With the internet enabling connectivity, smartphones provide real-time data, on-demand intelligence, and accurate workflow information. However, if your employees frequently work in places with no internet access or poor internet connectivity, then you need to turn to offline apps. With this in mind, companies are designing software to work as offline apps or offline first mobile apps. But before you follow suit and take the plunge, take a deep dive into these critical considerations.

Why you need critical considerations?

Using offline first mobile apps or more commonly known as offline apps can reduce the use of essential resources without compromising on customer service quality. However, many elements like data storage, accessing mobile device, data syncing, app continuity, and data protection are involved while developing offline apps. Take a look at how you can optimally use these elements to your advantage.

What are the considerations?

Mobile apps access data from remote servers. These servers move data from the server to the app as per usage.When you have data that travels in small quantities from the offline app to the server, a cloud server is an ideal option. The remote server sends the message to the cloud, which stores the message. Once online, the data can be downloaded to the device. Here, the cloud servers reduce the maintenance costs and use minimal channel bandwidth as compared to a remote server And if your users need real-time data, then your app needs to connect to the internet every time. However, this can be a challenge when the app users work in a remote location with poor or no internet connectivity. As a business owner, you can move to offline first mobile apps by taking into account the critical considerations to develop offline first mobile apps.

1. Data Storage

In an offline app, the app or device downloads the data from the server. It then stores it securely and locally. Some databases, like CouchDB Lite, SQL Lite, enable storing app data locally on the device.

Also, if the app users need real-time information, you need a local database that will house all the data.The advantage of storing locally is that the app does not need to access cloud or remote servers each time. Instead, store locally and retrieve information from the local storage then sync when necessary.

2. Mobile Accessibility with Offline-First Mobile Apps

A remote location that’s in the middle of the sea or a far off engineering construction site has many challenges. One of them is having poor internet connectivity for decision-makers on board. Similarly, in regular trucking routing, dispatching, and on-demand shipping is a priority. It needs swift action and prompt decision making.

For doing so, you need to provide mobile access to all even while making mobile connectivity possible. While providing mobile access to each member will vary as per your requirements, mobile connectivity at all times is not within your control.

What do you do in this case? You can provide a seamless workflow integration with the use of the offline-first mobile app. With this app, each member can plan, initiate, and execute their tasks on the mobile app without connecting to the internet. It allows excellent individual and team collaboration without waiting for the right time to do so. It means you empower and provide convenience to your team to perform under challenging conditions without compromising on your resources.

3.Quality of Network Connection

A poor internet connection can be a bit of a letdown when you need to keep syncing the data to move on to different online tasks. It can be uploading data, chatting in real-time, and sharing essential documents or approving critical documents. 

When the quality of network coverage is poor or changing, and almost non-existent offline first apps can still give the user an experience that does not affect their productivity.

With offline-first mobile apps, data syncing is reduced to a great extent. It is possible when you focus on moving critical data from the server to your local database or device in fixed time slots and working on it. Offline apps work by limited data syncing, making your app work faster and without the usual connectivity issues.

Imagine a trucker who has to clock in miles to reach his destination. Simultaneously, he keeps his boss, the vendor, and his colleagues in the loop. In this case, all he has to do is go to the offline app connect to the internet if not already done earlier and sync data. Thereon he can report using the offline app irrespective of the network availability in the route.

Picture this. You’re in the flight waiting to reach your destination, and even while flying, you can make your time worthwhile and be productive with the offline-first mobile apps. With the offline-first mobile apps, you can use the complete functionality of working on projects even when not connected to the internet. Once at the airport, the device can be connected to the internet and synced to cloud or remote devices as needed.

4. Ensure App Continuity

Business continuity can be a challenge when trying to get tasks assigned, monitored, and collaborated across geographies and time zones. To add to it, distant employees can struggle to get basic tasks done with online apps. You can avoid all this by using offline apps that ensure data is synced regularly. 

It’s further complicated when there are different devices across different teams. So if a team member gets started on one device like a mobile app he can continue the process on the web or an alternate device without any interruption. This seamless integration ensures the user experience is intact as in an online application. 

At the same time, system and workflow requirements are met, and field personnel are effectively integrated into this loop.

5. Data Security & Protection

 With offline apps, data protection becomes a top priority. Because there is no user authentication like online apps, it is easy to enter the network and access confidential data. While this can result in data leakage or weird session monitoring, there is a way out. Setting access guidelines can create a much-needed barrier to intruders. Also, generate authentication levels and get on board credible security developers who can limit such leakages.

 Investing in offline-first mobile apps can empower your team, streamline processes across different yet integrated teams, and improve productivity without delays.

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