10 Mobile App Trends for 2016

Ann All

Updated · Jan 12, 2016

More mobile apps are on the agenda for many enterprises in 2016. So Enterprise Apps Today asked mobility experts to share their predictions for top mobile app development trends.

Hybrid HTML5 Gains Momentum

While some developers will always prefer native mobile apps, hybrid HTML5 application development will continue to gain momentum in the enterprise and with consumer apps, said Fima Katz, CEO and founder of Appery, makers of the Appery.io mobile application development platform. “Hybrid HTML5 will become the most obvious choice for most enterprise use cases in 2016,” he predicted.

IoT and Mobile App Integration

Enterprises in key verticals such as health care, payments, automotive and energy will start to experiment with Internet of Things (IoT) devices in 2016, Katz said. “These efforts are going to require adoption of a more complete mobile integration platform to leverage across all needs. These platforms will modernize the enterprise backend infrastructure so that all data is available to all devices.”

To Adopt IoT, Learn From Mobile

According to IDC, the worldwide IoT market will reach almost two trillion dollars by 2020. Like mobility before it, companies should remember a careful and deliberate approach is the key to a successful IoT program, noted Cathal McGloin, vice president and general manager of Mobile Platforms at Red Hat.

“The excitement in those initial days when companies realized the endless possibilities mobility presented was sky high, but when the rubber hit the road they saw just how complex it was to create, integrate and roll out mobile apps at the scale they needed,” he said. “Companies that have started exploring IoT may see a similar pattern. This year, companies should get real about determining how IoT will help their business and how they can realistically integrate these programs into their existing digital strategy.”

Tablets and Cross-Platform Mobile App Development

While tablet sales are slipping, the devices remain popular in the enterprise, where they are used by mobile workers like emergency responders, service technicians and energy/utility engineers. Their continued popularity in the workplace will lead to increased demand for cross-platform mobile solutions that help mobile workers transition back and forth between a desktop environment and mobile devices, said Art Landro, CEO of Sencha, a provider of cross-platform application development and management tools.

“The expectation will be to use the same applications with the same power, look and feel, to perform their tasks and manage and visualize massive amounts of data no matter what the screen size,” he said.

Mobile CRM and Wearable Tech

Mobile and social will be integrated seamlessly into CRM platforms like never before, said Vi Murphy, senior digital marketing evangelist, Teradata Marketing Applications. Noting that Gartner recently released research that predicts that 40 percent of sales organizations will rely primarily on mobile digital technology for their sales automation initiatives by 2020, Murphy said she believes it will happen even sooner. “I predict that this will occur much sooner than expected given the unforeseen adoption rate and focus of mobile/wearable technology.”

IoT and Data Visualization

The IoT will challenge enterprises to find elegant solutions to visualize large sets of complex data, Sencha's Landro said. “… There will be a requirement to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with ‘multiple nested dashboards' that effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from real-time actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting, to ensure accurate insight into competitiveness and viability.”

Mobile App Market Consolidation

Dozens of point vendors provide software addressing different areas of mobile app development, said Appery's Katz, predicting that many of them will either go out of business or be acquired in 2016. “The outcome will be fewer, but more robust and higher-quality platforms, which is good news for the enterprise. Everything they need to build a beautiful, functional enterprise-grade app will be available in one place.”

Rapid Maturation of Mobile Market

Enterprise mobility is complex, as it encompasses everything from integration and deployment to app security and management, McGloin said, resulting in a need for new application development architectures, technologies and methodologies.

“In order to keep up with the demand for more mobile apps, I predict that we’re going to see a rapid maturation of the mobile market and companies looking toward a broader portfolio of services with enterprise-grade capabilities,” he said. “Mobile application platforms that support the app development lifecycle and provide a common set of services via mobile backend-as-a-service (MBaaS) will be well positioned to gain market mindshare.”

Mobile Centers of Excellence

Many large enterprises already use a mobile center of excellence (MCoE), which enables multiple stakeholders from lines of business and IT to work together on mobile app development, McGloin said.

“In the next year, more organizations should establish a MCoE and start reaping the benefits of greater collaboration through centralizing mobile best practice and bringing the business and IT together to achieve common goals,” he advised. “With this collaborative approach they can see improved development efficiency, scalability and mobile success.”

More Mobile App Personalization

Employees say it's easier to do their jobs when they can access work remotely from a mobile device, according to recent research from Bluewolf, a global cloud consulting agency. While mobile reinvention of time-consuming tasks is a good way to improve the employee experience, “it's no longer about putting an app for everything on your mobile device,” said Eric Berridge, Bluewolf's CEO. “Commit to mobile app personalization over mobile app saturation to drive higher adoption of tools and customer engagement in the field.”

Ann All is the editor of Enterprise Apps Today and eSecurity Planet. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade, writing about everything from business intelligence to virtualization.

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    Ann All

    Public relations, digital marketing, journalism, copywriting. I have done it all so I am able to communicate any information in a professional manner. Recent work includes creating compelling digital content, and applying SEO strategies to increase website performance. I am a skilled copy editor who can manage budgets and people.

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