The Importance of Offline Tech Solutions to African Businesses.
By Tosin Onaneye
With the global boom of mobile applications and the benefits, they afford individuals and organizations, mobile app developers and tech companies are looking to adopt new tools for delivering value to organizations — one of such is offline mobile applications.
“57% of the world’s population do not enjoy regular access to the internet.”
This is according to a 2015 report from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). In Africa, about 75% of the population still do not enjoy access to the internet and this is despite the increase in the internet penetration rate over the last 14 years (from 2.1% in 2005 to 24% in 2018). This amount represents a large chunk of untapped markets that businesses or mobile app developers can target and provide digital services to.
There are numerous instances where internet access isn’t readily available. For instance, field-service personnel working in remote locations or people who live and work in less developed areas with limited connectivity. These kinds of people will still need to use apps and as such, it is important that businesses use or build offline-enabled apps.
What are offline applications? Offline apps or applications that have offline functionality are applications that can still work even when there is no internet connectivity. These apps function by using a technique called ‘caching’ and synchronize when an internet connection is available.
Why are offline tech solutions necessary in Africa?
The importance of offline solutions in Africa is invariably the reason why a lot of African countries are dredged deep in internet unavailability. Here are some reasons;
Lack of support from the government
The government’s unwillingness to support and promote internet connectivity in rural areas has contributed to the digital divide. However, organizations have to find ways to reach and provide services to people who live in such areas. To achieve nationwide inclusion, especially for the purpose of growth and exposure, mobile applications will have to have offline capabilities.
The high cost of internet
In Africa, the average cost of the internet is $35 per Gigabyte(GB) and as such affordable internet still remains out of reach to many Africans.
Poor or lack of internet connectivity
As earlier mentioned, due to the absence of internet connectivity in most parts of Africa, there is a huge digital divide. Apps with offline capabilities can help bridge this divide and enable businesses to reach potential customers and expand new markets.
Bridging the knowledge gap between rural and urban dwellers
It is easy to see how exposed urban dwellers are in comparison with individuals living in rural areas, and this is because of access to the wealth of knowledge available online.
Some Benefits of Offline Apps to Businesses in Africa;
- Poor connectivity won’t frustrate users
With an app the can function offline, it can help increase user acquisition and retention rates.
- Flexible management of activities
This enables organizations to manage the activities of its enterprise with full flexibility.
- Gain more customers/user loyalty
If your customers/users can trust your app in areas of limited or no internet connectivity, this will increase customer/user loyalty as users tend to want an app that will work without delays or difficulties at all times and seasons.
- Increase the productivity of field workers
Offline apps will enable field workers to provide reliable services regardless of location.
- It provides an edge over the competition
The mobile app market is huge and there are often at least two(2) competitors per app, with an offline app, businesses stand a greater chance of winning over the competition.
Seamfix: Building Mobile Offline Apps for African Businesses
Seamfix Limited is an African company with a deep understanding of the limitations that the environ pose to businesses. Our mission since inception has been to empower millions of African businesses and people achieve more daily, and that is why we ensure that all our innovative technological solutions have undaunting offline capabilities such that they work perfectly offline.
From capturing KYC data to onboarding customers to verifying biometric data against national databases, our solutions ensure that poor internet connectivity or a complete lack of it poses no threat to the process.
Our solutions are configured to store data locally for as long as is needed, and sync to the backend seamlessly once an internet connection is available.
Read about our offline solutions HERE.
Are you, or your organization passionate about data? collecting it? collating it? verifying it? analyzing it? then you are the kind of people we write for. Follow our publication, and you would gain knowledge on everything data, from the process of easy capture to the end goal of making data-driven decisions. Find out about our company SEAMFIX and how we solve big organizational issues with third-generation solutions HERE.
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