4th December 2017
The mobile app landscape is ever evolving and, in many respects, the pace of change is only accelerating. We now live in a world of 2.3 billion smartphones, in which mobile devices act as a digital hub for the large majority of those online.
That role will only expand as they become dashboards for networks of Internet of Things devices (think smart thermostats, front-door locks and smart lighting – as well as connections to onboard car computer systems, among other functions). Increased mobile payment uptake, meanwhile, will make smartphones even more central to our lives outside the home.
With mobile devices undoubtedly playing a growing part in our lives, here are five trends that will have a major impact on 2018.
Reports of data breaches are an increasingly common occurrence. In 2017, Yahoo admitted that over 3 billion of its accounts had been hacked years before, while Equifax revealed that it had lost some of the most sensitive information of over 145 million people – and there’s no reason to think that 2018 will be better. With increasing real-world consequences (think mobile payment facilities and IoT device control), mobile app security is going to be a growing priority for the public and for developers in both the B2B and B2C sectors – as well as for businesses commissioning apps and online functionality purely for internal use. To be effective, meanwhile, security must be built in from the ground up – while security procedures must be simple enough that people actually use them.
2. Cloud-based apps
The delegation of processing power and data storage to the cloud has revolutionized the way that businesses operate online. With cloud-based apps, these benefits have come to mobile, meaning that apps can work faster and retrieve data more easily, without having to consume memory on the device. This also comes with the commercial security advantage that information is not directly stored on the device.
3. Android Instant Apps
While the inter-operability of apps is making them more porous (“Siri – order me a pizza!”), Android’s Instant Apps program is knocking down the walls between websites and apps entirely. Instant Apps are websites that act like apps but don’t require installation. Fundamentally, they provide users with the best of both worlds – and they’re only going to get more popular.
4. Machine learning
AI is in demand in almost every field. While Siri and Google Assistant might be some of the most obvious applications, carrying out tasks based on speech recognition (and perhaps soon being able to interpret emotions via voice analysis and facial recognition technology), this is only the tip of the iceberg. For example, AI coupled with big data can identify patterns of unusual behaviour in order to stop fraud in its tracks; while automated user journey analysis can help developers to optimize software and usability based on how real people actually use apps.
5. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
While sales of dedicated AR and VR hardware are increasing, mobile devices offer a persuasive introductory step, providing mixed reality functionality on platforms that users are already familiar with. In the near future we will see an increasing number of apps that seek to overlay information on the real world (whether in a specific venue or in conjunction with locational data) or that seek to provide VR experiences on mobile (for gaming or entertainment purposes, or for more complex simulated experiences).