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What Does The Future Hold For Mobile Apps?

Mobile apps connect consumers to everything: Their friends and family, brands and associations, news sources and gaming communities. They also allow people to shop, be entertained, speak their minds, pay for products, learn and engage in their hobbies. Mobile apps rule the world, making Steve Jobs' motto "There's an app for everything" ring truer than ever. And they are not going away anytime soon.

Engaged Consumer

Mobile apps have become so ingrained in modern life that no one can picture themselves not using apps on a daily basis. In fact, it's just the opposite. According to Localytics, 92 percent of consumers said that they will use either the same number of apps or more of them in the future. They're too valuable to put away.

However, because mobile apps are such an important aspect of people's worlds, this market has become ultra competitive. Almost every brand has an app that – hopefully – provides something that their customers desire – an experience or an ability. And if a business doesn't have a mobile app, one is likely in the pipeline. This has caused mobile app developers and marketers to inject some innovation into their apps. After all, consumers want unique tools and to engage in the latest trends.

Consumers want unique tools and to engage in the latest trends.

The world is ready for the future of apps. But what do the next few months and years hold for them? Let's take a look.

Payment technologies

Apple, Samsung, Google, PayPal, Walmart, Chase and many more brands are pursuing mobile payments as a means of app innovation. Their goal is simple: To make wallets digital. But as CIO magazine's Sharon Goldman explained, not even one of the biggest competitors in the mobile payments space has demonstrated a mastery and cultivated a massive user base. Time will tell who will win the mobile payment apps wars, but one thing is clear: We don't know which brand will seize market share.

Rajul Rana, chief technology officer and partner at Liquidhub, told Goldman that "there can be multiple winners." Rana asserted that it's up to consumers and they will choose the brands with a mobile payment app that provides the most "value." In that regard, Capgemini Vice President of Consulting Bill Lewis outlined the three criteria on which these apps will be judged: "security, ease-of-use and loyalty." The future of apps will certainly include mobile payments, and every brand with this feature must ensure they can meet those three demands.

Streaming apps

In late November 2015, Google stated that Android devices will be able to stream apps, prompting Jan Dawson, founder and chief analyst at Jackdaw, to assert that this could be the future of apps in a post on Tech.pinions. Brands should imagine a world where consumers don't need to actually download apps to interact with them. For one, this means that apps better perform amazingly. More importantly, this indicates that apps will remain one of the best ways for brands to offer experiences.

Notifications

Mobile apps are increasingly becoming mere conduits through which consumers receive information. In other words, people aren't using apps as much as they're installing them for the sake of notifications.

"There are so many apps which don't really ever need to be opened, because all we use them for is notifications and quick actions in response to them," Dawson wrote.

As a result, brands must add new features to their mobile apps that allow users to complete actions straight from the notifications bar.

Complete integration

Virtual and augmented reality are a few years away from mainstream adoption, but with so many tech companies offering wearable technology and devices like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift releasing in the coming months, it's important that businesses start planning how they will integrate with apps with those tools. Beyond that, how will brands connect their apps to the Internet of Things? This future is inevitable and therefore businesses must act soon by forming strategies for app integrations.

Outside help

With mobile device manufacturers and app developers innovating their respective technologies every day, it will only become more difficult for the average corporation to compete in the mobile app market. They must keep up with the latest trends, rapidly building, testing and deploying apps to ensure their customers are happy. As such, it's going to become very common for brands to seek outside help for app development in the form of cloud services and third-party partnerships. Platforms such as Xamarin can make app creation easier, while external organizations can supply the expertise necessary to build great apps.