A new report from Juniper Research predicts that increasing contextual awareness in apps, as seen in digital assistants such as Google Now, will transform the process of app discovery and the cluttered app tray. In addition, Google recently opened its deep linking API to allow apps to be indexed in a similar way to web pages, further accelerating this movement.
The report, Mobile Context & Location Services: Navigation, Tracking, Social & Local Search 2014-2019, forecasts that the number of smartphone and tablet apps in use, that leverage contextual or location data on devices, will near 7.5 billion by 2019, up from 2.8 billion in 2014. The research highlighted the availability of comprehensive app-based digital maps, at little or no cost to the consumer, as a key driver. It also noted that context-awareness is now considered to be key amongst app developers in delivering a relevant user experience.
“Context awareness signals a paradigm shift in the definition of what search means on mobile”, added report author Steffen Sorrell. “Combined with deep linking, this shift will transform the manner by which we discover and access apps: the days of flicking through the app tray are numbered.”
According to the report, the use of location and context-driven apps on smartphones will far exceed tablet uptake. Cellular network use on tablets is not common amongst consumers, restricting the ability of these devices to take advantage of hyper-local positioning unless connected to public Wi-Fi. Nonetheless, tablets represent a proportionally higher per-app revenue stream relative to smartphones, with higher in-app spends and greater advertising revenue per session.
The study also finds that privacy concerns still remain among users, with location preferred to be shared via apps on an instantaneous, rather than continuous basis. Ad-supported apps will account for 71% of the total location and context-based service revenue.