Over the past decade, business applications have evolved significantly—from web to mobile to multi-channel apps. With each new wave came new use cases that simply weren’t possible due to previous technical limitations.
We’re now at another inflection point in the history of application development. By 2020, the world’s data will double every two months. The rapid rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), big data and machine learning are radically redefining apps as we know them.
We’re entering the era of Smart Apps.
What are Smart Apps?
Smart Apps are innovative systems that gather tremendous amounts of data from sensors and other sources, using machine learning algorithms and predictive analytics to make this information actionable for users and to improve experiences. Unlike their predecessors they are:
- Intelligent – Smart Apps use analytics, machine learning and AI services to make recommendations and predictions that guide users and things to take the next best action.
- Contextual – Using personal, sensor and location data, Smart Apps are personalized, embedded in users’ processes and available on any channel/device.
- Proactive – Smart Apps come to the user versus the other way around, leveraging push notifications, chat bots and messaging services to proactively interact with users and give them smart recommendations of what to do and when.
Smart Apps Create Opportunity to Reshape Entire Industries
With these smart experiences already proliferating the consumer space, enterprises face a sense of urgency to catch up and start generating value from these technologies before competitors. Organizations that delay adoption and fail to catch the IoT and algorithmic business wave risk competitive disadvantage—or displacement by digital disruption in the next five years.
As much as these new trends represent an existential threat, they also present one of the biggest business opportunities in decades. According to Gartner, by 2018, over half of large organizations globally will compete using advanced analytics and proprietary algorithms, causing the disruption of entire industries and the formation of new businesses that deliver great value. In addition, McKinsey estimates that IoT alone could generate up to $11.1 trillion a year in economic value by 2025.
Smart App Innovation in Action
A major airline has built an equipment tracking app that provides engineers with a live view of the locations of each piece of airline maintenance equipment.
By increasing the efficiency of engineers, this innovation is not only generating significant cost savings and process improvements, but also impacting the customer experience in the end through more reliable, on-time flights.
Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Company
A medication temperature monitoring app uses sensors as a way to ensure the best possible delivery of medical supplies.
The temperature of medications is key to meeting quality standards and regulations, and the app monitors every shipment in order to ensure the proper temperature is maintained and to remind patients to take their medication on time.
Greenhouse Lighting Systems Manufacturer
A lighting manufacturer for the horticultural industry built a Smart App that leverages IoT sensors and predictive analytics to perform predictive maintenance and optimize lighting, power consumption and plant photosynthesis.
The app transformed their business from a commoditize lighting systems manufacturer to a greenhouse optimization as-a-service.
Facility Management Company
A facility services company uses their multi-device application to enable support personnel to receive alerts about service issues and take immediate action.
By aggregating data from thousands of sensors in places like coffee machines, soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers and mouse traps rather than manual checks, the application has significantly cut costs and improved service levels. Now support personnel know exactly when the soap in the third level bathroom needs refilling.