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What will 2017 hold for mobile technology?

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Chinnapong)

Over the past few years, mobile has overtaken desktop and laptop usage and the rise of mobile technology isn’t looking to slow down any time soon. This is presenting huge opportunities for developers to improve a handset’s capabilities and create innovative applications. With the mobile tech space promising exciting times ahead for both consumers and developers, Nick Black, CEO of Apadmi, takes a look at some of the key trends to look out for in 2017.

Mobiles may once have been devices entirely used for communications purposes, but going into 2017 mobile technology appears to have no bounds. In 2016 we saw the launch of new mobile technology such as iOS 10 and the iPhone 7, and this year is likely to be no different. There are already many exciting dates for the calendar from key organisations like Google and Amazon. 

And it’s not just consumers who have a lot to look forward to in terms of mobile technology. Retailers, small businesses and even public sector industries are all beginning to make use of the incredible technology available. So, looking at the year ahead, where do we think mobile will take us next? 

Keeping data secure

The latest mobile technology has highlighted the significant amount of data we store. Most consumers now use their smartphones and apps to store huge quantities of sensitive data, everything from credit card details to personal contacts and passwords. This is leading to application security becoming absolutely paramount to developers, because without this feature they risk huge data breaches, and thus a diminished reputation with consumers. 

We found this to be the case particularly in retail, where data security remains the biggest issue for 74 per cent of consumers. Cybercrime has also become more sophisticated, which means developers have to match the standard when looking at security. This considered, I expect that app security will really take off in 2017 as the more we store, the more we have to lose.  

Location-based services

The amount of apps that now use location-based services is huge. While it used to just be map applications that made use of this type of tech, everything from Trip Advisor to Tinder now wants to know where its users are at any given time. This is bound to become even more popular as consumers begin to rely on this function for utility and convenience-based apps. Soon, the majority of apps may be able to provide us with real-time information and deals based on our location. App developers will no doubt be taking note of this and will be looking to include location-based services wherever possible to ensure that consumers receive content tailored to their location.

AR and AI goes mobile

In previous years, augmented reality (AR) on mobile phones may have seemed somewhat gimmicky, particularly with the likes of Pokemon Go. However, I would expect AR tools to truly show their potential in 2017 as they start to integrate with utility-based apps such as maps and home decorating platforms. Retail businesses are also likely to be seeking AR technology in their apps to allow for a real shopping experience without leaving your home. 

In fact, in a recent survey we found that 33 per cent of shoppers would like to see augmented reality in retail apps to help preview products.

Similarly, another piece of futuristic tech that is likely to become more mobile is artificial intelligence (AI). While the likes of Apple’s Siri may not prove that popular yet, more and more app developers will be looking to embed AI into their tech as the technology becomes more sophisticated. 

AI is currently enabling users to obtain answers to their questions, find information, send messages and even complete tasks such as ordering food. Therefore, it’s expected to do wonders for many different industries – everything from education to retail. Because who wouldn’t want their personal tutor or stylist available at the touch of button?  

Android instant apps 

Google, ever a frontrunner in technology development, has started releasing ‘instant apps’ this year. These applications are able to run instantly, without need for installation, which will be perfect for those who may use an app only once and wouldn’t want to download it to their mobile fully. This kind of programming fits perfectly into modern consumer trends – it’s fast, simple and requires very little effort. Assuming the simplicity of instant apps are a hit this year, we will no doubt see other developers scrambling to make use of the technology themselves. This could kick off a change in the way we use, download and store application technology and make performance far more streamlined.

IoT app integration develops

The Internet of Things industry is booming at the minute – modern consumers are tripping over themselves for smart houses, gadgets and any form of technology that makes use of connectivity. To be able to catch on to this trend, developers will have to consider how new products will integrate IoT. Many industries such as healthcare and retail have already started experimenting with IoT connectivity, so we’re likely to see apps that make use of this in the coming year and going forward. 

Small business apps

Many well-known consumer businesses, from clothing brands to restaurants, now have their own apps. It has become a feature that consumers expect from their favourite brands, and a way that businesses can increase interest, engagement, or more importantly, revenue. This seems to be the case particularly in retail; our recent research found that a quarter of millennials prefer to shop via a retail app. 

This considered, it’s only a matter of time before smaller businesses begin to follow suit, especially if they want to capture the interest of the modern, more promiscuous consumer. This seems to be the case in 2017, with more than 50 per cent of small businesses looking to create a mobile app by current estimates.   

It’s amazing that in such a small handset there is likely to be so many new features available over the coming months. From the trends and developments we have noted, mobile technology in 2017 will have a heavy concentration on simplicity, speed, and ease of use. That isn’t to say that there won’t be plenty of mobile technology soon to come that we are yet to even predict – at the rate development moves, there is bound to be more disruption ahead.

Nick Black, CEO, Co-founder, Apadmi
Image source: Shutterstock/Chinnapong

Nick Black
Nick Black is the CEO & Co-Founder at Apadmi, with over 16 years of mobile experience, focused on building relationships based on trust and technical expertise.