Summary: The demand for enterprise mobile apps is growing. New trends are emerging that offer significant opportunities to businesses who jump on board. What are these trends and what areas should you watch in 2019? In this article, we explore 5 enterprise mobile app trends you can’t ignore this year.
In the early years of smartphones and mobile apps, both hardware and software capabilities grew by leaps and bounds. We saw a race to the top among hardware and software vendors. Once the dust settled, the growth slowed. We’ve only seen incremental advancements in mobile technology and mobile app development over the past few years.
I believe that will change in the very near future. We’re on the verge of some major trends that will change mobility and mobile app development as we know it.
What are they?
Today, I’d like to explore this topic from a business perspective. What mobile development trends can we expect and how will they impact your business? Here are 5 trends to watch this year:
The buzz around 5G has grown steadily over the past few years. When will it finally get released to the masses? According to the major mobile providers, 5G will start rolling out this year, and will see large-scale rollout in 2020.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of 5G, here’s a nice video that explains it in more detail. In short, it provides much faster internet speeds and more capacity.
What does this mean for your business, and mobile apps as a whole? Once 5G is deployed, it will trigger a series of trends. We’ll see growth in IoT, self-driving cars, edge computing, and more. From a mobile app standpoint, we’ll see an explosion in augmented and virtual reality, video content, cloud storage apps, etc…
The point is, we’re on the verge of a technology that will revolutionize the mobile web. Smart business leaders will figure out how you can harness 5G in their business now, before it goes mainstream.
Voice search and commandsThe next user interface revolution isn’t anything you can see. It’s your voice. Voice search capabilities are already growing, and voice interfaces will be the next big thing.
We’ll see voice be used in a couple of big ways. First, voice search is growing–thanks in large part to smart speakers and general convenience. Google is attempting to give direct answers to searches in the form of “featured snippets.” Usually a couple of sentences long, these snippets pull data from a web page that (hopefully) best answers the searcher’s question.
“Voice search optimization is on the rise and for good reason,” says Nate Masterson, CMO of Maple Holistics. “Building content in relevant and useful question-answer form can increase the likelihood of being recognized by Google’s algorithm as a curator of useful content. As a result, you will appear in more of Google’s highly coveted smart answers for high-value search terms. Question and answer-form content is now more likely to result in a high ranking because of the level of importance that Google is now placing on voice and mobile search, which is seen as the way of the future. When someone voice-searches, they’re generally asking Google a question in search of a specific answer – which is why you’re going to want to be the website to provide that answer in Google’s smart answer snippet.”
Second, we’ll see more and more mobile apps take advantage of voice commands over the next few years. People will expect to be able to control their phones and apps with their voice.
The big question: How will your mobile apps take advantage of voice interfaces? It’s the next wave of UX, and must be planned for in 2019.
Cross-Platform Dev PlatformsAs the demand for mobile apps grow, more and more businesses face a problem. Most IT departments aren’t prepared to address this growing demand for mobile apps, or the ongoing pressure of app maintenance. They’re already bogged down with traditional application development, along with their other tasks.
To make matters worse, native mobile development requires new skills and time–luxuries that many businesses don’t have.
The result: We’ll see a growing demand for cross-platform development tools. As explained below, these tools help businesses create cross-platform apps using their existing resources.
“One of the most significant mobile trends for 2019 is the further adoption and advancement of cross-platform mobile development platforms,” says Nick Bonatsakis, Software Consultant at Velocity Raptor Incorporated. “This trend has massive impact on businesses, primarily in the form of potential cost savings on development and maintenance. While cross-platform solutions aren’t a silver bullet for every application, for many business-focussed use-cases, a unified code-base can reduce time to market and overall project cost by allowing the development team to focus on the main product features once, as opposed to implementing on every platform.”
Progressive Web Apps
Proposed by Google back in 2015, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) have grown in popularity. As defined by Google, “Progressive Web Applications take advantage of new technologies to bring the best of mobile sites and native applications to users. They’re reliable, fast, and engaging.”
Essentially, progressive web apps (or PWAs) are web applications and/or websites that feel like native mobile apps. They take advantage of the host of features on web browsers but deliver an app-like user experience. They work offline, provide near-instant loading, and have the ability to send push notifications.
Essentially, they combine the advantages of a native app with those of a mobile web app. As explained below, PWAs is a mobile trend to watch this year.
“I see more sites shifting to PWA to help their sites load more quickly on mobile to help with both SEO, increased pageviews, returning visitors, and user experience,” explains Stacy Caprio, Founder of Growth Marketing.
We’ve been seeing SMS messaging gain popularity as a business tool, and expect this to continue. That being said, there is a wrong and a right way to use SMS messaging as a business tool.
The wrong way: Using SMS to spam marketing messages. I’ve seen businesses try to use SMS messages in the same way they use email marketing: To spam unsuspecting people with sales pitches. This is a fast way to alienate potential clients.
The right way: Offer SMS messaging as a convenient notification option. For instance, I’ve seen medical practitioners offer an opt-in SMS notification option to remind people about appointments. This provides a useful service for their clients. Using SMS notifications to provide value is a trend that will grow in the coming years.
“One major mobile development trend within marketing that we can expect will be greater use of mobile SMS,” says Clare Bittourna, Codal. “Consumers receive so many marketing emails every day, it would be nearly impossible for them to open every single one. It’s an important business trend because more and more companies also use SMS for signing up for a service, and confirming appointments or reservations.
Within SMS, another huge, newer mobile development trend is Apple’s Business Chat. This app allow companies to directly communicate to their customers through their personal mobile devices. By using this feature you can also get help from a virtual assistant and pay through Apple Pay directly in messages. It is definitely an innovative mobile trend that we hope to see more of in 2019!”
Honorable Mention: Folding smartphones
No, this isn’t the rebirth of flip phones. Samsung recently unveiled a new “folding smartphone.” It’s a smartphone that opens like a book to reveal a larger, tablet-like screen. A feature like this opens up a world of possibilities for mobile app development…if it catches on.
That being said, I won’t call it a trend just yet. Why? It’s too expensive to see mass adoption. Starting at nearly $2,000, I doubt we’ll see many people rushing out to buy it.
That being said, it’s a technology to keep your eye on. If it does catch on, it could eliminate tablets and even put a dent in laptops. However, that’s a big “if”.
These are just a few mobile app development trends to watch in the coming year, but the list could be much longer. Would you add anything to this list? Feel free to comment below!