The future of mobile: 2016 trends and 2017 innovations

By Scott Steinberg

Which 2016 trends and innovations shook up the mobile world this year? It’s an excellent question, with mobility currently skyrocketing in awareness and popularity among business leaders. According to Smart Insights, 4.77 billion people are expected to be using smartphones in the next year and apps now account for 89 percent of on-the-go media time.

The future clearly belongs to mobile, as reflected across the many promising new advancements, from augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to the rise of second-screen applications. What’s more, the coming months promise to only bring further advancements. The following is a quick rundown of the hottest 2016 trends in mobile solutions and devices and the most promising trends for 2017 and beyond:

Wearable technology

Clearly, 2016 has been the year of wearable technology. MediaPost reported that there are now over 111 million devices on the market in hundreds of configurations, from smart watches to digital wristbands. Moving forward, numerous industries from healthcare to insurance and retail will only continue to be affected by increasing advances in this category. As Wareable noted, this space is expected to expand by over 150 percent in the next two years.

The wearable tech space is primed for innovation and the emergence of new competitors and business models. Industry players would do well to stay on top of these shifts, especially when you consider that 2017 promises to bring a sharp rise in mobile payment, media consumption and communications options — including more solutions that let you create, share and consume content and services, or make purchases right from your wrist.

A growing focus on customer engagement

Mobile audiences now check their portable devices dozens of times a day. These consumers research and weigh purchasing decisions at multiple points across this spectrum. As a result, more businesses and brands have started to prioritize connecting with and engaging with end users over driving immediate sales conversions, according to the Mobile Marketing Association.

As this year’s most successful marketing campaigns proved, organizations need to do more than just seek to more frequently strike an emotional chord with target audiences across multiple channels in 2017 and beyond. They also need to prioritize mobile outreach efforts that create value for end users by helping them meet basic needs and solve problems — a strategy that has proven to be far more effective than simply making overt sales pitches.

Location-based and social sharing

The future is here, as demonstrated by the recent wave of AR apps, which superimpose digital data over real-world surroundings. Among the top 2016 trends, this technology’s burgeoning growth is also joined by a massive resurgence in VR, the practice of using apps and software programs to place users in computer-generated and immersive digital worlds. With hundreds of billions of dollars now being invested, it bears reminding that this space is only slated to grow.

Countless enterprises and scrappy young startups are already finding new ways to capitalize on these technologies or integrate them into existing products and services. Some are even embracing the idea of building location-based business and communications strategies around them. In the coming months, you can anticipate even more activity across these categories, as mobile devices make it increasingly possible to interact in new ways with the world.

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Native apps

Rather than optimize websites, microsites and online platforms for use on mobile devices, a growing number of organizations are investing more heavily than ever in creating dedicated apps for their business solutions. As noted in 2016, user experience and customization are becoming increasingly important touchpoints for audiences, who expect highly responsive, functional and personalized solutions from enterprises.

This trend will naturally only continue to become a more important factor in 2017 and beyond as accessibility and functionality become growing priorities for today’s organizations. As interest in the topic grows, so do the number of available solutions for building and maintaining these apps. Expect to see an increasing number of providers offering tools, services and development support going forward.

Big data and analytics

Another one of the top 2016 trends focuses on leveraging connected devices and the data on user behaviors and purchasing patterns they can collect. With 6.4 billion of these internet-ready gadgets and appliances now on the market, according to Gartner, it’s no wonder enterprises are investing so heavily in better business intelligence solutions.

Do you want to learn more about your customers and how they browse, communicate or shop, and then discover the most effective ways to communicate with them? Going forward, you can do so even more effectively with the power of analytics.

The past year showed that mobile can help companies engage customers and gather important data. With 2017 looming, it’s exciting to see the new ways organizations can continue to leverage mobile to connect with and serve end users.

Written By

Scott Steinberg

Keynote Speaker and Bestselling Author

Award-winning professional speaker, Scott Steinberg, is a bestselling expert on leadership and innovation, and the author of Make Change Work for You: 10 Ways to Future-Proof Yourself, Fearlessly Innovate, and Succeed Despite Uncertainty. Among today’s top-rated international speakers…

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