When it comes to building an app, we can’t overstress the importance of digital transformation today. Everyone either has already done it or is doing it right now. No one is surprised by the fact that mobile traffic has surpassed desktop anymore. Mobile first is a given these days, something we have to embrace and work with. Cloud computing has gone mainstream over the last years. IoT is changing not only businesses, but it also affects our everyday life. The rise of the Artificial Intelligence, Augmented and Virtual Reality, smart assistants, and other technologies prove that doing business like before doesn’t cut the mustard anymore.

To get you an idea of where things are heading in the mobile app world we’ve decided to take a quick look at the state of affairs and narrowed down a list of the most popular tech directions to take in the nearest future.

What’s Going On in the App World?

Smartphones have become an integral part of our lives. It is clear that the trend is nowhere near subsiding. We will continue using mobile phones and new apps will pop up in our app stores. Right now we are drowning in apps. According to Mobile App Usage statistics, there are more than 2 million apps in app store. And this is only the beginning. Their prognosis – by 2020 mobile apps will gather $ 189 billion in revenues via app stores and in-app advertising. Download rates look quite astonishing as well. On average, we have installed at least 40 apps on our mobile devices. Downloads in Apple App Store alone reached over 100 billion last year and this number is only expected to double.

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And what are the key categories we spend our digital time on? According to the latest data, the top two categories in Apple App Store as of October 2017 are Games (25.06 %), followed by Business (9.81%). The whole list goes as follows:

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Most popular Apple App Store categories in October 2017

Another interesting observation pops up when it comes to millennials, one of the top users of mobile devices. If asked about the most popular mobile app, 9 out of 10 would probably say Facebook. And yes, according to comScore, Facebook was the most essential app for Millennials in 2015 (for 21 % of users). In 2017, it’s actually Amazon (35 % of users)

But there are disturbing statistics as well. Being spoilt for choice, we rarely use apps at all. Nearly eight out of ten people use only three apps! The abandonment rates don’t look good either. An average app loses more than a quarter of its users with three days of its launch. And the most common reason – “I rarely use it.”

So what are the secrets to building an app in our day and age, and not just an app but a winning app? Knowing what’s going on on the market and an actual demand would be step number one. And that’s where statistics comes in handy. Another important aspect is building a user experience not just to get featured in the app store but to move to your users’ phones, and ideally hearts. And to grab their attention, you have to invest in innovation. And that’s why you need to stay on top of what’s in style in the tech world this season and what it is that you need to build an app.

Tech Trends for Building an App

Change is the only constant today. And modern enterprises that succeed are the ones that are quick to adapt to new technologies and ever-changing demand of the market. The key is to make innovation happen rapidly. When it comes to building an app, enterprises are seeking new ways to embrace emerging tech and leverage them to reach their customers in new ways. And there’s plenty to choose from.

One of the trendiest are:

AI and Advanced Machine Learning

There was a lot of hype around artificial intelligence and machine learning, and the market of a smarter future is only heating up. The future of enterprise software products is predefined by the increasing amount of intelligent application. According to Cowen and Company research, it will be common for enterprise apps to have a machine learning algorithm that can provide valuable insights. AI may also start predicting customer’s wants and needs with a great accuracy thus entering the era of predictive commerce. According to the very same study by Cowen and Company, 81% of IT leaders either have already invested in AI or are planning too. And what are the key sectors ready for AI/ML adoption? Digital Marketing / Marketing Automation, Salesforce Automation (CRM) and Data Analytics are top areas to invest.

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AR and VR

The tremendous success of Pokemon GO AR app had everyone talking about the potential of virtual and augmented reality for business. Today VR/AR are about more than just gaming. Companies are starting to see enterprise possibilities in it. The goal is to replace keyboards and flat screens with new ways of interacting and connecting with customers. Samsung with their Gear VR Set and Apple’s ARKit are proving that top industry players are in on a trend. And their efforts are believed to be fruitful. Virtual reality is expected to grow from $453.6 million in 2015 to $ 35.0 billion worldwide by 2021 thus representing a compound annual growth rate of 133%. According to the research from Digi-Capital, this is how the market for VR and AR software is expected to look:

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Internet of Things

The Internet of Things keeps growing, which means more ‘things’ will be connected to the Internet, sufficiently more. Even with original estimates of 50 billion devices by 2020 considered now outdated, the new prognosis of 30 billion devices still seems mind-boggling. Intel goes as far as to promise massive 200 billion Internet-connected things by 2030. It equals to 26 devices per person.

The ‘things’ by connecting users in new ways, will produce lots and lots of valuable data and insights into customer behavior. From recording patterns of customer behavior to learn from them and make intelligent suggestions, and automatically keeping track and monitoring inventory, managing machines, to smart devices the size of a sand to measure chemicals in the soil or to diagnose human body – it seems that the sky’s the limit for IoT. We associate smart devices to creating smart homes, but most of them aren’t even at homes. They are at factories, healthcare, and businesses. According to Intel, by 2025, the total global worth of IoT technology could be as much as USD 6.2 trillion. With most of that value from devices in healthcare, manufacturing, and retail.

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Where the wireless things are

Of all the tech trends taking place right now, Internet of Things is one of the most promising. In the following years, IoT has the potential to be the most disruptive and rich for opportunities.

Everything-as-a-service (XaaS)

Everything in IT business (security, storage, computing, applications) is becoming software-oriented and is defined as an on-demand service. There’s a popular belief that the future of SaaS is in Everything-as-a-service (XaaS). Generally, it is related to cloud computing, and the term is often used to cover three cloud service models: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). But we are at the point where XaaS extends beyond computing. Brick and mortar stores are moving forward with digital transformation, services like Uber or Lyft offer transportation-as-a-service, accommodation-as-a-service is being fulfilled by Airbnb, Whole Foods covers the need for grocery-as-a-service. Arkessa believes that XaaS can kickstart the Smart Home in the coming years. The customer-company relationships are evolving. In what some like to call “Uberized economy” every desire is at arm’s length from the satisfaction of the need.

For enterprises, it could mean new opportunities. XaaS is as much a mindset as it is a strategic vision. It helped giants like Amazon or General Electric (GE) pursue bold new options outside their traditional business models. Amazon monetized its internal services by making them available to customers, competitors and third parties. GE, a traditional industrial company, is embracing the digital age and is transitioning to becoming ‘as-a-service’ business. Clearly, not all companies are on the same level as these. But even on a smaller scale, it not too late to reach for the clouds and think what products the company offers that can be turned into service.

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The tech world is changing rapidly, new trends and technologies emerge on a regular basis. But by aimlessly following trends you are not doing yourself a favor and certainly not one to your customers. The idea is to find what works best for you when it comes to building an app and finding the right way how you can leverage these technologies and trends to reach your audience.