Mobile apps are not emerging—they have emerged and become integral to our lives. Digital marketing professionals, app developers and consumers have ceased to see mobile apps as kitschy novelties. They are valuable tools that we use every day to check our bank accounts, hail cabs and read the news. The number of people browsing the Internet on a mobile device has surpassed the number of them browsing on a desktop. Moreover, the use of mobile apps has exceeded the use of mobile web browsers. Building mobile websites and mobile applications is essential for companies that wish to maintain and grow their customer base.
Although mobile apps are not new, a great deal of emerging technologies will surround, work with and be incorporated with mobile apps in the coming year. iBeacons and other Bluetooth low-energy devices are evolving the way that companies and applications can interact, in a locative sense, with their app users. Smart watches are providing additional communication vectors. Wearable sensors, such as those in the Fitbit, are creating opportunities for previously unseen utility and functionality.
In the years to come these technologies will become very important. External sensors like the Fitbit will provide mobile applications and their users with increasingly sophisticated tools to monitor health and track fitness. Smart watches, such as Pebble, Apple Watch, and Sony SmartWatch provide users and developers with additional screen real estate and the ability to interact with their device without reaching into a pocket or handbag. Although Pebble and Fitbit are both relatively new technologies, the development possibilities that they represent are nearly endless. As these devices are refined they will gain even more functionality and even more market share. This year Fitbit released Surge, a “fitness super watch” that combines the utility of a wearable sensor suite with the functionality of a smart watch. With these paradigm-shifting additions to the mobile app environment, there is an opportunity to experiment.
To experiment or not to experiment? (That shouldn’t be the question.)
As with any new tech, there will be a period of learning and growth. Developers (and the organizations that employ them) will need to be flexible, courageous, and willing to try new things. By allowing teams to play with these new tools, by making experimentation an aspect of organizational culture, companies will accept a degree of risk. Some things will fail, and that’s okay. If one educational failure teaches a team a new or interesting way to interact with iBeacons, that isn’t really a failure.
If developers are hamstrung and kept away from emerging strategies and technology, organizational reticence will create a developer skill gap. If the company later decides to utilize one of these technologies, that skill gap will dramatically extend the development cycle.
Embrace changing and evolving technology, but be reasonable about it.
There will be missteps, but it’s important that they not hinder developer experimentation and user excitement for these emerging technologies. These new technologies can be fantastic interaction tools, vibrant with utility, or push users away. Because these watches provide another screen to interact with, some developers and marketing professionals will feel the need to clutter watch faces with push notifications and announcements.
Rather, marketing professionals and developers should be looking at these new opportunities as a way to strengthen the relationship with the user. By using personalization and customer insights, professionals and developers can use smart watches, sensor suites, and improved location information to deliver the product or information that is relevant to a user at the exact moment it becomes relevant—and that is amazing.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Emerging Technologies Are Making Apps Even Hotter
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