Mobile App Platforms’ Role Continues to Evolve in API, IoT Era

C. Dunlap

C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • MEAP vendors are focused on IoT platforms and user experience (UX) technologies, which aim to help enterprises reach new markets according to the usability of their mobile apps and their ability to connect things.
  • Low-code development platforms leverage the infrastructure strengths of public clouds, such as IBM Bluemix and Microsoft Azure, to create mobile apps that analyze and respond in real time.

The role of mobile enterprise application platforms (MEAP) and mobile services continues to evolve, not only as a significant component of business transformation projects, but also as a means for extending current business app use. What began as technology to support desktop web experiences subsequently moved to omnichannel, mobile-first, and cloud-first experiences. MEAP is now at the crux of connecting devices – mobile and otherwise – as well as serving as the UX backbone that will empower a broader group of stakeholders, from savvy developers to non-coding business users. The technology spans both front-end mobile app and website design frameworks as well as backend integration services. The role of mobile app platforms is maturing into one that connects people, devices, and data, while helping to drive business-transforming marketing programs. (For further reading, please see: Competitive Landscape Assessment: Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms (MEAP), October 21, 2016).

Key trends involving mobile application platforms revolve around cloud-based services, which allow developers to access backend integration services – including API services and analytics – to build advanced apps that connect systems of record with systems of engagement. As a result, while current mobile services support a funneling of geolocation timing, going forward, analytics capabilities that support machine learning and cognitive intelligence will make the user experience more meaningful. Such mobile apps deliver customer insights and engagement in order to provide marketing groups with feedback loops that can help analyze the success of marketing campaigns across multiple channels, including mobile, web, and chatbots. The evolving technology is based on low-code development platforms, leveraging the infrastructure strengths of public clouds, such as IBM Bluemix and Microsoft Azure, to create mobile apps that analyze and respond in real time.

At the same time, mobile pure plays and app platform providers are focused on IoT middleware and UX technologies, rolling out products and initiatives around these prevailing themes. Both are key in their ability to help solidify the digital transformation initiatives being formed over the past 18 months by vendors promising to help enterprises reach new markets according to the usability of their mobile apps and their ability to connect things. As a result, the new mobile app development/deployment focus is on hybrid cloud offerings that support rapid app development platforms. These can help ease complexities around backend integration and improve front-end development through sophisticated UX tools delivered to a broader set of developers including coders and non-coders.

Noteworthy recent announcements:

  • IBM released cloud tools/services for the Apple Swift programming language, addressing server-side app development, deployment, and the management of Apple apps.
  • New mobile services by Salesforce DX are lacking in app lifecycle management but appeal to a broad audience through an advanced UX, Heroku PaaS, and a popular training program.
  • Oracle’s new mobile commitment includes MCS enhancements, marketing insights, and messaging bot integration, for 2017 GA.

About Charlotte Dunlap
Charlotte is a Senior Analyst for Application Platforms at Current Analysis. She covers the technologies that provide the infrastructure necessary to build and run enterprise applications and services. She analyzes the software, services and professional services necessary to integrate disparate systems, create cross-business and cross-technology communications, deliver rich, collaborative applications, and build software that is transparent, optimized and reusable.

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