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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2018 Technology Predictions for Enterprise

2018 enterprise technology predictions

Staying on top in the tech world means constantly looking ahead.

It’s easier, cheaper, and more effective to integrate new technologies while building applications instead of trying to work them in later.

To that end, here’s a look at where enterprise technology is headed in 2018.

Narrow Artificial Intelligence shows ROI

Scientists have been enthusiastic about artificial intelligence for years, but excitement is spreading to the business community as it demonstrates real world value.

Artificial intelligence can generally be defined as either “general” and “narrow.”

General AI describes machines that can reason and make decisions like a human, without a set domain or task to focus on. It can shift from one task to another as easily as humans.

General AI is the “Holy Grail” for computer scientists, but no one has managed to achieve it yet.

It doesn’t help that every time technology reaches what was once considered general AI scientists realize it’s not comprehensive enough.

That task is then relegated to the narrow AI category.

That doesn’t make them useless, however.

Narrow AI applications are very competent within a single domain or when performing a set task.

That may sound limiting, but in reality it’s the only kind of AI showing ROI.

Every AI currently seeing regular enterprise use is narrow AI:

Computer vision and natural language processing (NLP) are also considered narrow AI in their present forms, though they will likely be folded into general AI eventually.

The use of narrow AI will expand dramatically in 2018.

Major companies are investing in AI, like Ford’s $1 billion Argo AI project aimed at developing self-driving car brains.

Cloud computing will push AI into the mobile realm, too.

79% of tech leaders say increasing AI usage is a priority, and 40% of digital transformation initiatives this year will include AI.

Voice and Visual Search become dominant

Technically these are both forms of narrow AI, but they’ve seen such a surge in interest that they deserve special notice.

Visual search uses an image as the basis for a query instead of text. Users can search for other versions of the same picture, similar pictures, or general information about the image.

As computer vision improves visual search is becoming more viable. While it once only let users find the origin of images, it now offers more options:

  • Find photos of friends across the internet
  • Pull up order pages for items worn by celebrities
  • Get recipes for new favorite dishes
  • Research vacation locations

Visual search is already seeing expanded use by major companies.

Google is fine-tuning its new Google Lens, which lets users take a picture with their cell phone and execute a search based on objects within the frame.

Pinterest has a Lens Your Look feature where pinners can take photos of their clothing to get style suggestions. T

hey’re also upgrading their image search to a Responsive Visual Search, where users have the option to specify what interests them within a photo.

Voice Search allows for search based on spoken commands. In the past voice search was so unreliable it inspired jokes on late night TV, but it’s improved a great deal.

In 2012 the average error rate for voice search was 20%. This year that number fell to 8%.

As the error rate has dropped, people are finding it much easier and more reliable to use. 87% of consumers think voice search is accurate enough to use.

21% of mobile users activate their voice search daily, with half using it at least once a week.

The main draw seems to be the ability to safely use smartphones while driving: 53% of those who use voice search regularly do so behind the wheel.

Because of the rising appeal of these features, expect heavy investment in computer vision and natural language processing throughout 2018.

2018 enterprise technology predictions infographic

Blockchain edges into more common enterprise usage

Blockchain is a secure form of distributed digital ledger consisting of a “chain” of individually encrypted “blocks.”

It’s managed via a Peer to Peer (P2P) Network; everyone has a copy of the chain, which makes altering or forging blocks impossible.

Blockchain is famously used for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum.

There are more uses for blockchain than tracking cryptocurrencies, though.

Storing information in a blockchain is like storing it in a shared database which is being constantly reconciled.

Records are public and easily verifiable.

Once a transaction is recorded it’s incorporated into the chain, not easily erasable by any stretch of the imagination.

Blockchain also exists on a distributed network, so can’t be censored or altered.

The secure nature of blockchain ledgers has many enterprise applications:

  • Smart contracts: Digital agreements can be structured with blockchain to be fulfilled automatically when specific conditions are met. AIG is testing smart contracts for international insurance policies.
  • Preventing voter fraud: Each vote can be accounted for securely and transparently. This hold enormous appeal for civil rights groups looking for ways to prevent rigged elections.
  • Secure resumes: Create an unalterable CV that lets HR managers trust international hires. Secure resumes are especially helpful for jobs with security concerns.
  • International payment systems: Blockchain provides a method for making payments around the world without worrying about embezzlement or funds being intercepted.
  • Transparent supply chains: Secure tracking eliminates confusion and highlights trouble points in the supply process. It could improve global trade by instituting a level of accountability and trust between trade partners.
  • Secure health records: Hospitals can provide better care and cut down on waste and abuse with an unalterable medical record.

Blockchain technologies are growing in number and sophistication.

More than 2500 new blockchain patents have been filed over the last year.

Analysts predict that blockchain will disrupt the insurance and banking industries in particular.

Augmented Reality continues to mature

Augmented reality involves laying computer-generated or animated assets over a camera image. It’s already seen popular use in entertainment:

  • Pokémon Go
  • Snapchat filters
  • Star Wars Find The Force mobile app

This year, technological advances are pushing augmented reality beyond gaming. AR will find a home in other industries.

  • Retail: RayBan and tattoo shop Inkhunter both have “try on” apps that utilize AR.
  • Education: AR maps constellations over a live camera image of the sky or highlight geological features in real time.
  • Travel: AR gives translation apps a boost by overlaying translations on signs or menus.

Investment in augmented reality is rising.

Spending will double in 2018, going from $9.1 billion to $17.8 billion by the end of 2018.

Commercial use will make up 60% of that spending.

Some analysts suggest that 85% of all AR investments will be commercial (as opposed to games) by 2020.

Google, Apple and others are planning AR glasses, but mobile devices are the priority for 2018.

They offer a wider audience with lower investment costs.

Competition intensifies for technical talent

As companies push digital transformation, the talent gap will be more keenly felt.

There are 3 million more STEM positions than available workers right now.

40% of companies looking for tech talent aren’t in the tech industries, just forward-thinking companies looking for help with digital transformation.

The fields in highest demand are data science, business intelligence, digital security, and cloud computing.

There’s also a call for experienced project managers.

65% of tech leaders say that hiring shortages are holding their digital development back. That’s up from 59% last year.

How are they getting around the skills gap? 60% use third parties to support organizational bandwidth. 55% are outsourcing some or all of their analytics needs.

Expect fierce competition for experienced tech talent in 2018.

Nurturing loyalty in employees with tech skills and offering attractive retention packages will become critical to prevent losing staff to headhunters.

Predictive analytics will drive a “quantifiable” model of business processes as Big Data investments rise

Global enterprise investments in data and analytics will surpass $200 billion a year by 2020.

Companies will be looking for ways to quantify business functions where possible in order to get the best possible ROI from these investments

There is a proven advantage to pushing predictive analytics.

48.4% reported measurable results from Big Data investments.

This year, they want to spread that success throughout their organizations by setting quantifiable goals and enacting data-driven operational programs.

Application security focuses on being resilient, becoming stronger from attacks

Security threats have been a major sore point in 2017.

Ransomware attacks rose sharply. Shadow IT and casual “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies exposed companies to hacking and theft.

There was an overall 164% increase in breached records last year. Not only big corporations get hit: 43% of cyber attacks target small to medium businesses.

To meet evolving threats, security software itself needs to evolve.

The focus is shifting from brute strength protection to intelligent detection and response.

Adaptive security software should continuously monitor and scan for threats and address issues on its own.

Once the problem has been addressed, the software should make changes to fix the weak spots exposed by the attack.

That flexibility is where security companies will focus moving forward.

Security needs to be built into software from the beginning, so 2018 will see increasing collaboration between security personnel and programmers and project managers, as well.

Automation will give businesses a competitive edge in the global marketplace

Between increasing amounts of data, a fast-paced global economy, and a tech skills shortage, companies need strategies to do more with less resources.

Automation meets that need by taking tedious or routine tasks off human hands.

Highly automated companies are six times more likely to experience revenue growth of more than 15%.

Companies are responding to such a clear demonstration of potential: 54% of global companies use automation technologies, and more plan to do so in 2018.

The biggest increase will be IT and data management.

Automation will also shorten software development cycles without decreasing quality (through automated testing)

Where will 2018 take your company? If you’re looking to push digital transformation, Concepta can show you the way! Our developers have the right skills to help you visualize your data and unite your digital operations. Schedule your free consultation today!

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The Best Mobile App Development Trends of 2017

mobile app development trends

One of the most important parts of being an enterprise technology leader- whether CEO, CTO/CIO, or VP of tech- is keeping an eye on emerging trends.

Technology moves fast, and that’s doubly true in an active field like mobile app development.

Knowing what features are gaining traction and which were just a passing fad can save a company hundreds of thousands in failed development projects.

With that in mind, here are 5 of the most promising mobile app development trends of 2017.

Enterprise Apps

Enterprise apps have proven their worth.

Adobe found that the average investment in mobile enterprise apps provides an average ROI of 35%.

Nearly three quarters of companies have built or updated mobile enterprise apps this year, up from 61% in 2016.

Apps are being used internally to collect maintenance data, streamline team projects, and even manage restaurant waitlists.

In fact, the demand for mobile enterprise apps in 2017 is expected to grow at least five times faster than internal IT departments can deliver.

Push Notifications

73% of consumers say that regularly getting useful information from advertisers is the most useful tool when selecting brands.

The key word is “useful”: people want short, timely notes that are relevant to their interests.

Push notifications meet this need, letting companies reach out to their customers without waiting for them to open an app.

The trend is noticeably more popular among Android users.

They’re twice as likely to open a push notification than Apple users (and twice as likely to opt into them in the first place).

Mobile App Security and Privacy

The Hewlett Packard Enterprise Mobile Application Security Report surveyed over 35,000 apps and found that over 96% failed at least one privacy test in 2016.

That’s changing fast; this year, security technologies like SSL, HTTPS, and advanced encryption are being incorporated into mobile app development as a rule instead of a special feature.

Companies are also becoming more selective with permissions as customers push back against intrusive apps.

If you are looking to tackle the rising challenge of security threats, you may want to read Balancing Speed and Security in Software Development.

Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Apps

Intelligent apps, or those that use AI/ML to power special features, are one of Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology trends for 2017.

AI is making its way into every corner of the mobile market, from personalizing customer service to detecting fraudulent activity.

Starbucks has even announced an app that will translate verbal orders into an actual order placed at the user’s selected store.

Add that to the growing integration of personal assistant apps like Alexa and it’s easy to see why AI is a trend to watch.

If you want to learn more about AI and how it can affect your business, download our new white paper: How Businesses Can Use Data Science and AI to Gain a Competitive Advantage.

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Augmented Reality (AR)

AR has been quietly improving since it was first used in the 90s to train Air Force pilots.

Back then it required a bulky backpack and goggles, but now smartphones are pushing augmented reality into the public eye.

While most consider it to be a gaming technology, AR is increasingly relevant in e-commerce.

IKEA uses it to allow customers to visualize how furniture will fit in their homes, and apps like FaceCake helps users choose makeup shades online.

Conclusion

Whether it’s an enterprise app or one meant to capture the public’s eye, user engagement is key.

24% of apps are only used once in the first six months, but it takes 30 days to build a habit.

Incorporating one or more of these trends into your app can provide the value needed to make it part of your user’s daily habit.

Want to know more trends happening in this industry? Check out 2017’s list for best software development trends and best web development trends.

Are you having trouble retaining users? Contact Concepta to discuss how these trends can boost your app’s usage rates!


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