Developing an app resulting 1M+ downloads – My Robi

January 15, 2019
Tanzina

Robi Axiata Limited is the second largest mobile network operator of Bangladesh. It is a joint venture between Axiata Group Berhad of Malaysia, Bharti Airtel Limited of India and NTT DoCoMo Inc. of Japan.

Nascenia was first approached by Robi at 2017. They had a mobile application then, for checking basic telco queries like balance inquiry, Data package etc. However, the response of the app was not good and the quality was not up to the mark resulting in slowness and other issues. Besides, there was a lack of security in the legacy app. Therefore, the information of telco important database was prone to hacking. The code also used to easily decompile especially in android.  So Robi came to Nascenia with a view to having a proper solution.

The solution must include:

  1. Revamp the application for android
  2. Revamp the application for iOS
  3. Make a new backend for mobile application
  4. Ensure strong security with proper secured architecture
  5. Protect the code from decompiling

In fact, as a Client, Robi is quite cooperative. Nascenia was part of Robi Axiata’s next big phase, My Robi App, which included the revamping of the whole new app to improve user experience as well as ensuring proper functionalities in a secured manner. They knew what they wanted and prepared a requirement list accordingly. Also, several meetings were arranged with Nascenia in order to get suggestions and views from us. The final requirements were set up by the consent of Nascenia and Robi together.

Following are some of the requirements for the mobile application. 

  • Direct login option with Robi number – seamlessly without any password while the user is connected through Robi network
  • One Time Password (OTP) authentication is needed while a user is using WiFi or in roaming
  • Robi account balance checking
  • The simplified latest bill as well as previous bills viewing option for Postpaid, including roaming bills
  • Quick Recharge option with simple, easy steps
  • Internet and Social packages buying options within clicks
  • Individual used plan creating option using MyPlan App
  • Bundle, Voice Pack & Goon Goon (Caller Ring Back Tone service) buying option
  • Seamlessly Manage FnF numbers and  VAS(Value-added services)
  • Balance Transfer options to your dearest one as a gift
  • History of recharge and bill payment
  • Usage History -Track your Call, SMS and Internet Charges
  • Locate the nearest Robi Shop and many more!!!

The brand new seamless interface of Robi App ensures easier navigation and fuss-free management of the users’ account, ranging from the most basic buying of internet plans and topping up your account balance, to giving the scoop on the latest release of Movie, Music, Sports & many lifestyle deals from Robi Axiata Ltd. My Robi is not just another app, it’s an experience that connects with all lifestyle needs under one umbrella. So, why you’re waiting for? Just Install My Robi App and bring your all favorite lifestyle apps at your fingertips.

Nascenia follows scrum, an agile framework, to ensure the proper, timely and quality development of software. This image shows the development process followed by Nascenia to develop My Robi App.

 

Development process followed by Nascenia

Some of the challenges which Nascenia helped Robi Axiata with:

  1. Communicate with different telecommunication module to serve the purpose: This was the main challenges for entire project. For overcoming this we have developed our own application server which is capable of communicating with different server. We also implemented the caching mechanism if some other server is down we serve from our own server. We used throttling for making the server more secure.
    This mobile application has its own backend. Although it is using data from the core telco component. The following image will give you an idea about how it works.
    Data usage pattern for My Robi App
  2. Login authentication with a secured mechanism: In the previous applications, their main problem was the login mechanism. There was a long list of questions, which a user needed to answer while user registration. We solved this problem. We implemented 3 types of login which serve in a single click registration. The mechanisms were:

    • Login with Robi Network: If the user is in Robi network then it should automatically log in. We did it by adding the mobile number in the header in another telco component called GGSN/SGSN. For avoiding the tempering with the header mobile number we only whitelist the IP of GGSN/SGSN. In this way, we ensured 100% security from the server and app side. 
    • Login with other networks: If user not used wifi or other operators network for this we used OTP authentication for login. The user needs to send OTP request and verified for registration. Once he registered for the one time, he will be able to automatically login with that mobile unless s/he logs out or logs in to any other device. 
    • Login with Social network: For social network login, we used Gmail and Facebook. After successful verification by their social network, the user can log in. Both server and client side verifications are ensured to protect hacking.

  3. Make the app working on a very slow network speed: In some places in Bangladesh, the network of Robi was quite weak and the internet was very slow. So we had to consider it while developing the application. We used lazy loading so that when the application is in idle mode, it would download the application content from the server. We also used retry and compressing algorithm in order to keep the data size limited. 
  4. Protect the code from decompilation: We face this problem, especially in android. Android code easily obfuscate. So we write our own pro-guard script to protect the code from obfuscate. 

This work for Robi is a collaborative working model. Robi has set up a work-station for Nascenia team in their corporate head office to ensure the privacy and security of data handling. So, a team of engineers has worked there for months. And this collaboration working model has worked well for both the parties. After the successful completion of My Robi app, Nascenia team has even worked for a similar app for Robi’s partner on My Airtel app. Nascenia is still working on an e-commerce platform for them.

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