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

    Free preview of Gartner research


    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.


    Key Findings

    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 HTML5

    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

    artistic design.

    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

    dwell time.

    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.

    Wearable Devices

    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


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