2021 has been a year of ups and downs with much of the world coming in and out of lockdowns and businesses being forced to innovate in order to survive.
The software industry has been forced to progress, pioneering new technologies and generally working out better ways to do things. We have also seen a much greater adoption of software & apps, both on a personal and business level.
In this article we will review key learnings from 2021 to predict the app trends for 2022.
TLDR: Our Predicted App Trends for 2022
- 2022 will see widespread adoption of blockchain applications (aka dApps) as web 3 adds tokenised utilities to everyday apps;
- It will be the year of “Super Apps” where developers build on their existing applications to create whole ecosystems;
- No-code will get smarter and allow for businesses to create much more extensive applications without the need for a developer;
- Applications will utilise Artificial Intelligence to create a more unique and user centric experience;
- Augmented Reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR) will take critical steps forward towards becoming a part of everyday life;
Blockchain app trends in 2022 – adoption of Crypto technologies to add tokenisation
As a very quick explainer, blockchain technology allows developers to create decentralised applications, which are themselves governed by “Smart Contracts”. In layman’s terms, crypto developers can create automated code that triggers certain transactions on the blockchain when particular circumstances are met, like the deposit of a cryptocurrency.
There is a huge amount of potential when it comes to applying smart contracts and tokenisation to everyday life. As a very simplistic example, rewards programs can be built using blockchain technology, which will allow users to earn a cryptocurrency, which they can in turn convert to “fiat” (eg Australian Dollars) thus realising the actual reward without being forced to do another transaction within the ecosystem.
The true potential for web 3 and dApps is inconceivable and the app trend for 2022 will be one of first to market. Those that get in quick we reap the rewards.
WordPress is still the most popular platform and content management system (CMS) in the world of web. However, app trends for 2022 seem to indicate that more and more people are ready for a change. WordPress requires constant maintenance as plugins and the operating system update. Plus although most UI designs are possible, the more complex you get the slower the loading time. Not to mention that visual composes like Elementor are extremely bloated.
However, for those businesses really looking to take things to the next level, we have Jamstack technologies. Although more expensive, websites built using this new technology are faster, more secure and more user friendly. If you look at some of the biggest brands (eg Figma), you will see that migrations to this web tech stack have already started.
Super App Trends – 2022 will see the rise of unified application ecosystems
Certain apps really cemented their place in the 2021 market. Some of the most successful applications started to take things to the next level by becoming a “Super App”.
To explain: we saw a trend in 2021 that we are sure will continue into 2022. Apps that were able to create a strong user base started to expand beyond their original niche to offer more useful features in one place.
Google is of course the oldest and best example of this. They started with a search engine, expanded into email and now offer a full suite of cloud tools to businesses worldwide.
You don’t of course have to go to this extent but the goal is to analyse what apps your current user base also frequent. That way you can take key features/learnings from these apps and add them to your own repertoire. The goal is to offer all related services to your users in one place. In this way you’d become a “Super App” within your industry.
No-Code application builders will be another key app trend for 2022
No-code has been an emerging app trend throughout the 2010s. Initially, very clever developers came up with solutions and then implemented white label versions of their applications so that other business owners could leverage this existing IP.
2021 definitely became the year of API integrators like Zapier and Integromat. Essentially these no-code platforms allow you to connect multiple SaaS applications together. Then you can use various triggers and actions to create fully automated workflows.
Although they have been around for years, we noted a significant drop-off of “simple” software development requests. That’s because more and more people tried these no-code builders for themselves. A key reason for this is the distinct improvement in UX (User Experience). In short these apps are now much easier to use. This has lowered the barriers of entry significantly.
As we move into 2022, we predict that you’ll find that many software development agencies will actually leverage these platforms to help their customers. That way the business owner will not have to learn how to use these platforms for themselves, whilst still saving money by not “recreating the wheel”. This will trigger these tools to expand out of the startup scene as established business implement them into their existing tech stacks.
AR and VR will become much more widespread in 2022
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies progressed significantly in 2021 (and prior). However, only a small amount of application developers were actually able to implement these technologies in a way that become widely adopted and easy to use.
In the case of VR, we are still yet to see truly affordable technology. As such, we have not been able to get Virtual Reality goggles into the hands of the everyday user. For AR, most app designers are yet to build something that incorporates Augmented Reality into everyday life.
It’s our prediction as an app trend for 2022 that we will see a big push by tech providers to use AR & VR for client engagement. These technologies are perfect for creating unique and interactive experiences. The challenge will be bringing such experiences into something that is used day in day out.
2022 will see yet more apps using Artificial Intelligence to heighten the User Experience (UX)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have been a constant in software trend articles like this for the last 4 or 5 years. That’s because each year we see new innovative AI apps being released. 2021 was of course no different. Between new AI apps being released and existing applications integrating ML, we have seen a huge spike across the market.
This is in part due to the rise of third party AI platforms. These can provide solutions from natural language and speech to vision (eg facial recognition). The big 3 cloud services, AWS, Azure and Google Cloud, have all stamped their authority on the market.
In terms of app trends for 2022, we expect that this will continue on into next year. In particular we foresee new niche neural networks popping up. These will allow app developers access to pre-trained models for specific AI processing.
In fact the more time goes on the more ML models will emerge. This will continually lower the barriers of entry for app startups to leverage this great and inevitable technology.