Native Apps – the Right Choice for Off Line Order Entry

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Ai2’s core logic has always included native development for it’s ability to offer off line order entry.

Eight and a half years ago Apple announced the iPhone, the event that began the mobile revolution. The world has never been the same.   Since that time, the fundamental shift in behavior is mobile: the most interesting place to be is no longer in front of a computer, it’s to go out into the world with a computer in your hand.  Ai2‘s core logic has always included native development for it’s ability to offer off line order entry.

By 2020, 80 percent of all mobile data traffic will come from smartphones.  70% of the world’s population will be using smartphones, and 90 percent will be covered by mobile broadband networks.   These estimates show an enormous jump from the 2.6 billion smartphone users recorded in 2014 to 6.1 billion by 2020. Ericsson.

According to analyst firm Gartner, “mobile devices are increasingly becoming the first go-to device for communications and content consumption. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than 50 percent of users will go to a tablet or smartphone first for all business related activities.  Gartner,

If you think that mobile apps are solely for big name brands like Walmart and Starbucks, you are wrong. More and more small and midsize businesses are following the mobile trend, understanding that an effective mobile strategy involves more than just a mobile-friendly website.  They have to have access to information even when the connection is down.  They don’t want to have apps that can’t offer off line order entry.

In fact, these days you’ll notice that many small businesses you interact with in your everyday life have their own dedicated mobile apps — be it the corner coffee shop or the beauty spa downtown.  Off line order entry has become a necessity for the use of mobile technology.

That means the rise of mobile apps for all business functions is a hard trend you can’t ignore.

So your business needs its own mobile apps that can give you competitive advantage. The companies that transform their business processes using mobility will achieve new levels of success. The time for business process transformation is now.  Because Ai2 builds all of it’s applications native you can perform all tasks included off line order entry.

Mobile is no longer something  you can afford to ignore but in making the decision to adopt a mobile first strategy the question that sometimes confuses a business is to adopt mobile native apps or web based/hybrid apps.  A native apps approach is the soundest investment for an engaging mobile strategy.  Native apps are better than mobile web for interaction with customers.  One of the key benefits is that native apps will work when the phone is offline (i.e. not connected to a network). Obviously native apps won’t be able to update with new data if it’s not connected, but everything already installed/downloaded will be permanently available. Another benefit, aside for integration with the phone’s features, is that native apps run faster (e.g. no delay moving from one screen to the next), are highly configurable and can handle massive amounts of data.

Unlike an HTML5 mobile app, native apps are “compiled”, leading to better performance. But more important is what developers can achieve with native code, whether on iOS or Android.

“There was a big push a few years ago for HTML5 web apps and a lot of big apps were written in it,” says Aaron Glazer, CEO of mobile app testing company Taplytics. “But since they went to native apps, there has been a big push…to deliver these very rich experiences…that are very difficult to replicate on HTML5.”

“With native apps, you have the ability to take advantage of all the different built-in elements of the underlying platform,” Glazer explains. “Users have become so accustomed to these rich experiences that even a minute change to HTML5 becomes noticeable…and leads to users not enjoying it as much and not using it as much.”

Without a doubt, native apps have full access to the underlying mobile platform.  Native apps are usually very fast and polished, making them great for high performance of critical business operations like mobile off line order entry.  Mobile/hybrid web apps, on the other hand, have limited access to device features and APIs.

“The Web cannot emulate native perfectly, and it never will. Native apps talk directly to the operating system, while Web apps talk to the browser, which talks to the OS. Thus there’s an extra layer Web apps have to pass, and that makes them slightly slower and coarser than native apps. This problem is unsolvable.” Peter-Paul Koch. 

For an experience that is polished, functions quickly, and simply feels good, native apps are the “go to” solution. Here are some particular examples of why the experience is better on native apps:

  • Web/hybrid apps include elements from the browser such as the search and navigation bars which clutter the experience. When using a smaller device this means less space for app specific controls.
  • Native apps respond more fluidly to user gestures such as swipes and pinches.

Websites are more heavyweight with extra layers that take up more memory than is necessary. Native apps function more effectively with a user’s device to provide a faster lightweight experience

By contrast, some business may believe that simply creating a mobile version of their existing web experience is satisfactory.  While this may sound all well and good, this is essentially a web page (originally designed for your computer screen) that has been adapted for your mobile screen. It’s not going to be as seamless as native apps, which was designed specifically for mobile devices.

Some businesses ignore the distinction, claiming that they offer a mobile solution simply because their existing web-based tools can be accessed through a mobile web browser. In reality, there’s a definite difference

If you’ve ever tried to buy something online on your phone using a web page pulled up on your smartphone’s screen, you understand the frustration that comes from attempting to tap those tiny text fields to type in information. You know that sometimes, when the connection is spotty, you could get interrupted in the middle of a purchase because the page refuses to load, resulting in the loss of all the information you’ve already managed to painstakingly type in. How many times have you watched that progress bar inch forward by the millimeter, wondering if the order was ever going to go through? Off line order entry would eliminate this problem.  Or tried to figure out whether or not your credit card was charged?

Your business can’t afford a terrible mobile experience.  In a nutshell, native apps provide the best usability, best speed, best configuration, best use for large amounts of data, the best features, and the best overall mobile experience for your business.

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