Qt gets cute(r) on lightweight device development
As cute as Qt can be, Qt enables software to be written once and run across any device in a world where we are building an increasing number of 'lightweight' IoT devices. Image source: The Qt Company

Qt gets cute(r) on lightweight device development

The first thing you need to know about Qt is that Qt is pronounced “cute”, which makes it easier to read, easier to say and easier to digest all round.

The second thing you need to know about Qt is that the firm has been around for some time now (in various corporate guises) but has always existed to provide cross-platform software that enables companies to write their applications only once, yet run them anywhere and on any device.

Software smorgasbord

The Scandinavian firm’s latest Qt Lite Project is an expansion of its framework that makes software and device development more lightweight and so, logically, well suited to ‘lightweight’ thin Internet of Thing (IoT) devices.

Qt reminds us that with 6.4 billion connected things in use in 2016, the connected device market is expected to grow from $157.05 billion in 2016 to $661.74 billion by 2021.

Considering this huge market opportunity for organizations and independent developers building connected devices for the IoT, Qt sought to ensure that all devices can communicate over supported protocols and that software can easily be extended to the next-generation device — a concept known as “future proofing” that is especially critical in burgeoning markets like the IoT.

A finite pool of developers

“The number of connected devices in use nowadays is growing at an exponential rate, but there is a rather finite pool of developers able to build applications and software for these technologies,” said Andy Mulholland, vice president and principal analyst, Constellation Research.

Qt Lite has been specifically designed to enable the streamlined development of software and devices for a  range of industries including the healthcare, automotive, avionics, and home appliance and entertainment sectors.

“For the past 20 years Qt has been used on a massively wide range of operating systems and embedded devices, but we’ve seen a growing need for Qt to become a more targeted framework that will facilitate the whole development cycle and lifetime of products for embedded devices,” said Lars Knoll, CTO, The Qt Company.

What have we learnt here?

Okay so yes this is ‘just another software augmentation release’ and it’s an example of a firm adding new functionality to its core platform.

But deeper than that, this is software being used to program the Internet of Things with a focus on providing default configurations for various use cases as we learn more quickly what we need to do to make IoT products work the way we want to at the graphical interface level.

This is also a good example of how software is developing more ‘flexible workflow’ options to serve the developers who want to use it in new and different ways inside the still wildly changing nature of the IoT.

Finally it’s also a great example of a firm that used to style itself as essentially quite mobile-first, but now calling itself an IoT specialist. Times change… software develops and an increasing amount of it now develops specifically for the IoT.