According to adapated.com, the average iOS developer has five apps on iTunes, approximately 40,000 downloads per app. Android developers also average five apps, with approximately 60,000 downloads a piece. It is vital to build an app with these figures in mind, and remember that if your app is more successful and goes viral, you could suddenly have hundreds of thousands of users hitting it simultaneously. For example, Telegram, a free and secure messaging app, added close to 5 million people to its service one day after WhatsApp went down for several hours!
An app not built with scale in mind can have a huge impact on a business, from negative impact on your brand reputation to loss of customers. Organizations must have the toolset to develop web and mobile applications that can scale quickly to meet large numbers of concurrent users. Most organizations tend to focus on how the cloud can help, rather than looking at improving scale at the application level through data.
Should Your Industry Care?
Retail Banking: You’ve deployed your app, it’s up and running and suddenly there is an event that is driving usage – you have issues with your credit card security and consumers want to monitor transactions in real-time. Of course you can fire up servers in the cloud to support demand, but what about the bandwidth capacity and the load balancing? This won’t solve the problem of intelligently getting the right data to the right person in real-time.
Healthcare: Healthcare organizations need to work with vendors of devices and software, insurers and other healthcare professionals to ensure accurate patient information is delivered at speed, over potentially unreliable networks. This is vitally important. Take medical devices that gather a lot of data – time of day, administration of treatment activity, body temperature, and body vitals such as heart rate. This information needs to be carefully considered and distributed based on when that specific patient is at risk. The key to achieving this is the ability to intelligently understand data, send only what needs to be reviewed and to do so at speed if a patient is a risk.
Retail: Let’s say for example that your store has an app that offers in-store discount vouchers and promotional codes to shoppers. It’s a busy Saturday afternoon (or worse, the pre-Christmas mad rush) and suddenly your app is hit with hundreds and hundreds of users simultaneously all wanting the voucher you are offering. Your app can’t handle this number of connections, the voucher won’t load and customers are faced with the spinning wheel. Customers are left frustrated. Your app’s inability to scale has annoyed your customers – you’ve lost an opportunity to create loyalty.
Transport: Train and bus companies need to cope with huge numbers of customers connecting with their app to check live departure and arrival times (especially at the end of the working day), as well as which platform or bus stop they need. Without the ability to scale quickly to meet this surge in concurrent users, the risk is the app will crash or perform so poorly that customers will become frustrated and delete the app. You’ve lost an opportunity to upsell and cross sell via your app.
Media and Broadcast: What happens if your app goes viral? A TV programme becomes hugely successful and suddenly on a Saturday night, your app goes from 1,000 users to 1 million? According to mobilenewscwp.com, during peak-time TV hours (6:30-10:30pm), 40% of UK Tweets are about TV shows. In the US, hit shows like Scandal promote second screen engagement with hashtags like #SaveOlivia. Today the conversation is the event: the high of the show is what happens simultaneously on another screen. Everybody is there, and everyone wants to be connected as the show happens. Can you handle this type of scale? And can you do it without adding expensive infrastructure?
What Do You Need to Do?
Make sure your app is developed in a way so that it can handle a flash crowd, because if you don’t, if your app goes viral and you cannot cope, you’ve lost business.
 A very likely event considering X Factor, for example, has seen an average of 9.1 million viewers this series and had 1 million downloads for its app last series.
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