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What’s the Future of Apps?

Apps are not something that our grandparents had when they were children but they’ve quickly become an integral part of our lives today.

Seeing the advancement of Apps over the past 10 years, we’re curious to understand where the Apps are headed and what the future looks like.

So, we asked the question:

What’s the Future of Apps?

This is what we learned…

Omer Kaplan, CMO at ironSource

“The in-app ecosystem offers an environment free from the brand safety issues plaguing the rest of the industry – simply because it is and always has been strictly regulated by Apple and Google. No non-compliant apps are allowed on to the store, meaning that the chances that a brand’s ads will appear next to terrorist or anti-semitic content are close to zero. Beyond the fact that time spent in-app continues to grow, apps also offer brands a naturally safe environment for their ads. We’ve already seen a marked increase in brands advertising in-app in the last few months, and with the current controversy and focus on brand safety with traditional display advertising, we expect that trend to escalate as brands look for a safe space in the wild west of digital advertising.”


Peter Hamilton, CEO of TUNE

“As the saturation of smartphones across our population climbs but people’s attention for new apps doesn’t scale, we will see inventory challenges for marketers. On the consumer side, mobile web provides instant, easy results for consumers. The industry will look to the open web in 2017 to provide more inventory, but unlike the web before apps, consumers will get web experiences that are higher performing, even native-like, using technologies like HTML5 and Google’s AMP. This will be driven especially by retail and commerce who seek to drive purchases regardless of the platform, nurturing customers over the long term to persuade consumers to download their app.

There will be extremely parity between native and browser capabilities. However, native apps will continue to have the edge on performance due to the speed of hardware development, and web will have the edge on discover and search as Internet connectivity continues to improve. What we will see in that future is a world where the customer journey is fully seamless across these environments, where companies can provide the best experience to each customer by navigating between web and app without even knowing it.”


Monte Zweben, Co-Founder and CEO of Splice Machine & Chairman of Rocket Fuel Inc.

“In the next 10-15 years, there are three trends to watch for with applications.

The first is that AI is maturing. A combination of cheap parallel computing, Big Data, and better machine learning algorithms have helped AI become a part of life. In fact, recent Accenture research found that, by 2035, the impact of AI technologies on business is projected to increase labor productivity by up to 40 percent and enable people to make more efficient use of their time.

The second is the growth of the Internet of Things. BI Intelligence has forecasted there will be 34 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, and nearly $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions over the next five years.

The third is the proliferation and rapid adoption of cloud infrastructure across all segments. The cloud is growing 7 times faster than the rest of IT, according to IDC.”


John Koetsier, Journalist, Analyst, Futurist & Mobile Economist for TUNE

“Apps are under assault from all directions.

First, web and apps are converging. From the web side, rich mobile websites are starting to approach app-like behavior and engagement, and from the app side, instant apps are starting to approach the instant availability of websites. Bots are definitely not the new apps, but are taking the place of apps in some narrow, well-defined niches, like appointment-setting or availability checking. Finally, intelligent agents like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant are going to do more and more of what single apps — and even what multiple integrated apps — currently do. Ordering tickets, making reservations, booking a flight … our agents will do all this and more.”


Supratim Dam, Marketing Specialist at Ready4SApps

“With over 1 billion smartphones and 179 billion mobile applications downloaded per year and more people getting onboard every hour, it’s definitely one of the most active and innovative sectors. The next generation of mobile apps will be built around connectivity, IoT, and smart objects. Though it will be challenging to entice new users to download apps, the achievement lies in the clear definition of the business vision and/or problem-solving. The day is not far when users can stream the functionality of the apps without having to download it first. In the next 15-20 years, mobile apps will no longer continue to be an extension of a marketing channel, but be at the core of delivering success of all businesses. The focus will shift towards Glocalization – solving a local problem whilst having a Global impact. Watch out for these keywords in the industry – Attention, User Experience, Performance Management.”


Gurjeet Singh, Co-founder & CEO of Ayasdi

“The future of the application is intelligence. From the app store to the enterprise, applications will either evolve to include intelligence or they will become extinct.

Our focus is on the enterprise and we are already seeing this evolution as applications make their way out of data science and into the hands of business users. An intelligent enterprise application has certain characteristics – of which all need to be present to rise to the standard. Those attributes are:

1) The capacity to discover patterns data unencumbered by preconceived notions.

2) The ability to accurately predict future outcomes based on current data.

3) The ability to justify its assertions. Justification and transparency build trust and are exceptionally rare features.

4) Intelligence must elicit action – either by a downstream process or software or by a domain expert (not a data scientist)

5) Finally, an intelligence application must have the capacity to learn and adapt.”


Diana Solatan, Managing Director of PLATFORM

“There will most likely be more virtual reality, more augmented reality, more video and more personalization. Apps will be less of an isolated experience and more interconnected. We will rely on them for more aspects of our daily lives. Self-quantification will be pervasive. They will have capabilities to dramatically enhance our lives by optimizing our diet or schedule choices, etc. What we do with that data is up to us. It’s an exciting time to be a designer. Today, we are designing mobile apps in ways that influence users to tap and slide in specific ways, but what about when NeuraLink implants devices that upload information directly to our brains?”


Derek Lee, Chief Architect & Co-founder of LG Fairmont

“Apps for real estate: Bots will be better engineered to improve how banks acquire new business by giving customers a better way to find the best service provider for their mortgage needs. If well architected, bots can be an elegant, cost-effective way to replace redundant information gathering (database populating) conversations. The game changes in higher-touch services like real estate and mortgage services when a wealth of personal information is being exchanged. When big life decisions are in play, today’s bots just won’t be able to match a human touch. The five-factor model of personality traits as applied to bots (agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, extraversion and openness) misses some of the most important in the real estate space: empathy and understanding. Looking ahead, we need to go beyond just conveying the right words, and better develop the capability to build trust in another human who is looking out for your best interests.”


Steve Mezak, Founder & CEO of Accelerance

“Interactive Development Environments (IDEs) used by developers will automatically insert source code to implement app functionality. The inserted code will comply with patterns of source code known to be efficient and maintainable. Similarly, ML algorithms will recognize patterns of code entered manually by developers and automatically correct or offer suggested improvements to the developer. I estimate artificial intelligence and ML tools to at least double the productivity of software developers. However, I do not expect AI techniques to impact UX design which will still be best handled by humans who will be interacting with the apps.”


Adam Fingerman, CXO & Co-founder of ArcTouch

“2017 will be the year of the Long Tail App – Many have pointed out that the app market is saturated, and there probably won’t be many more mass market winners. But this year and beyond will present the opportunity for companies and developers to create mobile applications that solve more specific problems for smaller groups of users.

Developers and businesses will realize that app fatigue is bogus – There have been lots of stories about app fatigue, citing data that the number of downloads from the app stores are down. But based on time spent and other engagement metrics, apps have never been more important. It will be realized that building apps for the sake of apps has run out of steam, but building apps that offer truly engaging experiences will be tremendously valuable.”


Siamak Farah, Founder & CEO of InfoStreet

“In the next 10-15 years, the future for apps will bring about the following changes:

* Simplified logic/coding that allows for users to customize app solutions for a perfect fit.

* Evolution of IOT (Internet of Things) into the following areas:

* Privacy of Things (PoT)

* A centralized privacy profile that can be applied across separate apps/devices.

* Security of Things (Sot)

* Securing the multitude of devices being used and offering central control over every device such as the TV, Fridge, Watch, Laptop….

* The development of “app <-> app” interaction, where applications will be able to pick proper data, apply proper logic, and provide the user with the desired results. Solutions like IFTTT are already doing this today. However, within a decade, centralized meta-languages will be built to take this one step further, allowing apps to talk between themselves to create an integrated environment that’s more user-friendly.”


Joshua I. Wilson, Partner & CIO at WorthPointe

“The future of the app industry looks a lot like the discount brokerage industry. Consolidation is ahead. The number of app developers in the world is now in the millions, yet most aren’t remotely profitable. As the space becomes crowded, it gets harder to get your app noticed, let alone downloaded or used. Though we are more dependent on smartphones, the storage space on our phones and their ability to keep up with the energy demands of many apps isn’t keeping up with consumer thirst for apps, and thus may be a bottleneck for app growth. My iPhone is barely a year old and I always find myself sacrificing lesser used apps on my phone to create more space. Due to these considerations, I think the next 10-15 years will bring us more consolidation in the app development industry in order to create the bandwidth needs to tackle these concerns.”


Mark Tuchscherer, President of Geeks Chicago

“I think there is going to be a much larger integration with AI and apps in the next 5+ years. We are already seeing services like x.ai which schedule meetings for you and is very human like. I feel like AI will become a common addition to most things we use in daily life and this includes most apps. I predict in the next ten years we will be telling our phone to start the car and map a route to Starbucks to pick up some coffee and all we will do is sit back as the car takes us to the drive-thru. Either the car manufacturer or a third party app will power this type of new service.”


Kevin Hayen, CTO at Let’s Be Chefs

“Apps are here to stay, the platform just might change. 15 years ago, it was all about the desktop, now it is about mobile, in 15 years it will probably be all about AR. But, at the end of the day, apps will be the primary way we interact with data.”



About the author

Nick Hastreiter

I write about the future of business. I approach this by interviewing founders, CEO's, and other game changers to share their vision for the future of their industry.

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