Over the past few years, mobile Internet applications have established themselves as a thriving technology market. The concept of wearable hardware is now possible, and it is expected to become another booming industry in the next several years. Software developers currently have the capacity and motivation to begin building out the next generation of technology devices.
One possible bottleneck that could occur within this market is the explosion of data that will come from ultra-mobile and relentlessly connected devices. There’s no doubt that content delivery, in the form of both media and data, is going to play a large role going forward. As a result of the fact that the average person today uses multiple mobile devices and inputs, content delivery networks (CDNs) will need to become more location-aware than ever before.
Geographical positioning of CDNs will begin to play a huge role. Connections that these devices make must come from the closest possible source in order for the performance of Internet applications to remain high. Not only will mobile devices proliferate, but they will also utilize cloud-computing resources for power. Thus, developers building on these platforms will need to emphasize geolocation more than they do on today’s mobile applications.
Building on the right platform
Internet application developers who use flexible web standards like HTML5 are most likely to succeed in this space. No matter what device a user has, it will have a browser as a portal for using applications if it is considered “smart.” Developers have a strong interest in Mozilla’s mobile platform known as Firefox OS, which uses browser-based technology to bring web applications to life. And while that may seem like a challenge in terms of connectivity, CDNs will help power these devices.
Unlike Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android platform, Firefox’s open design gives developers a clean slate for wearable possibilities. Google’s Android-powered Glass wearable technology, for example, is expected to tread slowly in the type of applications that are approved for official use due to privacy concerns. Privacy advocates claim that the use of wearable technology like Google Glass poses a threat to unintended surveillance, which is a huge concern for Google.
Internet application developers must not only think about new inputs and platforms, they must consider monetizing applications for wearable and mobile.
Mobile advertising has shown some promise, but running ads on smaller screens has not proven to be a blockbuster method of making money. Technology known as gaze tracking, where devices are capable of monitoring what a user is looking at, might be the answer. The idea of “pay-per-gaze” is a metric that can be used to prove to ad networks that users are engaged with content. And although the idea sounds far-fetched right now, the reality is that developers and content providers need to ensure that they are making money. Gaze tracking might be the best route, given new inputs and cutting-edge hardware concepts.
Content and delivery
In the next few years, we can expect mobile Internet application developers to weave more of a content focus into applications. By providing narrative or a story, developers can better monetize content.
With constrained wireless networks not seeing a breakthrough in ubiquitous high speed data, CDNs will play a role in mobile, perhaps more than they have on the desktop, in the course of the next few years. Wireless carriers will need to continue massive investment of their infrastructure for this to work in the United States. But, at the same time, utilizing Internet applications for content delivery will increase as the proliferation of digital devices continues to rise.