When ordering a pizza, would you like to just speak into Siri, Cortana or Google Now and ask it to do so? In an ideal world, that is the way in which things should work.
To take it a bit further, the application would know what your favourite pizza is and where you usually get it from, so there would be no further interaction required by you.
According to David Willis, vice president and analyst at Gartner, this is the future that the post-app era is moving towards.
“Apps right now have a high abandonment rate, where people just use them for a while and then leave. Some companies or businesses have more than one app, and it is just too much for people,” he said during the Gartner symposium being held in Cape Town this week.
The post-app era isn’t a period where people don’t use apps, but rather a movement where people use a single interface like Siri or Google Now, and then let the mobile device decide what app will be the best for the job.
This falls in squarely with what companies like Google and Apple are pushing for with their virtual personal assistants. Granted, apps like Siri or Cortana aren’t fully working in South Africa just yet, but it could be moving towards that in the future.
“Having a device that can do the figuring out for them ushers in the era of simplification – not fragmentation with plenty of apps from one company.”
Willis also mentioned that with business moving towards a more mobile approach, things are getting a bit tricky for companies and businesses.
The days of having access to a PC during work hours being must are long over, as mobile phones and tablets have made it easier for people to conduct business.
But that does create its own unique set of challenges.
“Where do you start?” asks Willis. “What is a good governance model and what apps do you use?”
Here, he comments, the app vendors have been lagging behind in giving people access to the apps that they want. He explains that it was easier for PC programmers back in the day, as they knew people had a keyboard, mouse and a separate screen.
But in a mobile era, those things aren’t as certain as phone come in all different size and often only have an on-screen keyboard. And that is not even to mention the plethora of different tablets available.
“There is a massive skills gap here as well, as more companies need to develop for mobile. There is a massive backlog of app requests that people have inside businesses for apps and businesses are not ready to do that,” Willis said.
To tie in with the post-app era, people have also become more impatient when using an app – let alone more than one app for a single company.
Willis explains that Gartner has found that people only dig down about three pages in an app, or usuually just wait about four seconds for something to load. If it doesn’t, they leave, often to never return.
“While users are constantly looking for new and compelling app experiences, the importance of apps in delivering services will diminish and the emergence of virtual personal assistants (VPAs) and bots will replace some of the functions performed by apps today. Alternative approaches to interaction and service delivery will arise, and code will move from traditional mobile devices and apps to the cloud,” Willis concluded.