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4 trends that will influence digital product development in 2022

Digital transformation (DX) is only going to pick up speed this year, as global spending on DX is projected to hit $1.8 trillion USD in 2022. 

From widespread 5G deployment, to the explosion of remote work, the world is demanding that companies embrace more tech-enabled approaches to customer engagement, business management and infrastructure. According to Gartner, 91% of organizations are responding accordingly, investing in at least some form of digital initiative. 

Not surprisingly, mobile apps often play an integral role in the success of DX. And given the number of projects Vog App Developers is working on, we have a good sense of how businesses are investing in technology, software and app development in their digital transformation journeys.

Here are four trends that will be big in 2022:

1. The explosion of on-demand services and on-demand apps

We are experiencing a massive uptick in client requests for on-demand apps. These requests are clearly driven by the overarching on-demand or sharing economy that is set to be worth $335 billion USD by 2025

Examples of on-demand apps include Uber or SkipTheDishes. Essentially, they are applications that connect businesses or consumers with a service that meets an immediate need, or connects people with other people. These are one of the three types of apps we built most often

Some key features of the on-demand economy that tend to be addressed in these applications are:

  • Convenience is enabled by having products delivered to customer doorsteps
  • Contactless delivery manages pandemic concerns 
  • Built-in personalization is facilitated via touch points throughout the app 
  • Behavioural targeting helps to understand and meet the needs of app users

2. A growing need for app rebuilds

Lately we have had an influx of established enterprise clients approach us with an application or IT stack that has run its course and requires a rebuild. 

Digital transformation’s pace of change is incredibly fast, and infrastructure or an app that was built years and years ago can be monolithic today. Even if updates have been made, at some point it no longer makes sense to keep old, outdated IT infrastructure or apps running.

The great thing about rebuilds is that we already have a base platform to work with, and learn from. With the old system as a framework, we can focus on building out a roadmap for the app’s business case going forward. 

We can begin the transition to the cloud, and we can use microservices to transition without taking the business down. Microservices are a huge trend in app development, and will continue to be in 2022.

3. Cryptocurrency is huge, but regulations could change trajectories

We are seeing a lot of companies, especially financial startups, quickly adopt and move into the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) space. A blockchain substitute for traditional financial systems, DeFi is based on open-source technology that allows anyone to offer financial services online. 

So if a company wants to build an app that provides alternative banking solutions for customers, DeFi products and services are accessible and not governed by centralized regulatory bodies. 

Another related trend is when businesses simply want to offer the option to pay with cryptocurrency in their app, rather than develop a full DeFi solution.

While we’re certainly experiencing an increase in demand for DeFi and pay with crypto, we are also witnessing a slowdown in the growth of cryptocurrency exchanges. As new regulatory requirements are implemented by governments, there will likely be a limit to the number of new exchanges that pop up. 

If you’re looking to have crypto apps built, you’ll want to review both the technology needs and the regulatory environment.

4. The Metaverse is intriguing, but won’t explode overnight

We get a lot of questions about the metaverse, largely driven by hype and media attention around Meta (the company formerly known as Facebook). 

The definition of the metaverse is still evolving, but as Wired describes it, “To a certain extent, talking about what ‘the metaverse’ means is a bit like having a discussion about what ‘the internet’ means in the 1970s. The building blocks of a new form of communication were in the process of being built, but no one could really know what the reality would look like.”

For Meta, the company envisions a new online platform powered by virtual and augmented reality. But this is just one company. Microsoft and Amazon also have their visions, as do hundreds of startups. 

Meta will be making big bets on the metaverse but there’s still a lot we don’t know about how its version of the metaverse will function or be monetized. 

We will see increased interest in the metaverse in 2022, but approach with caution as every company will have a different version of what it looks like. We’ve got some time to figure out how to build apps that fit into this new ecosystem — and also gauge how expansive and successful it actually turns out to be.

Looking for an app developer? Consider these priorities, says DCBank

If you want to incorporate an app or an API in your company’s ecosystem, Jeff Smith, President and CEO of DCBank, suggests focusing on a few key elements: “The number one thing is user experience (UX) –– make sure there’s the fewest number of keystrokes possible,” he says. “Then there’s the experience of your app developer, and their ability to clearly understand the problem you’re trying to solve.” 

DCBank is a Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform that helps financial institutions and FinTech entrepreneurs with their digital payments (including the transfer of funds), card services, digital wallets, identity and lending software. 

The company goes beyond just offering online banking services, though. Clients are also provided with access to API developer tools, which allow them to have full control over the DCBank products they are engaging. 

What is an API? An Application Programming Interface (API) allows two apps to communicate and share data.

It’s no surprise that user experience is a top priority for the online bank, considering the main purpose of many of their applications and APIs is to offer more services to clients in an easy and accessible way –– while empowering them to embed those services in their own technology, says Smith. 

Creating best-in-class APIs that deliver seamless UX is heavily dependent on the second priority he mentioned — working with a seasoned app developer. 

When Smith was searching for a company to build custom applications, his expectations were clear: He wanted an experienced team that was client-focused, and one that would clearly understand and deliver solutions to a problem, not just build an app. Smith also wanted a team that could deliver on budget and on time.

Some other questions DCBank considered during its search included:

  1. Will this developer have the ability to replicate the app or API solution across multiple platforms?
  2. How many apps are required?
  3. What’s the strength and position of teams involved in the building of these apps? 

Smith says he found all the development support he was looking for with Vog App Developers.

“I’m still using Vog and it’s been five years,” he says. “I don’t use anybody else.” 

The first project that Vog worked on for Smith was building and launching new features for a cryptocurrency application. 

“The first objective was to get the app online and offer the ability to purchase cryptocurrency from a mobile app versus having to go to a computer,” explains Smith. “It was the first app of its kind in Canada.” 

Vog continues to provide ongoing monthly support and development for that application, adding new coins, making changes to the environment, updating policies, managing iOS updates, and more. 

After the success of the cryptocurrency initiative, Smith engaged Vog to build out applications and APIs for DCBank’s core services. With these, the goal was to make the tools more accessible, thus enabling easier integration for customers. 

Vog also provided advisory support so the platform can duplicate or resell services without needing to rebuild a new app each time.

Having an external development team that could be depended on for deliverability and speed is even more important today, as the impact of COVID-19 increases use and expectations of digital banking services, says Smith. 

“The pandemic has pushed the requirement for non face-to-face transactions that can occur wherever, such as a business owner doing payments from their iPad,” Smith says. “That has pushed demand ahead five to seven years, so we’re trying to deliver a better interface on a more expedited basis.”

With double-digit growth annually for the past several years, DCBank works hard to meet those demands, says Smith. 

When it comes to return on investment (ROI), Smith says it’s measured differently depending on the function of each individual app. His team has seen value from improved user experience and customer satisfaction, contract renewals, and additional services that are offered to customers.

As for the cryptocurrency application Vog first built for Smith?

“The ROI for that app was multiple thousands,” he says.