Four Mobile Trends to Know for 2017

Predicting trends, in our hyper-speed, digitally-switched-on environment, can be a slippery slope. No longer is it simply appropriate to postulate what innovations will come down the pike in any given year – in reality, what we predict might happen in technology today, may already be on some enterprise’s road map, scheduled for imminent release.

In the world of mobile technology development, this paradigm rings even more true. That’s true for two reasons: One, because more than two-thirds of U.S. adults own a smartphone; and two, because 2016 was heralded by many as the year that the consumer gained the upper hand in setting the agenda for consumption.

This combination of ubiquity and consumer demand means that mobile developers will need to be on their toes if they want to gain the appropriate amount of mindshare -- and wallet share -- for their mobile app or service.

This is especially true when we think of the logical evolution of the mobile device, according to Deloitte, from a simple communication tool to a “hub” that serves as a portal to mobile payments, virtual reality, the Internet of Things (IoT) and more.

We at iTexico take our mission as an enabler, and a trendsetter, in this landscape quite seriously. To this end, we are happy to share what we believe to be the four most notable trends to come to the fore in the next 12 months:

1. More cross-platform application development for enterprise

To ensure enterprises are able to connect with consumers across any order of mobile device of their choosing, cross-platform functionality is key. In this mindset, we expect that cross-platform development -- using technologies such as Ionic, Xamarin and Appcelerator -- will continue to gain popularity as the smartest alternative for businesses.

2. Adoption of chat-bots for businesses

Already becoming ubiquitous in places like Facebook, Slack and Twitter, chat-bots will become even more common for businesses as users’ comfort level grows with the concept of interacting with robotic respondents. AI has truly evolved, and today’s chat-bot helps users complete mission-critical work tasks, obtain reservations, conduct banking transactions, and more, through a conversational interface that seems natural, and is easy to use. Though chat-bots are becoming more acceptable and less intrusive to people, it will be critical for developers to incorporate behavioral patterns and to identify how to make this technology more effective through common user language.

3. More Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) for enterprise

Long considered the domain of games and entertainment (especially since we are all still remembering what a sensation Pokemon GO was this pas summer), both virtual and augmented reality are now shaping up to be the next innovation to enhance the user’s experience for marketplaces – particularly, as a means of showcasing content for business purposes in non-conventional ways. Some good early examples include Yelp! Monocle, which enhances the process of searching for top-rated bars and restaurants; and a solution that makeup giant L’Oreal uses to help model retail displays in hair salons.

4. UX, with a focus on accessibility

As mobile apps continue to broaden their reach to all types of audiences, usability will become a bigger factor, as developers account for users with unique challenges or disabilities. By leveraging the device’s hardware – components like the LED flash, screen backlight, haptic engines and accelerometers -- as well as software innovations like speech recognition, dictation, fluid font size, and the like, developers can tailor a mobile experience that is customizable for virtually any use case, to provide the best possible experience. The website MakeUseOf recently compiled a list of the 10 iPhone and iPad apps that take accessibility to the next level.

What mobile trends are most intriguing to your enterprise in 2017?

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