This article caught my eye this week, because if the rumours are true the implications could be huge for the event app industry.
It’s a little techie, but broadly it says that various sources indicate that Apple is moving towards allowing its Safari browser to run ‘background workers’. What this means is that audience devices will be able to use a web application without requiring an internet connection (‘offline mode’).
Why is this important?
One of the main arguments against web-apps and in favour of native apps has been that the latter can perform useful actions – such as fetch agendas, speaker biographies, etc – even if users are offline.
If Apple allows background scripts in Safari, which Google already allows in Chrome, then the vast majority of audience devices will be able to perform offline functions in the browser. Suddenly, the native apps’ most important differentiator is wiped out.
Web-apps retain their advantages – easier and faster to access, easier to update, simpler to develop, and no restrictions on white labelling (see my previous blog on that here) – and can now operate much closer to a native experience.
For completeness, I should point out that native apps still have other differentiators – access to the camera, compatibility with wearables, etc. – that might make them suitable for certain types of events that can benefit from these options.
What are the implications for Glisser?
Glisser focuses on audience participation, which means a constant exchange of data between audience devices and the big screen, so we’ve always ensured that our clients understand the connectivity requirements at their venue. Glisser works on Wi-Fi, 4G/LTE, and even 3G for basic functions – and this won’t go away.
However, our developers are getting excited at the opportunity to use background workers to create an even better user experience. For example, completed (presented) presentation decks could be pushed to devices and be made fully available offline. This would provide your delegates with a complete library of your session content to read in their own time, without an internet connection – a great way to keep people returning to your app after the event.
Exciting news – let’s hope it materialises. Watch this space…