By: Ajay Sharma
Our story starts in 1966, when Captain Kirk and his team used their “communicator” in an effort to save Spock. Unbeknownst to them, and to the writers of Star Trek, it is this episode, and this device in particular, that will influence the birth of the mobile phone, inspiring the biggest revolution in the telecom industry to date.
Today, the major players include Apple, Samsung, Nokia, LG, Huawei, and ZTE, to name a few. These companies not only design and manufacture mobile phones, but have also become leaders in developing the mobile applications that we as consumers have begun to conduct our daily lives around using iOS, Android and other operating platforms.
Research shows mobile apps are growing at a rate of 29.8% each year, and that the 1.2 billion mobile users currently using apps will climb to 4.4 billion by the year 2017. According to a recent report from the Ericsson ConsumerLab global research program, in the year 2014, “mobile apps will continue to transform society.” From travel and navigation, to banking, calorie counting and social interaction, it goes without saying; mobile apps have become an integral piece and a big source of information in our daily lives.
Indeed, in today’s digital landscape, technology innovation and adoption is moving faster than ever. As 2014 opens up, we are seeing a tremendous explosion not just in Smartphone and tablet usage, but also the introduction of futuristic technologies like mobile-spatial sensors – allowing app users to interact with their physical surroundings.
As the use of mobile devices continues to rise, we will begin seeing increased numbers and types of these sensors in everyday places. Sixty percent of Smartphone users surveyed by Ericsson predict that “sensors will be used in everything from healthcare and public transport, to cars, homes, and places of work” by the end of 2016. Imagine the prospect of strapping sensors and microchips to your temples and wrists that keep track of everything from location to vitals like temperature and heart rate to mood and level of hunger, and then relay those findings to mobile-spatial sensors in the environment triggering customized ads and targeted messaging. It’s just so irresistibly gadgety.
This sensor technology is changing the app game forever, and with the development and introduction of app-driven wearables like Google Glass, Sony SmartWatch, Nike FuelBand, Fitbit and others, the two technologies are broadening the ways companies can connect with the consumer population.
Although wearables are still not quite up to par where social acceptance is concerned, it’s only a matter of time. According to Juniper Research, wearable technology is projected to grow into a $19 billion market in the next four years, with consumer spending ballooning by more than 1,200 percent by 2018. And you can bet that a large chunk of the marketshare will belong to those app developers who can create out-of-the-box applications that will help drive wearables’ overall sales.
With the rise of these new devices and sensors combined with technologies like big data, companies are now able to harness usable information from the data that these apps collect and engage in practices like predictive analytics and location-based advertising, making mobile technology an even bigger component of modern business structure. With hundreds of tech companies across the globe now developing countless apps running on dozens of ever-evolving devices, the mobile app race is becoming more and more competitive.