For a decade, the smartphone has been at the center of our lives. In 2018 and beyond, new product innovation will shift to the various contexts where people use it, amplifying its capabilities.
We have selected 5 areas that we consider dominant for the mobile phone market in the next 3 to 5 years. This article is a glimpse at what could happen to the smartphone world in the near future, and where we believe players in the mobile phone market should focus on.
What's next in Mobile
5 Areas of focus
The five different areas we selected are connected by a common theme: user centered product and service relationships. None of these areas can offer groundbreaking value just on its own. However, when mixed together, they can become full immersive experiences that will drive consumers to explore new possibilities from their devices.
What does each of these areas mean for your business and organisation?
Scroll down to find out more!
A.I. & VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS
During recent Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events, the Nintendo Switch™ topped all other products: Offering a seamless gaming experience, consumers can now enjoy Nintendo videogames by themselves or with friends, at home on a big screen or with the portable console. This hype shows the importance of unique, but integrated experiences across different platforms.
WHAT IT IS
Multiplatform experiences allow interaction with the same content on different devices, locations and use cases. Regardless whether it’s a closed (Nintendo Switch) or an open (Netflix or Spotify) system, the content on the platform adapts - physically and virtually - in order for the user to enjoy it to its full extent.
We see people coming home and switching from listening to music on their phone to the sound system in the living room. Businesses are beginning to use smartphones to display content on big screens during meetings or conferences. Families start a voice call on their phones and turn it into a video calls on their TV. This is just the beginning.
By 2025 it is expected that we will each own 19 internet-connected devices. Challenges in the integration of new hardware built for new technologies such as VR and Wearables will be slowly overcome. Expect to see more integration of different hardware into a web of connections.
Just imagine the possibilities of integrating your device with your autonomous car in the future. The smartphone will be able to display any content on one of the car's built-in displays, it will connect as a dash camera or become a selfie camera for video calls or vlogging. At home, you will navigate through recipes on your phone and project them onto the counter using a beamer integrated into your down lights. All while your virtual assistant schedules your week autonomously in the background.
More than mirroring the content on other screens, the challenge is to enable consumers to navigate within a seamless experience from one device to the next one. Consequently, those features that are specific to a certain experience (e.g. the function of selecting a series-episode within Netflix) will be implemented on each platform to achieve an overall more “channel-agnostic” system.
Bringing a systems approach for different hardware is a must. The stand-alone smartphone world is disappearing. We are entering a new age of integration on multiple devices, hardware and software to create a seamless experience across all platforms.
Innovative companies will develop new accessories able to close the gap between the smartphone and new hardware, such as VR headsets, e-scooters, e-bikes, AVs or fabric wearables. So, take the chance to develop seamless user experiences within your system of tomorrow’s devices.
•Integrate phone user experience with new hardware technologies;
•Explore new forms on input matching the use cases such as gesture, voice, movement;
•Develop phone accessories able to bridge the UX gap from phone to other hardware;
While 2017 was the year when cryptocurrencies gained momentum, 2018 is expected to be the year of the block chain. The global mobile wallet market is expected to grow by more than 35%. In order to take part in this development, the players need trusted brand relationships as well as convenient and relevant interactions to win over customers.
WHAT IT IS
The WeChat phenomenon is slowly spreading through the entire world. The company’s clever combination of finance and communication services generates better offerings, higher quality data, insights on consumers and an open window for personalized shopping experiences. Facebook, Google, and Apple are now mimicking this success.
Mobile money refers to all financial capabilities you can access through your smartphone, and how they relate to other activities you use your phone for.
Currently, we order and pay taxis, buy movie tickets and pay at restaurants or rent bikes via our smartphones; we send money to friends and make group purchases. The biggest hurdle is the need for integration of payment platforms with local banking systems. Furthermore, these are still one-sided transactions which do not develop a meaningful relationship between businesses and customers.
Cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies will boost the mobile money market and bring a world of possibilities to your smartphone: multiple currency wallets, easy trade and exchange, investment, personal analytics and real time asset tracking. When you add machine learning to this mix, the possibilities are endless.
The devices enabling these transactions will become the trusted intermediary of financial services, while the relevance of credit cards and their brands is expected to decline
Instead of treating brands as anonymous organisations, we will see them come to life as characters or avatars: as another contact in your device that you can reach out to have a conversation with.
Think about the possibilities of safe and convenient interaction between companies and customers, when using the mobile phone wallet to create lasting and meaningful relationships.
Start bringing blockchain elements into your data security, while enabling new forms of peer-to-peer currency exchange. Companies are not yet settled in a system for personal identification, so it is a good moment to be bold. Find convenient ways to benefit from biometric identification possibilities via mobile devices such as fingerprint, face recognition or pulse patterns of smart watches in order to enable convenient and safe authentication.
Invest in phone technologies capable of enabling small business owners to have an ongoing and personalized relationship with their clients through their mobile devices.
•Develop a user centered approach for creating new safety measures on the phone;
•Explore new channels of communication between businesses and customers using real time blockchain data;
•Choose the right encryption platform for your business: the playing field of encryption technologies is constantly expanding: startups like IOTA have developed a new, lighter and faster method of called “Tangles” that can supposed to beat Blockchain at its own game.
Stand-alone point and shoot cameras are in decline, while photography is more popular than it has ever been. 98% of consumer cameras sold in 2016 were built into smart phones*. This is not only due to the fact that smart phone cameras can increasingly deliver results that were previously reserved to amateur or professional gear. The obvious advantage of built in cameras is their ease of use and the manifold opportunities, which lie in further sharing, manipulating and building content with these images using a smart device.
WHAT IT IS
Over 90% of smartphone buyers use their cameras heavily*. The camera is one of the key unique selling points for smartphones. A lot of technological partnering and innovation are entering this field. Since 2016, Huawei has been co-engineering its phone camera successfully with Leica in a co-branding partnership. Meanwhile the startup Light has started selling their 16 lenses-camera, which is believed to be the future of DSLRs, by delivering pro-level image quality in a smartphone form factor.
Photography has become a meaningful part of everyone’s life through social media, messaging apps and personal albums. Photos are not still images anymore. They mix with text, filters, movement, and emojis telling stories of our lives.
Apple recently acquired a company called InVisage, which is developing technology enabling high quality photography in low light. Qualcomm’s new technology InMotion, to be available on its upcoming Snapdragon 845 chipsets, uses computational processing to take a portion of the photo as video, while the rest remains motionless. These two examples stand for two general trends in camera development: Making it easier to take high quality photos and adding features for new types of content creation.
Instead of shooting a photo or a video, editing it and sending it to friends, consumers will be able to create, modify and share their stories in real time when the narrative is happening. All in high quality and high fidelity. Social media photos will increasingly become more gamified and these new technologies will make content more personal.
•Rethink the camera experience from “registering a moment” to “content creation”;
•Facilitate the user experience transition in between different formats such as AR, VR and 360°;
Stop thinking of photos and videos. Think of images - whether still or moving - as a new medium of personal expression and storytelling. Improving camera hardware is just one step of the chain. Integration with new creative platforms for VR, AR, AI and channels for sharing and interacting with these new formats will be the focus of most companies.
Developing a user centered experience for the camera, while integrating exciting new functions is a must. Consumers want to use their cameras to create stories, not just still images. They want better ways to keep up-to-date with rich media content without having to check endless streams of new posts.
Augmented Reality will provide another spice into the mix to develop your stories, and smartphones need to be able to address its integration with everything else on the phone.
As of the third quarter of 2017, there were 2,78 billion social media users accessing content via their mobile. Nearly 80% of all social media time spent by users happens on mobile devices. Social media usage is growing by one new member every 15 seconds - do we need to stress the importance of mobile social media any further?
WHAT IT IS
Social Media is the biggest digital influence in our lives. And it is expanding in different streams, becoming even more important to the young and upcoming generations. It reaches out into fields such as communication, photography, gaming, live broadcasting, affecting our behavior, mindset and fields of interest.
Social Media is about communication. By sharing content, commenting on posts, sending direct messages or live broadcasting we are contacting each other in diverse ways. We see communication and multimedia channels merging from both directions. While communication apps, such as WhatsApp, are jumping on the social media train by implementing features for sharing stories, social media, apps such as Instagram are implementing communication tools like Direct to message their peers.
Live broadcast will become increasingly popular, adding the opportunity of live interaction through comments, likes, up/downvotes. While enjoying on demand content, consumers will have the opportunity of shaping communication in a way that meets their interests.
User behavior online will become more accountable as tools for transparency take place. Strong fight against fake news will clash against AI generated content. Families will be increasingly worried about children’s content consumption.
Meanwhile, new ways to create content using wearables, implants, VR and AR will take place, turning these products from consumption only, to creation and consumption.
•Center the smartphone interface and features around internet-based social functions;
•Allow the user to filter social media content and advertisement based on their interests;
•Customize different features of each social media to better display in a dual-screen phone;
This is a great moment for the smartphone to become the center of content creation. The best devices will enable users to go beyond consuming to co-creating using other accessories and new tech. Finding ways to seamlessly integrate content from different sources is key.
As more and more communication is happening via a user-installed app, and hardly through a phone's pre-installed messaging- or calling-function, it might be the right moment to start shifting the smartphone user experience to emphasize that.
Machine learning (ML) has begun to infiltrate our lives in a multitude of ways without us even noticing. It is the underlying technology used in self-driving car systems, speech recognition, language translation, effective web search and others. Consequently, it is believed to be the core technology in order to advance to a human-level AI.
AI & VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS
WHAT IT IS
Computers as personal assistants have already entered our lives, but they are still in their infancy: With virtual assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, we are heading towards fully integrating artificial intelligence (AI) making it more convenient to move, shop, travel, and search.
Machine learning is the ability of a computer to understand and react to behaviors, needs and habits without the need of individual programming. Machine learning will help to improve and personalize AI and ultimately enable Virtual Assistants by giving them an increasingly natural way to interact with us and adapt to our needs. Great progress has been made in this direction, but we are still experimenting how to deliver the information to the user.
In the future, AI will help us to improve our quality of life in a fast-paced society. With AI understanding our needs and notifying us accordingly, we will be able to focus on the important things in life rather than spending time organizing it.
Instead of opening four different messaging apps all our messages will be combined into one feed. Rather than reading repeated news from different sources, you will have one feed according to your personal taste and settings. Instead of downloading boarding passes or concert tickets to your smartphone, location-based triggers will provide easy access for individuals fluent or not in technology.
The smartphone will become a “personal command center” with AI as its brain.
Integrate systems into mobile products, wearables etc. that will interpret user data into understanding their user’s moods, needs and from that predict relevant future actions. Machines will become creative and write stories or create products. They will know your personal needs, even emotions, and react to them. However, we need consistency in their methods to inform us.
Outputting this information is an important part of this. Device manufacturers are looking for new ways to display multiple streams of information. Dual screens, flexible screens and multi-window operating systems are interesting solutions only if they are governed by a strong “intelligent” component behind, able to filter and manage all relevant notifications.
New APIs for managing multiple contents are already becoming popular. Yet creating user-centered convenience by organizing, grouping and displaying information from multiple apps is still a challenge for all innovators.
•Create clever ways to display, group, and show relevant information, backed by a strong AI;
•Explore automatic triggers based on location, time, events and user situations;
•Build new AI based use case scenarios centered on children and elderly;
We researched these areas of interest to provide a base from where we can start a conversation on how to succeed in this disruptive market. Together with your management team, we can define the scope, the areas of interest and the right direction for improvement.
Researching and generating insights on a specific segment such as the ones given here can help any business, nonetheless they will not be enough without a proper planning and unified vision for the future. The team at studiomem has been helping clients for more than 15 years to achieve their goals and vision for the future through the development of long standing product and service relationships.