What is a cloud-based application?
A cloud based application, or app for short, is a piece of software that lives in and operates from the cloud. A native app, on the other hand, has to be downloaded from the internet or an app marketplace and installed on locally on your chosen device. Whilst this difference may seem minor, it makes a huge impact on accessibility for the end user. Cloud-based applications are accessible via the internet browser on any desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone or internet enabled device — without having to download and install anything (assuming you have an up-to-date device). The time difference between accessing a new cloud-based app and a new native, mobile app — which users must find, download and install — is dramatic. It is this time difference, coupled with consumer demand for instant access to services, that is driving a global shift from native apps to cloud-based apps.
The benefits of cloud based applications:
- They are instantly accessible — new users do not have to download and install anything.
- This also means that the user need not use up memory on their device.
- The user does not have to download and install an update to keep the app up to date — the cloud-based app is updated centrally by the service provider.
- Cloud-based apps give users most of the interactivity and functionality of a desktop or mobile app but are accessible from any device in any location.
- Instant scalability — cloud-based apps can grow alongside your business.
- Cloud-based apps can make use of APIs (application programming interfaces). This means that third party data sources or apps can be integrated. Many cloud-based app providers will add additional functionality and integrations if they receive enough demand.
Cloud-based apps and the way we use them aligns extremely well with our current behaviour patterns — so well in fact, that you may not have noticed you are already using one. Microsoft Office 365 is a good example. Both enterprises and consumers have flocked to this cloud based version of Office because of the flexibility and collaborative style of work it facilitates, and it is a movement that does not appear to be slowing down:
“When it comes to modernizing business applications, 68 percent of the businesses surveyed by Forrester said their number-one priority was migrating those applications to the cloud.”
Why we should be using cloud-based apps for mobile ordering
Cloud-based apps, because of their inherent agility, flexibility and accessibility, are particularly well suited to mobile ordering. Consumers typically want to order food and drink on their mobile because it is convenient – it is going to save them time or effort. However, on a native app, mobile ordering rarely saves the user enough time and energy to motivate a behavioural change. For a new venue, users must search for, download and sign up — even before they get to see the menu. Users must then save this memory intensive app among a portfolio of others if they wish to mobile order from a variety of restaurants, cafes, hotels and other venues.
However, a cloud based application such as wi-Q for F&B, or Mi-Room for hotel guest services, is often only 3 keystrokes and seconds away. It is accessible via a URL or/and a landing page, which is opened when customers connect to the venue’s Wi-Fi.
There are also several benefits of cloud-based mobile ordering for the hospitality provider:
- Real time updates to menus (including pricing) via an intuitive backend
- A fully brand customisable front end
- The option to host multiple languages for customers
- The ability to integrate data-driven marketing tools and other emerging technologies — personalising the menu and offerings to repeat customers over time.
- wi-Q and Mi-Room require very little if any upfront capital expenditure. The two services are charged on a revenue-based, SaaS pricing model.
- This allows providers to invest in mobile ordering technology, without having to pay someone $10,000’s to develop it. wi-Q and Mi-Room’s capabilities will also continue to grow alongside hospitality providers, taking on more integrations, APIs, and enabling additional emerging technologies.