What is an IoT marketplace?

by Holly Hall on 1 October 2021

The Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem is expanding at a rapid rate, with the number of devices growing every year. The increase in physical hardware being manufactured multiplies the amount of software needed to perform various functions on new platforms. There are a range of IoT use cases, including voice-controlling the lights in your home, monitoring air pollution, or the parking feature of a self-driving car. With various entities publishing specialised software for all these use cases (and many more), it can often be time-consuming to compare possible solutions. For somebody interested in working on an IoT project but unsure where to start, it can be difficult to discover the software you need. An IoT marketplace, as a centralised platform for IoT applications, can help to solve these issues.

IoT Marketplace definition 

From various definitions, an IoT device could be anything from a car or a smart domestic appliance to an industrial controller in a factory, or even an agricultural sensor. The possible applications are vast, and the number of connected devices increases every day. An IoT marketplace is a platform where you can buy IoT solutions (or get them for free). Some IoT marketplaces offer physical hardware, including gateways, sensors and networking equipment. Others provide specialised software and applications for use on your devices and IoT-related hardware.  A few IoT marketplaces offer complete solutions, with packages combining hardware, software and cloud connectivity.

Is the Snap Store an IoT marketplace?

The Snap Store is an online marketplace for software, with thousands of applications that are free to install. As this includes IoT-related software, the Snap Store could be considered an IoT marketplace. Currently, the majority of the applications in the Store are non-IoT. As the IoT space grows, we are looking to increase the amount of IoT-related software available to install.

In the Snap Store, applications are packaged into snaps. You can learn more about how to create a snap here, and we encourage new contributors to give it a go. Over time, we want the Snap Store to be both an IoT and non-IoT applications marketplace for all, with a rich collection of maintained software available to use. There are key advantages of using the Snap Store as an IoT marketplace – let’s go over a few of these now.

Discoverability

Using an IoT marketplace offers you the opportunity to discover new applications for your devices. If you are looking to experiment with your Raspberry Pi or dive into a new project and are not sure where to start, browsing an online software catalogue could give you the light bulb moment you need. Having a range of applications in one place allows you to try out various technologies and find the software that is right for your project. There is a wealth of open source software available in the Snap Store, with documentation to help to understand how to use snaps. If you’re looking to discover a new IoT project, try out one of our tutorials to get started.

Rapid deployment

Often, using an IoT marketplace allows you to easily choose and install the software you want in one place. Thus, you don’t need to research the software you want to install, then navigate to the company page that owns that software, to search for individual download pages to then install the software you want in a non-standard way. Was the software pre-packaged and available for click-to-install? Would you need to extract the contents of the downloaded folder and run the installer in the terminal? This time-consuming process can all be optimised by using an IoT marketplace like the Snap Store. 

To download a snap from the Snap Store, you have to first install snapd (the background service to run snaps). Then go to your terminal or command line and run:

sudo snap install [APPLICATION-NAME]
or
sudo snap install [APPLICATION-NAME] --[classic/devmode]

You can read more about classic or devmode confinement here. Now you should be ready to use the application. We have tried to make the installation process efficient and standardised so you can deploy software quickly and easily.

Get started

The Snap Store is currently transforming into a more active software hub and has the potential of becoming a full-fledged IoT marketplace. With the help of our fantastic community, more snaps are developed and maintained every day. This allows the Snap Store to evolve to have a richer collection of open source software for all. Try creating snaps yourself – you can build an application from scratch or package existing software as a snap. Who knows, your application might be our next featured snap! Check out the links below and get started!

Photo by Franki Chamaki on Unsplash

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