The mobile landscape is in for big changes in 2014. Here are five predictions I think will impact smartphone and tablet users in the year ahead and beyond.
1) The Year Mobile Gets Personal
In the past it’s been up to us to locate the information we need on our mobile devices. 2014 is the year our mobile devices begin working for us.
In 2014 we’ll move one step closer towards the realization of the semantic web with the arrival of predictive technologies like Google Now. Think location-based, timely reminders delivered to you with no prompting.
Other examples: In 2014, when you walk by your local grocery store, your mobile device will automatically display your grocery list reminding you that you're out of bread. When you arrive at the airport, your device will bring up your boarding pass.
2. The 'iBeacon Economy' Explodes
Apple’s iOS7 update came with some pretty fantastic features this year, but perhaps the most interesting new kid on the block is iBeacon.
Using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, iBeacon equipped devices provide what is referred to as “micro-location context.” With iBeacons, our devices know exactly where we are (even when we’re inside) and will automatically deliver location-relevant information to us in real-time.
Retailers with wireless beacons in their stores can now create custom shopping experiences, sending us relevant photos, videos, reviews, and pricing directly to our devices as we browse the store.
Clear uses will be offers and product information, but also payment (e.g., at a coffee shop, your phone could know it was within a foot of the register, receive the payment request via an app, and a user would simply hit “approve” on their device without needing to scan) and offering content (e.g., magazines in a doctor’s office).
Some of the greatest applications may be outside of retail, such as the lights in your home coming on as you pull into your driveway or your car updating all its seat, mirror and entertainment settings for each driver.
3) Massive adoption of workplace apps
While there’s been BYOD talk all year, in 2014 we will actually begin to see a marked increase in the adoption of BYOD in the workplace as well as broader distribution of tablets in general.
In 2014 we'll see organizations increasingly allow employees to submit time cards, expense reports, check payroll, carry out HR functions, and create IT tickets using mobile apps. Mobile will drive business interactions with corporate systems across the board this year.
4) Mobile security backlash
Particularly given 2013’s NSA leak, mobile security will continue to be a hot topic for companies and individuals in 2014. Individuals will increasingly realize their mobile footprint is unsecured to both governments and large corporations, and companies will realize their most sensitive communications are susceptible to monitoring by governments and, potentially, competitors.
To better address user concerns, mobile strategists and developers will be tapped to architect mobile security solutions across all major platforms this year.
5) RIP: standardized platforms
In the past, large enterprises “got mobile” using standardized platforms. It was cheap and it was easy. Unfortunately, the end result was their mobile programs looked just like everyone else’s.
Mobile 1.0 is gone. Now, and for the foreseeable future, mobile will increasingly impact relationships companies have with their consumers, clients and employees.
This means the standardized platforms of the past won’t cut it moving forward.
How companies deal with mobile (both internally and externally) will impact their business interests and drive relationships, and huge future opportunities will be missed unless they invest in the creation of differentiated and unique mobile experiences, starting now.
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