoT RF signal analysis

Kumo RF analyzer is an application designed to streamline the operation of the IoT RF Analyzer device. This powerful application is specifically built to enhance the analysis of radio signals emitted by SIM cards. With the Kumo RF Analyzer, users can effortlessly assess the scope and quality of various IoT radio technologies operating in licensed and ISM bands.

PowerWISE: streamlining electricity consumption management

PowerWISE is a comprehensive web and mobile application designed to simplify the management and monitoring of electricity consumption. Developed with a focus on large facilities like shopping malls, PowerWISE empowers businesses to efficiently track and analyze their energy usage. This application serves as a valuable tool for energy distributors, energy retailers and end customers alike. 

PowerWISE allows the collection of data from various utility meters remotely, integrates data with other platforms, including billing systems and enables real-time data analysis, empowering businesses to optimize costs and make informed decisions.

Wayband™: guiding the visually impaired with wearable haptic navigation

Wayband™ is a mobile app connected to a wearable haptic navigation device, specifically designed to assist the blind and visually impaired. This solution combines a smart band and a mobile app to guide users to their destination using tactile feedback. By offloading the reliance on visual and auditory cues, Wayband™ delivers vital information through intuitive vibrations, enhancing independence and mobility. The app provides tactile navigation through vibrations.

SensAIR: monitoring air quality

SensAIR is a mobile app dedicated to raising awareness about the quality of the air we breathe. This application connects with air sensors, allowing users to conveniently access and monitor air quality data in various environments, such as homes, schools and kindergartens.

SensAIR enables users to monitor the air quality in a room where the sensor is located remotely by measuring essential air parameters such as pressure, humidity and more. It also offers the convenience of managing multiple sensors simultaneously. 


Creating an IoT app requires thinking carefully about the specific needs and features of the app, as well as incorporating IoT devices and technologies. As you already know, the process of building an IoT app involves several steps.

It's important to gather user feedback and make improvements along the way. When choosing a team for IoT app development, it's crucial to find experts who specialize in IoT platforms, protocols, device integration, data management, analytics and security. Making sure your app idea is valid and selecting the right development team are key to ensuring the success of your IoT app project.