We are all becoming more reliant on our smartphones to give us all the content we want in a matter of seconds. With the tap of an icon I can give my son the weather forecast, get driving directions to a meeting, plan a weekend away with a friend, or buy furnishings for my home, with a plethora of apps available for my tablet and mobile phone.
Being able to access content and access it quickly is a key to providing a good user experience. That's critical for businesses, as it influences revenue and retention. For me, user experience means ease of use, functionality, consistency, and performance across all channels in which I engage with an organization – in a brick and mortar store, or using a web site or native app. A poor experience at any of these can make me turn to a competitor the next time I want something. The mobile experience influences revenue and retention for all verticals, and native apps are increasingly becoming popular for this very reason, since they can take full advantage of the mobile platform to deliver a complete experience.
While every application is different, there are two common areas where poor app performance can have significant impact to the brand:
- Online purchases: for most apps, this is where the revenue potential is the greatest. Users today typically research and compare catalogs on mobile devices, since the information is easily accessible. Poor application performance could mean a user may never complete a transaction. This directly results in lost revenue.
- User engagement: on mobile devices, a good user experience means user engagement is improved and users are retained over a longer period of time. This is especially important in the case of subscription-based services like streaming video and mobile gaming.
Native mobile apps are a great way to quickly get to the information you are looking for – as long as the wireless signal is strong or there is no congestion on the network. The problem is there often are delays in the network, and even though I know better, I find myself getting frustrated with the app I am using, and not the aging communication protocol that is the foundation of the Internet, TCP.
Shortcomings of TCP
When TCP was first invented, nobody envisioned that it would be used to deliver the ginormous amounts of data to millions of devices on a daily basis. 40 years ago, TCP was designed for a wired network of 213 computers called ARPANET today a few more computers than that are using TCP on a daily basis. And it’s not just computers; phones, televisions, watches, cars, thermostats, and many other devices rely on TCP.
As the boundaries of TCP are pushed challenges related to packet loss and rate control surface. Congestion on networks occurs when more data than a network can handle is being transmitted. TCP's congestion control algorithm uses packet loss as the indication of network congestion. When congestion is detected, the sending rate is reduced. This works well in congested wired networks, but will end up in a suboptimum state in volatile wireless networks. TCP will wrongly sense the congestion level and unnecessarily reduce the sending rate in response to the wireless loss caused by wireless condition changes, such as signal attenuation, fading, and interference. As a result, TCP tends to underutilize the wireless network capacity, even when your coverage is strong or fair.
Introducing Mobile App Acceleration
Specifically designed for wireless networks, Instart Logic’s Mobile App Acceleration solution provides an over-the-top approach to improving performance of native applications. With a combination of forward error correction and adaptive rate control, Dynamic Packet Recovery (DPR) delivers a better user experience than TCP over lossy and bandwidth-limited wireless networks. When the application is launched, a single API call starts the Mobile App Acceleration service, intercepting all HTTP/HTTPS traffic and replacing TCP with Instart Logic’s proprietary DPR protocol.
Mobile App Acceleration is integrated into a native application via an SDK available for iOS and Android. To learn more about Mobile App Acceleration download our Reducing User Abandonment eBook.