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January 22, 2014

Mobile Apps Will Take the World by Storm by 2017

A new report out of Stamford, CT from the Gartner Group sees mobile apps as being a vehicle for cognizant computing. Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner, said "Cognizant computing takes intelligent actions on behalf of users based on their historical data, preferences and rules. It can predict user needs and complete tasks without users initiating the action or interfering with the service. It can take the very simplistic format of completing a recurring event such as to turn on the water heater at a preset time, or the more sophisticated format of calling the rescue services and connecting with the doctor when an emergency occurs.”

Part of the reason that cognizant computing will move ahead is due to the increase in wearable devices. Since the user has fewer opportunities to input data on a wearable device, it will depend more on apps to drive its functionality.

This report predicts that in just a few years, by 2017, the number of mobile app downloads will exceed 268 billion. In turn, this will generate more than $77 billion. In essence, it will only take a couple of years for mobile apps to be one of the most popular computing tools for users on a worldwide basis.

Gartner forecasts that mobile users will provide personalized data streams to more than 100 apps and services every day. "Mobile apps have become the official channel to drive content and services to consumers. From entertainment content to productivity services, from quantified-self to home automation, there is an app for practically anything a connected consumer may want to achieve. This connection to consumer services means users are constantly funneling data through mobile apps. As users continue to adopt and interact with apps, it is their data — what they say, what they do, where they go — that is transforming the app interaction paradigm." These are the comments of Brian Blau, who is the research director at Gartner.

Mobile apps appear to be a two way street. The apps provide companies the opportunity to reach their customers. Through the use of these mobile apps the connection is more direct. On the return trip, app users are providing enormous amounts of data that is often treated as a resource. Both sides benefit.

Blau said, "In the next three to four years, apps will no longer be simply confined to smartphones and tablets, but will impact a wider set of devices, from home appliances to cars and wearable devices. By 2017, Gartner predicts that wearable devices will drive 50 percent of total app interactions."

Blau goes on to say, "While wearable devices will not fully rely on, or be a slave to, mobile devices, it is a way for manufacturers to keep these devices small and efficient, therefore significantly reducing device costs in favor of using apps, which are more easily maintained and updated. Considering their underlying service, most wearable devices need some type of user interface. Taking the example of a fitness-tracking device, ultimately its onboard data will need to be uploaded into the cloud, processed, and then analyzed in reporting back to the user. Apps are an obvious and convenient platform to enable great products and services to be developed."

If user data is one of the keys to moving in this direction, then large service providers such as Google and Amazon will most likely have a big head start. They have been collecting this type of data from consumers for several years. That means that they should already have a large repository of user data that can be analyzed.

Here is that two way street again! Because consumers trust these brands to manage their personal data, they are more willing to share and let themselves be followed. On the other hand, newcomers in this area will have to begin by building trust and relationships first.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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