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It’s an Apps World Today

24 Feb, 2012 By: Dr. Satwant Kaur, Hewlett-Packard imageSource

It's an App World.Today Apps are everywhere. Apps are software applications that run on smartphones and tablet computers. There are new healthcare Apps for doctors & patients that run on their hand held smart mobile devices such as iPads and Androids. The 3 primary mobile platforms on which most popular Apps reside are Apple iOS, Google Android, and RIM’s Blackberry platform.

Mobile Apps A Mass Marketing Platform

Today, mobile technologies, that are a combination of mobile devices and the mobile apps, have become multi-media, mass market, and mass entertainment platforms in the palm of people’s hands.

Mobile technologies are used to provide newer services and technologies in the new world of people with mobile devices and their apps. Businesses use them for sales in various field including education, the hospitality industry and now, hospital and healthcare facilities.

Healthcare and the need for expedited information is growing at rapid speed. The appropriate apps include reference apps, educational apps, EMR & patient monitoring apps, imaging apps, point of care apps for doctors. And there personal care apps for patients. Point of care is Apps for physicians to use with patients at the bed side. Examples include DrawMD; Urology and iSpineCare.

The EMR & patient monitoring group of Apps include Cerner’s Physician Express, Epic’s Haiku, GE’s CA Mobile, DrChrono, and many more. These have been used by GE, Cerner and other vendors to sell their products in healthcare.

Personal care Apps such as Diabetes Buddy are a means to help care providers recommend popular health apps to their patients.

Availability of greater bandwidth, powerful devices with rich image and video content technologies, has enabled apps real time rich content to be delivered “Any Time, Any Where.”

Technology Behind Apps

Apps are ubiquitous software applications that reside on iPhones, iPod Touches, and many other mobile devices running on Google’s Android operating system. These apps create / bequeath ubiquitousnous of devices upon which they reside. Now mobile devices and apps have become intimate part of our lives as virtual personal assistants.

Technology Enablers

Apps ability to deliver rich content in a convenient format in mobile devices is fueled with following technology changes:

  • Mobile touchscreen devices now cost much less, and are more readily available
  • Mobile devices have become smaller and multi-functional
  • There have been growth in mobile broadband for communication purposes
  • Growth in data-enabled smart phones including iPhone, Android phones and the Blackberry.

As a result, mobile devices with their apps fulfill most communication needs of an individual. Thus we see transformation of mobile devices as a primary communication system.

Ubiquitousness of Apps

Ubiquity of AppsToday, more than a million apps are available, and have been downloaded more than a billion times. Apps are widespread in a variety of uses in a variety of fields.

Mobile apps are powerful for productivity such as email, calendar and contact databases. They have rapidly expanded into other areas such as factory automation, GPS, location-based services, banking, and order-tracking.

Organizations can streamline operations and decrease cost by using real time inventory management apps and assembly line apps into in their business processes.

Mobile apps and mobile web experiences are suited for all business processes and are resulting in a mobile workforce. Some Examples:

  • Health care apps for nurses and doctors.
  • Sales enablement apps for field sales.
  • Insurance apps for mobile claims.
  • Mobile apps for police and city maintenance

Mobile apps are available through application distribution platforms by the owner of the mobile operating system, such as the Apple App Store, Android Market, and BlackBerry App World. Apps are downloaded to a target device such as an iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android phone.
Some specific popular Apps are:

  • Books Apps, such as: Comics, Cars 2 Storybook Deluxe
  • Education Apps, such as: Star Walk, Proloquo2Go, Inkling
  • Finance Apps, such as: MarketWatch, Market Data, Stock Genie
  • Healthcare & Fitness Apps: Men’s Health Magazine, SELF Magazine
  • Medical Apps: Visible Body 3D Human Anatomy, modalityBODY
  • Navigation Apps: WingX Pro7 Aviation, iNavX Marine Navigation
  • Photography Apps: iMovie, Snapseed
  • Reference Apps: BibleReader, World Atlas HD
  • Business Apps: Quickoffice Pro HD, Splashtop Remote Desktop
  • News Apps: The Daily, New York Post, The New Yorker Magazine
  • Travel Apps, such as: FlightTrack, ZAGAT TO GO
  • Weather Apps: ForeFlight Mobile Aviation, Weather+

Current Trends

Mobile devices are the primary content destination for all marketing and product information. Several technology trends have contributed to the rise of Mobile Apps as an effective tool to market products in their palms:

  • Web has become the accepted platform for application and business process development
  • Corporate IT has accepted access to business applications for workforce and partners in ecosystem
  • Mobile web browsing has been accepted as the replacement to older traditional desktop browsing
  • Business information has moved from the desktop and onto the mobile devices

Upcoming trends that will grow the use of Apps even more:

  • Mobile apps have enabled richer experiences for end users, since it utilizes Offline Application Cache and Offline interaction at the user mobile device end for boosting performance
  • HTML5 enables the web as a common development platform for all mobile browser-equipped devices.
  • Augmented reality technologies combine the real world with digital information, giving mobile users the feeling that they are interacting with real objects in real time. Augmented reality apps are used in a varied of applications from GPS systems, fitness apps and more recently haptics and tactile feedback using a sense of touch. Haptics technology that allowed users to feel their apps on the touchscreen by manipulating an electric field. With haptic technology, users will now be able to feel bumps and ridges, and roughness of objects.
  • Android Google’s standard Open Source OS works across all devices from smart phones to 46-inch Samsung TV’s.

Future of Apps

Mobile Browsers are out. Mobile Apps are in.

Marketing content used be directed to the consumers in their mobile devices, through mobile web. Mobile web is the trimmed version of web sites for mobile devices and always being on line was a requirement.

Now it is the Mobile Apps that are replacing mobile web, and taking the device away from being just a platform for a browsing device.

Users don’t have to depend on a web browser to use mobile apps. Companies like Google App engine, Amazon Web Services and Salesforce’s Force.com are releasing more and more of their apps in mobile apps formats.

Users can directly get to the mobile apps with just an access to the internet. Apps allow browser less access to website. By eliminating the browser, it is the network that becomes the medium. Users need only a WiFi or 3G/4G connection to work.

Mobile apps become more intuitive and simpler to use. They enrich our “technology-enhanced” lives!

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