Used by over half the population in the world, Android is the most popular operating system ever. With IoT making a name for itself, Android is obviously expected to bring more magic into the mix with innovative IoT-powered applications.
One of the major reasons behind Android’s popularity is that it’s free. Its many capabilities made it very appealing to both smartphone manufacturers and app developers worldwide. The large pool of Android developers today contributed many Android apps that make things much easier for common people. IoT promises the same thing, but on a different scale.
With IoT, various electronic devices from smartphones to tablets, refrigerators, and even microwave ovens would be connected to the internet, working in conjunction to do things that’s always been done with manual effort. Just like how AI can make IoT devices intelligent, the Android platform can bring apps that control the whole phenomena into reality.
The Android – IoT Ecosystem
IoT devices require an internet connection and sensors to transmit and receive information. The concept requires software to come to fruition, and a platform wherein the devices can function the way they should. Android is already on its way to being the go-to platform for IoT, and here are a few reasons why.
- Universal front end: The open source Linux-based platform was given away by Google to be used in anyway a software architect can think of. Essentially anyone can modify its source code and customize it for just about any gadget. With so many mobile devices running on Android now, it can easily get itself ranked as the ideal front-end for IoT. Because it’s open source, it’s comparatively easier and cheaper to leverage Android for IoT. This way, IoT would be more accessible and affordable to consumers.
- Apps-driven IoT: Gadgets are after all just hardware driven by software. It’s the same when it comes to IoT as well. Apps make IoT possible. Considering the exponential and consistent growth of Android app development, it’s safe to assume that it will have a big enough role in an IoT ecosystem.
- The Java-Android connection: IoT devices today are primarily being built on Java. Android enables developers to use Java in a much more sensible fashion, unlike embedded Java which requires dedicated devices.
IoT Application of Android
The application of Android in IoT makes more sense when you consider the ecosystem of IoT. There are IoT devices and their sensors, data transfer mechanisms, and the programs that oversee the processes.
- Sensors: IoT sensors can detect quite a lot of things including temperature and pressure, and can generate digital signals accordingly. Android’s open source nature, easy availability, and customizability makes it an ideal choice to get sensors functional. The OS meets the requirements to support a wide array of sensors as it is.
- Devices: The IoT components run on a hardware with an OS. The devices are generally portable and small, and doesn’t use up too much power. Though we can’t definitively say that Android is the best option here as well, the popular platform can still deliver results. Android is widely considered reliable, despite being open source and free.
- Data transfer: The sensor would be transmitting data. So there should be a data transfer mechanism in place. XMPP and MQTT are possibly the most popular open source implementations that facilitate data transfer, and Android supports both.
- Program: The program handles data transmission and reception, and generally takes the form of a Linux server. The server is tasked with decoding and processing incoming data before subsequent analysis. If it’s a Linux server, Android would be apt considering it’s a modified version of the Linux kernel itself. Again, the open source nature of Android makes it a more feasible option with roles almost everywhere in the IoT ecosystem.
Basically what Android does is act as a medium that facilitates the collaboration between all the aforementioned elements in an IoT ecosystem.
Support from Google
A number of corporate behemoths have chosen to invest in IoT owing to its nigh unlimited prospects. Google apparently is on the list. The search engine giant released a dedicated IoT operating system last year, named Android Things – derived from the Android OS itself. This makes it easier for Android developers to reuse and refine their knowledge to develop Android IoT apps.
The Google IoT platform provides more leverage to IoT app development with Android Things. However, the company didn’t limit Android Things to Google IoT platform alone. It can be used in any IoT app development scenarios with any IoT cloud platforms.
Early adoption is worth it
Adopting the technology this early presents a lot of challenges for businesses. But barriers to entry are lower than ever now. Understanding IoT and building expertise in IoT apps can significantly impact and reshape enterprise technology. IoT is not just around the corner anymore. It’s slowly going mainstream. However, with many companies starting to build IoT devices with their own protocols, this can lead to a scenario where devices from different manufacturers are incapable of communicating with one another.
A standard protocol for information sharing and communication would soon be acknowledged, and Google is already pushing Weave to serve that purpose. While that happens in parallel, Android IoT app development would be gaining more momentum. Leveraging IoT now with support from Google and popular cloud services could be a worthy investment that may fetch many benefits for an enterprise in the long run.
You can already find android app development companies that figured out their way around everything IoT. It’d be best to approach Android developers who also have expertise in other sought-after technologies like the cloud and artificial intelligence as a right combination of these technologies would be the gamechanger for enterprises in the coming years.
AoT strives to make enterprises capable of wielding cutting-edge tech the right way with innovative digital solutions. If you would like to explore the prospects of leveraging an Android IoT app for your enterprise, why not drop us a message and share your thoughts with us over a cup of coffee?