These days, you can adjust your thermostat, unlock your car, file an insurance claim, track your weight, or even track your kids from your smartphone. We’re doing more with our devices every day, and as smartphones become smarter, companies are taking these opportunities to connect with customers more often and more intimately.
Mobile has moved from our pockets to our wrists; now, it’s in our homes and in the cloud. Here are some hot mobile trends to watch in 2014.
Mobile banking started off slow, but it’s a booming market today. Not only do most banks allow you to deposit a check by taking a picture from your smartphone, but more companies are jumping into the financial services industry. Google Wallet, Isis Mobile Wallet, and PayPal Beacon all provide payment options for paying with your phone at the checkout counter.
Both Google and PayPal offer cards with their accounts, and if you’re like me, you have all your autopay accounts attached to your debit card. The cool part about these services is that if you lose your card, you’ll still be able to make payments using the apps. You can move money around with ease or even cut off funding to these accounts in the event of a security breach.
Mobile isn’t just for when you’re on the go anymore. Google’s purchase of Nest for $3.2 billion is a sign that mobile integration with the home is the next phase of mobile. More and more companies are beginning to take advantage of “the Internet of things” to get customers connected with all their electronics. You can now preheat your oven from another room or take inventory of the contents of your refrigerator at the grocery store.
As the bond between humans and computers evolves, wearable tech is exploding in popularity. Pebble and Samsung were early players on the smartwatch scene, but Apple is rumored to be developing an iWatch, and Google may also be looking to release its own Android-powered smartwatch. With Glass approaching commercial release and fitness wearables like Jawbone, Nike FuelBand, and Fitbit already popular with the active set, it’s only a matter of time before we’re all wearing computers.
As more and more users rely on their mobile devices, the need to safeguard the sensitive information on them increases. Passwords are mathematically obsolete at this point, but biometrics, face-scanning tech, and fingerprint scanners are slowly making their way into our devices.
The iPhone’s Touch ID security is just the beginning. Rumor has it that the Samsung Galaxy S5 will feature a fingerprint scanner, while the Galaxy S4 already can track users’ eye movements to pause a video if they look away from the screen.
It wasn’t long ago that mobile sites were viewed as a side project, but that view is quickly changing. People are spending more and more time browsing the web from their mobile devices, and that time will only increase.
Marketers have responded to this shift by boosting their spending on advertising on mobile channels, while many web designers are focusing more on mobile sites and apps than the desktop experience. Look for mobile websites (and browsers) to become more sophisticated in 2014.
In 2014, we’re going to see more data shift to the cloud. Both Adobe and Microsoft moved their software suites to the cloud to prevent piracy, Salesforce.com is poised for enormous growth, and all the major players are fighting for a piece of the data pie.
If you think Amazon and Google are going to be the only ones in the cloud services death match, think again. IBM, Microsoft, Verizon, and even CenturyLink all have some skin in the game.
As the year progresses, we’re going to see a bigger shift toward a completely integrated mobile experience. Tasks that were once cumbersome or impossible to complete on our smartphones are going to become second nature.
Forget being able to watch a YouTube video on your TV. You can now turn down the thermostat, preheat the oven, and have your refrigerator tell you to run to the grocery store without ever leaving the couch. (Heck, when Amazon masters same-day delivery via drones, your refrigerator will tell Amazon to do the shopping for you.)
It’s only a matter of time before the mobile/offline experience is completely seamless. The trick will be getting off the couch so your smartwatch won’t tell your iPhone you need more exercise.
Ioannis Verdelis is the cofounder and COO of Fleksy, a revolutionary keyboard that makes typing on a touchscreen so easy you can type without even looking. Ioannis is a member of many entrepreneurial organizations, including the Young Entrepreneur Council, Empact Sphere, Startup America, and more. Connect with him on Twitter.