by Kevin Rands

5 technologies disrupting the app development industry

Nov 20, 2017
Artificial IntelligenceDeveloperInternet of Things

Developers who want to be at the top of their game will need to roll with the times and constantly innovate, whether theyu2019re playing around with new form factors or whether theyu2019re learning to code in a new language.

apps mobile
Credit: Thinkstock

There’s no denying the influence that technology has over our modern society. We live and breathe the stuff, whether we’re sitting at a desktop computer in the office or whether we’re checking our heart rates from our smartwatches, fiddling with our iPhones or talking to Amazon’s Alexa.

Technology is disrupting every industry there is, and we’re all aware of that. But what’s even more interesting is the way that technology now moves so quickly that even relatively new fields – like the field of professional app development – are being disrupted by the next generation of tech.

Moore’s Law famously states that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits will continue to double every year in the foreseeable future. In layman’s terms, that means that technology is getting faster and more powerful while simultaneously becoming more lightweight, and it’s happening at an alarming rate.

But with so much disruption on the horizon, what does this mean for app developers? Let’s find out.

1. AI and machine Learning

Sure, there are many in the tech industry who believe that artificial intelligence is going to kill us all, but we prefer to be optimistic. The truth is that AI and machine learning have the potential to revolutionize the world as we know it, especially if there’s enough data to learn from and enough processing power to arrive at a conclusion.

For app developers, this means that they’ll be able to harness the awesome powers of AI and machine learning within their own applications. Netflix uses it to power their recommendations. YouTube uses it to filter out content that isn’t advertiser friendly. It can deliver a more intuitive, user-friendly experience and be used to increase the amount of time that people spend within the app. What’s not to love?

2. The Internet of Things

The internet of things is powered by wearable devices, and it may well be the internet of things that gives app developers the data they need to process with AI and machine learning. We’re already seeing the influence of the internet of things when we look at devices like the Fitbit and the plethora of apps that can integrate with that data to provide personalized health suggestions.

As more and more devices are hooked up to the internet, app developers will have more and more platforms to play with. It’s no longer just a case of Android and iOS. There are virtual reality devices to consider and smartwatches to integrate with. Some app developers are turning their attention to the Amazon Echo and the Google Home to deploy voice apps for people to use. And then there are smart fridges and all sorts of other devices we can’t even begin to imagine.

3. Blockchain

Blockchain technology was created by the legendary Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin. It forms the backbone of cryptocurrency technology, but it also has the potential to cross over to all sorts of other industries. At its simplest level, it’s a digital ledger of transactions that’s impossible to hack or corrupt, which makes it a great way to store all different types of data – and not just cryptocurrency.

Because of this, blockchain technology is breaking out into all sorts of other industries, and it’s likely that app developers are going to need to wrap their heads around it sooner rather than later so that they can use the blockchain approach when it comes to storing user data and other digital information.

4. Self-driving tech

Self-driving technology is already set to change the automotive industry, as well as the way that we live our lives. But with that will come a new opportunity for app developers to create accompanying apps for these vehicles. For example, who will be the Uber of the self-driving taxi industry? And who will build the Waze that self-driving vehicles from different manufacturers can use to communicate and share data?

App developers have been building applications for cars for years now, but the cars of the future will be more powerful and more connected than ever before. And with all of those sensors covering your vehicle, how cool would it be to have a suite of apps that help you to monitor and control your car’s performance over time?

5. AR and VR

Everyone is excited about artificial reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) because we’re finally at a point at which the technology is simultaneously powerful and affordable. It’s been a classic case of app developers having to wait for the hardware to catch up with them, but we’re finally there thanks to cheap headsets like Google Cardboard and other rigs that can be used to turn a smartphone into a VR machine.

We only have to look at the success of Pokémon Go to see that augmented reality apps can become a global phenomenon, and it’s just a matter of time before the next big AR or VR app takes the world by storm. Until then, you can be sure that there are plenty of app developers out there who can’t wait to give it their best shot.

What’s next?

Ultimately, when it comes to disruption for app developers, it’s likely to continue indefinitely into the future. The proliferation of new form factors and the widespread innovation we see when it comes to internet-connected devices means that the only thing we can be certain of is uncertainty.

That means that developers who want to be at the top of their game will need to roll with the times and constantly innovate, whether they’re playing around with new form factors or whether they’re learning to code in a new language.

The good news is that apps are becoming more and more of a part of our daily lives, and they’re increasingly being used in the developing world as people connect to the internet for the first time through a mobile device. The market has never been bigger – and it’s only going to continue to grow in the years to come. It’s an exciting time to be an app developer.