Custom software development projects, by definition and necessity, are tailored to fit a client’s specific business need. But within the custom development space, there are larger, important trends that both developers and prospective businesses need to be aware of. Here are some of the top custom software development trends for 2020 and what they mean for developers and clients of custom software development firms.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
AI seems to be everywhere these days and will continue its growth path in 2020 and beyond. AI is a very broad and powerful concept that allows implementers to leverage efficiencies and analytical capabilities. Of course, AI has been around a long time and has seen a continuous evolutionary progression in adoption and power driven by advances in hardware, big data set availability, data storage, and cloud-based analytical software frameworks. According to a Gartner survey in July of 2019, companies that were already working on AI expected their number of AI projects to double in the next year alone. This huge increase in AI adoption means that custom software developers need the training and experience to deliver AI-based solutions. Custom software development often pushes the boundaries of technology, as it should, seeking to leverage technology advances to maximize project ROI. Implementation of AI concepts are a cornerstone of many custom software development projects, a promising trend that should continue to grow in the years to come.
Progressive web apps (PWAs)
Progressive web apps are becoming more popular than ever because of the advantages they offer to businesses. PWAs generally load faster than responsive, mobile web pages, which is crucial for businesses like retailers that rely on capturing and maintaining a user’s attention. Compared to native apps, PWAs are generally faster to build, making them an ideal fit for companies pressed on time or budget. The increased demand for PWAs from businesses means that custom software development firms need to be well-versed in the specifics of PWA development or risk losing business to their competitors.
The long-awaited and much discussed arrival of 5G technology appears to be right around the corner. While it may still be some time before 5G experiences widespread adoption, software developers need to prepare for the increase in demand for 5G-ready projects. Forward-looking companies want their next software solutions designed specifically for 5G because of the expected benefits to security, speed and overall capabilities. 5G networks promise download speeds from 1-20 Gbits/sec and latency rates of 1ms along with much greater network capacity. 5G promises to have a big impact on network devices and to finally bring true cost-effective broadband service to rural areas. Software development opportunities will abound, particularly with IoT and other device control projects, and development firms should be ready for the possibilities.
Generally associated with cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology is expected to grow in popularity with businesses because of the security benefits it can provide. The technology is already growing in markets like finance, healthcare, media and even publishing. As more companies understand its usefulness in protecting their sensitive data, more custom software development projects will be expected to incorporate blockchain into their design. Software development firms that can demonstrate expertise in blockchain technology will be at a strategic advantage as this technology is widely adopted.
Internet of Things (IoT)
While the IoT is nothing new, it will become more important in 2020 because of a projected increase in the sheer number of connected devices. This growth will be driven by increasingly more powerful devices, driverless cars and smart highways, cloud computing and the aforementioned rollout of 5G networks. By 2021, experts say there will be roughly 35 billion IoT devices worldwide. As more companies look to enter the IoT market and established players look for new, better ways to capitalize on IoT technology, the demand for custom software solutions that link and manage IoT devices will grow commensurately.
More and more software development firms are turning to low-code development because it can help speed up deployment and mitigate risk during the development cycle. Low-code development involves developers using prebuilt system components to tackle common problems and deliver software faster. This evolutionary approach to software development is really just a named trend for a practice that has been ongoing for decades, but now is accented nicely by powerful, low-cost cloud services. As low-code development becomes more common, development firms will need to double down on learning these powerful constructs, processes and frameworks or risk becoming obsolete and uncompetitive.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
This is yet another case where the technology isn’t exactly new, but the demand is growing significantly from interested businesses. While VR and AR experiences were once confined to game developers, the technology is now being used in markets from construction to interior design. As business leaders become more familiar with the technology, and development costs fall and become more widely available, they will start to conceive new uses for various business use cases. Software developers will need to be ready to deploy solutions that incorporate AR and VR to take advantage of these new opportunities.
Following trends isn’t always the best way to stand out. But for custom software developers, understanding and adopting the cutting-edge technologies driving these new trends is critical. Failure to keep up could put your firm at a competitive disadvantage as businesses look for development partners that can deliver on the latest and greatest. By upgrading your capabilities and embracing change, developers can position themselves for significant growth in 2020 and beyond.