Three use cases for offline content management on mobile devices
Christian Karasiewicz 270005XS4E Visits (6551)
Do you get annoyed seeing the circling cursor when you click on a video link on your mobile? You are not alone. While you may be thinking about YouTube when you consider this scenario, there are many other scenarios across different industries where online content not loading or loading with delays is a huge concern.
Dealing with large content viewed on a mobile device is one of the key mobility issues that big enterprises face, specifically in a few key industries. Enterprises look to provision such content offline but face a challenge in managing content remotely. A generic solution for offline content management could benefit many businesses. For this, I think it is important to understand the use cases where an offline management solution becomes necessary or even becomes a key differentiator in the market.
Here I will describe some scenarios where offline content management is important and makes a difference to the businesses in these three growing industries.
1. Pharmaceutical industry
A medical representative, the primary actor, connects to the office from his tablet and synchronizes his work list for the day with the central server. The application downloads and stores details such as the medical practitioners to meet, the videos (or presentations) to demo and the feedback templates. He goes offline, meets the practitioner, demos the product, sends the feedback into the tablet and repeats this with other practitioners.
When his day ends, he connects to the central server and synchronizes again. The feedback entries get uploaded to the central server.
This is a very common use case in the pharmaceutical industry. It saves a lot of travel time for the representative and, more important, provides a rich, interactive demo to the practitioner. This use case also involves other mobile-specific requirements like appointment alerts, a map of the practitioner’s location and so on.
2. Education industry
The student subscribes to a course or a module to be delivered through a tablet. The content provider publishes the content in the form of a video, presentation or PDF file to the device with the subscription. The student launches the content offline using the customized content viewers, adds notes or a voice or video recording, and later stores them on the content provider's server. The original and new content are available for use from a different registered device.
This is the model that is currently emerging in the growth markets. Mobility is changing the way that the education market is growing. Remote learning is becoming a need, and mobile is the best platform for delivery once the content is created, especially since the advent of cheap tablets in the market. The contents that are published need to comply with Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) standards.
3. Media and entertainment industry
The primary actor in this example is you. You download videos and movies that you paid for and want to watch offline on your mobile device with a viewer. For example, Amazon Prime lets you download movies onto your Kindle Fire for offline viewing.
What is different here from the usual download is that the movie or video could be subscription-based. The content needs to be deleted once the subscription ends by the service provider’s mobile application.
Challenges in implementing an offline content management solution
The key challenge when building an offline content management solution is content protection. Content is the intellectual property of an enterprise, and not protecting it may lead to the enterprise going out of business. Another key concern that needs addressing is the download management. Users prefer to continue the download from where it stopped previously rather than restarting. It gets complex with multiple downloads and users.
Creating a customized viewer, like a SCORM viewer for the e-learning content, is an easier problem to solve.
If you have similar use cases in other industries, or if you have examples of other challenges or solutions related to offline content management, please share with me on Twitter @ArvindMobile.