What Are Smart Apps? A Brief Introduction

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Smart applications are the next level of intelligent software.

You’ve likely seen the label “smart” being slapped onto intelligent, digital machines for the past decade or so. 

It’s what separates a basic household device from high-powered technology. It’s also been fueling the most rambunctious Black Friday stampedes for the past several years.

But smartwatches and smart TVs only touch the surface of what smart technology has to offer. 

This is where smart applications come in. Smart applications have the potential to change entire industries for the better. 

Want to learn more? Keep reading to discover the nuances of smart applications and how they can help your business advance in its respective industry. 

What Is a Smart Application?

A smart application (otherwise known as a smart process application or smart app) is a type of software that utilizes data in a dynamic way to gather insights and enhance user experience. 

Take note that the user in any given smart app experience can very well be a machine. 

In these circumstances, a smart app improves the functionality of a machine or system for a business to leverage. Often, this looks like automation. 

However, what truly makes a smart app a smart app is that it is data-driven. This is why in common smart devices like Fitbits, sensors are an integral part of their infrastructure. 

Of course, there are other ways to collect data. Smart apps are largely motivated by their surrounding environment.

In other words, they will take advantage of whatever data they can get their metaphorical hands on, whether sensory, location-based, or personal. 

And at the crux of every smart app are complex data science rituals like predictive analytics, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI). 

Smart apps are also enterprising. They tend to approach the user with information, rather than the other way around. 

Push notifications, chatbots, and messages services are all handy tools that smart apps come equipped with to interact with and engage users. 

These features combined make smart apps contextual, intelligent, and proactive software in any use case. 

What Is IoT?

IoT stands for the internet of things. IoT refers to physical objects embedded with software that empower networking and data processing capability. 

You’ve seen it in kitchen appliances, cars, and even in The Jetsons’ family home. By 2030, it is estimated that there will be more than 25.4 billion IoT devices

Cloud computing and low-cost sensor technology have made IoT more accessible than ever before. 

In context, this is important because IoT leaders in the industry are currently embracing smart apps with glee. 

Smart objects, in general, are designed to vitalize interactions with other smart objects as well as people.

A close-up of a smart speaker on the left and a smartphone showing a

This is how the notion of smartphones was conceived and how the inception of mobile application development came about shortly after. 

By definition, smart objects carry application logic that drives them to interact with the physical environment. 

The management and transmission of data are at the core of any “smart” entity. To add, connectivity is the foundation of all IoT devices. 

As a result, IoT devices can rely on smart apps to increase the complexity of their digital amenities and power new technological advancements

What Can Smart Apps Do?

The purpose of a smart app is to create a highly personalized, quality user experience (UX) via data analytics and human intervention. 

There are a few key characteristics of smart apps that power this experience. Take a look below. 

  1. Storage capabilities: Smart apps are able to store relevant data internally for later use. 
  2. A collaboration platform: Users can input data where applicable into a smart app or device. 
  3. Analytical tools: Smart apps are embedded with powerful tools for data analysis. 
  4. Document capture: Document output is a fundamental asset for smart applications (e. g. smart TVs take screenshots and you can open PDFs on a smartwatch). 
  5. Process capacity: Smart applications can independently manage and execute processes to reach an objective. 

These components enable smart apps to be both interactive and useful, encouraging a uniquely cooperative UX.  

For instance, Pokémon GO is a popular smart mobile application that takes advantage of augmented reality to create a custom experience for its users. 

Pokémon GO is a prime example of native app development as an accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass trigger in-app features. 

Contrary to what you can expect in hybrid app development, native apps have all-inclusive access to a device’s hardware features. 

The ‘smartness’ of this environmental interactivity is paramount to its functionality. 

On a business level, the appeal of smart apps is just as enticing. In a broad sense, smart applications improve operational efficiency and optimize customer interactions. 

But the way in which smart applications achieve these goals is similarly impressive. 

By way of automation, IoT machines deploy smart apps along with event-driven architecture to refine business activity

Innovative business models thrive off this optimization. Sectors of all kinds — retail, finance, transportation, information technology, etc. — have much to gain. 

On the consumer end, data engineering and data science work together to bring hand-tailored value to product engagements and address customer needs. 

Smart Applications vs. Traditional Applications

Traditional applications still have much to offer for the average user. However, they are distinct from smart applications in a variety of ways. 

Data Orientation

Where data is concerned, smart applications use data science and ML to attain actionable insights. Data is the hearth where all smart apps lie. 

In contrast, you can consider traditional applications to be data blind. 

Though back-end development drives the engineering of any software, classic apps do not use such concentrated analysis to collaboratively design intricate UX frameworks.


The architecture of a smart app is loosely coupled. Microservices, in particular, allow smart apps to continuously adapt and evolve. 

Traditional applications have less need to scale so they stick to a monolithic architecture

As a result, their components are highly interdependent, and it is difficult to merge new changes without fault. 


Developers and data scientists are constantly working to make new advancements in smart tech. 

Data is, after all, at the crux of every smart app, so it makes sense that data would be helpful in further innovation. 

On the other hand, traditional applications are happy where they are. Unless there is a major problem, traditional apps are not too concerned with collecting insights and making adjustments thereof. 


As established, smart apps seek to give users a personalized experience of their environment and device interactivity. 

Comparatively, traditional apps have limited customization. Every user gets the same interface and features. 

A comparison table between smart applications and traditional applications, highlighting differences in data orientation, architecture, evolution, and personalization on a blue and yellow geometric background.

Smart App Use Cases

If you want to see smart apps in action, look no further. Here are several use cases for smart app technology. 


Major airlines can build and use an equipment tracking app providing engineers with a live view of the location of various pieces of airline maintenance equipment. 


Giving consumers personalized recommendations invigorates their trust in your brand and their retail choices.
As an illustration, Honey is a smart shopping app and web extension that works hard to find discounts for its users. 

Most of this work happens in the background but Honey makes sure to reveal the best deals when you need them most. 


Logistics management is one of the more crucial factors in delivery efforts. 

Through smart apps, shipping and logistics companies can obtain accurate delivery time forecasts for both individual and commercial shipments.


Managing finances is difficult as it is. Luckily, Smart Assistant from U. S. Bank authorizes account management, payment schedules, and spending analysis all through talk, text, or tap. 


Digital assistants like Alexa and Google Home stand on the backs of smart speakers that take in your data through speech and other methods of input. 

Natural language processing (NLP) and AI are critical to this facility. 

Should You Build a Smart App?

If your customers could benefit from the likes of biometrics, GPS, NLP, sensor technology, or some other data-analyzing tool, then building a smart app may be in your cards. 

Customer interactions are the catalyst for successful consumer marketing. Your customers want to know you care. What better way to do that than building an app based on their data personas?

Trio offers unparalleled software wisdom and access to South American developers. Meet our elite Colombian developers, Mexican developers, and Brazilian developers for outsourcing excellence.

To learn more about building a smart app, talk to Trio today!

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With over 10 years of experience in software outsourcing, Alex has assisted in building high-performance teams before co-founding Trio with his partner Daniel. Today he enjoys helping people hire the best software developers from Latin America and writing great content on how to do that!
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