Developing Real-Time Features In Mobile Apps – Why You Must Do It

Real-time features are no longer optional for the vast majority of mobile apps. They almost became a basic element for the modern user experience. From real-time GPS tracking in apps like Uber or Zomato to real-time shopping mall notifications to customers passing nearby, real-time features in more than one way revolutionised the mobile user experience.

No wonder, most consumer-focused apps consider real-time features as key to the app success. For some years, real-time technology almost swept the vast majority of apps that need to provide real-time information to consumers.

What are the Real-time App Features?

By definition, real-time features are capabilities to reflect the changes in data in real time without any lag time or delay. In the context of mobile apps, real-time features allow tracking the location of a delivery agent or a rental car, get push notification messages, collaborate with other users, get live order status, watch live streaming of contents, get contents in news feed, all in real time.

If we look at the present-day scenario, the real-time features are considered as a must-have requirement for mobile applications. From emerging startups to well-established mobile app development brands, companies are now focusing on integrating real-time features in their applications to achieve a high level of digitalization.

The Key Advantages of Integrating Real-Time Features in Mobile Apps?

There are several key advantages of real-time features for mobile apps. Users no longer need to put up with the delay of getting an update or remotely tracking the movement of something. They can always stay abreast of real-time updates and information. Let’s have a look at the key advantages of real-time mobile app features.

  • Enhanced User-Engagement: With the real-time Information sharing and updates an app can be brought closer to life and thus it can boost user engagement to a great extent.
  • Live-Connection: The live connection allows a business to stay connected with the customers in real time. With live connection allowing access to live communication, users can feel more attached to an app.
  • A Boost to UI/UX: Thanks to the real-time features the core competency of an app can be enhanced. Thanks to real-time app feature an app can easily integrate interactive elements.
  • Cloud Delivery Networks: Real-time app features mostly need a cloud-delivery network for better maintenance and remote access to data without any lag time. The cloud delivery network thus ensures actually better app performance.

Most Important Real-Time Mobile App Features

Over the years, real-time mobile app features evolved and became more responsive and user-optimised. Let’s have a look at some of the key features that play a mission-critical role for the vast majority of real-time apps.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are the simplest and most handy way to keep users abreast of the latest information about the app. Mobile app notifications allowing customisation as per the preference of the users can really have positive implications on the overall user experience. Every app update sent through push messages actually push users to reopen the app and once again use a fresh look at the key services.

Collaboration Among Users

The real-time app feature also allows multiple app users to create, add, remove and edit data and see the effects of the changes simultaneously in real time. Such multi-user collaboration actually helps apps to work for boosting team effort and collaborative work processes. Just think of the Google Docs or Google Sheet apps that allow real-time changes involving several remote users.

Real-time Feed

Any content uploaded in the app is instantly visible to all registered users in real time. This real-time feed is something we experience across social media channels like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. From a friend request to a newly added content to comment or reaction, all users get access to such stuff in real time. Social media users can engage and interact with each other in real time on timeline posts.

IoT Integration and Control

Now we have an array of real-time technologies for integrating real-time features with mobile apps. Some of the latest real-time technologies that played an immense role in the integration of IoT devices and controllable features in mobile apps include WebSocket, COMET, BOSCH, etc.

In this respect, it is important to see how integrated IoT features in mobile apps basically work. The data collected by the IoT devices and sensors from the environment is transferred to the cloud storage through the web. Following this advanced cloud-based IoT software analyses the data and the post-analysis inputs and insights are sent back to the users. If the data sent by the users is incorrect by any chance, the user in return receives an alert message through either app notifications or through text messages or emails.

Live Streaming

Live streaming is one of the most popular real-time features used across too many mobile apps across the industry niches including entertainment, transportation, logistics, real estate, and several others. The live streaming video of public events such as music concerts, TV shows, football matches, and sports tournaments through mobile apps is a great example of these features in entertainment apps.

Real-time communication through a video interface is another important use of this feature utilized by social media and logistics apps. In the mobile or video gaming industry, the live streaming of the gaming actions is an example of this feature.

Real-time or Instant Messaging

Chat messaging continues to be the most popular platforms for communication for the vast majority of people now. From the likes of Facebook Messenger to the WhatsApp messaging apps to Skype to WeChat, all messaging apps are equipped with an instant messaging feature allowing people to stay in communication in real time. These instant or real-time messaging apps are capable of sharing a variety of media contents, facilitating voice calling and group chats.

Live Order Status

As the on-demand apps are getting momentum and more and more companies are allowing online and mobile orders for doorstep delivery, real-time tracking of the order on a GPS map became a popular feature across the globe. The live order status is used by now all on- demand e-commerce and doorstep delivery apps ranging from the food ordering apps, grocery delivery apps and many others.

How Real-time Features Can Benefit Various Industries?

Real-time features became key to the user experience of many apps. These features have become the part and parcel of sophisticated user experience. Let’s have a look at some of the key industries benefited by these features.

Health and Fitness:

For health and fitness apps real-time features help to keep users updated about the workout schedule, accomplishments, required diet plans and latest health data.


The real-time features integrated with eCommerce apps helps to boost sales by recommending products based on their earlier purchases and preferences. Real-time notifications also remind users about the products in the cart.

Food Delivery:

Food delivery apps extensively use real-time features to make customers updated about the live status of their delivery and for communicating with real-time push messages, chat and recommendations.

Cab Booking:

All cab booking apps like Uber, Lyft and others use a lot of real-time features like live tracking, push notifications, instant in-app messaging and calls.

Challenges For Building Apps With Real-Time Features

While building apps endowed with real-time features has a lot of advantages for the end users. These benefits do not come without the accompanying challenges. Let us have a look at some of the key challenges for building real-time app features.

  • Adapting to higher user-load is a big challenge for real-time mobile apps.
  • Just because of the dynamic nature of the real-time apps, wireframe design is more complex and challenging.
  • The deviation in terms of performance and efficiency is a common attribute of real- time apps.
  • Developers of real-time apps have to depend on rigorous testing and QA process to ensure a precise and accurate response.


Real-time features are bound to be the driving force behind user engagement and business conversion through mobile apps because they help instant collaboration, communication, and accessibility. A mobile app looking for a seamless user experience must look up to the real-time features.

Featured image source: Freepik

Published by Atman Rathod

Atman Rathod is the Co-founder at CMARIX TechnoLabs Pvt. Ltd., a leading web and mobile app development company with 13+ years of experience. He loves to write about technology, startups, entrepreneurship and business. His creative abilities, academic track record and leadership skills made him one of the key industry influencers as well.

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