9 Mobile Development Trends to Watch in 2019

Originally published January 23, 2018, updated January 29, 2019.

Mobile development is one of the most innovative and fastest growing sectors of the tech industry.

The average American spends over three hours a day on their smartphones (not including calls) and companies are pushing to gain a share of that time.

As mobile continues to work its way into daily life, the technologies rising to the top are ones that make that constant usage easier and more enjoyable.

It should come as no surprise that practicality, good user experiences, and convenience are the keys to winning public support in 2019.

Consumers expect their smartphones to do more than take calls and check email. They want more connectivity with the world around them, and they want that connection to be as safe as it is convenient.

To that end, here are the trends driving mobile developers in 2019:

1. Mobile Application Security

Users share more personal data with apps than ever before.

Mobile wallets have banking information, social media and habit trackers store details about personality and routines, and navigation apps keep records of everywhere a user goes.

At the same time, there’s enormous pressure to put apps out fast enough to keep up with consumer demand. Data breaches can be caused when companies rush development – and the risks are only rising.

The average cost of a breach was $3.62 million in 2017. Last year saw a 6.4% increase to $3.86 million.

In 2018 experts began tracking so-called “mega breaches”. These are cases where between 1-50 million records are breached, and they’re becoming more common as the Internet of Things (IoT) makes more user data available.

Alarmingly, 10 out of 11 of this type of breach are caused by malicious actors as opposed to technical errors. That shifts the focus from passively securing connections to actively preventing criminal intrusions.

In 2019, look for developers to emphasize security from the beginning of projects, with encryption throughout and automated testing at regular intervals. Artificial intelligence will also be on the rise for mobile security applications.

2. 5G Wireless Connectivity

2019 will bring the first major wave of 5G phones and wireless networks to urban areas. AT&T, which switched on their 5G wireless network in 12 cities last year, will add at least 7 more during 2019.

Sprint announced a 9-city 5G presence in the first half of the year with potential for wider coverage depending on how fast they can build out their infrastructure.

There were some test programs and small-scale rollouts from Verizon and AT&T last year, but without the right devices to handle it those haven’t done much more than raise excitement.

Now Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, OnePlus, and LG have all announced 5g-ready smartphones to be released this year.

Why is 5G so exciting? For one thing, it’s fast. 5G is at least 10 times faster than 4G.

Users will be able to download movies and apps in seconds rather than minutes, and streaming mobile video will be as fluid as watching at home.  C

arriers are warning that it’s only a little faster than 4G outside cities, but it’s still a major improvement considering how well it handles high-resolution media.

Latency is another major draw. 5G’s incredibly low latency- under one millisecond- will let multiple devices communicate quickly enough to respond to the real world.

Experts are primarily thinking of self-driving cars and drones, but the technology will also take mobile gaming to a whole new level of user experience.

5G is about more than smartphones, though. The technology is part of an overall shift towards improving the wireless infrastructure to support the growing Internet of Things.

5G could mean major advances for smart cars, self-driving vehicles, smart homes, Augmented Reality devices, wearables, and other mobile connected devices.

3. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

AMP is a set of protocols focused around HTML, JS, and a Google Cache that boosts the performance of mobile pages.

AMP-compliant pages load twice as fast as normal pages and perform well across a variety of devices and signal ranges.

With their higher availability and faster loading times, pages that use AMP have lower bounce rates and longer average session times.

Users also find AMP pages easier since Google places them in a special carousel at the top of search results.

That’s very tempting for companies looking to increase their site traffic (and who isn’t?).

There are some functionality limitations to AMP, but for basic pages those limits are outweighed by the speed and SEO preference.

Look for companies to continuing moving some of their customer-facing content to AMP throughout 2019.

4. Instant Apps

The barrier to adoption for a lot of apps is the download requirement.

People only have so much memory on their smartphones, and they hesitate to download apps that could just sit unused on their phones.

That’s not an unrealistic fear: only 20% of apps are opened again after the first use.

Surveys show that 75% of consumers feel more comfortable using apps with helpful reviews or screenshots, but Instant Apps take that a step farther.

Users can access them directly from the Google Play store without downloading.

Companies don’t need to build separate instant apps to take advantage of the trend, either.

Since they’re effectively features of an existing app (for example, the map section of a store app) which are used independently via a website, they use the same APIs and source code.

Developers only need to update their existing apps for Instant App functionality.

Instant apps offer some enticing benefits:

  • Instant apps open in seconds while the supporting website loads behind, giving the customer-facing impression of instant access.
  • Consumers can use just the feature they need or test-drive apps before downloading them.
  • Businesses can offload more functions (returns, coupons, and the like) to their app since customers can access them without having to go through the download process first.
  • Instant apps can be shared via links, which friends can view without downloading anything.

Early adopters have seen significant increases in full app downloads and engagement.

Updating for Instant App compatibility can take as little as a single day.

Instant Apps have become available on over 500 million devices worldwide since launching.

With satisfied customers including Vimeo, The New York Times, and the Wal-Mart owned shopping service Jet, it’s a sure bet that they will continue to rise in popularity.

5. Mobile Payments

Digital payment options are seeing a slow but steady transition to the real world. 2.1 billion consumers worldwide will use mobile wallets to make payments in 2019, a 30% increase from 2017.

Mobile payment has already become commonplace in China and India, where some stores accept nothing else.

Outside those markets mobile payments have been slower to grow, though they’re still gaining ground. In 2018 20% of Americans were using mobile wallets and payment options.

Experts predict that number to rise nearly 40% over the next year as mobile security improves enough to lend consumers confidence in the technology.

The leading general-purpose mobile payment systems in America are Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. At least half of US retailers accept these, which makes it easier for consumers to leave their wallets at home.

Look for more brick and mortar businesses to begin accepting mobile payments. There’s also a trend towards loyalty programs with integrated mobile wallets that bears watching.

The Starbucks app’s mobile payment option saw over a million more users than Apple Pay in 2018, and over twice the number of Google Pay users. It will be interesting to see how this develops in 2019.

6. Mobile AI

Mobile AI is being fueled by edge computing and the rising demand for on-device processing.

A variety of mobile applications which were once unreliable are now maturing into enterprise readiness.

  • Conversational interfaces have improved along with advances in Natural Language Processing. Chatbots are leading the pack. In fact, 80% of businesses plan to release some kind of chatbot by 2020. Expect to see more chatbots and personal assistant AIs this year (especially on social media).
  • Recommendation engines are the power behind upsells at online checklists, but they’re also used in evolving applications like smart travel planners and health care apps.
  • Enterprise AI is a core component of digital transformation. Insights gained through enterprise analytics and predictive marketing will continue driving business in 2019 and beyond.

7. Wearable Devices

Technology has become a constant, reliable presence in daily life, and nowhere is that more obvious than with wearable devices. Users enjoy having increased control and persistent access to their data.

Most wearable devices on the market are smartwatches, with fitness trackers close behind. The category is broad, though.

New applications are constantly under development: wearable cameras, augmented or virtual reality headsets, and even smart clothing.

As a whole, the category is growing faster than predicted last year. It’s expanded from 84 million units in 2015 to an estimated 245 million units this year.

With companies like Apple offering products for a wide range of consumers and Google rumored to be working on a new wearable, this is definitely something to watch in 2019.

8. Augmented Reality apps

Although Augmented Reality has been tossed around for years, it’s coming into its own as a mainstream feature.

Both Google and Apple have released toolkits (Google’s ARCore and Apple’s ARKit) that make it possible for more businesses to take advantage of AR features.

The enterprise applications of AR are as varied as businesses themselves. One exciting use-case is the IKEA Place App.

IKEA has 411 stores in 49 countries, but for many people visiting a showroom still requires a road trip and significant planning. Enter IKEA Place, an Augmented Reality application that displays furniture at scale over a live camera image.

Users can then see how catalogue items will look in their home and whether larger furniture will fit. AR is seeing a rise in usage in fields like healthcare, engineering, and real estate as well.

Industry analysts predict that the AR market will reach $108 billion in revenue by 2020.

9. Beacon Technology

Beacon technology isn’t new. It’s been drifting around for a while in highly niche use cases, but it’s beginning to find its place as mobile technology becomes more advanced.

The idea of beacons is simple. A Bluetooth transmitter emits a signal visible only to compatible devices within a limited range. Smartphones with the right app can pick up that signal to receive timely, location-specific information.

Beacon locations are much more accurate than other locational data, which creates opportunities for more tailored interactions. Some examples:

  • Unlocking a hotel room as the registered guest approaches their door
  • Sending seat directions, game updates, and important alerts to fans within a sports stadium
  • Alerting loyalty club members passing a store of current sales

Since the technology has been around, what will expand in 2019 is the number of beacon-oriented apps for smartphones, wearables, and other connected devices.

Best Mobile App Development Company in Orlando

Concepta maintains their position as one of Orlando’s best mobile development agencies by creating dynamic technology solutions for modern business challenges.

Right now, that means staying on top of mobile trends.

Mobile development is one of the biggest enterprise priorities of 2019.

Companies need to be where customers are, when customers need them, and that means going mobile.

With that in mind, Concepta recommends investing in a right-sized mobile presence.  

It takes some planning, but sound mobile development is a solid path to winning new customers and improving the overall customer experience.

In the long run, that’s a competitive edge that pays off.

Interested in how these trends can help grow your business in 2019? Get a free consultation with Concepta’s experienced developers to explore your options!

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How On-Demand Apps are Disrupting the Hospitality Industry

on-demand-hospitality-apps

There’s an Uber for everything these days.

The meteoric rise of the on-demand car service highlighted a growing market that was going unserved.

Consumers want flexible service offerings that they can schedule around their busy lives without waiting on hold for a receptionist.

Uber proved that on-demand apps were the right tools to meet that need. Now these apps are spreading to other areas.

On-demand has proven particularly disruptive in the hospitality industry, where it allows companies to meet the needs of a constantly fluctuating group of customers.

The apps are used to facilitate both guest satisfaction and internal operations.

Customer-Facing Solutions

Guest management is a complex process for hotels, especially during peak hours. It involves a mishmash of legacy systems.

Housekeeping, front desk, maintenance, reservations, and other departments have management programs that are changed or upgraded at different intervals, leaving plenty of opportunities for guests to fall between the cracks.

On-demand apps provide the appearance of a unified front to guests by offering cross-department services in a single location.

Guests can schedule what they need, when they need it, without needing to call the front desk.

Some of the services available through hotel apps include:

  • Check in and check out: Travel can be unpredictable, and sometimes guests arrive much earlier than they expected. Using an app, they can set text alerts for when their room is ready. (This also gives housekeeping a chance to bump those rooms up in priority.) Once they arrive guests check in through an app and skip the front desk line, stopping only to pick up a pre-made key. Some apps even provide travellers in-app digital room keys to skip that step.
  • Trip adjustments: Discussing changes to a stay over the phone is often confusing to guests, who don’t have the desk clerk’s advantage of a reference screen. Apps solve this problem. Guests can view their current stay dates, audit room charges, check whether their room is available for an extra day, and explore other options if it’s booked.
  • Schedule extras: Through the hotel app, guests can view available dinner times in the restaurant and make reservations from their phone. The same theory applies to the hotel spa- but here, it goes a step further. Hotels have a chance to upsell guests by showing them additional services that fit within their time slot ahead of time.
  • Order service and products: Room service on demand is one of the biggest hits for hotels. Guests can feel awkward about asking for extra towels or calling for pie in the middle of the night. Using an app eliminates the need to explain themselves, which increases overall customer satisfaction. Items can also be ordered poolside without tracking down an employee.

Besides being convenient, on-demand apps add a sense of high-tech luxury popular with business travellers and vacationers alike.

They’re being used by business chains and luxury resorts alike.

Even cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Carnival have begun offering on-demand apps to keep their passengers happy.

Behind the Scenes Support

On any given day 8.5% of the available jobs in the hospitality and service industries go unfilled.

That’s $53 billion in potential wages that could be paid.

At the same time, unemployment in the hospitality industry was the highest of any industry in 2017 at 6.1%.

Clearly, there are jobs and workers to take them.

The trick is connecting both parties in a timely manner. Turnover is high, especially in restaurants.

Often managers don’t know when they’ll need extra people more than a day or two in advance.

As an additional complication, hospitality jobs are heavily season-based. Positions tend to be temporary or gif-based (such as extra workers for a convention).

Enter on-demand staffing apps with Uber-style vacancy matching systems. Some of the most successful so far are Jitjatjo, Jobletics, and Wonolo.

Companies looking to hire create job listings for workers to accept.

Only qualified workers can take a gig; the platforms screen their worker pool to help ensure employer satisfaction. (For reference, Jobletics rejects 90% of applicants so has high reliability rate.)

Employers can usually browse through available staff and contact them directly, too.

Once a worker accepts, employers pay through the app.

There’s no tax or human resources burden, and the same workers can be invited to extend their contract within generous limits.

Some platforms even offer professional development to help turn short-term gigs into steady work.

Looking Forward

As the technology matures, more features will become standard in on-demand apps.

Carnival is piloting a wearable tracker that pairs with their app and analyzes a passenger’s movements to suggest future activities.

One thing’s for sure: the hospitality industry will never be the same.

 

Could you be offering your guests more options? Concepta’s developers can help you design an on-demand app to send customer satisfaction rates skyrocketing!

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How API Gateways Enable Agile Applications

api gateway microservices

The growing popularity of microservices has led to some interesting technical challenges for developers.

One of those is how all users access the same microservices regardless of device.

The average digital consumer owns 3.64 connected devices and switches between them throughout the day.

For example, a user may access the same content via a laptop at work and a smartphone while travelling.

An application that splits its components into microservices needs to provide consistent performance across devices.

To do that, developers funnel incoming traffic through a single “point of entry”: an API gateway.

Microservice-Based Applications

Monolithic applications may be faster to build, but otherwise microservice architecture offers a lot of advantages.

Rather than designing one large application with everything in one data store, components of the application are divided into self-contained web services that communicate through HTTP or REST.

Developers tend to prefer to build large applications using microservices.

They’re simpler to test and refine. Also, since individual components can be scaled individually scaling is much easier.

Challenges of a Microservices Architecture

While it is an incredibly functional architecture style for building scalable apps, using microservices does add a level of complexity.

The client has to fetch data from several different services, which requires knowing where those services are in the first place.

The central problem is the one mentioned earlier, that users come to the application through a wide variety of devices.

Network performance varies widely due to device capabilities and connection type.

Each device needs a difference amount and style of data.

A desktop would get more details on a product landing page than a smartphone.

Also, some services may use protocols that aren’t usually accessible by all clients.

Consider an enterprise app that technicians use on service calls.

The app needs to access customer records, but that system could have a non-mobile friendly interface.

Benefits of an API gateway

API gateways solve most of these problems.

An API gateway is a “wrapper” that provides a single point of access to all clients.

It shouldn’t be confused with API management; the gateway can incorporate a management layer but it isn’t necessary.

The most obvious benefit of API gateways is that they insulate clients from internal partitioning.

Upon reaching the gateway, each client is met with the right API.

Clients don’t need to know the location every every microservice, and they can retrieve data from multiple microservices in one round trip.

If engineers need to rearrange or make changes to the microservices they can do so without affecting how clients interact with the app.

Microservices are popular because they allow developers to use their preferred technology or experiment with new technology.

API Gateways are what make that possible.

Engineers use whatever whatever protocols work best internally, then the gateway translates the client-facing web-friendly API to match internal protocols.

API gateways enable microservices to be more simple and focused, as well.

They handle common concerns like access control enforcement, so individual microservices are less complex.

Limitations of API Gateways

API gateways are necessary for microservice architecture, but they do come with some limitations.

They need expert configuration for scalable applications, and (while users of most devices won’t notice) there’s a slight increase in response time due to the extra network hop.

Greater overall structural complexity can lead to increased development time.

There are more moving pieces involved, meaning additional points of failure.

This is generally considered a good tradeoff for later scalability and performance.

Future-focused Apps

API gateways enable agile, future-focused applications.

Scalability and flexibility are core values of strong digital strategy; using microservices leads to apps that are flexible enough to meet the ever-changing needs of modern enterprise.

Are you having trouble getting your field techs and the office on the same digital page? Concepta has experience building mobile fleet management and field service solutions that will save your leaders time and resources. Contact us for a free consultation!


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How Does Upgrading to Android Marshmallow Affect My App?

android marshmallow 6.0

Those who have Android can look forward to better functionality with contextual assistance, improved performance in battery life, and more control over permissions and security in the latest Google Mobile OS: Android Marshmallow.

Google has been allowing developers to test and report bugs making this version the “cleanest Android release yet.” The tech giant’s own phones, Nexus, have the OS already installed in late September, and the next roll out will begin with LG being the first third-party manufacturer to get the update.

So how does this impact your app? The five things you will be looking for are contextual assistance, fingerprint scanning, app permissions, app links, and auto backup.

Contextual Assistance

While users are in an app that supports the new voice interaction service, Google Now on Tap, they can say a command and the app will respond. For instance, users can watch a video in the YouTube app and ask a simple question like “who is in the video,” the system will read the screen and respond with an answer.

Fingerprint Scanning

The ease of additional touch functions and a higher level of security has made fingerprint scanning a popular request from smartphone owners. Now users can log into an app with their fingers instead of going through the laborious task of typing out an email and password. If your app has a pay function, users can scan their fingerprint to make purchases.

App Permissions

When a user downloads an app for the first time, set up will be easier. Users will only be asked to get permission right when it is needed. They can bypass the permissions and still use the app if permissions are declined. There will also be more advanced controls to turn permissions on or off.

App Links

Android Marshmallow can now direct users to a specific app when a link is tapped on. This means that an app can be assigned to a link and only that app will open when the link is selected.

Auto Backup

Data from your app can now be automatically backed up and restored seamlessly. So if a user changes their phone, data they had in your app will be transferred over to a new one without the user needing to manually save anything.

For a more in-depth look at these features, upgrade to the new mobile OS when it releases on your device or contact the Concepta development team.

If you want to learn about how upgrading to iOS 9 affects your app, we have a post for that too.

How Does Upgrading to iOS 9 Affect My App?

iOS 9

Since its public release in September, iOS 9 has become a fan favorite. Apps are now more essential than ever and productivity has increased with new multitasking features.

If your company already has a running app, consider upgrading to the latest software and take advantage of these new enhancements.

3D Touch

With 3D Touch, users are able to interact with their phones in more ways than before. As the amount of pressure is applied to the display screen, iPhones can now detect what functions to use. This has added a new touch gesture called Peek and Pop, which allows users to preview content without having to fully open it. Your apps can now include that gesture along with pressure-sensitive drawing, quick actions, and more to enhance the multi-touch experience.

In-App Search

Apple has improved its own search algorithm. Content within each app is now scraped for more in-depth results. Your app will now gain more visibility as content that matches the search query will appear and take the user to that specific result.

Multitasking

Increased functionality has definitely arrived with iOS 9. Many users have been asking to toggle between apps and web content for years without having to exit a program. Your users can work on a couple different priorities side by side or within each program all while still keeping your app in full view.

For a more in-depth look at these features, upgrade to the new mobile OS or contact the Concepta development team.

If you want to learn about how upgrading to Android Marshmallow affects your app, we have a post for that too.