Most people never think about their Wifi or cell connection, until they don’t have one. Offline apps work even without an Internet connection or WiFi signal. The best offline app development software solutions have critical capabilities that make offline operation truly enterprise ready.
As connected as the world has become, places like hospitals, factories, warehouses, and rural (and even some urban) areas are often internet dead zones or weak zones. For mobile users, having a spotty or non-existent Internet connection happens surprisingly often. So, any developer of mobile business app needs to factor in what happens when users don’t have connectivity.
In building mobile offline apps, full functionality independent of signal is critical.
When signal drops, an application must perform as if nothing happened.
Alpha Software understands offline mobile challenges. The Company has assembled the most comprehensive portfolio of patented offline app capabilities designed to make building mobile apps that deal with the offline challenge as easy quick and worry free as possible.
What capabilities must offline app development software have?
Offline Apps Must Work Reliably Without a Connection or Signal
All of the features and functions a worker needs to do their job must be available to them in the field, even if they loose signal...or never had signal to begin with.
When signal drops an applications must perform as if nothing happened.
Offline Apps Should be Able to Access to Databases, Docs and Media
Directly From the Mobile Device - Even When there is No Connection
Phones and tablets can store lots of helpful assets that are available to workers even when offline.
Some of the many examples include:
- CAD drawings
- service manuals
- cross-reference charts
- how-to videos.
Offline Apps Should Have Smart Signal Detection
As you know, Internet connections can greatly vary. Just because a phone or tablet has an Internet connection doesn't mean that it's a fast connection - or an inexpensive one.
Imagine a worker on a construction site has filled in checklist and taken a bunch of high resolution photos of the state of the project. A smart application can sense if it is one a cell signal versus WiFi and behave accordingly.
For example, the app can upload just the checklist items so that are available immediately to the crew, while waiting to upload the photos until its connect to WiFi so that the pictures upload faster, and so the user doesn't burn through their cellular data quota.
Offline Apps Must be Able to Resolve Conflicts Intelligently
What happens if two workers change the same record at the same time? This can happen often when field workers are assigned to the same project. If this occurs when both workers are offline, when the records sync again, you will have conflicts arise. Many apps only allow a "last in wins" approach to data updates. If an earlier update includes critical information to record on the record, this could cause problems.
With Intelligent Conflict Resolution, you have some flexibility in how to handle these situations. You can decide which update to that record will take precedent. You can decide based on who submitted data first or last, Based on who is the most senior worker (such as a foreman vs. a line worker), or the system can even alert the user to the conflict and ask how s/he would like to handle the conflict.
Offline Apps Needs to Secure From a BYOD Perspective
In many cases, workers bring their own phones to work and use them on the job. This is a trend known as BYOD (Bring Your Own device). If workers' are using their own mobile devices, companies must keep those employees' personal data and work data strictly separate to ensure business security and privacy.
For example, if a worker needs to take a photo to fill out a report, their work photos should be kept separate from the phone's camera roll, where the worker may have personal pictures. And because phones have limited storage capacity - files should automatically be deleted from the device as soon as they are safely uploaded to the server when a connection becomes available.
If the offline application development software you're considering does not have these feature, then your mobile apps will likely have severe limitations that will hurt your ability to intelligently collect, store and sync data.
Leading offline app development software: Alpha Anywhere
Alpha Anywhere is a mobile app development platform that specializes in developing offline apps and was awarded a patent in Oct 2019 for the way it accomplishes this.
The company's offline capabilities have been recognized by Forrester, Gartner and even warranted an "InfoWorld Technology of the Year" award. The software has transformed business application development so that developers can create offline apps and offline forms with virtually no incremental effort or cost. The ability to build offline apps with the critical features mentioned above is simply built into the software.. The Company offers a free mobile inspection app with offline capabilities.
PDF file on Alpha's Offline Capabilities
Learn more about building offline apps with Alpha Anywhere and apps that work without an internet connection can help your workers get more business done.