As smart technology permeates our society, powering our wearables, homes, cars, and other IoT devices, apps to drive are also on the rise. In fact, a recent report by VisionMobile said that out of the 4.5 million people identified as IoT developers in 2015, 1.4 million were focused on smart home apps. According to VisionMobile’s IoT Megatrends 2016 report, there are seven distinct IoT areas that app developers work in—smart home, retail, industrial, wearables, smart city, medical and connected car—with the opportunities offered by connected homes a clear favorite. Retail IoT apps, wearables and industrial versions attract around one million app developers each, while the connected car is of interest to 700,000 people. People have become used to the concept of IoT and recent research by Gartner said that there could be as many as 700 million smart homes by 2020. With smartphones and tablets working as remote controls for connected devices, there will be a tremendous need for new apps to drive them. And according to IDC Research, 101.9 million wearable devices were shipped in 2016, a 29 percent increase over 2015.The rise of smart wearables like the Apple Watch and Microsoft’s Hololens demonstrate the rise of new opportunities for app developers and vendors to provide connected apps. "The trajectory of the wearables market signals a strong opportunity for developers," Llamas continued. "Applications increase the value and utility of a wearable, and users want to see more than just their health and fitness results. News, weather, sports, social media, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications will all have a place on a wearable. And, when combined with cellular connectivity, users will not have to take out their smartphones to get the latest information. All they will need to do is glance at their wearable." App Trends for Leveraging Smart Devices This year sees a huge opportunity to leverage this new smart space. We have gathered a list of some of the top mobile app development trends to watch in 2017. Continued rise of Location-based services (LBS). GPS availability and ease of use means that location-based services will continue to evolve to provide real-time information or deals based on user locations. LBS is particularly useful for indoor mapping, location-specific payment portals, retail offers, security features, navigation, travel and tourism, and more. When combined with mobile apps, LBS can enable a new generation of personalized services and information. AppSheet also ready includes LBS in many of its offerings, like Site Scout, an app for construction site inspections. Integration of Augmented Reality (AR) into utility apps. In its early stages, the use of AR was seen as a gimmick, but it has grown into its own more recently with the addition of wearables. AR tools can now be used more effectively and productively than ever before. Word or phrase recognition can be used in messenger apps to pull up appropriate actions, and integrations like social media syncing, location tracking, and product links can also be leveraged with AR. A number of retailers are already integrating augmented reality into their mobile apps to help shoppers visualize furniture and décor in their homes at full-scale before making a purchase. The rise of “run-only-as-you-need” apps. Android’s new Instant Apps feature allows apps to run instantly, a trend which will become more appealing and widespread. These enabled apps don’t have to be downloaded or installed and can run with just a single tap, saving data and memory space on the device. The “run-only-as-you-need” concept is poised to fundamentally transform the app industry. And while these apps are usually preview versions lacking some advanced features, they do provide quick insight and experience. The normalization of embedded AI within apps. As embedded AI becomes more standard, it will also transform the industry. Self-learning apps have the potential to customize what they display to users based on personal preferences or location-based data, and they could soon be found in everyday devices like phones, cameras, and IoT devices. Continued dominance of IoT app integrations. The IoT industry is booming, leading to the rise of apps that cater to IoT integration. Data analytics will also be central to this trend, in order to allow easy and efficient access to stored and shared data. App security becomes paramount. As smartphones become more versatile and handle larger amounts of sensitive data, security will become increasingly crucial as well. That means that apps with built-in security features will be highly successful, helping to guarantee the protection of user data. According to Gartner, in 2017 75 percent of mobile app security breaches will be caused by misconfigurations, which means that mobile app security is essential when building apps for the IoT. Focus On Optimal User Experience The most important feature of apps in 2017, however – whether for smartphones or other smart applications – will be a premium and smooth user experience. One aspect that guarantees success is the use of rich media that help transform apps into better and more memorable tools. Through effective display of data and content on your mobile user interface, you can help guarantee a positive user experience. The most successful apps will exploit technologies with novel features like interactive content layers; circular design patterns, cards, and manipulation of content to create an augmented reality that allows users to interact with content in further detail. From LBS to AR and beyond, AppSheet has a wide range of tools to help you create the smart apps for your business to connect with your customers and their devices.