Benefits of real-time features in your mobile business app

Posted on by Alex Gorodov

Today, real-time features are more important than you may think. You can find them in all sorts of apps for one simple reason – these days, we want everything as quickly as possible, preferably, right now. Users want to track taxis or pizza orders on the map in real time, freelancers want to be alerted of potential jobs immediately, customers want to be notified of their order dispatch the very minute it left the warehouse, and if anything worth our interest happens, we all want to watch it live.

These days, virtually any app can benefit from real-time features. They have different formats and can be applied in almost any customer-facing business. However, all of them will potentially increase user engagement by allowing to multi-task and not distracting users from other activities.

Real-time messaging

Real-time messaging is, probably, the most popular of the features that we are going to discuss in this post. The market of messenger apps is growing and attracting more users with each passing day. WhatsApp, an absolute leader on the messenger app market, has 1.5 billion monthly active users and 500 million daily active users. Other popular apps have similarly high figures. At the same time, enterprises also tend to implement internal communication solutions with real-time messaging functions.

What is so attractive about real-time messaging? If compared to the way we used to communicate about two decades ago – sending SMS messages and waiting for an answer – real-time messaging has a bunch of great features:

  • User status. In today’s messengers, you can immediately see who is online or not, who is in a call, and who does not want to be disturbed right now. User statuses help to plan communication more effectively.
  • “Delivered” and “Read” indicators. Knowing that your counterparty has received and read your message allows assuming that a response will follow soon enough.
  • Typing indicator. Seeing that the person you are communicating with is typing in a chat shows that your message has reached the recipient and that they are ready with the response.

Possible use cases

If we tried to list all possible use cases of real-time messaging, we can go on for days. Let’s look at the most common examples:

  • Popular messenger apps that people use to chat with each other. Real-time chatting makes communication as close to actual talking as possible.
  • Various on-demand apps. Taxi services, food and other deliveries, household services, such as cleaning or laundry – all of them can benefit from real-time messaging.
  • Healthcare apps. Patients often need their doctor’s consultation quickly, thus, chatting in real-time is an effective solution.
  • Enterprise apps. A live chat can be a channel of quick communication and on-the-fly discussion between enterprise employees regardless of where they are located geographically.

Location tracking and sharing

Since most mobile devices are now GPS-enabled, it is easy to share your exact location via any messenger app or social platform. You can either share the geographic coordinates of your location, the address or the name of the place if it can be resolved.

Possible use cases:

  • Taxi apps. In a taxi booking app, users can monitor the taxi position on the map and follow its movement. At the time of booking, they can find the drivers that are in their vicinity. The drivers, in their turn, can build routes to their customers from their current position and calculate the time they need to reach them.
  • Delivery apps. With location tracking, users can follow their order moving to their place and evaluate the ETA. 
  • Logistics apps. For logistics companies, location tracking is a useful tool to find where all their vehicles and cargo are at any given moment in time. 

Multi-user collaboration

Collaboration apps allow several users to work together on the same project in real-time. Google Docs is the first thing that comes to mind when real-time multi-user collaboration is mentioned. Google Docs is definitely the most popular among collaboration apps, but any enterprise can implement an internal custom solution tailored to its specific requirements.

Possible use cases:

  • Enterprise. Each business produces volumes of documentation that need to be collaborated upon. With a tool that can synchronize and merge all updates made by different users, documentation management becomes more streamlined.
  • Freelance platforms. Often, several freelancers join forces to complete a single project, and they will appreciate a real-time collaboration tool allowing each of them to do their section of the work.
  • Healthcare. Patients sometimes need to be examined by several doctors either to form a complete picture of their condition or to get a second opinion. Allowing doctors to add their notes and comments to the patient’s record will produce a document that can be accessed by multiple doctors and will be as up-to-date as possible at any moment in time.

Live streaming

Apps creating data and simultaneously delivering it to end users have become extremely popular. The ability to see things as they develop creates a sense of close involvement and makes users greatly engaged in the content.

Possible use cases:

  • Media and entertainment. Of course, these are the primary users of live streaming apps, as their main goal is to deliver news and action to the users as soon as possible, preferably, in real-time. 
  • Social networks and blogging. Often, opinion leaders use live streaming to communicate their messages or show the events they take part in. Live streaming gives them the opportunity not only to deliver their content to the audience but also to establish real-time communication with them. Users watching live streams use the accompanying chat feature to comment on what they see or ask questions to the author.
  • Real estate and tourism. Live streaming can be used to organize virtual tours around real estate properties or vacation places. This way, buyers or tourists can “walk through” the place right from the comfort of their homes to make a better informed decision.

Push notifications

There is hardly any app that does not use push notifications nowadays. At the very least, push notifications inform users about app updates that need to be installed and deliver other service messages. However, many apps use push notifications to achieve their primary business goals.

Possible use cases

  • Health, diet, and fitness apps. In this area, push notifications serve as reminders to perform an action – to drink water, exercise, take medicine, test blood pressure. Push notification help users keep to their health or fitness plans.
  • On-demand apps. Here, push notifications work both ways – for customers and service providers. A taxi driver or freelance worker can be notified of a potential order, while their customers will be reminded that the taxi has arrived or a section of the work has been completed.
  • Delivery apps. A delivery service can use push notifications to send order status changes to customers.
  • eCommerce apps. Push notifications can have multiple uses in eCommerce – from informing customers of selected products being back in stock and of any upcoming special offers to sending order-related information.
  • Banking and finance apps. Banks can communicate with their clients via push notifications to remind them of a next loan payment due soon or a procedure change.

Summing up

The world is picking up speed, and app users do not want to wait for information. They want it here and now, and this is exactly why real-time features are becoming critical for most customer-facing businesses. Real-time features engage users and create more satisfactory experiences.

Want to include real-time features in your app? Contact our experts, and they will gladly consult you on the best way to implement real-time functionality that will be the most optimal for your business.