The Mobile Markets and Trends that will Matter in 2016

introThe following is a guest contributed post from Mark McDonald, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Appster, originally shared with MAW.

With well over two billion smartphone users around the world and growing, mobile, tablets, wearables, environmental sensors, AI, and other growing technologies represent the major revolution since the PC and internet. All of this will dramatically shape our world in the coming years and chances are 2016 will be more exciting for both entrepreneurs and consumers than we can possibly imagine. Here are some of the emerging trends that will likely dominate mobile.

  1. Location

Location-based services (LBS) market is growing at an incredible 38% compound annual growth and is about to quadruple in the coming years. Yet so far we’ve only seen basic apps telling people where their friends are but the opportunity goes way beyond that.

The market is more vibrant than ever before with giants like Google, Apple investing heavily in that space. In fact, some their largest acquisitions were location startups (e.g. Waze for $1 billion).

There are huge opportunities in indoor mapping, navigation services, location-based payments, safety, security and more. A number of technologies like beacons, sensors, magnetic fields are being deployed representing a major shift in computing. Franky, the market timing is great right now, and there are always entrepreneurs ready to jump in and build the next hot app.

  1. Wearables

Wearables market exploded in 2014 recording 700% year-to-year increase. Analysts from investment bank Piper Jaffray expect the wearable shipments to grow from 21 million units in 2014 to 150 million units in 2019, with the total target market of 1.08 billion people worldwide.

But the future of wearables isn’t just about making mobile apps available on a different screen. It allows us to deliver new solutions in a completely unique way and solve problems that can’t be solved in any other form.

In fact, the growth trajectory of wearables mimics the growth of tablets few years ago, and initially iPad was raising mixed feelings. With further growth in 2016, exciting things are going to happen.

  1. Healthcare

With the market for wearables reaching 1 billion in the next three years, over 2 billion smartphone users today, over 50% of physicians owning iPad (and loving it) and platforms like iHealth being rolled out, the healthcare market is clearly ripe for a massive tech change.

Also according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the global healthcare market is a worth $9.6 trillion. At the same time, it’s ridden with problems and inefficiencies and technology is changing that. Experts predict that over 50% of hospitals around the world will close.

This is a new emerging market and all points to 2016 being the breakout year. Whether it’s telemedicine, fitness, cloud-based EHR, big data or wearables, many exciting apps and mobile technologies are about to emerge in the coming year or two.

  1. Unbundling Google

Google is the third largest technology company in the world, according to Forbes, generating $66 billion in revenues with a huge profit margin of 25%. What’s interesting is that Google has over 150 product lines, but 90% of its revenues come from the single revenue source – advertising.

Logically, you can’t do 150 things and do all of them well at the same time. But Google’s business model is all about collecting and selling data to advertisers and that they do better than anyone else. Thus many of its services, while not great are free, and that’s the entire point.

But for each product line, whether it’s search like Google Images, Shopping, News, etc. or YouTube, Hangouts, Google Maps, Apps for Business or Advertising itself, there is a market of users who want a better or different service and willing to pay. And we’ll likely see more startups exploring this opportunity next year.

  1. Social Media 2.0

Social media startups were a fad for a while. But so was the situation when Facebook started up. After Myspace, Friendster it was considered the most cliche idea that will never succeed. Now let’s look at the situation now.

Facebook is a norm. It counts 1.5 billion users. At the same time, the only demographic with some interesting growth are seniors. Twitter has some serious monetization problems, and it became so cluttered it’s not adding users because it’s too much. LinkedIn is turned outright spam.

Today, teens are using Snapchat, Instagram, Periscope and Vine. And more will come. We’ll see lot more fragmentation and, maybe in a couple more years, a big winner who will consolidate the market.