Businesses will increasingly look to engage with customers via apps.
With businesses increasingly looking to further develop their engagement with customers and ‘accommodate mobile work styles’, research and advisory company Gartner has predicted that more than half of mobile apps deployed by 2016 will be hybrid.
In a move to meet the demand for mobile apps, many enterprises are working to leverage applications across a multitude of platforms.
"Mobility has always been a separate topic for IT professionals, but it is now influencing mainstream strategies and tactics in the wider areas of technology enablement and enterprise architectures," said Ken Dulaney, vice president and analyst at Gartner. "Increasingly, enterprises are finding that they need to support multiple platforms, especially as the [bring your own device] BYOD trend gains momentum."
As the capabilities of mobile devices continue to grow, so too does the need for context awareness in mobile applications, meaning that developers now have to consider both hybrid and native architectures. For apps to leverage location information, notification systems, mapping capabilities and on-device hardware, such as the camera, they need to be developed using either hybrid or native architectures. This has ultimately caused enterprise developers to consider alternatives to Web application development.
"Our advice would be to assume the enterprise will have to manage a large and diverse set of mobile applications that will span all major architectures," said Van Baker, research vice president at Gartner. "Enterprises should consider how applications can be enriched or improved by the addition of native device capabilities and evaluate development frameworks that offer the ability to develop native, hybrid and Web applications using the same code base. Where possible, development activities should be consolidated via cross-platform frameworks."
Gartner outlined two additional key predictions with regard to mobility and the enterprise – the first being that by 2014, Apple will be as accepted by enterprise IT as Microsoft is today. "Although Apple's mobile iPhone and iPads are already as accepted by enterprise IT as is Microsoft, Apple's Mac systems for laptops/notebooks and desktops remain not commonly accepted by IT," said David Mitchell Smith, vice president and Gartner Fellow.
"Going forward, Apple will continue to benefit from consumerisation and will continue to evolve Macs to take on more iOS characteristics, which will contribute to acceptance of Macs in the enterprise. As such, enterprise acceptance of Apple will continue to be driven by consumer demand."
Secondly, Gartner predicts that by 2013, the first $50 smartphone will appear in emerging countries. "The combination of competitive pricing pressure, open-channel market growth and feature elimination/integration will very soon result in the $50 smartphone. Semiconductor vendors that serve the mobile handset market must have a product strategy to address the low-cost smartphone platform, with $50 as a target in 2013," said Mark Hung, research director at Gartner. "Global, brand-name smartphone vendors must re-examine their product lineups to determine how their low-end offerings are differentiated from the competitive products offered by low-cost vendors. Otherwise, brand-name smartphone vendors may want to cede this market to the white-box vendors and focus on high-end devices."