In recent years, mobile-first development dominated the minds of software teams. These days, it’s no longer a new concept; it’s accepted wisdom. But, the premise behind it still holds true.

Enterprises are moving away from responsive desktop development to robust mobile apps. All the same features, just in a smaller, easier-to-use package. Now, new technologies and wearable tech devices are trending, promising a vibrant future for all things mobile.

But what will that mean for your mobile development cycles?

Emerging mobile development trends to look out for

The mobile enterprise application market is set to reach $268.14 billion by 2030, nearly $180 billion more than in 2021. It’s easy to see why. The pandemic shifted us to remote working, and mobile apps facilitated this change. Subsequently, mobile enterprise apps are rapidly outpacing their desktop counterparts.

With that in mind, here are the top technologies spearheading the surge of interest:

1. AR/VR

Enterprises are eager to embed AR/VR into their apps, especially now that AR/VR development kits are widely available. This is because AR/VR apps enhance the full spectrum of business activities—including everything from product conception and design, right up to manufacture and retail.

And it’s not just one or two industries that will get the benefits. For example, in the retail industry AR can enable customers to interact with products before purchasing, creating a more engaging customer experience. In healthcare, VR applications can train staff to complete complex procedures, boosting patient outcomes and addressing talent gaps.

2. Digital wallets

Digital and mobile wallets accounted for 44.5 percent of ecommerce transactions in 2020.

With the rise in digital wallet purchases among consumers, enterprises are investigating ways to implement digital payments into their existing applications. But it’s not just a B2C phenomenon. For B2B payments, digital wallets enable the processing of overseas funds with ease. It also allows SaaS companies to break into new markets and charge in local currencies.

3. AI & ML

The adoption of AI/ML in development enhances enterprise mobile apps by perfectly complementing existing enterprise software. Artificial intelligence enables companies to automate their manual business operations and remotely manage performance, saving time and money.

It’s not just internally beneficial either. AI/ML also vastly improves customer user experience through intelligent chatbots and automated service routes.

4. Blockchain and decentralized apps

The blockchain isn’t just about cryptocurrency. Distributed ledger technology—which keeps a record of every transaction—will hugely benefit industries like finance and healthcare. This is because it can remove intermediaries and decentralize control.

You’ll probably see more and more blockchain usage in enterprise mobile apps. This is due to how it can boost accountability across supply chain processes and seamlessly integrate with IoT devices.

What will this mean for the mobile app market?

Apple currently holds the market share with almost 63 percent of global revenue in 2021, but things are shifting. The mobile app market will soon become the AFK (away from keyboard) market.

As mobile enterprise apps fall out of the spotlight, it’s wearable technology that’s taking center stage. Just as remote work is something employees have come to expect, demand for an AFK mode for most applications will be too.

Currently, most wearables depend on another device, such as a smartphone or a desktop. But, as development gradually expands, those separate devices will soon become redundant. And that’s what’s going to disrupt the current duopoly battle between Android and iOS. Blue-collar workers will continue to become tech-enabled, without relying on separate office devices to carry out their work.

For development teams looking to meet this change, you’ll need to assess your product roadmaps. The idea of desk work will seem quaint to us in a decade or two. As such, being conscious of how users’ needs will change is critical. Standard smartphone apps will quickly fall into redundancy once the wearable tech infrastructure is in place.

More feathers in the app

With so much new tech on the horizon, this might feel a little daunting if you’re a developer. Will it affect the way you work? Do you need new skills? Are your tried and tested development processes now sorely out of date?

Luckily, another area on the rise is cross-platform development. So, regardless of new device releases, you’ll still be able to develop using single-source tools like React Native or Unity. Knowing what tool to use will come down to the project at hand, but the extra flexibility is comforting.

Of course, if you need a helping hand to accelerate your time-to-market using these new technologies, talk to one of our specialists today.