PWAs in IoT
What are Progressive Web Apps or PWAs? How important are they in successful IoT deployments?
Web Apps and Native Apps attract different kinds of users with the features they offer. Native Apps are known for providing a seamless experience to users by enabling smooth usage of the mobile device’s features like the camera and access to contacts and calendars. A web app may not possess the capabilities to enhance user experience, but it can reach any user, in any location and on any device using a single codebase.
While native apps are rich and reliable, and make the app feel like part of the device, they lack the sheer reach that web applications offer. So how do you build an application that offers the much-appreciated user experience of Native Apps and the reach of Web Apps?
This is where Progressive Web Apps come in. A PWA is a web application that can be installed on your device for a near native-app experience. They are considered hybrids of web apps and native apps built for easy usability across devices. While some enterprises choose to develop standalone mobile applications, PWAs were created to reduce developer efforts in coding across multiple platforms. Website data can be downloaded onto a user’s device to create an app-like experience on all PWA supported browsers. A PWA is hosted behind a URL and can be accessed on any browser, just like a typical website. It functions like a native app with one key difference – there is no need to download it from any App Store. It runs independently within a web browser and users can add the app icon to their phone’s home screen. PWAs provide the ServiceWorker API that caches data, eliminating network dependency and creating offline experiences.
So what role do PWA’s play in the Internet of Things (IoT) deployments? There are a few crucial features that IoT Apps require which are outlined below:
The nature of IoT – the ability to access data and control processes from anywhere and from any device requires applications to be responsive. Users may access the data from mobile devices, laptops, tablets or any device of their choice. Building separate applications for different screen sizes, orientations and hardware capabilities is a herculean task and hence PWAs help IoT developments in terms of effort, expertise and costs.
IoT applications require a high level of security to prevent data breaches, thefts and hackers. TLS ensures PWAs are served over a secure connection (HTTPS) and brings security into the data. PWAs avoid the mixing of secured and non-secured content on webpages and help address many of the gaps that may normally pose threats to distributed networks.
Seamless user experience
IoT applications are used by anyone ranging from shop floor managers to end users. PWAs ensure uninterrupted workflows by relying on service workers and its ability to manage device caches; also tackling data latency issues. Users can leave or pause their work knowing that they can pick up right where they left off.
WeMakeIoT built a PWA for our client that enabled them to control the thermostats across different rooms through a single application that could be accessed from any device. It gave our client the ability to control temperatures and set schedules for temperature settings, automating an otherwise lengthy manual process.
WeMakeIoT has been developing Progressive Web Apps and end-to-end IoT solutions for our clients based on their requirements. Contact us today to speed up your IoT development process and build a smooth and responsive application.