Local Tech Companies Weigh in on the Future of Mobile Technology

by Janey Zitomer
January 24, 2020

In 2015, Facebook created React Native, an open-source mobile app framework meant to be used on Android, iOS, Web and Microsoft’s UWP. In 2017, Google released Flutter, its version of a user interface software development framework designed for similar purpose. While Flutter takes the cake when it comes to technical architecture, according to a 2018 Nevercode article, React Native has had stronger community support behind it from the start.

Despite each framework’s respective strengths, Brian Busche, Arity’s mobile SDK engineering manager, said he’s looking at Flutter’s expansion as a key piece of infrastructure in the puzzle that is this coming year’s mobile landscape. 

“Some say it will eclipse React Native as a ‘hybrid’ mobile development toolkit in 2020,” said Busche.  

Below, he and Elizabeth Lindemulder, VP of product at Arrive, told us what mobile trends, both front-facing and behind-the-scenes, they’re tracking this year. Lindemulder is more interested in the effects of the user shift from web to mobile activity apparent over the last decade –– a trend she keeps in mind as her team further iterates on the company’s existing offerings.

A concern on both of their agendas? User caution over compromised personal data. 

 

Arity
Arity

Brian Busche, engineering manager of mobile SDK at Arity, doesn’t see the conversation surrounding acceptable mobile data tracking practices dissipating anytime soon. Instead, he recommends that users familiarize themselves with mobile components like anonymous identifier codes, or their phone’s Ad-ID. Companies must also do their part, he said, by following the most recent legal guidelines.
 

What are the top three mobile tech trends you’re watching?

We saw tremendous growth in Google Flutter last year. Some say it will eclipse React Native as a “hybrid” mobile development toolkit in 2020. Arity is looking to provide a software development kit that is compatible with non-native mobile apps. It will be tricky for third-party SDK developers to support all of the alternatives to non-traditional mobile development. I see the potential for added market fragmentation as more hybrid solutions arise. Success in this area means anticipating which hybrid framework to support now, and more importantly, six to 12 months from now. 

Machine learning, which was once reserved for powerful back-end servers, is now becoming more viable for mobile. Processing complex models “on the edge” will extend AI’s reach deeper into the mobile app world in 2020. App publishers must consider the trade-off between compute cost and real-time data insights.  

A third trend impacting the industry is the interconnectivity between mobile apps and other connected devices. We see apps connecting to smart homes, wearables and vehicle dashboard software like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and proprietary original equipment manufacturer technology. This extends the capabilities of the mobile app, as it can relay data from a web of external sensors in addition to its own MEMS data. The implication for mobile developers would be greatly enriched data, set for more accurate insights into a user’s environment and behavior.

I see the potential for added market fragmentation as more hybrid solutions arise.’’ 

What under-the-radar mobile tech trends are you watching that the industry isn’t talking about?

Apps are collecting data even when closed, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Arity technology enables mobile apps to detect the possibility that users have been in a collision event. This feature lives in family tracking apps, which can notify your circle that you have been in a collision and, if needed, can dispatch emergency services to your GPS location. Google has a similar solution, which is available exclusively for the Pixel 4. In every app that uses the Arity Driving Engine, users provide explicit permission to track location even when the app is closed.

Other third-party SDKs enable mobile apps to periodically send anonymous GPS data to companies for notifications like traffic alerts. Mobile users should not always assume that data, despite being anonymized, is used to their benefit. Legislation continues to evolve in the interest of protecting consumers’ personally identifiable information. 

In 2019, we saw GDPR and CCPA define new rules about how data can be used.  Mobile app developers in 2020 will need to be aware of these, and any additional government mandates, in order to legally use location data like GPS coordinates. 

 

How are these trends affecting the future of your company specifically?

Arity has benefitted from these trends by staying ahead of the changes from a regulatory and ethics perspective while continuing to leveraging new technical capabilities. Because we so highly value user privacy and protection, we emphasize transparency and compliance. 

 

Arrive
Arrive

Elizabeth Lindemulder, VP of Product at Arrive, doesn’t need numbers to tell her that people are using their phones more than ever before. But data straight from the company’s product development efforts does confirm that reality. As we move through a world connected via text, talk and video, Lindemulder anticipates the continued rise of mobile pay options (including Arrive) as well as increased visibility surrounding apps that are potentially compromising.  
 

What are the top three mobile tech trends you’re watching that are significantly impacting the industry?

We’re watching the rise of the “pays,” meaning Apple Pay, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and PayPal. At the end of 2019, nearly 50 percent of our consumer app revenue came through one of these payment methods.

We’re also looking at users’ continual shift from web to mobile. In 2017, we doubled down on our iOS and Android product development efforts. We continue to see the results of that focus through growth in each platform. This growth has been key for us, as the lifetime value of our mobile customers far and away exceeds those booking via web.

Lastly, users are being more discriminative about the apps they allow on their phone –– whether they be battery hogs, data sucks or apps that compromise their privacy.

We’re excited about people using their phones not only for payments but also as an extension of their identity.’’

What under-the-radar mobile tech trends are you watching that the industry isn’t talking about?

I wouldn’t say this is necessarily under the radar, but we’re excited about people using their phones not only for payments but also as an extension of their identity. More folks are using their phones to gain access to their homes or offices, unlock a Divvy bike, etc. Our mobile phones continue making life easier by removing everyday friction.  

 

How are these trends affecting the future of your company specifically?

We’re offering an experience for consumers to get access to parking facilities using their phones.

 

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