Life has been reimagined by technology. It has reshaped our interactions with machines while also transforming how machines interact. For example, you can now connect and control your air conditioner using your smartphone (an example of a machine interacting with another machine). This is because the Internet allows two IP addresses to communicate with one another.
IoT-enabled mobile apps are now available. It will continue to grow in the future as the number of connected devices increases exponentially. This demand is being met by a large number of businesses.
Before you begin working on your IoT app, you must first answer two questions:
- Should you take a native or cross-platform approach?
- What framework should I use for development?
Given the pressing need to increase your company’s visibility and reach, you might want to consider cross-platform marketing. It enables you to expand your customer base across both platforms.
Developers adore Flutter for cross-platform development. In 2022, at least 42% of developers will use Flutter for IoT App Development. This technology has been used to create over 20,000 apps.
Some of the most popular apps that use the Flutter framework include Alibaba, Grab, and Google Pay. There are numerous reasons why Flutter is dominating cross-platform development.
- Dart Programming Language provides high performance.
- The material design that aids in the creation of flexible interfaces
- The community has given its full support.
- Google services assistance
Most developers are now considering Flutter for IoT App Development to create IoT projects. It has evolved into the soul of app development.
The Internet of Things Scenario
Hardware is the star of the show when it comes to connected devices. It is the hardware that people purchase along with the software. Remember that smart bulb you bought recently? You were responsible for the hardware.
As a hardware innovator, you are responsible for both the product and the underlying software. You must ensure that it is accessible to iOS and Android users. You can’t make them buy both to use your hardware, can you?
Aside from the mobile app, there are two other things you should think about developing for the IoT project:
The software: This is the software product that you must create for the mobile app to connect to it.
The finished product: This is the device or product that almost all eCommerce stores will sell. It could be your home’s air conditioner, a desk, or even the light bulb we just mentioned… Consider your strategists and the entire team attempting to determine the best way to create an app with the least amount of effort and the greatest possible outcome. This is where Flutter comes in handy.
Why should you use Flutter for IoT App Development?
After hearing about the need for a solid and robust framework, you may be wondering why Flutter is for IoT applications. We have the justifications ready for you.
1. Prototyping is less difficult
App prototyping is critical for visualizing your app and accelerating development. Before you begin developing IoT apps, you must first create a proof of concept. The Flutter framework guarantees the faster release of PoC IoT models than other frameworks. You will know whether the idea is viable and will be able to shorten your time to market.
2. Cross-Platform Solutions
As previously stated, the application must be released simultaneously on both platforms. You can create a single codebase for all of your web and mobile application needs. It’s also a great framework for creating your first MVP. If your prototype has been approved, you can use this framework to create a mobile app to share with your end users.
3. High-efficiency Solutions
When discussing IoT mobile app solutions, you are referring to high-speed and load-bearing solutions. These mobile apps must be able to handle an increasing load continuously. It is critical to design solutions that are capable of maintaining their performance as the load increases. That is why you need a framework that is both stable and performant, such as Flutter.
4. Native-Looking Apps
When delivering solutions on iOS and Android, you must ensure that the end user is not inconvenienced. This is especially true when developing software for hardware.
You don’t want the user to return the product or provide negative feedback. You should use the inherent features of the operating system to make your interface more intuitive and the usability more functional.
Flutter allows you to create your app solution using device features and functions, making it more native-like.
5. Effortless Deployment
Consider the possibility of having to deploy your Android app weeks after your iOS app has been released. Isn’t that unjust to your Android customers? It would also severely undermine your credibility, given that people expect businesses to release apps for both platforms at the same time.
This is especially true when dealing with a connected device solution. That is why you should go with Flutter. It provides native-like performance across platforms and enables you to deploy concurrently and without delay.
This enables developers to create, test, and deploy applications all at the same time. You can also compare changes across platforms in real time.
6. Gamified App Development
Gamification is extremely important when developing an IoT solution. It encourages people to stay rooted in the app by rewarding them. If you want to create a stable app with gamification, use the flutter framework.
It provides an easy-to-use gamified interface and ensures smooth operation and speed.
7. Lower Development Costs
IoT apps must be released on both platforms at the same time. It would be prohibitively expensive to hire a development team for each operating system separately. With the Flutter framework, you only need one developer, designer, and tester.
This saves you a significant amount of development time and money. Your single codebase is applicable across all operating systems and after that, all you need is a Flutter expert.
8. Consistent User Experience Across Devices
When your user uses the IoT solution on Android, iOS, or a web application, there will be no friction. With the material design, you can create similar layouts, controls, and views for all systems and devices.
The Flutter solution is also compatible with older operating systems and devices. Widgets are used to create interfaces and these widgets aid in the creation of complex interfaces.
Because these widgets and other components are reusable, you can design your app quickly and with less effort.
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Important steps of Flutter for IoT App Development
At this point, we’ll go over what you’ll need to create your IoT mobile app, as well as some of the prerequisites and how to build a complete solution.
You can pair an electrical device with a nearby device to connect it to a mobile app. When you pair the device with Bluetooth or WiFi, for example, you can easily connect it to the mobile app.
That is how you create an IoT solution.
Step 1: Enabling Bluetooth Communication
You cannot create an IoT Flutter app solution unless it is configured for Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity.
It should be noted that Flutter does not include Bluetooth support.
Look for plugins that can assist you in pairing with Bluetooth. Look for third-party Bluetooth APIs that will assist you in properly managing the connection. You require a plugin that allows for easy communication and integration.
We initially selected Flutter Blue but were involved in several difficult-to-reproduce issues. We eventually settled on flutter_ble_lib. The latter is built on top of RxAndroidBle and RxBluetoothKit, both of which are reliable and widely used native libraries.
Step 2: Include Basic Structure
To begin, add the basic structure to the main—dart file. Remove all of the Flutter demo counter code from the file.
Because we’re connecting via Bluetooth for comprehension, you’ll need a Bluetooth App Class widget. You must ensure that the widget state evolves throughout the app lifecycle because you will use it for different purposes at different times.
Step 3: Enabling Bluetooth Connection
At this point, you must pair the device with Bluetooth. It would also be beneficial if you ensured that the pairing remained, even after the temporary use, so that you could retrieve it.
This ensures that the user does not have to pair the device again to turn it on. As a developer, your priority at this point is to enable the device’s Bluetooth connection.
When developing the app, initialize the necessary variables and include the Bluetooth pairing retrieval class.
To begin, you must enter the current Bluetooth state (). This determines whether Bluetooth is turned on or off. You can instruct the device to send a request to turn on when you are not present.
Step 4: Create the User Interface
You must create a layout for turning Bluetooth on and off, as well as connecting and disconnecting. To help you get standard buttons and design for the interface, you will need to define the code structure. It should be a simple toggle at the user’s end so that they can make a decision quickly.
Step 5: Connecting the Modules to a Microcontroller
You created the Bluetooth pairing for the device. You’ve included the Bluetooth plugin. It’s finally time to integrate the device into the software.
You’ll need hardware such as a microcontroller, jumper wires, a switch, and a Bluetooth transceiver module. The Arduino Uno Rev3 is the most popular microcontroller. It is an electronic controller that allows you to upload the code.
Step 6: Configuring the Controller
The final step is to configure the controller and integrate the logic you created with Flutter. The controller will then be linked to a web editor. Once your code is in the web editor, you can test and deploy the app.
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Do You Also Want to Prefer Flutter for IoT App Development?
Flutter is a fantastic framework for creating your next IoT application. Whether you want to build a proof of concept or an MVP, you can use this framework to test the feasibility and gather feedback on the application.
You must ensure that you have chosen the appropriate interface widgets and Bluetooth plugins. Your IoT app is ready for testing once you have the microcontroller, added the logic, and enabled the Bluetooth connection in a real environment.
If you are unsure whether your in-house team is capable of developing the next IoT solution, contact iTechnolabs to hire a dedicated Flutter developer.