Few sectors have experienced the intense shakeup experienced by the app development industry in recent years. Following the 2020 pandemic, businesses across sectors suddenly needed a way to interact with customers and vendors virtually. Millions of people stuck at home needed a wider range of entertainment options. Apps like Netflix and Zoom saw an unprecedented demand for their services.
More users brought on more needs. Apps needed to be more robust, powerful, and agile to navigate these changes in such a short period of time.
Two years on, the pandemic still has a lingering effect on the app development industry. If you are a developer, be aware of the following trends that are poised to shape the industry throughout 2022 and beyond.
Rise of the Super App
When apps were first introduced on mobile devices, they often had one clear function. However, as apps become more integrated into the customer experience, companies have pivoted towards the one-stop-shop mobile app experience.
This relatively new model, known as the super app, is already widespread in the Asian market. For example, users of the Chinese messaging app WeChat can now perform a range of functions within the same ecosystem, including scheduling doctor’s appointments or paying for real-world transactions.
The West has seen a similar phenomenon with Facebook. What began as a social networking platform for sharing photos has now expanded into a place to buy and sell goods, post job advertisements, or host fundraisers.
Innovative companies will soon ask developers to make apps capable of processing diverse functions. Developers will need to create seamless interfaces to entice users to turn to one app for diverse functions. You can click here to learn more about automated UI test tools.
Increased Security Needs
People are turning to their apps to carry out more functions than ever before. This means that apps now contain immeasurable amounts of personal data. For many years, app developers were able to harvest this data with little oversight or regulation. In fact, many users agreed to trade their data in exchange for a free service.
However, attitudes towards data collecting and user security have hardened over the years. Scandals like the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica harvesting scheme that captured data from more than 80 million users to influence the 2016 election have made companies, governments, and individuals rethink how data should be collected and handled. At the same time, data breaches have become more common and can impact a staggering amount of people.
App makers will need to use a safety-first approach to ensure that their products are secure and comply with privacy laws.
Apps and the Internet of Things
As 5G networks are rolled out worldwide, the Internet of Things (IoT) is sure to become a more mainstream encounter in users’ everyday lives. IoT is a network of virtual and wifi-enhanced objects that communicate with each other in real-time.
Apps fit neatly into the IoT network, as they can connect an individual user directly to the internet-based infrastructure. Today, this relationship is most prevalent in smart homes, where homeowners can control a variety of elements, from their coffee machines to their bedroom shades from a mobile app. Home security companies like Ring and Nest also enable users to interact with security cameras from their devices.
As cities incorporate their IoT into their planning, apps will become even more essential to residents. Developers in the coming years will face the challenging tasks of building out the infrastructure that will make smart cities possible.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
While the Metaverse has garnered a lot of attention lately, the use of augmented and virtual reality is not new. App users have been able to interact in partially virtual environments for several years. For example, the IKEA app has allowed users to place realistic virtual furniture and shelving in live videos since 2017.
However, the demand for these types of app experiences is expected to rise considerably. Pandemic restrictions enacted through most of 2020 and 2021 forced many businesses to shift to virtual models. As the pandemic wanes, customers’ expectations have not reverted. AR and VR-enabled apps will enable businesses to provide interactive services, an essential aspect of online sales.
Low Code Solutions
Now that apps are an integral aspect of running a business, companies are already looking for cost and time-saving solutions. Most companies have no choice but to outsource app development.
In order to increase their responsiveness, businesses are now seeking platforms that reduce app development to a drag and drop process. While this will never replace a professionally developed app, it does provide an avenue for smaller businesses to enter the mobile app ecosystem without a high upfront investment. Don’t worry, app developers will not be without work. In fact, low code solutions may even benefit professional developers.