Enterprise Mobile Apps: Location and Accessibility

Pick your favorite mobile carrier and check their coverage map. While over time cellular coverage provided by Verizon, Sprint, ATT, and others, has improved, there are still significant gaps where cellular or WiFi coverage is spotty or non-existent. Why should this concern you or your IT department’s mobile Enterprise strategy?

The answer is simple: accessibility.

As discussed in previous entries, the audience and their location for your app’s usage may dictate how to prioritize software development. Perhaps more importantly though, is how accessible does your app need to be to function properly?

Generally, there are two common approaches for mobile business apps: real-time and store-and-forward.

Real-time

As the name implies, this type of mobile app is fully interactive and demands a “live” connection either directly to an Enterprise environment or to an Internet connection that, in-turn, links to an Enterprise environment. Apps that feature look-ups or inquiries require live accessibility all the time.

Store-and-forward

As the name suggests, store-and-forward mobile app are generally self-contained to capture unique information on-demand and/or to interact with a downloaded data file for “real-enough” validation. Perhaps the best illustration for this type of environment would be mobile route accounting sales apps that may have downloaded customer files or vehicle inventory files that allows the user to perform sales transaction tasks with a number of remote clients throughout the day. Then, at the end of the day, all captured information is uploaded into an Enterprise environment for final processing of all financial transactions and to update and/or relieve Enterprise inventory quantities on-hand.

Accessibility Matters

So, how and why does accessibility really matter to your mobile Enterprise application development strategy?

Suppose your IT department decides that your company’s mobile apps should all be created on only one common development platform. And, suppose your IT department determines that a cloud-based real-time development strategy offers the best development flexibility.

If your company discovers that a mobile app might conceivably be used in geographic areas lacking in robust cellular connectivity – which will interfere with the app being able to function properly in real-time, then your entire app development strategy may be flawed from the start. And, the last thing your IT department will want to do is support two different mobile development platform strategies.

Examine where your mobile audience works and lives, and then factor-in the role of accessibility in your Enterprise mobility development strategy. In this case, the old real estate axiom applies: location, location, location matters.