The post-app era will be an evolving process through 2020 and beyond...It has, however, already begun, and organisations should prepare for it by being agile and tactical.
The importance of apps in delivering services will diminish and the emergence of virtual personal assistants and bots will replace some of the functions performed by apps today,” predicts Gartner vice president David Willis.
The analyst firm says CIOs and IT leaders will need to excel at mainstream mobility and to prepare for the post-app era.
"While users are constantly looking for new and compelling app experiences, the importance of apps in delivering services will diminish and the emergence of virtual personal assistants (VPAs) and bots will replace some of the functions performed by apps today,” says Willis, in a statement.
“Alternative approaches to interaction and service delivery will arise, and code will move from traditional mobile devices and apps to the cloud."
Mobile, he states, has become “business as usual”.
In 2016, Gartner forecasts the shipment of 2.37 billion devices (PCs, tablets,ultramobiles and mobile phones), and that 293 million wearables will be sold in the same year. In 2017, Gartner estimates that 2.38 billion devices will be shipped and 342 million wearables will be sold.
"The proliferation of mobile devices means that phones, tablets, laptops and wearables are now omnipresent within the business environment, reinventing the way people interact and work."
Instead of going into a system and filling out complicated forms with checkboxes, users can ask a bot a question, and it will answer or negotiate on our behalf, based on rules and knowledge in the system.
From BYOD to bring your own ‘thing’
Gartner says today's tech users are smart and savvy, demanding better features and experiences.
The traditional forms of bring your own (devices and applications) will continue to grow, making bring your own device and bring your own application the norm for the majority of organisations.
"Moreover, the arrival of wearables and bring your own ‘thing’ (such as smart kettles, smart power sockets or smart light bulbs) in the workplace will introduce new interaction techniques and new platforms, diluting the need for specific mobile app experiences," says Willis.
Much of the innovation in the mobile space isn't taking place inside the smartphones themselves, but in the things that communicate with them. Gartner predicts that by 2018, 25 per cent of new mobile apps will talk to Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Most IoT devices that talk to smartphones do so via an app or the browser. "Through 2018, the app will be the preferred mechanism, because it provides a better experience and allows more sophisticated interactions and data analysis, with low-level networking and background processing," says Willis.
However, the current dominance of apps is challenged by several trends that, together, Gartner calls the "post-app era".
"As new technologies grow in importance as a way to control and interact with things, app interfaces will fade," adds Willis.
Ask a bot a question
New ways to interact with things will deliver pervasive services, and emerging technologies — such as artificial intelligence, natural-language processing and bots integrated into messaging apps,open new opportunities to interact with users seamlessly.
A number of global players are enabling businesses and consumers to "chat" with users on their messaging platform evolving APIs and services so that developers can create their own bots. This concept allows users to chat with organisations to get information, answer questions and transact through messaging or VPAs.
"This means that instead of going into a system and filling out complicated forms with checkboxes, users can ask a bot a question, and it will answer or negotiate on our behalf, based on rules and knowledge in the system," says Willis. "It will then move to those systems that allow interactions with customers — from marketing to sales."
"Apps are not going away and code isn't vanishing," states Willis. "The post-app era means that there will be more data and code in the cloud and less on the device, thanks to the continuous improvement of cellular network performance."
"The post-app era will be an evolving process through 2020 and beyond," concludes Willis. "It has, however, already begun, and organisations should prepare for it by being agile and tactical, planning for new skills, assessing the new opportunities created by the post-app era, and developing a digital business strategy that integrates many different technologies."
Send news tips and comments to email@example.com
Follow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap
Follow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nz
Join the CIO New Zealand group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.