Today, mobile applications enhance the ways in which businesses operate, in addition to enhancing the lives of millions of people across the globe. As a strategic use of technology, mobile apps offer improved brand visibility, convenience and timely solutions for consumers who rely on apps for gaming, media, and e-commerce, just to name a few.
But what direction is the mobile app development market headed in and how will apps continue to advance for the remainder of the year? Here are some of the top mobile app development trends for 2018 across platforms and industries.
1. Wearable Apps & the Internet of Things (IoT)
The market for wearable devices, along with the Internet of Things (IoT) is steadily growing and is expected to continue to do so in 2018. With devices like Apple Watch and Fitbit making waves in the previous year, there is no wonder why a boom is anticipated for applications used by such devices.
Wearable devices require applications for seamless utilization and the same holds true for the IoT sector. Industries including smart health, automobiles, education and smart homes are all slated to see massive growth as the new year progresses—with seemingly endless possibilities in IoT advances for each of these industries. It is anticipated that the IoT industry alone will reach the $700 billion mark by the year 2021 which equates to growth of roughly 33% per year.
2. App Streaming
No, this is not about video streaming apps like Netflix. Google, and other app platforms, are experimenting with streaming apps themselves. So, instead of visiting app stores and downloading apps to mobile devices, streaming directly from the app’s service provider is slated to gain traction in 2018. This represents two-fold progress because more and more developers are seeking ways to bypass traditional app stores, which may be saturated with competitors.
An app that can be streamed means they will gain greater revenue by bypassing the middleman. Similarly, direct streaming also benefits end users who may want to save valuable space on their devices. Streaming therefore provides a win-win for all.
3. Enterprise & Micro Apps
Enterprise and micro apps are known for improving productivity for both work and personal matters. For example, Evernote and Trello are popular enterprise apps where work teams can collaborate on different projects directly from their smartphones and other mobile devices. Similarly, micro apps are those that allow users to create handy to-do lists or otherwise keep track of individual projects.
Such apps go hand-in-hand with the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend that is also expected to increase this year as more and more corporations invest in enterprise applications while also allowing employees and business partners the flexibility to access such apps on devices of their liking.
4. Cloud-Based Apps
While cloud technology has been around for a number of years now, the rise of cloud-based apps is a special novelty that will make inroads in 2018. Cloud technology has helped to significantly improve workplace productivity and its benefits have not gone unrecognized by savvy developers, especially in the Android realm. Users of cloud-based apps will be able to save space on their smartphones by retrieving data from cloud environments. So not only will the apps themselves become more popular, but so will the server-side of their functionality, which is also expected to grow rapidly in 2018.
5. Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Other likely trends to dominate mobile app development in 2018 are machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). While established services like Siri, Alexa and Cortana are already making waves, there is still plenty of room for growth in the realm of machine learning and AI for mobile applications. From cognitive recognition, to complicated commands, to interpretation of images and faces, as well as speech recognition, machine learning and artificial intelligence are expected to dominate 2018.
For instance, it is anticipated that investment in AI alone will increase by 300%. Furthermore, according to Gartner, it is estimated that within the next two years up to 85% of CIOs will launch AI projects within their organizations. Personal assistants and chatbots with increased capabilities are just some of the sophisticated options that will become increasingly available on the 2018 market.
6. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) Apps
Likely to transform app development and spurn growth are Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) apps. Such applications are in high demand by customers, especially those for the tech and gaming industries, but other sectors including interior design are witnessing an upsurge in reliance on such apps as well. These are apps that create enhanced experiences for customers. They typically access a device’s camera and create real-world simulations for increased end user interaction. Take for instance the very popular Pokemon Go app as well as virtual devices like Samsung Gear VR. Applications in this realm of technology go beyond the typical use for devices and instead create maximum flexibility for improved end user experience.
7. Improved Mobile Security
Better communication and improved safety are features that many end users are searching for as they download applications onto their devices. To counter hacking, identity theft and viruses, better security will benefit end users in tremendous ways. What’s more is that improved security will assist both developers and end users who are searching for ways to protect their investments.
8. On-Demand Apps
Lastly, use of on-demand applications which provide convenience to users are also expected to continue to rise. This is especially true for small businesses which are increasingly jumping on the app bandwagon.
Services such as transportation, laundry, dry cleaning and food delivery services are just some of the sectors that are taking advantage of this great technology. Such apps will also assist customers make convenient mobile payments, even storing credit card information within the applications so customers don’t have to worry about searching for their credit or debit cards during the sales transaction.
These are just some of the trends to watch for in 2018. As mobile applications continue to advance, there is no wonder why more and more people continue to download apps for various reasons. From enjoying entertainment, to conducting important business, today’s apps more powerful, functional and solutions-based than ever. Indeed, the future of app developments is very promising and certainly on the rise.