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June 25, 2018

It’s time to think differently about mobile. That’s the message Lumavate is sending as the fast-growing Indianapolis-based tech scale-up stakes its claim as the leader in progressive web apps (PWAs), especially those in the consumer space where points of activation are critical.

Having already earned a reputation in the market as a “disruptor” for several global brands, including a Fortune 100 company, Lumavate expects to be the dominant enterprise platform for PWAs as they become the preferred alternative to native apps.

The company’s growth supports its bold vision. Following the launch of its updated mobile platform less than a year ago, Lumavate has more than doubled in size from about 11 employees to nearly 30 today, with plans to hire more people this year. Most of the growth has happened over just the past six months.

So what are progressive web apps exactly?

The simplest explanation may be that they are web experiences that look and act like native mobile apps. Users can add them to their home screens and they are typically cached onto their devices for offline functionality, but users don’t have to go to an app store or wait to download anything. Perhaps most importantly, they support device functionality such as notifications, camera, geolocation and other background functions that make PWAs feel more like native apps.

“When you look at what’s happened over the last 10 years since the App Store came out in 2008, there are two million native mobile apps in Apple’s App Store and 3.8 million in Google Play, but consumer engagement with them has declined substantially,” said Stephanie Cox, vice president of marketing with Lumavate.

Over half of mobile device users don’t download any apps at all, according to the comScore 2017 Mobile App Report. The Wired SEO mobile marketing statistics for 2017 show that five out of 10 apps are only used 10 times and more than 20 percent of the time a downloaded app is used only once.

“So you have companies that are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, supporting native mobile apps that consumers simply don’t engage with,” Stephanie said. “If you think about the time and money spent to develop a native mobile app — designing and building it, getting it approved, marketing and promoting it — just so the end user will download and then likely delete it, that’s a pretty frustrating proposition for a marketer like me.”

Stephanie says there is and will continue to be a place for native mobile apps in the tech landscape, especially for gaming. However, she believes marketers will quickly move to PWAs and Gartner supports this claim, stating that “by 2020, progressive web apps will have replaced 50% of the general-purpose consumer-facing mobile apps.”

It’s been two and a half years since Google started pushing the idea of the PWA, but things have really started to accelerate in just the past year as other major tech platforms have adopted and started supporting PWAs. Microsoft, FireFox and most recently Apple are all on board — even collaborating with each other, which highlights the gravity of the shift in mobile that’s taking place.

Getting started with PWAs

As with any digital project, it’s possible for a PWA to be built by an in-house team, outsourced to a development shop, or a combination of the two. Where Lumavate shines is when an organization wants to transform their mobile strategy to incorporate mobile throughout the entire customer journey.

“I think the power of our platform is that we allow you to build PWAs at scale, and we allow marketers and developers to work together in the same platform like never before. Developers can code functionality-rich widgets, then seamlessly pass them along to marketers who can personalize them and create mobile experiences — without the marketer having to write a single line of code,” Stephanie said. “So with a library of widgets ready to go, a marketer could literally build and publish a mobile experience in as little as 30 minutes, but the real magic comes in next because where most everyone else stops after publishing the app, Lumavate ties everything together with contextual activation.”

Using smart activation methods such as near-field communication (NFC), QR codes, text, or click, users can easily access PWAs published using the Lumavate platform without experiencing the friction of an app store download that exists with native mobile apps today. The platform also enables a brand to combine smart activation methods with user and location-based data to dynamically create highly-personalized mobile experiences that are specific to a user and where that user is in the journey with the brand.

“The tech has finally caught up with the way people shop and interact with their devices, which is yielding much better results than native mobile apps,” said Stephanie. “Lumavate is at the forefront of this shift in thinking about mobile in a completely different way and the brands and partners who come along with us are going to have a great competitive advantage as the market catches on.”

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