Gladly, our mobile app industry is continuing to grow at a fast pace.
In fact, App Annie’s projection is that by 2020, mobile app store revenue will exceed $100 billion globally. The latest annual Mobility Report from Ericsson reveals that there will be 6.1 billion Smartphone users globally by 2020 and as for 2017, Gartner’s prediction is that by the end of the year “mobile apps will be downloaded more than 268 billion times, generating revenue of more than $77 billion and making apps one of the most popular computing tools for users across the globe.”
I remember, way back in 2008 (or maybe even a bit earlier than that…), I had to do some reading in order to understand the concept behind a device that is ‘all apps’. This was less than 10 years ago. It makes me wonder, what will we experience 10 years from now?
Obviously, the mobile app development world is growing and changing rapidly, catering to the growth with some exciting trends. I’ve chosen to share a few of them with you today (yes, there are more. Talk to me if you think I should add others in as well).
1. Enterprise Mobile App Development
Gartner report from 2015 suggests a gap between the need for enterprise apps and the fact that enterprises are delaying investment in just such apps:
We’re seeing demand for mobile apps outstrip available development capacity, making quick creation of apps even more challenging. Mobile strategists must use tools and techniques that match the increase in mobile app needs within their organizations
This trend may change in 2017.
Why? Because there’s a growing need for mobilizing enterprise programs, and sticking with the same old desktop or even web ones just won’t fly with the Millennials, the nomophobia and BYOD (bring your own device) generation.
In other words, necessity is the mother of all inventions.
More and more enterprises are starting to understand the importance of organizing their business operations, and offer better employee engagement on the go. Some businesses are building their own custom app (such as Red Robin, a chain of restaurants that built an app for managing their waiting lists) while others rely on existing 3rd party apps, to run their logistics.
Gartner also says that companies will choose to invest in micro-apps development to allow employees to enjoy specific features of the enterprise solution (such as to-do list apps.)
2. AR & VR application development
The AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) application development is a continuing trend, following the phenomenal success of Pokémon Go.
I think that ‘Pokémon go’ proved to the whole industry that the market is ready for cross screen-reality interaction, and that there’s a whole new area to expand in to, with great revenues promised, to those who succeed.
But it’s not just about games and entertainment anymore. In 2017, we are expected to see VR and AR apps in the retail industry (actually, Gartner predicts that by 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in augmented reality), real estate, travel, education, manufacturing, healthcare and more.
Check out below a research from Goldman Sachs global investment Research, regarding the expected market for AR and VR software in upcoming years:
It’s hard for us to understand how this will affect us as consumers and users, but just imagine the opportunities that VR brings to real estate. Exploring houses before purchase can be a lot more efficient, let alone fun.
I am a big fan of this trend!
3. Beacons & Location Based App Development
Here too, I must use the Pokémon Go example again (sorry, I know it could be annoying).
Although this isn’t a brand-new trend, I must admit it is put here as it has not yet reached its full potential. Therefore the use of Beacons & Location Based services integrated in app development is still a trend that is predicted to grow in 2017. I guess we will not only see more apps integrating location services, but we will see real added value around these integrations. In other words, quality and quantity.
Here’s some data to back it up:
Beaconstac states that “The revenue from Location-based services market is expected to reach $43.3 billion by 2019.”
eMarketer review in April 2016 supports the growth trend by saying “Most [US] smartphone owners use Location-Based Services, however, there’s still significant room for growth.
eMarketer report show growth of using location-based services
So yep. Location based services and Beacons are on the map for 2017 (pun intended 🙂 ).
The opportunity to offer personalized experience based on user’s location and other related signals (like movement) is not one that a lot of apps would want to pass up.
Of course, there are quite a few apps that have already integrated location based services, such as GPS navigation apps (well, this one is too obvious and in here just for protocol), travel apps, dating apps (Tinder, Grindr and similar apps), restaurant booking apps, taxi booking apps, retail apps, weather apps, indoor mapping apps and so on.
Other apps benefit from the opportunity to boost engagement, offering coupons and deals based on users’ proximity, understanding buying patterns, and adjusting the marketing efforts accordingly.
4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) / Machine Learning mobile app development
I know, I am mentioning all the buzz words we keep hearing. Well, I guess that’s how trends are made…
Forrester Q2 2016 Global State of Artificial Intelligence Online Survey found there will be more than a 300% increase in investments in cognitive computing in 2017 compared to 2016. And that’s not to say that 2016 didn’t have a great impact in AI already.
2016 has introduced us to various AI apps such as the famous Google Now and Prisma. Implication of AI as implemented in chat bots are already in place as well, but the future holds even greater innovations in this field.
5. Android Instant Apps
This one is a new trend as Android Instant apps are currently available only on Android 7.0 Nougat version but will soon be supported by all Android versions starting from 4.1. Android Instant apps are basically app streaming services, which means users can access an app quickly, without having to download it first in full on their device.
It’s much like the Facebook instant articles. Great for user experience. But is it good for the publishers? Time will tell.
Developers will not have to develop a new app, as instant apps use the same API and the same project and source code, but just adds some functionality. Sure, they will have to go the extra mile for supporting it, but the opportunities of exposing your product to more users has to be appealing…
6. Growing use of Swift for iOS
Being under the watchful eye of Apple, iOS developers are slowly making the change from Objective-C to Swift. It may be a personal preference, or the fact that Big Brother is pushing the new language so hard. With Apple’s track record, developers tend to fall in line, fearing that what once was okay and passed the rigorous review process will suddenly won’t be so okay anymore.
Of course, Swift itself is well received by developers due to its new features and has even sparked some speculations if Android will follow suit. While I don’t see it in the cards for 2017, I do see Swift growing bigger and bigger with iOS developers in the coming year.
7. Cloud base app development
Cloud based apps don’t take as much space as “regular apps” on the users’ device, and they do maintain the same user experience and data across various devices. Sounds good, right?
Also, developing cloud based apps can be less complicated than one version of the app that needs to be developed.
This trend seems to be continuing to grow in 2017 (and on). Cisco supports that by saying: “In 2014, cloud applications accounted for 81 percent of total mobile data traffic; by 2019, cloud applications will account for 90 percent of total mobile data traffic.”
8. IoT Based Mobile Applications Development
Almost every IoT solution needs an accompanying mobile app, using its smart device sensors to assist the user to control the smart device. In fact, Android just released its own package for developing IoT apps
The existing solutions such as smart homes, smart cities, connected cars, smart healthcare, energy sector, transportation systems and more are just the start.
One concern with this growing trend though is security. With all those connected devices, chances for breeches are higher. For example, Johnson & Johnson discovered they potentially can be exposed to hacks in their insulin pumps. Let’s just say necessary security test needs to take place.
So not only will IoT will get stronger in 2017, it opens a whole new market for IoT security apps!
9. Focus on Mobile App Security and Privacy
As the mobile app industry evolves, 3rd party SDKs gain dominance and apps gather more and more information. Which means that the risks, vulnerabilities and security breaches are getting massively bigger as well.
This is a great concern for app developers, and mobile app business owners who are worried about their apps’ performance and user data.
This year app security is without a doubt an app development trend.
Along with cracking down on current potential risks such as Apple’s App Transport Security (ATS) and Google’s stricter policy regarding permissions, as well as both OS using automatic security updates, app developers look for ways to further ensure app security. So there should be a high demand for complex authentication algorithms, such as two-step user authentication, and data encryption methods.
10. We want to hear what you’ve got…
We’ve left #10 for you guys out in the field. We trust that you have a lot to contribute in predicting more exciting trends. Please don’t be shy, drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will take it from there.