Thursday, April 16, 2015

Mobile technology continues to evolve at a very fast rate, with new capabilities and new risks also evolving. With that in mind, check out six necessary skills developers might want to look into before 2016 comes to an end:

1. Multi-Platform/Multi-Architecture App Development Tools

According to Gartner analyst Nick Jones, most companies will require application development tools that support “a 3x3 future.” This involves support for the “big three” platforms—iOS, Android, and Windows—as well as support for three application architectures, i.e. native, mobile Web, and hybrid. Jones calls tool selection a “balancing act,” and a trade-off between both technical and non-technical issues, such as productivity versus vendor stability. He believes most large organizations will need a number of tools to accommodate various platforms, and as such developers as well as IT support staff must be proficient in multiple platforms and architecture types.

2. Enterprise Mobile Management

Closely linked to the “bring your own device” trend, effective enterprise mobile management means IT staffers must be able to manage and secure data across any mobile device being used, such as smartphones, PCs, and tablets. Employees bringing their devices to work frequently functions as a huge productivity boost, but it’s also a security issue.

Skills required for enterprise mobile management include "mobile device management (MDM), mobile application management, application wrapping and containerization, and some elements of enterprise file synchronization and sharing,” notes Jones.

3. Advanced Mobile-App Design

Mobile apps are only getting better and more sophisticated, making it increasingly essential for businesses to up their game in terms of mobile “offerings.” Learning how to leverage new tools and methods to craft unique user experiences, such as “quiet” designs, motivational designs, and playful interfaces are just some of the examples Jones provides. Designers should also be capable of creating apps that accommodate mobile challenges, like interruptions and distracted users. The “wow” factor is important as well.

4. Precise Location Sensing

Jones stresses that knowing a user’s location is key in allowing businesses to provide highly-relevant content and services, such as relevant coupons sent to customers as they walk down grocery store aisles.

"Precise indoor location sensing, combined with mobile apps, will enable a new generation of extremely personalized services and information,” Gartner noted in 2014. Those who can perfect their location-sensing technology over the next two years will find themselves at a serious advantage.

5. Personal-Area Networks and Wearable Devices

Smartphones are easily the “hub” for personal-area networks, as they connect with wearable gadgets such as healthcare sensors, smart watches, Google Glass and other display devices, and sensors embedded in clothes and shoes. Health, safety, and security must all be kept in mind when working with these new technologies.

6. New Wi-Fi Standards

Learning how to accommodate the new Wi-Fi standards, such as 802.11ac -- Waves 1 and 2 -- 11ad, 11aq and 11ah, is another important skill for developers to acquire. New standards not only increase Wi-Fi performance, but also make it relevant to numerous different application types. Putting new standards into practice will require most organizations to revise if not replace their existing Wi-Fi infrastructure.