3 Trends Shaping the Mobile Application Industry in 2016

2015-12-10-1449777243-9362328-PiyushJain.pngAs a technoprenuer, Piyush Jain started SIMpalm in 2009 to build custom mobile apps and responsive website for clients in North America. They have designed and delivered more than 200+ mobile and web solutions to startups, enterprises and government and have built a team of Designers, Mobile App Developers, Web Developers, Project Managers and Testers to churn out high-quality digital products. 

The mobile app industry has never seen so many rapid changes and new trends as what we will see in next two years. We can expect mobile apps to replace our wallets, monitor our health, control our cars and home and support several functions of our lives that were not possible with older technology.

I have been in mobile app industry for last seven years and have worked on several mobile technologies at various levels. Innovation in sensors, wearables, Bluetooth, mobile payments and IoT has allowed mobile apps to become more advanced, impacting the lives and thoughts of consumers, small businesses, enterprises, and government.

Here are top three trends that I see will shape up mobile app industry in 2016: 

Mobile health apps will be used to cut down on healthcare costs.

Mobile health apps have been a big phenomenon since 2011 and have gained acceptance in the market to some extent. However, in 2016 I believe we will see them gaining support from insurance companies and enterprises.

Insurance companies will use mHealth Apps to gather health data about customers and reward or penalize them. In the past, there was no way to capture individual data about health, but with the help of mHealth Apps, low-energy Bluetooth and wearable devices, data about vitals, activities, eating habits and exercise can be captured and used to tailor the insurance policy.

Recently, a startup called Pact Health launched a mobile app which allows insurance companies and enterprises to monitor the health behavior of its clients. It rewards them for good behavior by lowering their deductible by $5 for every walk, run or gym session, and increases their deductible by $5 for each missed workout. Employees can earn up to $1300 in coverage each year, while companies save costs by giving better coverage to employees who take care of themselves. 

In 2016, we should see more insurance companies and large employers adapting to these apps to cut down on healthcare costs. Adoption of these apps have the potential to solve -- or at least improve -- our healthcare problem. 

Mobile wallet apps will find more acceptance worldwide.

Mobile wallets have struggled to gain traction. One reason has been near field communication (NFC) technology, which allows transmission of card data from mobile wallets to merchants' point of sale (POS). Most merchants have not had an NFC-enabled POS. Similarly, the majority of the smartphones have not been NFC-enabled. This has prevented the widescale adoption of mobile wallets in the U.S.

However, several innovations -- Apple Pay, NFC in iOS Devices, Android Pay and Samsung Pay -- have brought the needed impetus to the industry. Apple has allowed NFC in iPhone 6 models and introduced Apple Pay to make it easier for iOS users to use mobile wallets just by touching the device and pointing them to the POS. Apple users have trust and confidence in Apple Pay's security, and it has also been widely accepted by large retailers, payment processors and banks.

Moving in the same direction, Samsung Pay has even made it simpler; it allows mobile wallets to exchange card information with any standard POS using magnetic secure transmission. This makes it easier for merchants to accept the mobile wallets without upgrading their POS devices for NFC.

These innovations from Apple and Samsung will revolutionize the payment industry in the U.S., and I believe the use of mobile wallets will increase considerably in 2016. Mobile wallets can also prevent fraud, provide data about customer behavior, and provide additional methods of marketing to retail customers. 

Mobile apps will start controlling more functions of cars.

So far, we have seen the integration of only basic functions like call, music, map and voice command in smart cars or connected cars. But the auto industry is working on long-term evolution (LTE ) technology that would allow mobile devices to control more functions, like door locking, starting the engine, capturing speed and diagnostic data. Cars will soon be equipped with more sensors that can help us find more relevant data too, such as available parking spots, accidents, road conditions and driving behavior. All this data will make our driving experience smoother and help auto companies and insurance companies prevent accidents.

Mobile apps have touched all aspects of our lives since their inception, and I see them replacing several labor-intensive activities we perform as we move farther and farther into the future. As a mobile app developer, I also see more demands in building apps that provide more automation, data analytics and monitoring functions. Gone are the days when mobile apps were considered to be a way to provide information. Now they have evolved beyond that, and in next few years, they may also replace software we use on our PC or Mac.