We − as a company − are not rookies in the mobile app programming industry. In fact, we have seen the market’s evolution from a privileged position and have witnessed how it has matured till the present day.
A report carried out by Red Hat − a company devoted to open-source solutions − precisely on the mobile sector’s maturity sheds some relevant data on the subject. It reveals that 90% of organisations (companies or not) in the United States and Western Europe intend to increase their investment in mobile app programming during 2017.
The forecast implies an average increase of 24% in economic investment in comparison with 2016, with a view to optimise the mobile presence of the organisations surveyed. This is the first sign of the market’s maturity, which is increasingly turning to adapt to mobile devices and strives to be ‘mobile friendly’.
The same report reveals that 52% of the organisations surveyed in 2015 considered that they had a mobile device strategy implemented, while in the previous year only 7% said to have one. An implementation of mobile environment optimisation strategies has been made at the least. i.e. An approach towards the mobile industry but not necessarily towards mobile application development.
New mobile technologies carry with them a transformative power for the mobile app programming industry. We will be able to see this at its peak during 2016. However, app development will not be the only way in which it will take form. All kinds of mobile projects will accommodate into these transformations. We will now no longer be focusing solely on native development and will rather be exploring other possibilities.
1. Tailored applications for internal use within an organisation
Creating mobile applications that help us manage the company, organise it better or even improve communication between its members or increase its productivity is a good option to explore. The possibilities are plentiful when developing tailored applications and we can always choose to develop apps of this kind when we find out how they can contribute to our organisation and enhance it.
2. Corporate app programming
These are apps that focus on customers in order to boost our sales, increase our visibility, establish a communication channel with them, etc. Either option is valid when developing apps that help us improve our company. The ways to monetise these apps may be very different. Return on investment when it comes to app programming is not always a straightforward matter. However, we can make use of these apps to obtain an advertising and branding benefit − for instance.
3. Responsive and adaptive websites
2016 will be characterised by an increase in mobile development. Although not exclusively of native applications. Responsive and adaptive websites are quite essential for small companies. They are a cheaper and easier alternative for adapting to multiscreen navigation and new mobile devices.
4. Other mobile solutions
There are several things that we should look into when discussing about providing a mobile solution to a company or an organisation. We should first pinpoint the ‘mobile problem’ and then pose a solution. And we should take into account that app development isn’t the answer to all problems. It will depend on the company’s needs:
Regarding integrating the communication channel with business and sales… You may already have a basic app or mobile solution which proved to be useful during 2015 but you currently want more, and your customers also want more! You may be considering improving your mobile solution in such case. Moving from unidirectional communication towards bidirectional communication, moving from an informative or catalogue app towards establishing an m-commerce store… Every mobile solution is different. Which one fits your project best?
If maturing – regarding this industry − means adapting to customers, our mobile solution will depend on our target customers. Age group, sex or country of residence can largely determine the kind of solution. We can take the leap into developing native apps if our customers are highly specialised in mobile technologies and are loyal. However, a website that’s well adapted to all kind of devices may be a better approach if our customers are of the non-recurring kind and don’t access our app so much.
Fluid languages as a mantra. When developing mobile apps or any other mobile project, 71% of developers essentially make use of Java while 56% of them use .NET as well. The current trend is to use these two languages. Leaving behind languages which had a bigger presence in previous years such as Node.js.
What should we be focusing on this year?
You already know it: consumers and users have switched to this channel for good. Increasingly younger and older people are adopting mobile devices as a new way to find products and services. What should we be considering regarding our mobile strategy to succeed during 2017?
Everything with a social dimension remains at the top: create shareable content − preferably of the kind that could go viral − that interests your customers and other potential users. Enable your mobile content (commercial or not) to be shared from any mobile device.
Videos are currently more important than ever: we are in the ‘youtuber era‘. An era in which videos − especially brief but intense ones, such as vines − are the stars of online content. Create attractive audio-visual content to make your company, organisation, product or service known to the wider public. Who are you? Make a video to tell about you.
Pay attention to wearables. More and more businesses are paying attention to app development for wearables. Specially with the arrival of Apple Watch. Technological accessories related to health and sports are those that are booming the most, but there are also creative solutions coming from many different industries (Evernote, Zara, Twitter, Uber…).
2017 is expected to be a very ‘mobile’ year…
The path that has brought us to this mobile era has been somewhat turbulent nevertheless. Remember that some mobile technologies − such as Google Glass − got stuck on the way and never made it. And even if phablets have become again one of the most targeted devices, they remain less popular than smaller-sized smartphones.
Still, mobile development and devices are becoming more sophisticated, offering a better quality and yielding better results. Both companies and users are increasingly aware of what developing an app entails and their demands are rising accordingly. Will we live up to the changes lying ahead in mobile development in 2017? Of course we will!