Red Bull Brings Its A-Game to Mobile With Parse Core

Red Bull WallpapersWhile some reach for Red Bull on the shelves of beverage aisles, the global brand itself has reached far beyond the boundaries of any storefront. Since 2007, the Red Bull Media House has been constantly seeking innovative ways to expand the boundaries of the user experience that is the Red Bull brand. From its inception, Red Bull Media House sought to establish itself as a multi-platform media company with a focus on sports, culture, and lifestyle. Given the wide range of media products housed across its umbrella brand, Red Bull Media House began to double down on app development in 2009 in search of ways to tie them all together. Today, Red Bull Media House has put 30 apps to market across all platforms.

Its latest hit, Red Bull Wallpapers, is a demonstration of Red Bull’s incredibly unique offerings, and of its ability to bring them together in innovative ways with Red Bull Media House. With the use of Parse Core, Red Bull Wallpapers brings captivating imagery from the World of Red Bull straight to the palm of a user’s hand. Android users can customize their home and lock screens with static wallpapers or with animated and enhanced live wallpapers of their favorite Red Bull athletes. Other choices include photos from sports including motocross, motorsports such as Formula One, skateboarding, surfing, skiing, BMX, and more.

In order to deliver such high-quality sports photography to its mobile users, Red Bull Media House utilizes Parse Core to store and load all wallpaper-related data. This includes the name of the athlete or the photographer credits. The data browser is also used for analytics, insights, and updating the use count.  With the use of Parse, development time is saved on the server side, enabling developers to focus even more strongly on the core aspects such as quality and content of the app.

Alongside the release of Red Bull Wallpapers, the brand has become more prominent than ever by tackling all perspectives of a customer’s daily life. From the home screen to the big screen and beyond, experiences such as the one offered by Red Bull Wallpapers provide an inspiring extension of the Red Bull brand.

Nancy
July 25, 2014

Wargaming’s World of Tanks Blitz Uses Parse Push to Keep Users Engaged

Wargaming takes the world by storm once more with the release of World of Tanks Blitz onto iOS.  Wildly popular on desktop, World of Tanks has attracted more than 85 million players from all corners of the globe.  Now, Wargaming has put the franchise directly into the hands of its players, running on iPad 2 and up or iPhone 4S and up.  Featuring over 90 tanks from Russia, Germany, and the U.S., players can challenge each other in synchronous 7-on-7 matches.

Since its release, gamers have been spending an average of 70 minutes in the game. With player engagement and long-term retention representing a core challenge, Andrey Ryabovol, Director of Global Operations at World of Tanks, turned to Parse to power push notifications as part of their strategy.

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Wargaming sought to develop its mobile version of World of Tanks Blitz from the ground up.  Rather than making a port of the PC game, the team uniquely tailored the controls and experience towards use on a smartphone or tablet.  However, building their own notification solution would have taken significant resources and time. By leveraging Parse Push, Wargaming was able to focus on product development and the messaging behind keeping players informed and active in the game. High quality, targeted push notifications are crucial to keeping players engaged, especially throughout World of Tanks Blitz’s 10 tiers of gameplay.  Parse Push will also be used to announce the sale of exclusive in-game items, such as premium, high-end tanks.  As Andrey explains:

Parse Push is the ideal solution for us because it is easy to adapt to our business needs.  We have a lot of data, putting a lot of pressure on the system, so Parse was the perfect solution for data management. We consider our cooperation with Parse and Facebook as a long-term strategic partnership.

World of Tanks Blitz is available for iOS on the App Store.  See you on the battlefield!

Ali
July 18, 2014

Groupon Taiwan Uses Parse Push to Offer Deals with Ease

Groupon Taiwan

Discovering the best of a city, planning a vacation, and searching a specially curated selection of electronics, fashion, and home furnishings is easier than ever with the scale of Groupon.  As a global leader of local commerce, Groupon has emerged as one of the most powerful channels on earth for consumers to find and enjoy unbeatable deals.

Groupon’s extensive reach is especially acute through its Groupon Taiwan market.  By redefining how traditional small businesses attract, retain, and interact with customers, Groupon Taiwan has become not only a key destination for consumers, but a key tool for merchants as well.  Mobile purchases have surged, and with it, Groupon Taiwan’s crucial need to develop a comprehensive, cross-platform app to build a closer relationship with their customers.

Since the launch of Groupon Taiwan’s site, both Parse and Facebook Login have served as standout components of their success.  The Groupon Taiwan app saw thousands of downloads per week after its initial release.  Facebook Login has played a key role in saving customers’ time during the registration process.  According to Groupon Taiwan’s lead UI designer,

Facebook Login saved our users’ time during the registration process, making it that much easier for a new user to make their first purchase.

Simultaneously, Parse Push has helped to retain those users and drive a much deeper, long-term relationship with Groupon Taiwan customers.  Parse Push streamlines the process for Groupon Taiwan to contact its customers, especially given the time-sensitive nature of its highly sought-after deals.  For Groupon Taiwan, the use of Parse has been a reliable way to tackle retention and user communication,

We use Parse to push hot deals to our customers.  It’s quick and cost-saving, and a direct way to reach our app users.

As Groupon continues to scale internationally, Taiwan is a market that has established an efficient and easy-to-implement method of regularly connecting with its devoted customer base through its use of Parse Push.  Groupon Taiwan is available for download in the Google Play Store and in the App Store.

Nancy
July 11, 2014

FOX International Channels Scores Another Goal with Parse

Following the widespread success of its last two app releases, FOX Sports has not missed a beat with Destino Brasil.  As the best app to accompany users while they enjoy the best of Brazil, Destino Brasil entails a comprehensive experience for any soccer fan.  Users can view live schedules, add games to their calendars, and even participate live on the TV news show “Central FOX,” using the app voting system called “Voto FOX.”  Fans can then contribute their point-of-view about the scores of the games, penalties, and more.
Destino Brasil
By using Parse for Push in their previous apps, the Fox International Channels (FIC) team was able to shift from selling apps for clients to instead concentrating on building apps for their own FIC brands.  This continued momentum is clear with the accomplishments achieved by Destino Brasil.  In its first 4 weeks, the app saw over 150,000 installs, and over 500,000 votes were cast through the Voto FOX system, exemplifying an enthusiastic level of engagement by Destino Brasil’s user base.

Given their prior experience working with Parse, the development team was happy with the results of earlier releases, and the transition to using Parse for Destino Brasil was seamless.

According to Leonardo Rosales, Web Production Executive Director for Fox Latin America Channels, Parse has been the best ongoing solution,

It would have taken a lot of time and resources for us to implement our own solution.  Our developers would have to start from scratch…it would be a pain to put everything together.  Parse is already up and running for a budget price.

As Fox International Channels continues to grow, their objective is to have under ten apps running over the major platforms–browsers, iOS, Android, Windows Phone–and targeting marketing efforts on these focused apps.  Latin America has been a formative testing ground as one of the most developed regions in the sports world, and a region that only continues to progress with the vitality powered by events such as this year’s World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

For Leonardo’s team, Parse also continues to be the ideal partner through these developments, and their favorite feature, Parse’s reliability, is one that will carry them through it all.

Nancy
June 27, 2014

Gogolook and LINE whoscall Look to Parse Push for Product Stability

LINE whoscall AdvertisementGogolook Co., Ltd, a startup based in Taiwan with extensive experience in the IT industry, is using Parse in LINE whoscall, an app that instantly identifies the source of calls and text messages from numbers that are not in your contact list, as well as allowing users to block specific numbers. In choosing a support system with whom to co-develop LINE whoscall, Gogolook chose Parse in addition to LINE, an incredibly popular messaging app on smartphones and PCs with over 450 million users in over 230 countries worldwide.

After a friend from their local startup community recommended Parse, Gogolook, acquired by Naver near the end of 2013, decided to use Parse Push in LINE whoscall. As Peter Su Chen-Hao, Product Director of Gogolook reports, the team appreciated that with Parse Push, they didn’t need to create a notification database, allowing them to focus on product development and function improvement instead.

He continues by explaining,

Parse provides developers and companies with a very stable and convenient backend service. For example, you can use Parse as a login database instead of establishing one on your own. Tools like these make Parse a must-have tool for app developers!

LINE whoscall has been working to protect users from harassment of unexpected phone calls with its powerful database and user sharing community. Now, the team is working to expand service coverage to users all over the world. LINE whoscall can be downloaded on Google Play.

 

 

Nancy
June 20, 2014

HarperCollins Pages Parse to Tackle Mobile

The Hobbit App on iPhone 5HarperCollins is a UK top four publisher offering content across the spectrum, from enduring classics to cutting-edge contemporary fiction and digital dictionaries to online curricula.  Recognizing the trend towards mobile, the company sees “mobile apps as a means of forging closer relationships with readers— giving them delightful experiences around content, communicating regularly with them, and offering them personalized content,” according to Sam Hancock, Product Manager, Group, William Collins and Fourth Estate.

The company has turned to Parse to help them release several apps, most notably The Hobbit: Official Visual Companion, a guide to Middle-earth with a beautifully rendered 3D map and variety of encyclopedic articles, as well as the release of Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Universe and Wonders of Life.

HarperCollins has a long history of producing engaging apps for consumers, but Parse has helped enable more direct engagement with consumers. Now, HarperCollins is able to better understand how content is being consumed, and in turn reward consumers with more relevant material. Parse Core is used for storing user data and tracking app opens, in addition to enabling the team to find out more about their users in order to market relevant content to them across the apps. Concurrently, Parse Push has allowed the sending of more sophisticated and segmented push notifications.

According to Sam,

Having a solution like this allows us to concentrate more on creating a great user experience while also helping us add scale and reduce cost—all massive positives for our mobile strategy. It’s also giving us the core building blocks of building out a single consumer view—allowing us to give readers more of what they want more of the time, and making sure our communications are tailored to reflect that. We are actively looking to expand our use of Parse across all platforms to help us achieve that objective.

Nancy
June 13, 2014

Orbitz App Uses Parse Push, Analytics, and Core to Keep Users Updated

Orbitz app on iPhone 5The award-winning Orbitz Flights, Hotels, Cars app for iOS gives iPhone and iPad users a slick, easy way to book and manage travel. With a fast shopping experience, streamlined booking process, contextual home screen, and details of booked trips, the Orbitz app brings information important for the user’s travel to their fingertips when they need it. Parse Push, Analytics, and Core help the app keep customers on top of their travel plans with up-to-the-minute notifications and by streamlining their search experiences.

Joining the mobile trend in 2006 with a mobile website that allowed customers to look up itineraries and check flight status while traveling, Orbitz launched the first version of the Orbitz iPhone app in 2010 once they realized that online booking via phone was becoming more and more prevalent. After launching on iPhone and Android in 2010, they transitioned their full-service iPhone app to be universal so that iPad users could book flights, hotels, and rental cars via a single app and added a Kindle Fire edition, as well.

Principal Engineer on the iOS development team for Orbitz, Matt Sellars is focused on creating the best travel app experience possible for the company’s customers. With over 5 years experience at Orbitz, Matt came across Parse while chatting with other mobile developers about available platforms. “Simple APIs across many platforms with good documentation,” won him over, and now the app uses Parse to store a user’s search history and to push relevant travel alerts to them.

The app uses Parse Push to notify app users of changes in their trips, such as flight delays, gate changes, or cancellations, on the day that they travel. Matt and his team then use Parse Analytics to monitor usage of the push notifications they send.

The app also uses Parse Core to keep users’ recent Orbitz searches available and to remove old data. The app seamlessly synchronizes search information between any of a user’s devices so that he or she can easily pick up a previous search on a different device without having to re-enter the search criteria. The app also uses Cloud Code to remove expired data for users, allowing the app to move processing from a user’s device to the server and lowering the user’s data usage by removing irrelevant data before the apps fetches it.

According to Matt,

Parse was a huge help for rapid feature development. It took one developer, myself, a couple days of reading and playing with the APIs to build and demo a feature. This normally would have required a few people to create the required backend to support building the prototype at a much higher cost. This enabled us to learn quickly, faster, and overall lower the cost to make an idea tangible for our stakeholders. This ability to rapidly prototype ideas allows our developers and designers to move quickly on ideas as if working in a startup environment together.

After all of the team’s investments in mobile over the last few years – both in apps and in optimizing their website for smartphone and tablet users – they now see nearly 1 in 3 hotel bookings being made via a mobile device. Positive reviews in the app stores make it clear that customers really enjoy using the apps, which have also been acknowledged by Apple as an Editors’ Choice and inducted into the App Store Hall of Fame in 2012, and by Google, who recently named Orbitz a “Top Developer” on Google Play for their Android app.

The app is available for free download on iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire and is deeply integrated with the Orbitz Rewards loyalty program. App users receive higher percentages of Orbucks, a loyalty currency that can be used on bookings, than they would by booking on the website.  

Courtney Witmer
May 23, 2014

Move Uses Parse Push to Power Notifications in Realtor.com App

Realtor.com App on iPhone 5The Realtor.com apps by Move, Inc. provide a tailored search experience for real estate, helping people find the right home with features like photo-centric search, search by school, and map sketch-a-search. The only app to get real estate listings sourced directly from over 800 MLS’s with 90% of listings refreshed every 15 minutes, users of the app can also get updates on price reductions via push notification.

Real estate is all about data, and Move gets real-time data feeds from 98% of the multiple listing services (MLSs) in the United States. Managing that data is a big challenge, and it’s the duty of Alan Lewis, Principal Platform Architect for Move, to guide the development of the dozens of web services that make that data usable by the apps and sites Move supports.

When Alan, a 15 year veteran of the industry, started looking to improve push notification capabilities to support future growth for the company’s apps, he attended Parse Developer Day in San Francisco to learn about Parse Push. Although more research stood before him, he had an inkling Parse was the right choice when, within a few hours while still at the conference, he had a prototype using the service up and running.

The Move team implemented Parse Push to power notifications in their iOS apps. A key factor in this decision was the extra work inherent in supporting push in iOS, which requires that a developer build out additional server-side infrastructure or use a 3rd party services. According to Alan, the key to their decision to use Parse to fulfill this need were, “scale, cost, and developer-friendliness.”

He continues on to explain that,

Parse is a great fit for apps that don’t have a server-side infrastructure, but for a large app like realtor.com where there are multiple existing services that supply the app’s data, what was important for me was to find a platform that could integrate seamlessly with ours. As an architect, I love what I see with Parse, and we can integrate with it via their web services without making compromises within our platform.

Developers should be informed about their options. Best-of-breed services like Parse can save a lot of time and money, and whether you’re a solo developer or working for a big company, there are probably far better uses of your time than building infrastructure that isn’t a key differentiator for your business. For us, push notifications were a must-have, but we weren’t going to gain any advantage by building out the feature from scratch, which is why we chose to go the 3rd-party route. I evaluated all of them, and Parse is the best.

You can download the realtor.com app and the new Rentals app here.

Courtney Witmer
May 16, 2014

RedTape Design Builds Alicia Keys Vault with Parse

Alicia Keys Vault displayed on a Macbook ProIn September of 2013, a partner at RedTape Design, a brand design studio in NYC, was asked if anyone was free to meet with someone in the lobby to talk about building a music website. RedTape agreed and they were surprised to find that the person waiting in the lobby was Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Alicia Keys.

Ms. Keys told the RedTape team about a collection of her music that nobody had ever heard that she wanted to find a way to share with her fans. At their next meeting, Ms. Keys showed the team a safe in the closet at her personal studio. Within the safe was years of material that no one else had ever heard, from VHS tapes to old school reel to reels, and CDs and tapes from the past 16 years. There were also photos, videos, and an archive of every magazine Ms. Keys had been on the cover of. She wanted to give all of this content to her fans, for free.

Ms. Keys had several exciting ideas about how she wanted to share her safe of material. The RedTape team was confident that they could build what she was asking for, but noted that with mockups, design, development, servers, setup, staging and testing, it would take 8 months to complete. When Ms. Keys said she wanted a finished product in 2 months, the team started to look for solutions that would help them deliver. When they found Parse, they found the tool they needed to complete the Alicia Keys Vault on time.

The RedTape team used Parse Core for several aspects of the project and reports that Parse provided them with the scale to handle the burst of simultaneous page requests that occurred on launch day, when they saw as high as 100 signups per minute, alongside over 2 million in-vault events. The app also uses Parse Core for social login, with 82% of users who registered for Alicia Keys Vault opting to use Facebook login. Additionally, Parse’s ability to work side-by-side with other developer tools provided further opportunities for the RedTape, who found that the seamless integration between Parse and MailChimp allowed them to create a way to re-engage fans.

Now, with Parse providing the competitive edge that they need to help them grow their business at scale, RedTape is working on building similar apps and web presences for other artists. The team is hard at work on RedTapeX, a website and app that will reinvent the way artists interact with their fans, so check out the Alicia Keys Vault today and stay tuned for more great Parse-powered mobile and web apps out of the RedTape team!

Courtney Witmer
April 25, 2014

Showtime Turns to Parse to Power Next Gen TV Experiences

Example of Showtime Sync on a TVMore and more television viewers are multitasking during viewing, often engaging with content related to the show they are watching. Rather than try to combat this behavior, Showtime decided to embrace the opportunity and develop a multi-platform interactive experience that syncs to television programming. “We wanted to serve this audience of active fans with high-end synchronized content that enhances the viewing experience and provides deeper engagement,” said Showtime’s VP of Interactive Television, David Preisman.

SHO Sync offers fans enhanced viewing for many of the series on Showtime, including Homeland, Shameless, Ray Donovan, and Penny Dreadful. The second screen SHO Sync app is available for iPhone and iPad and, in an industry first, viewers can now interact on Smart TVs using their remote control.

The SHO Sync app uses Automated Content Recognition (ACR), to accurately synchronize interactive content with the program being viewed. According to Preisman, “Many subscribers watch Showtime series time shifted, from Showtime Anytime, Showtime On Demand or from a DVR. The ACR technology utilized by SHO Sync ensures that the interactive content is always synchronized with the show no matter how they choose to watch.” Fans can vote in polls, answer trivia, learn more about key characters, and make predictions. Interactive play earns users points, badges, and bragging rights, and everything in the app can be shared.

“When we were developing SHO Sync we heard about Parse from one of our developers, so we decided to give it a try. We were looking for a cloud-based backend to power SHO Sync across multiple platforms and with the free account, we decided to take it for a test run,” explains Preisman.

The development and launch of this complex product required close collaboration between Showtime, and developers from A Different Engine and Bottle Rocket. “What’s great about Parse is that it’s dead simple to use,” said Seth Piezas, Senior Developer, A Different Engine. “I’m a big fan of developing only code that is unique to a project. Being able to fall back on the existing data, analytics, and code management and reporting web UI is a fantastic win.” He added, “In this day and age, I think if you are building anything more than what makes your product unique you are simply focusing on the wrong thing. Parse lets you focus on your product.”

Showtime needed to integrate with half a dozen systems for content, images, data processing, and gamification. Parse allowed them to perform much of this integration once, in the cloud, to reduce the integration effort on the client applications. Showtime uses Parse Data and Cloud Code for common APIs so the TV and mobile client apps can access many of the various backend services and data processing.

“Our Interactive TV and Mobile teams strive to develop breakthrough apps where the technology goes away and the viewer can immerse themselves in the story,” says Preisman. “Since our launch in early 2013, Parse has provided a reliable cloud based solution, allowing our teams to focus on the user experience.”

Showtime offers SHO Sync for over 250 episodes of original programming. You can learn more about SHO Sync and check out a demo video here.

Courtney Witmer
April 18, 2014