Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Two Former Nokia Engineers Did What Google And Apple Wouldn't - Now Their Software Runs On 1.5 Billion Mobile Devices

Via Business Insider:

The success story of Realm is annoyingly simple.

”We were a couple of Danish engineers with an idea but no connections to Silicon Valley whatsoever. So we contacted Y Combinator by filling out a form and then they invited us over for a meeting”.

That was three years ago when Alexander Stigsen and his co-founder Bjarne Christiansen came up with the idea for a mobile database while working for Nokia in Denmark.

Databases need to run on the device itself, not on some remote server.

Today, Realm is running on more than 1.5 billion devices. Apps using Realm include Netflix, Starbucks, Ikea, Samsung, and BBC.

”Every interaction is moving to mobile. That means more and more data on the device, hence the need for a mobile database at the same place. The more data you can keep within the actual app the faster the app can work and respond to the user. Traditional databases run on online servers. Our database runs on the devices themselves”, Stigsen explains.

The Realm Mobile Database is now the most popular third-party database in the world replacing SQLite, the default database for both Android and iOS.

Too overwhelming for Google and Apple, so this startup stepped up.

While the need for mobile databases is evident, the development is a complex endeavor.

”It takes a long time, three to four years, to build a modern mobile database. That is why even the big vendors like Apple and Google do not have their own mobile databases. It just seemed overwhelming and they never really got started. This is where we saw a market opportunity”.

The market is about apps and getting through to the user. In order to achieve that, apps need all the speed and responsiveness they can get.

”The mobile space is extremely competitive. The average users have 20 apps on their phone while they have millions to choose from. You need a high performing app to be part of that club”.

Serverless is the new black in mobile apps development.

The impatient user is also the driving force behind the latest trend in mobile, serverless. That doesn’t actually imply not having servers, but a new degree of cloud computing where the app developer gets cloud functionalities such as code execution.

”Serverless is a huge trend right now because the traditional way of running apps is too slow. With a fully serverless interface, you can build an entire app on your platform in the cloud. That is why we see a move towards serverless with services like Google Cloud Functions”, Stigsen explains.

The need for faster data is ever increasing as the developers are pushing new functions craving data such as Augmented Reality (AR) and collaboration.

”We see a clear move towards interactive features and AR where the user interacts with the surroundings in a digital way. There are lots of opportunities for developers but they still need the app to be fast. We also see an increase in the use of collaborative tools for the workplace such as Slack. It is a natural next step towards the mobile platform for the enterprise”.

Realm has received a total of $29 million in funding to date. Investors include Y Combinator, Khosla Ventures, and Scale Venture Partner.

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