Business as Usual in an Unusual World: Software Integrations Made Easy w/ Mendix

Recently in the UK, all Covid-19 related restrictions and travel regulations were dropped. There’s no more mandatory need to self-isolate when traveling nor is there a need to provide negative tests before traveling. You may be forgiven for feeling the end of the pandemic is near the end of the pandemic. But that’s not quite to story for the rest of the world.

While the UK has decided to release its pent-up breath, many countries around the world are still in the middle of the crisis, with some countries yet to see the peak of their Omicron waves. Even though the UK may be opening up, that doesn’t mean global travel and safety precautions have eased.

Defining Safety with Technology

So imagine being asked by your boss to travel for work? Would you do it? More importantly, how would you do it?

  • What if regulations change while you were abroad?
  • What if you unknowingly breached Covid regulations?
  • What if you got infected while traveling

The answer, as it is to most things these days, is technology. Technology has been central to the fight for safety and security since the early days of the pandemic. There have been several examples of what works well but even more examples of bloated apps which do little to improve the situation.

So how do we avoid the bloat and ensure safe travel in a world that’s open for some and not others? Even with low-code, custom solutions still take time, effort, and money. When it comes to customer and employee experience, development teams need to make careful decisions about which features get the most attention and which can be simply be plugged in.

In order to respond quickly, companies will need the ability to rapidly prototype a solution. Oftentimes, app developers get through this stage (eventually) but what is most critical is responding to user feedback as fast as possible. This is where low-code platforms like Mendix shine.

How Can Mendix Help?

The entire ecosystem of the Mendix Platform is geared towards enabling rapid delivery and feedback cycles. Bruce Lee has been quoted as saying, “You must be like water, my friend.” The world changes so fast, that you need technology to help you pivot with it. Mendix helps your development team stay light on their feet and duck and weave as they respond to the demands of their users.

In the case of traveling, having an app that keeps you up-to-date with all the regulations for whatever country you’re traveling to and its infection rate would be very helpful. The application could tell you what procedures you’d need to go through for each country, and it could also give you emergency services contact.

In traditional development, an app like this would most likely take weeks or months. With Mendix, a good development team could get a proof of concept out the door in a matter of days. They could then spend the rest of that time refining the app and working on user suggestions.

Real-time Feedback

Getting an application out quickly may sound like a fairytale solution, but it’s important to give users the ability to provide feedback, so you can easily get it and decide on what needs to be refined.

The end-users of the app can report the issues they’re facing using the feedback and collaboration widget, which will instantly create a feedback item in the platform for the developers to convert into a work task and start working on a solution. No need for surveys, reviews, and red tape – the developers can get the straight facts direct from the ones who are using the app. User feedback can be converted into requirements in just seconds. Here’s a clip that shows just how easy it is.

Real-time Updates with Twilio Integration

In the real world, most travelers will enable data roaming when outside of their country of residence. But this can rack up the charges quickly. In order to minimize data costs, we can opt to include a messaging service. While a data connection is required to receive messages, the actual data used when compared to what a full-fledged app might use can save your employees (or the company) money on the device’s data plan. While on the go and not connected to Wi-Fi, user’s can opt to receive any updates on their destination’s Covid restrictions in real-time, without breaking the bank.

In this case, there is no need to re-invent the wheel.

Twilio is a communication automation tool that helps you connect your apps to different communication tools like WhatsApp, SMS, or email (among other services). In the case of this travel application, you can connect your app to its users through WhatsApp. Integration with Twilio can be quite tricky, despite that their readily available APIs. In the Mendix Marketplace, you can find a Twilio connector that lets you quickly integrate Twilio into your app.

If you would like to find out more about using Twilio’s API with Mendix, you can watch this live build session, about building Alexa Voice apps using Mendix.

Updates Where You Want Them

On top of Twilio, you can also integrate with a bunch of productivity and communication applications. In the Mendix Marketplace, you’ll find integrations with Outlook, WhatsApp, Slack, whatever your company’s preferred method of communication is.

Native Mobile Abroad

Beyond integrating with other tech to help streamline processes, offline operability is a huge feature to have when traveling, because you find yourself in areas where you cannot connect to the internet. In situations like these, you need the app to still function without an active connection. Mendix Native Mobile apps are offline by default, meaning if you make it Native Mobile, when it’s offline, your app will continue to work, and will refresh your data as soon as you find a connection.

Change as the World Changes

The ability to respond quickly with technology is critical in this day and age. The world changes so fast, that you need technology to help you pivot with it. The Mendix low-code platform lets your users more easily communicate feedback, simplifies integration with a number technologies, and lets you be like water.