8 Trends impacting the mobile future


Carlos de Spinola, Senior Strategist, London

It’s near enough impossible to pin down a unanimous definition of ‘mobile’ as a term, but we here at AnalogFolk have defined it as: a portable technology which creates an interface to the digital world, enabling contextually relevant utility. A bit of a mouthful, we know. But it essentially can mean anything from a smartphone to an internet-enabled watch. Once we’d got that sorted, we spent some time analysing the technological, behavioural, and attitudinal trends that will be driving ‘mobile’ development over the next few years and compiled our top eight…

1. Supertasking

In the hustle and bustle of a largely urbanised world, we’ve become adept at quickly cycling through multiple personal- and work-related tasks simultaneously. This has become natural in our modern lives, and these tasking lines will become further blurred with the increased ability to take our digital connectivity anywhere with us through mobile devices.

2. Ambient location

Ambient location refers to apps and services that combine social networking and location-tracking technology in order to make relevant connections between people and locations. A good example is Highlight: a start-up that alerts people when their friends are nearby.

3. On demanders

As consumers we’re moving ever closer towards total convenience: be it ordering our groceries online for delivery or watching TV programmes as and when we choose. This is not confined to the home though; mobile is helping us take this attitude to the streets with the likes of real-time instant feedback or services that help us get what we want when we want it (flagging down a taxi is so 1990’s – just HAILO it).

4. Now-casting

A seemingly contradictory term that refers to ‘now’ and ‘forecasting’. As data moves faster than action, now-casting uses evolving real-time data to make short-term forecasts in an attempt to predict the present. In social media, for example, it estimates hidden quantities such as the ‘mood’ of a population or presence of a flu epidemic.

5. Remote controlling

Mobile phones (and devices) are becoming the new remote control for life. With the world becoming increasingly internet-connected we have the ability to manage and control elements remotely as needed. Worried about returning to a freezing home in the middle of winter? Now you can switch on the heating just before you get home at night.

6. Unbundling of devices

In the next decade, we’ll see the progressive unbundling of technology into four categories: data, devices, software, and sensors (DDSS). The result will be a world in which users and suppliers can endlessly reconfigure the ways in which they use technology to interface with the world. In basic terms: digital will be moulded to fit into the human environment, rather than forcing humans to ‘be digital’.

7. Always synched

With the power of ‘the cloud’ and the penetration of mobile broadband, the data world will be more synchronised than ever before irrespective of geographic location. We’re seeing music playlists automatically synchronising to mobile phones, and documents being available wherever you are, whatever device you’re on. The connection between the physical internet and the mobile one is growing stronger.

8. People tagged world

Mobile technology has allowed us to interact with our environment like never before. Real-world tagging comes in many different forms and applications: location-based services can tag us digitally, augmented reality technology can digitally enhance the world around us, and QR codes allow us to interact digitally (and immediately) with real-world objects.

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