Exploiting Star Wars movies by weaving their characters into an explanation of any complicated concept is indeed a mainstream thing to do, but Internet-of-Things (IoT) dashboards is the topic that badly needs such a reference. With an IoT dashboard, you are able to navigate your IoT devices like Han Solo flies his spaceship.
But there is nothing futuristic about IoT dashboards. Your intention to look behind the curtains of IoT dashboards isn’t pointless as they do really exist and deliver a lot of benefits to relatable products. And here comes the JatApp team that will take you behind these curtains and describe how to develop an IoT dashboard for your solution.
A screen with graphs and numbers — a proper definition of IoT dashboards
We all imagine any dashboard as a screen with some numbers, graphs, and charts. IoT dashboards are not an exception, and they do really show various information in a visualized form.
Something like that, right?
What kind of data do IoT dashboards show? It depends on the IoT solution you run. In general, IoT dashboards can display data about IoT devices performance status, availability, physical characteristics, location, and other information that describes how your IoT fleet is operating at the moment. Simply put, dashboards can show literally anything.
Let’s take a look at a real example to drive the point of IoT dashboard definition home. JatApp’s client from Switzerland came up to our company with a request to build a web and native mobile app for their electric vehicles charging stations monitoring platform.
Our team developed a solution that includes a dashboard, where the client’s company and their business (B2B) customers can view the status of electric vehicles charging points. The dashboard includes information about location, connectivity, occupancy, and technical condition of every charging station.
Thanks to the solution developed by JatApp, the company and its business customers can remotely monitor and control the performance of charging stations 24/7 and take immediate action in case something goes wrong with any charging point.
Dashboard with charging stations connectivity status and user list
But it isn’t just a screen with graphs and numbers — here are some benefits
As you now better understand what an IoT dashboard is, you may ask yourself: “Why on Earth do I need this? Perhaps, IoT dashboards are just a useless gimmick to make the product look cool?”. And you could not be more wrong about IoT dashboards by thinking so. There are several distinct advantages IoT dashboards have:
- Data sharing. It’s evident that an IoT dashboard brings all important IoT data to your fingertips, but you can also share it with your partners and other stakeholders. They can have a similar access to the dashboard or you can include a feature of forming visualized reports from the solution’s data. In such a way, all stakeholders are kept up to date with performance of your IoT solution and its IoT devices.
- Simplified decision making. When you have all key data in front of you, it’s much easier to make an informed decision. You don’t have to scrape at the bottom of your IoT network barrel to collect data and make a relatable decision based upon it. You simply save your time and avoid unnecessary stress during making important business decisions.
- Control over IoT devices. It doesn’t matter how many devices you have in your IoT fleet. With an IoT dashboard, you are able to see whether all your devices are in place and how well they work. You can be sure that you don’t have any IoT devices faltering at the moment, stolen, or working improperly.
- Uncovering business opportunities. Once you have direct access to various insightful data about your IoT solution performance, you’ll be able to detect any gaps and blind spots that will direct you towards new business opportunities. Recognition of various patterns in performance of your IoT devices can tell you a lot about how you can improve your business strategy, pricing, marketing, and so on.
- More information about customer behaviors. In the same vein, an IoT data dashboard can help you to know your customers better. Once they use your IoT devices, the data collected from them can be informative enough about the way your typical customers behave. For example, a platform for powerbank rental, asked JatApp to develop a web admin panel with a dashboard that shows the time for which users rent powerbanks. Consequently, our client can draw many conclusions about user behaviors and adjust their business strategy accordingly.
Charging base and power banks
How to build an IoT dashboard: a matter of purpose and taste
You can build your own IoT dashboard in two ways: find a ready-made template or develop a custom dashboard. Needless to say, using a template saves you time and money, as you don’t need to develop a dashboard from scratch.
At the same time, you may not find a template that suits your product best, while data security in a third-party template resembles a careless walk through the minefield. On the other hand, development of a custom IoT dashboard will require much time and money, but you can be sure that it will contain all necessary components while you can hold the data security at bay.
On top of that, you need to remember that there is no Michelin star recipe for building an IoT dashboard. That is why the IoT solution’s purpose and your own taste are the main factors to consider before starting the development process. Nevertheless, there are aspects that should not be ignored regardless of the IoT dashboard type you’re going to build. Bear with us, we’ll discuss them all.
User interface/user experience (UI/UX) design
Since an IoT dashboard is a screen with graphs and numbers, your users and you need to experience convenience and aesthetic satisfaction instead of crying bloody tears. That’s why UI/UX design is the number one factor you should think about. Without attractive and intuitive UI/UX design, your IoT dashboard won’t make any use, while looking at electric welding without protective glasses would be a more pleasant experience than interacting with your digital product.
Furthermore, the importance of pleasant and convenient UI/UX design is especially high in products that involve complicated data. For instance, our client from Germany developed a building energy management system (BEMS) powered with artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and optimize energy efficiency in buildings. The solution collects and reports data about heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) to adjust the facilities performance to the most acceptable level of energy consumption and creation of comfortable living conditions.
Our client needed a modern and attractive UI/UX design to make the solution easy to navigate through. After a deep business analysis, JatApp’s UI/UX designers created the UI kit and offered a variety of uncommon yet important features that significantly improve the BEMS usability. As a result, the product got $4 million of funding during pre-Series A investment round and now keeps growing.
The solution’s dashboard
You need to take into account what protocols you will use to connect your dashboard to IoT devices. There are myriads of IoT communication protocols and networks that can be used, so if you need to learn more about them, read our dedicated article. Here, we’ll unveil only the most prominent protocols such as:
- MQTT (Message Queue Telemetry Transport). A protocol that is mainly used for sharing small data from IoT devices to middleware and applications. MQTT is cheap and easy to maintain. If you have a plain IoT product, this protocol is a go-to solution for you.
- DDS(Data Distribution Service). In case you have to stream your data in real time, this protocol is the best fit.
- AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol). The protocol that is good for bringing messages across different architectures at the same time. We recommend it for products that have an expanded IoT network.
- Bluetooth. A basic protocol for IoT connection that is good for sensors and other IoT devices, as well as gateways.
There are two types of networks: low power short range and low power wide area. Again, you can get more details in the article we’ve linked above, and here we would like to emphasize that the choice of the preferable network depends on energy consumption and location of your IoT devices. Of course, wide range networks are more expensive, but they’re worth every cent you spend on them, which is why the requirements of your IoT project are the only guiding light you have to follow.
IoT platforms and device management
IoT platforms and device management are the other bummers you have to deal with. There are three major giants: Amazon AWS IoT Core, Microsoft Azure IoT Hub, and Google Cloud IoT. You can learn more about them in our other dedicated article. Just remember that each platform is good for a specific type of IoT solution and offers its own pricing model.
Create an informative IoT dashboard and more with JatApp
Despite the composition of an IoT dashboard, it requires good technical maintenance in the first place, which means that having a professional tech team is essential. Han Solo didn’t do his heroic feats alone. In fact, he had a reliable team with him.
JatApp can provide you with experienced designers and software developers who have been developing IoT solutions since 2015. Our software engineers are smart like R2D2, but can speak your language unlike Chubaka. In addition to attractive design and quality development, the JatApp team can conduct a profound business analysis to identify what components your IoT dashboard should include to satisfy the needs of your customers.
To engage our talents in your IoT project adventure, leave us a note. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.