Over the years, we have seen radical changes in the information and communication technologies. Computer technology has moved far from desktop to laptop to smart phone.
Now, the industry has started talking about a post-app era, with technologies like, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality gaining traction.
In the post-app era, apps are not going away and code isn’t vanishing. Gartner analyst David Willis says the post-app era means that there will be more data and code in the cloud and less on the device.
With AR-based apps, users can feel a magical realism around their physical world. This becomes possible with the help of a smartphone’s GPS system and other digital, sensory and graphic technologies.
This technology opens a sea of opportunities for the computing industry. It grabbed the attention recently with the launch of AR-based Pokemon Go game, which made the world go crazy.
According to research firm Markets and Markets, the AR market is dominated by Google, German company Metaio GmbH, Infinity Augmented Reality Inc. Oculus VR, Samsung Electronics, Eon Reality, Vuzix Corporation, CyberGlove Systems and Microsoft Corporation.
Recent findings by the Gartner analyst throw some light on the post-app era. The researcher says organizations will need to master two dimensions of mobility with the convergence of devices, bots, things and people.
Therefore, CIOs and IT leaders will need to excel at mainstream mobility and to prepare for the post-app era.
While users constantly look for new and compelling app experiences, the importance of apps in delivering services will diminish and the emergence of virtual personal assistants (VPAs) and bots will replace some of the functions performed by apps today.
According to Willis, alternative approaches to interaction and service delivery will arise, and code will move from traditional mobile devices and apps to the cloud.
Are we entering the Post-App Era?
Talks on post-app era suggest that the app era is close to its peak. Gartner says new ways to interact with things will give way to emerging technologies — such as artificial intelligence, natural-language processing and bots integrated into messaging apps, open new opportunities to interact with users seamlessly.
A number of global players are enabling businesses and consumers to “chat” with users on their messaging platform evolving APIs and services so that developers can create their own bots.
This concept allows users to chat with organizations to get information, answer questions and transact through messaging or VPAs.
“This means that instead of going into a system and filling out complicated forms with checkboxes, users can ask a bot a question, and it will answer or negotiate on our behalf, based on rules and knowledge in the system,” says Willis.
“It will then move to those systems that allow interactions with customers — from marketing to sales.”
The post-app era will be an evolving process through 2020 and beyond. According to Willis, it has, however, already begun.
He strongly recommends that organizations should prepare for it by being agile and tactical, planning for new skills, assessing the new opportunities created by the post-app era, and developing a digital business strategy that integrates many different technologies.
Mobility in business
Ten years back, mobile phone was just a device for people-to-people communication, though computer was popular. Advancements in the mobile and computing technology have changed the landscape dramatically during the past few years.
With business leaders tapping its immense possibilities, the technology offered enterprise mobility, giving new meanings.
In 2016, Gartner forecasts the shipment of 2.37 billion devices (PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones), and that 293 million wearables will be sold in the same year.
In 2017, Gartner estimates that 2.38 billion devices will be shipped and 342 million wearables will be sold.
“The proliferation of mobile devices means that phones, tablets, laptops and wearables are now omnipresent within the business environment, reinventing the way people interact and work,” said Willis.
Mobile app statistics
According to an IDC forecast, mobile app installations totaled nearly 156 billion in 2015 and revenues reached $34.2 billion.
Total mobile app downloads is forecast to exceed 210 billion, generating nearly $57 billion in revenue by 2020.
Apple’s App Store “ecosystem” captured nearly 58 percent of global direct app revenue in 2015, an increase of 36 percent year over year. At the same time, Google Play captured about 60 percent of install volume and nearly 36 percent of direct revenue in 2015.
Another related forecast from App Annie shows that the global mobile app market is projected to expand 24 percent to reach $51 billion in 2016 across all app stores. By 2020, gross revenue across all app stores will exceed $101 billion globally.
App Annie says China will surpass the U.S. in terms of total revenue from app stores by the first half of 2016, having surpassed it in downloads in early 2015.
While mature markets will see continued growth, conditions are favorable for emerging markets like India, Indonesia, Brazil, Argentina and Turkey.