The evolution of apps and riding the wave

February 13th, 2017 by Charley Downey


using apps on the go

What would we do without apps?

It’s inevitable that there’s an app for anything we need to do. Any task you need to carry out, you name it, there’ll be an app for it somewhere. Sending a video from a night out? Snapchat. Convincing your friends that you’re now a super healthy cook? Instagram. Checking out your old friend’s cousin’s wedding from 2008? Facebook.

Online banking, dating, streaming, dieting, running, cooking, editing, messaging, leading, sharing, eating – there’s something for it all.

It seems that we’ve fallen into a world where it’s expected. We don’t need to do things the way we used to, because well, our tech is there to do it for us. We don’t even have to manually type stuff into Google anymore (god forbid, that would be a hard task) as Siri is there at the touch of a button to assist all our needs. Some say it’s a bad thing, but I think it’s brilliant.

A world where we can choose to be constantly connected isn’t something to be afraid of. From a personal perspective, it amazes me how rapidly the digital/social/share-economics industry has grown, and how it will continue to grow. Couch Surfing offers free accommodation to travellers. Meal Sharing allows you to eat in people’s homes around the world at the touch of a button– both of which would’ve seemed almost impossible for travellers to organise a few years back.  The volume of information and the culture we are now able to access as a generation through technology is unreal. Of course, we must also acknowledge that for all the positives, there are also negatives. But hey, that’s a whole different subject matter.

Apps are where we all are. Falling into the younger generation, I do think we, unknowingly, take apps for granted slightly. We’re used to being able to answer any question, access our finances, our friends and family instantly. I was a late 90s kid – so although I grew up in this crazy digital escapade, I do remember dial up internet and Nokias (before apps were a proper thing). But it’s only when I hear an older relative say how they’d have to walk to the bank in town to transfer some money, or wait weeks for a written reply from a loved one that I’m like, woah – we really do have it easy.

The point I’m trying to get to here is that the reliance on apps is a whole new wave within the evolution of technology. Apps were primarily for social or leisure needs, but they’re slowly beginning to play important roles in our day to day life. The shift in what we use apps for is incredible, and you either grab your surf board and ride the wave – or you bob your way back to the shore, and convince yourself that this gig will never take off. I came across a term recently that really stuck with me – it completely represents how fast-paced the modern tech world is, and how important it is for us as consumers, and businesses, to stay ahead of the game. ‘Digital Darwinism’ – the evolution of consumer behaviour when society and technology evolve faster than your ability to adapt.

It’s never been so important.

Personally, social media-wise, I think we have everything we need for now. The big five (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube & Snapchat) pretty much have all areas covered. A steep statement perhaps, but from a millennial point of view – I don’t see a huge gaping gap within the social media app industry that needs filling. Not any time soon anyway.

The sharing economy is the most recent wave to hit us, but this is something that’s been brewing for years. The likes of Airbnb, Deliveroo and Uber have taken the world by storm in recent years and it’s a sector that has no limits. As a society, we thrive to save both money and time, and businesses who can help us do so are the winners. ‘Airbedandbreakfast.com’ was launched in 2008 after two guys decided to rent out their living rooms as they couldn’t afford their own rent. Airbnb now has over 2 million listings in 34,000 cities worldwide. Deliveroo launched to market in 2013 and now has over 5,000 people across Europe and Asia delivering food to consumers. Uber was also founded in 2008 and is now available in 60 countries and over 300 cities worldwide – fulfilling one million rides daily, with over eight million users.

These apps gave consumers an easier life –  leading them to phenomenal growth and world domination. 

For me, my favourite app depends on the context. In terms of most used, Facebook is certainly at the top of the list. In terms of most useful, Uber is fantastic. I also love the Halifax banking app, Missguided and Instagram – I really couldn’t define one app as being my favourite.

Working in a comms agency – I’m one of the many meerkats bobbing up and down searching for new opportunities and platforms. As an agency, we’re constantly riding the wave of this crazy evolution… and the future excites us.