From Idea to the App Store

From Idea to the App Store

How does app development work and how much does it cost?

Mobile apps are powerful tools for engaging with customers. With more than 2 billion active smartphone users around the world the industry is growing rapidly. The mobile business is still very young and making your mobile app a success depends on how well your idea is executed.

The questions we get asked a lot is how much does it cost to build an app. We came up with our own rule of thumb Team Brookvale formula: $4,000 per screen per platform is generally a good guess.


Before you decide to build a mobile app you should have the answers for the questions below:

  • What is the problem that I’m trying to solve?
  • Who’s the target market?
  • What would be the best platform for this idea? Mobile, web or something else?
  • How will I attract and retain users?
  • designthinkingdiagram

    After answering these questions the core functions of the app can be determined and a rough ballpark figure for the development cost can be estimated. The exact cost is dependent on complexity and features which can only be concluded after completing the planning & wireframing phase.
    Developing a mobile software is a complicated and expensive project requiring the teamwork of a business analyst, UI designer, UX designer, programmer and project manager. The development cost can be anywhere from $30,000 to $200,000.


    $5,000 – $15,000 – 1 – 2 months

    The planning phase involves analysing your idea by taking into account technical details and feasibility. During planning workshops we prepare a wireframing documentation with all functions and screens detailed in depth. A native, working prototype is also prepared which can be shown to potential investors and customers.
    By the end of this stage a development schedule and costing is also prepared.



    $30,000 – $150,000 – 3 – 6 months (per platform)

    After confirming the wireframing documentation a team of designers and programmers begin to build the mobile app and backend. Development advance test versions are regularly provided to you ensuring transparency and making sure the project stays on track. As a rule of thumb we found that if you calculate with $4,000 per app screen per platform then it’s quite often a good guess.



    $5,000 – $25,000 – Annually

    Maintaining the application ensures it runs smoothly across all platforms and operating systems. Ongoing costs include server maintenance, bugfixing and dispatching updates.


  • Developing for different platforms (iOS, Android, Web, other)
  • Developing for different devices (iPhone, iPad, Android phones, Android tablets)
  • Integration with existing enterprise systems
  • Backend development

    The cost of app development is dependent on complexity and features. Simple apps can be developed for $30,000 while complex applications can cost over $150,000. The planning and wireframing phase is essential to determine the timeframe and cost for the project.

    Also keep in mind the Team Brookvale formula: $4,000 per screen per platform is generally a good guess.


    Flesh out the idea and feasibility at our free workshop session.
    Complete a detailed planning and wireframing phase.
    You will receive a native prototype, costing and timeline for the project.



    Next steps

    We offer a free 45 min project discovery workshop. We will discuss the opportunities, key steps and technical feasibility for your concept. This session also includes suggested improvements, MVP focus and a costing estimation.





    Smart city IoT applications

    Smart city IoT applications

    The objective of smart city applications is to integrate information, communication and decision making seamlessly and in return to improve quality of life. An extended IoT network enables city officials to monitor infrastructure and make decisions based on collected data. By installing a large number of sensors and IoT devices across the city, waste and inefficiency can be decreased dramatically.

    Examples of typical smart city applications:

    Air Pollution
    – Control of CO2 emissions of factories, pollution emitted by cars and toxic gases generated in farms. One or more IoT devices are installed in an area collecting air quality readings which can be checked on a mobile app in real time.

    – Bush Fire Detection:
    Monitoring of combustion gases and preemptive fire conditions to define alert zones. One or more IoT devices are installed in an area collecting air quality readings which can be checked in a mobile app in real time.
    Water applications

    Water Quality
    – Study of water suitability in rivers and the sea for fauna and eligibility for drinkable use. An IoT device is installed in an area and collecting water quality readings which can be checked in a mobile app in real time.

    – Selective irrigation systems e.g. on golf courses. Irrigation in dry zones to reduce the water resources required in the green. An automated irrigation system where soil humidity sensors are feeding data into a central unit which actives certain irrigation zones only when needed.

    – Water Leakages:
    Detection of liquid presence outside tanks and pressure variations along pipes. Monitor flow and pressure along pipes.
    Flow meters and pressure sensors are installed across pipelines. Inconsistency in data readings can pinpoint an error in the system automatically.

    libelium iot smart water developer sydney

    Libelium Waspmote with Smart Water additions

    Miscellaneous smart city applications

    – Noise monitoring
    Sound monitoring in bar areas and centric zones in real time. Several IoT devices are installed across an area collecting noise readings. The data can be read in real time in a mobile app and also collected in a central database. The data can be used to create noise maps and other meaningful data.

    Smart city IoT technologies are growing rapidly and there is a huge potential in this field in the upcoming years. If you have any questions about IoT or application development, please don’t hesitate to contact Team Brookvale.

    Image source:

    Water quality monitoring with IoT

    Water quality monitoring with IoT

    Recent low-cost IoT devices such as Libelium Waspmote provide a simple and economical solution to monitor water quality characteristics. To have an understanding of water quality a number of its physical and chemical properties should be measured such as: pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), oxidation-reduction potential (ORP), conductivity (salinity), turbidity, temperature and dissolved ions (Na+, Ca+, F-, Cl-, Br-, I-, Cu2+, K+, Mg2+, NO3-).

    A key test of water quality is measuring of turbidity. Turbidity is a measure of degree to which the water loses its transparency due to solid particles. Nephelometric turbidimeters measure suspended particulates by employing a light beam (source beam) and a light detector set to one side (often 90°) of the source beam. In the United States environmental monitoring the turbidity standard unit is called Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU)

    Turbidity monitoring is important in the following scenarios:

    – Urban waste water treatment
    – Sanitation network
    – Industrial effluent treatment
    – Surface water monitoring
    – Drinking water
    – Aquaponics
    – Hydroponics

    Libelium’s Turbidity sensor was designed specifically for IoT applications and has a range from 0 to 4000 NTU (0-4500mg/l).

    Generally water is potable if the measurement is lower than 1 NTU. Drinking water utilities use different filtration methods and aim to achieve 0.1 NTU.

    If you have any questions about environmental monitoring, pollution measurement or just generally about IoT feel free to contact us.

    How low-cost, low-performance computers are shaping the future of IoT

    How low-cost, low-performance computers are shaping the future of IoT

    IoT systems are everywhere from industrial to consumer solutions. As computing and electronics are getting cheaper we will soon see a new generation of applications called Internet of Everyday Things.

    There are many technologies which can push IoT to new fields such as printed electronics. The field is expected to become widespread as low-cost, low-performance computers can power a vast number of applications. For example think of how logistic procedures can be improved with active labels on temperature-sensitive food or medicine.
    Smart labels are going to bring dramatic increase in transportation efficiency. Once price of these intelligent labels can be squeezed down to a dollar, we will see a massive growth of applications.

    Printed electronics can also improve product performance. Imagine if you can add a large number low-cost computers and sensors to your complex system. By having a large number of readings the product can respond to the environment. Pairing the readings with a high-performance computer which handles data analytics, will create a powerful machine. From engine management systems to product placement in retail there are no limits in applications.

    Printed computer benefits Source: Wikipedia

    Printed computer vs conventional electronics
    Source: Wikipedia

    As these complicated applications provide more data, we need to process them efficiently and make decisions accordingly. This is what we call “system of systems” (SoS). In other words the concept of SoS is to collect the data and resources of dedicated systems to create a new system which offers higher performance and extended functionality.
    It is a fairly new subject and there are many challenges across all fields where understanding SoS is essential.
    For example it’s hard to tell happens when a large number of autonomous vehicle are driving down the highway. Individual cars can drive by their own AI rules without problems. However, when thousands of self-driving cars are sharing the same road it’s impossible to predict their behaviour. Problems like this can be solved with implementing SoS solutions.

    In conclusion, thanks to the ever decreasing price of computers, we will see plenty more IoT applications. From simple to extremely complex systems it’s a field which has a huge potential and IoT is currently going through the same revolution the Internet of Computers went through in the ‘90s.

    Learn how a 17 year old IBM invention is powering the IoT devices – An overview of the MQTT protocol

    Learn how a 17 year old IBM invention is powering the IoT devices – An overview of the MQTT protocol

    What is MQTT?

    Internet of Things structures are getting complex and the large number of interconnected device systems are growing fast. For example a modern car has about 100 electronic controllers. As the number of systems are rapidly growing CPU and power usage have to be optimised.

    The MQTT protocol was invented in 1999 by IBM and Arcom. It is a free, open-source protocol.

    MQTT is a machine-to-machine (M2M)/”Internet of Things” connectivity protocol. It was designed as an extremely lightweight publish/subscribe messaging transport. It is useful for connections with remote locations where a small code footprint is required and/or network bandwidth is at a premium. For example, it has been used in sensors communicating to a broker via satellite link, over occasional dial-up connections with healthcare providers, and in a range of home automation and small device scenarios. It is also ideal for mobile applications because of its small size, low power usage, minimised data packets, and efficient distribution of information to one or many receivers. (source: )

    MQTT-SN Architecture

    MQTT-SN Architecture

    How MQTT is different from HTTP?

    For specific tasks such as M2M communication, MQTT is superior compared to HTTP. MQTT can receive almost 100 times more packages and send almost 10 times more packages than traditional HTTPS at the same time.

    See comparison table below:

    mqtt vs https speed comparison

    It is clear then, that the MQTT protocol is significantly more efficient. The footprint of the packets can be as small as 2 bytes. 2 bytes are very small, it’s exactly to characters in text file for example “AB”. Further to this it was designed to be simple and reliable.

    The Internet of Things combines all web, mobile and machine-to-machine (M2M) devices. Distributing packets in huge volumes is only available using MQTT in an efficient manner. Since its introduction in 1999 almost every industry adopted the technology and while the IoT hits the consumer market we will see systems that are getting complex and efficient at the same time.