5G is coming. The initial stages of the 5G rollout are already underway here in the United States, with full 5G network capability projected by the end of 2020. Which means native 5G apps are right behind.
3G changed the world. Then 4G and LTE changed it again. And consumer app developers can expect 5G apps to once again change everything about how mobile users engage with their devices.
Join us as we take a closer look at what engagement trends 5G apps will likely usher in. And how mobile app developers can prepare today to capitalize on those trends tomorrow.
Faster Speeds, More “Hooked” Users
5G is more than just a rebrand by the marketing department. It is a true leap forward in network connectivity speeds.
With 4G LTE, most network download speeds max out around 12 Mbps. With 5G, that figure explodes to a whopping 10 Gbps. That enormous advance will create a large, qualitative shift in how customers use their devices.
When networks introduced 4G LTE to the market, the average user’s data usage spiked to roughly 2GB per month. Why? Not because they were suddenly sending more text messages, or talking for more minutes per day. It was because they could do a whole new range of things, like stream music, download movies, and live video chat with friends.
Suddenly, their device was more than just a telephone. It became a portal to the world.
5G is set to unlock a similar leap forward. Where exactly it will take us, no one knows for sure. But the industry at large is confident that 5G will have users more engaged – and more “hooked” – on their devices than ever.
This will be good for developers concerned with certain mobile app KPIs, especially user retention rate, total active users, and total sessions per active user.
But this uptick in user engagement will also create a new challenge – and a new opportunity – as well.
5G Apps and Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is already an epidemic in the United States. With the rollout of 5G, can we expect driver phone use to get worse? At this stage, it’s still relatively unclear.
Zendrive recently conducted the largest study on distracted driving in human history, and concluded that the average distracted driver looks at his or her phone for a total of 3 minutes and 40 seconds each hour. At 55 miles per hour, that’s the equivalent of traveling 42 football fields blindfolded.
Why are people so distracted behind the wheel? Well, because our smartphones are awesome. Connected to a world of entertainment and socializing, they are inherently distracting. We are already “hooked” on them.
With 5G apps, even more wonderful distractions come onto the scene. Attractive nuisances like AR games, VR chat and social media, and e-sports streaming will pull even more eyes off the road.
Unless someone consider safety, a bad problem will only become worse.
That’s where app developers can make a difference by offering users built-in safety while they’re on the road.
3 Ways to Make 5G Apps Safer:
Developers can allow their app to stand out in a crowded marketplace by offering driver safety features. Here are three compelling safety functions developers can execute with only the standard sensors on a smartphone and a few lines of code.
As we’ve discussed on this blog before, Car Mode (or Drive Mode) apps seek to “turn down the noise” of smartphone distractions. They do so in a number of ways, primarily by hiding information drivers don’t need, and making the information they do need easier to find.
The best Car Mode apps feature smartphone-based telematics that automatically detect when the user is driving a vehicle. By building these telematics into your consumer app, you can program your app to not work – or work with only limited functionality – while driving.
Your app is now safer, and offers peace of mind to worried parents and families.
Another popular safety feature developers can unlock with smartphone-based telematics is automatic crash detection.
As with Car Mode, crash detection uses code and a smartphone’s sensors to detect when a collision has occurred. In an accident, drivers are often hurt, disoriented, or otherwise unable to contact emergency services. Crash detection can do that for them automatically, saving precious minutes and countless lives.
For parents concerned about kids with eyes buried in their phone screens and not on the road, your app can be a welcome relief.
But the ultimate comfort is control, and you can offer that to parents with built-in parental controls.
With GPS and geo-fencing technology, parents can get automatic alerts if their child drives outside of an approved area. Whether they use your app to make deliveries or meet-up with friends, you can assure parents that they’ll always know the truth.
You can also offer parents automatic distracted driving notifications. If their child users your app while its telematics detect the vehicle is in motion, it can send a warning to the parents that their child is driving distracted.
Then, mom and dad can offer a stern (but loving) warning of their own when junior gets home.
5G is on the way, and its revolutionary connectivity speeds are going to change how users engage with their devices and apps. By understanding this, consumer 5G app developers can anticipate these engagement trends. And with smartphone-based telematics like those delivered by the Zendrive platform, any app can become a safety app – and stand out from the competition.