12 Predictions for the Mobile Landscape in 2012
1. Gamification will increase in several areas. There’s no doubt gamification will become huge in 2012. BigDoor, a company that specializes in gamification, estimated $2.8 billion will be spent on gamification by 2015. Jason Tanz of Wired estimated the same amount, but by 2016. Independently, financial giant Deloitte put gamification on its Top 10 Technology Predictions for 2012. No matter how you slice it, gamification is booming.
We say gamification will increase in three specific areas.
For one, training using gaming will make signification inroads in enterprise mobile learning. Ayogo’s purchase of Tandem hints at the amount of interest at stake in this area. Just as learning 2.0 took a while to gain steam in enterprise, serious games, gamification and all the trappings associated with them have taken some time to gain a foothold as well. Expect 2012 to show big growth in this industry.
We also believe that citizens using mobile phones will be able to report directly to police in hunting down criminals. With GPS and location-based services, look for the gamification of criminology as mobile unites with reality television. Think COPS mixed with Foursquare and you have the idea.
Finally, gamification of health care, an emerging trend, will become an unstoppable juggernaut, as peer pressure becomes a major force in reducing obesity in the United States and Canada. Tying into reality TV again, look at how many shows focus on losing weight. Yes, the focus is on health, but The Biggest Loser is still a game – a team tries to lose the most weight. Gather a team of friends and punch those pounds into your device to create a competitive yet supportive game. The Massive Health experiment, The Eatery, is just the tip of the iceberg here.
2. There will be an onslaught of mLearning development tools that will overpromise and underdeliver. Many tools with mobile focus are coming out now, but very few of them truly take advantage of the platforms they target. Simply put, without adding APIs to leverage device-specific hardware affordances like GPS, accelerometer data, CSS acceleration, or other niceties that typical dedicated mobile development tools offer, aren’t these mobile learning development tools simply glorified template packs?
3. It will become more common for a company to have its own “app store.” With the rise of bring your own device (BYOD) occurrences, programs and policies to monitor the distribution, use and management of those devices will become even more commonplace at corporations. According to findings from Good Technology’s State of BYOD Report (PDF), even highly regulated industries such as health care and finance/insurance are moving into BYOD. The report is quick to note that retail/wholesale and government, however, probably won’t be as receptive to movement. Good also states that 80 percent of companies supporting BYOD have more than 2,000 employees. That number decreases to 35 percent with companies employing more than 10,000 people. The BYOD trend indicates that mobile device management (MDM) services will be important in 2012.
With MDM comes MAM, more mobile application management. Not only will the devices need to be safe, but the apps on those devices will need to be current and correct if employees are to function properly while on the go. There are several MAM companies out there. We are partners with one of these companies, Apperian. Apperian’s EASE platform allows companies to build their own app store, specifying which users should download which apps and how often updates are pushed. Because of Apperian’s success in the MAM field, we believe enterprises will build their own stores and marketplaces specifically for their employees.
4. Android gets enterprise-friendly with offerings by Samsung and Motorola. The Samsung SAFE initiative, and the Droid Razr’s enterprise features may be just what IT needed in order to bring the platform into the fold. Expect more businesses to allow the devices on their network, and enterprise buying of these devices to pick up.
5. There will be a growing emphasis to collaborate less through email and more through targeted social networking. One of the key ways we collaborate at Float is through Twitter. We’re sure you’ve attended a conference and been active on a Twitter backchannel using a hashtag, especially if you’ve checked out the backchannel for DevLearn 2011. Now, Google+ uses hashtags, as well. We’ve also noticed how business opportunities can pop up from adding connections on LinkedIn.
As apps for our devices become better, we feel as though people will use email less and less in certain cases. It’s boring and dry, black and white, and often complicated. Social media is fun and easy. We see our colleagues’ interests and know more about them instead of just an email signature. It’s more personable. As we see social media continue to rise, we’ll see more collaboration through that avenue.
Business-friendly versions of these social services like Jive and Yammer simply cut the clutter. Inboxes are just big warehouses of junk, often ignored and difficult to search. If your business hasn’t explored the use of these platforms yet, put them on your list for 2012. Your Outlook mailbox will thank you.
6. Mobile phones will become a major research tool for polling and survey companies in politics and consumer preferences. Interactive billboards aren’t exactly the freshest innovation, but they still haven’t been widely used. Float senior analyst Dr. Gary Woodill’s favorite use of them is from 2007, when BBC World used them as part of an ad campaign to launch BBC America. For more examples, watch the embedded video, this Honda ad, and then discover more examples at Oddee.
In 2012, we could see more from interactive billboards outside of just advertisements. They may become major research tools for firms such as Pew, and allow other companies to survey their users through mobile devices.
7. Predictive analytics using dashboards and other forms of visualization on phones and tablets allow business executives and market players to anticipate future developments in their field and take action (this is already happening, but not well known). With increasing data speeds on mobile networks, constantly evolving capabilities with HTML5 and mobile-specific APIs, the real-time Web is here on mobile.
8. Augmented reality will go mainstream, with new-generation phones having it built-in to applications. Augmented reality is already available on several apps now. Yelp, in particular, may be the most well known. The app lets users review local businesses on their phone. However, mobile Web browsers may soon be taking tips from Junaio, a browser with which users can discover information about their environment. We at Float feel like AR can only expand, and 2012 will be the year it happens.
9. RIM will collapse or be bought out. Anybody who’s followed the BlackBerry maker knows the company hasn’t been doing the best business lately. NPD said RIM accounted for half of all smartphone sales in Q2 2006 compared to 8 percent in Q3 2011. The Toronto Star reports Research In Motion’s market value, pegged at $83 billion three years ago, has plummeted to just $7 billion. Though its stock values are low, share prices went up late December after rumors began to swirl about RIM’s apparent merger discussions this past summer with Amazon, Microsoft and Nokia. Several analysts note in the article, though, that RIM’s acquisition isn’t likely to happen in the short term because of its business model and the new BlackBerry 10 line coming out. However, we feel that after last year’s takeover of Motorola by Google, and the recently failed AT&T/T-Mobile merger, RIM is the next company on the radar ripe for the taking.
The fragmented OS strategy they have pursued, the failed Playbook launch, the recent underpowered Torch device and obtuse statements from management have painted a pretty gloomy picture for this once dominant technology force.
10. Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) will help reduce Android fragmentation issues. Let’s face it… It’s confusing to keep up with the latest developments in the Android world as far as tablets, phones and the myriad OS options available go. With somewhere around 9 percent of devices still in the wild running Eclair (v2.1 of the Android OS), 35 percent on Froyo (v2.2), and about 50 percent on Gingerbread (v2.3), you can see that fragmentation at the OS level is rampant. Add to that the fact that Honeycomb is only on tablets and only accounts for about 3 percent of the devices out there, and you have a headache in the making for the development community. Expect to see Google put their foot down, encouraging handset and tablet manufacturers to give Android 4.0 a much needed shot in the arm in terms of deployment.
11. Point-and-shoot camera, GPS device sales will completely collapse. Smartphones and tablets are delivering pictures at the same quality as point-and-shoot cameras, and the GPS is a standard feature on both devices anymore. Why fiddle with three pieces of equipment when everything is on one machine that could fit easily in your pocket? Considering the multitude of photo apps, and mapping/real-time directions apps in the marketplace, and the continued explosion in smartphone sales, something has to give.
12. 2012 will bring about the death of the unlimited data plan. Long live the unlimited data plan. Most carriers have already phased out the truly unlimited plans, with tiering and speed slowdowns becoming the norm. With Sprint in the USA (the truly last unlimited data plan-carrying carrier) acquiring the iPhone as a new offering, will we see the true death of the unlimited, non-speed-throttled data plan? It seems likely. In its place, expect to see new pricing tiers emerge, with a carrier or two re-introducing new unlimited plans, albeit with higher prices or heavily promoted features based around real-time Web or streaming media consumption.
Five Predictions for Mobile Learning in 2012
1. Rapid tool makers will start talking context. It only makes sense, right? What good is pushing your content to a mobile device if it’s simply a scaled down eLearning title? Not much. We’re hopeful here that the rapid tool makers in the mobile space will get savvy about this very important aspect of mobile learning and produce tooling that helps us create content appropriate for the users, use cases and situations that our mobile learners find themselves in.
2. Captivate to HTML5 bridge built out and released commercially. The Adobe Labs site has preview build 2 out. We fully expect the final release to come sometime in 2012. Given Adobe’s recent word on the ceasing of development of the Flash player for mobile devices, this seems like a no-brainer.
3. The Flash-to-HTML5 conversion becomes a Y2K-scale undertaking for the learning industry. As just mentioned, in November, Adobe announced it would “more aggressively contribute to HTML5,” and would no longer continue to develop Flash Player for mobile. This is a call to arms for us as learning developers. We must get started to handle this onslaught of conversion work that is soon to commence. Don’t have a conversion strategy in order yet? Better contact someone to help you out. Like us.
4. eBooks/ePub will continue to shake up publishing industry. Ebooks are currently growing. Growing faster than print is declining. As a company who likes learning and the pursuit of information, this makes us happy! Apple is readying a renewed push into the space. Look for a big movement into enhanced versions of titles, ancillary applications and lots of innovation in this area. To get a preview of this sort of content, check out the recently launched app we built for The Leadership Challenge, a Wiley Publishing title.
5. Mobile learning will continue to allow companies to do more with less. We’ve talked about this elsewhere already. You may have read our article at Business Insider, “Dear Companies, You Should Start Using Mobile Devices As Training Tools For Your Employees.” For more, check out this quote at Business News Daily in their trends for 2012 article.
Mobile learning is just beginning to grow, and companies will find that these mobile devices and tablets will allow them to help their employee learn, no matter the location or the time.
We’re sure to see businesses pick up on this as productivity growth is sure to be a continued focus for 2012.
Float Releases Quarterly Environmental Scans
More than 80 percent of doctors use smartphones and medical apps, according to our research led by Dr. Gary Woodill, Ed.D. This is just one of many eye-opening numbers in our set of quarterly environmental scans focused on mobile learning in the health care industry. We have released two environmental scans and three white papers, with several more coming toward the end of this month. Read the full press release>>
Float senior analyst Dr. Gary Woodill, Ed.D. and Float mobile strategist Jeff Tillett host the Mobile Learning Clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at 1 p.m. EST / 10 a.m. PST. The Mobile Learning Clinic is a free hourlong session on your questions about mobile learning. Feel free to ask them whatever you’d like. They’ll also be preparing a list of frequently asked questions. Gary and Jeff will be joined by Float managing director Chad Udell.
ASTD TechKnowledge 2012
Float managing director Chad Udell presents “Designing for Mobile on a Shoestring Budget with Virtually No Tech Skills!” at a pre-conference workshop for the ASTD TechKnowledge 2012 conference. His session is filling up, so act quickly to get a seat. If you are heading out to the conference, feel free to reach out to Chad in Las Vegas at the event.
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