Mobile devices are arguably the most influential pieces of technology in our daily lives. From productivity-driven apps for business to the lifestyle and health apps that keep us on track, mobile apps have had a huge impact on the way we function in the technology age. What can businesses expect from the mobile app markets in 2016?
Before we jump into what we can expect from the IoT in 2016, let’s first review what IoT actually is. The IoT, or Internet of Things, is defined by Google as "a proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data." This means our phones can utilize the power of the internet to connect with and control everyday objects, from our light switches to our thermostats, from gaming devices to even some functions on our cars.
According to IDC, the worldwide IoT market is expected to reach almost two trillion dollars by 2020. The IoT movement will have a huge impact on the mobile app market and the integration with everyday objects. Expect to see more electronics and household appliances to have internet connection capabilities, and for brands to develop and release mobile apps that correspond to their products.
The IoT movement isn’t a distant idea or fantasy, either. The advancements of the Internet of Things technology has already become present in our current technology. Thermostats, home lighting, even cars of have already been equipped with smart technologies. What can we expect from the IoT technology in 2016?
MAPR Blog writes “No one can predict this “ginormous data” volume reliably, but we frequently see articles that mention zettabytes, yottabytes, brontobytes, and even as high as geopbytes. For example: it is already true that sensors on a single Boeing aircraft jet engine can generate 20 terabytes of data per hour; the future astronomy optical telescope LSST (Large Synoptic Survey Telescope) will produce about 200 petabytes of data in its survey lifetime; and the future astronomy radio telescope ensemble SKA (Square Kilometer Array) will alone produce several exabytes per day as it senses the changes and behaviors of objects in the Universe. The Universe!”
According to a recent McKinsey Study (read the full article here), the IoT will have an impact on 6 distinct types of applications and processes, categorized into 2 categories, Information + Analysis, and Automation + Control.
Improvements to the IoT's capabilities will allow for the monitoring of people's everyday behaviors, habits, and preferences. When new products are embedded with sensors that provide data feedback, companies can track the movements and activities of these products and fine-tune them to perfection. This collection of valuable data will help companies learn new ways to improve their products and meet customer needs.
The appliances and home goods that utilize the IoT technology can react to real-time situational awareness of the environment around them and can react and make adjustments accordingly. Thermostats, lights, music players, etc all are beginning to have the ability to be "smart" and react to their environment. An example: security staff can use sensors and info collected from video, audio, and motion and vibration sensors to detect unauthorized people in restricted or high-security areas.
IoT technology can assist decision-making processes through data collection and visualization. For example, medical doctors can now offer real-time, continuous monitoring of chronic ailments and use the data provided to make quick, truly informed decisions. Retailers can measure the amount of time people spend in stores or at product displays to better understand the buying process. Businesses can use this info to make better, more accurate, and more informed decisions.
Due to its ability to provide consistent, constant feedback, IoT technology can help optimize processes and provide ongoing optimization insights. For example, a supply chain manufacturing line can use data collected through IoT technology to make precise, incremental adjustments to its processes to improve output and reduce product error.
IoT technology can help control consumption of resources in everyday life. Data centers for energy companies are starting to be able to use information collected from consumption sensors to provide detailed views and reports of energy consumption. This allows managers and decision makers to avoid “ballparking” energy budgets and needs and make precise, informed choices and limits.
Perhaps the coolest aspect of IoT advancements is the real-time sensing of unpredictable situations. For example, automobiles equipped with IoT technologies are starting to be capable of making human-like reactions to dangers and collisions. Some cars can slow, break, or turn a car completely to avoid collisions and lessen damages.
Without a doubt, IoT technology integration will have a huge impact on the state of technology in 2016. Businesses should prepare for the integration by exploring IoT options and innovating new ways to use data to make informed precise decisions.
Speaking of integration, in the coming months, we can expect to see even more social media integration than ever before. Facebook will likely be the biggest contender in this area, with the regular acquisition of new technologies and video and sharing capabilities expanding every day. That’s not to say other applications and companies won't share the space, though. Snapchat, for example, now allows its users to send money, chat with other users, and share more content than ever before. Vine allows users to create and share 8-second videos that can then be pushed to any number of social media channels. The possibilities for social media integration are constantly expanding.
For app developers and businesses with apps, this means that social media integration capabilities must be at the forefront of app development and included in the conversation. Permission and access laws continue to change as technology develops, so it is vital for businesses to incorporate security in tandem with social media integration capabilities.
Regardless of your opinions on the “need” for wearable technology, it’s an industry that continues to grow and expand into our daily lives. While Apple, Google, and FitBit will likely continue to be the main providers of wearable technology, competition will continue to amp up for these companies as wearable technology becomes more attainable for the average consumer.
Developers and businesses need to be ready not only to develop products specifically for wearable technologies, they also need to be prepared for security breaches and hackers targeting wearable users and data. Bruce Snell of Intel Security Group says that Bluetooth LE technology, the technology used in most wearable devices, “has suffered a number of well-documented security flaws and likely will produce more with each new version. Poorly written wearable code will create a backdoor into your smartphone." (Read the full article here.) Expect the need for heightened security and data encryption for wearable technologies in 2016.
Cross-device tracking and cross-platform mobile app use are also on the rise in 2016. It is not uncommon for a user to enter a conversion or buying funnel on their mobile devices, jump to a tablet to perform research and find information, and then finally convert on their desktops. If you are a digital marketer, then this disconnect of tracking methods has likely plagued your analytics and decision making for quite some time.
While there is plenty of controversy around the security of cross-device tracking and how the FTC should handle such topics, one thing is clear: cross-device tracking provides valuable insights into how users find products and use all of their devices. Businesses should be ready to analyze interactions and conversions across all devices going forward.
Mobile App Market Consolidation will likely occur over the course of 2016 and into 2017. The countless app vendors that make up the app store will likely go out of business or get acquired, meaning there will be fewer, more robust and extensive apps and platforms. Enterprises must provide their users with fully functional and extensive platforms and tools to prevent their users from going to the “next guy”. As basic app development becomes easier for the less skilled, less experienced developers to learn, enterprises and businesses will have to step up their game and continue to provide users with “all the things” in terms of integration and options for use.