Drowning in an app based world – what comes next?

Written by on June 23, 2016 in Opinion with 0 Comments

LifebuoyIf you woke up one morning and said to yourself ‘I know, I’ll build an app,’ five years ago you would be filled with excitement and a sense of derring-do. Now, you might turn over and go back to sleep for half an hour. The chances of getting an app noticed, never mind downloaded amongst the throng, are minuscule nowadays.

The domination of Facebook

There are basically four apps that dominate the market and three of them are owned by Facebook.

Finding apps, or being found in an app store is hard. And plays right into the hands of Facebook and its army as they want you to do everything, literally everything, on Messenger. So powerful has Facebook become (even given our major concerns) that politicians are harnessing its power. Brian Synott, a campaign manager in Europe believes that “Facebook [is] for mobilisation, Twitter for information”.

This is great for campaign managers (maybe) and definitely great for Facebook, but what about the customer?

Finding the right app

We are all sure that there is the perfect app out there that can do what you want. After all there are literally millions of the things. But finding the right one, which loads quickly, is easy to use and doesn’t crash, takes time. We can scroll through dozens of reviews, we can look up recommended apps, we can try them out. This takes time, costs money (most times) and can cause frustration. 75 percent of apps do not come up to customers’ expectations (infographic via Apteligent). They are either not secure, freeze or take an age to load. And try getting your money back if you are unhappy with them!

Ultimately, the search for apps that will organise every element of your life becomes a wasted effort. Before long, you realise that the amount of time you have spent in searching and trying – and crying – is far out balanced by what you could have achieved without an app in the first place.

What, then, lies beyond the app?

Perhaps this discussion follows the ebb and flow of conversation around e-billing and presentment. Companies want customers to come to their own portal so that they can sell them stuff. Operators want customers to come to their portal and see all their e-billing elements within their environment. Then they can sell you stuff. (Oh, and it saves them heaps on postage.)

One app to rule them all?

Maybe what comes next is an app that is an app and a portal at the same time. Maybe this is where machine learning and artificial intelligence come into their own.

Imagine signing up to the [insert name of operator or digital service provider] app and once you have created your secure, probably blockchain based identity, you go through a series of questions about what you are interested in. Home security? (Absolutely.) Health tracker? (Don’t be ridiculous.) Connected fridge? (Perleez.) Organisational app? (Now you’re talking.)

And this app/portal goes away and reads all the reviews for you in all the areas where you didn’t laugh out loud. Then when you next log into the app, with your fingerprint or eye, or whatever, it gives you the top three in each category and rates them as best for ease of use; functionality; reliability; [insert metric of your choice]. And you click on which ones you like the look of.

And next time you log in to your app/portal you can access any of the apps that you have chosen, which have been downloaded, without having to do any more logging in. You can just get on with being more organised and secure.

It would be good for customers. It would be good for operators (of the digital service provider variety) and it would be good for the downtrodden app builder who was about to roll over and get an extra 40 winks.

But, as our Managing Editor, Tony Poulos points out, there already is an app that accesses everything. It’s called a browser. Maybe responsive websites and your favourite browser combined may be the ‘killer app’ or lifebuoy we have all been waiting for.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .

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