“There’s an app for that.” Apple’s 10-year-old slogan has become a commonly used phrase even outside the iOS ecosystem. And not unjustifiably so; there is an app for almost everything doable via a smartphone. To put things into perspective — an estimated 350 billion app downloads are expected by the end of 2021! This stat alone captures the very essence of how mobile apps are a crucial pillar of the modern mobile communications experience — and how advanced mobile app strategies have become paramount to your business’s success.
In spite of the very real problems in the space, such as app fatigue and security concerns, mobile apps will continue to thrive. For businesses, this means they need to keep the focus on delivering highly differentiated and technologically advanced mobiles apps.
Here’s a run-through the top technologies that are shaping the present and future of mobiles development and should be a part of your mobile app strategies.
Google Instant Apps
Google wants you to have fewer apps on your devices. The idea was made mainstream with the launch of Progressive Web Apps at Google I/O in 2016. A year later, Google launched the Instant Apps idea at the 2017 I/O event. No, this has nothing to do with instant or microwave popcorn but does follow the same concept in terms of trying to save someone time.
Instant Apps are all about delivering mobile-app like experiences to web users directly through web browsers instead of requiring an app download. These instant app experiences are accessible directly from a web URL. Google’s idea of the need for instant apps results from the limitations of conventional mobile apps:
- They take up a lot of space on mobile phones.
- They expose users to an overdose of features, often causing them to digress from the primary purpose of using the app.
Instant Apps overcome these limitations. An instant app can offer a specific feature of an app via the web, allowing users to achieve their goal quickly. When users search for, let’s say, a new music album from a specific artist, Google’s web search results also show apps for the purpose.
Once a user clicks on the result, Google checks whether the app already exists on the phone. If not, it launches an Instant App taking the user directly to the album.
If an Instant App is already found, Google realizes that and uses the same to solve the user’s problem. Instant Apps allow businesses to make their features searchable online via search engines, and the concept should become a part of your mobile app strategies.
For developers, Instant Apps don’t require additional knowledge, as the same APIs, source codes, and projects work fine as used for traditional apps. This makes Instant Apps an upgrade to traditional apps rather than a whole new development universe.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Ever since AMP went live, Google has bolstered its positioning as a pioneer of the “fast and furious web.” AMP is an open source project aimed at improving the loading speed of web pages and apps.
Slow page loading speeds are a major turn off for web users, and hence also for Google. As a consequence, AMP was launched to provide a uniform framework for web developers to abide by and ensure optimal performance of their digital content. The three main components of AMP are:
- AMP HTML — a stripped down version of HTML.
- AMP JS library — for fast loading of pages.
- Google AMP Cache — a proxy-based CDN for AMP documents.
For any business-use case with extremely low tolerance for latency, AMP is the way forward because it focusses on optimizing webpage loading speeds by building the optimizations right into the core coding rather than depending on a superfluous adjustment.
A Gartner report has gone as far to suggest that by 2020, 85 percent of consumer interactions will be supported by chatbots. A chatbot is essentially an instant messenger interface that’s programmed to respond to a variety of user queries. The core components of a chatbot implementation are:
- An IM frontend.
- Natural language processing and text analytics capabilities to identify patterns in user inputs.
- Machine learning-powered algorithms that keep on using field data to fine-tune and better the response to user queries.
Think of bots as microservices that operate on other apps and respond to user queries and specific event triggers. Bots can invoke specific services to respond to a client request or use an API to solve complex requirements.
The key use case for chatbots is in service desk operations where the instant messenger interface can elicit user queries and respond to them based on a massive database of answers to FAQs. On a more sophisticated level, chatbots can serve as virtual assistants for executives, helping them with quick answers to their process-related queries.
Tech giants such as Microsoft and Facebook have already committed massive resources to chatbots. More chatbot development tools and platforms are available with every passing month, which makes chatbots a center of attention for enterprises interested in a mobile future.
DevOps for mobile
The awesomeness of the DevOps approach for application development has been well documented. The same approach is now showcasing its effectiveness in mobile application development as well by shortening development lifecycles.
Mobile DevOps is all about focusing on automating as many processes within the development lifecycle and setting up workflows for super-quick communications between the developers and IT teams. This ensures that software are built faster, tested quicker, and deployed swiftly.
A crucial aspect of mobile DevOps is to use tools that enable developers to test their software quickly via automation scripts. Then, there’s a lot of focus on security assessments and app distribution management, systems monitoring, and app analytics. With the availability of integrated suites that offer these capabilities, enterprises have every reason to embrace the mobile DevOps philosophy.
Essentially, DevOps brings together the best of lean, iterative, and agile methodologies and delivers a scalable approach that results in contracting the application development lifecycle. This makes mobile DevOps a key influence on how the mobile app development universe is expanding.
Mobile app strategies: Keep on top of the trends
The technologies discussed in this guide are at the helm of affairs in the mobile app strategies universe. Keep on tracking the latest from this space to stay on top of your enterprise mobile app strategies.
Feature image: Flickr / Monito