What’s Next For The Future of Apps
It was a packed house at Hotel Ocho in Toronto on the Tuesday before St. Patrick’s Day, where TheAppLabb CEO Kundan Joshi was invited to tell the crowd at Tuni Talks all about one of our favourite topics: “The Future of Apps”. Not to brag, but we’ve made over 450 of them — we know our stuff. We also know the constantly changing nature of technology can be hard to wrap your head around, so we were thrilled Kundan could share his knowledge and break down the difficult things to “get” into pieces that are a lot more manageable, and a lot easier to digest.
When it comes to technology, we agree with the great Wayne Gretzky:
Meaning, of course, we should always strive to be a step ahead. Instead of being satisfied with the progress we’ve made, we should be putting in the extra effort needed to create change and constantly be on the lookout for new ways to innovate. However, that’s easier said than done. With new innovations in tech emerging every day, how can you be expected to keep up? Well, we’re hoping we can make things a little easier for you to understand, and help you be a bit further ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest trends. Want to find out more about what’s next in the future of apps? Keep reading!
What We Want From Apps In The Future
Believe it or not, apps have been around a lot longer than you might think. Remember Snake, that super addictive game on your old Nokia cell phone? That’s an app that would have put Candy Crush to shame during its heyday. Decades before Snake, the Baby computer used to first calculation app to figure out a near-impossible calculation in record time. Even Fitbit launched their first device in 2009… that feels like ancient history.
Naturally, as apps evolve so do our expectations of them. In the future, we want apps to provide more features relevant to our lives, seamlessly connect with the real & online world, and not only present content personalized to our preferences, needs and locations but anticipate our preferences, needs and locations. We can expect apps of the future to be hyper-personalized — that is, they’ll use data to give us more targeted, personalized content, services and products. Several apps you use are already embracing hyper-personalization: Starbucks stores your previous orders and lets you order directly from the app, Domino’s has introduced delivery via Emoji, and Spotify creates playlists of new music based on what you’ve been listening to. Apps will also be equipped with fully integrated voice assistance, and seamlessly integrated with the Internet of Things.
Internet of All the Things
What is the Internet of Things anyway? Wikipedia says it’s “the network of physical objects—devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data.” Basically, IoT is everyday devices — from fridges to thermostats — that use sensors & connectivity to work together, understand our needs and operate automatically to take a little stress out of our lives.
Even if you just learned what it is, IoT is already ingrained in our lives at home and on the go with mobile controlled lighting & devices, temperature learning from personal habits (like the Nest thermostat), mobile keyless entry and wi-fi security cameras (like Dropcam) and connected wearable fitness trackers (like Fitbit) — but that’s only the beginning. In the future we can look forward to efficient smart homes with automated lighting & devices, artificial/holographic assistants, smart walls that control security & events, and connected wellness monitoring that will help us stay healthy.
Simply put, artificial intelligence is the intelligence exhibited by machines or software. We humans have been fascinated by the idea of “thinking machines” for almost as long as we’ve existed, and we’ve spent years and years trying to figure out how to make it work.
What was once a dream is swiftly becoming our reality, with IBM’s Watson leading the charge. Since Watson’s decisive victory over the best Jeopardy! players on the planet five years ago, AI has cotinued to evolve. Pepper the Robot, powered by the IBM Watson AI, recently charmed attendees at Dx3 Canada with its ability to perceive human emotion, recognize faces and make conversation.
In fact, Pepper is so effective that in the near future it’s likely our favourite retail stores will be staffed with small armies of Peppers. Artificial intelligence will make a mark on our lives at home, too. JIBO, the world’s first social robot, can read & tell stories to children, proactively take photos at family gatherings, deliver hands-free messages and remind us of tasks while Cubic, a “personal AI with personality”, uses its advanced speech recognition capabilities to hold conversations including delivering traffic updates in the car, ordering delivery to our homes — even telling us jokes tailored to our senses of humour.
User Interfaces, Augmented Reality & Nanobots – Oh My!
User interfaces, the way we interact with computers & machines, are poised to make big changes in our lives. We’ll soon evolve from relatively commonplace smartphones, wearables and voice NLP to gesture controlled interfaces, augmented reality and smart contact lenses. Google is currently working on contact lenses that measure glucose levels in the tears of diabetics, reducing the need for painful blood testing, Are these smart contact lenses the future of computing interfaces? We’ll have to wait and watch. Plus, nanobots (tiny devices built at the scale of a nanometre) will no longer be a science-fiction concept, as their medical application will become an integral part of improving human health — for example, by drilling through blocked arteries to help treat heart disease. Will these nanobots soon become an extension of our brains, enabling us to tap into computing power in the cloud? Futurist Ray Kurzweil thinks so.
The Future is Now
It all boils down to this: as technology has become a key part of our everyday lives, it’s more important than ever to look ahead to see not only where we’re going, but how much further we can go. One of the Tuni Talks attendees asked our CEO, “Will technology be a threat to the human race in the future?” He responded, “We humans have the responsibility to shape technology towards our benefit. Let’s choose the right problems to solve with the power of technology. 50 million kids in the world are without elementary school. How about using technology to democratize education for them?”
Intel CIO Justin Rattner put it best:
Extend yourselves, imagine, think creatively about the problems in the world that you want to solve. With technology, you can achieve that.