Mobile apps have become a necessary and essential part of how customer relationships are built and developed. From initial exposure to the maintaining and growing of existing connections, mobile apps are uniquely designed to leverage the most bang for a corporation’s buck.
According to the much anticipated 2018 Internet Trends Report put out by Mary Meeker of KCPB, a venture capital firm, while there has been 0% growth in global new smartphone unit shipments, and the growth in the amount of Internet users has begun to slow as it reaches 50%, there is a continued growth in the amount of usage per customer.
This signifies a challenge for growth to occur in this industry, as the focus has shifted from increasing the number of users to the development of innovations inside the field.
With this new trend, there is an increased focus on the movement within the internet realm, especially of that including mobile apps. Smartphones are moving further away from being the exception to being the norm, especially in the modern-day business world.
Any conversation involving the future of technology and especially based around the internet, has to include a discussion on the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Far from being a fantasy of the future that only exists in movies and books, AI is quickly becoming a necessary aspect of any new or developing app. There are several ways AI is pushing the limits of app development, including these two:
Saving Money — The presence of chatbots for apps, facilitates a cheaper method for learning user behavior patterns. The personalized experience resulting is not only beneficial for the consumer, but it is estimated that companies will save an estimated $8B between 2018 and 2020.
Customer Service — From virtual personal assistants, intelligent apps, cyber security, and IoT- AI is quickly making its presence known, not just in apps but in everyday life. It is estimated that 85% of customer service-related tasks will be completed by AI by the year 2020. This means a growth in the AI market of more than $47B by that year.
According to Gartner, by 2018, 200 of the world’s biggest companies will rely AI and Machine Learning driven apps, while Constellation Research estimates a $100 billion reach for the AI market in 2025.
The role of Artificial Intelligence will only continue to grow as apps get more innovative. With the added integration of AI, apps will not only become “more intelligent” but will as well save corporations huge amounts of money.
The evolution of social media has transcended from the world of PC’s to the realm of the phone. According to the 2017 U.S. Mobile App Report, Facebook, Instagram, and the other social media platforms account for 57% of all digital media usage, with apps capturing more than half of digital media spending.
This indicates the importance of developing these apps well and the role they play in the future of marketing and business. While Facebook Advertising has been under heavy scrutiny given the investigation into their methods of gathering consumer information via Cambridge Analytics, it is undeniable that the information they gathered is incredibly useful in the business world.
Being able to communicate specifically with the people who are relevant, rather than casting as wide a net as possible and hoping to catch a couple of fish. Resources of money, time, and energy are saved, while the consumer benefits from viewing relevant ads, rather than irrelevant sponsored.
Besides social media usage and sponsored content, the conversation in the social media world has begun to shift from the apps themselves to the messenger apps that are associated with them. According to Business Insider, there are more people using the top four social messaging apps than the top four social media apps.
Three years of double-digit growth in the social messaging world has still not stabilized the growth associated with them. If the process of contacting businesses was utilized through phone, emails and social media, social messaging is the next step in preferred communication with companies.
Wearable Technology and Virtual Reality
To accompany and increase the momentum of accessibility, wearable technology has become a more and more accepted part of developing apps. The popularity of Apple watches, Samsung gear watches, and other similar gadgets, has pushed the limits of app development, as they now must consider, if and how their apps are going to be utilized via a smartwatch.
It is not unheard of to believe that the future of smartphone and app technology will not only be moving away from the PC completely, but even to limited usage of the phone itself. If smartwatch development continues to accelerate, there is a very real future involving them replacing the phone as the primary vehicle through which information is delivered.
Along with the innovation of the smartwatch, the presence of Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR) on the horizon has become very real. The popularity of filters via Instagram and Snapchat is one of the most visible versions of AR, along with the phenom of Pokemon Go.
As Samsung and other companies continue to develop Virtual Reality via the Oculus, the world will begin to see VR as an increasingly popular and accepted realm.
Security and trust remain two of the most important aspects of app development. As quickly as the development continues to grow, the ability to protect the information and language only becomes more important.
There is a necessary foundation of trust needed for any process to succeed, either between the consumer and app, or inside the team itself. Apple recently shifted to its own coding language, in order to provide more security for its development of products.
The “Bring Your Own Device” trend has also increased the risk of enterprise mobile apps being attacked. Encryption, secure backend and API, payment gateways and more are all factors to consider in generating a strong security plan for app development.
Why Apps Matter
There are several reasons as to why the development of apps is so important to businesses, especially given the continued growth of their dominance of the world. From the direct marketing and customer engagement it can provide to the brand awareness and consumer data it gives on a wide and unprecedented level, the return on investment for a quality app is well worth it.
In the same way apps can focus their content on relevant parties, eliminate the competition, and allow brands to speak directly with their clients, uninterrupted. This is an incredibly invaluable aspect and one not to be taken lightly by companies looking to not only stay ahead of the curve, but also just keep pace with it.
Apps are the way of the future and it is imperative that businesses keep in tune with the trends of their development in order to stay relevant.