The Internet of Things and digital disruption were the hottest keywords for web development at the beginning of 2017 and this trend will continue. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, business development, government, as well as the consumer economy are poised to experience the world in ways dreamed science fiction 20 years ago.
Website developers are likely to become instrumental in the design of interfaces, website design, applications, and just about anything you can imagine that will make the IoT a safe, secure, and functional place for all consumers.
What Is The Internet Of Things (IoT)?
- Simply explained, the IoT is the connecting of everyday objects to the internet for remote control by the consumer. We are already seeing internet connected crock pots as well as coffee pots and other simple tools of everyday life. But, the IoT is rapidly growing and the demand for innovation is the next logical step in the growth of the internet of things.
- According to a February 2016 report by Business Insider, findings from a two year study of the effects of the IoT in 16 different areas (such as manufacturing, the connected home, transportation, and agriculture) produced the following information –
- The study projects that upwards of 34 billion devices will have internet connectivity by the year 2020. This is three times the amount of connected devices in 2015. IoT devices, such as ‘smart home’ technology (like the Nest learning thermostat) to internet controlled appliances will make up 24 billion. Traditional computing devices, such as smartphones and tablets, will account for the remaining 10 billion.
- In the next five years alone, upwards of 6 trillion dollars will be spent by consumers to obtain these devices and solution.
- Businesses will top the list of adapting to these technologies the fastest. They will see the opportunities the Iot has in store for their bottom line in the areas of lowering operating costs, increasing opportunities, and expanding into new markets.
- Governments will be the second in line to cash in on the IoT. For the same reasons as business, governments will see the IoT as a means to running more efficiently and ‘adding value’ to citizen’s lives.
- Consumers will slowly begin to cash in on the benefits of IoT to make their lives more convenient. When this occurs, they will begin to spend significant amounts of money to acquire the technology.
What Does The IoT Have In Store For Web Developers?
The internet is no longer an internet for smartphone, tablets, and computers. Website development is about to take a turn into uncharted waters and development of critical components will be essential for the smooth transition to an Internet of Things. Integration of security is likely to be a key component as well as manipulating multiple, complex technologies to create a new IoT ‘ecosystem’.
The future of website development is likely to become very interesting (as well as lucrative) as companies of all sorts develop ideas for getting their products connected to the internet. The demand for an increasingly ‘responsive web’ will be the biggest hurdle for developers to leap. According to SitePoint, a website for front end development “The last thing we want is one web designed for the IoT and one for the mobile and desktop web”. Thus, the integration of every next generation device needs to be geared up to be accessible to the IoT.
The sudden rise of the Internet of Things is already exerting pressure on web designers as they build websites and web based user interfaces, according to a blog on PixelFish.com. However, business must make some decisions as how they will proceed in an IoT world –
1. Businesses must become responsive to the ever increasing demands for personalized data from internet enabled devices
Example: Your IoT connected device has determined that you are out of a product you regularly purchase online. This information is then shared with sites where you shop for food online. This information is then automatically added to your smartphone shopping list, or as a pop-up message when you visit your favorite online shopping site. These are the types of interactions that web developers must expect and accommodate by creating a flow of information that makes these activities possible
2. Businesses will become increasingly interactive with the IoT
Example: The impact of the IoT is rapidly shaping the way businesses do business with one another (B2B) and with consumers (B2C). This trend is predicted by many experts to continue to grow over the next five years as the IoT continues to gather data on the buying habits of consumers. Web designers will shape the ways businesses gather this data, interpret it, and leverage it to help their businesses run more efficiently.
3. Clean and flexible are key to user interface creation
Example: Website design must look good no matter the size of the screen. Thus, the IoT makes additional demands on webs designers to design for all manner of screen size and shape, from smartphone to computer, text must be intelligible and graphics appealing. We will soon see an increasing demand for dashboards that allow users to manage data from all manner of devices.
From page load times to cyber security, the people who make everything in the Internet of Everything are in the background, furiously facing up to the challenges that this next phase of internet technology. And some of the biggest challenges are yet to come as this Internet of Things is being hailed as the next Industrial Revolution. And behind every revolution is a designer.