Suddenly, home has become the centre of people’s lives. It’s where we work from, where we entertain ourselves, and where we connect with friends. All this has fuelled a boom in the app industry as people seek ways to live in “the new normal”.
So app entrepreneurs have a genuinely exciting new landscape as gaps in the market become more readily apparent. There are new opportunities for brand new apps, and apps, which have until, now been overlooked are receiving more attention as people seek digital solutions they haven’t needed until now. Many new start-ups are going to become household names in short span, as they prove themselves to be nimbler than the massive enterprises, which currently control our digital existences.
Added to this flurry of new needs, there’s also a perfect storm of funding and talent available. Funding, because the government is actively promoting entrepreneurship and making funds available (with the knowledge that they will need to kick-start the economy). And talent, because so many brilliant people are furloughed or worse; in need of a project to keep their minds whirring.
So it’s an exciting time to be involved in the digital world. These are the spaces that are seeing the largest growth, and will probably continue to for a long time yet:
Elderly and vulnerable people are very significantly affected by lockdown. Grandchildren the world over are looking for ways to keep in touch with grandma, given that they can no longer visit. According to the Office for National Statistics, 47% of over-75s have never used the Internet, so companies are having to come up with innovative ways to communicate with people who aren’t natural technologists. New start-ups are the heart of some really amazing research and development here. Relatedly, care providers are looking for new ways to help given the squeeze on their staffing.
Social & Party
With normal meeting places being closed, we’ve seen a meteoric rise in apps, which allow groups of friends to meet and have fun virtually. This includes quiz apps like HouseParty and QuizUp, as well as growth in video conferencing apps which were traditionally squarely in the domain of business use. There is much further growth to be seen here, too, and it’s an area in which new ideas are welcomed and travel quickly by word of mouth. Even as the lockdown ends this area will continue to accelerate as people appreciate being able to socialise across borders, without leaving their home.
The business community has had to quickly get used to video conferencing for meetings and are getting used to the pros, cons and foibles of different providers. There is still enormous opportunity for newcomers in the space to shake things up before the industry solidifies.
Apps and services that promote team working, file sharing and collaboration are growing hugely, but this is still a relatively nascent industry. Newcomers can join a particularly lucrative space by solving single, small issues at a time.
It will be fascinating to see what the new household names are, in the digital world, by the end of the year. If your business is experiencing a period of downtime or you are actively building plans for after lockdown then now is a good time to review your own processes and look at how applications and next-generation technology can be used to get you ahead of your competition.