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Android Instant Apps: Changing the App development Landscape

Google announces some pretty interesting things at its I/O conference every year. Android Instant Apps is one of the things that really got my attention as it is compatible not only with the upcoming Android N but also with older versions of the popular mobile operating system.

Instant Apps were first introduced at Google’s I/O developer conference 2016. The technology had only been available to select developers until their Google I/O 2017 conference where Company announced that all developers can now build Instant Apps.

But what is Android Instant Apps? This is a feature that will pull bits of Android apps that are published on Google’s Play Store straight to your Android device when you need some functionality that is available in one of those titles.

  • For instance, as Google demoed, if a friend sends you a link to a BuzzFeed video and you tap on it, Android Instant Apps makes it possible for your device to pull just the part that it needs from the corresponding app to display the video but without actually downloading the whole app on your handset.
  • Another example that Google showed at I/O, say that you want to pay for parking but you do not have the time to download an app that lets you do that. Android Instant Apps uses your handset’s NFC chip to get the necessary functionality from a compatible app to let you pay on the spot, and with Android Pay support nonetheless.Screen-Shot-2016-05-18-at-2.45.18-PM-800x447(1)

Instant Apps blurs the line between websites and apps you need to download, potentially shaking up the mobile Web experience. By offering a sliver of an experience of an app, it could also encourage people to download programs they might have skipped

Android Instant Apps makes your device much more useful and powerful. Normally, when you tap on a link, you are looking at a page opening in your favorite browser, which, depending on how optimized it is for use on a mobile device. You do not need to have all the features that an app can offer all the time, but there are times when you want to do more things or do them differently and this is where Android Instant Apps makes a big difference.

Those are just two examples though (there are three more below), and you can see a wider range of benefits to Android Instant Apps as more developers add support for it. As you know it can take a while before such features get traction, but this time round there’s a very big incentive in implementing it, if you do not count Google’s claim that it may take about a day to get this done. Android Instant Apps is compatible with Android versions as old as Jelly Bean.

Google has not specified which Jelly Been iteration is the oldest supported, but even if we are looking at the last one, which came out in 2013, there are still three current major Android distributions that Android Instant Apps works with.

The company is working with Disney on an Instant App version of its Disneyland app for checking wait times on rides. Other partners include blogging platform Medium, apartment rental service Zumper, a Buzzfeed food recipe app and yes, B&H Photo.ig(1)

The technology behind Instant Apps is actually pretty simple, according to Kirkpatrick. As long as an app developer can break their app into modular chunks roughly a few megabytes each, Google can quickly download just the right chunk of the app to a phone and run it as if it were already installed. Apps can prompt the user for permission to share their location, fire up the phone’s camera, or use saved account information to log in.

It doesn’t even require the latest version of Android: Instant Apps will work with versions as old as Android Jelly Bean.

Let’s keep an eye on their developers conference this year, we will surely keep you updated.

Meanwhile, In case, you have any queries on Android Instant Apps, feel free to approach us on hello@mantralabsglobal.com, our developers are here to clear confusions and it might be a good choice based on your business and technical needs.

Check out these articles to catch the latest trends in mobile apps:

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  3. Google for India September event 2019 key highlights
  4. Learn Ionic Framework From Scratch in Less Than 15 Minutes!
  5. AI in Mobile Development
  6. 10 Reasons to Learn Swift Programming Language
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Retention playbook for Insurance firms in the backdrop of financial crises

4 minutes read

Belonging to one of the oldest industries in the world, Insurance companies have weathered multiple calamities over the years and have proven themselves to be resilient entities that can truly stand the test of time. Today, however, the industry faces some of its toughest trials yet. Technology has fundamentally changed what it means to be an insurer and the cumulative effects of the pandemic coupled with a weak global economic output have impacted the industry in ways both good and bad.

Chart, line chart

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Source: Deloitte Services LP Economic Analysis

For instance, the U.S market recorded a sharp dip in GDP in the wake of the pandemic and it was expected that the economy would bounce back bringing with it a resurgent demand for all products (including insurance) across the board. It must be noted that the outlook toward insurance products changed as a result of the pandemic. Life insurance products were no longer an afterthought, although profitability in this segment declined over the years. Property-and-Casualty (P&C) insurance, especially motor insurance, continued to be a strong driver, while health insurance proved to be the fastest-growing segment with robust demand from different geographies

Simultaneously, the insurance industry finds itself on the cusp of an industry-wide shift as technology is starting to play a greater role in core operations. In particular, technologies such as AI, AR, and VR are being deployed extensively to retain customers amidst this technological and economic upheaval.

Double down on digital

For insurance firms, IT budgets were almost exclusively dedicated to maintaining legacy systems, but with the rise of InsurTech, it is imperative that firms start dedicating more of their budgets towards developing advanced capabilities such as predictive analytics, AI-driven offerings, etc. Insurance has long been an industry that makes extensive use of complex statistical and mathematical models to guide pricing and product development strategies. By incorporating the latest technological advances with the rich data they have accumulated over the years, insurance firms are poised to emerge stronger and more competitive than ever.

Using AI to curate a bespoke customer experience

Insurance has always been a low-margin affair and success in the business is primarily a function of selling the right products to the right people and reducing churn as much as possible. This is particularly important as customer retention is normally conceived as an afterthought in most industries, as evidenced in the following chart.

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        Source: econconusltancy.com

AI-powered tools (even with narrow capabilities) can do wonders for the insurance industry at large. When architected in the right manner, they can be used to automate a bulk of the standardized and automated processes that insurance companies have. AI can be used to automate and accelerate claims, assess homeowner policies via drones, and facilitate richer customer experiences through sophisticated chatbots. Such advances have a domino effect of increasing CSAT scores, boosting retention rates, reducing CACs, and ultimately improving profitability by as much as 95%.

Crafting immersive products through AR/VR

Customer retention is largely a function of how good a product is, and how effective it is in solving the customers’ pain points. In the face of increasing commodification, insurance companies that go the extra mile to make the buying process more immersive and engaging can gain a definite edge over competitors.

Globally, companies are flocking to implement AR/VR into their customer engagement strategies as it allows them to better several aspects of the customer journey in one fell swoop. Relationship building, product visualization, and highly personalized products are some of the benefits that AR/VR confers to its wielders.  

By honoring the customer sentiments of today and applying a slick AR/VR-powered veneer over its existing product layer, insurance companies can cater to a younger audience (Gen Z) by educating them about insurance products and tailoring digital delivery experiences. This could pay off in the long run by building a large customer base that could be retained and served for a much longer period.

The way forward

The Insurance industry is undergoing a shift of tectonic proportions as an older generation makes way for a new and younger one that has little to no perceptions about the industry. By investing in next-generation technologies such as AR/VR, firms can build new products to capture this new market and catapult themselves to leadership positions simply by way of keeping up with the times.

We have already seen how AR is a potential game-changer for the insurance industry. It is only a matter of time before it becomes commonplace.

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