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Optimizing Android Apps on Variable Network Speeds

Most of the apps today are developed and designed which can perform on all types of networks. While some of us are probably enjoying great connectivity courtesy of our carriers at our school/office/coffees shop wi-fi, there are still some people suffering from poor mobile connections, particularly in emerging markets. If you are developing an Android app you may already fetching information from internet. While doing so there is a chance that internet connection is not available on users handset, connection is slow or fast. Hence its always a good idea to create an app that can perform accordingly on all types of networks.

Facebook has made it known that their goal is to be able to reach and give access to as many markets as possible, and this includes those that still use 2G connections. In this post, we will share how this is possible by Network Connection Class

Network Connection Class allows you to check the quality of the internet connection of the current user, it is an android library. It is a simple code that will help you identify what kind of internet connection a user has on his/her device. Network Connection Class currently only measures the user’s downstream bandwidth. Latency is also an important factor, but in our tests, we’ve found that bandwidth is a good proxy for both.

The connection gets classified into several Connection Classes that makes it easy to develop against. The library does this by listening to the existing internet traffic done by your app and notifying you when the user’s connection quality changes. Developers can then use this Connection Class information and adjust the application’s behavior (request lower quality images or video, throttle type-ahead, etc).

The Network Connection Class library takes care of spikes using a moving average of the incoming samples, and also applies some hysteresis (both with a minimum number of samples and amount the average has to cross a boundary before triggering a bucket change):

Code Sample:
Connection Class provides an interface for classes to add themselves as listeners for when the network’s connection quality changes. In the subscriber class, implement ConnectionClassStateChangeListener:

[section_tc][column_tc span=’12’][blockquote_tc style=’style4′ class=”blog-code”]package com.example.android.connectionclasstest;

import android.content.Intent;
import android.graphics.Bitmap;
import android.graphics.BitmapFactory;
import android.os.AsyncTask;
import android.support.v7.app.AppCompatActivity;
import android.os.Bundle;
import android.util.Log;
import android.view.View;
import android.widget.ImageView;
import android.widget.ProgressBar;
import android.widget.TextView;
import android.widget.Toast;
import com.facebook.network.connectionclass.ConnectionClassManager;
import com.facebook.network.connectionclass.ConnectionQuality;
import com.facebook.network.connectionclass.DeviceBandwidthSampler;

import com.nostra13.universalimageloader.core.ImageLoader;
import com.nostra13.universalimageloader.core.ImageLoaderConfiguration;
import java.io.ByteArrayInputStream;
import java.io.IOException;
import java.io.InputStream;
import java.net.URL;
import java.net.URLConnection;

public class MainActivity extends AppCompatActivity {

private static final String TAG = “ConnectionClass-Sample”;
private ConnectionClassManager mConnectionClassManager;
private DeviceBandwidthSampler mDeviceBandwidthSampler;
private TextView mTextView;
private ImageView mImageView;
private ImageLoader imageLoader;
private ProgressBar mRunningBar;
private ConnectionChangedListener mListener;
private int mTries = 0;
private ConnectionQuality mConnectionClass = ConnectionQuality.UNKNOWN;
@Override
protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);
setContentView(R.layout.activity_main);
imageLoader = ImageLoader.getInstance();
imageLoader.init(ImageLoaderConfiguration.createDefault(getBaseContext()));
mConnectionClassManager = ConnectionClassManager.getInstance();
mDeviceBandwidthSampler = DeviceBandwidthSampler.getInstance();
mRunningBar = (ProgressBar) findViewById(R.id.runnigBar);
mTextView = (TextView) findViewById(R.id.connectionClass);
mImageView = (ImageView) findViewById(R.id.imageView);
findViewById(R.id.testButton).setOnClickListener(DownloadImage);
mTextView.setText(mConnectionClassManager.getCurrentBandwidthQuality().toString());
mListener = new ConnectionChangedListener();
findViewById(R.id.upload).setOnClickListener(UploadImage);
findViewById(R.id.vdButton).setOnClickListener(PlayVideo);
}

@Override
protected void onPause() {
super.onPause();
mConnectionClassManager.remove(mListener);
}

@Override
protected void onResume() {
super.onResume();

mConnectionClassManager.register(mListener);
}
String connectionQuality=null;

private class ConnectionChangedListener
implements ConnectionClassManager.ConnectionClassStateChangeListener {

@Override
public void onBandwidthStateChange(ConnectionQuality bandwidthState) {
mConnectionClass = bandwidthState;
runOnUiThread(new Runnable() {
@Override
public void run() {

connectionQuality = mConnectionClass.toString();
switch (connectionQuality){
case “POOR”:
double val1 = mConnectionClassManager.getDownloadKBitsPerSecond();
mTextView.setText(“Quality is “+connectionQuality+” “+val1 +” and Bandwidth under 150 kbps so poor quality Image downloaded”);
android.support.design.widget.Snackbar.make(findViewById(R.id.main),”Quality is “+connectionQuality+ val1 +”\n and Bandwidth under 150 kbps so poor\n quality image is downloading”, android.support.design.widget.Snackbar.LENGTH_LONG).show();
new DnloadImage().execute(“http://storage.googleapis.com/ix_choosemuse/uploads/2016/02/android-logo.png”); // 80 kb
break;

case “MODERATE”:
double val2 = mConnectionClassManager.getDownloadKBitsPerSecond();
mTextView.setText(“Quality is “+connectionQuality+” “+val2 +” and Bandwidth between 150 to 550 kbps so moderate quality Image downloaded”);
android.support.design.widget.Snackbar.make(findViewById(R.id.main),”Quality is “+connectionQuality+ val2 +”\n and Bandwidth between 150 to 550 kbps so moderate\n quality Image is downloading”, android.support.design.widget.Snackbar.LENGTH_LONG).show();
new DnloadImage().execute(“http://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/original/15/157771/2312725-a10.jpeg”); // 454 kb
break;

case “GOOD”:
double val3 = mConnectionClassManager.getDownloadKBitsPerSecond();
android.support.design.widget.Snackbar.make(findViewById(R.id.main),”Quality is “+connectionQuality+ val3 +”\n and Bandwidth between 550 to 2000 kbps so good\n quality Image is downloading”, android.support.design.widget.Snackbar.LENGTH_LONG).show();
mTextView.setText(“Quality is “+connectionQuality+” “+val3 +” and Bandwidth between 550 to 2000 kbps so good quality Image downloaded”);
new DnloadImage().execute(“http://techclones.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Best-Dark-HD-Wallpaper-Android1.png”); // 1.04 mb
break;

case “EXCELLENT”:
double val4 = mConnectionClassManager.getDownloadKBitsPerSecond();
mTextView.setText(“Quality is “+connectionQuality+” “+val4 +” and Bandwidth over 2000 kbps so excellent quality Image downloaded”);
android.support.design.widget.Snackbar.make(findViewById(R.id.main),”Quality is “+connectionQuality+ val4 +”\n and Bandwidth over 2000 kbps so high\n quality Image is downlaoding”, android.support.design.widget.Snackbar.LENGTH_LONG).show();
new DnloadImage().execute(“http://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/original/15/157771/2312721-a7.png”); // 2.49 mb
break;

case “UNKNOWN”:
mTextView.setText(“Sorry we are getting nothing”);
break;
}
}
});
}
}

private final View.OnClickListener DownloadImage = new View.OnClickListener() {
@Override
public void onClick(View v) {
mRunningBar.setVisibility(View.VISIBLE);
mTries=0;
String quality = mConnectionClass.toString();
Toast.makeText(MainActivity.this, “Quality ->”+quality, Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();
new DnloadImage().execute(“”);
}
};

private final View.OnClickListener UploadImage = new View.OnClickListener() {
@Override
public void onClick(View v) {
//showFileChooser();
Intent intent = new Intent(MainActivity.this, UplaodActivity.class);
startActivity(intent);
}
};

private final View.OnClickListener PlayVideo = new View.OnClickListener() {
@Override
public void onClick(View v) {
Intent intent = new Intent(MainActivity.this, VideoActivity.class);
startActivity(intent);
}
};

private class DnloadImage extends AsyncTask<String, Void, Bitmap> {

@Override
protected void onPreExecute() {
mDeviceBandwidthSampler.startSampling();
mRunningBar.setVisibility(View.VISIBLE);
}

@Override
protected Bitmap doInBackground(String… url) {
String imageURL = url[0];
try {
ByteArrayInputStream byteArrayInputStream;
// Bitmap bitmap;
URLConnection connection = new URL(imageURL).openConnection();
connection.setUseCaches(false);
connection.connect();
InputStream input = connection.getInputStream();

try {
Bitmap bitmap = BitmapFactory.decodeStream(input);
return bitmap;
} finally {
input.close();
}
} catch (IOException e) {
Log.e(TAG, “Error while downloading image.”);
}
return null;
}

@Override
protected void onPostExecute(Bitmap bp) {
mDeviceBandwidthSampler.stopSampling();
Toast.makeText(MainActivity.this,””+mTries,Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();

if (mConnectionClass == ConnectionQuality.UNKNOWN && mTries < 10) {
mTries++;
new DnloadImage().execute(“https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/9/9d/Links-Folder-icon.png”);
}
if (!mDeviceBandwidthSampler.isSampling()) {
mImageView.setImageBitmap(bp);
//imageLoader.getInstance().displayImage(mURL,mImageView);
mRunningBar.setVisibility(View.GONE);

}
}
}
}[/blockquote_tc][/column_tc][/section_tc]

The main way to provide the ConnectionClassManager data is to use the DeviceBandwidthSampler. The DeviceBandwidthSampler samples the device’s underlying network stats, when you tell it you’re performing some sort of network activity (downloading photos, playing a video, etc).

To know more about the Network Connection Class and its implementation, feel free to say hello@mantralabsglobal.com. We would surely respond to your queries.

 

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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

Description automatically generated

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.

Chart, sunburst chart

Description automatically generated

        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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