The Top 7 Mobile App Trends for Enterprises in 2017
The purpose of this vision report is to provide information and provoke industry discussion. This content is targeted to mobile app developers seeking to differentiate by using the information herein to make an impact in the industry. Frankly, because those are the people, we want to work with.
State of the Industry: A Great Time to Be Us
The number of mobile users surpassed desktop users years ago. Gartner’s prediction that over 268 billion mobile downloads would generate $77 billion in global app revenue, occurred a full year ahead of schedule, passing the milestone early in the second quarter of 2016. The implication here is that enterprises using mobile apps experience growth and ROI faster than can be reasonably expected. Great news for those of us in the mobile app industry.
The only real question is, on which of the many new and exciting technologies should the uber talented app developer place their attention, energy, and focus? Here are the top seven mobile app trends we believe will disrupt the status quo in 2017.
#1 Beacons & Location-based Services are the Need of the Hour
“Don’t fence me in” are just some lyrics from a long forgotten song. Today, location-based mobile apps utilize IoT connected beacons and cutting edge technology like Geofencing and Geotargeting to help businesses connect and engage with users in novel ways.
Research predicts revenue from location-based mobile apps to reach $43.3 billion by 2019.
Geotargeting involves using an IP address to detect the user’s location. App developers are using this technology right now, to deliver engaging, relevant content to users based on their geographical location. This enhanced personalization is helpful in targeting users wherever they are located at any given time.
Develop apps to target users who are active in a defined area. Combine location with other collected data such as preferences and demographics to create a more personal experience.
Geofencing, a newer technology, uses a virtual “fence”—the designated area set by the app developer seeking to target and communicate with users in a particular zone. By tapping into the user’s GPS, retailers seeking the attention of shoppers, as they pass by a location, might use geofencing to send a text message or a push notification with an exclusive and often time-sensitive offer.
Connect with users who are nearby a store location or venue to deliver appropriate and actionable content.
These IoT connected devices are already all around us. They quietly communicate with our mobile devices anytime we are near. App developers can tap into this technology by creating interactive apps that deliver targeted and highly relevant notifications delivered whenever the signal from a particular beacon is triggered.
Use this tech to reach users who are in a very specific area, such as a certain aisle of a retail store or those who are using transportation like a bus, taxi, or train and traveling toward a destination.
#2 Virtual and Augmented Reality are set to Explode
The two VR technologies that have open API tools are Oculus Rift from Facebook and HoloLens by Microsoft. Both offer a robust user experience and massive developer toolkits. They integrate well into various hardware and software environments, however, the technology each uses, offers a vastly different approach when it comes to merging the real with the virtual.
Oculus Rift offers the ability to immerse the user into a virtual environment. This gives a feeling that they are an integral part of the VR world. HoloLens uses a different approach achieved by overlaying individual virtual elements onto real-world imagery. The result is an augmented reality experience.
Both of these approaches offer great potential for applications, which provide enhanced customer experiences through the simulation of in-person interactions and immersive environment experience.
It isn’t just for gaming anymore. App developers seeking to differentiate will find new ways to apply the tech to more practical uses.
Previewing – Offer a way for the customer to preview certain products or services before they reach their buying decision. The VR environment provided by the app can create a life-like approximation, which will influence the buying behaviors of consumers in a positive way.
Experiencing – In travel sales, the user can experience being at the resort destination, in the spacious, clean room, on the dance floor, lounging at the pool, or walking on the beach at sunset.
This can become a standalone product or service for activities like concerts and sporting events when attending in person isn’t an option.
Buying Journey – Create apps that take the consumer step-by-step through the buying trip, providing information at key intervals. Interactivity will allow them to ask questions and receive valuable and timely feedback.
Troubleshooting and Repair – Consider the problems currently encountered when a client needs tech help. Remote troubleshooting, through a traditional app or with chat, is clunky at best. A well-designed VR app could bring technical support to the user’s environment where they could interact with the customer.
# 3 Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Reach Heady New Heights
Whether gathering data, connecting, or making decisions based on collected data points about the individual customer experience, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already an integral part of many mobile, social, consumer, and business interactions.
AI is the technology that allows Siri to know what you’re asking and then give you an eerily precocious answer. AI is how relevant product recommendations magically show up in your inbox or display on a webpage. Around-the-clock, AI is taking note of what you’re searching for, what you are looking at and how you are interacting with a brand or system. Its goal is to use that information in a productive way that provides you with ideas, better customer service, or simply more information.
For mobile app makers, this means you will have even more data to develop applications that are precisely relevant to an individual. This level of personalization is a key differentiator. Mobile app makers who are able to utilize this information will be poised to capture and delight a large segment of users simply by offering us exactly what we want or need —perhaps even before we know it.
The AI technology development continues to accelerate, research suggests that user adoption being driven by two factors: usefulness and viral share. This means that to be successful the mobile developer needs to focus on making highly intuitive apps, using machine learning algorithms that are insanely easy to share.
#4 Cloud-Driven Mobile Apps with Tighter Security to Define New Rules
The cloud has grown from a developers’ sandbox to a production environment, and finally into a hyper-scale data server, allowing information to be stored, managed, and scaled in new and disruptive ways. Because of the rising demand for B2B mobile apps that offer improved processing power, storage capacity with
better security and more reliable access to data across multiple platforms and devices, the cloud has become the go-to for enterprise.
Since the trend of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) fully took hold, IT can no longer precisely dictate an employees’ access to software, hardware, and networks the way it used to. This means that mobile app developers on the cutting edge, are in a position to help enterprise regain some of their control.
The ongoing development in the field of the mobile cloud is paving the way for app development that combines IoT-enabled technologies and continues to exploit new cloud technology and capacity. For developers to succeed, they must contribute to the market by enhancing the value of mobility by providing faster workability, for both enterprise and consumers.
#5 Wearable Devices Will be More Exciting
Wearables are the fastest growing segment of the health technology vertical market. User adoption has been driven primarily by the creation of engaging and useful companion mobile-based apps. Wearers utilize the paired technologies to inform activities of their daily lives. Whether recording the number of calories burned, steps taken, or vital signs, users of this type of wearable seek to better understand the human body and push its limitations.
The next generation of wearables will be less health-focused or utilitarian and will directly seek to delight or inform in unexpected ways. VR tech will become wearable and more practical to develop, shortly, as prices for this tech is dropping rapidly.
Developers who are successful in creating new mobile apps that interact with wearable devices and seek to extend the function, or that make the existing technology more intuitive, exciting, or useful will be able to get into this market without the considerable R&D investment associated with creating a brand new device.
#6 Internet of Things (IoT) App Integrations Expected to Stage a Significant Level
According to research from Accenture,
In 2016, 87% of consumers stated they did not understand what the IoT was about, what it was comprised of and how it worked.
Astonishing, since most of them are likely already a part of it. It is estimated that around 15 billion people globally are currently using or at least own devices that are IoT-ready or enabled.
Some could see this lack of awareness as a stumbling block. However, others might choose the role of informer and stand out in this explosive market. It can’t be stated enough, opportunities for creating apps that work with IoT connected devices is tremendous. Cisco predicts that by 2020 there will be 50-200 billion connected devices. The market revenue potential is predicted to be $1.7 trillion by 2020, which doesn’t include novel monetization efforts.
Apps that connect existing products like appliances, medical devices, with IoT and provide a cloud-based platform for remote monitoring of the products will significantly enable communication, increase engagement, and improve the customer experience of the end user.
#7 Contactless Payment Predicted to Exceed 600 Million Devices Globally
We are well on the way to a cashless global society. The preferred method of payment is already debit transactions. In an effort to stymie fraud, banks and financial institutions have implemented chip technology. However, the potential for fraud still lingers. The ability for consumers to have better, more secure access and control of their money represents one of the greatest opportunities for mobile app developers and enterprise in this sector.
Mobile apps and devices are seen as the successor to card transactions. MasterCard believes that contactless payments will be the norm in the UK within the next 20 years. The same study indicates that contactless spending has increased by 326% year-after-year. Adoption seems to be a given as majority of UK consumers already believe that the technology will ultimately replace cash by 2036.
The potential for wearables as a contactless payment device was seen most recently at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Olympians were provided by Visa with NFC rings, they used to pay for all transactions. This platform may experience growing pains. However, innovators like you will be paving the way to smoother cashless transactions, by creating flawless easy to use mobile applications.
Over the years we have witnessed an entirely new distribution model emerge thanks to innovative thinkers — developers and enterprise alike. Unlike traditional software applications being pushed out to a defined base of consumers, with a high level of control and predictability, the demand for a well thought and developed app can ignite in a matter of days. Are you ready to create the next big app?
We have noted the top seven mobile app trends we expect will disrupt and innovate the market in 2017. To join in this discussion, please connect with us. We would like to hear from you.