As the number of connected devices expands, so will our understanding of what it means to be “cross-device.” Whereas cross-device used to mean having a responsive site, or an app and a website, you can expect a different definition in 2018.
“As the line between app and web merges on mobile, it will also merge on desktop and the Internet of Things (IoT),” predicts Krum. “As more information moves to the cloud, it will be easier to seamlessly move from one device to another, maintaining the state, history and status of the interaction on all devices simultaneously.”
What does cross-device convergence look like?
- MORE focus on data integrations of one app across different devices.
- LESS focus on having multiple, device-specific apps.
- MERGING of all mobile and desktop app stores, operating systems, and search utilities.
Cross-device convergence in action
Microsoft has already made some of its most popular software (Outlook, Excel, and Word) available without a license on Android devices.
- Mobile and desktop app stores have merged in Cortana’s Windows 10 integration.
- Apple has reported that it will be merging the MacOS and iOS stores into one in 2018.
- Siri, Safari, and Spotlight work cross-device to surface apps and websites.
- Google has added voice search to desktop.
Cross-device convergence for users, marketers & businesses
Most of us are device- and channel-agnostic. We expect shopping carts to follow us from iPhone to iPad; to be online on the bus or at our desk; to save a document at work and open it from a restaurant; to start an episode of “Orange is the New Black” while waiting in traffic and pick up where we left off at home. Technology is catching up with our (consumer) expectations.
As a user, look for fewer limitations based on a device-type and operating system, and for your data to follow you across devices.
The challenge for some marketers will continue to be viewing, measuring, and attributing sales and interactions across devices and browsers. Cookies are out. Cross-device tracking with digital ID technology is in, though privacy remains a concern. The Federal Trade Commission issued a report on cross-device tracking in January 2017 and days later, the Digital Advertising Alliance began officially enforcing cross-device privacy rules.
For businesses, cross-device convergence will mean a few things. Pressure to meet consumer expectations and pressure to shift all things toward inter-connectedness: building ecosystems, bridging the digital and physical, and leveraging converging technologies to achieve a higher connectedness on all levels—business, processes, information systems, platforms, experiences, and data.