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App Annie Report: Blurring the Lines Between Virtual and Physical Worlds

App Annie Report: Blurring the Lines Between Virtual and Physical Worlds

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App Annie, a decision-making platform for the mobile app economy, released a report this week titled “Mobile Apps: Blurring the Lines Between Virtual & Physical Worlds“. In this report, they dive into how mobile apps are transforming the world through a number of different trends. The three highlighted trends are on-demand transportation, education and mobile payments.

1. On-Demand Transportation

Over the past year, the prevalence and usage of on-demand transportation apps has virtually exploded. However, this convenience is only in its infancy. Recent API launches from competing apps like Uber and Hailo suggest that they are in the process of providing much more than just transportation. For example, Uber customers will now be able to request a ride from the OpenTable app, and drivers will know which restaurant you’re headed to. Another example is Uber’s partnership with Hinge; when a location is shared between you and the person you’re talking with, tap “Ride there with Uber” and it shows you available nearby options.

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Uber is also experimenting with UberCARGO (a moving service), UberRUSH (a courier service) and UberESSENTIALS (convenience store delivery).

2. Education 

What once required thorough investigation at a public library can now be found on the Internet in less than a second. Technology has transformed the way that people learn, and educational mobile apps are taking it to the next level. Duolingo is a stand-out example of a mobile app that is leading the revolution in providing accessible education to millions of people. This free app allows users to learn new languages through “adaptive, bite-sized, and gamified lessons” and as of October 2014, over 11 million people had taken these courses. According to a study by the City University of New York and the University of South Carolina, an average of 34 hours of Duolingo is equivalent to a full university semester of language education. And unlike university courses, lessons on Duolingo are designed to be completed in just a few minutes.

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Another example is ClassDojo, an in-class app for teachers, parents, and students. This app allows teachers to reinforce good behavior, communicate with parents, increase student engagement, and collaborate with colleagues. Currently it’s used by 1 in 2 schools in the United Sates, and around the globe it’s used by 2.3 million teachers and 53 million students.

According to App Annie,

The impact of mobile apps has been felt within the boundaries of traditional classrooms as well. [Many of these educational] apps aim to engage students and introduce learning in “out of classroom” contexts. As this trend becomes stronger, mobile apps are likely to become an even more intricate part of our learning experience.”

3. Mobile Payments 

Mobile payments are expected to have a transformational impact on a number of industries. According to a study published by the Kellogg School of Management, a seven­ second reduction in service time could translate into a market share gain of 1% for a fast food chain. Also, downloads of QSRS have remained strong over the past year, and these save time by reducing transaction time through mobile payments and improving operational efficiency by allowing customers to place orders before they enter a store. Taco Bell launched the first mobile ordering app to make fast food even faster in October 2014, and Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts already testing a mobile order ­and ­pay feature for their respective apps. McDonald’s has also announced a collaboration with Apple Pay and a partnership WeChat’s mobile payment solution in China. The reduction in time needed to make a transaction from mobile payments boosts operating efficiency and could help businesses improve their customer experience and serve more of them.

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According to the report,

Some of these trends are still in their infancy and are likely to establish first in the United States before expanding globally. But over the next few years, we could see mobile apps enabling a seamless transition between our virtual and real­world experiences.

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