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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Learning From Equifax’s Example: the Risks of Outdated Software

Equifax-breach-Outdated-Software

Equifax-breach-Outdated-Software
Source: Pexels

Digital security is one of the most pressing concerns for executives in 2018. Companies have access to more customer data than ever before. While that opens the door for customized service and efficient processes, it also carries the responsibility to safeguard that data.

That goes beyond using encryption tools. Some of the most high-profile data breaches have been caused by an easily avoidable problem: out of date software.

A Costly Oversight

Failing to update seems like a slight oversight, but it can be a costly mistake. Performance suffers when software isn’t running the most current version, causing reduced efficiency poor user experience. It’s also important to consider the opportunity cost of not having new features available.

More importantly, though, is the very real security risk posed by outdated software. Vendors maintain their products for a reason: it may contain bugs or vulnerabilities which threaten the security of a company’s data. Most of the time vendors manage to close off those weak points before malicious actors find them, but that does no good if companies don’t download their fixes.

Last year’s catastrophic Equifax breach was a result of a known software vulnerability which the vendor had already addressed through an update – an update that was available for two months before the breach. 143 million people’s names, social security numbers, and addresses were exposed, and the company is still paying for cleanup.

The worst part is that the breach was completely avoidable. Updating would have taken a very short time, but it wasn’t seen as a priority until it was too late.

Staying On Top Of Updates

While the consequences of being out of date can be dire, it’s easily avoidable. Just follow these four basic steps to make sure everything is as current as possible.

Set up automatic updates

During initial software setup, choose the automatic update option when it’s offered. Automated maintenance is one of the biggest advantages of third-party software; don’t give that support away.

Even when automatic updates are selected, make a point to check for new updates regularly. Some programs only update at preset intervals. Those may be too long to avoid a risk if the company releases a time-sensitive patch.

Be mindful of web browsers and plug-ins

Outdated web browsers and plug-ins are a common security risk. Plug-ins are a rising trend in Shadow IT. Many employees don’t even regard them as “real software”, and they tend to click past update suggestions when they’re busy.

To see if there’s a potential insecurity, go to “Tools” in the browser’s “Help” menu and look for updates. It’s usually possible to set the browser to find and install updates automatically, but some niche plug-ins will need to be updated manually.

Restart computers daily

The majority of users like to keep their computers on and simply put them to sleep at the end of the workday. Work can then start right away in the morning, with all the tabs and documents from the day before open.

This seems like an efficient work process, but that efficiency comes at the cost of security. Updates need to be installed, requiring a restart for changes to take effect. Emphasize the need to download updates and restart all computers at least once a day.

The increased performance and avoided risk is well worth a few extra minutes to get organized in the morning.

Conduct regular audits

The longer a vulnerability remains in place, the more opportunity there is for disaster. Set up company-wide audits periodically to find out of date software and fix it before disaster strikes.

This doesn’t need to be a lengthy ordeal. Maintain a running list of all software used within the company by department including plug-ins, apps, and anything else that touches the company’s digital assets.

Every month, have managers go down the list and confirm that each is fully up to date, then pass the update on to IT. (As a bonus, keeping this list current informs digital transformation efforts by keeping leaders in the loop about software usage.)

Final Thoughts

Despite the occasional annoyance of an update popping up in the middle of the workday, installing them is free, fast, and easy. It’s also the simplest, most effective step in a corporate digital security plan. Don’t let a momentary inconvenience put the company at risk for a lasting crisis.

Part of good software development is making everything our developers use is up to date to protect our clients’ software. To find out more about our security policies and discuss how we plan to protect your next software project, set up 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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Balancing Speed and Security in Software Development

speed and security in software development

The rise of agile methodologies has resulted in faster, more responsive development.

Faster isn’t always better, though.

Security threats are a growing problem, and pushing too hard for fast development can leave an app vulnerable to attack.

The leadership team has to find strategies to maintain the balance between speed and security.

Rise of Agile Development

The roots of agile development can be traced back well before the Agile Manifesto was first drafted in 2001.

Business owners were becoming frustrated by inefficient development practices that drew the process out over as much as a decade.

A distressing number of projects wound up obsolete before they were even finished.

The Waterfall Method was meant to provide a more flexible planning structure, but in practice it failed to deliver on that promise.

Gartner described the situation neatly: “CIOs are under pressure to support fast-evolving digital business scenarios but are finding traditional project and development methods unsuitable.”

Enter agile development.

Agile supports fast, iterative software development that allows developers to fine-tune features in response to feedback.

It’s a lightweight, adaptable solution.

Its benefits are so clear that 95% of developers use at least some agile methodologies (up from 80% in 2011).

However, speed isn’t the only thing that needs to be considered.

Growing Security Threats

If there’s one thing that can damage a company’s reputation faster than a product failure, it’s a data breach.

31% of consumers affected by a major data breach will abandon a company, and 65% report less trust in the company’s ability to handle their personal information.

A major security break does more than lose public trust; it can be devastating to a company’s bottom line.

Yahoo’s 2012 data breach caused the company’s value to drop an estimated $1 billion.

Even a minor incident can cause a stock drop of 5% or more.

Despite the very real threat of malicious activity, companies aren’t taking the proper precautions to protect their apps.

Nearly 75% of apps produced by contractors and Software as a Service (SaaS) providers fail to prevent OWASP’s Top Ten, a list of the ten most critical security flaws that no software should have on delivery.

Sometimes these flaws are oversights. 80% of executives say the demanding pace of app development makes it hard to know what’s safe and what isn’t.

Other times, testing is trimmed to almost nothing in order to meet tight deadlines.

Either way, security flaws put the company is at more risk than fallout from a late product release.

Finding Middle Ground

83% of CIOs say they need to balance security concerns with meeting market deadlines.

To find that sweet spot between quality and speed, keep these four tips in mind.

    1. Choose a developer with a good security record. Taking the lowest bid for a project without checking past projects is a gamble leadership should never take.

 

    1. Make speed and quality equal priorities. Bugs compromise security, and since fixing a bug after release is four to five times more expensive, sloppy testing procedures can cost more than faster development saves.

 

    1. Use agile testing tools and test case management solutions. There are testing tools specifically designed for agile development, and using these makes development faster as well as more secure.

 

  1. If the timeline is very short, don’t take shortcuts in testing. Instead, cut time by cutting features that can be added in later updates. This will have the added benefit of letting user feedback shape the scope of those new features.

The Best of Both Worlds

If you’re working with a quality software developer, speed and quality don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Emphasize the importance of security, and be willing to hear suggestions for how to cut time without cutting corners.

With these precautions, your company won’t be one of the 1,000-plus data breaches expected in 2017.

Worried about security? Talk to Concepta about how we can make your next app more secure.

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