Offline Sync For Smarter Applications

Internet - Need of hour:

In todays digital era, the web and mobile applications have entered in almost every day to day activity of our lives. Thanks to quick access to internet and the world of information is just few clicks away.

Most of the applications we see in todays world connects user with enterprises to avail their services. This requires an active internet connectivity almost all the time.

With 5G around the corner, internet doesn’t seem to be the issue anymore & information can be easily shared from one device to other or from a client application to server. But is our understanding correct? Let’s look at some stats..

Interesting Statistics:

According to the research, more than $1.7 billion is lost in revenue annually because of the poor or no internet connectivity. Also, 75% of the users leave the platform if the app performance is slow. This internet issue is not just in the developing countries with poor infrastructure but also in countries like US.

This brings us to an essential change in approach towards the way our applications work to cater the users better. We need to make our application run seamlessly even when there is poor to no internet connectivity.

How do we make this happen?

Offline Apps:

Before we get into making apps work offline, lets throw some light on how a typical application works.

The fact is all the information required for an application to operate is stored at a centralized location. To access specific information, user or the client application makes the request to server which serves the required information from the centralized location. This approach requires continuous internet connection. If no internet, there is no handshake between client and server and the application is eventually dead.

This is where offline apps come handy. As the name suggests, these are the application that can run even when there is no internet connectivity. There are lot of scenarios where the data in the centralized location is hardly changing. There is no need for the application to constantly talk to the server for data. This content can be easily stored in the application. The smartphone storage itself acts like the centralized location and accessing this data works without internet.

What if the data needs to be updated??

This brings us to few points that we have to consider while making an application work offline.

  1. Synchronization:

Allowing the application to work with the data stored in the smartphone. As and when the internet connectivity is available, we sync the data with the server. Any changes to the data on server is saved in the smartphone.

2. Understand the content that can be stored offline:

Not all the content can be stored on the users smartphone. We need to understand the content that is important for user. We can strategize when and how much of our content can be stored on the smartphone.

Few Offline Apps

Google Maps:

Google Maps allows users to save a pre determined area on the map. It also gives an option to store a route details. This helps the traveler to not worry of internet. Offline maps & routes make the app work seamlessly even when internet connectivity is lost.

Netflix:

Netflix allows users to download the movies, TV shows etc. Streaming of video requires rich internet connectivity. User can watch the movies, tv shows even when no internet connection is available.

TripAdvisor:

TripAdvisor allows user to store maps, reviews and images of cities that user is planned to visit. Internet connectivity being the major issues for travelers, this offline support helps them explore cities with less hassle.

Benefits of Offline Apps:

  1. Poor or no internet connectivity-Not a problem anymore
  2. Less user frustration over app performance
  3. Saves users battery
  4. Fast loading time

Technical Lead - Prolatech