Understanding Low-Code and No-Code IoT Platforms
Low-code and no-code platforms are software solutions that enable rapid application development with minimal coding. They provide visual, drag-and-drop interfaces and pre-built components that allow developers and even non-technical users to quickly build custom apps.
Many modern low-code platforms now offer specific capabilities for Internet of Things (IoT) app development. This includes connectivity to IoT devices, real-time data streaming, analytics, and integrations with AI/ML services. Leading examples of low-code IoT platforms include OutSystems, Mendix, Microsoft Power Apps, and Salesforce Lightning. These make it faster and easier to develop the apps and dashboards needed to connect, monitor, analyze data from, and control IoT devices. No-code IoT platforms take this even further by not requiring any coding at all. Examples like Appian and Nintex Workflow offer visual workflow builders to automate IoT processes and integrate with back-end systems and data sources.
The main benefits of low-code and no-code IoT platforms include:
– Accelerated development: Apps can be built 5-10x faster compared to traditional coding. This enables faster proof of concepts and supports agile delivery.
– Lower costs: Less reliance on expensive professional developers lowers overall project costs.
– Democratization: More staff become capable of building apps beyond just professional developers.
– Focus on logic: Developers spend less time coding so can focus more on the app logic and user experience.
As IoT adoption grows across industries like manufacturing, education, and transportation, easy app development capabilities will become increasingly important. Low-code and no-code platforms deliver on this in a scalable way.
Importance of Accelerating App Development in 2023-24
The ability to accelerate app development will only grow in importance over 2023-2024 in enabling digital transformation initiatives across many industries. Demand for apps continues rising exponentially each year. However, developer capacity has not kept pace resulting in large app dev backlogs at most companies. Low-code and no-code platforms directly tackle this by speeding up app delivery to meet rising demand.
Additional key reasons accelerating app dev is crucial for 2023-2024 include:
– Catching up post-pandemic: Many digital transformation and app projects were paused or deprioritized 2020-2022. Playing catch-up is now essential.
– Enabling innovation: Faster dev speeds allow more experiments, prototypes and minimum viable products to be built – fueling innovation.
– Supporting growth: As businesses scale, more apps are needed to support processes, customers, partners etc. Agile app dev underpins growth.
– Preventing shadow IT: Empowering business units and citizen developers prevents unsafe shadow IT workarounds.
– Replatforming legacy apps: Modernizing legacy apps is slow using old platforms. Low-code accelerates re-platforming to cloud-native tech.
As per Gartner, by 2025 at least 70% of new applications developed by enterprises will use low-code or no-code technologies – up from less than 25% in 2020. This demonstrates the crucial role low-code platforms will play in app dev over 2023-2024.
Overview of the Top 10 Low-Code and No-Code IoT Platforms
OutSystems is a leading low-code application development platform that makes it easy to build, deploy and manage complex enterprise IoT applications. It provides an array of capabilities tailored to IoT app development including real-time dashboards, device connectivity, data integration, process automation, AI/ML integration and robust security. OutSystems was recently recognized as a Leader in the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Low-Code Enterprise Application Platforms (LCAP).
Some of the key capabilities OutSystems offers for accelerating IoT app development include:
– 150+ prebuilt UI components optimized for real-time data visualization
– Built-in SQL database and data integration connectors
– Drag and drop process automation with BPMN diagrams
– Single click deployment to cloud or on-premises
– Embedded security features like authentication, encryption and permissions With OutSystems, companies can quickly build scalable, enterprise-grade IoT applications with maximum speed and minimum risk.
It empowers developers of all skill levels to be highly productive which accelerates app delivery timelines 5-10x. Use cases where OutSystems excels at enabling IoT app development include predictive maintenance, smart meters, connected products, logistics monitoring, and digital twins.
Mendix is a leading low-code application platform that enables rapid delivery of complex, scalable enterprise applications leveraging cloud, web, mobile and IoT technologies. It provides an end-to-end, cloud-native platform encompassing the full application development lifecycle – from ideation to deployment to ongoing enhancement. Mendix includes purpose-built functionality to accelerate IoT app development including connectivity APIs, real-time data handling, geospatial capabilities, and embedded AI/ML.
Some of the key highlights of Mendix for IoT development include:
– Out of the box connectivity to IoT protocols like MQTT and REST
– Data integration engine to ingest, transform and store time-series IoT data
– Geo-visualization to map and monitor geo-distributed assets
– AI builder to add predictive capabilities without coding
– Cloud native architecture built on Cloud Foundry
– Broad deployment flexibility across public, private and hybrid cloud With Mendix, organizations can deliver IoT applications 10x faster, while also benefiting from cloud scale, openness and future-proof architecture. It empowers both professional and citizen developers to be highly productive. Use cases where Mendix excels at accelerating IoT app development include smart factories, intelligent products, field service management, logistics and transportation.
Microsoft Power Apps
Microsoft Power Apps is a leading low-code development platform that empowers businesses to build custom web and mobile apps fast without coding. It offers purpose-built functionality for IoT development scenarios like connecting, visualizing and analyzing real-time data from IoT sensors and devices.
Some of the key Power Apps capabilities for IoT apps include:
– Drag and drop canvas for building responsive web apps optimized for any device – Connectors to ingest data from popular IoT protocols like MQTT, AMQP, REST etc
– Real-time dashboarding to visualize streaming IoT data
– AI Builder to add machine learning intelligence without coding
– Seamless integration with Azure IoT cloud services
– Single click deployment to web and mobile Power Apps productivity features like AI-assisted development, reusable components and automation help accelerate delivery of IoT solutions. It can integrate seamlessly with Azure IoT platform services like IoT Hub, IoT Edge, and Time Series Insights. This makes it ideal for enterprise IoT scenarios across industries like manufacturing, logistics, energy and smart spaces.
Salesforce Lightning Platform
The Salesforce Lightning Platform is an integrated low-code platform for rapidly building enterprise apps across web, mobile and IoT channels. It offers specific features and pre-built templates to accelerate development of IoT solutions for use cases like connected products, field service delivery, logistics monitoring etc.
Some of the key highlights of Salesforce Lightning Platform for IoT include:
– Pre-built IoT app templates for common scenarios
– Lightning connectors to easily integrate IoT device data
– Real-time dashboards and reports to visualize
– Drag and drop Process Builder to automate IoT workflows
– Einstein Analytics to gain insights from IoT data
– Flexible deployment options across all channels With Lightning, developers can build connected apps utilizing the power of the Salesforce CRM alongside real-time data from IoT devices and sensors. It enables creating a unified view of customers alongside their connected products and assets. This is ideal for IoT apps in industries like manufacturing, logistics and smart spaces.
Appian is a leading low-code process automation and workflow platform. It makes it fast and simple to build enterprise applications that connect people, data and systems. While Appian may not offer full application development capabilities, it excels at quickly automating workflows and processes – including those relying on IoT technologies.
Some of the key highlights of Appian for IoT include:
– Drag and drop workflow designer for visual process automation
– Pre-built IoT interfaces and components
– Connectors to ingest data from IoT devices and protocols
– Real-time dashboarding capabilities
– AI-based intelligent document processing Appian also includes enterprise-scale process orchestration capabilities leveraging business rules, case management and low-code BPM. This makes Appian ideal for use cases like IoT-driven process automation, field workforce management, connected logistics, smart manufacturing, and integration with core back-end systems.
Nintex Workflow is a leading no-code process automation and workflow orchestration platform. It makes it easy to manage, automate and optimize business processes while connecting people and systems. Nintex offers pre-built connectivity and components for IoT scenarios to ingest, orchestrate and analyze real-time data from connected devices and sensors.
Some of the key highlights include:
– Drag and drop workflow designer with pre-built IoT templates
– Connectors for IoT protocols like MQTT, Azure IoT, REST etc
– Real-time process analytics and intelligence
– Robotic process automation (RPA)
– Nintex Promapp for visually mapping processes With Nintex Workflow, organizations can rapidly automate workflows, decisions and document generation leveraging real-time data from IoT sources. It’s well suited for IoT process automation use cases like manufacturing, logistics, energy management, environmental monitoring, smart spaces and more.
Pega Platform provides a unified low-code platform for rapidly developing and deploying enterprise-grade IoT applications. It offers robust connectivity capabilities to ingest and manage data from a wide range of IoT devices, sensors, embedded systems using industry standard protocols. Pega Platform allows securely connecting distributed IoT endpoints while providing enterprise-grade process automation, case management and end to end orchestration capabilities.
Some of the key highlights for enabling IoT apps include:
– Library of connectors for IoT protocols and device types
– Data integration and cleansing capabilities
– Real-time dashboards and reporting
– Predictive analytics leveraging AI/ML
– End to end orchestration from devices to systems
– Industry leading security, compliance and governance With Pega’s low-code model-driven architecture, developers can rapidly build and evolve complex IoT applications. It’s well suited for industrial IoT use cases like connected products, smart infrastructure, facilities and asset management, field service and more.
Quick Base provides a flexible low-code development platform tailored for citizen developers to build business applications fast without relying on IT. It offers capabilities to connect, store and visualize real-time data from IoT devices to power a variety of operational apps for enterprise scenarios.
Some of the key highlights of Quick Base for IoT development include:
– 150+ pre-built templates for common IoT app scenarios
– Connectors to ingest data from MQTT, REST, JDBC sources
– Real-time reporting and dashboarding – Workflow automation and alert triggering
– Store time-series IoT data within Quick Base
– Embed apps into custom portals and sites With Quick Base, business users and citizen developers can rapidly develop IoT apps spanning use cases like facilities management, remote asset monitoring, field workforce enablement, logistics tracking and more. It accelerates development by 5-10X through low-code capabilities while also providing enterprise reliability, security and scalability.
Betty Blocks offer an enterprise no-code application development platform empowering citizen developers to build complex web and mobile applications rapidly. It provides pre-built application templates and components tailored specifically for the Internet of Things development, including real-time dashboards, connectivity, and process automation.
Some of the key capabilities Betty Blocks offers for IoT apps:
– Live dashboard designer with real-time IoT data binding – Connectors for protocols like MQTT, WebSockets, TCP, UDP
– Workflow automation and business logic modeling
– 300+ material design UI components
– Omnichannel deployment to web, mobile and portals
– Single click deployment on public or private cloud With Betty Blocks, companies can build consumer-grade, responsive IoT applications 10x faster compared to traditional development. It accelerates development through capabilities like AI-assisted coding, reusable business logic and front-end components. Common IoT applications powered by Betty Blocks include fleet tracking, oil/gas monitoring, smart meters, environmental sensors, facility management and more.
WaveMaker is an open-source low-code platform for rapidly developing, deploying and managing high-impact web and mobile apps for the enterprise. It offers purpose-built capabilities like pre-built connectors, drag-and-drop wiring and embedded analytics that accelerate development of IoT solutions.
Some of the key highlights include:
– Connectors for MQTT, Azure IoT, REST APIs, WebSockets
– Real-time dashboards with live IoT data visualizations – Workflow automation and standard operating procedures
– Responsive UI builder with 300+ components
– Deployment to any cloud or on-premises
– Embedded data integration and analytics With WaveMaker, developers can build consumer-grade IoT apps up to 10x faster leveraging reusable components, automation and visual development. It excels at apps for facilities management, remote monitoring, logistics tracking, environmental sensors, infrastructure management and more.
Features and Functions of Each Platform
A key consideration when selecting a low-code platform for IoT is its integration and connectivity capabilities – both for interfacing with IoT devices as well as back-end systems.
Here is an overview of some of the top low-code platforms and their integration features:
OutSystems: Over 200 connectors. APIs, database, SAP, Salesforce, Azure. MQTT, AMQP, REST for IoT. Mendix: Open connectivity framework. MQTT, Azure IoT, REST, Kafka for IoT. SOAP, REST, SQL more back-end.
Power Apps: Packaged connectors for IoT Hub, Event Hub. REST, MQTT, WebSockets. OData, SharePoint and 100+ more apps/services.
Appian: MQTT, AMQP, Azure IoT. Integration Studio for custom APIs, DBs and complex integrations.
Quick Base: MQTT, REST API, JDBC connectors. Integration Hub enables custom integration code.
Betty Blocks: MQTT, WebSockets, TCP/UDP for IoT. SOAP, REST, Zapier for 200+ back-end services.
Overall, most platforms offer common IoT protocols like MQTT and REST support out of the box. Back-end integration tends to rely on REST APIs, web services and SQL/NoSQL databases. The main differences lie in supported protocols, extensibility options, and integration workflow capabilities.
Use Cases and Industry Applications
Low-code IoT platforms serve a diverse range of industries and use cases leveraging their capabilities for connecting devices, ingesting data, applying logic, and integrating with other systems.
Some common IoT applications include:
Smart Manufacturing: Quality monitoring, predictive maintenance, asset tracking, inventory management
Smart Energy: Automated meter readings, outage monitoring, demand response optimization Connected
Products: Real-time monitoring, predictive analytics, maintenance alerts
Smart Spaces: HVAC optimization, lighting automation, conference room scheduling
Logistics & Transportation: Fleet tracking, cold chain monitoring, ETAs, dispatch automation
Field Services: Automated scheduling, job allocation, mobile workforce apps
Each platform tends to align better to certain applications based on their strengths. For example, OutSystems excels at industrial use cases given its robust analytics and database capabilities. Quickbase is tailored more for field services enablement and Betty Blocks for consumer IoT apps.
When evaluating platforms, it’s important to match technical capabilities to your specific IoT use cases and data integration needs. Consulting analyst reports like Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms can also guide product fit.
Comparative Analysis of the Platforms
Comparing Speed of Development
Speed is one of the primary value propositions of low-code platforms. But there can still be major differences between platforms in terms of how much they accelerate delivery of IoT applications.
Some of the key factors impacting development velocity include:
– Prebuilt templates, components, connectors
– Automation capabilities – Visual development metaphors
– Integration complexity – Debugging and testing ease According to third-party benchmarks, OutSystems and Mendix consistently rate as providing 5-10x faster development than traditional coding.
Power Apps and Betty Blocks also rate highly with up to 10x acceleration due to their focus on empowering non-professional developers. In contrast, Pega and Appian tend to rate lower on pure development velocity due to their process automation focus. But they enable faster delivery of process-centric IoT apps.
Overall assessment is that modern low-code platforms cut development time approximately in half at a minimum up to factors of 10x for simpler apps compared to traditional hand-coding.
Comparing Security and Compliance Features
Security is paramount when developing IoT applications dealing with sensitive connected device data or personal information. Low-code platforms must enable developers to build secure IoT apps without compromising agility.
Some of the key security capabilities to compare include:
– Authentication: Single sign-on, multi-factor
– Authorization: Granular role-based permissions
– Encryption: Securing data in transit and at rest – Auditing: Logging app access and changes
– Compliance: Standards support like HIPAA, PCI, GDPR
Mendix rates as a leader in security given its enterprise focus and cloud-native architecture. OutSystems also ranks highly with robust identity and access control. Power Apps benefits from seamless integration with Azure security services like Active Directory.
In contrast, citizen developer platforms like Quickbase offer core security capabilities but lack advanced features required for highly secure enterprise IoT apps dealing with sensitive data.
Comparing Cost and Value for Money
Low-code IoT platforms offer great value for money given the productivity gains and lower developer capacity needed.
Some cost factors to compare include:
– Pricing model: Per user, per app basis? Pay as you go?
– License types: Community vs. enterprise versions
– Cloud vs. on-premises options – Professional service costs – Total cost of ownership over 3-5 years Mendix and OutSystems price on monthly subscription models spanning $1500 to $4500 for production environments. Low-end Quick Base plans start from $25/month. Upfront costs for enterprise platforms like Pega and Appian range from $25K to over $100K. Overall license cost is not always the key factor as productivity and usage parameters matter more in determining overall value. Accelerating development velocity and lowering ongoing enhancement costs is where the low-code model really delivers IoT value over 3-5 years.
The Future of Low-Code and No-Code Platforms
Anticipated Developments in the Industry
Low-code and no-code platforms are expected to continue evolving dramatically over the next few years to empower faster delivery of increasingly sophisticated enterprise IoT applications.
Some of the key developments on the horizon include:
– Incorporating more AI, ML and analytics
– Platforms will leverage AI to assist developers, autogenerate code, and add intelligent capabilities to IoT apps.
– Expanded IoT protocol support
– Native connectivity to more niche industrial protocols and device types will minimize integration needs.
– Multi-experience development
– Support for building omni-channel apps across web, mobile, wearables and conversational interfaces from a single platform.
– Hyperautomation enablement
– Combining RPA, iBPMS, AI/ML and analytics for end-to-end automation of IoT-centric processes and workflows.
– Tighter integration with cloud infra – Seamless integration with major cloud platforms like AWS, Azure and Google Cloud for storage, analytics and machine learning. As low-code penetrates deeper into enterprises, the capabilities are expected to rapidly evolve and expand to meet the growing demands of complex IoT applications.
In addition to these anticipated developments, there are also some challenges and considerations to keep in mind. As low-code platforms become more popular, there is a risk of creating a “shadow IT” environment where business users create solutions without proper governance and oversight. It will be important for organizations to establish clear guidelines and processes to ensure that low-code development is aligned with overall IT strategies and security requirements.
Furthermore, as low-code platforms continue to mature, there may be a need for more advanced customization and extensibility options. Organizations may require the ability to integrate custom code or access lower-level programming capabilities when necessary.
Overall, the future of low-code and no-code platforms in the IoT space looks promising. These platforms have the potential to significantly accelerate the development and deployment of enterprise IoT applications, while also enabling business users and citizen developers to actively participate in the process. As the technology continues to evolve, it will be important for organizations to carefully evaluate and select the right low-code platform that aligns with their specific needs and requirements.