Hello again, first of all I’d like to thank all who commented on my last article, I will get back to you as quickly as time permits me.

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This week I’m going to be talking about offline apps. By offline I mean apps which don’t require any connection while using at all, be it mobile data or WiFi…

So in today’s market there are millions of paid and free apps to download, some really intuitive and some about as useful as a wet towel.

Surprisingly about 80% require an internet connection all of the time, like the App I’m using, ‘Trello’, which I’ve been using to co-ordinate film projects; fantastic storyboard style, sleek and easy to use, but the only problem was I jumped on the Underground yesterday and, as you do (trying not to make eye contact with anyone) thought of an idea and decided to note it on my Boards on Trello… It wouldn’t let me start it because I didn’t have an internet connection! I mean, all I want to do is store data locally. There was no option for an offline mode so I ended up typing it as a text to save it instead, which actually annoyed me because the functionality of typing into a text was poor and it meant copying and pasting later, which is so 2005 right…

Understandably, in a lot of countries an internet connection is still seen as a luxury and costs a lot more on average than it does over here in Europe and the US and, surprisingly again, the cost of a smartphone device out in the ‘developing world’ is at an all time low so people are forced to use an internet cafe or get close enough to one to leech off their network signal. Some school’s in the developing world also don’t have an internet connection. So in terms of reaching a true global audience with a lot of these apps it is a problem. So what do they do about it? What apps would be useful offline anyway?

I’m looking at this with purely a business head on as potential customers have millions of devices on hand, but little or no internet connection. If you understand that Knowledge is power and the people are not getting the knowledge, then they cannot become empowered to create and develop. Not to mention that all those devices and the people who want your app, would probably even pay it, go to waste.

What would I do? Well, clearly I cannot change the fact that the cost of internet is too expensive, or that data connections aren’t always reliable, so I’d push more offline solutions, apps which require little data and can sustain itself when a connection is lost or in total offline mode. There are apps out there such as ‘Offline maps 3D’, ‘Offline dictionary’s’ and plenty of ‘My Offline bibles”,  apps out there like ‘Offline web browser’ which lets you set a time and date of when you will be receiving a connection or signal and ask you to input a web address. The app will automatically take a ‘snapshot’ of it and save it locally, so when you are offline you can check the site out in almost real time without being cut off. So would it then be possible to integrate this feature into every app, pushing the demographic out across the seven seas? Or will the Cloud take everything local and push online?

What would you do? Is what I’ve said a sustainable solution or is it even possible? Any better ideas?

Shout me

Gary Mee

For more articles like this you can download the PDFs of ind13 magazine or you can read it online. Please like, share and tweet via Facebook and Twitter and don’t forget to subscribe to the IND13 email.