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Offline Mobile Forms

It's important to understand the complex issues that come up with synchronization when building offline mobile forms.

Robust offline capability is a top requirement for mobile forms for field workers. As evidence, analyst research firm Forrester makes it clear: offline support is crucial for nearly every mobile app. Inspectors, field repair personnel, delivery workers, warehouse workers, and field service reps often work in remote locations without cell or WiFi connections. For this 60% of workers work standing up in the field, a mobile form isn’t truly mobile if it doesn’t work offline.

It's important to understand the complex issues that come up with synchronization when building offline mobile forms.In fact, offline capability is the “most important and difficult feature” of mobile business apps, according to Forrester:

 “Offline support will be a crucial consideration for nearly every future modern application. Unfortunately, our experience shows that offline support is the mobile app feature continually underscoped by developers and over-simplified by stakeholders.”
– Forrester Research, “The Offline Mobile Challenge

Alpha Software leads the market in offline mobile forms. In fact, the Alpha Anywhere rapid app development platform is recognized by Forrester, InfoWorld and others for its robust offline capability, and the software even won the InfoWorld Technology of the Year Award. Offline mobile forms built using Alpha Software for inspections, punch lists, and more are ‘offline first,’ built from the ground up as robust self-sufficient apps, optimized at every turn for offline use. This means that your mobile workers can do much more than just continue filling a form after a connection is lost.

“Alpha Anywhere “supports a very robust solution for HTML5 implementations” needing offline. - Forrester Research, The Offline Mobile Challenge

 Key Capabilities that Offline Mobile Forms Software Requires

To best serve field workers, a robust offline mobile forms solution must:

  • Integrate fully with transactional back-end systems of record
  • Offer fine-grained control of write conflicts when they are encountered on digital forms, beyond a simple “last-in” wins approach;
  • Enable data persistence when the mobile forms app is closed or the battery dies, including data not saved to the server
  • Produce ‘offline-capable’ applications with no additional development time or cost.


Outstanding Offline Mobile Forms in the Field

Alpha Anywhere is used by thousands of field organizations around the world to mobilize paper forms and help teams that are working in mines, inspecting elevators, repairing cell phone towers or appliances in the field and more.  Here are just some of the companies powering their business with Alpha Anywhere offline mobile forms:

“Previously, offline support, which is critical for our mobile apps, had been simply too expensive and complex. We reviewed several other application development solutions, but found that they were far too expensive, even without built in offline capabilities. We have been impressed with Alpha Software, which is constantly innovating and is focused on saving us time and money. We are particularly pleased with the offline capabilities seamlessly built into Alpha Anywhere.” – Karen Snyder, CIO at American Pool (Read the American Pool offline mobile forms case study)

 

“The ease of developing applications was one of the big draws for us. The ability to create forms for tablets, smartphones, and Web browsers is extremely important, because that’s where things are heading.” – Bill Hess, Committee for the Shelterless (Read the Committee for the Shelterless offline mobile forms case study)

 

We developed a full end-to-end system including servers, clients, mobile, and databases, with offline capabilities, more quickly and at less cost than if we had used another system. — Nikos Kazantzis, Group Head of Systems Integration for Hayat Communications (Read the Hayat Communications offline field mobile app case study)

Need a Deeper Dive on Offline Mobile Forms?

For a comprehensive description of offline capabilities that your offline mobile forms should have, and why this development can be so difficult, read the whitepaper: "Right and Wrong Offline Mobile Forms Strategies."

A Robust Solution for Building Offline Mobile Forms

InfoWorld Product Review: Alpha Anywhere Aces Offline Mobile AppsWhile many vendors claim “offline capability,” all offline is not the same. Read the InfoWorld Review: Alpha Anywhere Aces Offline Mobile Apps to learn why Alpha Anywhere got the InfoWorld Technology of the Year Award.

 

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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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