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Mobile tech predictions for 2016, by 4i Mobile

Mobile technologies have driven a path right into our homes, schools, workplaces and even shopping malls at an exponential pace. Look back a decade, and smartphones weren't even a thought on many of our minds. Yet here we are, building applications to make life easier for every mobile user out there. And while the world of technology now has a firm presence in everyone's daily life, what can we look forward to? Here's a few of our mobile tech predictions for 2016:
Apps using context more than ever
Mobile phones and, specifically mobile applications, are capable of creating user context for brands better than any other digital device we use. Usage behaviour tells us a lot about a specific user and, using these cues or information, technologies can help shape user experiences. Although the likes of Google and Facebook have been doing it for some time, we can certainly look forward to seeing more and more brands bringing user contextualisation into apps during 2016.

Mobile tech predictions for 2016, by 4i Mobile

Expect the Internet of things
There has been a lot of hype and around the “Internet of things” and, during 2016 we are optimistic that the focus of the “Internet of things” will move away from gimmick to more practical. Currently, the IoT hardware and associated applications add little value in isolation, and we are hopeful that someone will build a standardised platform that allows third party applications to access appliances. Such a platform could for example allow a retailer’s branded app to populate a shopping list, based on information retrieved from a smart fridge. Remember too – that at the beginning of 2016, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, announced that he was working on a pet project – one that could automate much of his home, using Artificial Intelligence (AI). Bill Gates is said to have used AI in his home too, but what does that mean for those of us who are still using a key to open our front doors? It means that we’ll be automating that soon and, thanks to facial recognition technology, voice controls and related tools, we’ll probably be ditching that bunch of keys soon. Anyone keen on buying a driverless car too?

More disruption
Uber and Airbnb started a wave of disruption that we don’t see stopping anytime soon. It changed the way people think about mobile app solutions and as such we can look forward to much more “Uber of ____” solutions coming up in 2016. From an African perspective, the banking space is set for disruption, but this is obviously challenging considering the amount of legislation and legal aspects of banking in South Africa.

Android growing faster than ever
Great performing, cheap Android devices are finally a reality and this is great news for consumer! Expect Android device adoption to be even faster than in 2015, opening up great opportunities for mobile app focused startups and brands alike.

Health and fitness solutions

Wearable technologies can measure all kinds of interesting things and companies like HealthQ are using these measurements to give us insightful information about our health status and how to maintain good health. Expect this industry to boom in 2016 with various interesting solutions and applications coming to life. We can also expect these technologies to disrupt the health insurance sector, which could see permanent changes being made in the industry.

Mobile becoming the key player in the customer experience journey
If implemented successfully within the customer experience journey, mobile applications can become the most important brand engagement tool ever. We have seen the likes of Starbucks in the US do this very successfully and we expect South African brands will catch on and do the same. With mobile apps being the only true one-on-one engagement platform between brands and consumers, brands that get this right will have distinct advantage over their competitors.

More mobile transactions
2015 saw the rise of payment applications, like SnapScan and we can expect more of these solutions popping up in 2016. It’s applications like these that drive user adoption of mobile transacting and we will see more applications introduce these features, unlocking both value for users and businesses alike.
1 Jan 2016 14:18