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Walk down any street or take a quick subway ride and you’ll see plenty of people with eyes on their phones. There’s no question that smartphones have taken on a central role in our lives, and the stats are in to prove it — for instance, at this point, more people access the Internet via phones and tablets than desktops in the U.S. Given the speed of adoption, in the near future the smartphone will no doubt be at the center of an entire technology nervous system, powering all our connected devices.

We are well on our way. Using Lyft or Uber, we can quickly summon transportation to our destination of choice. We can control our heating or air conditioner systems, stereos, or alarm systems via mobile-friendly home automation products. I use my phone to access Sonos, a smart system of HiFi wireless speakers which allows me to stream my music collection, Pandora, Spotify, or iTunes to any room in my home.

Another cool connected home device is Nest — acquired last year by Google — which enables users to control their home thermostat, as well as monitor danger from fire and CO2. Nest syncs with your car, to preheat or cool based on your arrival time at home, and it can also activate your Dropcam to see what’s causing the fire alarm to sound while you’re away.


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On the payment front, Google Wallet and Apple Pay let us use our phones to take care of purchases. Given the recent breaches in security with traditional payment via credit cards, using your device to securely and seamlessly handle transactions is a huge win.

Increasingly, personal data delivered via your phone will help power smart applications that make life easier. Our personal lives, like our professional lives, are becoming data driven.

We have already seen this transition with fitness trackers such as Fitbit and Jawbone Up, which send analytics on calories burned, steps taken, or the intensity of a workout. All this data can all be reviewed within the associated apps, which are designed to improve and personalize your approach to health and fitness.

As time goes on, the amount of data gathered will only multiply, and the apps using that data will become even more sophisticated. There are apps that sync with your car, taking in data on frequency of use, eventually reporting on average speed and/or car maintenance. It’s possible then that push notifications can remind you to get an oil change or tune up.

We are also moving towards self-driving cars, which will be able to monitor data from our driving history to understand our driving style, the routes we regularly take, and reroute based on current traffic conditions.

In theory, these types of developments can help us lead more productive lives — provided these apps continue to cater to our needs. As long as mobile apps continue to brainstorm ways to make consumer lives better, whether it be through data or new functionalities, we don’t expect anyone to put their devices down anytime soon.

Mark_GhermezianMark Ghermezian (@markgher) is CEO of Appboy, a mobile marketing firm that specializes in reducing app abandonment through marketing automation. Prior to founding Appboy, Mark founded XE Mobile and has served as an angel investor to a number of companies, including Nutanix, Shopular, Ellie, Nimble, Piqora, and True Link.

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