2016 was a busy year for the mobile app development industry. Some of the trends that gained focus last year, including designing apps for bigger screens. With the market being inundated by phablets and oversized smartphones, it was only a matter of time.
The year also saw a renewed emphasis on the simplified user interface or what is known as UI. Minimalism, blank/empty screen space, clarity, and simplicity became the hallmarks of UI design. Security became another area of importance – both for the mobile app developers and end-users – in 2016. More and more developers started using encryption to build their applications and protect user data.
That was last year, but what does 2017 have in store for the mobile app development industry? Let’s take a look at some of the key trends that will take center stage in mobile app development this year.
The Rise of Intelligent Apps
Move over Siri and Google Now, there are more intelligent assistants in town. According to Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends of 2017, intelligent apps are all set to transform the way we work and play. Intelligent apps, which include technologies like virtual personal assistants (VPAs), make everyday tasks like prioritizing emails easier. But we are not just talking about everyday tasks anymore. Gartner foresees Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities infused into every existing software category from security tooling to enterprise applications such as marketing or ERP.
Gartner expects most of the world’s largest 200 companies to exploit intelligent apps and utilize the full toolkit of big data and analytics tools to refine their offers and improve customer experience by 2018. In fact, Artificial Intelligence is already pretty huge in retail. One such example is Macy’s AI-base app called “Macy’s on Call,” which the American retail giant is testing in 10 of its department stores across the country. The app allows customers to ask questions while in the store such as “where is the shoe section” and get a response.
Internet of Things Integration
The Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming all the rage and not without reason. The premise that it works on is that anything that can be connected will be. So, there’s a rapidly growing network of connected objects from thermostats and coffeemakers to cars and even homes that are able to send and receive data. The integration of IoT into mobile apps is the next natural step. Designing and developing mobile apps that connect products like home appliances, medical devices, etc. with the Internet of Things is set to become big business this year.
Location-Based Apps to Evolve
Do you wonder how we ever found our way to any place before GPS came along? Thanks to the availability and ease of use of GPS, location-based apps have been growing in demand and the trend will continue into 2017. But it goes much beyond navigation and information about deals.
According to a study conducted by TNS, LBS users are increasingly using these services to enrich their social lives. While 22 percent use the technology to find friends nearby, 26 percent use it to find restaurants and entertainment venues, 19 percent for checking public transport schedules, and 8 percent to book a taxi. Location-based mobile apps are expected to evolve even further this year.
The Era of Cloud Storage
Cloud services are already quite popular as they provide users anytime, anywhere access to their data. The convenience and efficiency of cloud storage cannot be emphasized enough and that’s why we have an app after app offering cloud-based services and storage this year. Amazon Cloud Drive, Google Drive, iCloud, Cubby, and Box are some cloud storage apps that are rated among the top this year.
Security to Remain Key Focus
As mentioned at the beginning of the post, security was one of the major areas of focus in mobile app development last year. Not much has changed this year so far as mobile security is concerned. The sanctity of your mobile phone data is of utmost importance given the sheer quantity of it stored on your device at any given point. Mobile app security becomes even more crucial in the case of enterprise and banking apps where we are dealing with sensitive information bouncing back and forth. Apps with powerful built-in security features that protect customer data will become the order of the day in 2017.