If you’re an enterprise trying to achieve a business objective or solve a problem using technology, the future of mobile app development is something to keep an eye on.
Tracking the latest trends helps you understand where your enterprise app can benefit from them. It also protects you from investing in technological solutions that are going to be outmoded in the near future.
Because the technology is always evolving. In the past decade and a half, we’ve seen huge changes in preferred tools, frameworks, and devices.
Remember the days when people would carry two phones, one of which would almost certainly be their work Blackberry?
There’s very little of that these days. Blackberry might still be successful in other markets. They even have a nifty security wrapper that you can wrap chosen apps in, meaning you can have a personal phone and a secure work phone in one.
Yet, following the launch of the iPhone in 2007, the app landscape started changing. Back when MyOxygen/ started, there was a big appetite for apps for Blackberry and Windows phones. A little later, there was a large demand for iPad and tablet apps.
Today though, the era when there weren’t two dominant platforms – Android and iOS – feels a long way behind us.
The way we view mobile and mobile apps today is very different from fifteen years ago.
For instance, as an industry-focused software developer, it’s very rare that we get client enquiries for tablet apps today. That’s despite Apple trying to push the iPad for enterprise applications.
The frameworks and technologies we use are very different too. We used to only build native apps. Today, React Native and Google Flutter let us build one code base instead of a different app for each platform. This decreases app development cost and time.
There are still challenges involved in this approach. For example, we tend to use third-party libraries to enable Bluetooth connectivity because building these out takes a lot of work. When there’s a new release though, do we update the library we’re using or find a new one?
With the lifecycle of technologies getting shorter, it’s vital for business leaders to be at least peripherally aware of changes like this if they’re to understand where and when to invest their resources.
Fifth-generation wireless technology (5G) is exponentially faster than the 4G we’ve become used to since 2009. It’s going to enable a much better user experience. Latency will become a thing of the past even for HD videos.
5G is going to be a complete game-changer for everything from data security to AR/ VR (Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality) to the Internet of Things (IoT) and supply chain.
The combination of the Internet of Things (connecting physical objects with sensors, enabling them to send and receive data) and cloud computing is going to facilitate the creation of big data applications.
This will transform industries as diverse as agriculture, healthcare, and energy. Many other sectors will benefit from better productivity, collaboration, security, data processing, and much more thanks to IoT, cloud computing, and the 5G they will rely on.
Artificial Intelligence is going to bring even more personalised user experiences, predictive analytics, and real-time data analysis to enterprise mobile apps and individual processes in almost every industry.
Machine learning and deep learning will allow businesses to learn from user activities and usage patterns. Everything from movement to speech recognition to even better predictive maintenance than IoT already makes possible will become commonplace.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality feel like they’ve been “almost here” for nearly a decade. Yet the use cases and efficacy of both continue to grow and they remain a trend to follow.
Today, their day is closer than ever. Several big retail brands have already adopted AR in their sales apps, while others have started to use VR for training purposes – especially for otherwise dangerous or costly scenarios.
Blockchain technology might be the basis for cryptocurrency, yet its most useful functions for society as a whole and mobile apps in particular are still ahead.
Even today, you’ll find blockchains being used in digital health apps and supply chains (IBM is one major company that is reporting big cost, dispute, and inefficiency reductions using blockchain in its supply chain).
A blockchain allows transactions to be held on a centralised ledger that is wholly transparent and cannot be edited or deleted. The purposes this can be put to in different industries is sure to grow in future.
Of course, that’s far from all the trends that will affect mobile app development in years to come. For instance, we’re finding security is – and should be – a key concern of every single client.
From the “old days” of Blackberry and native-only apps just fifteen years ago to the two dominant platforms of today, mobile app development has undergone some serious changes.
If you want to develop your enterprise app with the future in mind, the best strategy is to be aware of the trends. At the same time, remember that your app isn’t final at launch. Development can and usually should continue, incorporating new user data and new technologies and approaches as it evolves.
Want to discuss your own enterprise mobile app?
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