2018 is the year mobile will become core to digital ecosystems

Here's how we predict mobile will affect the future of digital experiences.

Video: Forecasting the future of the smartphone

Last year Forrester predicted that mobile would become the face of digital, with consumer app fatigue forcing digital business professionals to pursue a portfolio of mobile experiences. Since the beginning of 2017, 29 percent of firms Forrester surveyed have experimented with skills on Amazon Alexa and other voice-enabled assistants and 51 percent have started using, piloted or tested interactions on third party platforms like Facebook Messenger.

As firms prepare for 2018, the smartphone is finally beginning to assume its role as the central conductor across broader digital experiences on many devices. Today Forrester released its annual predictions for mobile in 2018 with recommendations that will help digital business, B2C marketing, and application development professionals build the foundations of future digital experiences.

Here are three key takeaways from our 2018 mobile predictions:

  • Digital business professionals will approach new commerce-enabling technology with care: The smartest companies will continue to invest in the core mobile technology stack instead of chasing the flashy stuff in 2018. Why? Because consumer adoption of augmented reality won't extend beyond gaming, media, and social for consumer use cases in the near term and chatbots are still better-suited as an experimental initiative, rather than one on which firms should balance their entire customer experience. One technology that holds more promise than others is voice, but digital businesses must account for the immaturity of technologies "beneath the hood," like natural language understanding.
  • Marketers will think big, but shouldn't abandon their mobile foundations: Like for digital business professionals, the biggest challenge for marketers working on mobile initiatives in 2018 will be striking a balance between improving their basic mobile offerings (apps and mobile websites) while also pursuing ecosystem strategies that extend beyond apps. Unfortunately, compounding that challenge will be a struggle to recruit talent for mobile, and many companies will rely on agencies, consultancies and systems integrators to build more advanced experiences.
  • Developers will take advantage of new mobile ecosystem tools: Developers need to build across a spectrum of digital experiences. In 2018, Forrester predicts they will build simple and new experiences with integrated augmented reality SDKs, cross-platform tooling, and emerging web standards. It will be a year of experimenting, testing and learning, but not without talent gaps: some firms will turn to low-code development platforms to as means of expanding development teams.

In 2018, mobile will become core to digital ecosystems. While many firms believe they've already checked the box on mobile, wise companies will focus on the underlying technologies that will allow them to actually deliver the experiences the next generation of consumers are looking for.

-- By Julie Ask, vice president and principal analyst, and Laura Naparstek, researcher

Forrester predicts 2018 will be a year of reckoning. Download our 2018 predictions guide to gain new insights and help catalyze action at your organization.

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