Believe it or not, smartphones have been around since 1994, and the first smartphone had more than 10 applications built in and installed.
However, smartphones have come a long way since IBM’s Simon.
The first BlackBerry that came out in 2002 gave us the qwerty keyboard along with wireless e-mail.
Additionally, the first iPhone, which was a game-changer in its own right, came out in June 2007, giving us state-of-the-art applications like Maps and Weather.
Before the launch of the iPhone 3G, Apple made it possible for any software developer to create their own application, enabling both people and corporations to upload their applications onto the App Store.
Since then, mobile applications have been evolving at an exponential rate.
After all, Google creating the Google Play Store just made applications more accessible to developers and companies, many of whom have realized that the right application could make them millions.
Mobile applications have been propelled by the concurrent advancements in technology. The evolution of mobile connectivity radically changed what applications were able to do.
So, while 2G technology gave us text messaging, 3G technology put the power of the internet at our fingertips, and 4G was more than just a minor upgrade to 3G technology.
One can only imagine how 5G technology will change the landscape.
Another technological advancement that has impacted the world of mobile applications has been Big Data.
It has expanded the capabilities of developers, allowing them to create better and smarter apps.
What Exactly Is Big Data?
As technology advances, the amount of data we generate daily increases accordingly.
In fact, it is estimated that we generate more than 2.5 quintillion bytes every day and that almost 90 percent of the data we have today was generated over the past five years.
As businesses have been looking for ways to make sense of all of this generated data, Big Data has come into play.
Simply put, Big Data is the use of statistics and other mathematical means to find meaningful patterns and insights hidden with large swathes of data.
These insights can then lead to cost savings, higher efficiencies, and better decisions.
When the concept of Big Data was still in its infancy back in the early 2000s, an industry analyst named Doug Laney identified Big Data with the three V’s. Let’s go into them.
The data that is collected comes from various sources, such as business transactions, IoT devices, and social media.
Even though aggregating all the data from these different sources poses a storage problem, the fact of the matter is that we today have cheap storage solutions that can handle these gargantuan demands.
Data today is generated at a breakneck pace, yet businesses still need to find a way to handle all of it efficiently and on time.
At the end of the day, outdated data is useless data.
Seeing as data comes from different sources, this means that not all the data will come in the same format. Some data will be structured, while other data will be noisy and cluttered.
Nevertheless, every type of data needs to be handled in an appropriate manner.
How Has Big Data Impacted the World of Mobile Applications?
Now that we have a clearer understanding of what Big Data is, we can assess how it has been transforming the world of mobile applications.
In essence, it has brought about change in three main areas:
- Giving customers better apps
- Enabling companies to better market and sell to their customers
- Improving company operations and efficiencies
We are going to look into each of these aspects more closely.
Giving Customers Better Applications
Big Data makes applications better for users in a variety of ways, from catering to their needs more accurately, to providing a better user experience.
Making Applications More Customer-Centric
In 2013, Forbes released an article detailing the necessary steps of building an app.
The methodology boiled down to the following: figure out what you wanted to do, guess the best way to do it, and then test your hypothesis.
It was crude, but it was what developers had to go on back then.
Today, Big Data has helped companies get rid of much of the required guesswork. It has informed developers not only of what customers want but also of what they are willing to pay for.
It has also empowered companies to understand their customers on a granular level, analyzing various target segments and figuring out how to best serve each of them.
Moreover, it has paved the way for behavioral analytics, showing companies the best models to predict different customer behaviors.
Enhancing the User Experience
Even though two applications might serve the same need, their user experience might be so different that one of them becomes an overnight success, while the other fades into obscurity.
This matters all the more when you consider how convenient apps are and how much interaction takes place between users and their apps.
Fortunately, Big Data can be useful here, as well.
It can convey which types of experiences yield positive results and which repel users.
This shows developers which features and pages can provide the optimal experience and give the users a delightful time every time they open the application.
Improving Sales and Marketing
Beyond the app itself, Big Data can show companies the best way to market their product and increase conversions. Here’s how.
Improving Marketing Strategies
For starters, it can give them an accurate reading of the market, laying out the terrain and highlighting the strength and weaknesses of the competition.
Using historical data surrounding previous campaigns, Big Data can show companies which customers are most likely to use the new app and how to best approach this segment.
In fact, Big Data can provide most of the necessary information required when creating a business plan that justifies the existence of the app, including the costs of creating the app and the costs of running and maintaining it.
Increasing Sales Conversions
Every app is built with a goal in mind: some as a way to facilitate communication with the consumer, others are meant to be monetized to generate revenue, while some are developed to make customers’ lives easier.
Regardless of the purpose, a company needs to figure out how to make sure that the app crosses the finish line several times over.
Let’s say that the app is supposed to be monetized and to generate revenue. In this case, the company developing the app needs to figure out the best way to make sure that the app meets its revenue target and surpasses it if possible.
Big Data can help with this.
Big Data can use data collected globally as well as locally to inform companies of the best ways to convert their app users into paying customers, and if different geographic regions will require different strategies, it can highlight this fact.
Improving Company Operations and Efficiencies
Big Data can improve the way a company does business in other ways as well. Here are some of them.
Giving Companies Real-Time Access to Data
Markets are known to be shifty terrains, and consumer preferences are always changing.
Therefore, companies need to remain vigilant and keep a hand on the pulse of the market, looking for signs of change.
Businesses are best served when they see the change coming rather than waiting and realizing that things have changed after it’s too late.
With this in mind, Big Data can give companies a second-by-second update of the state of the market and alert them in case of any significant changes.
It will let them know if current trends and customer requirements are evolving.
Since the real-time data that is collected is also analyzed, the decisions made are bound to be optimal as they are based on historical insights as opposed to guesswork and gut feelings.
In fact, the use of Big Data to improve business decisions is the heart of business intelligence.
What Does the Future Hold for Apps?
With industry 4.0 on the horizon, several technologies are bound to affect app development. For starters, artificial intelligence is likely to make apps smarter, offering users an experience like nothing before.
Also, 5G technology will allow developers to focus on a host of other technologies, including wearables, and to incorporate these technologies into their apps.
So, if apps have come a long way over the past decade, this will pale in comparison with where they will go over the coming one.
Ashley Wilson is a content creator, writing about business and tech. She has been known to reference movies in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.