Case Study: Digital Experience and Mobile
A mass media and entertainment conglomerate wanted to unify and enhance its messaging strategy to external mobile device end users. In particular, the conglomerate aimed to make it easier to enable push notifications and persistent inbox messaging to customers of all its major companies.
Business units within the conglomerate were employing different messaging strategies, ranging from in-house solutions to the use of Urban Airship, a third-party mobile engagement platform. While leveraging a third-party messaging platform simplified operations and reduced technology expenses and liability, it also carried a heavy downside in terms of volume: The more notifications sent to end users, the more expensive it became. One of the conglomerate’s business units delivers billions of messages per year through this service, including push notifications. Due to the potential expense of implementing this service for all its business units, the conglomerate wanted to review other options.
The conglomerate decided to create its own SDK patterned after Urban Airship’s. Having an internal SDK would allow the conglomerate to customize feature upgrades and other enhancements more easily and at reduced expense. Lacking the core competency to produce an SDK robust enough for all its business units, the conglomerate searched for a consultancy with the latest knowledge and technology expertise and found it in AIM Consulting.
AIM provided a small team, including a principal architect, to produce an SDK with a range of features to meet the needs of the conglomerate’s business units, including:
- Simple integration and setup
- Easy management of end-user account creation, registration, login, and end-user subscription lists
- Enhanced messaging features including push notifications and persistent inbox messaging
- Data collection features such as session data and geographical location (geofencing) with enhanced analytics
In practice, these features enable the conglomerate’s business units to set up the SDK in their messaging systems simply and easily with the ability to select from a range of features to offer end users using code snippets written by AIM. When end users opt-in to subscription lists on their devices, messages and emails are pushed to them, such as alerts, login info, breaking news and other content. The conglomerate can use geofencing technology to send messages to users within a specific geographical area.
The work was performed in four phases:
1) Initial assessment and strategy: The AIM Consulting team analyzed the current messaging architecture, including underlying data structures, APIs, and data models. The messaging architecture was not very well documented, so AIM performed tests on the APIs using HTTP clients to better understand the system.
2) Documenting the APIs and defining use cases: All messaging system APIs were documented in full, such as, for example, the way to create new users and opt in/out to a subscription. The team also defined use cases to help the conglomerate’s business units learn how to set up the system for optimum effect.
3) Creation of the SDK: AIM created the framework that manages all the APIs throughout the entire user experience. AIM ensured the SDK was highly secure, with the latest in authentication and authorization APIs built-in.
4) Creating sample apps with complete feature sets: AIM created sample apps that utilized the SDK so the conglomerate’s business units would have examples to show what was possible with the SDK. This also provided confidence to the business units that their apps would work on end-user devices.
AIM delivered an SDK for iOS devices first and then helped manage the delivery of an Android SDK. Sample apps for the iOS SDK included those for Swift integration as well as for Objective-C. The SDKs came complete with thorough documentation on how to integrate the SDKs into apps, how to onboard the apps for setup, detailed descriptions of each feature with code snippets, and the sample apps.
With the customized SDKs in hand, the conglomerate now has the ability to modernize its messaging platforms in-house with technology built for the future. They can implement push notifications, persistent inbox messaging, geofencing, and other modern features for their end users, enhancing their experiences with up-to-date content and engaging them in more meaningful ways. With an in-house alternative to Urban Airship, the conglomerate has the option to realize significant cost savings by moving its messaging programs entirely in-house. Pleased with the work on the SDK project, the conglomerate is now leveraging AIM Consulting for additional technology initiatives.
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