Published: October 31, 2022
12 min read
Last updated: November 8, 2023
In this article, you'll learn:
❓ What Influences IoT Development Cost?
🔍 What are the So-Called “Hidden Costs” for IoT Development?
📉 How to Safely Reduce IoT App Development Cost and Avoid Money Waste?
🔑 Our Expertise in Determining Development Costs for IoT
Internet of Things implementation has always been quite tricky when it comes to costs. It can involve many different stages within a typical software development cycle like researching connection protocols, or establishing BLE or WiFi connectivity. Each of these “extra” stages adds up to the overall project costs and may be not very clear when you’re just beginning the IoT integration.
However, at the highest level, we can break down a cost structure for IoT integrations in the following categories:
As our team specializes in IoT mobile app development, in this article we’ll focus on the IoT app development cost in particular.
IoT devices always require specific mobile applications that prioritize IoT connectivity (image by Lily)
Various IoT solutions require a custom approach and it’s almost impossible to present a precise estimate that may be referred to as a generalized one. The custom approach supposes creating a unique software solution, the uniqueness of which will significantly impact the total cost.
IoT app development cost is never fixed as they change under specific circumstances. Let’s take a closer look at aspects that usually influence the costs of delivering an IoT solution.
IoT cost will vary depending on the desired platforms for the project. Whatever your business goals are, you pick the most suitable platform among desktop, web, and mobile to build an IoT solution.
We at Stormotion create Internet of Things software with the amazing React Native framework. It gives us an opportunity to deliver products for several platforms (iOS, Android) at the same time lowering Time-to-Market and expenses. This level of efficiency we are able to reach as React Native allows us to reuse different pieces of code for those other platforms.
We recommend starting off with launching your product on one platform, which is preferred by your customers. Later on, you may launch the solution on the other platform, if it becomes necessary.
In turn, React Native makes the development process for both mobile platforms less complicated. Thus, you don’t have to seek assistance from different teams to integrate a new OS, when it all can be done by one 😉
Development services play crucial role in setting up an IoT ecosystem(image by Tomasz Czyżkowski)
Moreover, React Native allows reusing some parts of the mobile code for web platforms, too! Thus, if you don’t plan on focusing solely on one platform, we’d recommend you consider this framework as the way to cut IoT application development costs without the decrease in quality.
React Native vs Native (iOS/Android) App Development Comparison
As the quality and quantity of your software’s features considerably impacts the cost to develop an IoT app, we recommend building a clear vision of what is needed and what is desired. In other words, think of starting with an MVP — Minimum Viable Product.
Prioritize the features you'd like to have in your project by dividing them into the vital ones and the ones that aren’t so necessary at the first stage. This will help you to understand how much your project’s core costs and what the cost of further development stages is. This will also help you to cut off all the features that are not that essential at first, decreasing the initial expenses.
In our opinion, one of the most valuable aspects of IoT software design is user-friendliness. The easier it’s to use the app — the better retention rate you may expect. Depending on the complexity of the design you envision in your project, cost to develop it may significantly differ. We recommend sticking to non-complex and intuitive design decisions in order not to overload the user's experience along with the project’s budget.
We’d like to list several inner aspects that affect development costs and speed up the delivery at the design stages:
General practices. It’s quite common to observe the tendencies and decisions that are used among the companies of your segment. If there’s a common design decision found in different companion apps, there’s no need to complicate the development by trying to invent something extraordinary. The main advice if you prioritize lower costs and faster development — stick with simplicity.
Responsive design. On one hand, it’s great to predict and adapt your project’s interface to every possible device, however, it may create excessive spendings that aren’t so essential from the start. Our advice is to determine several main devices at the design stage and focus on development, as you can always adapt to new ones in the future when it becomes necessary.
Existing libraries/decisions. We recommend implementing more already existing libraries and features to lower your expenditures. If your goal is to make a good product without spending tremendous amounts of money — don’t overlook taking existing design solutions into consideration. It’s always cheaper to give up a few potential features than to design everything from scratch.
Considering IoT software creation with the help of a Tech Team, you always stick to the numbers provided by the specialists you hire. However, this number doesn’t always include the expenditures on the third-party services that your project requires.
This includes various platforms for managing databases, making cloud computing effective, or gathering statistics. Here are some of them, that you may require in your project development:
There are many examples of third-party services that may come in handy for your IoT project’s success. Every single of them has its monthly/annual cost that shouldn’t be overlooked in your budget estimates.
As the variety of solutions is so vast, it’s hard to determine what you should do to reduce the cost to develop an IoT app. However, we’d like to share some tips that will help you make your development costs сlean of excessive spendings.
We recommend you not to underestimate the Discovery Phase in a project’s lifespan. Obviously, conducting the DS costs much less than it may cost you to deal with the consequences of improper planning. If you focus on the prevention and not on the cure, it’ll significantly save your finances, as fixing errors costs way more than thoroughly planning on their prevention.
For a better understanding of what a Project Discovery Stage is, feel free to click the link down below and acquaint yourself with how it’s usually done.
Project Discovery: What is it and Why Do You Need it?
The most common mistake, that usually leads to increased cost to develop, comes from the desire to deliver the product at its best as soon as possible. However, such desires often become an issue that makes development longer and even more complicated. We recommend starting off with creating an MVP that can be easily modified and tested, before proceeding to the final product creation.
IoT mobile apps are much cheaper to properly link with connected devices when you conduct an MVP-building stage (image by Julian 🎨)
Throughout the project’s life cycle there’s a place for various adjustments that are much cheaper and faster to implement in MVP than to remake a full-fledged software. Not to mention extra costs spent on handling issues and challenges that may appear through the development. Exactly the MVP stage allows you not to start over the development, thus, letting you avoid unnecessary expenditures and gather more feedback.
How Much Does It Cost To Build An MVP: MVP Costs Explained
The greatest combo for making the cost to develop IoT based apps significantly lower is providing QA in the early stages of your MVP, particularly when testing IoT prototypes. The later you provide Quality Assurance for your product, the bigger risks are to encounter bugs and unexpected challenges at the further development stages.
On the contrary, early QA allows to foresee and prevent a great number of such issues that could drastically slow progress and hit with excessive financial expenditures.
As we’ve already mentioned in previous sections, it’s crucial to understand what platforms you are targeting first. Basically, the more platforms you need to cover, the higher development costs you should expect. However, in case you’ve already determined beforehand that you’re going for more than one of them — there’s a way to reduce the costs.
Some languages, such as React Native, allow a cross-platform mobile app development for your IoT technology (image by Lily)
In fact, considering initial cross-platform development allows you not only to reduce the development costs, but also significantly lower the costs to maintain and modify software for your project. We recommend you to find a team that specializes in software development with the use of certain Tech Stack. For example, if your goal is to create a companion app for both iOS and Android, React Native developers are the best partners for you. As it allows to create a common codebase for both platforms, making the development and maintenance much easier.
When planning out your IoT application development cost, it’s important to make sure that your budget is enough. But while the exact numbers can’t be predicted since each case is unique, there are a couple of core features that you and your development team should consider during your calculations.
⏳ Min Hours / Cost
⏱ Max Hours / Cost
🔎 Research of Data Protocol
Researching the best match in terms of data protocol for your tech & business needs
15 hr / $900
25 hr / $1500
📲 IoT Device Connection
Establishing a connection between a module and a smartphone via BLE or Serial Data
120 hr / $7200
180 hr / $10800
⚙️ Reverse Engineering
In case the protocol description is not 100% accurate
40 hr / $2400
60 hr / $3600
Collecting essential data from the device
24 hr / $1440
60 hr / $3600
Processing and structuring collected data from the device
48 hr / $2880
64 hr / $3840
Setting up or finding a storage for all the data we process
32 hr / $1920
40 hr / $2400
Creating a convenient way for structured data presentation
60 hr / $3600
100 hr / $6000
💻 IoT Multiple Device Management
Establishing a multiple connections for devices (if needed)
20 hr / $1200
60 hr / $3600
🛠 Quality assurance
Catching all the unforeseen bugs
40 hr / $2400
60 hr / $3600
As it comes from the table above, approximate IoT mobile app development time (core functionality, to be more specific) varies from 400 to 650 hours. Given an average charge rate of $40-60 per hour, we managed to estimate the highest possible costs for every development stage. Keep in mind that our estimates are based on the experience we had working among the Central and Eastern European companies. However, the rates for delivering the product of the same quality will probably be higher if your development partner is from Western European and North American regions.
Generally, it depends on the number of desired features and the complexity of a project. However, regardless of the complexity, we at Stormotion love being partners in crime for developing IoT based mobile apps, as it’s always a unique and unforgettable experience.
Get a detailed estimate of your Project by the Stormotion Team!
There is another thing we may recommend from our expertise. To save your time and budget, always send your device to the team you hire for an IoT application development. We at Stromotion worked on creating a companion app for an IoT system when the developer didn’t manage to deliver an IoT module to our office. As a result, our team had to spend more than 50 extra hours on the development, establishing the best connectivity level without the device being physically present. Thus, extra time wasted on the development also turned into excessive expenditures according to our charge rates from that period.
On the other hand, our latest project Norsk Guardian is an example of IoT application development, when we had the device in our office before the project started. Norsk Lithium develops batteries for outdoor activities such as open water fishing, ice fishing, and camping. They also are of a great use as accumulators and portable chargers for your accessoires. 7 people from Stormotion Team were involved and managed to deliver a full-fledged IoT app in about 30 weeks of work.
Provide your Tech Partner with devices they develop software for — it will help with testing and QA (shots from the Norsk app)
The biggest time-saver for this project was obviously the fact that we had those boat batteries present in our office. This allowed us to spend less time on connectivity and testing stages, along with making it less damaging for Norsk Lithium’s budget for this project. Eventually, the Norsk app is now on the showcase of Stormotion’s successful IoT projects, having provided both quality design and usability for Norsk’s customers.
To sum up, development costs for IoT projects are hard to make precise in general. The more ideas and features you want in your product, the higher expenditures you should expect.
Many factors from targeted platforms to interface design impact the final costs, so it depends on your priorities. If you aim to create full-fledged software with every single feature that you could think of along with an outstanding design, get ready to spend a lot. On the other hand, if your priorities are the development speed and minimalistic design with the core functionality, the development will cost significantly lower.
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