When people talk about the future of computing platforms, they often tie together smartphones and the cloud. Related to this, many business applications are designed assuming that the user is always going to be connected to the Internet. But in the real world, this is not always the case. Evidence of this can be found in a couple of trends:
- The increasing demand for smartphones with more storage and better processors: The original Apple iPhones, introduced in 2007, offered 4 or 8 GB of internal storage. Just 10 years later, the baseline amount of storage available on an iPhone 7 is four to eight times that – 32 GB – with a maximum capacity of 256GB. Processing power has kept pace, with the Apple 4, introduced in 2010, featuring an 800 MHz single core CPU, while today’s iPhone 7 includes a 2.34 GHz 64-bit quad-core processor.
- The popularity of apps – Even with the mobile-friendly HTML 5 becoming the de facto standard for designing Web-pages, in 2016, worldwide app downloads were up 15% over 2015, and the time spent by users in apps increased 25%.
What does this tell me? That users are not satisfied enough with their network connectivity to rely on their mobile browser interfaces. Rather, they prefer to utilize the power of their mobile devices, which continues to increase with each generation. To address the needs of mobile professionals, Ephesoft now offers offline auto-classification and extraction capabilities with the latest version of our Transact mobile capture platform that can run completely on the device.
Specifically, there are three reasons why we believe it is important to have these offline mobile capture capabilities:
- What if you find yourself in the desert or another remote area making a delivery or writing an insurance policy and you need to capture some important documentation? That fact is, you are not always going to be able to connect to a network.
- The goal is always to have as many people as possible using your software, right? Well, what if 10,000 people are using a mobile capture app at the same time? If it’s entirely cloud-based, that’s going to require the power of at least 10 servers. This can get expensive if you are licensing cloud infrastructure from Amazon or Microsoft. Users are paying more than $600 for supercomputers they can hold in their hands. As an ISV, why not take full advantage of this?
- Native apps running on a mobile devices have better adoption rates than browser-based processes. Once again, if your goal is to get as many people as possible to utilize your app, it’s important to note that studies have shown that users spend 90% of their phone time on apps and only 10% on their browsers. People like working with apps, and if you don’t have a good quality app with offline capabilities, users will drop it and not go back to it, which will kill adoption rates. And without user adoption in the mobile world, you don’t have anything.
We have also introduced features like leveraging the device’s video camera so the user can just hover their phone over a document and it will automatically capture it when the app determines that the focus is good enough. We also plan to integrate our machine learning capabilities on mobile devices, so that—just like in our desktop version of Ephesoft Transact—our mobile app will be able to learn how to extract and classify documents based on examples. We want to bring all the intelligence of our capture software to the mobile device.
Although the majority of e-commerce transactions are still conducted on PCs, mobile devices having surpassed PCs as the most popular way to consume digital media. Clearly a multi-platform strategy for business applications like document capture is the best way to move forward. And the only way to properly execute such a strategy is by offering equally strong options for both mobile and desktop platforms, which we are now striving to accomplish with Ephesoft Transact.