Whereas mobile apps were only just starting to get adopted in 2012, in 2017 they experienced a real surge, reflecting in 254 billion downloads (of free apps). Businesses have recognized the opportunities that open up with having their own mobile app and began investing in them.
Nowadays all conceivable kinds of apps exist, up to the point where “I’m sure there’s an app for that” has become the go-to solution to whatever problem you are facing.
Not all apps are equally successful or useful for that matter (see this compilation of weird apps that actually exist). We have looked into app trends you should look out for in 2019 and identified the five most common ones.
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence provides a huge variety of application areas, which have taken the mobile app world by storm. Finding available parking slots (Robin), managing your appointments (Cortana) or learning how to pronounce foreign languages correctly (Elsa) – AI is here to help us in all possible situations.
Machine learning is another major piece of the puzzle and quintessential for smart apps that “listen” to the user and learn from their behavior. One example is “Recent News”, an app that learns about your reading habits to then propose articles that could interest you.
“Replica”, on the other hand, is a chatbot for people who feel lonely or in need of a friend to talk to. The app basically creates a footprint of the user’s personality, a “replication” of the user if you will, and engages them in conversation, like a real human.
Replica is a chatbot designed to make people feel less lonely
Chatbots are and will continue to be big in 2019. According to Statista, the global chatbot market will amount to USD 1.25 billion by 2025. To put that into perspective, back in 2016, it stood at around USD 250 million.
Digital Commerce reports that 50% of B2B buyers prefer do-it-yourself customer service to direct contact with sales representatives. Chatbots rank high on the popularity list of CRM tools.
Today’s workplace environments are often designed to cater to the needs of the new generations of the workforce. That means increased flexibility and use of technology in all kinds of areas.
In order to optimize workflows, productivity and convenience, many businesses resort to mobile apps. These may include features such as automated billing, messaging and collaboration systems, location sharing and navigation assistance, among others.
One example for a successfully implemented office digitalization is Desjardins. Their newly established office app helps employees use their time more efficiently and facilitates communication and teamwork.
The Desjardins app helps employees find each other and locate available work stations
A survey by Adobe suggests that 77% of business owners find mobile apps for enterprises advantageous and 66% are planning to further increase their investment in this field.
Location based apps and Beacon technology
Beacons have not popped up just now, they have been around for quite some time. Acceptance is rising, along with a growing diversity of industries applying Beacon technology. The market is ever expanding and suspected to pass the $25 billion mark in 2024.
It is also said, that there will be more than 500 million BLE Beacon units within the next year. One way of leveraging Beacons is in combination with location-based technology. Indoor Positioning and Navigation solutions have found their way into multiple sectors, starting from retail, over healthcare to transport, events and many others.
With more and more industries jumping onto the Mobile Wayfinding bandwagon across the globe, 2019 is expected to continue with this upward trend.
Especially the retail industry, which was one of the first Beacon technology adopters, will likely experience another boost in the years to come. Starting 2020, Beacon technology is expected to generate over 1.6 billion coupons on an annual basis.
Smart things and IoT
The Internet of Things is unstoppably on the advance, the market expected to grow from less than USD 3 trillion in 2014 to USD 8.99 trillion by the turn of the decade. More and more use cases arise to connect everyday devices such as home appliances, vehicles, machines or other physical items to collect and exchange data.
The increase in connecting these devices allows for enhanced healthcare services, smart agriculture, improved energy and retail services as well as a completely new and smarter lifestyle. Buzzwords such as “smart living”, for example, include assistants like Alexa, which allow you to control connected, electronic devices by voice command.
Other services enable users to control their heating or lighting system via mobile app. On your way to work, but forgot to turn off the lights? Do it remotely via mobile app.
These are only very few examples of how IoT can help increase convenience, comfort and efficiency in various areas. The following video by the IBM Think Academy goes a bit more into detail:
AR apps take the app user’s real-life surroundings into account to add in virtual elements and provide tips for engagement.
One of the most prominent AR gaming apps that triggered a huge hype back in 2016 was Pokémon Go. Part of its special charm was the fact that it combined AR with location, making users hunt for Pokémon while exploring their real-life environment.
Although it has become particularly attractive for game developers, Augmented Reality is more than that. There’s a great diversity of application potential, e.g. for interior design, art, educational and many other purposes.
BBC created the Civilisations AR app, which allows users to learn about and examine museum exhibits in 3D from the comfort of their home.
BBC’s Civilisation AR app
WallaMe is a clever app, that lets users leave hidden virtual messages behind in real life surroundings. Only other users of the app are able to identify and read them.
Google launched their Google Lens app in 2017, which helps users identify objects by pointing their camera at them. A particular outfit caughht your eye? Google Lens finds similar clothing for you online. Want to learn more about the building in front of you? The app gives you all the details from historical facts to opening hours.
By 2022, global revenue from consumer AR mobile apps are expected to race past the USD 15 billion mark. That is 4 times as much as in 2018. In 2019 alone, AR and VR based apps are thought to reach USD 5 billion.