One of the advantages (if you can call it that) of being in this industry as long as I have is that I’ve been through multiple economic disasters, technological paradigm shifts, and — it’s not all bad! — economic and technological boom periods.
So I figured I might as well throw out a few predictions as to how I feel technology, and more specifically the app world, is going to change after this is over. What kinds of apps will consumers want, what kinds of apps will entrepreneurs build?
Keep in mind this is just my opinion based on my own experience, and should not be taken as anything but that. That being said, lets start with the big question: what sorts of apps are going to be big after the coronovirus scare of 2020?
Remote working apps
One of the initial download spikes I saw after people here in California were asked to stay home was Zoom. Not just Zoom though — Skype, Discord, and other communication apps suddenly became much more useful as we all retreated home.
What’s interesting to me in times like this is how people start bending existing technologies to their needs. For example, you may have an app that was used primarily for virtual face-to-face conferencing for businesses now being used to host virtual get togethers for people under lockdown.
That’s an interesting opportunity for entrepreneurs to start to see gaps in the technological landcape. The market will tell you really quickly that there is a need for a specific app tailored for that particular use case. Its possible that platforms like Zoom will step up and fill the gap themselves. But sometimes those apps can’t or simply won’t, and that’s a huge opportunity to get in and fill an existing need.
One of the biggest struggles I see with many app startups is that they created something very cool, very interesting, but not very in demand. That means when they launch, they not only need to find users and let them know they exist, they also have to explain to them why they should care. It’s always an easier road when the market is already waiting with baited breath for your product.
I know the social networking landscape is already pretty crowded, but I predict we’ll see a few more innovative apps in this space in the next year or two.
I have been watching a few giant gaps of my own for the last few years (and hopefully one day I’ll have time to set about filling them!) but more are sure to pop up as the battle against Coronavirus goes on.
Many of us, for example, are cut off from our parents right now. I am, and I could be for months. Are our existing social networks adequate for facilitating communication with our older family members? Are they easy to use, do they offer the tools we need to help our parents and grandparents out in a time of crisis?
One immediate issue that came to my attention when all of this happened was that my parents need someone to bring supplies to them — if it is unsafe for them to venture outside, they will need someone to make sure they have food and toilet paper and soap and every other necessity. And for the very old among us there is the added concern of whether or not they are able to stay aware of their own needs.
At home entertainment
I don’t personally feel like gaming or streaming entertainment is ripe for any newcomers as a result of Coronavirus. After all just about every type of media is available to stream these days — even comics! But I do think their importance in our lives is going to become much more evident now.
I have, for a while, started to think about ways that entrepreneurs can help consumers manage the growing number of subscriptions that are required now — either by way of bundles, or technologies to manage payment options, sharing, etc.
And finally, the big one: we need better technology to get information to the community.
And we don’t just need better channels — we need better noise reduction. The amount of utter nonsense I’ve seen on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram this week is depressing. I have had several friends and family members ask me if I had heard some tidbit working its way through the grapevine which was either comically false or, worse, potentially dangerous.
We need better ways to spread valid information than our current UGC platforms, which we have seen over the past few years are highly susceptible to misinformation and confusion.
I would personally love to see someone finally come in and solve not only the UGC news and information dissemination problem, but also make sure we have adequate tools in our pockets to receive and process updates from agencies like the CDC or WHO to keep us informed in the event of health crises or natural disasters.
That’s all for now. I’m sure over the next couple weeks or possibly months we’ll see more gaps in the market as a result of this.
One thing I would like to remind everyone is that the iPhone boom happened essentially right after the financial crisis of 2007-2008. And the just came out a ridiculously long period of growth since then. So stay positive, stay creative, and most importantly stay safe!
Last modified: March 23, 2020