In the final trends round-up from me (until next year, of course), I’m looking ahead into 2016 to see what the most exciting developments in mobile will be.
Well, I won’t actually be doing anything other than collating the opinions of a group of people considerably more clued-up than me.
Let’s take a look at their mobile predictions for 2016.
1. Joined-up mobile experience
Gary Elliott, Head of Strategic Services at Rocketmill
We’ll see brands concentrating on what all of these exciting technologies will mean for their customers’ mobile experiences.
The brands that seamlessly connect physical, desktop, mobile and other devices to make one joined-up experience for their customers stand to be very successful.
Dan Thornton, Founder, of The Way of the Web
There will be greater integration between mobile and wearables to make both more effective in actually solving problems.
We’re already seeing shoes with a digital display that can be changed on your mobile, for example.
2. Virtual and augmented reality
Tom McQueen, UK Managing Director at Futurice
We’ll see virtual and augmented reality in consumer end-to-end products and services.
Virtual and augmented was first used in the gaming and porn industry, but in 2016 they will become easier to access for consumers.
Virtual reality will be used in industries such as real estate, sports, entertainment and hospitality.
Immersive experiences also mean that the user experience is spread across platforms, and even into a physical environment.
The headline-grabbing apps will be about virtual reality and also augmented reality, which has been around for several years but hasn’t become mainstream yet.
The combination of the two, along with constantly improving bandwidth, should finally come of age.
Carl Uminski, COO and Co-Founder of Somo
We will see virtual reality reach maturity, with mass market use cases in every sector across consumer and enterprise businesses.
3. Heightened security
As mobile phones connect to more and more items in the home, security will take centre stage.
Consumers will have to become increasingly aware of home security beyond the conventional lock, and brands will need to take action in order to protect and reassure customers of their high security standards.
4. The internet of things
There are 5.2bn mobile users in the world. 60% of the American millennials believe that everything will be done on mobile within the next five years (Schibsted Media Group).
There there will be more technology and appliances controlled via mobile by the end of 2016.
We will see more people paying their shopping, checking to hotels and opening their hotel room doors with their phone.
5. Personalised retail
Retail will go even more mobile. Retail is going through a major change, causing the industry to start looking at new ways of providing personal service to the customers.
One of the ways to provide personalised service is to use the consumers’ personal phones as a hub. Instead of developing multiple apps, there will be one for a brand.
As an example of personalisation, the retail industry will use other available technologies to connect to the personal phone.
For instance, creating a 3D model of a person’s body to improve the fashion shopping experience.
6. New approach to products
2016 will usher in a new product era. We will no longer focus on creating responsive or adaptive products but completely re-think how we deliver the right product to the customer in the right place.
Now that you can browse the web within a virtual reality headset, for example, will browsers take a completely different form?
We could see spherical browsers allowing the viewer to interact with content all around them.
7. Mobile apps will impact TV viewing habits
A new era of TV will be huge next year as the shift to app-based viewing grows and traditional viewing begins to disappear.
As more brands launch TV apps for the Apple TV, we will see a whole new app ecosystem emerge playing seamlessly with the Apple ecosystem.
8. The way people interact with mobile content will evolve
The ways in which users interact with content are growing massively, from touch to voice to gesture controls. Nearly half of all millennials already use voice search in the US.
Voice interactions are an incredibly powerful medium for brands to consider for seamless navigation, but a strategy is essential.
Not only do brands now need to consider designing and building for the ever increasing numbers of screens but also for no screens at all with what is deemed ‘Zero UI’.
9. Better use of data to personalise content
Digital services and apps will learn from user’s behaviour, using data in a meaningful way to provide value to both users and companies.
If 2014 and 2015 were years of ‘big data’, 2016 will be the year when data will be turned into a meaningful mobile experience for the users.
Users don’t want to or need to see everything, only the things that matter to them and make sense to them.
Smarter use of data will transform mobile interactions and patterns.
10. Education revolution
There is the potential for a revolution that could very well start in the developing world, but with a profusion of disruptors based in the London area.
We’ll see a major impact on eradication of literacy in developing regions that have already leapfrogged to mobile in areas like trade and communications.
In the first world we are talking about a wholesale change in the classroom and an erosion of the barriers between learning and play on a more democratic level than the much ballyhooed erosion of barriers between work and play, which had a definite class aspect to it.
11. App-only content in SERPs
Richard Baxter, CEO of Built Visible
Toward the end of 2015, Google announced that it was experimenting with the indexation and surfacing of ‘app only’ content in search results.
Previous to this, app content would only be returned if an equivalent web presence was found, which ruled out a significant number of apps actually available to users.
This is no longer the case, and in my opinion we’ll see an awful lot more search results appearing with results for things that are not just websites.
12. App streaming
Google announced it was in the process of testing ‘app streaming’, whereby users will be able to fully interact with apps that aren’t installed on the mobile device.
We’d expect this to roll out at some point in 2016, at which point mobile devices are essentially becoming just a ‘wrapper’ for apps that run purely in the cloud and rank as a standalone entity in organic search.
This will be the beginning of the mobile search experience regaining lost market share to the app experience, in a potentially disruptive way to the app market.
13. Video consumption will rise, which will impact on advertising
We’ll see more mobile video consumption in addition to the rise of live video streaming, and the fact that mobile traffic is larger than desktop will become an accepted rule of thumb rather than news.
Much of 2016 will be about evolving the existing approach to advertising (hopefully in ways other than cramming more video onto handsets), retargeting, and balancing the need to be on various ‘walled garden’ platforms including Facebook, WeChat, etc.
14. Artificial intelligence will improve
The most exciting thing will be the deep learning and artificial intelligence race underway between all the big technology companies.
It’s the new arms race between Apple, Google and Facebook, and it’s the one thing that could radically change how we access all our information beyond what’s already happened with Siri and Cortana.