The Internet of Things is connecting mobile devices with enterprise assets like field equipment and consumer items such as cars and televisions. We predict that in 2014 we’re going to see mobile become even more intelligent and connected in both our personal lives and in the workplace. Below are a few of of our mobile predictions for 2014:
Apps get even more intelligent
Google has shown developers and end users the value that can be extracted from making apps more intelligent through Google Now. In 2014, we predict that there will be a big push towards making apps truly intelligent. Rather than just collecting or receiving data, a new breed of apps will be able to analyse the data to make it relevant to individual users.
In the enterprise and consumer space, this will be brought about by a mix of internal or personal data and third-party sources, a wider variety of sensors such as Bluetooth Beacons and the deployment of M2M technology. For evidence of this trend, just look at Tempo AI from SRI Labs, Windows Phone’s new personal assistant, the aforementioned Google Now and Apple’s Siri, all of which continue to grow in intelligence and contextual awareness.
Rise in M2M technology
In 2013, shipments of cellular M2M devices increased by 15.2 percent to a new record level of 54.9 million units. Businesses are more frequently looking at the value of Machine-to-Machine connectivity and the data can help improve operations.
As a key proponent in ‘The Internet of Everything’, M2M shipments are expected to continue rising as more industries understand the benefit of being able to create a smart network where parts of the infrastructure can communicate with each other. In the UK alone, utility companies are being told by the government to install more than 53 million power and gas meters by 2020 to help customers monitor and cut energy use. Over the summer, Telefonica was awarded a £1.5 billion contract to deliver smart meter communications services in the UK – the biggest deal to date in the world.
As businesses continue to be educated about the ROI that M2M deployments can deliver in terms of remote monitoring of resources, equipment and providing systems with actionable data that can be used to help manage systems and reduce overall maintenance costs.
APIs coming first with mobile strategy
Mobile apps have opened up new possibilities for the use of APIs, first for the consumer and now for businesses. Connected devices look set to boost the next wave of API growth, where every device in your home, workplace and car is linked, and where data can be shared with businesses in real-time. In Q3, 2013 Gartner sized the standalone API management market for 2013 at about $100M.
We believe that APIs will become a primary channel for many organisations throughout 2014, with businesses really starting to realise how integral APIs are to their mobile strategy. We also think there will be a rise in the amount of data consumed via APIs in 2014, rather than web pages.
From the pocket, to the wrist and face
Wearable Technology was the big story of 2013, but much like pre-iPhone touchscreens; none, with the possible exception of Google Glass, have captured global consumer attention or won over critics.
Apple is rumoured to debut its long-awaited iWatch in 2014, which might kick-start the wearable technology market in much the same way as the iPhone did for smartphones. Google is also rumoured to be launching Google Glass to consumers in 2014.
The current generation of wearable tech have revealed how companies such as Google, Samsung, Qualcomm and the startup community are trying to define what wearable tech means or enables for end users. Juniper Research recently released the report, Smart Wearable Devices: Fitness, Healthcare, Entertainment & Enterprise 2012-2017
, which identifies 2014 to be the ‘watershed year’ for wearable tech, with revenues being largely driven by fitness and consumer spending. The technology will also benefit the enterprise, in particular industries that need hands-free devices including healthcare, manufacturing and aviation, to name a few.
The question on our mind is: Will Google beat Apple to solving the challenge of making it a mass consumer, desirable device?
3D sensor & gesture control market to grow
For the past few years, developers have been utilising forward-facing cameras to enhance apps. Samsung famously uses the camera to automatically scroll on web pages while cookery apps have implemented the camera to sense when a hand swipes over the camera to move onto the next step. Real Boxing by Vivid Gaming even lets gamers control their character with their body gestures via the camera.
We’ve already seen sensor technology in use over the last couple of years. Developers are utilising forward-facing cameras to enhance apps, for example, in certain cookery apps, when a user swipes their hand over the camera, the app knows that the user is ready for the next step in the recipe.
In 2014, this sensor interaction is set to take an even bigger leap. Take a look at this video by PrimeSense
, a 3D sensor company recently acquired by Apple, to see just how sensor technology can work:
4G usage will continue to rise
As of Q1 2013, 4G made up just under 1% of Europe’s total connections
, as a comparison, in the USA the 4G market is at 20%. This figure looks set to grow in 2014 and will be driven by the consumer demand for mobile devices with speedier connections and also increased competition among 4G providers. According to Analysys Mason, the UK will be third largest 4G market in Europe by the end of 2014, after Germany and France.
EE has reached over 1.2 million 4G subscribers since its launch, with 4G now in nearly 150 towns and cities across the UK. The competition from Vodafone, O2, and very soon, 3, has encouraged EE to recently change their 4G tariffs. As this competition starts to build the costs of 4G will decrease, making the LTE network more affordable. Also, as more telecoms companies provide 4G, they will be looking into ways to improve the infrastructure, making it more accessible across many parts of the UK.
In fact, this improvement of LTE services may even prompt people to start abandoning their broadband services in 2014 for 4G speeds that promise to match and even exceed fixed-line broadband. Although we may not see a huge uptake in this in 2014, the early adopters might choose to use 4G in the home, as well as on the move.
Bluetooth will drive a new level of location-based services
With the recent introduction of iBeacons, along with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) (which has actually been around for a couple of years); location targeting is becoming more precise than ever. This of course is opening up a huge opportunity for marketers to send their customers targeted and relevant marketing campaigns.
BLE also opens up new possibilities for indoor location, in-app contextual information and smarter payments. The technology is built on Bluetooth Low Energy, included in Bluetooth 4.0, and provides new protocols for ambient, continuous, low-power connectivity. There are also use cases for enterprise apps, particularly for the physical workforce because they are often on the move. For more information on iBeacons, take a look at the following articles we’ve written:
Growth of Windows
The Windows Phone operating system has shown some encouraging momentum towards the end of 2013, and is certainly being talked about a lot more in the enterprise space. According to research firm Kantar Worldpanel,
the gap is closing between Windows Phone and iOS in some countries. In Italy for example, Windows Phones have a 13.7% market share while Apple has 10.2%. This is mostly down to the very strong sales of the Nokia Lumia handsets.
Android may still dominate smartphone sales throughout Europe, maintaining a 71.9% market share, but with the acquisition of Nokia by Microsoft, it looks like Windows Phone will be a strong competitor to Google and Apple throughout 2014.
Also, at the Nokia World press event, Microsoft announced that it was going to improve its enterprise features in early 2014. Plans include a way to allow or deny certain apps being installed on enterprise phones, S/MIME encrypted email, as well as popular business apps GoToMeeting and Cisco WebEx coming to the Windows Phone Store.
Native goes scalable
Native has long been recognised as the top choice for the ultimate consumer experience, but has previously been seen as a most costly, less scalable option. In 2014 we predict that there will be a growing emphasis on backend intelligence & API surfacing, making the front-end a means for presenting data & driving behaviour in an intuitive manner. The native layer is becoming thinner – this is where transitions are optimised & user interactions are brought to life; through optimisation with the OS & integration with the device’s native capabilities.