This past year shaped up to be a phenomenal year for the app economy, and 2017 is set to be another progressive year. There has been a continuous growth in the number of companies that are adopting the mobile-first mindset, and realizing that the mobile is no longer an optional investment, rather a necessity.
Today, apps aren’t just built for smartphones, but for a myriad of other platforms, including connected TVs, smart homes, IoT-enabled devices, and many more. With these various platforms, the app space holds a significant amount of promise and opportunity for the both companies and consumers. What does the future hold for the app economy? Here are our top predictions on the tech trends that will shape the way we use and think about mobile app development:
Progressive Web Apps Gaining in Popularity
Progressive web apps have attracted a lot of attention because of the ease of development and the almost instant gratification for the app’s user experience (UX). A progressive web app is an application in which the user interface runs in a web browser. With a progressive web app, users will be able to immediately begin using it without downloading it first.
Progressive Web Apps are fundamentally designed to help websites load on mobile with unstable or poor data conditions. The capabilities of web apps are advancing quickly, including better performance with special features such as push messaging.
Android Instant Apps Becoming More Common
Similar to Progressive Web Apps, Google recently announced Android Instant Apps, which delivers exactly what its name says- it enables Android apps to run instantly. These apps do not need to be downloaded or installed on a device, making it possible for users to access a wider range of apps seamlessly. For example, if a user sends a link from a friend, they can open it with one tap. This enables them to utilize a specific feature from the app without actually installing it on their own device. Android Instant apps are still in its early days, and only available for Android that is limiting, however they’re great for apps people may not use as often.
Beacons & Location-Based Technology Will Continue to Rise
Within the last two years, we saw the advancement of location-based beacon technology and it shows no signs of slowing this year, particularly in the retail and healthcare space. Beacons enable retailers to bridge the gap between the in-store and online experience. They collect valuable in-store data, location-based push notifications, and even traditional in-store metrics such as footfall. Personalization has become more important than ever, which is a main reason why beacons are gaining traction as engagement tools to enhance the overall customer experience.
Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality Taking Hold
With the release of Pokémon GO in 2016, there’s no surprise that AR development will continue to rise. Pokémon Go proves AR technology has great potential to influence consumers in engaging and meaningful ways. Apps that utilize AR have often been perceived as promotional however, a greater number of apps have started integrating AR into utility.
Much has also been said about the growth of virtual reality as forecasts predict its growth into a USD 30 billion market by 2020. VR has come a long way in terms of performance and accessibility thanks to Google who introduced Cardboard back in 2014. In just one year, several leading tech manufacturers launched their own VR headsets, which are quickly pushing the technology to mainstream adoption.
IoT Apps Will Surge With Smart Home Technology
We’ve been hearing about the up and coming revolution of the IoT, specifically the interconnectedness of smart home technology, but the problem has been an overly saturated market. There are many appliances and apps on the market right now, but there are very few solutions to unify devices into a simple, seamless UX.
This year we’ll see more smart homes that will get much more interactive. Amazon, Nest, and ecobee are two companies that have trail-blazed smart home technology. Now, that bigger companies are becoming more experienced in creating seamlessly connected user experiences, we expect to see some major advancements on this front in the coming year. Apps that cater to IoT and integrate seamlessly will reap the most benefits.
These are the top 5 trends that we predict will take shape in the upcoming year, however, as user behaviors are shifting at a rapid pace, companies must adapt in order to meet demands. What is definite is the fact that users’ attention spans have shortened dramatically. Because of this shift in user behavior, mobile apps must contain a great deal of value to entice a user to return for a longer session. If you fail to do so, you’ll risk losing your users to your competition that offer a lot more value.
About the Author
Deepak Chopra is the Founder and CEO of Clearbridge Mobile, a leading mobile app development firm that provides user-centric design and product engineering services. He leads a team that works with over 35 Fortune 500 brands to bring the next generation of mobile applications to users.
Over the past 15 years, Deepak has become one of the leading experts and a frequent speaker on the mobile market through various roles including entrepreneur, wireless executive, equity research analyst and investor. Before founding the Clearbridge Mobile, Deepak was a top-rated sell side equity analyst for over a decade following the technology space. He was best known for his in-depth coverage of the mobile ecosystem.