How SMBs can leverage low-code to gain the IoT advantage.

Around the globe, small and medium businesses (SMBs) are shattering the perception that the Internet of Things (IoT) is only for big companies. In IoT-relevant industries such as manufacturing, retail, automotive and logistics, SMBs have already started to reap big efficiency benefits and strong return on investment.

Many SMB leaders who are interested in the benefits of IoT believe their companies lack the expertise or resources to develop these applications.

One way to address this perceived need and talent gap is via low-code development platforms.

Unlike traditional development environments that require applications to be built from scratch using extensive code or a template, low-code environments include a rich set of building blocks that can be adequate for simple applications or provide a head start for more sophisticated ones.

Here are 4 ways SMBs can think about leveraging low-code to boost productivity.

1. Scale up.

Long available as a gentle introduction to coding concepts, low-code tools have grown increasingly sophisticated and powerful, enabling developers to tap into a broad range of functions and integrations.

In fact, they are expected to be the source for the majority of application development in the coming years. Low-code platforms are often associated with the idea of the “citizen developer,” enabling those with little to no development experience to whip up a simple solution.

While we always desire ease of use, that asset can become a liability if the tool doesn’t provide integration with a critical mass of services and an extensible platform.

An SMB should look for a vendor whose low-code offering provides a good balance between ease of use and scalability.

2. Look for a stable vendor.

Low-code tools have been a fertile ground for startups that have brought great innovation to the field.

However, the IoT applications an SMB develops may need to stay in place for many years -- perhaps a decade or more. Many young low-code startups fail or are acquired in that timeframe, so choosing a proven vendor with a strong developer network and a global footprint ensures and SMB’s IoT applications will be kept current and secure.

A stable vendor also means that an SMBs development environment will continue to receive investment and allow them to respond effectively to shifting business and technical requirements.

3. Empower end users.

Often, IoT applications grow out of frustrations of those closest to a business or process.

Empowering technical users or developers with accessible platforms for development means greatly reduced build times and costs given low-code’s lower learning curves.

4. Seek future-focused platforms.

Many tools can bridge the transition from desktop to mobile platforms, but sometimes do so at the expense of rich user experience or application functionality.

Particularly in the case of two-way IoT applications, however, developers can provide greater value if they can tap into the power of native platforms.

For example, an app running on an iPad device may be enhanced by tapping into that device’s machine-learning capabilities to identify objects that are passing across a conveyor and augmented reality capabilities in order to visualize the effect of a changed setting.

Evaluate vendor roadmaps to determine what advanced technologies the company is prioritizing.

Want to learn more?

Download The IoT opportunity for SMBs white paper to learn how SMBs throughout the U.S. and Europe are gaining a competitive advantage from their IoT investments.