Industry Insights

App Marketplaces and the Internet of Things

By Gretchen Dukowitz / Apr 29, 2013

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Tech trends can be notoriously hard to predict, but it's a safe bet that the Internet of Things will soon be coming to an everyday item near you. GPS-enabled watches, glasses with heads-up displays, programmable electric outlets—this is just the beginning of a wave of software-driven smart devices that will connect and communicate online.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been thinking a lot about the Internet of Things here at AppDirect. In fact, our co-CEO Daniel Saks recently explored the topic in two opinion pieces, one for Wired and the other for IDG Connect. A future full of app-powered refrigerators and toaster ovens may seem miles away from business application marketplaces, but our pioneering software distribution technology is helping to make the Interest of Things a reality.

To understand how, it helps to take a step back and think about apps in general. Apps have been around for years, and tech-savvy users could buy them on the Web and install them on certain devices, like cell phones. But apps didn’t really take off until the creation of the app store, a centralized online hub where users with little technical know-how could buy apps and manage them on app-optimized devices.

In a similar way, business applications have been available for years, but again, it was difficult and expensive for companies, especially smaller businesses, to install and use them. In a significant shift, today’s companies can use an online marketplace, like those powered by AppDirect, to find, buy, and manage business apps online. As a result, more businesses than ever before are using these cloud-based solutions.

With this in mind, it’s not difficult to see why app marketplaces would be ideal for powering the Internet of Things. Making device applications—for your refrigerator, toaster, watch, glasses, electrical outlets, or thousands of other everyday devices—available in marketplaces would lower barriers to adoption. As the mobile and SaaS industries have shown, when software is easy to find and use, people will flock to it.

We’re excited to see how the Internet of Things will grow, and even more excited to be developing technologies that can make it accessible to more people. You can read more about overcoming barriers to the Internet of things in Daniel’s Wired and IDG Connect articles.