Hi Ayla,

We have a limited budget for developing a connected product. How important is having a slick mobile app to control it? Shouldn’t we focus on making our actual IoT product as great as it can be, rather than spending too much on what’s essentially an add-on capability?

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You have beautifully captured an issue that so many manufacturers face. How important, really, is the mobile app for a connected product? How much budget and resources should you devote to something that’s perceived as a nice-to-have but not an essential capability?

Here’s a hard truth: Unless you fundamentally shift how you perceive your mobile app, you’re headed for some serious problems as you compete in the Internet of Things.

Unlike in the pre-IoT world, your IoT customers will most likely interact with the mobile app instead of with your product hardware. When users think of your “IoT product” and brand, they will think of the mobile app, not the physical product itself.

This shift makes sense when you realize that an IoT product is defined not by its hardware alone but by the hardware + IoT cloud capabilities + the mobile app controlling its functions, as well as the interactions among them all. Customers will associate “the product” with what they interact with most, which is the mobile app.

So, what’s a traditional manufacturer to do? How can you shift your perspective and priorities to achieve success in the IoT market?

First, understand that your connected product will be a “mobile-first” experience to your customers. Second, use this understanding to make sure that you’re including mobile app considerations from the very beginning of your IoT product design process.

And third, unless you already have a team of in-house software developers with specific expertise in IoT mobile app development, don’t try to handle this yourselves. As with nearly everything about IoT development, your best bet is to use a comprehensive IoT platform such as the one from Ayla Networks.

Let the Ayla IoT platform technology experts handle the intricacies of IoT mobile app design and mobile app interactions with the cloud, product hardware, and users. That way, you’re free to focus your limited budget on the features and capabilities that will differentiate your IoT product in the marketplace.

What do you want to know about the Internet of Things? In our Ask Ayla ongoing blog series, Ayla Networks will answer questions about IoT technology, products, use cases, and trends. Send your IoT questions to prodmarketing@aylanetworks.com, with the subject line: Ask Ayla. Check back often to see the answer to your question, as well as what others have asked.

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