The transition from desktop computer to handheld device has helped shape the way we communicate, share information, and complete daily tasks, but that’s only the beginning. Mobile technology has much more in store for us, and these new advancements will alter and streamline the way we live our lives.
1. Intelligent Apps Will Offer Personalized Experiences
In 2013, services helped users collect and track their interests and behaviors, from what foods you eat to the articles you like. 2014 should see companies leverage this data to make intelligent apps provide more value- better recommendations, actionable statistics and more. In other words, your phone will be able to recommend new things for you to try, whether that it is a little-known Thai place up the street or a new author you might enjoy.
2. Phones Become a Healthier Lifestyle Coach
While we already have apps that track how well you have slept, how much you exercised and the calories you consumed, this year companies will combine this information to help with better decision-making. This trend will be especially apparent when combined with the growth in smartphone sensors and wearable technology. You will be able to turn to your phone whenever you need help making a decision about which entrée will be the healthiest to order or which exercise will help you best carve out your abs.
3. Routine Chores Become a Game
Adding entertainment to routine activities offers a successful way to motivate people — and smartphones are well-equipped to help. More services will emerge that track your progress automatically and offer creative ways to execute goals, while offering different types of incentives. Whether you are chipping away at your to-do list at work or you are cleaning out the garage at home, your phone will help reward you and encourage you for every job well-done.
4. Companies Improve Individualized Marketing
The same data that can help companies provide users with a more personalized experience will also be used to further target promotions and advertising. Expect more mobile ads that leverage your data to provide offers that are relevant to your lifestyle. Personalized ads are going to become the wave of the future, and soon your phone will know whether to tempt you with a shoe sale or with a rare book sale, depending on your interests and habits.
5. Wearable Technology Shifts to Mainstream
The generation of wearable devices is emerging with everything from health trackers to smart watches and glasses. In the coming year, expect to see a significant portion of the smartphone-owning population own at least one connected wearable device.
6. Retail Locations Utilizing Mobile Technology
Mobile technology will continue to become a widespread adoption for retailers. Mobile checkouts will become more prevalent as will the inclusion of new low-cost technology like iBeacons that can communicate with phones within 50 meters as well as help users determine their precise location indoors (think interactive maps within malls that offer real-time updates and notifications).
7. Cars Feature Deeper Mobile Connectivity
In 2014 cars will go beyond USB charging and music playback to include more direct access to phone functionality and control directly from the car. Apple’s iOS in the Car (iOSitC) is expected any moment, and others should not be far behind. Your phone should soon be moving from an ad-hoc connection with the car to feeling like it’s actually part of the vehicle.
8. The Phone Becomes an Active Controller
The disconnect between mobile phones, tablets and TVs will begin to vanish as more network programmers encourage viewers to connect in real-time on their mobile devices for a more immersive experience. Additionally, new Internet-connected TVs and video-streaming boxes are supporting mobile as a powerful way to control and interact with the device and content.
9. Mobile Makes More Inroads into Education
Mobile devices, especially tablets, are becoming common in different levels of education. We should start seeing more creative applications of these devices, with entire curricula built around electronic delivery utilizing mobile as a cornerstone. Phones will no longer be unwelcome in the classroom. Instead, they will become an important part of the learning environment and a tool to help further education and connectivity.
10. Augmented Reality Arrives; Virtual Reality Lingers
Augmented reality technology and applications in mobile have been around for years, but few services have used them beyond gimmicks or novelties. As Google’s Glass and other similar products start becoming affordable and available to consumers, we’ll start seeing the new wave of apps built around augmented reality. The first virtual reality headsets should hit the market in 2014 as well, though mobile applications may be few initially. The bottom line is that mobile technology is only going to keep improving and impressing us as time goes by.
Rishu Mandolia is the lead mobile instructor at the Digital Professional Institute, where he leads courses on User Experience Planning and Interactive Design. He has spent his career in new product and service innovation, and believes a combination of strategic planning and user understanding can help design teams create winning experiences for interactive products. He is a regular speaker on the topics of innovation and user-centric design, and his recent publications include a chapter on Service Innovation in the Product Development and Marketing Association’s handbook.