How AI, AR and as-a-service is advancing app development
We spend an inordinate amount of time on our phones – almost a third of our waking hours according to some estimates. So, any changes to how we use the apps our smartphones operate are likely to have far-reaching implications for people, culture and society as a whole. And there are big changes on the horizon.
Various forms of technology have emerged and will combine to alter what mobile apps can do and how we interact with them.
Perhaps the most significant impact will be a result of AI/ML becoming both accessible and affordable. The possibilities this could conjure up are countless – and perhaps only limited by our own imagination.
AI and AR driving greater intelligence
We can already see AL/ML being used in mobile applications in some obvious ways, such as with the selfie filter Lensa AI. But this tech can also be hidden from view, for example in the video clip selection algorithm for apps like TikTok. It’s with these types of algorithms that we are likely to see this tech grow fastest.
For instance, AI/ML is going to take recommendation systems to a whole new level as large language models, such as those behind the ChatGPT bot, are applied. Imagine asking Siri or Google Assistant to “find me a cooking tutoring app for children, hosted by Peppa Pig”. It will be able to do this while also sorting the results to match the pattern of past interactions and selections from individual users.
As mobile devices also become increasingly powered by dedicated AI chips, more compelling mobile applications will be available for everybody.
Faster, lighter, stronger
In addition to AI/ML, we will also see apps becoming quicker, more powerful and flexible, without extra strain being placed on the mobile device. The model enabling this is already being applied in mobile gaming apps through the deployment of “game launchers”. This approach requires only a basic app to be installed on a device, with most features being downloaded on-demand (including in-app purchasing).
An even more promising concept related to this is Google Stadia or NVidia’s GeForce Now game streaming, where the applications actually run in the cloud – with only screen video being delivered to the device. This approach guarantees instant application accessibility, virtually zero waiting time and the full processing power of the newest data centre servers. This will be helped by the rollout of 5G around the world, which is increasing speed and offering higher quality streaming at lower costs. As this mobile network coverage increases, expect this model to be applied to all high-end apps.
This approach brings other benefits too, such as the ability to use a common profile across all apps, seamlessly exchange data between those apps and freeze and resume applications as needed. It’s very likely we will see outright ownership of the apps reduced and the adoption of the “app rental” or “as-a-service” model grow as a result.
Mobile app development boosting culture
Mobile app development is also likely to play a fundamental role in helping culture evolve as it impacts how we interact with each other.
In the wake of the pandemic, we saw how apps supported the widespread adoption of remote working – providing basic productivity and collaboration tools. We have since seen an enormous growth in remote “culture boosting” apps too. These personal well-being and mental health apps are offering new ways of remotely “being together”.
The increasingly social aspect of both these workplace and leisure time apps is likely to become more holistically addressed by mobile applications. This is also likely to be an enabler of the quick maturing concept of the metaverse. This is going to develop in conjunction with other supporting technological breakthroughs – with AR/VR being the best example of this trend.
Even more personalisation
Whatever technology is applied to apps one thing is for certain – content will become ever more personalised. This is fast becoming the foundation of contemporary user experiences and can mean the difference between boom and bust for digital services.
Prior to digitalisation, it was not possible to offer this level of individualisation on a mass scale. This was reserved for luxury brands and the best-paying customers, as it required a costly human touch. However, as personal data mining and analytics have been automated – and the commoditised results traded freely – it’s now almost a necessity to include personalisation to stay competitive.
Everybody wants to feel special, and people are prepared to pay a premium for services that deliver that to them. There is no doubt that as AI/ML usage develops, this will enable app developers to provide the deeply personalised mobile app experiences that users crave.