The Future of Tech: Apps, AI and Robotics

In this interview included in our tech trendsetters series, we talked to Dominique Siacci, CTO & Co-Founder of GoodBarber. He offered us a couple of insights on how the App market will look like in a couple of years and how the future of tech may (hopefully) be used for the greater good. This interview is also featured in our new Tech Trendsetters eBook.

Beaglecat: What is your one tip for companies wanting to implement your solution at a large scale?

Dominique Siacci: We’ve built a tool called GoodBarber which is designed for non-developers who want to create mobile apps without any coding. Because there is no coding involved, anyone can basically choose from the wide array of tools available and then just drag & drop them into their own app. Our audience is represented by two groups: media editors, who have a news website and want to create adjacent apps, and local businesses that are using the tool to create an app for their products and services. An interesting trend we have been observing recently is linked to local businesses that don’t have a website, but that do have an app. These are businesses that have chosen to go mobile first.

BC: Do you think that more companies will venture in going mobile first?

D.S.: When we began working with mobile 6-7 years ago, we thought that every website deserved an app. Nowadays, we don’t believe that this statement is true anymore. Now we believe that there should be more apps than websites. An important part of the audience for apps is very different from that of websites.

BC: What are the technologies that could influence the development of the solution that you provide?

D.S.: My opinion is that today we can’t really say that technology is mature enough to enable anything we can think of. Still, I believe that we have almost reached this point in history, so we should soon expect to see a technological innovation ”boom”. For example, a lot of people are talking about VR now, there are a lot of websites that are moving to chat platforms. In this context, we should be looking towards new platforms, rather than new technologies. We are at the point in time when we have the technology to deliver any user experience we can come up with.

BC: How much does feedback matter when it comes to your customers?

D.S.: On the one hand, since we’re a self-service platform, we don’t exactly go out and ask our customers to give us feedback. On the other hand, they are very proactive and are always asking if we can improve and/or change various features of the platform. Our philosophy is that we almost always prefer to say ”no”, because we think that the value delivered by the product belongs to the strategic roadmap. It’s not that we don’t think that customer feedback is valuable in building the midterm roadmap of the app, it’s just that we have to decide, as a company, how the market will be in a couple of years and strategically plan for the future. You can’t expect the customer to know what the future holds and what the implications of his suggestions will be on the long-term product strategy because, nowadays, the customer is using that which is useful for him/ her at this given moment; so if something is not useful it will automatically fail.

Customers can offer a valuable insight on what their immediate need is but I don’t think that this is a good strategy for building a product. If you listen to what the customer wants and take the time to develop those products, chances are that they will have become irrelevant by the time they reach the market. However, listening to what your customer wants is the starting point when it comes to the design of interesting products. If we were a company building custom applications, we would probably create personalised apps for every client.

BC: In your opinion, how will the world look like 15-20 years from now?

D.S.: I think that there are two fields that will impact the everyday life of everyone: AI (Artificial Intelligence) and robotics. I believe these are the two sources for the most important changes that are to come in the near future. I am in the software field because I consider that there is some greater good in this: teaching machines to automate workflows is something extraordinary. While some people say this takes away some of the value that humans can deliver, I believe it’s all about creating a better environment for everyone. Obviously, there are downsides, as to everything, but I see Artificial Intelligence as bringing only good to humanity.

BC: When do you see the mobile app market reaching saturation? Will we reach a point where we will have an app for everything?

D.S.: Well, we may have already reached this point. If I look at my personal app usage, I probably don’t use one app every day on my phone. I rather use a mix of tools which allow me to create the perfect work-life balance environment. I don’t really believe that the number of tools on the market is a problem  because everybody uses what is convenient for them and also there are a lot of alternatives to most of the tools. I also don’t think that innovation will slow down, but that it will rather gain more and more momentum. A year ago some apps that I’m currently using on a daily basis did not even exist.

In the end, it’s all about reinventing everything. Now that the market is becoming mature, we will begin to see even greater breakthroughs when it comes to technology and innovation.

BC: Do you see security as being a problem in the distant future?

D.S.: I think it is a challenge and I don’t see why we wouldn’t find a solution. If we look at the huge list of challenges in the World, almost every one of them has a solution. I believe that technology can definitely be used for good, rather than for evil. We will not stop developing technology just because of the fear that something will go wrong. I can’t tell you how the solution will be found but I assure you that a solution will always exist.

Dominique Siacci launched DuoApps in early 2009, a mobile development services company, to help media brands develop their mobile strategy.
In 2012, DuoApps launched GoodBarber, which is now a leading DIY, design-focused app builder and mobile content management system, powering thousands of apps live in the mobile stores.

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