“Internet of Things” (IoT) became a hot phrase when the first internet-enabled devices and appliances hit the market. Soon, we’ll just say “things.” An internet connection is becoming a must-have feature for all types of devices.
The IoT isn’t only for modern developments like voice assistants, GPS trackers and security systems. It’s also changed how we use our watches, thermostats and refrigerators. While other industries faltered, IoT spending grew 21.5% to $201 billion in 2022 (via IoT Analytics). The IoT is no more a fad than the internet itself—and the competition for market share is only beginning.
What Separates the Best IoT Devices?
The first IoT devices were popular because of their novelty. As the of available IoT devices grows, standards are getting higher. Success in IoT device manufacturing depends on designs that capitalize on these seven trends.
1 – Connectivity
As more types of devices join the IoT, there’s an increased need for them to all work together. Users expect data sharing and interconnectivity across networks. Real-time communication between devices and systems is ideal. When an embedded GUI sends and receives data with the cloud on a schedule, users expect to know how current the information is.
In either case, communication across networks must be seamless. That means embedded GUI developers must understand various protocols and technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Zigbee. Interfaces with broad compatibility will win market share.
2 – Multi-Modal UI
Many IoT devices still need a physical user interface. For example, a smart refrigerator or smart lamp still must work when the Wi-Fi goes down. The following features and capabilities help embedded GUI teams balance UX, aesthetics and battery life:
- Voice search and voice control for intuitive, hands-free operation
- Touch-based interfaces for precise control over scrolling, typing or drafting
- Haptic feedback to provide tactile cues and alerts
Including multiple modalities allows users to control the device according to their needs. Alternative ways of input and output increase accessibility, decrease product failures and empower efficient user experiences.
3 – Simplicity
Users aren’t used to navigating steep learning curves when buying new refrigerators, watches or doorbells. Devices that offer visual representations of only the essential information are simple to use and understand. Clear, concise language and intuitive UI design make a device easy to use effectively without additional training.
Testing and validation ensure that connected GUIs work as intended and meet user needs. Thorough testing also helps squash any bugs or issues that they arise. Altia’s model-based development enables teams to test with users early and confirm that the GUI is easy to use.
4 – Performance
Even with efficient IoT data processing, too much information can hurt the scalability of the UI. Users don’t want to wait for interfaces to load and respond, so the GUI must be responsive and fast. Efficient data processing also conserves battery and processing power.
Presenting information in graphs or dashboards can help draw simple meaning from massive amounts of data. When showing many events or messages is unavoidable, pagination allows loading the data in manageable parts.
The best devices have GUIs that are optimized for performance and efficiency. For example, the Tandem Diabetes Care T-Slim insulin pump can run for a week on a small rechargeable battery.
5 – Security
As IoT adoption expands, so does the attack surface. Security vulnerability has become one of the most critical challenges for IoT device manufacturers. Security features like machine-to-machine authentication, biometric logins and AI-powered security practices can help.
Awareness and training go a long way, too, but users don’t want to carry the burden of protecting themselves alone. Embedded GUIs should be designed with security in mind, as cybersecurity concerns can destroy a product’s appeal.
Recognizing the Threats
Unauthorized access or manipulation can cause significant harm to the IoT infrastructure and users. Successful hacks compromise user privacy, safety and business operations. Secure GUI design can prevent vulnerabilities such as buffer overflows, injection attacks and other exploits that attackers can use to gain access to the system.
A secure GUI design goes beyond preventing unauthorized access to the system’s hardware, firmware and software. It must also include intrusion detection and prevention mechanisms to ensure appropriate responses to suspicious activities or attacks. Avoiding security incidents spurs user confidence in IoT systems and drives widespread adoption.
Privacy and Security Solutions IoT Devices
Trust is non-negotiable for connected devices, which means embedded GUI teams must steer clear of common IoT security challenges. IoT device manufacturers can build trust with any or all of the following:
- Automatic security updates
- Customizable privacy settings
- Transparency in data collection
- Two-factor authentication (2FA)
- Secure communication protocols
- Enforcement of strong passwords
- Encryption of sensitive information
Addressing security and privacy concerns is vital during the GUI design phase. Embedded GUI teams should also commit to ongoing efforts to keep the device’s software and firmware up to date, preventing security breaches.
6 – Personalization
Few UX design trends among IoT offerings are more pressing than personalization. Sensors, beacons and adaptable technology make it possible to deliver customized experiences in industries ranging from retail and automotive to healthcare and edutech.
Modern customers expect products to meet individualized needs and personal preferences. This also ushers in a golden age for marketers who want to deliver more impactful experiences. Customizable settings and functions boost satisfaction, loyalty and adoption.
Personalization of features also benefits data collection. Product teams can see how users interact with devices, which guides future enhancements. For now, personalization is considered a premium feature. Soon it will be the cost of admission into the IoT market.
7 – Incorporation of artificial intelligence and machine learning
Collecting data used to be the hard part. Now the challenge is in making sense of mountains of data. Machine learning and artificial intelligence make big data more useful for IoT devices. Advanced analytics will empower everything from preventative security enhancements to predictive maintenance, thus reducing downtime, maintenance costs and energy consumption. ML and AI also serve other UI trends for IoT devices, such as advanced security features, voice control and customization.
Embedded GUI Design for Successful IoT Products
As UX expectations continue to rise, project managers should equip their teams with the skills and resources required to develop connected GUIs. This includes expertise in networking, software development and hardware integration.
Innovation and continuous improvement are the keys to success in the rapidly evolving IoT market. GUI developers and project managers who stay ahead of new trends and technologies will come out on top.
Altia’s end-to-end GUI solutions help developers create embedded displays for the IoT with confidence. Contact our team to get started today.