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7 Mobile Development Trends to Look Out For In 2017 (Spoiler: #5 Is a Game-Changer)

November 23, 2016

If you are behind the wheel of a company and love to stay on top of trends, this post can make you a more informed decision maker for your 2017 mobile strategy. And as a nice byproduct, it can also make you the most interesting person to sit across the table from at New Year’s Eve dinner party.

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The app industry, as you know, has matured exponentially over the last 6 years. But what you probably don’t know is that it still has at least 5 years of anticipated growth. Mobile app development is expected to grow up to $80 billion in revenue next year and by the time we reach 2020, it will easily surpass $100 billion in revenue from the production of the most advanced mobile apps. This is where we come in. As leaders in this industry since 2001, we are committed to transforming the digital experiences for our clients using today’s most innovative technologies.

Call it a coincidence, but we’ve become pretty accurate at predicting mobile app development trends — particularly over the last two years. In fact, in 2015 we accurately predicted the growth of location-based services and mobile payments. In 2016, we predicted augmented reality-based mobile experiences and virtual reality going mainstream (WAY before Pokémon Go came into the picture).

So, what does 2017 hold for us? Here are the top 7 technology trends that will take center stage in the world of mobile app development:

  1. Progressive Web Apps (PWAs): PWAs are websites that look and feel like an app. These are likely to become the Holy Grail for small and medium businesses in 2017. Why? Well, for starters, PWAs are purposefully backed by Google to support their search engine domination. Secondly, PWAs provide the best of both worlds: the ease of the web with the UX of an app. Plus, the development of PWAs are budget-friendly and they provide better discovery and user experience. They are sure to be perfect strategies for e-commerce, media/entertainment, and other related industries.
  2. Machine Learning Apps: Expect machine learning to change the blueprint of the mobile app industry in the new year, with its capabilities like analyzing big data and predicting outcomes from learned patterns. It will also help improve customer service without human intervention. With companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and IBM strengthening their focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence, we expect healthcare, retail, banking and finance industries to be heavily reliant on intelligent apps starting from 2017.
  3. Streaming Technology: The downfall of Blockbuster was just the beginning. Next on the hit-list is traditional cable TV, thanks to this huge shift in consumer behavior. Make no mistake – this same shift is what’s leading large media houses to focus on online video streaming platforms. According to Juniper Research, ‘over-the-top’ (OTT) TV providers such as Netflix and Amazon Prime will generate $31.6 billion by 2019, up from just under $8 billion in 2014. The traditional cable TV is set to take a back seat as streaming media devices grow from 240 million in 2016 to 382 million in 2021. We believe that the demand for building video streaming apps will grow further toward its peak in 2017.
  4. Deep Linking: The implementation of deep linking (linking to specific pieces of web content versus a homepage) is certainly going to spike in growth in 2017 for both Android and iOS. So long as deep linking APIs can improve user engagement and content discoverability within their apps, businesses are looking at a goldmine. App marketers will then be able to leverage deep linking implementation to produce more effective and non-intrusive mobile ads. This also means more improved and personalized push notification strategies for apps.
  5. Haptic Technology: As we’ve stressed in the title of this article, haptic technology is an ultimate game changer for the mobile app industry. In fact, it’s easily one of the most exciting technologies coming for mobile apps in 2017. Why the hype? Because haptic technology recreates the sense of touch by applying forces, vibrations or motions for the user. In other words: users will be able to touch and feel virtual objects on their devices! While this technology has been around for many years, we expect it to finally go mainstream in the new year. 2017 will be the year where we will be able to truly explore the virtual world — and not just with our eyes and ears.
  6. Complete Digital Transformation of Enterprises: Most enterprises now believe that the key to staying ahead of the competition is innovation. Well, because we live in the digital age, digital transformation has become an essential practice for enterprises. IoT and social media are changing the way enterprises connect with their customers and employees to improve CX (customer experience) and productivity. For example, many retailers are now integrating location based technologies, allowing customers to shop anywhere/anytime (except while they’re driving) through their mobile devices and using social media as a customer service channel. Don’t be surprised if consumer and employee-focused applications completely transform enterprises as we enter a year of rapidly evolving technologies in 2017.
  7. NFC Payments: Thanks to some progressive enterprises, the N-Mark is going to be one of the most identifiable symbols in the coming year. Expect to see mobile billing and payments intertwined with NFC (Near Field Communication) in 2017. NFC allows you to make payments with your smartphone within 2 inches of an NFC device. Brands like Target, Macy’s and Walgreens are already making mobile payments easier with this easy and convenient method. Now, more developers are building mobile apps with NFC integrations to help users make contactless payments.

There’s no doubt about it — mobile development is not slowing down, and 2017 will be yet another exciting year of exponential growth in mobile app development. If you want mobile to deliver on its revolutionary promise and create more brand equity for your business, keep an eye out for these seven trends.

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