Smartphones have become the most relevant piece of technology worldwide. Be it people getting hooked to apps, or integrating their phone with other tech, not in a very distant future smartphone will not only take over, but replace most of the other screened gadgets. Reflecting on this very underlying progress is the fact that there are 2.32 billion
smartphone users in the world, as of 2017.
Riding on this wave of smartphone’s acceptance, is the world of app development. Much like software development stormed the world with new age tech, app development actually offers even greater possibilities. This is because people love spending time on apps and their interaction with mobile apps is much more than the same with computer software. With over 270 billion app downloads
by 2017, it is for sure that mobile apps will shape the future of how we interact with and use smartphone technology
With the change in smartphones, the smartphone apps have leveled up as well. And this level seems to go beyond the imagination of most of the people, as smartphone app developers extend their reach with the following technological innovations:
1. Augmented & Virtual Reality:
Many thought, AR and VR will only be limited to tourism and hospitality industries, where people tend to experience everything beforehand and then go ahead by putting the money in booking. This theory was broken into cracks when Pokémon Go was released. Pokémon Go singlehandedly became the flag bearer of Augmented Reality and showed that the user today is ready for user experiences with cross screen functionality.
For anyone who thinks PC will still be equally relevant as it is today, think again. It does not allow for the biggest feature a smartphone can – portability. And Goldman Sachs agrees on this by predicting that by 2025 the Augmented Reality
market will touch $80 billion mark, which is the current size of the PC market. This very report also highlights the various applications of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.
Though AR and VR have been going the rounds of tech circles as the most used terms, they are yet to reach their wide range of application. So far, only the Gaming, Real Estate, Hospitality and Tourism industries have seen some light of AR and VR tech. That said, Goldman Sachs predicts that soon this tech will spread over Healthcare, Retail, Engineering and Education.
The simplest rule is – more the applications, more the downloads! So one thing is for sure, that AR & VR will only drive the already ongoing growth of smartphone apps.
2. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning:
AI has been all over the charts, with both developers and users excited about it. Artificial Intelligence is a collective term which imbibed Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Machine Vision and Knowledge Management. All major developers have said that AI is meant to improve user experience by leaps and bounds, and this has been accepted by the major corporations as well. Gartner says AI is the top most strategic tech trend for 2017
. Major app products like Cortana, Google Allo, Hound, Siri and Recent News are already putting AI to use.
3. Cloud driven mobile apps:
Cloud has simply allowed the users to get rid of the entire process of storing an app and all its data on their own phone. Cloud allows you to store your data on a remote server, and with the usage of an internet connection, you can simply access your files and data, from anywhere, anytime. This frees up space in the device and keeps it light enough to perform better. Developers see Cloud as the future of app development
because it allows the user to go beyond the device’s maximum storage capacities. Google Drive, Box and Dropbox are few of the best known Cloud storage applications available for the users. Most of them provide free storage up to a great limit.
4. Internet of Things:
IoT has been a buzzword for quite some time now. It stands for an ecosystem of devices where your gadgets can communicate amongst themselves and personalize themselves according to your needs and preferences, without explicit instructions. Imagine, your alarm goes off in the morning, and as you reach to your coffee maker, your coffee has already been heated. Your room temperature is set to your preference, and your car sends you a text saying whether it has enough fuel to reach office or not. IoT is meant to personalize everything that is a part of your day to day life. Smart homes, connected cars and smart retail are being predicted to be the biggest applications of IoT.
A more sophisticated extension of IoT, wearables got their wave of popularity with the launch of Google Glasses. That said, it got its ambitioned credit with Apple Watch and Fitbit. Largely, Wearables today only mean watches and fitness bands. That said, with smartphone apps being able to adapt to any surface screen, this can definitely extend to eye glasses, apparel and footwear in the coming future. Smartphone apps will get new data sources to extract information from; this information will then help in personalizing the entire experience for the user.
6. Beacons and Location based services:
Stretching the personalizing spree set by IoT and Wearables, Beacons provide location tracking systems at very resourceful costs. Beacons or Bluetooth Smart or iBeacon is a low cost and low power requiring transmitters that provide location info. Tile is the most popular app using this technology. You can use the tiny devices and attach them to anything which you are prone to lose like car keys, your phone etc. and when the object is in a range of 100 ft. it will start beeping, when you are trying to look for it. Such technology has great application in Security, Logistics and Tracking services.
M-Commerce will soon be the primary source of sales
, overtaking both physical retail and ecommerce. This is evident by the proliferating user-base of mobile apps. Take Facebook for instance – with over 1.74 billion monthly active users, it is being accessed by larger and larger group of people using smartphones. This trend is spreading over Amazon, Ebay and many other ecommerce giants, who have understood the relevance of smartphones and how they empower buyers to shop whenever and from wherever they want.
These trends have the potential to change the fate and face of the way we interact and use our smartphones. A closer look at our apps today will show us, the change has already begun!