Some may say that peering into the future is the realm of seers, prophets and charlatans. The funny thing is that they would not be wrong in this. History has been rife with people proclaiming to see tomorrow but often fall short. The same can be said of more common and mundane things. Business, stocks and technology are not immune to the whims of charismatic individuals. Great care must be taken when deciding which advice and which individuals to follow.
Data and the first-hand knowledge of top mobile app development companies should guide the way with their thoughts and predictions on the future trends of mobile app development.
Sensors and the Internet of Things
Money makes the world go ‘round or so the saying goes, and the tech world is no different. Devices which cost a small kings ransom a mere ten years ago can be purchased by a high school student in this day and age (if you want proof just look up how much a DVD writer or a 1 TB portable hard drive cost back in 2000). This trend of devaluation is not just restricted to large retail devices but also to raw components. Sensors are one such component, and the recent price drops has seen some massive ripples when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT).
Internet of Things is one of the most important trends today and judging from its rapid growth, it will bring huge opportunities for the whole IT industry in the near future. New devices are being launched every day, creating a huge demand for mobile apps to control them. After all, users prefer to have as many features in one place – their smartphone – as they can, and mobile apps are the best way to both operate the IoT devices and see the information, they may send.
We had a great chance to see the enormous potential in IoT on our own while developing a smart home app ExtaFree. This elaborate system of receivers allows to control a great deal of electronic devices at home but needed one thing – a way to control all of them wherever user wants – a mobile app. We did our best to create such software and we are convinced that mobile apps are inseparably connected with each other.
We are witnessing the newer possibilities of creating mobile apps related to IoT based on the low cost sensors. There are many mobile apps that have high usage in smart cities and in smarthomes in which one mobile app can be used for reporting issues like illegal trash dumping, management of potholes, broken tiles of the sidewalk related to the cities. We see more mobile applications on the parking lot for finding a suitable parking space.
In case of smarthomes, we see smartphone based mobile apps in home automation either for controlling the room temperature or for putting on the lights before you enter your home. It will be a pleasant surprise to open your garage before you reach there with such wonderful mobile apps. You may even track anyone with authorized access near your home and entertain your guests, by opening the door through remote control, when you are away.
Internet of Things has a huge potential to change the world and our everyday routines. But with it being a relatively new concept comes a certain euphoria. Consumers, and hence potential customers of IoT-related development, sometimes have over-the-top expectations, forgetting about important issues regarding security and protection of information regarding users’ private lives. And this is a serious concern we share.
Speaking of new possibilities, we already can see the increase in the number of orders for mobile and low-level IoT-related apps. And our engineers are definitely excited about this trend, they are always eager to take time off from software development to solder some hardware, sensors including.
Latest mobile devices are already powered with multiple connectivity options, like Bluetooth and WiFi, that allow them to interact with sensors installed in other devices. With increased use of sensors in almost every object, mobile apps are definitely going to be the crux of IoT ecosystem.
IoT related mobile app development would soon enable people to operate their office access system remotely or to monitor their entrance gates from anywhere. The trend of in-built sensors and enhanced mobile connectivity have already begun strengthening the IoT ecosystem, with some hotels replacing keys or card based access to rooms with smartphones, so that guests can enter the room just by opening the hotel app. New IoT developments in health care, travel, education and other sectors shall soon follow, with mobile apps working as remotes.
There is some fascinating work happening in this domain and we think it is only going to increase further. Gartner analytics report that the number of internet-connected devices will increase to 6.4 billion by the end of 2016, which is a 30% increase from 2015.
As on today, most IoT devices fall in the consumer class, in particular electronically-equipped cars and the infrastructure elements of smart homes, businesses, and entire cities. However, this will change.
There are some really great innovations like Amazon Dash and I am sure the mobile app landscape will completely change in the next few years. If we think about things like Amazon Echo, internet connected buttons (bt.tn) etc. There are several interesting developments happening in this field. At OCDLab, we have seen a significant increase in IoT mobile apps and people are coming up with great ideas from connected spas to mobile operated water heaters.
IoT is a grand idea coming true just in front of our eyes. Miniature sensors communicating with each other provide completely new possibilities, the only limit of which is the designer’s imagination. Thanks to their low price, sensors are becoming more commonplace and thereby almost everyone can reach for them, which in turn opens up new possibilities for mobile app creation.
Active control of our belongings is possible now, the only necessary thing being a good mobile app, which will complete our ideas and will do it effectively. Mobile app developers have many possibilities to make our lives easier with IoT. A good mobile program will help us save much time and be constantly informed about what is happening with a particular object, whether at home, in the car or office.
We can check at any time if we have set up the alarm or turned off the iron and do it then if necessary. This remote control, possible from any place in the world, ensures that we can come back to a warm and properly prepared house. IoT may also help the elderly or disabled people who lack the strength or skills to do all household management on their own.
In addition, miniature sensors are able to perform some basic functions which up to now were done by us, and they will do it perfectly, on time and with guaranteed effectiveness and confirmation of being finished. IoT will help us better plan our time and focus on the most important things, whereas the rest will be carried out by house equipment, facilitating our lives. Finally, a mobile app is our planning and entertainment tool, designed to make our lives more simple and convenient ?.
We are convinced that the trend of using IoT and communicating with IoT via mobile tools will strengthen. We have made a strategic decision and designed the FlexiHome app which enables the control and steering of what is happening in an intelligent house.
When we think of Internet of Things it’s an all-connected community, a virtually connected home that comes to our mind. With smart things developing all around, IoT is expanding rapidly and relentlessly. Wearables, machine equipment, cars, thermostats, wind turbines, refrigerators, street lights and an infinite number of devices are being entrenched with sensors, buttons, software, connectivity in a seemingly fast pace. The future is certainly vivid. We’re going to live in a home and work in an office that’s driven by interconnected and integrated technology.
No wonder, IoT will further accelerate mobile opportunities and transform how we interact with the various tools of modern life. Mobile app development plays the key role here. Through mobile apps, the Internet can make everything function more intelligently in a virtual world, be it our economy, education, healthcare, safety and security, environment and our standards of living.
Companies are constantly looking for ways to better advertise their product. Adding the ability to control your household items with a smartphone is a thing that customers take into consideration when making a purchase. We think IoT will play a large role in our everyday lives in the near future. Opportunities that arise from the fact that every device being connected to the Internet are endless. Mobile apps will surely be involved and play an important role in IoT development.
Car apps, connected cars
Even though Tesla and the rest of the automotive industry are hard at work at perfecting their “autopilot” systems, the so-called smart car industry is still very young. And that’s not a bad thing. For mobile app developers, this new segment poses nothing but new opportunities and possibilities. The footings for the infrastructure of auto app stores are just now being laid, and as a result everyone is facing exciting times ahead.
There is a huge opportunity in the car app sector with autonomous and smart cars, which are enabled with GPS. Google and Apple have already come up with smartphone infotainment systems in these connected cars. We will see inclusion of features like advanced traffic solutions around clogged bottleneck and invehicle gaming inside smart cars. Mobile apps in cars get connected within the environment in the car.
We see mobile apps directing the drivers to the nearest service centres when running short of fuel and automatic configuration of user settings like the seats and the air conditioning systems.
The Internet on the automobile industry definitely has a bright future. The best part is, it is not limited to big players. While companies like Ford are doing a remarkable job within the car entertainment software, small companies are not behind. I recently read about a very interesting adventure game, featuring interactive storytelling to help drivers avoid boredom. Then there was another quiz-based game kind of like the ones we used to play as kids in the back of the car.
There are no business rules, there's no limitation, except the driver distraction concepts, that limits apps from being developed,
With cars, there’s much more to come. Autonomous and smart cars will represent a step change in the making and functioning of a car vehicle with new levels of connectivity inside and outside the car.
Car-sharing apps are already too popular in this on-demand economy. Thanks to app-enabled services like Uber, Lyft, Zipcar and more. The day is not far away when everything from unlocking the steering to switching on the air conditioner to parking the car will be controlled by our mobile apps. The connected car will change the whole scene of how we drive a car today setting up a self-driving subsidiary with the remote control in the form of a mobile app. It will be an era of friction-free riding with one-touch features on your phone.
As in many other sectors, automobile industry has to front a world where more and more devices are smart and machines can work autonomously, without users paying attention. Such attempts have been already made various outcome. On one hand, it is great that autonomous and smart cars already exist and work. On the other hand, this sector has yet to come a long way, with pressure put on safety of such self-driven machines.
For mobile app development companies, the growth of smart cars sector is of course a huge opportunity. Such technology is just too tempting to be abandoned any time soon, so software developers can be sure that creating apps both directly for smart cars and those connected with them will remain a great niche to take.
The car market is already going under huge changes. Nowadays the governments are introducing strict emissions regulations which put restraints on car manufacturers. One way to go around these regulations are electric cars. We’re seeing big companies investing in renewable energy and electric cars to make them more appealing and easy to use.
We think autonomous cars have a long way to go before they become used on a global scale. In the near future the cars will help the driver to steer the vehicle and make driving safer, which we can already see in cars like Tesla. Mobile apps are already used as a management tool for electric cars, so with the growth of electric car sector, surely there will be a bigger demand on mobile apps to go with them. Third party apps could be used to control things like audio and mileage and fuel consumption tracking. I think the next 10 years will be crucial to see how the car technology develops.
Connected cars with all their variety of sensors are already here and we cannot be more excited about it. Automotive industry leaders are pouring significant amounts of money into this area, and this could be one of the reasons to be optimistic on the smart car apps’ chances.
Alongside with auto suppliers and carmakers coming up with new features such as advanced driver assistance systems, human-machine interfaces and autonomous driving. We, tech companies like Sibers, are influencing the growth of the range of connected car technologies with such smart mobility services as travel-related and rental, in-car targeted advertising and navigation, on-the-journey education and news, communication and media content. All these programmed offerings include Internet and cloud-based digital services that add to the driving experience. We believe this sector would become a significant part of app and cloud-based development.
Besides, we expect the regulations and policies in the sector to appear soon, that will help customers and mobile app developers to maintain a cybersecurity of smart mobility services in particular, and connected cars in general.
Autonomous cars are the key issue for car sector giants. Big companies interest in it may point to the huge potential of this market. The automotive sector development going in this direction creates perfect development conditions for mobile technologies sector. Whereas IoT enables a remote control of equipment, we may also expect the appearance of intelligent cars where we will be able to use a smartphone app to check and modify car parameters. Moreover, the VW corporation has announced that in 2019 Golf VII will be optionally equipped with an autopilot. This news lets us imagine that it will be possible to steer a car with smartphone interface or with voice by the visually impaired.
For the majority of consumers there are seemingly only two sides to choose from: Android or iOS. However, this may not need be the case for mobile app developers. While Windows, Blackberry and Samsung held a drastically smaller market share than Google and Apple there may be hope yet as they exist solely on the devices of specific manufacturers.
We're sure there are companies out there that would like to enter this space. As of right now it seems to be nearly impossible to break the hegemony of Google and Apple, but maybe if someone comes along with a significantly better product, the things will change. If there’s anyone with resources to do that it might be Samsung. Proexe has a Samsung partnership. We developed few apps for their new system called Tizen. They have very strong points, like the fact this system is used on many types of devices like SmartTV’s, fridges, cars, smartphones, smarthome sensors. Samsung will not abandon Android, but can grow with Tizen, because of their growing ecosystem of IoT devices.
Right now, Windows platform for mobile lags behind Android and iOS and I don’t see that changing unless it undergoes an overhaul. A third player in the mobile OS market would be great for us, mobile app developers and customers as well. We cross fingers for Tizen. This is a really good system.
We never knew that a free messaging service like WhatsApp will spread so crazy that people can’t live without it for a single day. So, technology is something unpredictable.
However, looking at the current market, what I anticipate is the undisputed existence of iOS and Android for the next decade. They are the most established OSes and doing amazing jobs in their fields. Google has some exciting projects under progress like Project Ara, Project Tango. Similarly, Apple is trying for an app-driven car and other premium devices.
But again, technology is ever evolving and so shall be the mobile OS. Sure thing! there will emerge a new powerful advanced mobile operating system, which will beat the other two, but not anytime soon, we believe. And you never know, what if Google and Apple become one OS in the future and rule the whole mobile world as G-Apple?
For Windows, it’s a tough struggle. It tried to enter the market with some decent Lumia devices but seems to have a very limited present and a declining future. Windows phone market has acutely dropped in the last three years. Undoubtedly, Microsoft stands a winner in desktop/laptop but lost mobile.
The mobile market is changing very dynamically, therefore it is hard to predict what it will look like in the following years. Everything depends on what strategies will be adopted by particular companies.
Although mobile brands can boast of well-grounded positions now, the market is so dynamic that things may change within the next several months. Therefore, we cannot say that Windows has no chance of development in the mobile sector. It can always positively surprise the clients and grow in popularity. We can’t forget that Windows is still the most frequently chosen system for PC. Windows mobile may be successful when integrated with its brother dedicated for PC. Microsoft may surprise us in the future with some functionalities which will revert the trend. Anyway, I would not write Windows mobile off, especially when we consider its users in business.
We live in a world full of surprises. A world, where a simple and silly idea like Flappy Birds become a huge success overnight. While looking at the current market it is really difficult to imagine that something new will come up and take over Android or iOS but then who thought that Apple would make a phone which will change the future of smartphones and force the established players like Nokia and Blackberry to fold their shops.
We do believe that there is always room for better and we will live to see a day where something better than iOS and Android will appear. Steve Jobs once said: "when you are behind, don’t try to catch up, try to leap forward". Maybe someone from Microsoft is following Steve Job’s steps and who knows, next big thing can be from Redmond this time.
While the remaining popularity of iOS and Android does not raise any doubts, we also put our beliefs in Windows. They do have a cohesive and loyal community of users and with all the power of Microsoft Corporation, Windows for mobile will remain a stable player on the market. One of the factors beyond their success is the fact their OS is universal for mobile, tablets and PC. Supporting this, some sources indicated that Google has started the branch of ChromeOS development that will cover the mobile sector, making the universal OS for all types of devices, just as Microsoft.
Thinking of the possibility of new mobile platforms appearance, no one could be sure of this. Each corporation, stable enough, could launch its own OS. Say some private aerospace corporation or its owner-billionaire themselves, will invest in new development and promotion. They could gain popularity and become prosperous if they wanted to. And all the industry would be welcoming a new player.
And we should never ignore the Chinese market with its “introverted” nature of economics. Few people know they have their own YouTube named Youku with 500 million monthly active users, so why won’t they build their own mobile OS? If that happens, their new platform could get a great piece of market share in just a few months.
There are many alternatives for the iOS and the Android platforms like Ubuntu, Tizen, Firefox OS, Jolla Sailfish and MIUI. But, as of now these are not feasible options for the mobile app development, as they do not offer any advantage over the Android and the iOS based devices. There is a limited future for Windows 10 for the mobility space.
Judging from the current situation, Android and iOS are the most powerful platforms in the mobile industry. What makes Android so important is its market share of 87.6% in 2016 Q2. Other competitors are left far behind with 11,7% market share for iOS, 0,4% for Windows Phone and only 0,3% for other platforms. On the other hand, what keeps iOS popular is its annual worldwide revenue which was even 75% higher that Android's. So these two platforms have significant advantages and will definitely lead the market in the near future.
However, if you look at mobile platforms closely, it becomes clear that other systems exist or are being launched all the time. Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Samsung's Tizen are the most important examples. They don't have a big market share but use similar strategies as Apple: they are dedicated to devices of a certain phone producer. This strategy works for iOS and if applied well, it may also be an opportunity for other platforms.
Phablets and tablets, one app to rule for them all?
Contrary to popular belief, tablets much like laptops are not going anywhere soon. Even though on the surface it may look like tablets are being made extinct by phablets, the truth is there are certain environments where tablets reign supreme. The experience that consumers have with tablets is also not the same, no matter how hard phablets try to emulate them.
It is true that tablet sales have gone down. There is a gradual convergence towards phablets, poised as the best of both worlds solution. The larger screen sizes of phablets bring a stronger mobile app engagement. The apps for tablets and small screen smartphones will hold more niche use cases. With the advent of more sophisticated apps that performs the daily work of our lives, the large screen phablets are more likely to win the race.
Both tablets and smartphones have many different advantages. Smartphones are much more handy and may be easily carried everywhere in our pockets. Tablets, in turn, have bigger screens, which makes watching films or playing games more convenient.
Tablets and smartphones should not be combined into one device beacause each of them is used in deferent situations and conditions. Too big smartphones will be cumbersome whereas a tablet will lose its functions if it is not big enough. However, it is no use to design separate apps for those tools. Each user should have the possibility to download any app which can be used for both a tablet and a smartphone.
In our opinion, tablets’ nature is a bit different from smartphones, being closer to laptops. Tablets’ lifetime is a bit longer, their users are not forced by the social opinion to update to the latest model available on the market, while smartphones users are. Smartphones are also used outside, so they get worn out quicker, while tablets are mostly used at home, treated more accurately. So, we don't think that sales are down, but we had a fantastic growth before, that has reached the threshold of active users and from now on they will buy new devices in a slower pace, say one in three-four years, not yearly.
Speaking of specific apps for tablets, we at Sibers are confident they should remain popular. Some functionalities need larger screens, say for near-professional video and audio-editing with multiple tracks and custom effects or full-featured graphical designing, thus requiring tablet-specific apps.
One should also not forget about some niche usage of tablets, like POS-terminals, this area is also experiencing growth in popularity and requires custom mobile app development.
The biggest advantage that smartphones have over tablets is their portability. Manufacturers pack their smartphones with the latest technology and people don’t want to carry tablets which don’t fit in their pockets. Having said that, we think tablets still have their use in places like schools, at work or even at home where a bigger screen is something that you need.
Smartphones are not going to get much bigger since they have to fit in our pockets and, more importantly, our hands. Mobile apps created specifically for tablets will still be developed, although not often. The way of the future, in our opinion, is to create apps which will be tailored to both smartphones and tablets, since both will continue to exist.
Mobile phones are bigger and bigger and that's the most important reason why some tablets sale fall, especially the smaller ones. It seems that a user can simply buy one phablet and use it both to make phone calls and to read books or watch movies.
However, it is not wise to predict tablets' disappearance yet. Firstly, although smartphones can be suitable for similar functions as tablets, their size has its limits. Just try to make a phone call with a 13” phablet or make a selfie holding a phablet in one hand. Secondly, tablets also have their specific features that are difficult to mimic by smartphones. Users can draw, read books or watch movies on tablets and as long as mobile phones are not as big as tablets (and they are not for a reason) they won't be completely replaced.
That's where the question about software also fits. Most mobile apps are developed for different screen sizes and can be used both on smartphones and tablets. But of course some of them fit better for a certain device, it depends on screen sizes and functionalities.
Due to wide screens and big displays available on smartphones, the tablet market share is shrinking. One of the quarterly reports of this year revealed a 14% drop (compared to last year) in tablets shipments in the third quarter of 2016. The first choice of every user today is a smartphone as mobile apps cater to all the essentials and luxuries of users of all types and all ages.
And yes, soon the time will come when 95% of the tablets will merge in mobile phones making it a single device: a phablet. Since a tablet is a little too big to carry around but few users are also not satisfied with the phone’s small screen especially for reading and playing games. Even a 5 inch screen falls short for some people, so a phablet is a perfect device.
Some of the wonderful examples of phablets introduced lately are Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Apple iPhone 6S Plus, LG V10. With the introduction of spectacular displays, top-notch cameras, exceptional performance in phablets, mobile app development will flourish more. There is no distress for mobile app owners for their business mobile apps as they could be easily convert to work well on phablets with the next-level multitasking.
There are no fixed rules in this world. While on a personal level, we think it is more logical that both devices merges into one, but then the world and people have always managed to surprise us. So we wouldn’t say it's the end of tablets. However, I do believe that the future is neither a tablet nor a phone. It will be beyond that, something like a chip or a virtual entity where you are not carrying a 6 inch brick in your pocket.
When wearables became mainstream a couple years back it seemed like there was no turning back. For a while there it looked like every step, every heartbeat, every calorie and every act would be recorded and tabulated by something attached to someones wrist or a some other device on them. But that just isn’t the case.The wearables trend line has started to plateau as of late and adoption rate has decreased significantly. But what was the cause and can its future be saved?
We have found much success in the wearables market. Our apps for smarwatches won multiple awards at International contests. It’s definitely a different market with different apps and limitations. You have to be really innovative and succinct in your ideas and design, as you have to take into consideration the limitations of the wearables like the small screen size and processing power. On the other hand, portability of wearables is a massive asset. People don’t always want to have a smartphone on them, but a light watch is something that you can always wear.
There is a demand for smaller apps that make your life just a tiny bit easier. For example, you’re more likely to wear a smartwatch during your morning run to track your results, rather than having a smartphone in your pocket to weigh you down.
Wearables are here to stay and will continue to grow but not to the size of smartphone apps.
We totally do believe in success of sports and fitness-related wearables. Actually, most of our 150+ people team wears some kind of fitness bracelets daily and heart-rate monitors during jogging, swimming or riding. This niche is very fruitful and still has a capacity for new star apps.
Though smartwatches could be more successful in the market, but they still have their own audience and it certainly becomes kind of a standard to have your developed app (at least iOS apps since we are more optimistic about Apple Watch, than Android-based wearables) compatible with phones, tablets, phablets and watches.
Such wearables as glasses, GPS-enabled shoes and clothes of conductive thread fabrics are at the very beginning of their market journey and we are carefully watching their evolution, ready to act and try their potential.
Wearables, such as smartwatches, may be very useful for sportspeople (both professional and amateurs), the elderly or the sick and any person willing to lead a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps wearables have not achieved the expected success yet but their sales are constantly rising. It is possible that the time for wearables is still to come.
We have several wearable apps and we recognize a huge potential in this market. The growing number of wearables users, especially in the fitness area, bodes well for the future of wearable tools and apps. We have already created apps for cardio trainings, dedicated for those who do high-performance sports. Each type of sport requires a different running endurance; a maraton runner must run 40 km as fast as possible keeping a steady speed, whereas a basketball player must be dynamic for the whole duration of a match. This means that they should have their trainings chosen individually on the basis of their maximum pulse as well as the objectives they want to achieve.
The app helps choose and carry out a training within the set time limit, at the same time providing information on the advised pulse the user should have at a particular moment. In addition, the program is a special place for the coach, providing the possibility to monitor the progress of each member of the whole team.
We have developed many apps in the wearable segment, mainly for the fitness sector for measuring parameters on walking and calories burnt by an individual. As per a Gartner Report, wearable devices will exceed more than 500 million mark in 2020. There is a growing popularity of wearable devices in industries like Health and Tourism, Healthcare, Enterprise, Lifestyle Finance and Social Communication.
We will see more healthcare apps for remote monitoring of patients, chronic disease treatment and elderly care. The healthcare wearables will stimulate the growth in the next five years. The fitness and health categories are expected to produce the killer apps.
Wearables, especially smartwatches, try to substitute mobile phones with an all-encompassing approach but they haven't achieved the expected success yet. There are multiple reasons behind this failure, e.g. immaturity of wearable technologies, small screens or small amount of software for this kind of devices. Many of these disadvantages can be overcome though, so the smartwatch idea won't probably be abandoned any time soon.
What's more, the future of wearables can also be seen in dedicated devices, created to meet specific goals. A great example can be the SidlyCare Band, for which we have developed a mobile app called SidlyCare. This is a medical wearable which measures all important data about patients' health and allows to remotely control the data via a mobile app. It also shows an immediate notification when a patient presses the SOS button on the band or falls. We believe that the future of wearables is in dedicated devices and the mobile industry is going to develop quickly in this area.
We don’t think wearables will die out anytime soon. In fact, one of last year’s IDC reports recorded a total 21 million (triple than what was sold in 2014) wearables shipped including smartwatches, fitness bands, Google Glass and other wearable devices.
It’s just that the concept emerged to cater to a specific segment of audience including millennials who are more into fitness tracking morning and evening and love to operate their smartphones via a Bluetooth connectivity of their smartwatches, sportspersons and fitness enthusiasts.
Calling it an unsuccessful innovation isn’t fair. It may not have made the expected success for which we have a justifiable reason: they were meant for a certain audience across the globe.
A big development in the wearable category will be advanced sensors to addressing more chronic lifestyle conditions like heart disease, blood pressure, sleep disorders, iron overload, obesity and others. The future of wearables is fueling for more advanced capabilities and improved user interfaces, user experience and third-party applications.
We have developed an Apple Watch app known as SemaConnect for one of our clients in the United States. The app is built to help people manage electric vehicle charging sessions at ChargePro stations nationwide. It informs the users with certain details related to gas stations. The details include location of the station, real-time availability, charging cost and other related.
It is true that wearable technology hasn’t gone mainstream yet, in spite of tech giants like Apple and Google being involved in the same. However, the excitement for wearable is still on and techies are putting in more and more efforts to overcome the physical and design barriers that are holding these gadgets back. Even research predicts that there will be a substantial rise in the number of wearables in upcoming years, with more and more core industries investing on its development.
Wearable apps do have a promising future if the techniques of the squeezing technology in small devices are made more efficient and focused on providing functionality that user’s cannot have with any other device. Also, with different industrial sectors exploring the innovative applications of wearables, custom apps for such devices are surely going to experience an increasing demand.
The rapid growth of digital devices promises far more powerful and cost-effective wearable technology in the days to come. The potential convenience, greater range of features and new innovations like Augmented Reality seem to hint at a brighter future for wearable devices may be just around the corner.
We have worked on several apps in this domain and we still see a constant demand. We recently worked for Threatstream for their Apple Watch app and it is a very useful tool. The response has been very positive. We recently launched an Apple Watch version of one of our own apps “Future Scheduler” and again, response was very positive.
Technically speaking BLE or Beacon technology is nothing new, however it has been under-utilized. Consumer understanding, low adoption rates, little to no push from the industry. There are a host of reasons as to why this particular technology hasn’t taken off. However, it seems as if it has been enjoying a bit of resurgence in the world of m-commerce.
Beacon technology is currently used mostly in m-commerce industry to wirelessly send promotional messages when a potential customer passes a Beacon device in the street or in a shop. It is easy to find other uses of this technology though, e.g. to send descriptions of pieces of art in a museum or information about certain events. One of our Beacon apps, for example, was created for a chain of car parks in one Italian city.
Judging from our experience with Beacons, we can see their future very brightly. M-commerce apps with such functionality cannot only send coupons or notifications about promotions, but also gather a lot of important information about users and combine them with other data to provide users with suitable content. As our example shows, this technology can also be used in many other branches, some of them to be invented yet.
We have developed many apps with BLE or Beacon technology. One example is in the Home Automation sector for controlling home appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners, etc. We have also used apps based on Beacons for promotional services, for the retailers, which are location-based. We have extensively worked with indoor navigation for the retail sector, fulfilling the purpose of location identification.
Indeed BLE is a technology with future growth. In the coming five years we will see the growth of BLE devices to 60 million devices. Beacons will be increasingly used in the retail segment for optimization of the retail experience. We see a growing BLE app demand for the smart textile industry, as the BLE enabled garments will be used for monitoring and sensing, with internet connectivity.
BLE is the technology that every mobile app developer and user should be excited about. It made some things possible that we couldn’t even dream of five years ago. Now with BLE available everywhere, everyone can sell a new device that can seamlessly communicate with a mobile phone. There is a limitation though, BLE does not allow transferring of large volume of data, e.g. audio and video streaming. So if you want to connect a custom headset for iOS, or VR glasses with video streaming for your favorite TV-series, you need to purchase proprietary Apple’s chip for classic Bluetooth data exchange.
The potential of BLE is far away from what can be called exhausted. The number of devices with BLE technology for mobility will grow, alongside with home-made devices for personal use by geeks.
Developers at Sibers had developed dozens of apps employing the BLE for our customers with navigation and sports usage the most. But what is even more thrilling for us personally, this technology already allowed our engineers to solder the custom application that open window-blinds at our homes in synchronization with an iPhone’s morning alarm or make a BLE-enabled finger-print scanner at our office snack fridge that allows access to only mobile app developers who successfully committed their written code to our internal version control system the day before (and let us say, yummy treats are a great motivation for self-management!). So, overall, BLE technology has a real potential to make our lives not only easier, but more fun too.
BLE surely has a bright future, especially in retail industry. It can take personalized marketing and advertising to a complete new level. A customer walking in a store can get notified about relevant offers in his smartphone, can locate specific items through indoor mapping or can enjoy hands free payments.
BLE can open up a new market for retailers where they can better target consumers and enhance their overall shopping experience. In fact, it can also revolutionize event marketing strategies to increase engagement. Event organizers can send push notifications to nearby mobile devices of prospects to inform as well as attract attendees to an imminent event like a flash gathering.
We have done significant work with BLE and Beacons. Mobotour is one of them. Then there is a whole mobile advertising platform, Moboapps, that was designed around beacons. BLE would definitely see more growth in the future given the obvious advantages in terms of power consumption and connectivity convenience.
Beacons are the real hit of 2016. Whereas GPS positions us globally, Beacons do it locally. They are used mainly in shopping malls for marketing purposes, yet they also perform their functions at conferences and festivals. They make contact with a mobile app installed in the phone and display the necessary information or direct the user to a particular place.
The main objective of the BLE system is low energy use and quick access to data. Therefore, it is predicted that soon each field, in particular medicine and retail, will become the addressee of this solution. Apps with BLE or Beacon technology have many uses, the only limitation being human creativity, therefore a dynamic development of such systems is predicted.
Our portfolio contains several apps based on Beacons, including one of our flag solutions, FlexiCRM. One of its functions is collecting and analyzing the customer relationship data, together with those from Beacons. With this aim in mind, we have created a promotion mobile app, thanks to which we could gather information on the shopping preferences of the clients and present customized offers on the basis of historical data from CRM.
We have developed a few iBeacon apps. Partiac app works on beacon technology, the mobile app is connected to local bars in the US, sending messages/signals to users with the latest activities happening in there, active offers and deals by app owners when users are around so that they can redeem them before it ends. So, the iBeacon here works for the users checking in and checking out of the bar.
As beacon works on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, it has a great way to go. The day will soon arrive when users can see their television sets turning on to their favorite channels as soon as they enter the room. Along with smartphones, the smart technology will interact with other devices to make custom interactions possible that we haven’t thought ever.
Currently, retail industry is making the most of this technology through iBeacon apps. Google has also stepped in last years with some beacon-enabled apps.
Quite recently we have developed a mobile app using Beacon technology, a virtual guide through one of the biggest Polish commercial chains store selling books, international press and media products. It enhanced the shopping experience by displaying information about the sections you were currently in.
Becaon technology is quite big in Poland, we have two companies specializing in making beacons, Estimote and Kotakt.io. We’ve used the products of both companies and we were pleased with the quality of their products. Advertising and tourism are areas that could potentially benefit the most from this technology.
Virtual Reality apps for more than games
We’ve all heard it before, Virtual Reality (VR) is the next big thing. It has been fictionalized and fantasized in the social consciousness for decades now. However, the technological advances that have been made recently is making it possible to make fact out of fiction, to put fantasy into practice. Industry leaders are quick to say with confidence that VR is a multi-billion dollar industry in the making.
VR has apps in all these three areas, art, health and education. Example of VR in art is Tilt Brush, which is a VR based painting app. We have seen the world’s first VR exhibition in 2015. There is a VR app in the health sector also, the world’s first surgery screening with VR, reducing the cost for training doctors.
VR has immense possibilities in the field of education as well. This comes in the form of immersive education whether that is an experience with the seabed for marine biology or teaching languages with 3D immersive environment.
Virtual Reality can bring in revolutionary changes in health care, education, museums, defense, courtrooms, manufacture and many other sectors. The technology has immense potential to transform the way things are done.
For instance, certain museums are already making use of VR to provide unique experiences to the visitors, where they can get transported to a distant world using VR headsets. They can also interact with historical artifacts and environments. Some museums, like the American Museum of Natural History, also allow people to visit the exhibits remotely using smartphones or specific gadgets, sitting in the comfort of home or in a classroom.
Virtual Reality is the future of entertainment. It makes it possible to do exciting things without taking any risk. Thanks to VR, everyone can experience an adventure in places all over the world. However, Virtual Reality is a chance not only for entertainment popularization. It constitutes a perfect support also in other fields and aspects of life.
Thanks to VR, children, adolescents and even adults get a chance of learning by experience as it is much easier to memorize things and phenomena which can be seen with one’s eyes.
Virtual Reality may constitute a support for art, both for its recipients and for the very artists. It can provide a place for displaying works of art, creating huge multidimensional installations and be a source of inspiration.
VR can be also used in the area of health. For instance, rehabilitation is often longlasting, exhausting and tedious. It can be much easier and more pleasant with VR. Instead of spending time on repeating boring exercises, the patient has a chance to do them in an interesting, virtual scenery of carefully chosen, absorbing gymnastic tasks, which will help him or her recover.
Games are a great way to showcase the latest VR tech, many of them are quite impressive but they seem to be more of a novelty rather than something groundbreaking. VR app developers have more restraints than regular game app developers, they have to consider motion sickness and the game has to work perfectly smooth to achieve a desired level of immersion.
We hope that VR isn’t just another trend to draw more customers that will disappear in a couple of years. This tech has obviously a lot of potential which doesn’t necessarily lie in gaming. One of the examples is Tilt Brush by Google, it shows what could be done with VR. We're interested to see what direction it will take in the upcoming years.
Virtual Reality is going to face a huge boom in the next few years. The market size of VR hardware will rise by almost 50% in 2017 and till 2020 it will reach $15,5 billions. The growth of VR software market is even more significant. It will rise by 240% in 2017 and reach $24,5 billions in 2020. So there is definitely a space for developers to take. And it is not all about games!
Virtual Reality is currently more and more widely used in education. This technology has already moved from military or aviation trainings to the mainstream of professional development. Therapists, instructors, coaches and managers are already taught this way.
For example, an app called VirtualSpeech allows you to step in shoes of a public speaker to help you overcome public speaking anxiety. Such apps are already in schools, too. Just take an example of the World of Comenius project in Czech Republic, it is a VR way to teach children biology. With the rising popularity of VR software, we can be sure that this technology will develop in other categories, too.
We at Sibers have developed some very successful Virtual Reality systems that have nothing in common with games and entertainment. One of them is an educational system that is used for field-training of safety professionals (police, fire, paramedics, etc). It is a platform to create a 3D virtual reality training simulations according to each agency’s unique protocols and scenarios. Realistic graphics and animation, along with professionally recorded sound, allow safety professionals to be completely immersed in a virtual environment where they can master their desired skills. The training involves the latest hardware such as the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Samsung Gear.
The development of an educational system of such kind, combined with its further marketing and promotion, is a much more complex and expensive task comparing to the small VR game. That is the reason why most of the software development companies will not face VR-related development in the non-entertainment sector.
We believe industry leaders in mentioned above categories like Education, Healthcare and Arts and also in such areas as Travel, eCommerce, Sports and Social Networking won’t miss a VR challenge for sure.
This is our favorite technology these days and we have been closely following this. We see so many practical use cases for VR, and gaming is just the tip on the iceberg. From exposure therapy to virtual tourism, there are endless possibilities with VR.
Though high-end gaming will be the major segment VR will target for a while yet. However, much of the predicted market share of Virtual Reality and its cousin, Augmented Reality, will move towards more professional services and sectors like Healthcare, Education, Real Estate or Manufacturing in the years to come.
A perfect example of VR in education is that of Astronomy. The students, with the help of those virtually real objects, can study stars, planets and comets in the actual system. They can physically touch the objects and get to know about the solar system, whole process of physical movement that happens within the system. They can see around stars, track a comet’s progress and see how things work in a 3D environment.
Similarly, Healthcare can be more advanced with VR as a complex surgery deep inside the body and veins can be handled by a robot controlled by a human, where the doctor uses VR to instruct the robotic surgeon.
When discussing future technologies it is easy to get romantic and start dreaming of robots, spaceships and that flying car from the Jetsons. But joking aside the reality is that the future lies in the advancement of technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), the Internet of Things, and yes, wearables.
Ditch the crystal ball, say goodbye to the techno-guru. To predict the future of mobile app development you must listen to the facts. It has been said that the data doesn’t lie. Adoption, usage and engagement rates do not lie. Stamped chip sets do not lie. And mobile app developers and industry experts who have their ear to the ground and their nose to the grindstone day in and day out, do not lie.
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