Our love affair with our mobiles has been going for over 12 years now. We’ve gone from the first smartphone to the feature-rich, AI-enabled iPhone 11 in what feels like the blink of an eye. And as the most recent statistics indicate, with daily mobile phone usage hovering at 95%, it’s safe to say mobile isn’t going anywhere.
As a result, the opportunity for enterprises to attract, engage and retain their customers through mobile has never been stronger.
As mobile technology has evolved, the cloud has also been evolving. Whilst on-premise is still prevalent, organisations have been steadily moving to the cloud since 2010. Platform as a Service, or PaaS, the latest iteration of cloud computing has brought a wave of innovation that has enabled organisations to increase cost-efficiency, get to market faster and future-proof their organisations.
What does this mean for mobile apps?
The next-generation of mobile apps are using a huge array of cloud services to provide everything from authentication and data services, through to advanced AI capabilities – without in-depth machine learning knowledge.
PaaS platforms provide out-of-the-box or low-code solutions for many of these services without the heavy lifting regarding availability, scalability, backup and failover. PaaS services come with these essentials pre-built, compared to Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS solutions that are more expensive to build, scale and maintain.
The benefits that your cloud provider can offer you extend directly to your mobile app development.
Infrastructure, middleware and access to data
When developing for mobile, best practice demonstrates that you should have 3 distinct layers to your mobile app architecture, made up of data, business and presentation tiers. You need the right infrastructure to support this, typically made up of databases, APIs and an authentication provider.
PaaS offers hundreds of services to help you manage your infrastructure needs, including ready-made server code and APIs to surface and leverage data like never before. This data is enabling organisations to tailor experiences to the user, based on demographic and behavioural data. PaaS can host a set of configurations for your mobile app, with the ability to toggle on/off specific features or functionality.
Access to this data also enables you to continually improve and evolve your application based on sophisticated analytics. By using tools such as Microsoft’s App Centre Analytics you are able to make use of out-of-the-box insights about your users and continuously export your raw data into Azure for extended retention and query capabilities.
A platform for genuine innovation
The latest evolution in cloud technology has enabled platform providers to commoditise a number of AI services. This gives your developers the opportunity to build innovative and sophisticated solutions, leveraging complex AI and Machine Learning functionality out of the box, revolutionising the experiences you can offer your users.
Rather than configuring your own ML models, Microsoft’s Cognitive Services provides a trained model for you. This brings data and an algorithm together, available from a REST API(s) or SDK. You can implement these services within minutes, depending on your scenario.
These services are empowering organisations to apply AI to mobile apps in a number of ways, enabling your developers to easily add cognitive features into your applications. Cognitive Services help you create applications that can see, hear, speak, understand, and even begin to reason. Facial recognition, auto-translation and sentiment analysis are just a few of the services available.
Reduce time to market
For CIO’s and app development managers, one of the key benefits of PaaS is the significant opportunity for time-savings and efficiency. PaaS eliminates the need to buy hardware and provide staff to operate and maintain it.
You’re saving your developers from monitoring and tweaking services and tuning databases. By leveraging the pre-built PaaS services we’ve mentioned above, you’re also saving a significant amount of development time.
By adopting PaaS and taking advantage of these developments in the cloud you can reduce time to market, cut overheads, and ultimately build better apps faster.
To learn how to build your own best in class mobile app, download our free eBook the CIO’s Guide to Mobile Apps now.