How to Develop Real-Time IoT Apps Using Google Firebase?

Let’s get into how to develop real-time IoT apps using Google Firebase.

3 min read
Jun 7, 2022

The Internet of Things has been the talk of the town lately. Since the arrival of the IoT ecosystem, there has been a massive surge in web-enabled smart devices. These devices use embedded systems to collect, send, and communicate data they acquire from their environment.

The whole cycle is largely dependent on real-time apps to connect the system of interrelated computing devices. One of the best use cases of the Google Firebase is to develop real-time IoT applications.

Today, I’ll be talking about how you can benefit from the Google Firebase for developing your real-time IoT apps. Before we begin, let’s understand why use firebase and how it’ll help develop real-time IoT apps quicker and easier than other traditional methods.

Why Use Firebase?

Developing real-time IoT applications is already quite a complex concept to start with. For beginners, getting started and running things quickly is the objective here to prepare a prototype. If you are one of those or want your IoT app prototype to be done quickly, then Firebase can make your life easy.

In IoT development, we can connect the smart device with the Realtime Database and make it send data periodically to the application. Achieving such a thing with other database types is a bit complex and requires extensive programming.

The Hosting service offered by Firebase can be used for hosting your real-time IoT apps rather than managing your own web server. The best thing is it’s free (yet limited) and easy to configure as well.

Now that we know why we should use Firebase, let’s get to how to use it to develop the IoT apps.

How to Develop Real-Time IoT Apps Using Google Firebase?

Let me break down the development process into a few simple steps that are easier to follow:

1. Configuring Firebase Realtime Database

This is a pretty simple step where you need to go to your Firebase console using your Google account and create a new project. Once done, visit the database section from Develop Tab to create a new Realtime Database and not a Cloud Firestore Database.

Now, we have to give read and write permissions to allow hardware and software to access the Firebase Database. To do so, change permission to “True” from the rules tab. Start the process and proceed using the database for testing and prototype only and not for production. The database setup part is complete and it’s ready to use.

2. Developing Real-Time IoT App

For developing real-time IoT apps, there are many compatible frameworks such as MIT App Inventor, PlatformIO, and others that can be used. These platforms provide an intuitive, visual programming environment that allows everyone to build functional IoT apps.

Since IoT apps need to collect and send data in real-time, it needs modules to read and send data to the Firebase Database. Based on the IoT device configuration, you can start coding the firmware after figuring out what the program should do.

It certainly needs to do tasks such as connecting to WiFi, opening a connection with Firebase, reading sensor values, and publishing those values to Firebase. Based on these activities, the IoT app creation should start with installing libraries. Or simply, you can bypass this step by hiring a reliable outsourcing software and product development provider such as ashutec.

3. Integrating Firebase Credentials

Now comes the tricky part where you have to integrate Firebase credentials into your app. First, you’d have to change the Firebase token and Firebase URL. You can get the Firebase token from your Firebase dashboard. It’s a Database Secret Key. Similarly, get the Firebase URL and add it to the IoT app to build and complete your project.

4. Hosting the App

For hosting apps, first, the app needs to be created locally. For the same, start by installing the Firebase CLI using NodeJS or npm. Once the setup is complete, start by creating a dashboard UI. Import the firebase dependencies to make the dashboard UI ready to be used.

Once the app becomes available in the local environment, it’s time to go beyond that to make it available for the world by using Firebase Hosting. You can go ahead and deploy the app and show it to the world. You can open the app and see the values getting changed in real-time in Firebase Database.


Creating a real-time IoT application is a complex process but as we have seen, doing so becomes easy using Google Firebase. With this article, I have just scratched the surface only, there are still many things that need to be done in the background. Since developing the Internet of Things is quite complex, I encourage you to take help from experts such as ashutec.

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