Mobile World Congress attracts everyone’s attention and there’s no question why. 3800 mobile industry experts, 5000 CEOs, 2100 participants and more than 90000 visitors came to Barcelona to be a part of the largest mobile technology event. In 2015, Mobile World Congress set a new visitation record, increasing the audience by 9.4% in comparison with the last year.
So, what’s on the agenda? Azoft, as a mobile app developer active on the international market, keeps a wary eye on the trends seen at the Mobile World Congress. Most of the attention is always given to the new gadgets, but we’d like to focus on how new devices and business trends will change mobile app industry in the very near future. We’ve chosen three most interesting trends from our viewpoint.
Health & Wellness: The Wearable Age
As a company that successfully implemented a number of interesting projects for healthcare and wellness industry, we always keep a finger on the pulse of innovations in this sphere. Mobile World Congress 2015 was a triumph for the wearable devices. 14 companies announced the wearables, most of them are smart watches and fitness bracelets.
Activity trackers from HTC, Huawei, Haier and other manufacturers have their special aspects, of course. For example, Haier, a german white goods company, presented its first step into the consumers electronics market — Haier Smartwatch, which, in fact, is an activity tracker for kids, simplifying parental control with geolocation and remote microphone activation.
Most of the activity trackers have similar functionalities and were created to just keep tabs on workouts, walks and runs. In an attempt to expand the use of wearable devices and give more options to the customer, manufacturers make them compatible with other trackers and also cross platform, working both with Android and iOS.
Apple Watch presentation on March 9th, which happened a few days after the MWC’15 closing, confirmed and strengthened the experts’ viewpoint on the smartwatch segment. Health features and customisation are still the most selling points for manufacturers.
It also became clear, that consumer electronic companies are really into design. Smart watches look more like fashionable accessories than pieces of technology. Pebble, Huawei Watch on Android wear with health tracking and notification, LG’s Urban and Urban LTE and many others prove that looking good is as important as never before.
Healthcare evolves inside the global trend: the Internet of Things. Fitness bracelets and smart watches are just a little part of the whole world getting connected. You already can buy connected toothbrush which estimates the brushing quality. Smart clothes with temperature, pulse and blood pressure, stress levels detectors, etc is a matter of the near future.
Considering the industry perspectives, we can draw a conclusion: creation of app ecosystem is the primary goal and a great opportunity for investors and app developers.
2015 will also be a year when E-commerce giants step into the healthcare industry with their services. It’s already happening with Amazon and Alibaba, and chances are more companies will soon do the same. This means that new opportunities and problems to solve will follow: big data, security and identity.
Digital Commerce, Identity and Security:
Mobile payments are becoming more and more popular: connected E-wallets, card scanning, online banking and payment on mobile device. The volume of data continues to grow and, of course, it needs to be safe and secure. A number of companies presented their innovative solutions at MVC’15. These solutions promise to simplify the digital shopping experience and allow consumers to securely manage and spend their money via mobile devices.
Google came up with long-awaited Android Pay. It is presented as a developer tool available via API. This is very different from Apple Pay, which is a centralized app.
The system will operate with card numbers, just like Samsung Pay or Apple Pay. Instead of giving the static information on user’s card, Android Pay will generate a one-shot payment token for each transaction. This reduces the risks of transmission interception.
Google didn’t announce the release date, but we will find out more in May at the annual Google I/O developer conference.
Master Card is also concerned about customer’s safety and comfort. The specialists of the company are working on three interconnected aspects, to make mobile payment systems better secured. At MVC’15 they share their ideas which refer to the common areas of interest for the whole mobile payments segment. The three interconnected aspects are as follows:
- Device verification. The customer can activate or block his mobile payments in the same way as a bank card without touching other apps or data. Tokenization is accomplished by individual digital credential attached both to a card and device.
- Consumer verification. Master Card states that passwords soon may be filed as a history because customers do not want security to get in their way. The future of verification is biometrics, and it’s much more than just fingerprints scanning. The company develops a number of possible authenticators: facial, voice and cardio rhythm recognition. It’s necessary to allow the customer choose the most appropriate way of verification depending on his preferences or particular environment.
- Big data storage, management and protection. At this point client privacy meets regulatory needs.The responsibility of the mobile payment providers is really high and demands the balanced hi-tech solutions, — Master Cards’ specialists say.
At the same time Visa is also a company which sees its future in the mobile segment. In cooperation with Accenture the company presented “a futuristic glimpse into shopping experiences in the car, living room and retail spaces”.
The new solution follows the IoT trend, which we’ve talked about before in Health and Wellness issues. Visa and Accenture place their stake on the complex integration and consumer’s data management as well as many other players.
Geolocation, updates on sales-related activity, points of sale photos, actual and potential sales information — all of that data collected and analyzed can change the communication principles between customers and sales representatives, making on-the-go shopping an exciting and satisfying experience.
Enterprise Mobility: Apple and IBM strike back
Enterprise-friendly apps were also a significant trend at MVC’15. The most remarkable thing, of course, is Apple and IBM partnership. These two may seem to be strange bedfellows, but in fact they make a perfect team. Apple has the distinctive competences and sense of design and IBM knows how the enterprise segment works better than anyone.
Apple and IBM are planning to “bring the wow-factor to workplace software”, as Katharyn White, IBM’s global lead for the IBM-Apple partnership, said. Although Steve Jobs never paid too much attention on business needs, concentrating on the consumer, post-Jobs Apple is ready to bring its famous simplicity to the enterprise.
It’s actually a great idea to use mobile devices for work and have the experience similar to our personal lives. Business software finally meets the needs of the people trying to do their everyday job. Apple and IBM are not the first who turn their attention to the Consumerization of IT trend, but they definitely have the resource to head it and get a lot of attention.
The plans are ambitious: partnership started with 10 apps developed in last year, and at the MVC’15 companies announced, they are going to release about 100 apps by the end of 2015. Apple and IBM are powerful trendsetters, so it means that business automation becomes more client-oriented and also more popular.
Mobile World Congress is a great annual event that gets bigger every year and defines the agenda for mobile app developers, electronic manufacturers, and consumers. But even though MVC’15 received a lot of audience attention, we haven’t seen many breakthrough innovations this year.
Most of the global trends this year are about further development of technologies that already exist, but that doesn’t make them any less interesting. These technologies are becoming increasingly integrated into our everyday lives, meeting the customers’ needs, and making our daily routine more comfortable and productive. They help us understand and improve our social life and personal experience. They also challenge mobile app developers to think wider and search for new approaches.