IoT Applications

How do IoT applications work?

Whether you’re a tech hobbyist or an employee tasked with conceptualizing the deployment of an IoT-enabled network for your company, you’ve probably heard about IoT devices several times before. While most planning is dedicated to hardware, due to its variety of potential constraints and bottleneck, the software used to power an IoT solution should also be considered carefully. Using powerful, cross-platform-enabled embedded programming languages, developers can create innovative applications for IoT solutions

The most commonly used IoT Applications

Arduino (IDE)

A large number of groundbreaking IoT projects have been built using Arduino. The Arduino integrated development editor (IDE) is a go-to tool for many seasoned developers with innovative IoT projects. However, this IDE is also a surprisingly beginner-friendly, reliable tool to kickstart an IoT programming career.

Unique Features of Arduino (IDE)

  • Arduino IDE offers native microcontroller development utilizing C and C++ as its embedded programming languages.
  • Arduino IDE is cross-platform and was written in Java.
  • Codes can be uploaded directly onto microcontrollers.
  • Arduino features a web editor. So installing a dedicated editor onto one’s system is non-compulsive in order to start coding.

Windows IoT

Windows IoT is Microsoft’s operating system and is a convenient solution to develop apps and maintain your IoT devices. It was previously known as Windows Embedded and provides two different versions: Core and Enterprise. Windows IoT is particularly popular with large-scale industrial IoT solutions.

IoT Enterprise for Large Scale Operations

The Enterprise version of Windows IoT is basically Windows 10 Enterprise but features additional lockdown controls. With these controls, Windows can be forced to display a single app (such as flight schedules at an airport, or banking interfaces of ATMs). When the lock is enabled, Windows 10 enterprise will still run in the background, but users interacting with the interface can’t access any of the locked services or functionalities.

Windows IoT Core for Boards, individual Sensors and Solo Programs

IoT Core is a rather lightweight, stripped-down version of Windows. The OS does not provide the entire Windows Shell experience, but can only run a one UWP (Universal Windows Program) app. However, compared to IoT Enterprise, IoT Core can run on ARM processors, which makes it the better software to run simple IoT enabled programs that don’t rely as much on user interaction. Thanks to ARM processor compatibility, Windows IoT Core can also be executed on simple boards, such as the Raspberry Pi

IoT Core is also the ideal choice to develop and showcase prototypes to manufacturers/companies looking to deploy an IoT solution. Examples of IoT Core prototypes include doors with facial recognition, smart home dashboards, etc. Individuals can easily build these prototype projects on low budgets, as IoT Core is free for personal use.


Thingspeak IoT software offers powerful APIs for data storage/retrieval within IoT devices using LAN or the HTTP protocol. Thingspeak was written in Ruby and is a cross-platform application that is particularly convenient for analytics systems that need to gather data from a wide range of different devices. It is a popular application for IoT networks that run on limited bandwidth

Thingspeak’s Features

  • Thingspeak makes it easy for developers to gather and bundle their IoT sensors’ data.
  • Due to its integrated Matlab application, developers have an easier time analyzing IoT data.
  • Based on the analyzed data, your own applications can trigger specific logics.
  • There is a big community behind Thingspeak, and the documentation of this software is extensive.

Android Things

The increasing use of smartphones means some users also want to be able to deploy new IoT applications from their devices. Android provides an innovative application to develop sophisticated IoT systems. Android Things is a convenient platform for IoT systems featuring a low memory footprint and supporting several ARM-based environments

Android Thing’s Features

  • Android Things is said to support even weaker devices and is supposed to even work flawlessly on systems with only 32 Megabytes of RAM.
  • Android Things features Low-frequency Bluetooth signal and integrated Wi-Fi
  • It is particularly popular with developers that want to create modern IoT solutions that benefit the much-beloved Google Assistant.


MQTT stands for Message Queuing Telemetry Transport. This is a type of messaging protocol that operates on top of the much-used TCP/IP protocol. It is a messaging protocol used for internal IoT devices communication. It also provides modern security features, such as TSL and SSL, to ensure the transmission of data between devices is secure and impenetrable.

MQTT Features

  • Due to its compact dimensions and low power consumption, this application is ideal for IoT devices that are limited on resources.
  • An inter-communication IoT solution suitable for devices operating on minimal bandwidth.
  • Due to its light design and small footprint, it is particularly popular with home automation systems.


Raspbian is a popular OS for Raspberry Pi devices. There are various exciting IoT projects using Raspberry Pi’s that make use of Raspbian. Raspbian is similar to Unix and, as such, attracts a large number of open source developers.

Raspbian features

  • This Raspberry Pi OS is highly modified for powering older generation systems with limited resources.
  • It ships with a pre-loaded Minecraft copy, as it is also a popular solution to host online Minecraft servers.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure Attributes

  • Microsoft Azure is a cloud platform with over 100 pre-built services that can be used as templates and thus lay the groundwork for future IoT projects.
  • It has robust analytics and data services.
  • Using Microsoft Azure, distributed IoT blockchain solutions can be developed.

Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform. It enabled developers to build, test and deploy IoT software on the cloud. In industrial uses, it is either used as a PaaS (platform as a service) or IaaS (infrastructure as a service). Thus one can develop IoT applications that are entirely machine-independent and use Microsoft’s services to operate as the system. In the embedded systems community, Microsoft Azure has enjoyed popularity since its release.


  • Bottlenecks in the hardware’s capability seem to be the primary concern of industrial IoT.
  • Choosing the wrong IoT software can also create bottlenecks and capability concerns that can significantly jeopardize the effectiveness of any IoT solution.
  • Alongside powerful gateways, energy-efficient sensors and new, IoT-dedicated connectivity standards, powerful, cross-platform, open-source software is becoming readily available.
  • Different software serves different purposes. Some software is only viable to deploy at large scale industrial IoT solutions, while others are ideal for creating and tweaking lightweight prototypes as proof of concept.