Emerging mobile trends

of two

Emerging mobile trends - Part 1 of 2: Technology

Among the most notable mobile technology trends found at events such as the World Mobile Congress (WMC) 2018, which was recently concluded in Barcelona, as well as the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in January 2018, are distant wireless charging, enterprise mobile apps, geofencing, Android instant apps and 5G technology.


This technology is designed to enable mobile users to charge their mobile phones without using cables. The technology uses radio frequencies to transmit power to charge smart phones and smart watches within a distance of 10 feet.

Energous and Ossia are the companies developing this technology. Energous' technology "involved a smart speaker prototype set up as a transmitter, capable of sending power via radio frequencies to a phone, a smartwatch, and a pair of wireless earbuds at a range of up to 3 feet. The top of the speaker also doubled as a near-field charging pad, much like Qi wireless chargers." Ossia's wireless charging at a distance technology has not yet been approved by the FCC. Its technology also "transmits power via radio frequencies at the same 2.4Ghz as Wi-Fi, but a different channel, so it doesn’t interfere". In the near future we might just walk in a popular restaurant and have our phones charged instantly without cables.


These applications are developed for the purpose of solving enterprise problems. In most instances, an enterprise application is a complex and large software platform. Enterprise mobile applications are designed to interface with each other within an organization. Enterprise mobile applications enable all employees to have "simplified access to the same applications as everyone else in the company, enabling uniformity between devices while still allowing employees to have the personalized mobile experience that has become commonplace today".

An organization will tend to have many different enterprise mobile apps that are combined to run different processes within the organization. The notion of creating enterprise mobile app was brought about by employees using their own mobile phones to access company data through corporate applications. "This has the benefit of increasing efficiency in the workplace and cutting down costs spent on company devices." The different types of enterprise mobile applications include content management, payment processing, customer support, email marketing systems, automated billing systems, systems for collaboration and messaging, customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise application integration (EAI) and business intelligence.


Geofencing is the use of an application to trigger alerts when the user of the mobile phone enters or leaves a certain geographical area. These alerts can be messages, mobile notifications, sending adverts on various platforms or dissembling other technologies.
The demand for geofencing is expected to continue to grow over 27% in the near future. The uses of geofencing include sending alerts to management when employees enter or leave a specific area, to monitor employees in the field, automate time cards and keep track of company property. Geofencing uses GPS to identify the boundaries set by the user.


Google Play has added a new technology, Android Instant Apps. This technology alleviates the need to install an application prior to seeing how it works. Through just a click of the application URL, the app launches itself. This technology has been made possible by the developers ensuring that they divide the apps into small codes that open within seconds. The purpose is to allow users to try out or preview an application without the necessity of downloading it first.


Currently, 4G connectivity is starting to lose value and developers are looking to the development of 5th generation technology. Even though it will be sometime for the 4G technology system to be overridden, the development of 5G technology is starting to take shape with different companies chipping in ideas and research units being set up in universities. 5th generation technology will have to address the drawbacks of the previous technology which include dropped calls, performance issues at cell edges and lack of coverage. This technology might be released in the market in two years' time.


There are many emerging trends in mobile technology. Among the more notables are wireless charging, enterprise mobile apps, geofencing, Android instant apps and 5G technology.
of two

Emerging mobile trends - Part 2 of 2: Behaviour

Emerging trends in the use of smartphones globally include sourcing information instantly in moments of need, seeking assistance with making decisions about future purchases, for accessing mobile apps, for social media use and to satisfy what is now considered an epidemic of smartphone addiction. Below we provide further information on each of the five identified trends along with supporting hard data.


To ensure all trends are emerging, we have only used the most recent sources available on behavioral trends in the use of mobile phones. Therefore, we have aimed to use trends predicted for 2018, where possible, and data relating to 2017 findings, as is publicly available. Overall, the sources compiled are no older than 18 months, with the oldest data point being dated May 2016, providing a time frame of fewer than two years. All articles are from reputable research and media sites to ensure data is reliable and robust. We have taken a global perspective, as noted in the brief, but in some cases, US data is the most recent so we have used this alongside worldwide figures to support emerging trends. Furthermore, we have not focused on any trends pertaining to technology, as requested.


1. Sourcing instant information in moments of need

Information on any topic imaginable is now at the fingertips of every smartphone user. When a question arises, smartphones are now the most trusted resource for researching and satisfying wonderings with easily accessible and instant clarification and information.

According to Think with Google, smartphone users are twice as likely to utilize their phone for searching purposes than any other offline or online use. Furthermore, 87% of smartphone users choose to refer to their phone as their first choice when seeking information. According to Counterpoint data from 2017, 64% of survey respondents used their smartphone to browse the internet on a daily basis. With relation to the source of this information, 40% of users opt for a search engine, 19% visit the website of a retailer or application to answer their questions and 19% visit some other kind of website or app. The most common industries searched for by mobile device users are food and beverage (72%), health (68%) and sport (68%).

2. Seeking assistance with making purchasing decisions

More and more smartphone users are making use of online information through their phone to inform and help with decision-making regarding purchases. This includes researching prior to in-store shopping, as well as buying from online retailers. This method has proved highly successful as informed shoppers equate to a greater chance of action being taken in making a purchase.

Action is taken by 92% of smartphone users to purchase a product related to their phone-based online search. Furthermore, 70% of smartphone users used their phone to access information regarding a product before purchasing in-store. One astounding statistic notes that in 2016, mobile devices assisted with driving approximately $1 trillion in offline retail sales. The most common actions taken on a smartphone preceding a purchase include using a search engine (30% of smartphone users), visiting a store or other online location (30%), visiting a retailer's website or application (24%), visiting another app or website (14%) or making use of an online map (13%).

3. Accessing mobile applications

The use of mobile applications has been seen to dominate the use of mobile devices by a long way. It has been stated that mobile device use is most significantly "an app world" and the web simply lives in it.

The company, comScore, found that 80 to 90% of time spent on mobile activity was making use of apps, according to data collected from the US, Canada, the UK, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, China and Indonesia. Furthermore, Yahoo's Flurry found that 90% of mobile minutes are spent using apps. The most used apps are from the social media category (29% of mobile users) and according to data from the US, the age group that spends the most time using apps per month are those aged 18 to 24, spending approximately 93.5 hours using smartphone apps.

4. Social media use

There were an estimated 2.549 billion active mobile social users globally in 2017 indicating 30% growth from the previous year. This equates to more than one-third (34%) of the world's population. With regard to new mobile social media users, surprisingly, 18 new users begin the use of social media every second. More than half (56%) of mobile social media users are located in the Asia Pacific region. In relation to penetration by region, 58% of North Americans are mobile social media users, 57% of those in East Asia also access social media via a mobile device, as is the same with 52% of the South American population.

With regard to social media platforms accessed via mobile devices, US data from 2017 identifies that 81% of adults use the Facebook app, 68% use the Messenger app, 50% use Instagram and 50% use Snapchat. Furthermore, 29% of those aged 18 to 34 state that Facebook is one of the most essential apps, while 18% noted Messenger as being essential along with 11% identifying Instagram.

5. Satisfying a growing epidemic of smartphone addiction

There were more than 2.3 billion smartphone users worldwide in 2017. As global penetration grows, so to do the concerns of researchers regarding the detrimental health effects of smartphone usage and addiction. An increasing number of people are admitting they are addicted to their phones and almost 70% of users say they sleep next to their smartphones, checking them as soon as they wake. Furthermore, a strong association has been identified between mobile device use around bedtime and inadequate sleep with children. One-in-four smartphone users spend over 7 hours on their phone per day, most commonly accessing digital content for extended periods or for business use.

The most at-risk demographics for smartphone addiction are people aged under 20, with phone use decreasing as users age. Also, when adolescents are given a mobile phone prior to the age of 13, there is a greater chance of addiction and problematic use. Females have more dependency on mobile phone use than males, with the most common uses including socializing and instant messaging. Males tend to have a more diversified use for smartphones, including gaming and voice calls and spend less time using them. With regard to socioeconomic factors, those from more affluent families tend to be more reliant on mobile phones, possibly due to isolation resulting from studying away from home or negative family relationships.


In closing, emerging trends in the behavioral use of smartphones globally include sourcing instant information in moments of need, seeking assistance with purchase-related decision-making, for accessing mobile apps, for social media use and to satisfy the growing epidemic of smartphone addiction.