As few as five years ago, there was a very precise definition of mobile and more specifically, mobile applications. Mobile devices for the most part were cellphones and smartphones. Even in 2009, tablets had not become mainstream, with the iPad really only popularizing them in mid-2010. Going into 2014, it's less clear what the word "mobile" means. From laptops that convert into tablets, wearables like Google Glass and the Pebble watch, application-focused hardware in homes and hospitals, each of these arguably both bolster and blow up the definition of "mobile." The common thread across them all is clear though: apps.
There's An App for...Every Thing
Thanks to the app stores, there's long been "an app for that." The Internet of Things is moving us into a different age though: an app for every thing. Every physical item in the world around us will not only be connected to the Internet—the Internet of Things—it will have an interface to interact with it through an app. That's not some futuristic fantasyville coming in five to ten years. The "app for every thing" world is closer than you think. Here are a handful of examples: - Estimote just received $3.1M in seed funding for their micro-location retail beacons.
- FitBit's line of products give people insight into daily activity patterns.
- SmartThings makes hacking the home available to just about anyone.
- Automatic is saving people money with its smart driving recommendations.
Mary Meeker has cleverly labeled these devices as, "driveables, flyables, and scannables" in her Internet Trends D11 report for 2013. They are largely powered by cost-effective, location-aware sensors that are connected to the Internet. Robert Scoble calls this new era the age of context—also the title of his latest book—writing, "It brings human service to a next level. Highly personalized. Very aware."
It's All About the Applications, Baby
If the sensors are the heart of the age of context, apps are the brains. While the Estimote beacon, Automatic Link, SmartThings Hub, Fitbit Trackers, and all these other new driveables, flyables, and scannables are exciting, they become useful because of the applications that complement them. Driving and fitness recommendations have to be shown somewhere. Lights and locks have to be controlled from an interface. Micro-location beacons have to display a coupon or payment receipt on a screen.
At savvy apps, we've experienced the age of context firsthand over the last two years. We've worked on apps for our customers that tap into every sensor on the smartphone and tablet, run on custom hardware & ROMs, and integrate with embedded devices. We're Glass Explorers already working with the Google Glass Development Kit. At our headquarters, our scannables includes Estimote beacons, Philips Hue bulbs, Dropcam, Nexia Home Intelligence, and of course, the Nest. We really do see this work as an extension of what we've been doing since 2009: using native software development kits to make life better, one app at a time.
Let Us Help You in 2014
With the evolution of the work we have been doing, we knew we needed to update our brand. The apps we build are no longer just on smartphones, tablets, and computers. We have been helping build the age of context and our logo in particular needed to be more flexible and better reflect where both savvy apps and the industry have been moving.
I believe we have accomplished that, clearly communicating to our current and prospective customers that we're ready to help them build apps for primary and secondary screens, as well as apps for every thing. I'd encourage you to watch this brief video, which gives some more insight into our new brand. And of course, drop us a line if our all-star team can be of assistance with any of your application efforts. See you in 2014.