Do you think that mobile apps are not for you? Where can apps go from here?
9 Ways forward for mobile apps in 2017
- Social media footprints will expand
You might call this a no-brainer, but social media programs are always upping the ante when it comes to involvement in what you’re doing.
We have lately noticed that when we take a photograph and post it on Facebook, the location service on our phones identifies our location and prompts us to whether we should add it to our photo. This can be either helpful or creepy, depending on your perspective, but it reinforces the fact that social media apps are digging deeper into the activities and whereabouts of our lives. So much for privacy, this is the new world
- Better collaboration and interaction
2016 heralded an explosion of collaborative features in apps and this trend will only continue. Google was among the top of collaboration, of course, and others are following. Dropbox introduced easy sharing functionality via the new “Badge” feature. Google Keep makes it easy to share tasks with others. Many apps have tie-ins to social media where you can share information with friends.
Collaboration improves the usefulness of apps and helps serve as a form of “functional advertising” by engaging others (and some might argue increasing dependency on said apps), so expect to see more ways in which these features will appear.
- More subscription models
Speaking of subscription models, they may not always be popular, but they’re here to stay. On Monday I paid about R1240 for a year’s access to a 1 Tb Dropbox storage plan. That’s more for a service than an app (Dropbox is an app, true, but its focus is on providing storage), but the same principle applies overall.
Gone are the days when you could pay a set fee for any given program and then own it for life as opposed to “renting” it via a recurring fee. In some cases you can do both, however. Microsoft Office is a perfect example; you can pay a yearly fee for Microsoft Office 365 which provides access to the programs and services you need (Office 365 Business costs $99 per year). Or you can still buy Office as a standalone product (Office 2016 for Home and Business retails at about $229).
Subscription models make more sense for customers who need the latest and greatest features, and they make more sense for the businesses selling them since they increase engagement and loyalty (as well as revenue and dependency). As long as it’s a win for both sides (rather than just the equivalent of a protection racket) I think this is a positive benefit.
- More offline capabilities
Even though mobile networks are expanding their capabilities and coverage, always-on connectivity remains a pipe dream. If you went away on business or on holiday and you tried to get reception and even made an effort to went into town just to try and get onto social media like Facebook and Instragram but in the end it all lead to disappointment, this could be the reason why…
Maybe that’s not such a big deal, since the whole purpose of getting away from it all is to disconnect, after all. But I could have really used access to Google Maps during some of our mountainous hikes, and it’s gratifying to see that it’s now possible to download map details to access them while offline this is known as “offline areas”.
- More intelligence
Those of us who used Office 97 and 2000 were well-acquainted with the infamous Clippy, an office assistant who would appear and offer assistance based on what you were doing in a program. (“It looks like you’re writing a letter. Would you like help?”) Anyone who’s used a search engine such as Google (and if you’re reading this I can almost guarantee you have) has probably also noticed the uncanny ability to interpret typos and hone in on results. Amazon is quite adept at providing you with suggestions for things you might like based on your purchase history.
As computational power and capacity grows, app intelligence will as well.
- Greater interaction with AI
Artificial intelligence isn’t anything new, of course. We’ve been relying on Siri (and Cortana) for some time now, but the ante is going to get upped. You could argue that some forms of automation equate to artificial intelligence – the self-driving car, for instance, which TechRepublic recently tested at CES in Las Vegas. We’ll see expansions in all related fields.
A core concept here is that of the neural network, which models itself after organic brain functionality to make decisions or solve problems. Self-learning is a key component of this. Working with this model we can implement functions such as speech or language recognition (a universal translator for instance), autonomous machines such as cleaning robots which can perform routine functions based on their specific environment, and of course, better and more comprehensive interaction with computer-based “bots” that can assist us.
- Simpler, more consumer-driven experiences
“In 2017, employees will continue to shy away from using clunky enterprise software in favor of more simple business apps. Employees will expect the ability to complete simple tasks through micro apps, that enable one-click task completion from anywhere (and enable them to avoid their existing systems altogether). Similar to social media apps, these simple apps will alert employees when something requires their immediate attention through notifications and a personalized feed of actionable activities.”
- Omnichannel communication
“As in-app payments and the ability to share a flight itinerary or dinner reservations through a text message become the norm, people will have a new expectation around how tasks are completed. This idea of not having to leave the platform or app you’re in to complete a task or send an update will make its way into the work environment. Employees will want information from various applications delivered in the channel they’re already using, whether that be browser, email or a mobile device as communication channels. I expect more workplace communication tools, such as the new Facebook Workspace or Microsoft Teams, to become THE place people go to communicate, collaborate, receive information, and complete tasks.”
- System modernization
“Legacy, hard-to-use systems exist everywhere and upgrading them is not an option. Why? Because companies have huge investments in these systems and now have business critical data and processes stuck there. But, we have hit a breaking point – today’s employees are saying ‘no’ to clunky software. They are demanding better ways to access their information and complete tasks. This means adopting more consumer-like functionality (see above), like personalized information feeds and push notifications, that sit on top of existing systems, so employees can get tasks done easily and have the most relevant information to make the best business decisions.”
So get going with the trend, get a mobile app for your business, we can help you with it from only R650 per month.