Mobility is playing an increasingly large role in both our personal and professional lives. Here we look at 6 trends that promise to accelerate that trend over the coming year.
The thermostat, the fridge, the oven, your lights. All connected to the internet, and accessible via your smartphone. Your house always at the right temperature, with the right ambiance, a well-stocked fridge, and your oven already warmed up to get your dinner on when you’re back from a smartwatch dictated training run.
1. Mobile payment
Developments around mobile banking have sped up enormously over the last few years. Moving money between accounts with an app is now quicker and easier than taking money out of a cash machine. However, one area we’ve heard a great deal about, but are yet to see much of in practice, is mobile payments.
Until now. 2014 will be remembered as the year of the mobile payment. Google Wallet, PayPal Beacon and a number of other providers are going to make paying at the till with your mobile device possible. We can, for example, already order and pay in hospitality venues with our phones thanks to the Rabobank.
And the most important technology? Bluetooth, Wifi, or Near Field Communication? Time will tell, with the last of these options feeling the safest, easiest and most familiar of the payment experiences.
2. Mobile Households
The Internet Of Things is going to be increasingly visible in the average home. Many people already have the opportunity to set the right temperature at home while they’re on the way back. It won’t be long before we’re warming the oven and turning the coffee on from our beds. Or having a look from the supermarket if there are indeed still eggs in the fridge. Or maybe even let the fridge itself do the ordering.
Think of ideas like NetFlix, and the no-longer-required trip to the DVD rental. A huge range of the latest films on demand, organized via your TV remote. It’s smart use of technology that saves ‘low-value’ time, and it’s hugely popular. Helping us all save our precious free time is creating serious business opportunities. This drive, together with seamless transition between phone, tablet, laptop and TV, will make it easy to manage an increasingly wide range of daily activities online via our mobiles.
3. Wearable mobile
Our mobile phones have already been transplanted form our pockets to our hands as permanent accessories. This year we’ll be going another step further though – literally ‘wearing’ our mobile devices. Wearables are already a hype thanks to approaching launch of Google Glass and Samsung’s new Galaxy products, and it’s expected that this technology will be increasingly adopted by a range of professional and recreational disciplines.
Smart watches with built in heart rate and /or blood pressure monitors will form great additions to the wide range of already immensely popular sport apps like Runtastic and Elvy. The technology will also help medical professionals to simplify, speed up and personalize and range of care activities. The full commercial launch of Google Glass will also undoubtedly see an explosion in creative applications, aimed at both our professional and personal mobile activities.
4. Mobile security
Now that an increasingly important share of both our personal and professional lives is managed by our smartphones, the security offered by these devices is going to become increasingly important. The steadily increasing volume of user names and passwords, and the lack of security often associated with them will only serve to give the trend a boost.
The first finger print scanners are already available, and biometric and face recognition technology won’t be far behind. The latter of these is likely to be the most successful according to security experts – quite simply because it promises to be the most trustworthy.
5. Mobile internet
With the enormous increase in mobile internet usage, a mobile ready website has become an absolute must have for businesses. Through the focus that they are going to create here in the coming period, we expect a significant step forward in what the average mobile website can deliver. And not just the websites – mobile web browsers will also have to invest to keep up with market expectations. The rise of adaptive, responsive design and further expansion of HTML 5 will likely make it possible for mobile websites to deliver as good an experience as native applications.
6. Mobile working
More and more businesses are commissioning apps for their customers and/or employees. The ease of use associated with apps suggests an increase in employee productivity when they’re made available, and ease of access to customers to simplify and smooth the sales pipeline.
More and more development platforms are appearing, and software suppliers are making their products suitable for access via mobile applications. Businesses that accept responsibility for the security and management of these apps take pressure away from entrepreneurs who find managing their own safety too big a step forward. This makes it easier, and indeed cheaper for businesses to develop their own apps – a trend we’ll only see further accelerate in 2014.