Apps have already stamped their mark on modern business, but Gartner expects the best is still to come.
A recent survey from the research analyst found that as user application touchpoints increase in frequency, change in modalities, and expand in device type, the future of app development is multiexperience.
“Development platform vendors are expanding their value proposition beyond mobile apps and web development to meet user and industry demands,” says Gartner research vice president Jason Wong.
“The result is the emergence of multiexperience development platforms, which are used in developing chat, voice, augmented reality (AR) and wearable experiences in support of the digital business.
Despite the web browser continuing its reign as the most popular application touchpoint, mobile apps are continuing their rise. As immersive devices like smartwatches, smartphones and voice-driven devices permeate the industry, the modes of interaction (type, touch, gestures, natural language) expand across the digital user journey.
Mobile apps (91 percent) are the most common among enterprises that have developed and deployed at least three different types of applications (other than web apps).
“These figures are higher than any other application types we asked about, and suggest that the maturity of mobile app development is necessary for expansion into other interaction modalities,” says Wong.
In second place for the most widely developed applications is conversational applications with 73 percent for voice apps and 60 percent for chatbots.
“This reflects the natural evolution of application functions to support the digital user journey across natural language-driven modes and devices,” says Wong.
In terms of the technology used to support multiexperience application development, cloud-hosted artificial intelligence (AI) services are the most widely used with 61 percent of respondents, followed by native iOS and Android development (48 percent), and mobile back-end services (45 percent).
“This is consistent with the rise of conversational user interfaces, image and voice recognition and other AI services that are becoming commonplace within apps,” says Wong.
Contrary to the perception that mobile apps are in decline, they are actually in the lead for applications projected to have the most impact on business success by 2020.
Following mobile apps are virtual reality (VR) applications and AR applications.
“Although respondents indicated a high level of development activity for chatbots and voice apps, very few thought they'd have the most business impact by 2020,” says Wong.
In terms of potential barriers to building compelling multiexperience applications, the most cited was the need for business and IT alignment (40 percent). More than a quarter of the respondents reported shortcomings in developer skills and user experience expertise as a barrier.
“Skills gap in relation to emerging technologies cannot be overstated when discussing inhibitors to scaling digital initiatives, including multiexperience development strategy,” says Wong.