High Cost Data Plans? Not with Offline FormsAs more businesses go mobile in order to be competitive, one escalating (and sometimes overlooked) cost is inevitable: the high price of data access for mobile workers. But it needn't be that way!
With offline support, mobile apps can function without a network connection. An offline capable application doesn't require a constant network connection to work. This enables users to save big on data plans, enabling them to work offline and perform data transactions over Wi-Fi networks.
Tim Bochard, Director of Information Technology at Glacier Water, expects to save Glacier Water hundreds of thousands of dollars by using Alpha Anywhere to build a mobile app with offline capabilities - so that rather than connect to a costly data network throughout the day, it will connect via Wi-Fi networks occasionally during the day (e.g. coffee shops), dramatically reducing connection costs. That way, mobile workers won't need expensive data plans. Any company, he says, can easily do the same thing.
"The challenge I had was developing an app for 400 service technicians servicing 20,000 ice vending machines throughout North America," he says. He had previously developed one using C# and Windows Mobile 6.5, but the platform and hardware were outdated. "I was looking for a faster, less-expensive way to do it, and I plan to use Alpha Anywhere to build an Android app," he says. The immediate benefit will be faster development time and less development cost and maintenance than with his previous platform. Longer term, though, he expects to save dramatically in mobile data costs.
Alpha Anywhere and Offline AccessAlpha Anywhere - Designed to make Offline Business apps with flexible conflict resolution 'built in" quick and easy to build.
"Taking advantage of Alpha Anywhere's ability to write robust transactional apps that work even when not connected to the Internet, I will build the app so our technicians don't need a data plan," he explains. At the beginning of the workday, technicians will cache data about their service calls on their devices using a Wi-Fi network. Out in the field, they will work with the app without having to connect to the Internet. During the day, they will be able to use any public Wi-Fi network --- such as at a Starbucks or McDonald's --- to connect to the Internet and update their data if they want. Or, they can instead wait and do it via Wi-Fi at work or home the end of the day.
How much can it save? The math is simple, Bochard says. A typical data plan might cost $50 per month. With a workforce of 500 people, that adds up to $25,000 a month, or $300,000 a year. Larger workforces will see even greater reductions.
"There can be even more savings than that," Bochard concludes. "With this kind of system architecture, you save substantial amounts on mobile device management as well. It's a win all the way around."