Transformation is always an amazing phenomenon and 2016 witnessed great transformation in mobile app development industry. Integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in apps, Internet of Things (IoT), growing popularity of Location-based services (LBS) and Instant Apps are some of the important trends observed in 2016. Many of these trends are set to continue in 2017 along with emergence of some new trends.
Here is a list of mobile application development trends which we believe every startup and internet based company must know in order to remain at the fore front of innovation.
Trend #1: IoT
Every technology company around the world is now trying to integrate Internet of Things (IoT) as it is creating huge impact on how customers and industries interact with machines and devices. Thanks to Nest and Ecobee, people are now able to control the devices in their homes using their smartphones.
According to the research done by Research and Markets, the estimated growth of IoT market is USD 661.74 billion by 2021 from USD 157.05 billion in 2016, with a 33.3% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) over these five years.
According to Business Insider’s research, they estimate a growth in the number of devices connected to the internet from 10 billion in 2015 to 34 billion by 2020.
Industries are already using IoT for machine to machine communication, and are able to improve the efficiency of production process by transfer of information between software and machines.
In coming future, following fields are poised to leverage IoT the most
- Health Sector: Health devices, medical checkup and medical reports
- Smart Home: Security systems, remote home control and automatic parking
- Smart City: Wifi connectivity, traffic control and advanced parking system
- Industrial Automation: manufacturing process automation and advanced power supply management
Innovative IoT devices
SteadyServ iKeg: SteadyServ iKeg, also one of our clients, is a solution for beer sellers, providing them with real-time information on how much beer is left in a keg. This helps the sellers save time and money by eliminating inventory guesswork. Know more
Sleep Number IT Bed: This “Smart Bed” uses IoT sensors to collect a user’s sleeping data. The companion app allows users to adjust the firmness of the bed, and view data like heart rate, breathing and body movements. Know more
Smart Locks: A company named August has launched an interesting smart lock, which lets trusted parties to enter a home without the need of a key. Moreover, it allows the owner to create virtual keys to provide access to his family and friends. Know more
Trend #2: AR & VR
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) revolutionised the gaming and entertainment industry in 2016. Pokemon Go, an AR based game broke records of mobile app games. Other popular AR games include, iOnRoad, Sky Siege and myNav. On the other side, VR devices like Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift gained immense popularity.
According to the research report of Goldman Sachs, the estimated market size of AR/VR software for different use cases in 2025 is USD 35 billion. Use cases contributing to majority of market size come from healthcare, engineering, real estate, video games, live events and video entertainment sectors.
Technologies like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality can enable customers to experience a product personally without being present physically. The technology is ready and is just waiting for the industries to innovate and create a boom.
Some applications of VR in businesses include business prototyping, real estate property tours, and conducting a “All hands meeting” using Virtual Reality. Applications of AR in businesses include interactive training, real estate 3d modeling etc.
Innovative AR and VR apps
The following are the Top VR apps of 2016:
- Cardboard Camera (Android / iOS)
- A Chair in a Room (Android)
- Google Arts & Culture (Android / iOS)
- Minos Starfighter (Android / iOS)
- Trinus VR (Android / iOS)
The following are the Top AR apps of 2016:
- Ingress (Android / iOS)
- AR Flashcards (Android / iOS)
- Spacecraft 3D (Android / iOS)
- Mybrana 3D (Android / iOS)
- Aurasma (Android / iOS)
Trend #3: Apps for wearable devices
Wearable devices are bringing a revolution in healthcare. Wearable devices like activity trackers, fitness bands, smart watches are making people healthy and connected. According to the survey done by Bitcom in 2016, one-third of German population are using wearable devices. With the increasing popularity of wearable devices, there has been a steep rise in mobile apps promising to make people healthy, making it a popular mobile app development trend in 2017.
According to IDC, the number of wearable devices shipped has increased from 79 million units in 2015 to 101.9 million units in 2016. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20.3%, leading to 213.6 million units in 2020.
However, the wearable technology can not just be worn as a fitness band or a smartwatch, but can also be embedded in clothing such as socks or T-shirts or even a band-aid or a condom. Wearable devices are being used to monitor biological indicators such as cardiac rhythm, respiratory rate and thoracic tissue composition. Doctors who need to regularly check these vital parameters for a patient can use wearable devices.
Innovative / creative use of wearable technology
AIO Sleeve: The AIO Sleeve moves forward in the wearable technology from collecting information from the wrist to entire arm. The Sleeve includes the electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor along with other sensors that monitor step, distance and sleep events. Know more
Blincam: Blincam is a wearable camera that can be attached to any pair of glasses. It creates a hands free experience, as it takes a picture just by a blink or wink of a user. Know more
Neopenda: Neopenda is a wearable hat for newborns, and has a sensor that measures four vital signs: heart rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygen saturation and temperature. The company targets developing countries and is currently seeking support on Kickstarter. Know more
Trend #4: Instant Apps
Last year, Android launched ‘Instant Apps’, which acts like a bridge between web and native applications by enabling users to run specific parts of an app without downloading the entire application.
‘Instant Apps’ feature is currently available on a select Android smartphones, and there are only four apps available on ‘Instant Apps’ platform. The apps on Instant Apps will look like a replica of the original app with most of its features. So, if there is a shopping app, you can open the app in your mobile browser, browse the items and make a purchase within the browser. This will help users save memory on the phone and access the apps through mobile browser when required. The apps that are available on Instant Apps platform are Periscope, Buzzfeed, Viki and Wish.
Benefits of Instant Apps
User acquisition: The biggest advantage of Instant Apps is its ease of user acquisition process. Earlier, a user had to go to the play store, download and install an app. Also, users require a good internet connection and enough storage space on their phone. Instant Apps resolves all these problems by opening the app in a single tap, or by scanning a QR code.
Responsiveness: Users usually are not comfortable viewing websites on a mobile browser, as most websites lack responsiveness. Instant Apps, when compared to mobile web are more flexible and responsive providing users with a better experience.
Trend #5: Location based services (LBS)
Location-based Services (LBS) have become an integral part of people’s life as they rely on them for various purposes such as booking a cab, finding a place to hang out, weather information, ordering food etc.
The areas where LBS apps are expected to grow are travel and tourism, retail business, security industry and indoor mapping.
According to The Global Location-Based Services Market Report published by Allied Market Research, the global market for location based services is expected to garner $61,897 million by 2022. The areas where location based services are expected to grow are travel and tourism, retail business, security industry and indoor mapping.
Here are some specific use cases that brought deep LBS to consumers:
Hyper local weather forecast: This can be understood as specific Weather forecast for your precise current location and neighbourhood. The reports include temperature, humidity levels, air quality and weather alerts for conditions like rainfall, snowfall, storm etc. There are apps like DarkSky (Android | iOS) which report hyper local weather forecasts.
Real time location sharing: Real-time map apps like Glympse (Android | iOS) allow users to share their current location with their family members and friends. They allow users to set the duration for which to share their location along with a message.
Trend #6: Artificial Intelligence in apps
In 2016, a large number of assistants and chatbots entered the market. Smart store launched by Amazon was another highlight of the year. Apple polished its apple home while Amazon shined with its Alexa. Not only the app sector, but Hollywood also showed love for AI and we saw first season of, now very popular ‘Westworld‘. We foresee that this trend will continue not only in 2017 but even in coming years. AI in mobile app development is just warming up and may depend on other technologies.
AI is an industry with high potential for growth. Hence, several leading companies have been showing their interest in investing in Artificial Intelligence AI. In 2016, big giants bought more than 40 AI startups and the trend is expected to continue in 2017. Google acquired ‘DeepMind’ for $400 million. Don Harrison, Head of Corporate Development, Google, stated that they give top priority to AI acquisitions. According to a news report from ‘The Korea Herald’, Samsung is set to create a fund of $1 billion to invest in its AI programs.
AI in health management: iCarbonX, an artificial intelligence company, created an app called Meum, which mines individual’s genome data and medical history to give tailored health advice like when to sleep and what to eat.
AI helping in sales: Neuralytics, an AI based sales acceleration platform, help businesses increase contact rates with potential customers.
Trend #7: Payments & transactions
Mobile payments have been rapidly expanding in various forms such as m-wallets, mobile payments, bill payments, splitting bills and NFC based contactless payments. Banks are focusing more on providing better digital experience to their customers in order to remain relevant to the mobile generation. The mobile payment industry is expanding at a higher rate owing to the increasing usage of smartphones and tablets across the globe.
Major economies like India are moving towards being cashless. Affinity towards payment apps has increased multifold after the recent Demonetisation drive by the Govt of India. And this is not only an Indian phenomenon but an international focus. Financial inclusion is one of the Global Development Goals of UN. Mobile payment apps, which facilitate cashless transactions and unlike banks, have very low entry barrier for users are helping the international goal of Financial Inclusion of under banked and under privileged section.
Mobile payment apps have high potential as it is estimated that the revenue share of mobile money is set to reach up to 9% by 2018. According to Juniper Research Report, around 3 billion global users will access retail banking services through tablets, PCs, smartphones, and smartwatches by 2021.
According to a recent survey conducted by Transparency Market Researchfirm, the global mobile payment apps market is estimated to grow at an annual growth rate of 20.5%, during the forecast period of 2016-2024. The survey report forecasts that Asia-Pacific is set to account for a share of 42.5% in the global market by 2024.
New in Payment Apps
Payment ecosystems: High growth mobile payments startups are taking an ecosystem route, where they create solution for different segments of the society. For example, Quisk is a bank-led global mobile money transfer system for debit cards which functions on smartphones, featured phones, POS machine and tablets.
Proximity based mobile payments: Mobile proximity payments are getting good traction for in-store purchases. Digital wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and iBeacon technology are some of the popular technologies that can be used to develop proximity based mobile payments.