Authored by Suhas Uliyar, Oracle Vice President, Mobile Product Development
Blogging about the 2nd major release of Oracle Mobile Cloud Service is personally very exciting! Not too long ago a few of us with many years of mobile experience amongst us, sat in a room and drew up the plans for building – from the ground up – a cloud based enterprise mobile platform, Oracle’s Mobile Cloud Service (MCS).
Our goal was to simplify enterprise mobility and help mobile developer build Better Apps Faster. With these goals in mind, we released MCS in July 2015 and in a short 10 months, we are thrilled to see its success and momentum in the marketplace. Our design goals to be open, agnostic and built on open standards, are being adopted by customers of all sizes, across all industries from around the world. With Oracle MCS, organizations deliver modern experiences to their employees and drive modern engagement with their customers. One of our fundamental principles was to be open and agnostic to mobile client development tools so that developers could develop in their tool of choice and make it simple to consume enterprise services from a Mobile API catalog without requiring them to understand the complexities of enterprise data and security policies. We have customers using native tools from Apple, Google, Xamarin, Sencha, Ionic along with Oracle client development tools, Mobile Application Framework (MAF) & JET, to build engaging experiences integrated with a variety of backend systems.
We have continued to innovate with quick and agile releases of MCS and today I am very excited to share with you the big strides we have BETTER apps with MCS Location Based Services and help enterprises build apps FASTER with Oracle’s Rapid Mobile Application Development (RMAD) capabilities, called Mobile Application Accelerator (MAX). These capabilities are targeted at what Gartner refers to as “citizen developers.”
Before I tell you more about MAX, let’s first take a look at what we’ve delivered with Location Based Services..
About Oracle MCS and Location Based Services
Many enterprises like retailers, event organizers, transit systems, financial services, hospitality and educational institutions are engaging with consumers and have invested significantly in enabling seamless user experiences across mobile applications and the online world. They are able to get insights related to app downloads and in some cases user behavior across multiple channels. However, many of them have neglected a key value that mobile provides that the online world does not - the consumer’s physical location! When you consider that 93% of US retail sales still occur in store, enterprises are missing a key connection between the physical and online world.
The challenge with GPS is that indoor spaces often block cell signals and make it difficult to get an accurate location. This is where Beacons become a viable solution. Beacons, a low-cost piece of hardware — small enough to attach to a wall or countertop, use battery-friendly, low-energy Bluetooth connections to transmit or prompt directly to mobile devices. Companies like Estimote are poised to transform and reinvent a contextually rich mobile experience.
“It’s a no-brainer. Beacons increase the granularity of information that Oracle MCS can use to help businesses provide a contextually rich experience to their customers” Steve Cheney Co-Founder of Estimote.
In-store retail and offline payments are in the first wave of beacon applications. Retail outlets are adopting beacons to provide customers with product information, flash sales or deals, and speed up the checkout process with a completely contactless payments system. Consumers seem receptive to beacons as a way to enhance their in-store shopping experience. Half of American adults already utilize their mobile devices in stores. Consumers could also use them to inexpensively automate their homes. For example, beacons could turn on lights in a room as soon as someone with a smartphone has entered them, or open doors or window shades.
Mobile represents the bridge between the digital and physical world and is becoming the most valuable tool yet for marketers, allowing them to be contextual, relevant and useful. To help build BETTER apps that take advantage of location services, we made it easy by providing a 360 degree view of contextual location information for the app developer to enable better decision support and engagement on the mobile app. MCS 2.0 provides a declarative framework with an easy to use Admin UI, for the definition of Places, Devices such as Beacons, and Assets as first class entities along with the ability to query interesting information about these entities and the association between them from the mobile app via Platform API’s.
MCS 2.0 can help drive B2C & B2E use cases like:
- Obtaining contextual information for Places & Things of interest (to drive mobile app logic):
- Return all Places with the label ‘Parts_Warehouse’ that are within a specified GPS circle, and route me to the nearest one with parts in stock for Acme washers.
- Return all active iBeacon devices where the device's name or description contains the text ‘LAX_Terminal1’. Set my app to range for the Beacon ID’s that were returned since I checked in for my flight.
- Personalized mobile user targeting based on geofence or beacon proximity
- Send Ana a complementary Molly Moon’s ice-cream voucher when she checks in at the new Forever21 store in the Uvillage Mall (where Uvillage Mall is denoted by a GPS and has ‘child’ Places within it for Stores id’d by Beacons associated with their location)
- When a Platinum Member enters the Delta lounge (id’d by a Beacon), send them a NewCo promotion.
- High-value Asset Tracking
- Update the last known location of a fork-lift (id’d by a Beacon) to be ‘North Yard’
- Give me the last known location of a hospital bed (id’d by a beacon). If it’s not in the quarantine area of the hospital (also id’d by a beacon), send an SMS alert to the floor nurse on duty.
About Oracle MAX
Investment in mobility solutions is expected to continue to grow through 2016. But the increased investment in mobility solutions is promising amid growing concern that demand for mobile app development services is happening much faster than organizations are able to deliver. Businesses are finding it challenging and costly to develop, deploy, and maintain mobile apps as rapidly as demand dictates, according to Gartner. Gartner says using rapid mobile app development (RMAD) tools that can produce apps quickly, are crucial for enterprises to help bridge the gap between mobile app demand and supply. Significant innovation is driving this market and replacing traditional coding approaches, such as native development tools, with more effective RMAD tools. MCS 2.0 introduces the notion of no code rapid mobile application development (RMAD) with Mobile Application Accelerator (MAX). MAX is key to helping build better mobile apps FASTER allowing professionals with no programming background, to rapidly assemble mobile apps and continuously iterate on their designs. MAX is a highly visual tool and seeing is believing. To get a great overview, watch the following video recording of Oracle MAX in action.
For more information and to test drive Oracle MCS 2.0 at cloud.oracle.com/mobile
Hungry for more? Watch Suhas Uliyar and Chris Marsh (451 Research) discuss the New Imperatives in Enterprise Mobility. And don't forget to follow the latest @OracleMobile.