What is the future of mobile app development and communication?

What is the future of mobile app development and communication?

Fifty years ago, the communication tools we rely on today were only science fiction. Today, on even the most basic smartphone you can make calls, watch video’s, listen to music, surf the Web, play games, run applications and accomplish more than most speculative science fiction writers dared to dream.

We’ve become accustomed to using our smartphones for everything from listening to music, taking pictures, reading news and posting on social media to shopping and making financial transactions. For many people, smartphones have taken the place of once common everyday implements like tape measures, flashlights and wristwatches.

But with technological progress moving at breakneck speed these days, it’s strange to think that the smartphone, and how we communicate as we know it has a limited life expectancy.

So, what’s next?

Smartphones and mobile devices will look different

In the short term, we’ll likely see basic cell phones slowly fade away. As smartphones become more common and less expensive, more people will adopt them. In the future your smartphones will also look and serve you in a much different way than it does now.

Which leads to the big question; what’s going to replace the smartphone? Advances in technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, flexible frames, holographic displays and wearable electronics will spawn a new generation of devices that could change our everyday existence even more than the smartphone did.

It’s a pretty safe bet to say that they won’t be palm-sized rectangles with glass screens — or any screen at all, for that matter. And they may not even be a single gadget. Some futurologists predict that the smartphone will give way to personal area networks — clusters of tiny gadgets concealed in beads in a necklace or built into eyeglasses or contact lenses.

The fact is clear, the transition we’re about to experience is that we’re going to go from accessing the internet to living in the internet.

5G Technology

It’s been nearly a decade in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality in South Africa. Vodacom started rolling out its 5G network to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria in early May 2020.

5G is the 5th generation of mobile networks, a significant evolution of today’s 4G LTE networks. 5G has been designed to meet the need for faster connections, greater capacity due to the very large growth in data and connectivity of today’s modern society, the internet of things with billions of connected devices, and tomorrow’s innovations.

So, what will 5G enable? There are three major categories of use case for 5G:

  • A basic app an application with simple functionality that requires approximately 350-700 hours on development.
  • A medium complexity app takes from 700 to 1,000 hours.
  • A sophisticated app, with a backend and api integrations in most cases, exceeds 1,200 hours on development.


  • Massive machine to machine communications – also called the Internet of Things (IoT) 5G, has the potential to impact various industries and revolutionise modern industrial processes and applications including agriculture, automotive, healthcare manufacturing and business communications.
  • Ultra-reliable low latency communications – Low latency communications also opens up a new world where remote medical care, procedures, and treatment are all possible. It will allow for the mission critical control of devices, industrial robotics, vehicle to vehicle communications and safety systems, autonomous driving and safer transport networks in real-time.
  • Enhanced mobile broadband – providing significantly faster data speeds and greater capacity keeping the world connected.
  • New revenue streams – It has been observed that the 5G network has the possibility to unlock up to $12.3 trillion of revenue, crosswise a broad range of telecom industries.
  • Creating new growth and jobs – It is predictable that by the year 2035, the output from the global value chain of 5G (network operators) will be superior to what the entire mobile value chain is at present.

What will the benefits be?

  • For communities – 5G will enable the connection of billions of devices for our smart cities, smart schools and smart homes, smart and safer vehicles, enhance health care and education, and provide a safer and more efficient place to live.
  • For businesses and industry – 5G and IoT will pave the way for cost savings, better customer experience and long-term growth, as a result off a wealth of data allowing them to gain insights into their operations like never before. Businesses will operate and make key decisions driven by data, innovate in agriculture, smart farms and manufacturing.
  • New and emerging technologies – Virtual and augmented reality will be accessible by everyone, providing shared and connected experiences that were not possible before.
Although 5G will undoubtedly change the way we interact with each other and consume media, the change won’t happen overnight. It will be a few years before 5G is up and running smoothly across the whole of South Africa.

Trends that will define the Future of Mobile Application Development

Technology has always been a step ahead of expectations but what can’t be predicted is where the change will come from.

It is an undeniable fact that data is the future of mobile communications. While most of today’s services are already based on this premise, even voice calling, as we know it today, is guaranteed to become obsolete in the coming years. This means that no matter what people do on their device, businesses will need to create an app for that.

Moreover, since this transformation brings convenience for users and a whole set of benefits for businesses, to capitalize on these opportunities, executives must take bold action to transform their businesses.

So, what can we expect?

1. Artificial intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence has penetrated our mobile world, and everyday we are seeing more advancements in mobile AI. You may be familiar with some of these:

  • Alexa
  • Siri
  • Cortana
  • Google Assistant

Not only can and will AI software help developers and marketers learn more about the user, ultimately, they will use this technology to extract insights about your users for attaining the output you desire.

2. Wearable Devices

Wearable devices connected with smartphones will open up new opportunities for vendors, app developers, and accessory makers.

These gadgets will communicate with mobile applications to deliver information in new ways, it also means that the smartphone will become the hub of a personal-area network consisting of wearable gadgets such as on-body healthcare sensors, smart jewellery, smart watches, display devices and a variety of sensors embedded in clothes and shoes.

This in turn will enable a wide range of products and services in areas such as sport, fitness, fashion, hobbies and healthcare.

Take Fitbit as an example. All the movements of a person wearing it can be tracked through an app. Users can check their heart rates and how many miles they walked in a day, among other things.

By syncing with mobile devices, these apps can be used socially as well. People can compare their progress with their friends and make it a competition.

3. The Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile connect smart devices

Gartner says there will be 26 billion connected devices by 2020 which includes several hundred smart objects that will all form part of the Internet of Things and will communicate through an App on a smartphone or tablet.

These domestic smart objects, such as LED light bulbs, toys, domestic appliances, sports equipment, medical devices and controllable power sockets etc. will all be remote controlled by smartphones and tablets, displaying and analyzing information, interfacing with social networks to monitor “things” that can tweet or post, paying for subscription services, ordering replacement consumables and updating object firmware.

4. M-Commerce

M-Commerce is here to stay, and most if not all technology and financial analysts believe positive trend in mobile purchases will continue over the next few years as more and more consumers adapt to m-commerce.

Increasing popularity of Tap and Go, SnapScan and other mobile payment gateways will facilitate purchases using the mobile phones instead of debit or credit cards. This will require developers to build a mobile application that can process transactions without the need of physical debit/credit cards or cash.

Coupled with wearables that can process payments m-commerce will take a different shape. Beyond data collection and predictive analytics, wearables will also play a key role in the future of mobile payments and customer loyalty.

5. Motion and location sensing and tracking

Knowing an individual’s location to within a few meters is useful for providing highly relevant contextual information and services such as games, vehicle navigation, and fitness apps, not to mention for security and emergency medical assistance services.

Most mobile phones have location sensor capabilities which use multiple positioning methods to provide different granularities of location data. In the future technologies such as smart lighting will also become important. Precise indoor location sensing, combined with mobile applications, will enable a new generation of extremely personalized services and information.

A very topical example would be the Covid-19 pandemic, and how the Chinese government is using tracking apps to try and keep the spread of Covid-19 in check while the country moves toward lifting the lockdown.

For the full explanation on how they are doing it please see here.

6. Innovative mobile user experience design

Remember when everyone was going crazy about Pokemon Go? The entire premise of that game was based on augmented reality on a mobile device.
We found some mind-blowing statistics about the game and how successful it was:

  • over 800 million downloads
  • more than 5 million daily active users
  • $1.2 billion total revenue

Those numbers speak for themselves. Based on the success of apps such as Pokemon Go, Snapchat, and Instagram, more businesses have been trying to incorporate augmented reality into their mobile technology.

On the other end of the spectrum you will find virtual reality, which is not quite the same as augmented reality. You’ll need more than just a smartphone to experience virtual reality.

Typically, a helmet or some type of goggles gets used simultaneously with your mobile device. This technology may even come with a joystick or controller.

It is a given that effective display of data and content on your mobile user interface will gain increased importance for a sound user experience. This means that all organizations will have to master new skills and work with new partners to meet growing user expectations

7. Enterprise mobile management and mobility

Enterprise mobile management (EMM) is a set of people, processes, and technology using mobile computing for streamlining businesses. The main dimensions of EMM are security, application management, workflows and financial management.

We predict; the market for Enterprise Ready apps and mobile services will grow hugely in a few years to come. Such tools will mature, grow in scope and eventually address a wide range of mobile management needs across all popular Operating Systems on smartphones, tablets, and PCs.

The skills required in building enterprise apps are in greater demand than ever now compelling businesses to take mobility seriously. Businesses should keep an eye on these trends to align their mobile application development strategies.

In Summary

Though the future of telecommunication and mobile app development sounds very progressive, and certainly is impressive, these are still just a few changes that we predict will occur in the future, in a few years to come.

Next-generation personal communication devices may also change us in other ways that we haven’t yet envisioned. As with the smartphone, we’ll just have to start using them to find out.

One thing you can be sure of is that the app development industry will keep on growing always, and every time it grows, takes a new leap, it will open more opportunities, more development, and a brighter future for one and all.