The biggest app trend? Digitizing the physical world.
Industries that used to exist purely in the physical world have been disrupted, up-turned, and reinvented by mobile apps. As more processes and innovations are being automated, it seems that more lines are transgressed between the physical and the digital. Over half of adult Americans own smartphones, so apps have rapidly become an integral part of our lives, as well as a part of commercial industries. Here are some traditional industries that mobile apps have broken into.
1. Mobile payments
No need to worry about cash. With apps breaking into the e-commerce sector, it’s easier to take payments without too much processing time. More apps, like Starbucks, are featuring mobile order-and-pay—this allows customers to place an order on their iPhones and schedule it for pick up. Venmo is a relatively new app that allows the user to ask friends for payments, and connects to people via phone contacts and Facebook. Shopping apps like Shoply allow the user to keep track of credit cards and discounts. It even digitizes the traditional paper coupon and provides a bar code for instant savings.
2. On-demand transportation
Uber has experienced massive success since its inception. Its main appeal comes with the guarantee of a ride close by, with GPS tracking to watch your car as it approaches. Uber has recently collaborated with other apps and trends to integrate its services outside the realm of transportation. When the ice bucket challenge was relevant, Uber provided a service to deliver buckets of ice. It also has a pizza delivery service, thereby transcending its original use as a transportation app to become integrated with other everyday services, like food, delivery, and even dating.
Apps change the way we learn. They can tap into traceable step-by-step processes to track what the user has gotten wrong, what can be improved, and strategies for moving forward. Apps can turn lessons into games, so they’re a great tool to teach kids who have a short attention span (and adults, too). Language apps like Duolingo allow lessons to be completed in a matter of minutes, though they still pack a powerful punch: According to a study by the City University of New York and the University of South Carolina, an average of 34 hours spent engaging with Duolingo is equivalent to a full university semester of language education.
The Facebook and Twitter apps make it easy to stay connected with our friends and news around the world. It’s no longer about making phone calls or sending letters, or even texting people directly. The group chat has become very popular lately, as apps such as GroupMe, WeChat, and Facebook Messenger have allowed communication to become much more casual, less one-on-one. But it works. It’s much easier to connect in this day and age, especially given on-screen notifications from social media apps.
What we have are industries being integrated into the app world, which has turned them into moguls of convenience and portability. This movement of apps into commercialization and multiple industries is one that will catapult us into the speedily approaching future, for better rather than for worse.