Get ready for a new era of mobile technology

Artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and bots embedded in messaging apps will create new opportunities to interact with users through their mobile devices. (Image: just to the east)

Mobile technology like smartphones will change in ways many users can’t even imagine today, and much of that change will come from trends like the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

The convergence of devices, robots, things and people means organizations will need to excel in consumer mobility and prepare for the “post-application” era, according to research firm Gartner Inc.

The future of mobility will offer ubiquitous services delivered anywhere, by anyone or anything, to anyone or anything, said David Willis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. Alternative approaches to interaction and service delivery will emerge, and code will move from traditional mobile devices and apps to the cloud, he said.

It’s clear that mobile has become an integral part of doing business today. Gartner estimated total shipments of 2.37 billion devices (including laptops, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones) and 293 million wearables for 2016. It projects shipments of 2.38 billion devices and 342 million wearables in 2017.

The proliferation of devices means they are now ubiquitous in the work environment, reinventing the way people interact and work, Willis said.

As users continue to seek new and compelling experiences with apps, the importance of apps in service delivery will decline, and the emergence of virtual personal assistants (VPAs) and bots will replace some of the functions performed by apps today, he said.

“App mania created a horrible experience for customers,” Willis said. “There are too many. Many big brands have multiple apps in the same app store. Consumers are abandoning apps at an alarming rate. App fatigue has set in.”

Users settle for fewer and more reliable apps, says Willis. “The most reliable, trustworthy and easy to deal with brands will win,” he said. “We used to say that if your customers need a manual, you lose. Now, if your customer needs to train and configure their experience, you lose.”

New tools and technology developments such as wearables, IoT, virtual reality and augmented reality are changing the parameters of customer experience with mobile, Willis said. “It will be a dynamic, immersive and very varied world,” he said.

The growing use of wearable and “bring your own thing” devices such as smart outlets and smart light bulbs in the workplace will introduce new ways to interact and new platforms, Willis said, diluting the need for specific mobile app experiences.

Much of the innovation in the mobile technology market in the future will not come from the devices themselves, but from the things that communicate with the devices. Gartner predicts that by 2018, 25% of new mobile applications will speak to IoT devices.

Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, natural language processing and bots embedded in messaging apps will create new opportunities to interact with users seamlessly through their mobile devices, the company said.

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