Most apps are boring. Sensors can help. Sensors are data collectors that measure physical properties such as location, pressure, humidity, touch, voice and much more. You can find sensors almost everywhere these days, most obviously in mobile devices that have accelerometers, GPS and microphones. But most apps use only a fraction of sensors\u2019 full capabilities.\n\nApps without sensors fly blind. They don\u2019t listen. In short, despite their best efforts, they are at a disadvantage. But as sensors continue to proliferate, leading application developers will eagerly use them to make existing apps smarter and ultimately improve customer experiences.\n\nSensors allow you to incorporate advanced functions into your apps in three ways:\n\n\nContent enrichment lets users see what they can\u2019t see. A simple display of sensor data can add value to almost any application. For example, if you use Google Maps to calculate a route, it also provides real-time traffic information generated from location sensors in smartphones. Commonwealth Bank of Australia has an app for prospective realty buyers. Their app uses the phone\u2019s GPS, accelerometer and camera to overlay images of nearby properties onto the landscape as you pan your phone around.\nContext detection. For example, Philips is testing an in-store navigation system that uses a mobile handset\u2019s camera to detect LEDs in the ceiling and figure out the customer\u2019s location. In the future, Google\u2019s traffic information could be enhanced as sensor data from cars\u2014like braking, steering-wheel movement and windshield wiper activity\u2014indicates rain, snow or icy conditions.\nPredictive apps anticipate what users need even before the users realize they need it and helps them make that happen without searching through menus or swiping the screen excessively. Union Pacific uses acoustic and visual sensors to predict possible train derailments. And Mercedes-Benz USA uses sensors in some car models to predict when a driver is becoming fatigued and then push a \u201ctake a break\u201d notification to the instrument panel.\n\nMike Gualtieri is a principal analyst at Forrester Research, serving application development and delivery professionals.