All small business owners know by now that the next age of internet retail is all mobile. Use of mobiles by consumers is growing 14 percent faster than the use of desktops, meaning the two could be as equally important for internet retail in just a few years. 2012 was the year that saw hundreds of thousands of businesses scrambling to get a mobile presence, from small start ups to larger well known names like Dell and ECCO.
But if you think you know the basics of getting a mobile application right, think again.
It used to be enough for an app to be optimized to fit the screen of a iphone, maybe a tablet. It could probably even work across both iPhones and Android phones. Advanced businesses were considered those with an actual downloadable app, with features like scanning a barcode for more information on a product or the ability to redeem an offer while visiting a store.
Not any more. Welcome to the age of Modern Applications. As mobile usage increases in importance, the sophistication of mobile apps and software is increasing as well.
Mobile Apps are growing up.
What makes Modern Applications different? Applications are about one thing: customer experiences. The revolutionary thing about mobiles is that they provide an instantaneous contextual customer experience and it is this experience which is driving the intricacy of future apps.
The one application works on any platform
It’s likely you have a website for your business. You probably also have a mobile app sold in the iTunes Store and equivalent. Maybe you also have a mobile-optimised web site, in case people are browsing using on their phone instead of downloading apps. It’s likely none of those softwares would work in the screen display of a car. Or HeadsUp Displays such as those used in Googles new augmented reality glasses. The Modern Application ditches the need for multiple softwares, morphing into an appropriate interface depending on what tool the customer is using.
The Modern Application Adapts To Changing Environments
The Cloud – storing all data in a standardized centre to pool resources and accessing it through the internet – is the next revolution in how we interact with the internet. New applications take advantage of ‘cloud economics’ (the amount of money that can be saved by using a cloud rather than a local storage) to bring your business savings and streamlined support. They also use hardware in a flexible way, utilizing more or less of the hardware’s resources as needed on a moment-by-moment basis.
New Applications Are Built To Connect
Modern applications work with other modern applications. They don’t just work together, they fit together. They are built for other people to build on them. This is called being API-oriented. Having an API allows other software developers to ‘plug-in’ to your software; this encourages innovative new solutions and opens up new markets. With many others’ products also containing APIs your business may be able to grow off the invention of another.
There’s no such thing as a finished product:
Gone are the days of working behind the scenes for months on end before finally revealing your wonderful new software for the world to see! Yes, a lot of time is put in behind the scenes but the key in today’s fast moving competitive markets is to get the basic product out there and then build, change and modify in response to customer needs. Modern applications evolve one step at a time. Count on the need to continually develop and change your application even after launch.
Modern Applications Are Intelligent
Technology is heading into an era that was science fiction just a decade ago. The ability for a screen to recognize a person and change its advertising message accordingly is now available, similar to Tom Cruise’s hit movie Minority Report. Machine-to-Machine communication will become increasingly more complex. Combine this with location data and a complete history of usage information on each person and Modern Applications may have the ability to predict what a shopper wants before they even know they want it.
The most important thing to remember is that as the world gets more and more connected, so too your systems need to be fully intertwined. If you’ve been considering moving to ‘The Cloud’ you need to consider the needs of any modern applications you may build in the future as part of the discussion. Modern Applications are complex and will dramatically affect every part of your business. Ensure you include them as a key component in your future investment and business strategies.