Offline Apps: What You Need To Know

Google Maps

With employees facing an ever-increasing need to access business information – regardless of their time and location it’s only fair they’re given the right tools to do their job. One item that’s increasingly being pushed to the forefront of business leaders minds it the use of offline web apps. Although not discussed as widely as the rise of cloud computing, offline web applications provide a much needed boost to staff efficiency and productivity.

What is an offline web app? 

If you haven’t heard the phrase before offline web apps are business applications that you can use in an internet browser to work offline. So, if you lose connectivity you can still carry on working.

For businesses generally this means increased productivity for employees often travelling on the road. So, if you find yourself working in a remote location, or simply can’t pick up signal in a service station you don’t have to worry about remembering to sync or save your work.

Some of the most common tools and web apps already have this built in. Day to day examples include…

  • Google Maps will work offline meaning you won’t get lost in a rural area without 3G access.
  • If you have a premium account with Spotify then you can carry on listening to tracks anywhere you want.
  • Google Drive – as well as being in the cloud, Google allows you to download essential documents to carry on working regardless of where you are.

Although these offline apps are used universally, it doesn’t mean to say your business uses them. Every organisation has different requirements and processes that need to be catered for. So if you need to continue carrying these out offline, then a bespoke offline app is what’s needed.

Offline Apps in Action

By building bespoke offline apps, major organisations have been able to:

  • Gather data from any device, anywhere in the world to provide life-saving information to help cure children from malnutrition.
  • Instantly model customer risk profiles by capturing insurance assessment data at customer sites.

When the app is in use, a user should in effect see little or no difference between working on an app either online and offline.

When the app goes offline, any data that has been edited is stored locally on a user’s device and then automatically transferred back to the main application once an internet connection is established. What you’ll need to make an Offline App… Here’s what you need to ensure you get the best possible app up and running…

A Development Partner

Offline apps should be built in a reliable industry language that software developers use such as HTML5. Done correctly, it means your application will work seamlessly, regardless of the device or browser you are using to access it. Plus, as HTML5 is the most up to date language used it should mean any apps that are built are future-proofed as much as possible.

An understanding of local storage..

In order for an app to work offline, you’ll need to give your developer a clear briefing of everything that’s essential for a user to carry on working. That way, all the essential data can be stored locally (ie. on the device itself). Otherwise essential information will be stored online with no way to access it.

A clear project specification…

Good software providers will always offer a comprehensive consultation to put together a project specification. Before this begins though, it’s important to think about how you’d like the app to work offline:

  • What should your employees be able to do on the go? Or not do?
  • What central business data do they need to access and update?
  • Are there other systems, tools or software that the app would need to integrate with?

The consultation process would help turn these answers into an effective tool capable of meeting your business demands.

Ciara Wood

Ciara Wood is the Sales & Marketing Director for MSM Software Solved, a leading software house that provides outstanding business solutions across cloud, data and mobile.