An app store is where developers are given a platform to publish and expose their applications to a larger audience. The same principle applies to the IoT app store. Here individual creators or companies can package their ML models as IoT apps and make them available to the larger IoT community. IoT platforms are especially suited to host IoT apps as they ensure seamless integration with existing platform systems. Often, they allow users to install, test, and deploy IoT apps on their connected devices in a single gesture. There is no need to switch between vendors.
IoT platforms with edge capabilities integrate the various layers of the IoT value chain into an experience of complete continuity. They connect and consolidate multiple heterogeneous devices, manage IoT device lifecycles, and make edge deployments easy. This way, platforms speed up IoT development. Manual tasks and infrastructural problems are no longer a concern.
Most significantly, IoT platforms make it possible to roll out logic on connected devices. They do so in a highly structured way, ensuring full visibility for all assets along the way. This is where IoT apps come in. Logic—packaged as an IoT app ready to be deployed on edge devices—can be created anywhere. Then, it gets incorporated into the platform ecosystem. Once the IoT application becomes part of a platform’s app store, it can be shared with others as a template, improved upon, or installed as a ready-made app suitable for more generic use cases.
The Industrial IoT App Store
Thanks to increased development speed, fully managed infrastructures, and numerous possibilities to create business value, IoT apps have made their way into industrial IoT as well—proving themselves to be especially suitable for massive scale-out deployments in manufacturing, automotive, logistics, and utilities.
Here the industrial IoT app store is on its way to becoming a powerful ecosystem connecting creators and consumers. Built-in security, being part of a robust infrastructure allowing for instant installation and deployment, as well as the possibility to create consistent workflows produce an enhanced user experience that makes the app store attractive to non-tech users.
App store consumers can extend their existing application ecosystems seamlessly. Any application developer can sell their IoT apps and benefit from an exchange with a platform’s community. And enterprise clients can buy apps and install them on their connected machines in an instant. As part of this scenario, IoT platforms can deploy and manage numerous distributed apps across multiple different machines and equipment.
IoT app stores exist in several variants:
The Closed, Vendor-specific IoT App Store
In this case, the marketplace for IoT applications serves as an extension to a vendor-specific product offering. It may still be possible for individual creators to submit their apps to the platform. This way, consumers can buy these apps to deploy them to their smart devices directly. Here, developers may have to rub shoulders with the vendor’s own proprietary products. In such cases, the IoT app store usually exists in conjunction with a more comprehensive IoT platform. That platform delivers the basic infrastructure allowing users to immediately use their apps on connected devices.
The Open-access IoT App Store as a Free Space to Publish and Share
These marketplaces may be offered in conjunction with a specific IoT platform or as standalone venues. Here, creators and consumers convene, exchange insight, and learn from one another. These IoT apps stores may not have the proprietary feel of the closed, vendor-specific marketplace. They may offer varied possibilities for creators to publish apps or discuss in forums. Such IoT app stores would be independent of the hardware manufacturer or the vendor.
If linked to a specific platform vendor, the open IoT app store would still be usable as a standalone offering. It would still retain an array of open-access features. Ideally, taking it from here, users will be able to deploy applications over the air to multiple devices and integrate with various relevant third-party systems.
In the hybrid model, the IoT app store is a mix of proprietary, vendor-specific content and open-access work. Some of the IoT apps may be behind a paywall whereas others may be freely available to the user community. You will find a mix of basic apps ready for customization, various open-access app templates, and more sophisticated paid IoT apps. Again, these may be provided by a vendor or published by individual creators.
IoT App Store Requirements
The IoT app store is usually part of a more comprehensive infrastructure. This makes it possible for users to create and deploy their IoT products. When offered in conjunction with an IoT platform, the IoT app store is there to provide a consistent user experience and alleviate the need to switch between different service providers. Again, using the products of a platform’s IoT app store guarantees that these are aligned with a vendor’s platform requirements. This contributes to uninterrupted end-to-end project development.
App Review and Certification
All applications that are to become part of the IoT app store need to go through a review process. They are to be checked for robustness, security, overall performance, plus adherence to some additional legal aspects such as privacy and permissible content. If the supporting platform is open to third-party creators, these should be provided with IoT resources and guidelines to help them navigate through the process, build IoT products that are fully compliant, and go through the vetting process without hassle.
Compatibility with User Devices
The next step is to make sure that the apps will actually run on the users’ devices. The IoT app store should provide information on which apps run on which devices and what the general framework for connecting devices would be. Further, to be truly up-to-date, the IoT app store should support a vast array of devices with different architectures, operating systems, or connectivity interfaces.
Over-the-air Deployment & Updates
IoT app users need to be able to scale quickly, deploying their apps on hundreds of devices at once while growing their device fleets and installing multiple applications on the same device. And after deployment, users need to be able to run over-the-air updates on their apps. So the IoT app store has to provide guidance and support for OTA deployments and OTA updates. The apps should be deployable instantly, directly from the marketplace.
Ongoing Monitoring & Control
Another issue that IoT users face is tracking the status of their app deployments. Ideally, IoT app stores should extend their offerings to offer an infrastructure that allows for the continuous monitoring and control of apps on devices. Starting from making sure that their deployments have been successful to tracking whether the apps are still running on their devices, stopping, debugging, restarting, uninstalling, and reinstalling apps on individual devices or device groups—these should all be covered. Ideally, app users should have access to a space where they can track the status of the apps on their devices and inspect device logs at all times.
The Record Evolution App Store
The Record Evolution App Store is where platform users publish their apps. This way, the apps are available to the whole user community. Taking it from here, you install any of the open-access public apps on your connected devices and get results within seconds. Thanks to tight integration with the platform’s device management studio, you are able to monitor & control the apps on your devices at all times and install updates over the air. You develop new apps in the cloud IDE or any other environment and publish these to the app store in one go.
About Record Evolution
We are a data science and IoT team based in Frankfurt, Germany, that helps companies of all sizes innovate at scale. That’s why we’ve developed an easy-to-use industrial IoT platform that enables fast development cycles and allows everyone to benefit from the possibilities of IoT and AI.