Digital Health

Top 5 mobile megatrends for 2017

10th January 2017

2017 is set to be another massive year for growth in the mobile app development space. It’s estimated that the global market for mobile app development will reach an astonishing $77 billion in revenue and continue to grow rapidly, as increasing numbers of businesses adopt a mobile-first development initiative. Last year we covered the top mobile megatrends for 2016 which focused heavily on mobile payments, smart objects, enterprise app development, the importance of providing a contextual mobile experience for users and the fact that executive teams are continuing to back mobile in a big way. In 2017, we’re continuing this theme by exploring the top 5 mobile megatrends for the forthcoming year. This year we’re focusing on the increasing domination of IoT related apps, the evolution of mobile messaging apps, AR/VR, Google AMP and the shift towards developing mobile apps with UX and accessibility as a core focus.

IoT apps will dominate

It’s estimated that by the end of 2016 there will be approximately 6.4 billion web connected devices throughout the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is now having a dramatic impact on the way new apps are designed and developed. In the future, almost all IoT apps will require some sort of accompanying mobile app to manage each connected device. This is going to create an enormous demand for IoT app development services and expertise. In many ways, designing, developing and optimising apps for IoT is not dissimilar to what most developers have already been doing for years. However, at its core, IoT app development does require a highly innovative approach when it comes to integration with external third-party devices and web services.

Waracle worked in collaboration with Pinpoint, based on IoT and mobile app development expertise. Understanding the existing environment and the user ‘journeys’ was absolutely crucial to the project and Waracle sought to implement a strategy to enhance and complement the static displays. This was achieved by developing an IoT app to run across multiple smart devices that enabled alerts to be sent to a wider range of people and provided the ability for doing this off site as well as in close proximity. By hooking up a single board computer, Pinpoint also possess the ability to automatically trigger alarm signals to remote places and access statistical and diagnostic data which is sent to the cloud or multiple users. Optimising, adapting and enhancing everyday processes and operations is exactly what can be achieved with mobile and IoT apps. By using sensors to connect static everyday objects to the web, Waracle and Pinpoint were able to further enhance staff safety and provide the ability to access, analyse and optimise alarm data remotely.

The development of IoT related apps will continue into 2017 and beyond as more businesses seek to develop new IoT focused initiatives and projects.

Messenger apps will continue to evolve

Every year Waracle cover the key takeaways from the annual Mary Meeker report. In 2016 we looked at the astonishing and continued rise of the messaging app. Mary Meeker has predicted that in the future messaging apps will become the go-to apps for mobile interaction, largely down to the sheer size and scale of their audience and the volume of interactions that occur on a daily basis. 2016 has been a huge year for messaging apps as one of the key mobile development trends, this is set to continue in 2017.

Businesses are now having to find increasingly creative ways to engage the right target audience. Given the fact that mobile app users spend 85% of their time using a small handful of apps (mainly messaging and social media), it’s important to consider how messaging apps and AI chatbots can be used to engage with prospective customers. Interacting with customers via apps like What’s App, WeChat and Facebook Messenger has never been easier.

If you’re seeking to develop a consumer facing software offering, the whole premise of releasing a messaging or chat app, is to start off by giving users exactly what they want, the idea being if you can generate a massive audience (think billions rather than millions), that revenue can be generated by a variety of means once an audience is in place. In the past 5 years, messaging apps have evolved from text based user to user apps, into complex enterprise apps that integrate with banking systems and internal processes. Messaging apps are an essential component of the overall mobile ecosystem, and even if your business isn’t developing a standalone chat app, it’s worth considering how the future evolution of messaging apps will impact your business.

There are a whole bunch of companies using messaging functionality and AI to create a better customer experience. Uber, Pizza Hut and General Electric have all built AI bots that are capable of interacting with customers to answer questions and help solve problems and many more companies will follow suit developing similar chat based initiatives in 2017. Facebook recently enables peer-to-peer payments within its messaging app, so we can also expect to see a shift in the way that consumers interact with chat apps, performing a wide variety of new and increasingly complex tasks.

Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) will transform the mobile web

Google launched its accelerated mobile pages project (AMP) in late 2015 and announced that it would start using a separate indexing structure for mobile websites. This has serious implications for digital marketers and all businesses involved in software and the web. The reality being that nowadays all businesses require a mobile strategy that incorporates a native mobile app and/or a presence that’s accessible across the mobile web. This is a huge change for Google and something that will seriously impact how your business performs via Google search. If you’re a business reliant on organic traffic via mobile devices, you’ll need to think carefully about how this might impact your content strategy.

One of the key elements of the Google AMP project is speed. When it comes to smartphone usage and browsing the mobile web, rapid page loading times are absolutely vital to the overall consumer experience. Not only that, but accelerated mobile web pages can dramatically reduce bounce rate and have a huge impact on goal conversions. Since the project started, many businesses have already witnessed enhanced ad performance and click through rates via AMP enabled pages. It’s estimated that 80% of publishers are already experiencing higher viewability rates, 90% of publishers are generating higher engagement rates via increased CTR’s and more than 50% of publishers are seeing greater eCPM’s (effective cost per thousand impressions). In 2017, possessing a presence on the mobile web is only part of the jigsaw. The real key to success will be in understanding how to systematically reduce page loading times on mobile devices in order to provide a better user experience and bolster conversion performance whilst reducing abandonment rates (this is particularly important for online retailers).

If you’re a business seeking to develop a new mobile web presence, or optimise an existing site in order to provide an AMP experience, the best way to get started is to speak to a team of experienced mobile optimisation experts.

AR and VR will hit the enterprise

If you’re a regular reader of our annual mobile development trends roundup, you’ll be fully aware of the AR and VR development landscape. In 2016, AR and VR apps have already started to transform the entertainment and gaming industries and in 2017 these trends are set to continue as large businesses and enterprises start to adopt the technology in response to consumer demand. There are now some AR apps that are exposing the true potential of the technology, and whilst Pokemon Go proved to be useful in terms of establishing raising the profile of AR, other apps such as myNav and iOnRoad have really helped to move the AR needle forward. In addition, VR devices such as the Samsung Gear VR, Sony Playstation VR, Google Cardboard and Oculus Rift are already gaining increased popularity and mass market exposure.

In 2017 AR and VR will start to stretch beyond entertainment and gaming and between now and 2025 the market is poised for explosive growth driven by consumer and business demand for new technologies. Both AR and VR possess tremendous potential when it comes to transforming a diverse range of industry sectors. It’s estimated that by 2025 the total market for AR and VR software will reach more than $35 billion with enterprise and public sector consumption accounting for over 50% of the projected revenue. The market for enterprise AR and VR (particularly AR, VR will be more focused on games and events) will primarily be driven by industries such as healthcare, engineering, real estate and retail.

UX & accessibility will be a core focus

It’s estimated that in the USA alone there are 18 million adults who either have a disability, or will develop one later in life. It’s also estimated that nearly 60% of these adults will use a mobile device. This is an emerging and rapidly growing new space for app developers with an enormous scope for technological innovation, particularly when it comes to developing mobile apps. The market is currently underdeveloped as most software apps these days are not designed and developed with accessibility as the core focus, increasingly in 2017, app developers will place more emphasis on mobile UX and accessibility. One of the key driving forces in terms of the shift towards mobile UX and accessibility will be the internet of things (IoT).

The IoT is likely to have a transformative impact when it comes to developing new mobile apps that help to provide better accessibility and ease of use for a specific audience. Some of the new innovations that will be possible thanks to the IoT will include the deployment of new medical alarms and home/office automation systems. This will create new opportunities for disabled users and the elderly and help people to live with greater independence. New research has found that disabled users are less interested in using custom built mobile apps, and more concerned with how existing apps can be adapted and engineered to better meet their needs and requirements.

If you’re thinking about developing a mobile app, and particularly if you’re a business interested in the IoT and providing greater accessibility via mobile UX for your users, then the best place to start is developing an MVP (minimum viable product). There are lots of options you can potentially explore, specifically when it comes to developing apps with a slick UX and that provide great ease of use and accessibility for all users. Talking to an experienced mobile agency is always a great place to start if you’re interested in understanding more about the app development process. You’ll need to think about designing wireframes and an intuitive UI that utilises simple hand gestures and talking to the right development partner will help get your app to market faster in order to exploit the vast opportunities available both commercially and technically.

How to get ahead in mobile

Getting started in mobile can be tough. As we head into 2017, most if not all businesses will possess a mobile-first strategy and development initiative. But accessing the right talent and development capability can be a serious concern, and as mobile technology continues to grow in importance, businesses need to find new ways to adapt and deploy new mobile apps to market. Whether you’re looking for a specific project or a managed mobile team, Waracle can work in collaboration with your software engineering team or as a stand alone entity. Whatever your mobile requirements, it’s essential to work with a trusted development partner that’s globally acknowledged and possesses the core skills to work across multiple industry sectors. Here at Waracle, we’re working with customers all over the world, from finance to pharma and beyond, helping companies design and develop data driven apps that can be launched and optimised to success over time. If you’re a business looking for a new mobile development partner in 2017, contact Waracle today to kick-start the conversation.

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