gartner - top 10 mobile technologies and capabilities for 2015 and 2016
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Top 10 Mobile Technologies and
Capabilities for 2015 and 2016
12 February 2014
Analyst(s): Nick Jones
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We discuss 10 technologies and capabilities that will be critical to organizations wanting to
unlock the full potential of mobility as part of their digital business strategy.
Organizations wishing to unlock the full potential of mobility must master a wide
range of technologies and skills, many of which are currently unfamiliar to IT staff.
The business and technical opportunities enabled by our "top 10" mobile technologies
and skills should be explicitly addressed in corporate mobile strategies.
Use technology road maps and Hype Cycles and work with Gartner to identify those
mobile technologies that will be important to your organization's mobile strategy.
Once you have identified key mobile technologies, plan to acquire the skills, tools or
partners necessary to exploit them.
Many mobile technologies and skills will be rather tactical because of the high rate of
commercial and technical evolution in the mobile domain. Therefore, look for rapid
return on investment from those technologies, and use agile development processes to
ensure you can achieve your goals.
Table of Contents
o Multiplatform/Multiarchitecture AD Tools
o Advanced Mobile UX Design
o High-Precision Location Sensing
o Wearable Devices
o New Wi-Fi Standards
o Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM)
o Mobile-Connected Smart Objects
o LTE and LTE-A
o Metrics and Monitoring Tools
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Through 2016, mobile devices and applications will continue to offer many opportunities for
commercial and technical innovation. They will create new ways to improve process
efficiency and effectiveness inside the organization and will deliver innovative products,
services and customer relationships outside it.
Unlocking the full potential of mobility requires the organization to master a wide range of
technologies and capabilities. In this research, we discuss 10 that should be on every
organization's radar screen. These certainly aren't the only important technologies; we
encourage clients to consult Gartner Hype Cycles to identify others they should be tracking.
However, we believe these 10 will be important to virtually every organization, so they
should be explicitly addressed in their mobile strategies.
The items listed were selected based on their potential impact in both consumer and
employee-facing mobile contexts with a somewhat greater weight given to employee-facing
usage to reflect the needs of many Gartner clients. The impact of a technology or capability is
derived from its ability to create more compelling applications, improve application delivery,
unlock new business opportunities, create innovative experiences/services or improve
mobile/wireless infrastructure performance.
Multiplatform/Multiarchitecture AD Tools
What are they and why are they important? Most organizations will need application
development (AD) tools to support a "3 x 3" future three key platforms (Android, iOS and Windows) and three application architectures (native, hybrid and mobile Web using
HTML5). Tool selection will be a complex balancing act trading off many technical and nontechnical issues such as productivity vs. vendor stability and most large organizations will need a portfolio of several tools to deliver to the set of architectures and platforms they
When? Many multiplatform development tools are already available. The market is very
crowded and complex, as illustrated by "Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application
Development Platforms." Market evolution and consolidation will continue through 2018.
Who will be impacted? All organizations developing mobile applications.
Cautions: "Write once, run anywhere" is unachievable for apps with nontrivial user
experiences. However, "write 80% once" is achievable for many apps, so such tools have
value even if they aren't perfect. Consider most tools as tactical decisions because in 2014
there are far too many mobile development tools over 150 at our last count. Radical market consolidation and rationalization will occur.
What is it and why is it important? "HTML5" is an umbrella term often used imprecisely
to refer to a set of Web specifications including HTML and related standards such as SVG,
WebGL, Canvas, CSS3, WebSocket, WebRTC and various technologies for offline data
storage within the browser. Modern mobile browsers support a range of these standards,
enabling developers to create sophisticated mobile Web experiences that in some cases can
approach the quality of native apps (see Note 1). Despite its immaturity and the challenges
noted below, HTML5 will be an essential technology for many organizations that deliver
apps across multiple platforms, especially for employee-facing situations when the highest
quality of user experience isn't essential.
When? All smartphones and tablets already support some version of HTML5, although there
are many differences of detail depending on browser and OS versions. The various
substandards will continue to evolve for the foreseeable future.
Who will be impacted? All organizations developing mobile applications or websites.
Cautions: HTML5 complements but does not replace native code, although hybrid
applications that combine HTML5 with native code allow developers to blend the strengths
of both approaches. HTML5 is a moving target and is fragmented with many differences
between devices, browsers and OS versions so significant testing will be required. HTML5
experiences may be unsatisfactory on poor-performance smartphones and slow network
Advanced Mobile UX Design
What is it and why is it important? Leading mobile apps are delivering exceptional user
experiences (UXs) achieved with a variety of techniques including motivational design,
"quiet" design, "playful" interfaces and new methodological approaches such as HEART (see
Notes 2, 3 and 4). Designers are also creating apps that can accommodate mobile challenges,
such as partial user attention and interruption, or exploit technologies with novel features or a
"wow" factor, such as augmented reality. Many leading apps have been created not by IT
staff but by digital marketing agencies that are experts in areas such as psychology and
When? Now. Leading mobile apps are already setting high user expectations in both
employee- and consumer-facing situations, and poor user experience is a common contributor
to low app-store ratings. Additionally, new sensors in mobile devices combined with
wearable smart accessories will increase the range and richness of interactions through 2018
(see Note 5).
Who will be impacted? High-quality UXs will be particularly important for organizations
delivering consumer-facing mobile apps that directly impact revenue or customer
Cautions: People with the skills required to create a leading mobile UX are scarce, and the
most compelling experiences are often expensive to develop.
High-Precision Location Sensing
What is it and why is it important? Knowing an individual's location to within a few
meters is a key enabler for the delivery of highly relevant contextual information and
services. Apps exploiting precise indoor location currently use technologies such as Wi-Fi,
imaging, ultrasonic beacons and geomagnetics (see Note 6). In 2014, we expect growth in the
use of wireless beacons from vendors such as Apple (iBeacon), Qualcomm (Gimbal) and
Shopkick (ShopBeacon). In the longer term, technologies such as smart lighting will also
become important (see Note 7). Precise indoor location sensing combined with mobile apps
will enable a wide range of new location-based services and related information, such as
When? Several indoor location-sensing technologies are available now, and all will continue
to mature through 2018. We expect the use of beacons based on the low-energy Bluetooth
Smart standard to grow in 2014 and 2015 as beacon costs fall and increasing numbers of
consumers acquire handsets that support the necessary Bluetooth technology.
Who will be impacted? High-precision location is likely to be particularly important for
organizations that deploy consumer-facing mobile apps and that own facilities with large
areas of indoor real estate, such as shops, sports stadiums or malls.
Cautions: Precise location sensing raises many privacy concerns that may be addressed using
sophisticated "opt-in" approaches. Privacy may be subject to regulation in some countries.
Excessive or inappropriate use of location-based alerts can be intrusive. Finding ways to turn
location information into increased revenue has been challenging for some early adopters.
What are they and why are they important? The smartphone will become the hub of a
personal-area network (PAN) consisting of wearable gadgets such as on-body