Table of Content

THE CLIENT OVERVIEW

Our client has created a web based loyalty management platform, with initial deployment in the restaurant industry, which allows local restaurants to easily promote deals and for consumers to find them in and round their geographic location using either their mobile devices or the web. Our client’s mission was to improve the online and mobile experience of both consumers and restaurants. Our client realized that the restaurateurs’ reach and their opportunity to engage with repeat customers would increase significantly by using mobile and web and social networking channels.

ENGAGEMENT SITUATION & CHALLENGES

Our client wanted to target all possible mobile market by releasing its mobile solution on multiple platforms. Having recently released the application on iPhone our client now wanted to implement the same solution on Android Smartphones. Our client wanted to provide the users a similar rich experience while accessing the applications from either of the mobile platforms. Our client also wanted to ensure that the application be easily deployed on other mobile platforms without many changes.

ENGAGEMENT CHALLENGES

  • Achieve Time to Market – Beta launch was expected in 3 months from kick-off of project

  • Achieve user acceptance benchmarks – Acceptance from 100 friendly users and acceptance from 5000 external users in first month of beta launch

  • Achieve performance benchmark for at least 5000 concurrent users

  • Operationally efficient multi-source data collation solution - Large amount of data collation was required as restaurant information came in from all the sources in various different formats. The client was looking for a solution to add a new data source almost every week without the data being replicated

  • Real time “Deal” information to customers - Our client wanted to facilitate restaurateurs to announce coupons ‘On the Go’ attract consumers during their leaner periods and supply and update real time information to the customers.

TECHNOLOGY CHALLENGES

  • Architect a robust solution for Android platforms

  • Design for scalability – Our client was expecting to reach 0.5 million users within 6 months of commercial launch

  • Building application compatibility for different mobile handsets of the Android platform. The User Interface should address different Android handset screen resolutions that will be “eye candy” and user friendly.

  • Our client wanted to integrate as applicable any new features that were being released as part of Android SDK updates.

  • Connecting via text: US has many mobile vendors like AT&T, Verizon etc. All vendors have different T&C and our client wanted to display specific T&C as per end user mobile service provider.

XORIANT’S CONTRIBUTIONS IN THE ENGAGEMENT

Xoriant’s team worked closely with our client to understand the requirements and created an engagement roadmap. The engagement roadmap was planned with due consideration to engagement objectives and some key decisions were taken early in the engagement cycle.

  • Xoriant was involved in complete SDLC process in building the application, following SCRUM as Agile execution methodology to meet demands of evolving requirements without much compromise on Time to Market goals

  • Utilized TracWiki & Google docs for requirement gathering. This ensured that Client team in US and Xoriant team from offshore always have a common understanding on the requirements. This proved to be effective to avoid “Gaps” and “Quick to changes”

  • Adapted “Framework development” approach to enable multi-platform support for the future. Expectations were set to develop framework components on need basis

  • Decided to form a team with right blend of skills in the areas of architecture, development, User Interface experts, QA engineers.

Over and above the technology capabilities, our client was looking for a partner which will “own” the end to end deliverables with little or no hand-holding. Xoriant had worked with many clients in similar model, which was a perfect foundation for a successful engagement.

Xoriant team initiated the work to come up with solution blueprint. We leveraged our technology and platform expertise to deliver an innovative solution to our client that offered seamless user experience for customers through native Android phone application. Xoriant team worked with our client team to find a solution that would enable it to integrate with 3rd party service providers reliably and inexpensively. Our client’s main focus was to experiment with Location Based (LB) coupon distribution using emerging ideas of social media (Facebook, Twitter) via the Android application.

Once the solution blueprint was approved by our client, the Xoriant team initiated SCRUM cycles with biweekly release cycles. The salient points of the execution phase were:

  • Our client wanted a solution applicable for multiple mobile platforms to allow wider reach. Xoriant recommended Secure API based REST architecture for achieving this. This architecture allowed mobile application to access the information, thus making the server side platform independent.

  • Our team developed a product that makes a unique and smart use of Facebook Connect. If a user logs in using Facebook Connect then his profile information (keywords) are pulled and fed into a coupon engine and relevant coupons are posted in the form of wall posts.

  • This product also exploits the Geo location feature launched by Twitter. Tweets in the form of call back URLs are tagged with location and are tweeted using the client user account. This product is a location based service and senses user location on Smartphones.

  • Our team utilized the Xoriant framework “Smartphone App Accelerator” for Android. This framework provides ready to use components/modules that address common application functionality like Networking, Authentication, Parsing, File/Database access, Camera, GPS and other sensor functionalities. These high quality and well tested components were used as fundamental building blocks by the application developers to speed up development. As new Android features are released, our framework team integrates them into the Smartphone App Accelerator for Android, thereby enhancing it continuously. The framework components offered basic pre-built functionality of the mobile phones, thereby allowing the developers more time to focus on functionality and usability.

  • Since there was a large amount of data and attributes of the restaurants to be input, manually keying in so much information was beyond comprehension. This called for integrating multiple data sources to pre-fill the restaurant information. As of now this solution more than 100,000 restaurants which are correctly indexed and searchable by the parameters of name/ cuisine/location. Xoriant team selected Apache SOLR to index the restaurant information for its ease of look-up. We designed a solution where in the new data source will require an implementation of simple adapter that will parse and feed the information into SOLR. The advantage of Apache SOLR over a classical database (where the search logic needs to be programmed in the business logic controllers) is that it is configurable and search logic can be changed at anytime by changing xml configurations. SOLR is capable of keeping large index and yet deliver faster search results as compared to database servers

  • The database schema was normalized and “memcache” was used to store frequently queried data like deals and social media stats about a user, thus yielding faster page loading and better user experience

  • Cloud computing solution from Amazon was used to minimize the infrastructure cost. Besides the reduced cost, it gave our client more flexibility, ease of operations and automation. Our system administrators contributed in making optimal utilization of cloud.

    Tools & Technologies

    • Native (Android) application SDKs

    • Social media APIs(Facebook Connect, Twitter)

    • REST API

    • TracWiki

Architecture Diagram

ENGAGEMENT RESULTS

  • Our client was able to launch the beta version of the product in 3 months and it was widely accepted by user community. Xoriant’s proprietary Mobile framework “Xoriant Mobile App Accelerator” was a key to achieve this timeline for mobile applications.

  • The solution designed was platform independent leveraging the power of mobile and web. Our client was able to achieve seamless integration with mobile applications and social media tools.

  • User experience was well received after the beta launch. Xoriant provided simple and highly cost effective solution to our client by incorporating open-source and free technologies.

Xoriant understands that any product on the web has to extend to mobile. The Xoriant team made the development of native Mobile Apps on iPhone and Android easy. They have deep expertise in each of the mobile platforms including in-depth understanding of architecture and UI. Even though a framework was used, the look and feel of the application on the iPhone and Android platforms looked as if it was built from scratch on each device.

- VP Engineering - Mobile-Web start-up  

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Android Based Loyalty Mobile Application

Android Based Loyalty Mobile Application

Increased customer reach through a easy to use rich Android application to locate restaurants based on several criteria including location, offers, etc.

Key Requirements

  • Achieve Time to Market– Beta launch was expected in 3 months from kick-off of project
  • Achieve useracceptance benchmarks– Acceptance from100 friendlyusersand acceptance from 5000 externalusers in first month of beta launch
  • Achieve performance benchmark for at least 5000 concurrent users. Know More >>

Key Contribution

  • Xoriant was involved in complete SDLC process in building the application, following SCRUM as Agile execution methodology to meet demands of evolving requirements without much compromise on Time to Market goals.
  • Utilized TracWiki & Google docs for requirement gathering. This ensured that Client team in US and Xoriant team from offshore always have a common understanding on the requirements. This proved to be effective to avoid “Gaps” and “Quick to changes”.
  • Adapted “Framework development” approach to enable multi-platform support for the future. Expectations were set to develop framework components on need basis. Know More >>

Benefits

  • Our client was able to launch the beta version of the product in 3 months and it was widely accepted by user community. Xoriant’s proprietary Mobile framework “Xoriant Mobile App Accelerator” was a key to achieve this timeline for mobile applications.
  • The solution designed was platform independent leveraging the power of mobile and web. Our client was able to achieve seamless integration with mobile applications and social media tools. Know More >>
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