Top Five Challenges for IoT Developers
Written By: Linda Frembes

By all accounts, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a vast, fast-developing opportunity for the enterprise and everyone connected to the enterprise.This IoT market analysis roundup by Postscapes shows the wide range of numbers that represent the IoT market, such as:

  • Cisco IBSG predicts there will be 25 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2015 and 50 billion by 2020.
  • John Gantz of IDC forecasts 15 billion devices will be communicating over the network by the year 2015.
  • Across the health-care applications we analyzed, Internet of Things technology could have an economic impact of $1.1 trillion to $2.5 trillion per year by 2025, says McKinsey Global Institute.


What does this mean for developers? “IoT is a complicated, multi-tiered problem. Developers of all types – from Edge developers and Platform & WebService Developers, to Data Scientists and App Developers – are the engine to create the enterprise-wide IoT solutions that will power that kind of industry growth,” says Kevin Holbrook, Senior Director of Partner Technology Strategy at ThingWorx, a PTC business.

IoT developers – both veterans and those who are new to the market – face challenges in this unique environment.

Each step – from creation and storage to analysis and action of the data – has to handle numerous facets. In addition to security like authentication and authorization, each step must be able to disseminate the data to customers or integrators both locally and globally, and handle the quality and quantity of data points. On top of managing the data, the technology platform must allow applications to be built that are specific to the customers’ needs in rapid time.

1) You are the technology champion.

Developers are often the champion within their organization for new technology that they encounter. Being the voice for technology is a pain point that you know well. As Emil Berthelsen, Principal Analyst at Machina Research, points out: “Enterprise IoT is fundamentally a disruptive process. It presents not only significant opportunities to improve and enhance operational performance through remote management and predictive routines but it also enables a new and much wider range of services and business models. These services and business models will generate both new revenue opportunities and structures for the business but also fundamentally change many of the established working structures and business processes within an enterprise. To enable this change to happen, mind-sets within enterprises will have to change.”

Getting hands-on with IoT technology is an important method to demonstrate the value of this technology to your enterprise.

2) You deal with the data deluge.

Big data and IoT go hand-in-hand. “The vast number of smart, connected products and the immense amounts of data they generate pose a serious challenge to manage. A technology platform that can handle this amount of data enables a business to automate routine tasks, detect trends from operations and, from those trends, optimize processes. These transformational improvements introduce a number of complexities that a technology platform has to take into account,” writes Matt Ford, Technical Fellow, ThingWorx Software Development Engineer.

Matt’s forthcoming ThingWorx blog series about the data deluge is one to watch. Be sure to follow us so you don’t miss a post.

3) You understand the monumental task of an IoT roadmap.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your IoT strategy is on the same timeline. However, Machina Research’s Berthelsen notes: “In planning and prioritizing the IoT application roadmap, enterprises should look to deliver some early and quick wins. This prioritization will be driven by both the opportunities to test and develop the IoT Enablement Platform in terms of scalability, agility and flexibility but also to allow for the enterprise to develop an awareness, culture and the suitable business processes around Enterprise IoT.”

Explore the ThingWorx Marketplace, the first online marketplace for the IoT, where you can find hardware and software vendors to help you transform your IoT solution.

4) You can’t say this enough: “Security, security, security!”

The security design of your chosen IoT platform is paramount to a successful IoT roadmap. What does it take to guard against hackers, malware and unsafe operations? Read and share our security whitepaper “Providing Secure, Connected Products” to learn more about this important topic.

5) You need to find the right IoT developer community.

In the Wild, Wild West that is the fast-changing IoT industry, it’s important to connect with your peers across the globe to share ideas and best practices, and to discover learning opportunities. The ThingWorx Community is the perfect place to find fellow IoT developers who are working on cutting-edge apps and deployments.

Tags: CAD Retail and Consumer Products Connected Devices
About the Author Linda Frembes

Linda Seid Frembes is a writer and community manager for ThingWorx who blogs about IoT, AR, and technology industry news and trends.