Emerging technologies are amazing in their own right. Think the internet of things, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and voice. Taken one step further, their potential to breathe new life into the mobile space is huge, possibly leading to the point where, experts say, consumers might not even need a screen at all to interact with their devices.
This will have massive effects on brands’ mobile design process and strategy. It also will shift the way they interact with their on-the-go consumers.
“For marketers, the world five years from now represents both a challenge and an opportunity. New technologies will continue to lay fertile ground for more consumer engagement, but, at the same time, the proliferation of touch points will increase the complexity of delivering a coherent consumer journey,” said Carlos Sandrea, VP and head of mobile at MediaMath. “Mobile will become the predominant media channel and will be defined beyond our smartphones to include wearables, connected cars, VR-power devices, and chatbots.”
Voice will have the largest impact on mobile design, according to Tom Anderson, GM of mobile at TripleLift. Indeed, mobile voice has an advantage over other voice-enabled home devices, because the phone hardly ever leaves its owner’s side.<
Location will play a big part, Anderson told CMO.com. He predicts a time when a phone will be able to understand commands based on circumstance, such as location. For example, a person standing in front of her home could say, “unlock door,” and the phone will understand this command is meant for the front door, not her car door.
“Consumers will be able to engage with thousands of IoT-connected devices through their voice-enabled phones,” Anderson said. “Ordering coffee from Starbucks, ‘One venti macchiato,’ the order will go from your phone right to the Starbucks app since your phone can tell you’re about to walk into a Starbucks. The price of the coffee is then deducted from your crypto wallet once you confirm the purchase with your voice-secured biometric password, which is as unique as your fingerprint.”
Gladys Kong, CEO of UberMedia, said she expects that the adoption of in-store chatbots and unique mobile apps will be a main driver of user interfaces that are geared more toward voice rather than typing or tapping a touchscreen.
According to Bryan O’Neil Hughes, director of product management, Creative Cloud, at Adobe, mobile used to be seen as a smaller screen that had less power. “Today, it’s really getting to the point where not only is it as powerful in many ways, but when it comes to sensors and lenses enabling AR and VR, in some cases, it’s even more powerful,” he said. He expects this trend to accelerate as devices mature.
We are in a second wave of mobile innovation, MediaMath’s Sandrea added. “The revolution that started in our smartphones is now permeating other aspects of our daily lives,” he told CMO.com. “As such, mobile won’t be the same media we know today. The boundaries between the physical and virtual world will collide.”
In particular, augmented reality will power new entertainment platforms and experiences, which will redefine consumers’ expectations about brand experiences, Sandrea added. Andrew Carlson, EVP of experience design at Digitas, echoed that thought and said he believes new hardware will drive the future of mobile.
“Augmented reality glasses will move from B2B to widespread consumer use, replacing many phone interactions. Users will communicate with their glasses using voice and a paired wearable, such as a ring that lets them make basic choices silently,” Carlson told CMO.com. “The user experience will be a combination of bone conduction audio [conducting sound to the inner ear through the bones of the skull], augmented reality visuals, and haptic feedback, all orchestrated by AI.”
This is for sure, according to Rajiv Bhat, SVP, data sciences and marketplace, at InMobi: Mobile experiences will certainly become richer as a result of emerging tech, and AI will help place user customization in the context of an advertiser’s value proposition.
Facial recognition already has made its way into both Apple and Android devices and onto platforms such as Facebook, which uses the technology to, for example, suggest photo tags and protect users from strangers using their photos. While facial recognition has certainly made strides in accuracy over the years, it isn’t perfect.
But when it is, it could be a game changer in the mobile realm, UberMedia’s Kong said. She pointed to recent developments that add an element of convenience, such as the introduction of facial-recognition payments. Additionally, retailers such as Amazon and financial brands including Chase have tapped into facial recognition to streamline the sign-in process, enabling users to unlock their apps just by looking at the phone’s screen.