I first came across Html5 almost 2 years ago when we wanted to build our first true device agnostic application for mobile smartphones (we didn't think about tablets back then…) that will support all popular mobile platforms and still provide rich user experience and great looking user interface.
Ever since we started our Html5 project called ClickMobile Professional I'm fascinated and monitoring how quickly Html5 becomes a key technology in the mobile world. Html5 is already creating a revolution in mobile apps, but I think that the impact for the enterprise would be even greater.
Here is my prediction for the next couple of years: By 2013, Html5 will rule Enterprise Mobility. Here's how it will work out:
2011: Html5 penetration is massive
While companies such as ClickSoftware are already deploying Html5 based applications all over the world, more vendors are releasing similar offering, 100% web or sometimes a combination of native code with web based code.
The reasons are obvious:
- The market is slowly deserting Windows Mobile and BlackBerry – both used to run native applications that were developed for years. Android & iOS are the current trend, but they share no mutual development technologies – the only alternative for a quick time-to-market is Html5.
- More and more platforms are joining the Html5 journey: BlackBerry OS 6, Palm webOS (yes, I know it's HP now, but I insist of calling it Palm. I SHALL NEVER FORGET YOU PALM!), and Windows Phone 7 – this is a great sign that Html5 is a winning bet.
- The Html5 protocol is progressing so fast no one cares about whether it's certified or not – it has local storage, offline capabilities, videos and media, it gets new native capabilities on every OS update – it is just unstoppable. The offline storage is key for enterprise solutions that must operate seamlessly both online and offline.
- It is, truly, the only cross platform technology to date, and it comes with relatively easy adjustments capabilities for tablets, laptops, etc.
2012: The war is on: Native apps vs. Html5:
With html5 apps all over, companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, will have to tune their Apps strategy. AppStores? Web Apps? Who wins, who loses. While Apple is already creating some restrictions to web apps (as expected I must add), which are clearly risking its' AppStore revenue model, Google is now taking the lead with some new native hardware capabilities for Html5 – that will continue to emerge during 2012 until most of the common requirements (camera access, contacts, file browsing, barcode scanning, printing, BT etc.) will become doable using Html5 (some of them are already doable now!).
In an interesting research, Smith’s Point Analytics estimates:
According to the research, the revenues streams generated from the different app stores will change, some platforms allow creating native wrappers (such as PhoneGap) to run the web application in a kind of native box, allowing those apps to be available in the app stores. Other web apps are simply running from within the micro browser…
"The business model also changes as the revenue streams generated from app stores diminish causing platform vendors will turn to value added services to generate income."
Back to 2012 (hmm, there's a weird statement for you…), while more and more web apps are being developed, enterprise applications are adopting Html5 faster than consumer apps. There are a few reasons for that, historians will claim, few years later…
- Enterprise applications do not need amazing graphics capabilities like games, for the classic enterprise needs – a standard forms based app is good enough. Add to it strong CSS3/JQuery visual capabilities and you end up having a skin-able app with rich UI, gestures and animations, that looks almost as good as a native app.
- The benefits of supporting all platforms and all screen sizes – even at the cost of losing some usability attractiveness - is a key for most enterprise vendors.
This is the year (2012) when final gaps between native apps and web apps are being closed. Html5 can now support interaction with contacts, Bluetooth, background threads and push notifications etc.
2013: The war is over, most enterprise mobility solutions are now using Html5:
With or without native extensions, by 2013 I predict that the war will be over. No one in the enterprise software industry will start a project just for iPhone, or just for Windows Phone 7. Html5 will be a certified standard or very close to that. It will support all the native access required by the market, and who knows, it may even be able to run outside a browser or any other native replacement. It will be the way to go, just like web is today's obvious preferred way for desktop applications.
So there you have it; Gil Bouhnick's prediction for enterprise mobility in 2013.
It's the perfect way for me to get spanked for making the wrong assessment, or a forecast full of mistakes – but I figured it would be interesting to check it out in a year or two…